Unfinished "Novella"

By Cheech

He could feel it before he was even fully conscious, the knife at his back. Slowly he drifted through oblivion, always feeling the blade’s end at the small of his back. Bit by bit his bodily functions came back online, slowly… until his mind was alert enough. Then he recognized the feeling for what it was: pain. He felt as if he was swimming, frantically upwards, trying to break the surface but weighted down to the depths by fatigue and illness. Finally, through force of will, he swam upwards and broke the surface.
The Snake’s eye flicked open. He stayed very still, only moving his eyes, looking around to see who his assailants were and how many. His bad eye burned with pain below the patch, and he was weak from the plutoxin-7 virus the blackbellies had given him. His army training had been thorough, though, and he knew what to do in this situation.
Looking around he saw darkness, interspersed with pinpricks of dark blue light, almost a twilight. Seeing nobody he closed his good eye and concentrated on listening out for whoever it was that was sticking him with the knife. He had made a good many enemies in his time, but who would have the knowledge of his current whereabouts? No matter, the outcome would be the same. The strange thing was, though... he heard nobody.
Despite the fatigue, and the fact he was still in a prone position on the floor, he decided to act. Making his decision, Plissken moved lightning fast. Hoping that there was nobody directly opposite him he rolled sideways, put a leather-clad foot underneath himself and kicked backwards, propelling himself away from the knife-wielding attacker. As he jumped, the Snake reached into his boot and drew out a throwing knife and on landing spun to face his would-be assailant.
‘Alright, who are you?’ Snake said, his voice low and hoarse. The virus had given him a sore throat and it hurt to speak. ‘Show yourself.’ No response. Plissken moved forward slowly, warily, trying to discern a figure in the gloom. He could see none.
The darkness, which had seemed complete except for the pinpricks of light, seemed slowly to be getting lighter, and the pinpricks brighter. It was becoming easier to see, and Snake looked around again too see who it was that could have crept up on him. It dawned on him that there was nobody to see.
Moving over to where he had bedded he could see what it was that had awakened him. A broken rake head stuck out of the ground, one prong bent away from the others, aimed at Snake’s resting place. Nothing more dangerous than a rake, how could he have been so stupid? Stress and illness had burned out his reflexes. Goddamn government. They had done this to him.
He tried to remember what had happened. After retrieving the Sword of Damocles disc and, heh heh, shutting down the world, he had fled. The President (President of what? He has no power now) had sent all the blackbellies in the vicinity of the helicopter crash after him, electrical systems may be down, but guns weren’t electrical, and he had no intention of being gunned down by a horde of black suited madmen with a bloodlust and an appetite to sate.
Through the forest he had run until he found a fast flowing river with no bridge. Following the river downstream he had eventually come across an abandoned boathouse; the owner was probably in LA, serving a life sentence for a ‘moral crime against America’. America, Land of the free. No swearing. No drugs. No alcohol. No women, unless, of course, you’re married. Land of the free… yeah… right. Anyway, a boathouse could provide cover, and, if his luck held out, a possible means of transport. It held out. Inside the boathouse was a single canoe. A quick scan told him there were no oars, but a boat was a boat right? What did the blackbellies have? Nada.
In a flash he was in the canoe and down the river.
Score: Plissken 1, Blackbellies 0.
Blackbellies, he hated blackbellies. They acted like civilised people but beneath their black ‘United States Police Force’ uniforms they were as savage as a caged tiger. He knew what blackbellies were - they had been men, like Snake himself, once. When he was a Lieutenant in Special Ops he had been commanded by some future USPF officers. After Leningrad Snake had been awarded a Purple Heart… for ‘bravery’. It had been a suicide mission, a waste of time. And it had cost him his left eye.
He had quit the army, some of his comrades in arms from other units had as well, but most stayed on, the crazies, the ones who joined just for the pleasure of killing or who had just been changed by all the fighting. Some thought they were being ‘patriotic’.
He had been faced by blackbellies many times, had stood his ground most times, had seen the madness, the bloodlust, in their eyes. It was sickening. It was horrifying.
Anyway, they were behind him, in the past. He had lost the blackbellies on the river. Now he was fully awake and recognized the barn where he had rested. The light seemed to be getting brighter and he looked around for the door.
Dawn was breaking outside, the sun’s first rays spreading out across the sky from the east. What day was it? No way of knowing. He felt better than when had fallen asleep though. Two days? Maybe three? No matter, time is relative, and infinite.
He had been shot in the leg and only now, when fully aware of everything else, did the wound start to hurt. Probably should get to a hospital, he thought, grimacing at the pain, which shot up through his leg like fire. No computers but at least they can get this slug out and stitch me up. But which way was the hospital?
He took a dollar out of his pocket and flicked it into the air, watching it spin higher and higher until gravity took hold and pulled it down. He had been going north from the blackbellies, but the turbulent river journey had taken him far from his previous location. He was lost. He could only get his bearings from the sun. He caught the coin on its way down and held it in his hand. Heads east, tails west. He opened his fingers to see which way fate would send him.
Heads.
He would journey east.

