Coming Down the Mountain

Remember that scene in Deliverance? It's sorta like that, but without the squealing. And more guns.

Buckets of meth and inbred porking. Sounds like one helluva hillbilly family reunion...

Coming Down the Mountain by Brian Panowich

Twenty years it took me to get up this mountain. Considering it's only about a hundred and ten miles from where I was born, I guess it's the longest trip I've ever made. I spent four years in Decatur Community College right out of high school, nose deep in books and ramen noodles. Never coming up for air. Next came an eight-year stretch at Atlanta PD, which made me a prime candidate for forward advancement into the GBI. A road paved by the money my mama made busting her hump working three jobs. One at a diner slinging blue-plate specials to road kings, another across I-75 slinging Kentucky Tavern to the dregs of Little Five Points, and a third I wasn't supposed to know about. I assume that's how she met the up-standing citizen that sired me. A few hours at a Super-8, a dislocated shoulder, and a tag-along in her belly to remember the whole affair. She never treated me like the bastard I am, so I never judged her for how she made our living. I just set out to make her proud, and that led me here.

To this goddamn mountain.

All my boys at the Bureau thought I lost my mind when I finally got to write my own ticket and I choose to come here. Nobody wants this shit assignment. No glory in chasing these rednecks into their holes, but here I am doing just that. I've been with the ATF for all of six months and so far my team has busted up nearly fifty percent of the meth trade flooding the Southeast. These bastards are poisoning the well and selling the water, just so they can bury coffee cans full of cash in the Georgia clay. They don't even need the money. There’s nowhere to spend it in this shit-hole anyhow. I don't understand it, but then again I don't have to. I just need to stop it.
This is a family business up here. The Kingpin killed himself with his own product a few years back and since then his sons have been dropping like flies. I even took one out myself while I was still with GBI. An O.K. Corral-type firefight. Real John Wayne shit. I put three in his sternum, just like I was taught.

I felt nothing.

I still don't. 

If the intel is correct, the last and youngest member of this clan is a dirty sheriff holed up in this concrete dugout with about forty large and no way out.

I hate dirty cops.

I hate this place.


“Come on out here Clayton, you got no choice! Toss your weapon and nobody else needs to get hurt!”

I lied. Someone else did need to get hurt.

One of my agents already took out the deputy. Scattered his brains all over the windshield of his Crown Vic during the piss poor attempt to rescue his master.

Clayton didn't throw out his gun, but he did fling something small and shiny out the door. It took me a minute to see it was his badge. I guess he was tired of pretending to be the good guy. I knelt down, picked it up in plain view, and put it in my pocket. If that was him throwing down the gauntlet, I wanted him to see me pick it up.

My team was in place.

"When this idiot comes out guns blazing. Put him down."


The whole thing was over in seconds.

The poor bastard never even got a shot off. He showed his cards and got mowed the fuck down. Lying there bent and twisted in a pool of blood and dust, I leaned over him as he prattled on about it finally being over. That he was the last of them, and now he could find some peace. Something about finally seeing his brothers again.

I scooped up a handful of blood and clay and packed it down hard in his open mouth. As his eyes widened, I knelt down on his neck and leaned in close.

"No, Clayton, that's not how it ends at all. When you get to hell, you make sure you tell our dad that it was Marion's boy that put you down. You tell him he's got one son left and this mountain belongs to me now. And then all you rat-fucks can watch while I burn it to the ground.”

I love you, Mama.

Ever since he can remember, Brian always wanted to write comic books. That’s how it started. Somewhere around puberty, Rock and Roll started whispering in his ear and took him on a twenty-year journey all over the country, writing songs and playing them for whomever wanted to listen. Songs that told stories. Settling down to start a family took Brian off the road and his songs became stories for the written page. His work has started to appear online and in small press anthologies. Brian lives in East Georgia with his smokin’ hot wife and their four children. He can also be found on Facebook and Goodreads, as well as his website