Cheddar snaps awake in his dimly lit apartment. At least he slept in his bed this time. He had his dream again. Or his thoughts again, he’s pretty sure he was awake. He knows he was awake.
Pinned down behind the front passenger’s side wheel of the police cruiser, an officer down next to him, shot through the left shoulder, alive but thankfully unconscious. On 4th Avenue, between Vine and Wall streets, the street trees expansive and full and green in the heat of summer. All the civilians sprinted away screaming. Or maybe some sheltered in place. Sirens all over the place. It smells like spring, rich and floral sappy.
Take a quick peek like Die Hard, crawling to the front bumper, stay low, peek real quick nothing. Crane around to look at the southeast corner and there’s one, in black body armor. The other shows up at the southwest corner and Cheddar’s made, darts back behind the engine block as the AK-47 crack crack cracks and the rounds embed themselves in the cast iron. It’s hard to crawl so tight to the ground, it chews up your skin. He’s able to grab the cold Glock 23 lying next to the officer. He knows both are advancing on him now, no one would be in the middle, each would take a corner, rifles up to their chins, glancing sideways to ensure no hero jumps out at them.
Cheddar rocks the slide and confirms the fat 40-caliber round is in the chamber, then wiggles his way toward the rear of the vehicle just as rifles go off and rounds tear through the trunk and front bumper again. Cordite drifts into his nostrils. No pop ups here, he has to throw himself on the ground, on his left shoulder, compensate for the kick and natural tendency to shoot right, and squeeze. He feels his breath moving out, expelling, drawing fully in, somehow wet air filling his lungs. He flops awkwardly from behind the trunk of the cruiser, left shoulder scraping and his left temple smacking concrete unhealthily. He forgot about aiming, the front site has to be exactly between the rear split sight, filling it complete, target resting at the top of the white dot. The rifle is flashing at him and he hears the unsavory subsonic riff of the 7.62 millimeter rounds heating the air around him. But somehow he has the time and shoots misses shoots shoots shoots it’s hard to control, one .40 caliber round entering the guy’s chest plate, breaking his 1st rib and snapping his head back far enough for the another round to enter his neck, wetly explode his larynx, force him to back flop onto the curb and begin the morbid process of drowning in his own blood while the cartilage and muscle fibers find a new home one the sidewalk.
He knows the other shooter has likely turned, reactive, to the violence imparted on his friend, training his fire from the engine block to the trunk, cutting an acute angle towards where Cheddar must be, not running, never run, but quick steps. Cheddar has already frantically scrambled across the concrete, pulling himself as if there were a rope, willing himself over the police officer’s body, pop up with the engine block as cover there’s no other choice. No, he can’t see him he’s past the back of the cruiser coming around from behind, making the corner too fast. But now there’s other motion the S.W.A.T. and the other cruisers are down the side streets he’ll be desperate and murderous and Cheddar will lose on this side so jump out into the street and kneels he’ll keep coming around the passenger’s side and there he is this time compensate for the upswing from the kickback shoots a round into the A-post shoots a round into the guy’s abdomen covered with Kevlar armor doesn’t slow him his rifle’s up shoots again a round into the left hand shoots a round into the rifle butt then a new popping noise as .223 ammunition flies past Cheddar’s head and the shooter’s head explodes, skull fragments and brain matter landing on Cheddar’s face, in his hair. Which currently has green curls.