‘I want him found. And then I want him killed!’
‘But sir-‘
‘But nothing! He needs to be made an example of! Nobody, NOBODY shows up the President of the United States and gets away with it.’
‘Mr. President, we have no idea of his whereabouts. We have no electronics and no instruments to find him. We can’t just fly out in a helicopter with searchlight, we don’t have any searchlights. To be quite frank, Sir, he’s kicked all of our asses back to the Dark Age.’
The President took out his watch, an old-fashioned fob watch on a chain. He checked the time whilst winding it up. 10AM.
‘At least this still works’, he said. He had regained his composure and now looked calm, but was seething on the inside. The Sword Of Damocles disc controlled satellites that could selectively cause an Electro-Magnetic Pulse and aim it anywhere in the world. The EMP would knock out any electrical system. It was supposed to be his. He was the President, he was supposed to be in control, not some two-bit Special Forces lieutenant turned outlaw. With the Sword Of Damocles disc he would have been in control of everything, no one would dare attack the United States. And if he decided he wanted to rule certain other countries as well… so be it, what could they do? But this outlaw, this… crook, he had used the Sword Of Damocles on the entire world!!
The President took a deep breath, held it, then let it out. ‘I want Plissken found, search the area for him.’
Malloy didn’t like the President. A big man, he had worked to get where he was. He knew what his responsibilities were and he knew his duty. He would do what the President said, but he didn’t like him. Snake Plissken may be slippery, but at least he had integrity, this guy was just slimy, like a worm on the end of a fishing line, and now he was wriggling, trying to free himself from the hook that Plissken had put him on.
‘Sir, we have been searching for 3 whole days. There isn’t much more we can do. We can’t find him!’
‘He can’t just have disappeared, Malloy.’
‘That’s just it - he can disappear. With no electronics we have no way of tracing him, he can literally disappear.’
The shadow of an expression passed over the President’s features. The expression was shock. He hadn’t been thinking it over correctly and now the magnitude of Plissken’s deed had hit him.
‘Ok, where do you think he could be?’
Malloy looked thoughtful. He was considering the possibilities. They were so varied that Snake could be almost anywhere within a hundred and fifty miles by now.
‘Well, Sir, he has an injured leg, which would slow him down. He was headed north, though, and there’s a river, which flows for 60 miles, in the direction he was headed. He could be almost anywhere within 150 miles depending on how fast he travels per day.’
‘I want officers posted at every major city within 150 miles then, as well as a search party on the river.’
‘I doubt he’d go to a major city, if you were in his position, would you?’
‘Good point. Have men posted in small towns as well.’
‘In all fairness, Sir… just how exactly am I going to get the message to all of the units?’
The President smiled, turned on the slick, slippery tongue which had got him so far in life. Politics was an act, nothing more. If you could act, then you could go anywhere. He smiled at the big man before him. Malloy was almost twice his bodyweight, and could easily break every bone in his body, but what Mac ‘Big Dog’ Malloy did not have… was charisma.
‘Well, we may not have electricity, we may not have televisions, refrigerators, or cars’, it slipped off his tongue like liquid gold, ‘but what you do have, Malloy, is feet.’ He grinned, and Malloy saw malice in his eyes, ‘So use them.’

