(contd. From fourth installment – Gone Wrong)
2000 miles from the barn, a man fell on one knee before the large steel box. He removed the hood he’d used to mask his face in the event one of the guards escaped, dug hands into the small attaché he carried, and exhaled.
The man inserted the key into a hole designed for such and waited for a lengthy ten seconds. The box gave a beep and required passcode. He thumbed Armastus. Another ten seconds.
The lid parted. He went on both knees, drew the top aside. The item was there, cased in a purple silicon cover. Reaching for the device he’d brought with him, he found a port on the item and plugged to his device.
A blue background filled his device. The item loaded.
Finally, the man thought, he could drop the hood. No more double-acts. No more late nights. No more…
A glitch at the top of the screen stopped him cold. He read. File encrypted. You cannot access this file without…
The man called Boss.
“You have it?”
“Yes. There’s a problem.”
“The file was encrypted,” the man continued. “There’s a request for some –”
“The girl. Get the girl.”
“You do want to live, agent Gardner. Bring me the file. And the girl.”
Silence. One of the slugged guards stirred.
A sharp cut pinched his lobe. The man slapped the lids of the box close. Turned back. The guard was rising into a sitting position. He sent a kick into the guard’s stomach. The guard fell into a heap.
The man exerted all force into remaining calm. His itinerary didn’t feature a box on his return trip. His contract with Boss stated he’d have no involvement with the girl. Boss was not to be disobeyed.
The consequences were not pleasant to the human body.
The man did a flip. He had no knowledge of the girl’s position. He, however, knew who guarded her. He knew where the guardian was. He also knew his history with the guardian.
Cold whistles rung into the night. A movement to his right alerted him. Branches of an acacia tree.
Whatever approached he employed, the man was certain it wasn’t good. Not a good night. At all.
$ $ $ $ $ $ $
It all happened too fast.
One moment, she was contemplating skipping lunch to finish her project, and maybe pick up dinner at the Chinese restaurant three blocks from her dosshouse. The next, she was being ordered by an Arab.
Next came the saving. The drive. The challenge. The runaway. Now, it was… What? Kim knew not what their situation was. She knew however that it wasn’t favorable.
Not since Colt had withdrawn into a corner of the cabin, found a dusty mat, and slumped. Colt had discarded his gun, a Colt, just at the hem of the mat. The cuffs of his suit were loosened, and a button from the white plain shirt he donned bounced the center of the room before settling at Kim’s sandal.
One look at Colt and she knew the agent was gone. The man, not so sure. He was a child now.
They’d dished time away discussing childhoods. Colt was the product of a drunk broke driver and a local secretary who partied more than filed documents. It was a one night job. Nine months and two days later, the boy with a mass of black spiky hair was birthed.
April had like all other unstable ladies nursed the thought of abortion, then adoption, then abandon. She settled for the last, to be prevented by the only person who stuck with her as the pregnancy grew.
Colt came to know April as his mum when he was all-night at a party and came home hung up. The mother who raised him, in fury, referred to the incident eighteen years back, and how Colt came to be as a result of late partying and single deadly episodes.
Colt at the time was seventeen.
The lad stormed off the house, went amiss for half a day, and returned as Colt the new leaf. His career focus got a divine touch. He went on to study forensic science, then by hearsay, attended two classes of Crime Investigation.
There he met his handler, Jon.
Colt hadn’t sipped a drop of alcohol since, save once. There was always one.
The deactivation didn’t bug him as much as the loss. He told Kim he felt empty. And Kim understood, as far as understanding could cover. She had a knowledge of losing what you devoted time to.
Kim sat on the mat, adjacent Colt. “We can’t sit here all night.”
“No,” Colt replied, “but there’s enough room for us to sleep together.”
Kim suspected an arch of her brows.
Colt met her stare. “I mean, have a nap, not sleep, like in the sense of sleep together. Of course, I’d never suggest that. Not that… Does this ever get better?”
Kim shrugged. “You determine.”
Silence dragged through the night.
In a lot of ways, she was like Colt. Eerie past. Dreadful present. Frightful future. In fact, if the night continued the path they were on, the chances of future were a dwindling light.
“Do you want to return?”
She yawned. “What do you mean?”
Colt steeped his head, eyes fixed on the brown and blue strands intertwined to make the mat. “I’m not sure I can protect you anymore. I do not want to bring you to… It’s only a matter of hours before I’m found here.” He looked at her. “Enough time for you to go back.”
“So, what happens to the ‘we run’?”
His eyeballs shrunk. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I. Don’t. Know.”
She crept closer. “It’s alright, Colt. It’s alright.”
He pressed his face into her arms. “Forgive me for failing you. Forgive me.”
Tears wet her blouse.
“No. You didn’t.”
Colt went still, so sudden that she would have panicked if she didn’t know Colt better.
Colt was now leaning against the wall.
I have my demons too, Colt. I do. “Rather, you haven’t. There’s still a chance. Didn’t you say you knew someone who could help?”
“Jonathan. He’s inactive. Not deactivated though.” In the dim of the room, brightened only by the glints of blue from the moonlight, his face sparked.
Kim’s heart leapt.
“You’ve found something?”
Colt pushed himself up. “It’s a risk, but there’s something we could do.”
We. He wasn’t leaving her. She felt a blend of excitement and scare.
Colt was going for his revolver. “We have to leave now.”
Kim started to get up when a trace of orange peeped into the room and vanished so fast she thought it an illusion.
Colt saw it too. “What was that?”
A low whir filled the air outside the barn.
Colt was cocking his gun, checking bullets.
Her heart twisted into her throat for a brief minute.
Colt walked sideways to the lone window. Jumped back. Definite trouble.
“We’ve been found,” he said at a whisper.
Kim moved herself from the view of light in the room. “Who?”
A shake of head.
She traced his gaze upward. A chopper was buried in the leaves of trees, making its descent. Moonlights shone on one of the men alighting. Heavy hair and moustache, like the man that knocked the door of her apartment.
Colt grabbed her with his left arm. “Follow me.”
She did. It was a foolish order and a foolish obedience. They were walking to their death. Nothing…
Shots rang out.
Colt lunged forward, cowering, pulling her. Tires screeched onto the soil outside, rocking the foundation of the barn. The screeches were short and ragged.
In the commotion ensuing, Kim remembered. BMW’s. Mason.
Her heart did a spin.
MI6 vs. Arabs vs. the rogue agent.
Colt figured it too and locked eyes with her.
It’s going to be fine.
I’d get us out alive.
I know, Colt. I trust you.
Kim felt her heart warm. All logic telling her she was wrong fried. Colt averted his eyes. Crept to the entrance, arm still looped into hers.
The agent was back.
Afterword: So, this is the fifth installment. It’s actually building. Wow. I’m excited. Thanks for reading. As usual, you can check previous installments on this blog.