Abel and I took turns sleeping. It wasn’t the most restful way to do things but it was the safest; one of us would be awake should anything start to pop before we were ready for it. We decided to stay in one of the abandoned buildings on the Richard side of town rather than try and sleep in the neutral territory of the dump. It wasn’t just the rats that concerned us but how open it was; not to mention that once the heat of the day increased so did the smell. Gag worthy or not I was concerned that some enterprising person would come digging through the mess and find us.
The house we picked honestly wasn’t much better; the smell was still extraordinarily bad but it saved us from prying eyes. No air conditioning and very much cleaning had led to mold and mildew. There were types of mushrooms growing in the basement that not even I had ever seen. We found a room without carpet upstairs and it was the least odiferous in the place. There were also mice in the walls … a lot of them from the sound of things. I guess that is what happens though when your primary predators – cats – are taken out while there is an overabundance of food … over population.
Just sitting around while Abel slept did not appeal to me at all. I had an excess of nervous energy and no real way to burn it off. Moving around the house too much was not an option. I didn’t want to draw unwanted attention. That left putting the energy into making my mischief materials. My little projects kept my hands and mind busy and as a consequence my nerves calm, or at least calmer.
Despite my bravado to the contrary, I was scared. I prayed what we were doing was right and that it wouldn’t get out of hand; but I wasn’t so naive as to think no one was going to get hurt. Despite my horror, disgust, and anger at what the towns people on Richard’s side were doing they were still people I grew up around. I didn’t really want to see them dead with no chance to redeem themselves. I certainly didn’t enjoy the idea that I was going to kill some of them though I knew it was a possibility. However I knew I was far down a path that soon there would be no turning from.
I was less ambivalent about Hakim’s side but even there I didn’t want to see people dead if it wasn’t necessary. I knew there was a penalty or weight to my soul for each death I caused. I had already dealt with it with the other men that I had killed thus far. But killing in self-defense was different from what I was about to do. I could view myself as some kind of exterminator but it didn’t quite alleviate the niggling guilt that tried to disquiet my mind. I was worried that I would eventually be so calloused to killing I would lose something that made me who I was.
Ironically these thoughts occupied my mind while I enjoyed building more toys of destruction. The first thing I put together was the easiest. Dad hadn’t been the one to teach me this particular little goody. The boys from school who played games like “war” and “man hunt” in the woods and parks made several variations of what I was making but since my options were limited I made them all one way.
Airsoft grenades don’t really do much damage although a nicely packed one will sting if it hits in the right spot. And I suppose even a plastic pellet can take out an eye but that is why our church youth group always had to wear helmets, gloves, and protective goggles when we played at the local paintball arena. No one would be wearing protective gear so I planned on some damage being done. I went further and helped it a long using some prohibited materials.
I mixed the airsoft plastic pellets with some real steel BBs and some lead pellets and then filled a standard water balloon with them. Next I shoved a black cat fire work down in there with the fuse sticking out. I put tape around the neck of the balloon to keep the BBs and the firework inside it but made sure the tape would interfere with the fuse. They really did look like old-timey hand grenades if you could get around the circus colors.
It took me a couple of sleep/watch periods to use up all of the balloons I’d found and I still managed to have BBs and fireworks left over much to my pleasure. Eventually even Abel got restless and antsy and went nosing around the piles of stuff I was working on. When he woke me for the next watch his face was something to behold. “I have never met a girl like you.”
I grinned and told him, “Be you’re sure glad of that.”
His answering grin was a bit silly when he told me, “On my honor Querida, I consider it a privilege to be with you.”
That had my mind going in directions that were way too on the distracting side and I was relieved when Abel lay down to take his turn at a couple of hours of sleep. I finally turned my attention to my other project.
A penny bomb is one of the more tedious prank bombs you can make but also one of the easiest and cheapest to make, and when you are a kid easy and cheap is more important than how much work it takes. I used about fifteen of the plastic cap rings per “bomb.” You take the protective ring off and then run each ring apart so you wind up with all of these tiny cups filled with miniscule amounts of gunpowder.
I cut the little rings apart and then put them onto a piece of plastic wrap that was about 4-inches by 4-inches. I slid one penny under the bottom of the pile of caps (between the caps and the plastic wrap) and put one penny on top of the pile and then took the corners of the plastic wrap and wound it up into a compressed package. Next I took twenty-four inches of painter’s tape and wrap the package of caps tightly. The whole point was to keep everything really, really compressed tightly.
Next I tore off a four or five inch wide strip of aluminum foil and wrapped it around the taped ball of caps. This further compressed the caps and pennies. To finish it off I took about another yard of tape and covered the aluminum foil ball completely, making sure nothing but tape showed.. This adds another layer of compression. To set these bad boys off you have to get them to hit hard but with a little height they don’t do too bad if you have them packed just right.
By the time it grew too dark for me to see to work I had a few dozen of each type of “bomb” and split them into two piles; one for Abel and one for me. I also finished up the napalm Molotov cocktails. Good thing I still have a few things to keep my hands busy or I was considering doing some damage to Abel.
“Day-cee, repeat the plan one more time.”
A little frustrated I told him, “You’ve already had me repeat it five times. I won’t forget it. I know what the plan is for pity sake.”
“And you will repeat it again to prove it.”
I mentally rolled my eyes. “I’m on the Richard side. You’re on the Hakim side. At exactly 23:30 … that’s plain ol’ eleven thirty PM for us civilians … we both start lighting fires so that by midnight as many buildings as we can are beyond being brought under control. From that point forward we use our best judgment to instigate a fight between the two sides. The primary goal is to destroy the leadership and infrastructure of both as well as their resources. The ultimate goal is to leave the town itself uninhabitable thereby forcing the remnants of whoever is left over to leave the area completely.”
“And?” he asked.
“And the rendezvous point is the cached weapons location before first light. If for some reason any part of the plan fails or is compromised and rendezvous is not possible, we head up to Little Mirror Lake and wait there. If one or the other of us don’t show up at the lake within twenty-four hours, they pick up Daniel and resume life as best they can. The End.”
He nodded and finally letting my anger get the better of me I threw a wad of aluminum foil at him.
If it had been light he could have seen the steam coming out of my ears. “I know you are going after Hakim. You’re just getting me out of the way. If you can’t get him in town you’ll track him as long as it takes.”
He considered all of three seconds of whether to lie to me or not. I know because I counted them. Then he sighed. “Querida, those like Hakim and the crazy Richard will simply move and … and … set up shop in a new place. Si? You must see that it cannot be allowed to happen.”
I surprised him by agreeing completely. “You’re right. I just don’t like your lone wolf plan.”
Shaking his head he told me, “Don’t be upset Day-cee but I can move faster alone and will not be distracted for your safety.” Undoubtedly true it may have been, but I still didn’t like it and he couldn’t make me. I decided there and then if I had the opportunity then I would take Hakim and/or Richard out myself rather than see him go off on some crusade.
At 10:30 pm we separated to being making our way to our first chosen targets.