Target Practice

 

Target Practice

“You take the clip-”

“Magazine,” Jordan said softly.

“What?” Peter replied.

“It’s a magazine. The clip is what holds the rounds.” Jordan answered.

“Okay, whatever smart ass. You take the magazine, insert it-” Laughter caused Peter to cut his instruction short and glare over at the gate.

Tennessee rested her M4 on the floor and dropped down next it, pulling her knees to her chest, “Sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt, but-”

“But you did, so what is it?” Peter asked.

“Well if he knows the difference between a clip and a magazine, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t need any help from you.” Tennessee pulled a rag out of her pocket and started cleaning the scope of her weapon, “You can’t even shoot.”

“Fuck you-”

“Not on your best day,” Tennessee replied.

“I can shoot,” Peter said. He looked over at Sue and then Jordan, both their eyes were doing their best to avoid. The gate rattled for a moment, and then Peter sighed and put his hand on Jordan’s shoulder, “You don’t have to be scared of it okay? It’s gonna be loud and kick back, but hold that son of a bitch tight in your pocket.” Peter said.

Jordan nodded and raised the M4 up, the buttstock was collapsed to make it easier for him to hold, but still, his little fingers looked out of place as they wrapped around the cool gunmetal. His cheek rested on the buttstock, close enough for the charging handle to tickle his nose. A thick smell of gun smoke and metal flooded his senses.

Jordan’s left eye closed and he shrugged his shoulders, Open your eyes. You keep your eye shut and anything could come up on your left. Jordan opened up his left eye and he could see him. Standing beside him, with the sun glaring down on his soft brown skin and his salt and peppered bread surrounding that sly smile. Jordan took a deep breath. You can take a knee if you want. There’s no rule saying you have to stand.

“I can’t take a knee out there,” Jordan said softly.

You can if you’re fast enough. Just take a knee, fire, scan, fire, scan.

“I guess, but-”

Who’s the super solder here me or you? Jordan went down on one knee and rested his elbow on his thigh, giving the weapon balance. His cheek rested on the buttstock and his eye lined up with the iron sight. The outer gate that leads to the cracked black tops and cobbled roads of bourbon street was chain linked. Through the gaps, Jordan could see them. Moaning. Clawing. Teeth snapping at a meal that was just out of their reach. The weapon scanned and came up slowly until there was a pale white-eyed man in the center of his sight. Jordan licked his lips, That’s it, that’s the one. Now just pull back on the trigger, no jerking.

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“I know,” Jordan said softly. The boy’s finger rested on the trigger. He inhaled and then BANG! The spent carriage flew into the air and the pale man, with the gray eyes and blood-stained mouth, crumbled down to the floor. He was quickly replaced by another infected before his body could even fully rest on the sidewalk.

Bulls Eye! Now repeat!

The weapon dipped lightly then came up. Inhale and then BANG!

Repeat!

The weapon dipped lightly then came up. Inhale and then BANG!

Repeat!

The weapon dipped lightly then came up. Inhale and then BANG!

Faster! You want to keep them safe, right? You wanna keep them alive, right!

The weapon dipped lightly then came up. Inhale and then BANG!

You gotta learn it. This needs to be second nature!

The weapon dipped lightly then came up. Inhale and then BANG!

It’s this, or you die! You hear me! You fight, or you die! There’s no more time for crying Jordan.

“Jordan?”

“Jordan?”

“Jordan!” They all shouted in unison, Jordan’s head came up from the weapon, and he turned to look at his uncle Peter. “That’s enough for today, why don’t you go clean up for dinner?” Peter said.

Jordan stood up slowly and wiped a set of tears from his eyes before handing the weapon to his uncle, “I’m just gonna go to bed, I’m not all that hungry.” Jordan said.

 A bi-weekly Planet Dead Series.  Read Chapter One Today.

A bi-weekly Planet Dead Series. Read Chapter One Today.

“Alright little man, I’ll bring you some of those cookies you like,” Peter said, but his words were wasted, chasing after Jordan who rushed back into the compound.

“That boy can shoot and might have some rage issues,” Tennessee said, she laughed and slowly got up, “But he's good. Maybe he should be teaching the class,”

“I thought this would be fun for him, I saw the calendar today and just thought, maybe this might help,” Peter said.

“What’s today?” Sue asked.

“Father’s day, but I didn’t tell him,” Peter replied.

“The way he was shooting, I’m pretty sure he knows,” Tennessee replied.

“Should I go talk to him?” Peter asked.

“No, leave him alone, sometimes you just wanna be alone,” Tennessee said.

“I don’t want him to feel alone.” Peter said, he ran his hand over his face and sighed, “I just want him to feel, I don’t know, normal.”

“Normal died about a year ago,” Tennessee said.

“You know what I mean; I want him to know that I can be there for him. That he’s not in this alone.” Peter replied.

Sue’s hand went on Peter’s shoulder, and she gave it a light squeeze, “He knows that, and he loves you for it.” Sue said softly.

Jordan walked into his quarters, a little two-man stack built up in the middle of a formal ballroom. He lightly closed the door behind him and walked over to his cot and he shoved his hand in his pocket, pulling out a small folded paper.

You’re gonna take good care of your Mama, I know it.

“Mom’s dead,” Jordan said.

Oh, so you saw what happened?

“No,” Jordan replied. He carefully started to unfold the paper.

So what happened to no body, no funeral. You didn't give up that fast before.

Jordan sat down on his cot and stared at the picture of his family in his hands. He held it tightly between his fingers, and as a tear ran down  the folded crinkles, he softly said: “Everyday’s a funeral.”

I guess you’re right, but you need to stay strong Jordan.

Jordan nodded and closed his eyes, “I know Dad,”

Good and remember, I love you.

“I love you too.” Jordan said, and then he looked up at his father and smiled lightly, “Happy Father’s day.”

Thanks, little man.

Jordan’s eyes opened to reveal his dimly lite room, where he sat, tearful and alone.


 

 I lost my dad last summer. We were rebuilding our relationship, it was something that fell apart due to us being to proud to admit we were wrong. It's something that sits in the back of my mind and claws at me, whenever I'm not paying attention. I wish I would have overlooked it all and did more. I think I work so much because I don't want those thoughts to claw at me. Father's Day is hard, my birthday is hard, life is hard, but I have to push forward and live for him. I have to make him proud, or at least try. Planet Dead 2 was written with him in mind and so was this. I love dad and I miss you.  Happy Father's Day

I lost my dad last summer. We were rebuilding our relationship, it was something that fell apart due to us being to proud to admit we were wrong. It's something that sits in the back of my mind and claws at me, whenever I'm not paying attention. I wish I would have overlooked it all and did more. I think I work so much because I don't want those thoughts to claw at me. Father's Day is hard, my birthday is hard, life is hard, but I have to push forward and live for him. I have to make him proud, or at least try. Planet Dead 2 was written with him in mind and so was this. I love dad and I miss you.

Happy Father's Day