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The Mississippi Ain't the River Jordan


Cody Seb
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David 's eyes slowly parted as he woke up. They were greeted by the sight of the canvas tent above him. He took a few minutes to get his last bit of rest before getting up and going outside.

He was camped on top of a hill in the middle of South Missouri, deep in the Ozark Mountains. The hill was covered in trees like all the others, so he was well hidden, but he was not alone.

His four brothers were already gathered around the breakfast campfire, the smoke so faint it could not be seen above the trees. They cooked their small portions of sausage and bacon in a portable campfire frying pan. David sat on one of the stumps they had found and used as seats and Johnathan handed him a plate with a strip of bacon and two small sausages.

David was the second oldest of the five. Johnathan was his older brother, and his threee younger brothers were Nathan, Brad and Dale from oldest to youngest. However, David had sort of become the leader of their little gang. As they neared the end of their breakfast, they heard the sound of off-road vehicles very distantly. They calmly packed up their camp and continued walking. Where too, only they and God knew.

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It had been a long day, but the boys had find a suitable spot to camp, just outside of Branson, Missouri. The group sat around their dinner fire, this time eating the remainder of their bacon and some jerky and other dry foods like bread and nuts.

"Won't be long now. Our car has been sent to Branson, it's already there," John said, "Where're we goin' after that David?"

"I've got a bank cased in Fayetteville. We'll hit it and keep drivin' right back to Louisiana. Those mafia lackies'll still be lookin' for us up in Missouri before they realize it. We'll hop a boat to Georgia or somethin', lay low for a while and come back."

"Sounds good, whatever you say David," Nathan chimed in.

"Dale? Brad? You good with this?"

"I don't know David," Brad protested, "I mean, we're on the run 'cause we robbed a mob bank, don't ya think we should go straight back to Louisiana? I mean, we already made a haul off the first one..."

Dallas reassuringly grabbed Brad on the back of the neck as he was sitting next to him. "Hey, Brad don't worry. We've got this, I can promise ya. We'll be in, out and off to New Orleans before anyone knows we were there."

"I don't know, I think we should just go up to St. Louis, buy some air tickets and get the hell outta here."

"Relax, brother," David said reclining and smiling, "We've done this a thousand times, what could go wrong?"

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As dawn came around, the Dawon boys broke down camp and headed into Branson. The streets were not yet awake when they arrived, but they found their way to the city impound/mechanic shop and crept around back, where their 1970 restored Shelby Mustang GT 350 was wating, keys in the ignition.

David picked up the note in the driver's seat as the rest packed their stuff in the trunk and the floorboards. It read:

Dawson,

Here's your car, next time try taking a little better care of it? 70's Mustang parts are expensive, especially Shelbys. You owe me one.

Nick

David smiled as he sat behind the wheel. This car had been his father's. he had given it to Johnathan but for some reason he wasn't too into driving and since they were so close together in age and interest, he let David have it. That, and Johnathan wasn't particularly fond of their father. None of them really were, but Johnathan held him responsible for his having to drop out of college.

Their dad's name was Ellis Dawson. He was a drifter that had settled down with their mother Abigail. He then became a truck driver and seemed to be always gone. Eventually the two split and when the money stopped coming in, Johnathan had to drop out of his first semester of college and make money as a hand on a nearby farm.

David put the car in drive and quietly eased her on down the road, Johnathan riding shotgun and the three younger ones in the back.

"John, don't think we forgot your birthday today," David said smiling.

"Huh? Oh, right. I hope you guys didn't do anythin', we don't need to be wastin' money on eachother's birthdays."

Despite Johnathan's gruffness concerning the prospect of getting a birthday present, they all knew he would lay down hard earned money to get something nice for each and every one of them. He was a darn positive hypocrite.

"Not every day your brother turns 25, eh?" Just trust me, I've got somethin' waitin' back home." David was only a tad less than a year younger, and was currently 24. That left Nathan at 22, Brad at 21 and Dale at 19. He then changed the subject.

"Were the guns in the trunk?"

Dale answered, "Yeah."

"All of them?"

"Every single one."

"Good."

The car continued to fly down the road, crossing into Arkansas. As they did, Johnathan spoke, "'Bout an hour and a half 'til Fayetteville. Keep the nerves off boys, we've only gotta do this one more time."

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The plan was laid, everyone was a go. Each of the Dawson Boys had a Colt .45 Series 70, while Brad, being the best marksman also had a short-barreled Marlin .30-30. Dale and Nathan both had Remington 12 gauges and Johnathan and David both had an extra Colt.

