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End of Days chapter 2
Ryan awoke with a startle. He looked around him, gazing at every corner and wall of his room. ‘It was just a dream’ Ryan thought. He wasn’t back in Vietnam; he was in his home in Staunton, Virginia. Ryan looked down to notice he was sitting up, and his hand was on his chest. He could feel each pulse of his beating heart, and each breath he took. He looked down his bed, to the right. There sat Rufus, his dog, happily wagging his tail, anxiously waiting for his master to get out of bed. Rufus’s reddish brown fur seemed to glisten when light hit it. Ryan flung the covers off him, and sat on the right corner of the bed. He yawned and stretched, “Come ‘on boy, let’s start the day.” Rufus barked in agreement. Ryan stood up and walked slothfully across the wooden floor to the bathroom. The ex-sniper got into his bathroom and walked to the sink. Where he turned the sink on and splashed the cool, crisp, water on his face. He grabbed a towel and dried his face off. Then he proceeded to look in the mirror at his reflection. His white and slightest tan skin, his long dark brown, greasy looking hair; his moustache and his beard were clearly visible. ‘I need to shave’ Ryan thought and chuckled a bit to himself. He looked at the rest of him, his plain white T’, with a occasional grass or dirt stain, his dog tags were dangling out of his shirt, and seemed luminous in the morning sun; his light blue jeans with some stitches in them. Ryan grabbed his razor and his shaving gel and began to shave his face. When he was done, he put on his military boots, and he proceeded to walk outside. ‘I live in the most beautiful place in the world’ he thought to himself. The Appalachian Mountains were a few miles away, but still towered over him like skyscrapers. He looked at the gently rolling hills that surrounded him; which looked like a serpents back, going up, and down. He listened to the birds chirping, and felt the warm rays of the sun warm his skin. All the trees and grass that surrounded him began to sway by even the slightest kiss from the wind. All that surrounded Ryan were dancing trees, grass, and serpent like slopes. ‘This is inner peace,’ Ryan thought to himself as he inhaled the sweet, crisp country air. He went out hiking through the hills and mountains with Rufus. Ryan walked up and down hills, the grass and trees seemed to be waving at him by how gently they were swaying. Rufus and Ryan walked back home after hiking at least five miles. When they returned home, Ryan noticed the American Flag flapping in the breeze, ‘I served you America and fought to preserve liberty, and freedom of this great land.’ Ryan gained this sense of patriotism, and pride every time he saw the American Flag. Rufus walked over to his sacred and annual spot out on the porch, not even noticing that his master wasn’t walking in front of him. “Good dog” Ryan smiled, and pet Rufus, then he continued to travel up the steps of his front porch. He opened the front door which was made of oak, Ryan carved himself. Ryan left the oak door open so if Rufus wanted to come in. He walked over to the spot where he keeps his guns. It was concealed as a bookshelf. He flipped one book onto its side. A key panel opened up. Ryan put in the code, and the self came out of the wall and shifted to the side. Ryan seemed to have every gun imaginable. He had shotguns, rifles, pistols, “I’m a country hick with too many guns,” he started to laugh. Then his laugh suddenly ceased as quickly as it began. Ryan looked into the corner of his cabinet, he noticed the Springfield from Vietnam. He began to remember the officer, and the sniper. Then he saw the gunner. The lifelessness in his eyes. He began to cry, the lives he took, the pain and misery he caused. Ryan shook his head, ‘that’s all in the past now,’ he grabbed the Springfield and began to clean the gun. He walked over to his radio; he turned it on, and ‘Red Steagal’ began echoing out of the radio, “And put another quarter in the jukebox,
and play the song of truck driven' man.”
“Ugh” Ryan rolled his eyes, “hate country, some of it is good though, and it’s just too depressing at times.” He turned the knob on the radio, songs and sounds from different stations filled the house, until Ryan came to his favorite station. “Welcome back to 97.6,” a deep voice started, “Where rockaholics listen,” Ryan chuckled at that. He didn’t consider himself a rockaholic, he listened to a variety of music, and the only country singer he liked was Toby Keith and his song Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue. He then went back to his gun and began to clean it. Ryan’s favorite song came on then, and he took it in for a second, remembering the good times he had. ‘I have to stay on track,’ he told himself. Ryan took the gun apart piece by piece, greasing and cleaning every nook and cranny of the Springfield. He then put it back together piece by piece, and moved onto the next gun and so on and so forth. He finished all his guns in at least two hours or so. Ryan grabbed the cloth out of his back pocket he used to clean off his hands, and wiped every morsel of grease on his hands and fingertips. He turned off his radio and walked over to his couch and practically fell on it. He grabbed the remote that was hiding under the couch cushion seeming like it wanted to hide. He put his feet on the coffee table, “Let’s see what’s happening today,” Ryan stated. The Military Channel became emblazoned onto Ryan’s television. “The AA-12 shotgun, a full automatic shotgun it’s very effective at close range. You can fit different shotgun shells in the AA12’s magazine.”
