Escape From New Orleans
by Edgar J. Steele
December 3, 2005
Caution: not for children - rough language and graphic scenes
Voices! Snake snapped fully awake. Sure enough, he could hear the distant murmuring, growing steadily louder. Snake felt pretty normal now, if lightheaded, and reached up to the lid of the casket above him. He felt long, ragged grooves, scratched deeply into it by the fingernails of previous occupants.
"Mmmphblurblegitimoutnow..." Snake couldn't quite make out what was being said, now directly above where he lay entombed. The sound of digging followed and grew steadily louder. Snake wondered casually why he wasn't unconscious due to the lack of oxygen, then noticed that he didn't seem to be breathing. Snake forced his diaphragm up and down and tried forcibly to breath inward, getting nothing for his trouble except a tickle at the back of his throat. What the hell?
Snake could hear dirt being scraped off the lid of his casket, then saw a brilliant crack of light near his feet.
The larger of the three men detailed to haul out Snake leaned on his shovel, the tip of which now was inserted between the lid and the bottom. "Doan see why dey gotta nail dese t'ings shut. Hell, dese guys ain't goan be goan nowheres, anyhow!"
"Because of the guy who suffocated when he pushed the lid up and filled the box with dirt, dat's why," said the smallest of the three, hovering over the shallow grave. "That honkey General we planted while Crawdaddy was 'terrogating Shrub."
"Yeah, he be de guest of honor at supper tonight, I hear," cackled the third Black man, who now was levering up the other end of the lid with his own shovel. The lid suddenly shot up a good three feet, then fell back, alongside the casket, pushed by Snake.
Snake coughed involuntarily, noticing the partial intake of air into his lungs, which suddenly ached. The light was overwhelming. Snake cast up one arm to shield his eyes.
"Whoah!" exclaimed the smaller man without a shovel. "He's a scrapper, shoah 'nuf."
"Ain't sumpin' right about dis one, boss."
"Shut up. Git 'im up outa there. Crawdaddy wants him down the hallway, lickety split." Both shovels were dropped and the two larger men, now on hands and knees, roughly hauled Snake up out of the casket and onto the dirt alongside, then yanked him to his feet. Snake's knees buckled and the largest grabbed him before he fell back into the casket yawning below.
Snake's head cleared and, vision adjusting to the room lights, he saw that he still was in the room with the raised platform graveyard. Except for the three standing around him, the room seemed otherwise empty. And none of them seem to be armed.
Half dragged and half carried, Snake felt strength returning as he feigned weakness. Breathing was a chore and the pain was intense, but ragged breaths flooded his lungs with air, each bigger than the last. As they approached the top of the stairs leading down to the main floor, Snake suddenly pulled back from both men, who looked up with a start. A sharp kick to the side of the knee to his right sent its owner headlong down the staircase, screaming in pain. Snake felt the grim smile return as he turned and slammed his right elbow into the nose of the man to his left at just the right angle, driving splintering bone back into the brain. The man crumpled where he stood with a little whimper, like a puppet whose strings suddenly had been cut.
"That leaves you," rasped out Snake as he turned menacingly toward the smaller of the three Blacks. Stark terror filled the man's eyes as Snake's hand encircled his neck. God, but I feel great, thought Snake, noticing that the pain now was gone from his lungs. Each breath seemed to flood his body and he felt stronger than he ever had before. "Tell me, watermelon boy, where Shrub is and I might let you live." The smaller man now was dangling like a rag doll from Snake's outstretched arm, struggling and gasping for air.
"Ok. Ok. Lemme go." Snake released his grip and the man dropped to the floor, falling backward. "Down the hallway...on de left." He gestured weakly toward the door set into the wall just beyond the stairs. "You'll get yours den," he added, obviously feeling braver.
Snake eyed the man, then reached down and, using both arms this time, hoisted him above his head and flung him bodily down the stairs. The largest Black, who had been moaning and struggling to get to his feet, looked up just in time to see the other's face smash into his own. Both collapsed to the floor and lay in a silent heap.
Hopping down from the platform, Snake scanned the large room again and edged toward the door which stood ajar, revealing a darkened hallway just beyond. Opening the door and seeing no movement, Snake peered around the jamb. Long and dank, the hallway seemed lit solely by the light spilling from behind himself. Snake could just make out other closed doors set in the hallway's wall, but its end was obscured by darkness. Leaving the door slightly open, Snake crept toward the nearest door in the facing wall.
Hearing nothing behind it, Snake moved along to the next door, from behind which he could hear muffled voices and sounds of a struggle. A woman's voice, pleading. Snake braced himself and slowly turned the doorknob, applying just the slightest pressure so as to open it soundlessly. Now he heard sobbing. "Pleasepleaseplease....don't hurt me.....stop....please..."
Snake looked into what obviously was a bunk room, with rows of cots along each wall. Clustered around one of the cots, about halfway down the room, stood six brawny Blacks. Snake could see a seventh set of black legs jerking convulsively off the end of the cot, pants dangling from ankles. Between two of the Blacks, all of whom raptly stared at the scene immediately before them, Snake could see the half-naked form of a White woman on her back beneath the writhing Black man. Snake crept forward.