David took one last time to look in the mirror. His beard was thick and full, though not particularly long. This was the same for Johnathan and Nathan. Brad simply kept stubble and Dale didn't bother to grow any facial hair since his didn't come in quite as well yet.

David's hair was getting rather long. It was dark brown and very full, going down past his ears. Johnathan was also the same while Nathan and Brad had shaven heads and Dale was somewhere in between. Theirs was all dark brown too, except for Nathan, who had deep red hair.

David let out a deep breath and clasped hands with Johnathan, "Last time, brother. Let's make it count."

Johnathan nodded and he, David, Nathan and Dale all exited the Mustang. The passenger side faced the bank, as the GT 350 was parallel parked across the street from the entrance of the bank. Brad leaned back to conceal himself and aimed the .30-30 into the bank. It was level with the street with clear glass doors and very large windows, with a perfect angle. If anything went down, Brad would be able to put in some skilled shots to turn it in the Dawsons' favor.

Once inside the bank there was no regard, the Dawsons whipped out all their weapons, David shouting, "Alright everybody down! EVERYBODY! Tellers! Hands up where I can see them! Right now!"

One didn't obey and tried to reach for the police call button below the counter, but Johnathan shot him between the eyes before he could press it. After that, the rest obeyed. David stepped forward, guns still at the ready, "Alright everyone, just stay calm and we can be outta your way in no time. You, blonde girl, go open up the vault and fill up these duffel bags." As he said that, he tossed her three over the counter. "Nathan, please escort her."

Nathan and the blonde teller complied, Nathan following close behind her with his shotgun pointed at her back.

"Now, open the registers and put all the money on the counter, now."

The tellers continued to comply. However, outside things weren't going so smoothly, though unbeknownst to the Dawsons. Unlike they had suspected, the Louisiana Mafia, which were quite different than mafias of other countries, had tracked them this far already. A member casually and inconspicuously placed a tracking device under the back bumper of the Mustang and then kept walking.

Inside, things continued to proceed. Just as Nathan came back, a teller raised a gun from inside his suit. As he swung it to point at David's head, Brad squeezed the trigger from outside and put him out of his misery before he could fire the pistol.

Now that the whole town knew, David sped things up, "Ok, ok move! Everyone outside!"

The Dawson brothers quickly grabbed the duffel bags and covered themselves as they sprinted for their GT 350. They threw the bags in and jumped into the seats as David spun out down the street.

Fayetteville wasn't all that big, and a car speeding away from the bank after a gunshot was a red flag. The chase was on.

David made a break for the interstate. He wove in and out of cars, narrowly missing a t-bone at a red light which was promptly delivered to the first pursuing squad car. However, backup was called in quickly, and soon there were three police cars chasing the Dawsons down the city streets.

David was, however, quite experienced at this sort of thing. He crossed the median of the divided street and went into the two lanes of oncoming traffic. He was able to predict the movements of the other cars. Some hit their breaks, others swerved in and out of their way, some crashed into the street polls.

The cops were now parallel with them on the other side of the median, the trees planted there whizzing by. Johnathan brought his pistols to bear and opened fire on the lead quad car, hitting the tires with 3 of his 5 shots. The car stumbled, bucked, then flipped as it came into contact with the median going 75 miles per hour on a 35 mph street.

David punched the gas to the floor as his speedometer crept up; 75, 80, 85. At the last moment, as the median began to end, he slammed on the e-brake and slid horizontally down the street. At just the right second, he released in and zoomed across three lanes onto the entry ramp heading south on the interstate. One of the cop cars narrowly missed in its attempt to wreck them and slid into other cars coming through their green light. The resulting pile-up cost the final squad car from being able to pursue and the chase was ended.

As the Mustang sped down the Arkansas highway, the boys smiled and began to laugh. Johnathan put his hand on David's shoulder and squeezed it, "You didn't let me down."

David smiled, "Have I ever? Boys, as soon as we're in Georgia, we are livin' nice!"

The time passed quickly as they drove into the night, crossing the border into Louisiana.

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OOC: Thanks Subtle! ^_^

IC:

The Dawsons' hometown was in the swampy area of South Louisiana, a fair drive West of New Orleans. The town only had a population of around 9,000, but a lot of the people lived outside the city limits in the bayous and swamps.

The Mustang rolled on down the Main Street. Johnathan had traded David for the wheel up in the hills around Shreveport, and all but Johnathan were sleeping until they had reached the town.