Snake walked. It felt as if he had been walking for a lifetime. With no watch he couldn’t tell how long he actually had been. The pain in his leg was now just a dull ache. His tourniquet had stopped the bleeding but it needed attention. The stiffness of the wound had worn off and he was able to walk more easily on it. He was limping, yes, but he was also making good time. Well, hopefully he was making good time; he still had no idea where he was headed. He had seen no landmarks, not that he would have recognized them anyway - he had never been in this area before.
Looking around, he saw nothing of note. The ground underfoot was grassy, fertile because of the river. He had left the river what seemed like decades ago, but evidently the river’s effects were spread across the surrounding land. The sky was clear, blue. No chance of rain, at least he didn’t think there was; there were no clouds anyway. Rain would be a problem, firstly because he didn’t know how solid the ground was - tramping through mud was not his idea of a good time. Secondly, he had an open gunshot wound, and although Plissken was only a Lieutenant in the army, not a medic, he knew enough to realize acid rain in a wound would not be good for him.
Still, blue skies, no clouds… things could be worse.
He was on greenbelt; there were a good few trees, not enough for a forest, but too many for just moorland. It was silent, save for the steady crunch of Snake’s feet on the leaves and twigs that were spread out on the grass. This sound was the only thing keeping him up. His mind needed something to aim for, and he was concentrating on just going, the sound was like a pulse to him. When it stopped, he stopped.
He had a pounding headache, and with each wave of pain, his eye flared. It felt like the fourth of July in his head… well, what the fourth of July would have felt like, had it not been classed as immoral and banned by that jackass who called himself ‘President’.
All his concentration went into just keeping going. He was almost too preoccupied to notice it. When he did he was dumbfounded. Surely it must be something else, a mirage maybe? Or a hallucination? He kept walking at his steady pace, seeing it come closer and closer, and finally, when it did not disappear before his eyes, he accepted it for what it was. A road.
He pushed himself harder, a new reason to keep moving now. With a road there meant people, and mightn’t one of these people be a doctor? His tired, battered body protested, but he pushed on, through the pain, hoping, needing the road to lead somewhere he could get help.
The road was about three hundred meters away and Snake, exercising mind as well as body, was trying with all his might to reach it.
Two hundred meters… his body was failing on him, needing sleep and nutrients.
One hundred… his breath was coming in short, ragged gasps.
Seventy-five… Snake could feel his muscles trying to give in, and he pushed the pain to the back of his mind.
Fifty…
Twenty…
Ten…
Five…
Finally, exhausted, the wounded warrior reached the road… and collapsed.

When he awoke it was dark. There was no electricity for streetlights, not that there were any streetlights out here anyway. When cars worked they would have had to use headlights. Snake would just have to get used to the gloom.
He picked himself up and looked at the road. It was cracked, patchy, but seemed regularly used, if only by a few vehicles. Good. All signs showed that there would be people nearby. If he followed the road he may just find them. Which direction should he follow the road though? He had come at it at an angle, going right would take him back, almost the way he had come. He went left, hoping this was the right decision to make.
After a while the road started going up, to higher ground. The extra effort needed to get up made his leg hurt again, but, through force of will, he made it all the way up. At the top of the rise he stopped, and looked down to see what lay ahead of him.
He couldn’t see clearly because of the darkness, but ahead of him there seemed to be a village or township of some sort. There were no lights, of course, so he couldn’t be sure, but it looked like there could be some buildings there.
He started down the road towards what may or may not be an inhabited place. Even if it was abandoned there could still be a doctor’s surgery, or even a veterinary clinic, somewhere with medicine anyway. He was walking slowly now, pacing himself in case there was nothing there and the gloom had fooled him, in which case he would need enough energy to keep him going through the night.
As he got closer he realized that there actually was a township there, and it obviously was inhabited, because he could smell smoke, and see the fires people had lit. When there is no technology why not go back to basics? Fire gives light and heat, and you can cook things one it, it makes perfect sense.
Thinking about it made him remember New York. Sixteen years ago they had sent him into New York, which was a prison colony with no power. He had to rescue the President and, more importantly, rescue the cassette that the President was in possession of. It was a stupid mission, one he would never have agreed to had he not been coerced. Time bombs planted in major arteries - good enough reason to follow orders.
In 1988, crime rates had skyrocketed, Snake himself had helped that, and New York was turned into a maximum-security prison. They had turned off the power there and let the prisoners fend for themselves. When Snake had been in there he could see all the neglect and disrespect that the once great city had suffered. All around the city there had been groups of people warming themselves by fires.
Approaching this small community Snake saw similar fires.