As Snake was reaching for a knife stuck in the waistband of the Black nearest him, one of the men opposite noticed and, open mouthed and wide eyed, watched as Snake pulled the knife and, in a single motion, slit the throats of the two men standing closest. Snake took one more step and planted the knife up to its hilt in the middle of the back of the Black astride the White woman. Snatching the M16 leaning against the cot just behind himself, Snake flicked off the safety and strafed the three men opposite, who all jerked back and fell onto the next cot, causing it to go flying.
That left just the man nearest the wall, on Snake's side of the cot upon which the girl now struggled to push off the still-jerking corpse of the man who had been raping her. Hands up, palms out, the last man was groveling and gibbering as the wall ended his quest to escape the explosive carnage which had erupted around him. Smiling that grim little smile once again, Snake turned and cocked his head to one side, looking the Black in the eye just as a venomous snake might, sending him into a fresh paroxysm of alternating shrieks and whimpers. Snake noted, with a small satisfaction, the dark wet spot now spreading out from the man's crotch.
Still staring at the gibbering man, now sinking slowly to his knees, Snake reached out and grabbed the dead man atop the girl by the scruff of his neck, then flung him bodily backwards onto the floor between the rows of cots. The girl sat up and covered herself. Realizing that Snake meant her no harm, she stood and took the M16 from Snake's left hand, then turned and emptied the rest of the magazine into the man cowering before them. Blood and bits of flesh flew in all directions. When the banana clip's follower finally clicked against the receiver, the rifle's action sprang open, demanding a fresh magazine.
Snake smiled fully then, saying, "I think you got him, Princess." In fact, the man had been decapitated by the flurry of .223 slugs and his chest now was nothing but a sunken mass of blood and gore. The stench arising easily overtook the smell of gunpowder hanging in the air. She looked at him again, then, smiling even more broadly than he.
"Yeah, it was fun. Thanks."
"Who the hell are you and what are you doing here?"
"Oh, I came through with Daddy and his parade. I think they're all dead now. At least, I hope so - the sniveling bastards!"
"Daddy? Are you the President's daughter?"
"Tonic Shrub, in the flesh - or, what's left of it." Casting her eyes downward, she tugged at the sleeve of her blouse, which kept falling off her shoulder, then did a passable curtsey for Snake's amusement. Sitting down on the cot again, she pulled on what was left of her panties, then groped beneath for her shoes. "And you are...?"
"Call me Snake."
"You're here to rescue us...I hope?"
"Well, your father, anyway."
"Figures. Mind if I tag along?"
Snake smiled again. Now this..this is my kind of girl, he thought as she leaned on him for support while pushing her foot into the second pump.
"Nuke 'em! Nuke the bastards now." Chains wheezed out the final word, clutching at the hospital gown where it covered his heaving chest. The nurse drew the blanket up around his neck in the bed, the head of which already was cranked as high as it would go.
"Now, Dick, we can't be too hasty with this. After all, you're talking about our own people and, besides, New Orleans has been through quite enough already."
Glaring at Congo Lisa through a grimace, Chains growled. "I don't give a shit. Nuke 'em. That's an order."
"I don't think so. Remember - you don't give the orders just now. I do."
Chains would have choked her with his own two hands if only he could have mustered the energy to get out of bed. The nurse pushed him back into the pillow, than started cranking down the head of the bed. "That will be quite enough," she said to acting President Congo Lisa Rice. "Time for you to leave. He needs his rest."
As she stepped through the door, Congo Lisa threw a quick glance back at Chains where he lay coughing up blood amongst an array of whirring, beeping and clicking equipment. She could barely suppress the grin that tugged at the edges of her mouth. He won't last the night. If he does...well, we'll just have to see to it being his last. And, yes, we might just nuke New Orleans after all - once I finish with it, that is. She congratulated herself on the stroke of genius that had prompted her to have Reverend Je$$e deliver the ultimatum to Chains. The medication substituted in the Vice President's bathroom on that morning had all but guaranteed the massive stroke that ensued. Je$$e already was in New Orleans, relaying her revised plan to Crawdaddy.
Things had not been going well for the American administration forces hunkered deep beneath Denver. Though she had declared martial law and sent hundreds of thousands of UN troops from other countries out of the American bases in which they had been drilling and into America's cities, they were being decimated by a population armed beyond anything they ever had seen elsewhere on the planet. In some places, especially in the northwest quadrant of the country, the troops had been wiped out to a man, with reports now surfacing of whole regions announcing their secession from the United States.
Overhead in Denver itself, the race war was coming to an end as the surviving Blacks and Mestizos who had not managed to escape were rounded up and executed by the group calling itself The New Denver Resistance. There was talk of evacuating the underground base and moving the government whole cloth to the secret compound which had been readied years earlier in Panama. No, things had not been going well, thought Congo Lisa as she strode down the hallway, two secret service agents scurrying to keep up. But I think my luck is about to change.
...to be continued... Copyright ©2005, Edgar J.
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Copyright ©2005, Edgar J. Steele
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