Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chapter Fifty-six

Lisbon, Portugal
John 15:13

A splat of bullets sprayed the doorframe and drywall.  Angus elbowed me aside.  He palmed a small mirror and held it low to see around the corner.  He murmured, “Bloody contractors!”
“What?” Mike called.
“Looks like the same bloody contractors we ran into when we extracted you off that ship.  I recognize the one with a long scar on his face.”
Bullets stitched the opposite wall in a spray of dust.
Mike pushed past me, too, unclipped a cylinder that looked like an aluminum can, pulled the pin and mouthed, “One … two …” then lobbed it around the corner.
BANG!  A tremendous flash blinded me.  I shook my head in time to see Angus and Mike step out.  Four quick coughs came from their pistols.  The spent brass ‘tink-tink-tink’d’ and skittered down the hall.Their shots ran true.  Two men lay face down on the floor.  One’s fingers twitched.  Mike started to dispatch him but I held my hand up.  He shrugged and we left.  The air smelt of cordite and the copper-ferrite smell of blood.
We raced down the hall to the back door and exploded into the alley.  Angus was already scanning it with his pistol.  Mike stayed behind me, herding me forward.
Angus jogged to the van and leaped in. He cranked the engine but kept the lights off.
Mike scowled as he pushed me inside the van.  Then I heard a soft thud and Mike stumbled and fell into the van beside me. 
Time slowed to freeze frames.
Angus leaped from the van’s driver’s seat.
I whipped around frantically and spotted one of the “bloody contractors” slumped against the door, firing at us.  I watched each shot with a strange detached feeling.
Angus used the van’s short hood as a rest and fired three times. The first two bullets hit the contractor in the chest within an inch of each other.  The third hit him square between the eyes.
The contractor’s dead finger fired a final shot into the ground as he fell.
Angus dropped his pistol’s magazine into his free hand and exchanged it for another in one smooth motion as he scanned the alley.
The quiet stunned me.
Angus got back in the still-running van.  We peeled out of the alley to the sound of distant sirens.  An eternity passed before Angus croaked, “All okay?”
I snapped from my trance and did an inventory on myself.  “I’m okay”
Then I looked over at Mike.  He smiled at me. But a small bubble of blood frothed his lips.

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