‘Hey, Red, go fetch some more firewood!’ the man said, ‘Hey! Red!’ It became clear that the boy wasn’t taking any notice of his commands. ‘Stupid kid’, he uttered, quietly so the boy’s mother wouldn’t hear and scold him. Ok, she paid his wages, but he didn’t like that brat.
Resigned to the job of collecting the firewood himself, he left the comfort of the living room and it’s fireplace, and went out of the door.
When the power had gone out, as well as the phones, strangely enough, everyone had just waited for it to be restored. When, after 2 days, it wasn’t, the town had had a meeting. Somebody suggested that firewood should be collected and stacked up on the edge of town, where everybody could get to it. It was September, and starting to get chilly, and nobody wanted to be ill so it was unanimously agreed that this should be done. The men of the township had gone out to the woods and cut enough wood to keep everybody going for at least a week. They had had power cuts before, the longest had been four days, and they figured that a week’s supply should be good enough. This wood was then stockpiled at the edge, near the road so that people could go out in the cars and pick it up when necessary. The funny thing was, though, the cars had stopped working as well.
That was the reason that Joseph Williams was walking all the way across town right now. He was 33 years old and in the best shape of his life. It wasn’t that he actually minded the walk, nor the walk back, loaded with firewood, it was the indignity of being forced to do it when there was perfectly able boy who just sat back and did nothing.
He had reached the woodpile and started loading up the pack he had brought with him, when he saw what he thought was a person walking the road towards him. He couldn’t tell whether or not there was a person there because, stupidly, he hadn’t thought to bring a torch with him. A rag around a stick, set on fire, simple. But no, he had to do things the hard way, but now, when he needed some light, he had none.
He watched patiently as the person, he could see now that, indeed, it was a person, walked slowly down the road. The person seemed to be dressed all in black, with a long coat swirling around them. The figure seemed to be staggering slightly, so Joseph laid the half full pack on the ground and walked over to see if he could be of any help.
‘Hey buddy, y’ok?’
The man grunted, coughed. Williams could see now that the man looked haggard, as if living rough, and ill. The most striking thing about the man’s appearance, though, was the eye patch. The man had a stubbly beard and long hair. He was quite tall, and looked strong. Williams recognised him from somewhere, but couldn’t quite remember who this person was.
‘Buddy?’ He repeated.
‘Is there… doctor?’ the man said, then passed out.
‘Ah man, this looks bad.’ Williams lifted the figure to his feet, put the man’s arm round his own neck, and half carried half dragged the man down the road and into town.
‘Best take you to Doc Peterson’s place’, he said, thinking out loud. Before he reached his destination, though, he remembered where he had seen this man before. It had been on the television, ‘America’s Most Wanted’. The man he was carrying was Snake Plissken!