“Man,” Ryan thought, “They sure don’t make weapons like they used to.” Ryan pressed the guide button on his remote, and changed the channel to CNN News. A woman sat at the news desk with a handful of papers in her hands, she placed the papers on the table, she looked at the floor then turned her head at the camera and looked surprised to see the camera. “News crew members,” Ryan thought, “Every story surprises them, ‘Oh, it seems taxes are ris-” Ryan stopped himself and watched the TV because the woman began to speak.
“Good morning America on this beautiful September 11, a day which we, as Americans, will never forget. 11 years ago Islamic extremists flew a plane into the Twin Towers on the international day of peace. Ever since then we have been at war with these extremists. The fighting seems to have slowed down in Afghanistan, and soldiers and civilians alike, are asking themselves this one question . . . when will the fighting end.” Ryan remembered where he was when the planes crashed.
“How can a group of people be so corrupt to not only kill innocent American civilians, but their own civilians as well? Then a word she said captured his full attention, like a firefly in a jar. Russia. He turned the volume up a little bit so he could hear every word and letter.
“A United States diplomat was sent to Russia earlier this morning. The diplomat was in Moscow because there was a rumor stated that Russia was giving weapons to Al-Qaida and their notorious leader Osama Bin Laden. The Russian President and Prime minister, of course, declined ever doing such a thing. Also, there is some more news from Russia. The United States President is trying to get the Russian Prime Minister, and Russia’s President to sign a packet. The packet stated that the U.N. will take possession of Russia’s nuclear weapons and defuse them.”
“Russia will never give their Nuclear weapons to anyone, that was stupid to ask that,” Ryan said aloud.
The news lady continued the discussion. “After the incident when one of Russia’s lower government officials threatened America and its civilians saying that he will fire a Nuclear bomb at the United States if they did not pull out of Afghanistan. The Russian Prime Minister disagreed with the packets terms, stating that the government official that made the threat is being held in prison for his threat and the nuclear devices are being held under heavy protection by the Russian Spetsnaz soldiers and no one is allowed access into the facility.”
“What the hell!” Ryan screamed at the television open mouthed, shaking his head in displeasure, “This is unbelievable. He has no idea of what is going on down there, and the Spetsnaz can’t guard anything worth value.” Ryan turned the Television off, as he leaped from the couch; stomping to the kitchen with disgust from the news he just heard. “This is ridiculous,” Ryan stated aloud, pulling open is fridge door with so much force it seemed like it might break the door under the pressure. The ex-Sniper looked inside his fridge for something to quench his thirst. His eyes glowed with delight when he saw the last Pepsi can inside his fridge. He put the can in his hand. “Alright, still cold,” Ryan smiled he didn’t like warm Pepsi. He cracked open the tab and the noise from the carbonation hissed out the can. Ryan took one big gulp of the Pepsi, and sighed, “That’s good stuff,” Ryan stated to himself as he took another sip. As Ryan was finishing another sip from heaven Rufus began to bark. Ryan eyed outside carefully slowly putting down his Pepsi on the kitchen counter. He walked to the window and pulled the curtain to the side. Ryan noticed a car speeding down the dirt road. He slowly crept towards the front door. As the car screeched to a halt Ryan flew open the front door. “What are you doing here, whatever it is you have I don’t want it; I reckon you turn around and go the way you came.” Ryan said sternly as he approached the parked car. The passenger side door opened, and a man stepped out. Ryan noticed the license plate, “That’s a government issued car!” Ryan thought, “What do they want with me?”
“Ryan Phillip Walker?” the man out of the passenger stated as he took off his sunglasses.
“That’s my name, don’t wear it out.” Ryan said in a rude tone. The man chuckled at that.
“Very humorous Ryan, very humorous.” The man said with a grin on his face.
“How do you know my name? And how do you know where I live?” asked Ryan questionably.
“I’m the secretary of defense, and I understand that you have served this country in Vietnam?” before Ryan could answer the question the Secretary continued. “The Russian Prime Minister won’t agree to our terms, we need you to show him how American’s negotiate.”
“No can do sir, that would start something nobody can finish, a war to end all wars perhaps.” Ryan stated.
“Well then, I’ll give you my card, that is, if you change your mind.” The secretary handed Ryan a business card and began to walk away to the running vehicle. Ryan studied the card, and then he said something he didn’t want to say. But he did.
“I need my spotter.”
The secretary grinned devilishly while his back was turned to Ryan. “Good choice, bring what guns you want and come with us.” The secretary chuckled as he entered the car. He sat in the passenger seat and whispered to the driver, “This man is what we need for our plan to work.” The driver snickered.
“He is a sap; he will do anything the government tells him.”
“Don’t get too cocky, he might realize what our plan is before it is executed.” The Secretary stated boldly. “We have to make sure he doesn’t find out our plan yet.”
There was a knock on John’s door. “Hey John it’s me.” A voice outside the door stammered.
“R-Ryan, is that you?”
“Yeah it’s me open up; I want to talk to you about something.” John looked through the small peephole on his door “It is Ryan,” John thought as Ryan waved at him through the peephole. John, un-latched the bolt on his door, and unlocked the door, and motioned Ryan to come in.