"Hey, can we swing by Allison's?" asked David.

Johnathan sighed, "Yeah sure, just don't take too long about it."

"No problem."

The GT 350 passed out of the town and into the swamps surrounding it. Dusk had just barely begun to set in as the party began to navigate the backroads going through the wooded marshes. The sky was a mixture of red, yellow and orange as the Mustang pulled into an old dirt driveway off one fo the farm roads. David exited the car alone and went to knock on the door.

About ten seconds after he did so, a rather attractive woman greeted him with an enthusiastic hug and kiss. She led him inside and closed the door behind him.

Johnathan sighed, "Well, soon as he's done here we better get home. Hopefully he won't take too long."

Nathan retorted, "He said he wouldn't."

"You know how he is with Allison," quipped Brad. Nathan conceded the point and the rest of the brothers ended up waiting for an hour before seeing their brother again. He came out the front door with Allison, kissed her goodbye and began walking back to the car, but stopped midway with a look of astonishment on his face.

Johnathan squinted in confusion but then realized that headlights were beginning to cast their glow from behind the Mustang. David made a break for the driver's side and Johnathan, as hastily as he could, threw himself into the passenger's seat.

David sat there. It couldn't be could it? Then again, who else would come this far out after dark? The sound of a pistol going off from the car and impacting the bumper of the GT reassured David of his worry and without even thinking of putting on his seatbelt he threw it into reverse and spun out into a u-turn, throwing the gearshift back into drive and peeling out past the mob's big gray truck.

David punched the gas as hard as he could and still keep control, barely making the turn onto the backroad without flipping the car. Just as the first truck came up behind them, a second appeared behind it and joined the chase.

"How the hell could they track us here so fast!? What happened!?" Dale yelled from the backseat.

"Shut up, SHUT UP!" was Johnathan's reply. The trees whizzed by the sides of the GT about as fast as they appeared in the headlights. David's speed was getting out of control as he maneuvered hard to stay on the winding road.

Just as he slowed to take a sharp corner, a third truck came from in front of him. It struck the Mustang in the front driver's side corner and sent the Shelby spinning off to the right, onto a steep hill. The passenger's side impacted a tree, only facilitating the spinning of the vehicle as it began to roll down the hill into utter darkness.

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OOC: Thanks guys. ^_^

IC:

David came to to a sick realization. The windshield was almost completely gone, the front of the GT crumpled and sitting under water. The back end was sticking out onto the bank. The Mustang had found its way right into a swamp. Mossy trees surrounded them. Mist drifted over the water and onto the soggy land, as headlights slowly made their way through the fog.

Blood trickled into the corner of his eye. He was dazed but the brighter the lights got, the more he came to. He heard shouting. At first it sounded incomprehensible, but it grew louder and cleared. It was his brother John, "Get out, get out!"

Suddenly realizing his peril, David jumped into action. He checked his pistol and jumped out the busted driver's side window. As he looked back, he saw Nathan. His throat was bleeding and his eyes stared forward, unblinking. "Oh my God. Oh my God! Nathan! NATHAN!"

Johnathan ran through the knee deep water and grabbed David by the bicep, "He's gone, there's nothing we can do! Come on!" As Johnathan pulled David through the water towards his borthers, armed with shotguns, the three pairs of headlights came to bear, shining directly at them. Men began jumping out of the trucks.

Brad and Dale began to fire the shotguns, dropping two of them, but they were in a bad position and the other gang was too quick. Brad was shot several times through the chest and as Dale turned on his attacker, he was pistol whipped. One of the mobsters grabbed and and began dragging him.

David heard the sound of enemy hammers clicking. Johnathan, being more clear, began to run towards Dale, "Get your hands of him ya filthy pig! Right now!"

When there was no reply, he shot one of the men dragging him and received one right in the forehead. The gang boss stepped out, wearing a lambskin-lined leather jacket and worn jeans with work boots. He pulled out a .44 revolver as he walked towards Dale. "This is what happens when you mess with the wrong bull."

He clicked the hammer and fired one straight through Dale's temple. David had no choice, he began to run. He ran towards the darkness of the wilderness before him. He thought he might have made it, when a load of 12 guage shot struck him in the back of the shoulder. He fell face first into the slimy mud and blacked out.

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David awoke in extreme pain and discomfort. Bright light was already shining into the swamp, it must have been around 10 o'clock. He pulled himself up but found his right shoulder to feel very stiff. He looked at it. It was torn up pretty good, but it would heal.