When Snake awoke he was lying on a long, hard table. He didn’t recognize his surroundings or the people he saw. He propped himself up on one arm so that he could see the room and its contents better. There were two men; the older seemed to be in his mid- to late-fifties. His hair was a snowy white colour but his eyes were a clear blue, framed by horn-rimmed glasses. This man seemed to be doing something with test tubes and scientific apparatus over by a counter on the other side of the room from Snake himself. The younger, who Snake remembered seeing on the road, looked around 30, maybe older. He had short dark hair and brown eyes. The man looked to be slightly shorter than Snake himself, and had a slimmer build. Snake watched as he approached the table.
‘Uh... hey man’, Snake heard him say.
‘Where am I?’
The man ignored Snake’s question, he seemed confused, and in awe of something.
‘You’re him aren’t you?’
‘Who?’
‘Plissken, the USPF’s most wanted. You are Plissken right?’
Snake paused, drew a breath. Why was it always the same? After a moment he responded.
‘Call me Snake’, the outlaw breathed.
‘Hmm… I wanted to know for sure because, although I recognized you from the television, well… I thought you’d be taller.’
Plissken stared at the man for a moment, then turned away. He looked around the room, searching for a possible weapon, just in case these people weren’t quite as friendly as they seemed. There were a few possibilities, such as the broom, or the lamp, but nothing which would give much protection should they try to attack him. He would have to be careful.
Firstly, though, he wanted information.
‘Where am I?’
This time the older man spoke up. ‘You are in my house. My name is Dr Aaron Peterman, and I am a medical scientist. I’m the closest this small community has to a practitioner. You could say I’m almost…’ he laughed, ‘a witch doctor.’
Snake was not amused. He remained stony faced, watching the man for a while, and then turned to the younger of the two.
‘And you are?’
‘I’m Joseph Williams, but you can call me Joe. Nice meeting you Snake.’ He extended his arm as if to shake hands. Plissken just looked at it. Finally, Williams retracted his hand.
The Doctor spoke up, ‘You can stay here for the time being. I don’t get many visitors so your being here will remain a secret. We have to look at that wound in your leg, but not until you have rested.’
The offer sounded too good.
‘Thanks for the offer, but I can’t accept. I have to go.’
‘As a doctor I advise against it. Your presence here will be a secret and we will alert you as to any trouble. Please stay here, you need medical attention.’
In this world there was nobody who would do anything for nothing, but this guy was claiming to do just that. There had to be a catch.
‘What do you want from me?’ Snake was cynical, the doctor could tell by the look on his face.
‘Absolutely nothing.’
The Snake examined the man’s face intensely. He expected the man to flinch, to turn away from his gaze - this is what a dishonest man would do. The doctor did not turn away, his face seemed honest, open.
‘I’ll think about it’ he rasped.
He did not have to think for long. When he tried to get up off the table he found, upon swinging his legs off and planting his feet on the ground, that too much pressure on his wounded leg caused it to buckle. Plissken hit the floor and groaned. The two other men quickly helped him back up onto the table.
‘I think I’ll take you up on your offer’, Snake said through gritted teeth. His face was a mask of pain.
Suddenly Joe made a short, angry growl. ‘Dammit! I was supposed to just be getting wood for the fire. That must have been at least two hours ago now. Alice is going to kill me!’
‘Oh come on Joe’, Peterman remarked, ‘it isn’t as if she’s your wife now, is it?’
‘Don’t even joke man. I work for her, and she gives me food and a place to stay. That’s as far as it goes, as far as it’ll ever go.’ He shuddered at the thought.
‘Just say that you came here to see me for something.’
‘And the lack of firewood?’
‘Oh… I don’t know. Tell her… tell her that you tripped in the dark and landed badly on your arm’, Peterman suggested. ‘You came here so that I could have a look at it, I told you not to lift anything with it. The bag you left here, that ok?’ Then, sarcastically, ‘I could give you a Doctor’s note if you want’, and he chuckled.
‘Okay, okay, knock it off man.’ Williams grinned sheepishly. ‘I guess it isn’t such a big deal. But still, you don’t have to live with her.’
Snake tuned the two men’s bantering voices out and looked out of the window at a night that was darker than any in the last five hundred years.

