After the Apocalypse
Chapter 109: The Shot

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

Lou shifted in his spot on the bench uncomfortably. He was more than a little pissed that he'd been left to guard the prisoner while the others went off to deal with the intruders. Despite Jeff's statements to the contrary, he felt that he was better suited to search out the intruders than some of those who had been taken along.

The prisoner stared at him in silence. Lou was never much of one for small talk either, so it suited him just fine. He moved back further from the prisoner and sat on the bench where Dave had been sleeping. The mattress from the cot wasn't much better than the hard wood bench, but it was enough. He rearranged it so the mattress was vertical and he could lean against it where it met the surface of the table.

He noticed that the mop and bucket were next to him and thought briefly about making Miller mop the floor, then decided it was too much work. He set down his rifle and continued to stare at the prisoner who was now untying and retying his boots. Lou chuckled quietly at the gesture - he figured Miller wanted his shoes just right when he made a break for it.

For his part Miller didn't like the new guard. The old pair had been better. He'd been drawing them out asking questions and seeking corrections. Both were more talkative than this Lou and they seemed to want to outdo each other in information. He watched as the new guy settled in and got comfortable next to the mop. He bent down to tie his boot and tried to surpress his look of surprise when Jenny came in, grabbed a broom, and moved towards Lou purposefully.

Lou didn't notice the reaction although he did hear the swish of the broom as it came at him. Out of reflex he warded the blow with his left arm. It stung, but it was better than getting clocked in the head. His right arm reached out and he grabbed the mop, turning to face his attacker as he did so. He was surprised, but not shocked to see Jenny standing there.

"Help me and we can get out of here," she called. Miller was already leaping to his feet. Lou stepped on the end of the mop, breaking off the head and leaving him with just a stick. Jenny tossed her broom to Miller who caught it and moved into what looked to Lou like a Kendo pose.

"Bet you're wishing you'd studied martial arts now, aren't you boy scout. I am going to kick your ass."

Lou smiled, "you may test that assumption at your leisure," he replied, doing his best to impersonate Jean Luc.

Miller rushed forward, bringing the broom up in a two-handed grip. Lou stepped sideways slightly and poked the attacker in the solar plexus with his make shift weapon. He didn't push hard, but he didn't need to. Miller's own weight, combined with surprise, pushed the jagged end into his chest and all the air went out of his lungs with a loud whump.

At the same time, he brought his weapon overhead for the smash and slammed it into the ceiling, robbing nearly all the momentum from his charge. Lou retreated from his thrust and swung low, just above the knee with a devastating hit. As Miller began to go to the ground, Lou struck again, this time popping his wrist as he reached behind and landed a mighty blow on Miller's head.

Miller slumped to the ground unconscious, his fight over almost before it began.

"Stop it! Stop it! You're killing him," cried Jenny as she snatched up the rifle and pointed it at Lou.

"It's over," said Lou. "I won't hit him anymore." He didn't bother to mention that he wouldn't need to, but Jenny could see it too.

"You've killed him already!" She brought the rifle up to a firing position and aimed at Lou, still shaking as tears streamed down her face.

Lou thought about talking and realized it wouldn't help. As she wavered, he lashed out, his makeshift sword striking the barrel hard and moving it to the left even as she squeezed the trigger. The bullet missed its mark, but the handle of the mop followed the line of the rifle and hit her hard across the knuckles and then the forearm. She dropped the weapon and collapsed in a heap, crying.

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