He dragged his body from the muddy water and onto the damp bank. He picked up his pistol but found it useless, waterlogged and filled with mud. He put it in his belt so that he could possibly salvage it later.

It was at that point that he remembered. Every single one of his brothers, every single one, was dead. He couldn't take it. He began walking in circles, letting out a scream here and there before falling back to his knees in tears.

"Johnathan! JOHNATHAN!" He ran into the water to find his brothers' bodies. He dragged them onto the shore next to the wrecked GT. As he came back to his senses, he knew he could not take the bodies.

It took him all day, but he buried all his brothers in that Louisiana swamp. As twilight began to crawl across the sky, he took of his shirt and rolled it up thinly. He took some turpentine from the trunk of the Mustang and doused the shirt in it, then stuck it in the gas tank. He took out his zippo lighter and lit the bottom of the shirt.

As he walked up the hill, the car exploded into a ball of fire behind him. His sadness was quickly turning to anger. Feelings of revenge coarsed through his veins. He could feel it welling up inside him. He wasn't going to be proud of what he was going to do, but it had become an inevitability.

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A knock came on Allison's door. She sat down her knife and fork and went to it. She lived alone so she grabbed the old double-barrel shotgun propped up next to the door, cracking the old wooden door open. It was David. She set the gun down and threw the door open, smiling. However, that smile quickly turned into a look of shock and worry.

David had dried blood caked onto generous portions of his face, the rest of which was covered in dirt and grime. His hair was messy and dirty and his clothes were splashed with the water of the swamp. She yelped in surprise, "Oh my God David! What the hell happened to you!?"

David opened his mouth to speak, but before he could Allison pulled him inside and sat him down on her aging couch.

"David, Oh my God, are you ok!? What happed, do you need anything? What can I do for you?"

"Allison, Allison listen."

Allison finally stopped. She was kneeling in front of David, her eyes met his as she prepared to listen, but she guessed it before he could speak.

"Where's Johnathan? Where are your brothers?"

David paused for a moment and then spoke, "They're dead."

"Dead? DEAD!? What happened to you? What happened to you David?"

"We crossed that gang from Clearwater Bayou and they killed them. They killed them all."

"What the hell are you doing messin' around with gangs!?"

"Don't kid yourself, Alli. You know what we did."

"Well...are you ok?"

"Yeah, yeah I'll be fine. I just need some tweezers to pick the shot outta my shoulder. Luckily it didn't penetrate too good."

"Yeah, yeah sure." She got up and quickly walked into her bathroom. David pulled his shirt and undershirt off as metallic clanging prevailed through the house. Allison quickly returned with a pair of tweezers, a bowl of water and a handtowel.

It took him the better part of an hour to remove all the shot, but Allison tended to him well and brought him some dinner. The news showed nothing of what had happened, just as he had hoped. It was late, so David decided he would sleep in the house that night. Tomorrow was going to be a bloody day.

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It had been a weak and the flesh wounds had finally healed. The emotional ones however had only festered. David had been laying low, staying out of town, sleeping at Allison's, not engaging in any questionable or questionable looking actions. As far as the Clearwater Gang knew, he was dead in the swamp with his brothers.

One night, David went to the bank, emptied his account and went to see his old friend Jamal. Jamal was an African-American, very tall and fit. He owned a pawn shop in Clearwater Bayou. On that night, it was especially dark and rain was pouring. David entered the shop just before closing with his hood up and a duffel bag.

Jamal looked up from the counter, "Make it quick buddy we're almost-David! Oh my God!" He ran around the counter and hugged David. David returned it with his free arm smiling, but the grin quickly faded.

"Jamal, I'll be making a hefty purchase today."

"Sure, whad'ya need?"

"Guns."

"Well, you came to the right place bud," Jamal replied smiling and walking back around the counter, gesturing to all the guns hanging behind and resting inside.

"I need a Mossberg 590 12-gauge with the spacer removed, two Colt Series 70 .45 ACP's, an AK-47 and the Marlin lever-action 30-06, with scope."

"Whoa, what's all this for?"

"Huntin', do ya got it all?"

"Yeah, yeah I got it all. You're a lucky !@#$%^& you know? I just got an AK in last week, my only one."

"Haha, you haven't let me down yet J." David threw the duffel bag onto the counter and opened it. Inside was the stolen bank money and the money from his account, also bolstered by stolen bills. "Just take what ya need."

Jamal looked warily at the immense amount of bills. "Boy you're lucky you're a friend."