‘Now this is going to hurt like hell. If you’d take an anesthetic it wouldn’t but I can see that you won’t have any, and I’m not going to attempt to sway you. You’ll just have to endure the pain. Just tell me… why won’t you take the anesthetic?’
‘I don’t like needles.’
For the past two days Snake had stayed with the Doctor. The first night, since he could not put pressure on the leg, he had slept on the table that he had been put on. Over the course of the next day he found his leg was hurting less and he had regained some strength, the Plutoxin-7 flu virus was obviously being defeated by his immune system. He had, with the aid of the Doctor, been able to move himself from the table and into the guest room, where he slept for the second night.
The next morning, when Peterman entered the guest room, he found Snake at the window, looking for a way to open it.
‘Snake, ah, what are you-‘
The Snake’s head flicked around and his right hand quickly went to the holster strapped to his thigh. There was nothing there. He had forgotten that his guns had been lost when he was in LA. He looked at the Doctor and frowned.
‘Instinct.’
‘You shouldn’t be trying to escape.’
‘It’s safer this way. There are people looking for me, ruthless people. It’s better that I don’t stay here.’
Peterman looked at the man standing before him and shook his head.
‘You can’t leave, Snake. You have a bullet wound and it must be treated or it will become infected.’
Plissken looked annoyed, but kept his voice level.
‘I have to leave. Today.’
The Doctor’s eyes fixed on Snake’s good eye.
‘The we must remove the bullet from your leg now.’
The pain was excruciating. It was all Snake could do not to scream. He had taken off his thigh holsters prior to the operation and now he reached for them and rolled them up. He quickly stuffed them into his mouth and bit down hard. He could feel as the surgical instrument went down deeper into his leg; it rubbed against the sinews of the Snake’s muscle and caused electric sparks of pain to shoot through his body.
Snake closed his eye tight in a futile attempt to ward off the pain. The pain was enormous, what could only have been a few minutes seemed to last hours. Every second was drawn out into an infinity, where the only constant was the pain spreading from his wounded thigh. It was almost tangible; he could even hear the pain, screeching like some banshee from the depths of hell itself.
When he reopened his eye there were dancing black spots covering his field of vision, the pain was still there but it seemed that the movement in his leg had stopped. There was a little more, and then there was a vice-like grip on something in his leg, he could feel the pressure. The pain then increased tenfold and it felt like something was being wrenched out of his leg. Suddenly there was a moment of greater tension. And then release. It felt like a red-hot spike had been driven into his thigh, but there was no movement anymore. The ordeal was over.
The dark spots were still dancing wildly in front of him but he could make out a figure standing over him, his vision was blurred but he thought the figure was talking to him.
‘Snake? Snake? You alright, Snake?’
Plissken moaned. His vision had cleared now, and he reached up and took the holsters from his mouth.
‘I’m just great.’ His face pulled down into a grimace. ‘What you use, Doc, a butter knife?’
The older man smiled. ‘No, not quite. Anyway, you were quite lucky there Snake. The bullet grazed the bone and just embedded itself in your muscle. In a few days you should be good as new.’
‘I haven’t got a few days. I’m going now.’
‘I know that’s what you said but, come on - you just had an operation.’
‘Yes, I did. But I still have to go.’
Peterman could see the intent in Plissken’s eye, and knew that the man would not be staying longer. He walked over to his medicine cabinet and took out a bottle containing a dark liquid. ‘Take this. Apply some everyday on some of this stuff.’ He reached back into the cabinet and took out some gauze. ‘It will help minimise the chance of infection.’
Snake took the items from the man and then looked around, quizzically. ‘So where will this road lead me to?’
Peterman thought about the location and tried to think where the road would lead to. Williams had told him which direction Snake had entered the small township from.
‘Well, if you keep going the way you were, you’d continue north to-‘
He was cut off by a series of insistent knocks at the door and some shouting from outside. ‘Doc, it’s me, Joe, you got to let me in, it’s important.’
Snake could see by the look on Peterman’s face that the man was clearly alarmed, and watched as he ran to the front door. He heard the door open and the voices of the two men talking quickly. After what couldn’t have been more than a minute Williams rushed in, followed closely by Peterman. They both started talking almost at once, but then the older of the two stopped and allowed Williams to speak.
‘Snake, you’re in trouble. There’s USPF Officers outside. I saw them coming down the road. No cars, they must be having the same trouble as us, but there’s got to be at least a dozen anyway. You got to get out of here.’
The Snake’s face hardened, set. He uttered one word.
‘Gun.’

