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staring up at the ceiling.
"We have to go back and find Ryan and Dean," J.B. insisted.
Rainey shook his head. "Don't have enough men left for that. I'll tell you
straight, outlander, that I doubt we even have enough to defend the ville
against an out-and-out attack. They can get up and over the walls, and we
don't have the sec men to cover the defensive perimeter."
Baron Weyman was rubbing a finger along the angle of his jaw, as if he were
trying to decide whether he needed to have a shave.
"In that case, I can see little point in waiting to have our throats cut by
these lice-ridden mongrels. We will stand against them."
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Jamie clapped his hands, leaping to his feet to declaim, "Then, Father, I will
stand at your right hand and keep the bridge with you."
Despite the tenseness of the situation, Doc smiled. "You're familiar with the
holding of the bridge over the Tiber, against the forces of Lars Porsena of
Clusium. 'By the nine gods he swore, that the proud house of Tarquin should
suffer wrong no more.' If my memory has it properly remembered. I am delighted
to see that learning is not yet quite gone from Deathlands and all judgment is
not yet fled to brutish beasts."
He looked around to see everyone staring at him. "My apologies, friends. But
it is those same brutish beasts that confront us now. I would say only that
Ryan's instructions were to wait here for him. I think that we should do
that."
"What do we do if those brushwood bastards come, Doc?" Trader said, sneering.
"Ask them to just wait awhile until Ryan gets back here?"
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Deathlands 26 - Shadowfall
J.B. answered him. "They won't attack until dusk. But Doc's right. We should
do what Ryan said. We can still cover our asses. My plan is to set out a watch
on the trails from the west and north. Only way they can come at us. Soon as
we get a warning, we go out and ambush them. We passed some good places for
that within the last quarter mile. They won't expect that and we can use our
firepower to cut them apart."
Trader patted the table approvingly. "I'll be hung, quartered and dried for
the crows! You did learn something all those years, John Dix. Good plan."
RYAN HOPED THAT HIS PLAN was a good one.
Like a lot of plans, it seemed fine when you sat down and thought about it.
When you came to try it out on the ground, you started to worry about all of
the imponderables. One small slip, and the scheme was in tatters.
He adjusted the white silk scarf, with its weighted ends, around his neck.
Ryan sat by the great heap of brushwood that he and Dean had dragged together.
The boy would be doing the same, out in the narrow neck of the trail east,
toward the ville, ready to light the wood on the signal and block off that way
of escape.
Ryan's fire should panic the mutie pigs and send them stampeding out of the
box canyon with only one way to go, west toward the vulnerable camp of the
brushwooders.
This was one of the key moments of the plan.
If it worked, the men, women and children would totally freak when they saw
what was charging at them.
They had only one way to escapeback west, along the treacherous trail toward
the land of the scabbies, then out into the bubbling death trap of the sulfur
swamps.
Ryan's profound hope was that the terror of finding themselves in the path of
the killer stampede would lead to the brushwooders fleeing, hopefully to their
deaths.
The possibility that women and children might also die wasn't a factor in
Ryan's plan. The quality of mercy wasn't something that you could believe in
when dealing with a Murderous tribe like the brushwooders.
The ending from a snippet of an old vid came to Ryan as he got ready to set
his own fire. "That's
Deathlands, Jake," he whispered to himself, just as General, giant among the
mutie pigs, surged in to attack him.
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Chapter Thirty-Three
For such a vast creature, General moved with an uncanny lightness and speed.
Ryan had been cautious, only too aware that the pigs were roaming all over the
sheer-walled box canyon.
The pile of dry brush and chaparral had been rustling and crackling in the
northerly breeze that swirled around under the granite cliffs, helping to
conceal the noise of the boar's approach.
Now Ryan was caught cold, on hands and knees, the SIG-Sauer snugly and
uselessly bolstered, the eighteen inch steel panga sheathed on his other hip.
His right hand held a self-light, ready to ignite his fire. His left hand was
supporting him, in the dirt. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]