David smiled, "What'd you expect?"

Jamal laughed, "I had kinda hoped you'd man up and put yourself to an honest day's labor."

"Not today J," laughed David.

Jamal gave David a hand with the firearms, loading them in Allison's car. As they said their goodbye's, Jamal finally spoke up, "Look, David, whatever you're going to do, I hope you actually know what you're doing."

"I've never been more certain of anything in my life."

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The air was almost palpable in the Clearwater Bayou. It was thick and soggy, very humid. David waded through the muddy swamp slowly, so as not to make a sound, with a pistol on his hip and his shotgun resting on his shoulder. The thick, murky water reached up to just above his knees and he had to move slowly to keep it from sloshing. Ellis Hendricks was a clever man.

Ellis Hendricks was the enforcer who had killed Brad and pistol whipped Dale. He was the Boss's right hand man and enforcer. He lived out in the middle of the swamp on Clearwater Bayou to escape both the long arm of the law and his enemies. As David peered through the grove-like trees he finally spotted the lights of the small shanty and tossed his cigarette into the water. He moved carefully and quietly, remaining within the shadows and out of any lines of sight. There was one thing he had up on Hendricks, the gangster thought he was dead so he would be relatively at ease.

As he neared, David pulled the shotgun slowly down from his shoulder and into the firing position. Hendricks's shanty was a small hut-like dwelling built on stilts so that it sat on the water with a small trolling boat on it's dock/front porch. David sneaked his way to where he sat just under the porch. He had had to pull his pistol out from his belt and lift it up, as the water was now just below his chest. He silently placed it on the porch, which was just above his head. He took a moment to listen to the sounds emanating from the house.

The lights were on and so was the late show, but a comforting sound came loudly from the open window; vigorous snoring. David smiled and quietly as he could pulled himself up. He placed the pistol back in his belt and brought the shotgun up to his shoulder, ready to be fired. He slowly checked the door, it was locked. David squeezed his eyes shut hard and then kicked the door open, shattering the wood close to the lock. He quickly stepped in, oriented himself and pointed the gun at Hendricks.

The man was fit but slightly aged, with a thick mustache and bald head. He wore a white wife-beater and jeans and had a half-drank beer can in his left hand. He had awoken quite violently but had no time to rise from his couch and simply froze at the end of the shotgun's barrel. He managed to find himself quickly enough to speak, "Shoulda known a shoulder shot wouldn't kill you, Davy Boy."

"Well if yer smart enough to figure that out, you shoulda figured this would happen you dirty !@#$%^&." David was scowling and barely contained himself.

"You ever looked into the eyes of someone yer about ta kill?"

"There's a first time for everythin'."

"Then prepared to feel like yer goin' to Hell boy, for tha rest 'a yer life."

"I've already got my ticket, little late ta be expectin' redemption." With that, David pulled the trigger. Red painted the dirty back wall behind the couch. David did not shake, did not tremble. He ejected the shell and returned to the swamp. The only noise left was that of the TV and the bugs chirping.

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OOC: Thanks. ^_^

IC:

David finally came stumbling in Allison's front door, a while after midnight. She had been waiting for him on the couch and jumped up at his arrival. He looked like a wild man. His jeans were covered in mud as well as the bottom half of his aging flannel shirt. His beard and long hair were very messy and dirty and he had a wild look in his eyes. The held the shotgun in his right hand at his side, the pistol in the other.

"What did you do?" she demanded, rather than asked.

David scoffed, "Allison, you know what I did."

"Lord, David! You can't do this!"

"I can, and I am."

She was genuinely furious with him now, "No, David, you can't. Get outta my house."

David had been walking toward the kitchen, but stopped, turned back around and set his shotgun against the wall, tossing the pistol onto the couch. "What are saying?"

"I'm saying I can't do this! You can't do this! You can't just go around blowing peoples' brains into the wall!"

David yelled, but remained in control, "They killed my brothers, Allison! They killed them!" David grabbed her by the shoulders. Her face slowly turned from anger to sadness as he spoke, "Johnathan, Dale, Nathan, Brad, they're dead! Every. Single. One. They killed 'em in that swamp, thought they killed me, and left our bodies in the swamp to rot! I can't let them just get away with that, I won't."

He released her and she got stern again, "You do what you have to do, but you don't come back to this house 'til your finished. Once it's over, you come back here and we'll never speak of it again."

David's face became neutral, "Deal."

He picked the shotgun and pistol back up and walked back out the door.

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