They were creeping behind the backs of the town buildings now, trying to find a way through town to the house that Williams shared with Alice and her son. They kept to the shadows as much as possible, but in mid-afternoon of early September there are few shadows, and those that do exist are not much use for cover. Trying to keep silent was almost impossible; leaves that had fallen and dried lay scattered across the ground and there was no wind to cover the sounds of their careful footsteps. Williams was ahead, Snake followed the younger man, hoping that whatever luck he had would hold out and they would not be found by the blackbellies.
Williams was moving quickly, he knew the area well. ‘not much farther now, Snake…. Snake?’ he turned around. Snake had stopped. He was standing about 25 yards away and appeared to be in deep thought. Williams ran back. He spoke quickly; aware of the danger from the police. If caught he would be killed.
‘What’s wrong? We have to keep moving!’
The Snake looked at Williams, a sinister gleam in his eye.
‘We’re running behind stores right?’
It was apparent that Plissken had confused the younger man, his face had changed into an expression of complete bafflement.
‘Well… yeah. Why?’
‘I know this place is only small, but do you have a local gun store?’
Understanding dawned on Williams’ face and he became excited again, this time for a very different reason.
‘Yes! It’s back the way we came. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it.’
Plissken ignored him and started moving, retracing his footsteps. This time he was the leader, and he was in control.
‘Which one is it?’ Plissken asked.
‘The one after this one.’
Plissken looked ahead. To his right was the wall of whichever store they were behind, to his left was woodland. Directly ahead and a little to the right was another wall, this one belonging to a smaller building. Set into the wall was a steel door which had letters stenciled onto it in black. As he got closer, Snake could make out what was written: ‘Thomson Small Arms And Ammunition’.
As the pair reached the door, Snake tried the handle. Locked. Looking at the lock he could see that it was old, loose. It could easily be kicked in but the noise would alert the blackbellies and then the advantage of surprise would be lost. Maybe it could be picked.
‘Williams, have you got some wire? A paperclip or something?
Williams checked his pockets. ‘No.’
Plissken cursed under his breath. This would have to be done the hard way.
‘We’re going in; when you get inside barricade the door. Blackbellies will be all over this place so stay out of sight.’
He took a step back, ready to kick the door in. If the lock was stronger than it looked then the noise would alert the USPF and he would have no cover. There’d be no more Snake Plissken. Perhaps that was a good thing.
‘Ready on three’ Snake said and steeled himself for the break-in. He paused for a moment, and then: ‘Three!’
What happened next was almost instantaneous. Plissken took a step forward onto his left leg and then kicked out at the door with his wounded right leg, wincing at the shot of pain that went like a bolt through his body. There was a loud noise akin to a gong being hit with a rubber mallet. The United States Police officers heard this and started shouting and pointing to the source of the noise. The lock of the door snapped completely off, flew through the air and landed on the floor of the gun store with a barely audible clink.
‘In. Now.’ Snake rasped at Williams, who rushed through the open gap into the dark void of the store. He quickly started feeling around for something to jam the door with. As his hands found what seemed to be a chair he turned and saw Snake burst through the doorway. From outside there came sounds of gunfire, Williams barely registered them for what they were - he could barely even hear them over the sound of the blood pounding in his ears, his own heartbeat seemed to deafen him.
Snake had now turned and pushed his weight against the door, closing it.
‘Block this!’ he shouted at Williams.
Williams dragged the chair over to the door and jammed it under the handle. The door seemed secure, but who could tell? More was needed to barricade the door. He would have to find something bigger. The problem was that they were now in a pitch-dark room. He heard the Snake’s footsteps close by and then the sound of a door opening and closing.
‘Snake…?’
Plissken was gone.

The USPF were surrounding the building, they could feel, every one of them, that their quarry was inside and each believed that they would be the one to take Plissken down. They had a problem though, the windows of the store were polarized and the shutters down; they could not see inside but, if anyone was there, anyone inside could see out. The leader of this small unit of armed crazies called out something almost unintelligible, and suddenly every officer opened fire on the building, all at once. Nothing. The owner must have had bulletproof glass and other security measures installed for protection. The leader waved and the hail of fire ceased. He knew he could command this group of savages, he was a Captain, he had power. Everyone else thought that they would bring down Plissken, but this man didn’t, this man knew he would be the one to bring down the 'war hero'.
He walked around to the other side of the building, ordering everyone so stay in their positions. Behind the building, by the small door that Plissken and Williams had entered, he found an officer down. The door was bulletproof as well, and the unfortunate man had been hit in the face by a ricocheting bullet. There was blood all over the man’s face and a gaping hole where his right cheek had been. The downed man was flailing wildly and groaning, trying to talk. He couldn’t. The bullet had broken the man’s jaw, snapped the bone in two. The USPF captain looked down at the pitiful sight, watching as the man slowly began to choke on his own blood. His gaze was unflinching, almost reptilian. The dying man’s eyes fixed upon him, pleading with him to let him live, the Captain could almost hear a telepathic crying of ‘help’ from this pitiful creature. He brought out his gun, a Colt Defender, .45 caliber. This was his own gun, not the standard USPF issue. His eyes narrowed when he pointed it at the dying thing, not a man anymore - useless. The creature’s groans reduced to whimpers, and the unit captain, who had so foolishly believed he had control of his men, laughed. He was still laughing when the shots were fired.

The two officers who were behind the building with the Captain watched as the Captain’s head suddenly seemed to implode, spraying dark blood and gobbets of wet flesh onto their faces. They stood, rapt, in a sick kind of awe, as the man who thought he led them went limp, fell to his knees, and finally just slipped forward, face first, into the dirt. Only when he had stopped twitching did the two officers look to see where the shots had been from. To their left and right there was no-one, only when they looked up did they see anything. Above them and to the right, on the second floor, was a window, and in the open window was their quarry: Plissken.
The two officers quickly scrabbled at the catches on their hip holsters, each wanting to be the one who would take down the elusive Plissken. They both made so much noise that they barely heard him speak.
‘Smile, you bastards’
And then a single shot from each of the Snake’s twin Magnums planted lead directly between each officer’s eyes.

