Cautiously Luke peered through the opening into the kitchen. No one was in sight, but the kitchen had clearly been ransacked. Luke had just reminded himself to be careful when he heard the scream. It was the unfettered terrified scream of a five-year-old girl. It was a sound that would rip the heart from any man. A sound that would convert even the greatest coward into a lion hearted warrior.
Luke ran through the open door, through the small kitchen and into the living room. The scene struck him like something from a cheap horror film. Kelly Graham was down on her knees, her face a bloodied mess. A man stood over her with a claw hammer raised, ready to strike. Luke found himself surprised by the sound of gunfire. On a purely rational level, he knew that he was the cause of the blood on the man's chest, but did not actually remember pointing and firing the AR-15. The man stood for one shocked moment then fell dead across the knelt form of Kelly Graham.
Luke did not expect there to be two of them, but a second attacker held the child in front of his chest, using her as a shield. The little girl was insufficient in mass to cover the man completely, so Luke fired a three round burst at his legs. Every bullet missed wildly, but caused the guy to drop the child and dive for cover behind the end of a couch. Operating like a video game hero, Luke fired a pair of three round burst into the couch causing the man to fall over with a scream. His body twitched violently, but appeared harmless.
With his ears ringing from the sounds of his own gunfire, Luke realized that the video game programmers hadn't managed to get that part right. The sound of automatic gunfire inside an enclosed area was more than a nuance; it was a biting part of reality, which should be added to the games. But there would be no way to add the feeling of fear that had instantly risen in his throat, nor the acidic taste of bile.
Movement caught his eye, which he realized was Kelly Graham attempting to get out from under the first man he'd shot. Luke pulled the man aside and the woman jumped up with amazing agility. She grabbed her daughter and held her tight to her breast. Oddly, Luke realized for the first time that the child was still screaming. While Kelly Graham comforted her child, Luke pulled back the window curtain and spotted four armed men running at them from across the street.
"We've got to go now!" he shouted at her.
Kelly didn't move, so Luke pulled back the curtain that she might see the men rushing toward them. "Their friends," he said, gesturing towards the man on the ground.
Kelly said nothing, but nodded understanding. Luke pointed towards the back door and she moved in that direction.