“Thank you”,” Ryan stated politely as he was offered coffee from John. Ryan took the hot cup of coffee and sat on a chair near John’s fireplace.
“It’s good to see you again Ryan,” John stated with excitement, “I don’t get much company around here, so what do you want to talk about?” John questioned Ryan seeming most interested in the topic.
“Sit down John,” John sat down on the chair across from where Ryan was. “The government has sent me to. . .”
“No,” John stammered, “No, I’m sorry Ryan but no, I’m not fighting for the government again, you remember what happened to me back in Nam, I’m not going to have it happen again.” With that said Ryan stared at John’s right leg, it didn’t seem as bad as he thought. “Man, the surgeons did a good job, I can’t tell he has a bad leg,” Ryan thought. He shook his head to remove the thought from his mind.
“But John I haven’t even told you what it is.”
John thought for a second, “Fine,” John stammered with sign of frustration.
“Alright, here are the documents,” Ryan pulled the documents of the mission out his shirt and slid the documents across the coffee table to John. As John was scanning the document Ryan continued to talk about the mission. “It’s supposed to be an easy mission, all we gotta do is kill the Russian Prime Minister , while we run away from the act a squad of Marines will cover us as we escape.” John sighed. He closed the folder and slid it across the coffee table back to Ryan.
“I just don’t know Ryan, I just don’t know.” John had his gaze upon the ground, hanging his head to his knees, submerged in deep thought.
“Look,” Ryan said sorrowfully, not being able to handle the silence any longer, “Were good friends, as sniper and spotter, and just as friends, I also saved your life back in Vietnam all those years ago.” John took his gaze off the ground and stared into Ryan’s brown eyes. “This is all I ask of you John, to be my spotter, one last time. Then we can forget the whole sniper and spotter business and pretend this never happened, Ok?”
John still sat down in thought, and then he raised his head to look at Ryan, “Promise,” John said questionably.
“Promise,” Ryan replied in agreement.
“Alright then, let’s go to Russia.”
THE FLIGHT TO MOSCOW RYAN HAD TO GO to Madrid Spain, then to Moscow from BWI Airport. The flight was long in the private plane. They later got to a U.S. military base near the desired location. From there a Blackhawk helicopter escorted them about a mile from the Prime ministers house. The night air in Russia was cold. Any skin that decided to show its self from the layers of clothes would suddenly become numb. The pilot gave them words of advice before Ryan and John ventured out into the Russian wilderness.
“Take this,” the pilot handed John a piece of equipment, “there are pockets of radiation throughout this area, if the meter starts moving you get out of that area, if you get to much radiation into your body you’re a dead man.” With those words of advice, the Blackhawk moved up off the ground getting higher and higher until it was clear over the tall pine trees.
“Alright John, let’s do this.” Ryan and John moved silently through the pine covered ground swiftly moving behind tree to tree, avoiding detection from possible guards. They were crouching, between every bush and source of cover they could find without leaving a trace behind them. Ryan raised his hand at a 90 degree angle, “Wait,” Ryan whispered, “I hear something.” Ryan and John dropped down to the soil near a small bush, they laid prone on the ground with their Ghillie suits draped over them like blankets, protecting them from being spotted. With his microphone Ryan radioed command on a secure station, “Command, Command this is Sniper team Charlie, come in command over.” Ryan whispered into his mike, trying not to attract attention to his position. Seconds passed, then a minute later Ryan heard a response.
“Go ahead Charlie, over.” Ryan smiled finally they replied.
“Are we allowed to engage other hostile forces or just the target over?”
“No Charlie, we are not allowed to engage in other hostile forces, unless it is a threat to your mission over.”
“Ok command, Charlie out.” Ryan clutched the knife on his thigh just in case a stray guard jeopardized their mission. Adrenalin rose through Ryan’s blood, as a guard started walking to the left of him, walking to the position where his spotter was. But suddenly he stopped. There was another guard, and they began chatting in Russian. Ryan tried to remember the Russian he learned in High School, “Hello comrade,” Ryan translated, “How are you?”
“Eh, I’m alright and you?” The two guards began talking back and forth between each other, the rest of their conversation Ryan couldn’t make out. After what felt like an eternity, the two guards waved goodbye and continued their routes. The one guard was still heading for John. Ryan reacted fast. He slowly low crawled, to a pine tree surrounded by a bush and some ferns. The guard came closer to John; he passed the tree Ryan was hiding next to. Ryan slowly rose to a crouch, knife still clutched in his hand, glimmering in the full moon’s light. Ryan stalked the guard, moving with slow and steady movements. The guard stopped and lifted his foot up from the ground with curiosity,
“What the . . .?” But that’s all he could say. Ryan covered the guard’s mouth with his hand, and Ryan took his knife and slit it across the guard’s throat. Blood sprayed out of his throat, Ryan slowly put him down on the ground and placed him carefully by a bush. Ryan reached his hand down to John,
“Come ‘on before any more guards show up.”