Snake was in semidarkness. The only light was filtered through the thin gaps in the metal shutters covering the front of the shop. These were being pelted by a hail of gunfire. Since they were standing up to this barrage of lead, it was safe to assume the shutters were bullet proof. From what Snake had seen of this small town, the citizens seemed good people, so bullet proof shutters seemed a bit excessive. Snake was glad the owner had had them installed anyway; without them he might not have been alive at that moment.
He paused, waiting for his good eye to become adjusted to the poor light. He couldn’t risk turning on a light, because that would surely alert the USPF officers as to where he was in the building; instead of having fire all over the building, it would be concentrated on the room, and it was always possible that one lucky shot would breach the security of the building. Best to keep the odds in his favor.
Looking around, he could see that he was in a square room. There was what looked like a counter on 3 sides of the room; the one side without was the wall directly opposite him, where the main entrance to customers was. Set into the middle of the wall to his left was what looked like a doorway. Mounted on the same wall were rifles, above and to either side of the doorway. On the opposite wall, to Plissken’s right, were shelves. Each shelf was stacked with boxes. It made sense that the boxes contained ammunition.
Given that there was only one more wall to check, the outlaw turned around and was faced with a wide array of pistols and semi-automatic handguns. Above the doorway were a pair of guns which looked similar to Snake’s own. He stood on the counter and removed each from their mounting, feeling the weight of each in his hands. His own guns were customized .44 Magnums, each with a laser sight. These did not have the laser sights, but since there was no power, why bother with them? The guns from the store felt good in his hands, the weight was reassuring. Yes, these would be worthy replacements for his missing sidearm's.
He put his new weapons away in his thigh holsters and then walked along the counter to the wall where the ammunition was. He reached up and took a box at random. The dim lighting forbade any reading and so he could not tell what caliber the bullets were. It would simply be a case of testing, having to rely only on his hands, and their ‘memories’ of reloading his weapons, time and time again. Seeing more boxes, he took those down too. Drawing out a bullet at random, Snake felt it in his hands. Wrong. He picked out another, again at random. Wrong. Twice more he did this, until, with the penultimate box, he found one that felt right. Taking another from the box he found that this also felt right. A third proved he had not got lucky with the first two, and this box would provide him with the ammunition he needed to escape.

After loading the guns, Snake went back through the doorway through which he had entered. Directly ahead of him was another doorway, and through that door was Williams. I have to go back for him, Snake promised himself, but knew, even as he thought it, that he may have to break it.
To his left was a staircase leading up to the second floor of the shop. Escaping the USPF was his primary objective, but escaping and then having no supplies was just plain stupid. Plissken ascended the stairs slowly, keeping his good eye out for any traps which may lay in wait for him. He hoped that there would be food and drink on the second floor, sustenance for days on the run from the government.
About halfway up he heard faint moaning, and rushed up the remaining steps. There was nobody in sight, but the moaning continued. Following his ears, he found that the moaning was coming from an open window. He looked out and smelled the fresh, coppery scent of recently shed blood. There was a fallen officer below him, with two more beside him, and another quickly approaching. The officer approached quickly and exuded an air of seniority, enhanced by the sneer on his face. Snake could hear what the man said, and saw the expression on what was left of the downed officer’s face (for there was blood all over it, and lumps of flesh seemed to have been removed) change into a mask of terror. The officer was aiming his gun at the downed man, and the expression on his face showed that he would enjoy this kill.
Snake drew his guns. The officer who appeared to be in charge started laughing.
Disgusting, Plissken thought, absolutely disgusting. And then he fired at the laughing madman.
The other two officers seemed entranced by the death of what must have been their commanding officer. They did not react for about ten seconds, and then looked for the shooter. Snake watched as their eyes finally found him, stood in the window.
Smile, you bastards.
He did not even realize he had spoken the words, but no sooner had they escaped his lips then the two men were dead.

Well, there you have it, it's been in this state for a good few months, and I'm not sure I'll get around to changing it so.. peruse if you will...

Welcome to the human race