The Borrowed World: A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Collapse

The Borrowed World: A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Collapse by Franklin Horton Read Free Book Online

Book: The Borrowed World: A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Collapse by Franklin Horton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Franklin Horton
Tags: Science-Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, post apocalyptic, Dystopian
Troopers had pulled in with blue lights flashing immediately behind Lois's car, blocking it and several others in.  A trooper emerged from each vehicle, placing their hats carefully on their heads.  The lead trooper strode through the door followed quickly by the second trooper, whom I noticed carried his 12 gauge riot gun.  The gun lay up on his shoulder, the way a hunter might carry it.  The troopers headed straight for the registers.
    “Glad you parked away from the entrance,” I said.
    The man who had been arguing at the counter turned toward the troopers, raised his hands, and stammered, “I-I was j-just leaving.”  He bolted for the door.
    The two troopers looked at each other briefly, shrugged, and then faced the crowd.  Apparently they weren’t here for that guy.
    “Excuse me folks,” the trooper said.  “By order of the Governor of Virginia, all fuel sales in the Commonwealth will be temporarily halted, effective immediately.  If you have filled your vehicle, you may pay and leave, but no further sales will be made.  All gas and diesel fuel is reserved for authorized emergency vehicles only.”
    There was a moment of silence while this sank in.  There were folks waiting in line for the bathroom who had not pumped gas yet.  There were folks getting food who were intending to get gas, but had not done so yet.  These people immediately became very, very pissed.  Limiting gas to five gallons was bad, but cutting off all sales was even worse.  Interstate 81 was a major corridor and these people were from all over the country.  How would they get home?  What would they do?  The crowd had been smoldering, and the trooper had just thrown gasoline on the fire.  I was just getting ready to tell Gary that I was going back outside when things went south in a hurry.
    An angry patron behind a rack of Terry's potato chips threw an unopened plastic soda bottle at the trooper who had made the announcement.  It bounced off his Kevlar vest.  The trooper immediately stepped toward the man who had thrown the bottle, but he took off through the store, pushing over the rack of chips and bumping into several people as he ran.
    “We need to get out of here,” I told Gary.
    “I'll get Rebecca and Lois,” he replied, moving toward the restroom line.
    Someone else threw a soup can they had snatched off a shelf and caught the remaining trooper in the face.  A cut opened over his eye and his nose started bleeding.  Another soup can came flying from the same direction but missed.  The trooper raised his shotgun and fired blindly in the direction that he thought the soup cans came from.  With people packed so tightly, the buckshot hit several bystanders.  An innocent woman died when she took a buckshot pellet to the forehead and dropped like a rock.  Her husband, a decorated veteran of the Korean War, had lost his only daughter to a drunk driver twenty years before and immediately felt he had nothing left to live for at this point.  He pulled a .357 magnum revolver from his jacket pocket and began firing at the trooper with the shotgun at a distance of less than ten feet.  The trooper caught rounds in his protective vest and toppled backward.
    The other trooper, still chasing the man who'd hit him with a soda bottle, spun toward the gunfire and saw the old man emptying his revolver at his fellow trooper.  He drew his Sig and put two rounds in the armed man, dropping him in a heap across his wife.  More guns came out and the chaos escalated.  Truckers and travelers were all pulling out their concealed carry weapons and trying to defend themselves as they ran for the exits.  Wild rounds flew in all directions.  The trooper with the shotgun tried to shake off the rounds he'd taken to the vest and began firing at anyone he saw carrying a gun.  More bodies fell.  Though people were screaming and crying, some were shooting back.
    The trooper with the Sig fired a round into the ceiling and tried to regain

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