I felt the knife dig into my skin deep enough to draw a small amount of blood.
“It's been a while, Ian,” I said.
“Far too long, I agree, but we both knew this time would come,” he responded.
“Why are you here?” I asked.
Ian chuckled behind me. “Aww, what's wrong with two old friends reconnecting?”
“The last time I saw you, you tried to kill me. We're anything but friends,” I said.
I felt the knife dig deeper in my neck. “If I really wanted you dead last time, you wouldn't be here,” Ian snarled.
“If you hurt Jason, I swear I will make it my goal to hunt you down and cause you the most painful death you can imagine.”
I heard the cock of a gun behind me and felt Ian stiffen.
“You have three seconds to drop the knife before I shoot you,” Jason said.
Ian didn't move the blade. I caught a reflection off the glass coffee table and saw that Jason had a gun pointed at the back of Ian's head. He was standing only a foot away from him with the gun just inches from the man's head. I knew how deadly Ian was and that he was already planning a way to take Jason down.
Looking down at the remote, I saw that it had volume control. I turned the volume up as loud as it could go and hit the play button. The momentary silence between us was broken by the sudden blast of music from the opening credits. Ian flinched and I knew it was my only chance to get away.
I grabbed Ian's arm with both hands and twisted. The knife fell to the ground as he tried to break free from my grip. As I jumped off the couch, I pulled Ian over the back and threw him on the ground. Still holding his arm, I pulled it straight out and kneed his elbow in the opposite direction, shattering the bone. Ian let loose a terrifying scream, no doubt from the pain.
Jason rushed over with the gun still trained on Ian. “What the fuck is going on?”
I was at a loss for words and couldn't respond.
“Derek,” Jason demanded. “Who is he? Do you know him?”
“Yes,” I responded.
“What does he want?”
“I'm not sure,” I said. “Only one way to find out. Let's tie him up.”
“Tie him up? Are you kidding me?” Jason screamed. “This asshole just broke in here and held a knife to your neck and probably would have killed us both. And you want to tie him up? Give me one good reason not to kill him right now.”
“Have you ever killed someone?” I asked.
“No, but that's besides the point!”
I stayed silent and just looked at Jason.
“Wait, have you?” he asked.
Ian laughed from the floor. “Derek here, as you call him, has an even higher kill count than I do.”
Jason's eyes opened wide as he looked at me. I kicked Ian and told him to keep his mouth shut.
“What's he talking about, Derek?”
“Nothing. He's delusional. Don't believe anythin....” I said before I was cutoff by Ian.
“He's a spy you twit!” Ian laughed.
I watched as Jason took a few steps back and pointed the gun at me instead of Ian. This was definitely not how things were supposed to work out.
“You're a spy?” Jason asked.
“I'm not a spy,” I said. “I...”
“Don't fucking lie to me Derek,” Jason cut me off.
Ian twisted and tried to kick my legs, but I stepped on his elbow just in time.
“Look, there's a lot that you don't know, but we need to tie him up before he tries something stupid,” I said pointing at Ian.
Jason nodded but didn't lower his weapon. He watched as I dragged Ian to the living room. Ian was struggling, but his attempts to escape were met with a swift kick to his shattered elbow. I pulled a kitchen chair over and forced Ian to sit in it. Jason tossed me a roll of duct tape he grabbed from a drawer and watched as I tied him up. After I finished, I looked back at Jason. He pointed to another chair and motioned for me to sit.
“You,” he said pointing at Ian, “don't speak. If you open your mouth I'll shoot you.”
Ian smiled and nodded his head.
“You,” he said pointing at me, “tell me who you really are.”
“I told you already, he's a spy,” Ian said.
Jason aimed the gun at Ian's foot and pulled the trigger without flinching. Ian screamed in agony as I sat and watched. The bullet hit the top of his foot and most likely blew one of his toes off. Painful, yes, but he would still live. Jason turned the gun back to me and motioned for me to speak.
“I'm not a spy,” I said. “At least not in the technical sense...”
“What the fuck does that mean?” Jason asked.
“Look, it's complicated,” I said.
“We've got time. No one is going anywhere until I know what the hell is going on,” he said.
I sighed and started in on my story.
****Two weeks ago****
I walked into my boss's office and sat on one of the chairs in front of his desk.
“Mr. Gordon,” I said.
“It's Derek, sir,” I said.
Mr. Gordon opened the file on his desk and skimmed it. “So it is. My apologies, I forgot you changed it again.”
I nodded but didn't say anything.
“Straight to the point it is,” he said. “How is Operation Swingline going?”
“You have my reports, sir.”
“Which is why I've called you in here today. You've been on this assignment for six months and have yet to provide me with any useful information regarding Mr. Lang's business,” he said.
“In my defense, sir, I can't exactly walk into his private office and snoop through his files. It takes time for a deep cover operation like this,” I said.
“Which leads me to my next point. You went an interesting route with your cover story. Dating the target's son?” he asked.
“It was the only way I could get close to Mr. Lang,” I responded.
“Understandable,” he said. “And you're sure you haven't let the relationship cloud your judgment?”
Mr. Gordon stood up and opened another file on his desk.
“Good, because your objective has changed. You are no longer to collect information passively. We received word that Mr. Lang has a personal hard drive hidden in a safe in his office. You are to find that hard drive and then eliminate Mr. Lang.”
“I don't understand. If I get the hard drive why do I have to kill Mr. Lang?” I asked.
“I'm afraid that's above your pay grade,” my boss said with a smirk.
“You withholding information could get me killed,” I said.
Mr. Gordon shrugged dismissively.
“Oh I see,” I said. “So I'm expendable now?”
“We're all expendable to some degree,” he said.
I sat quietly and thought about my options. This wasn't the first time my boss tried to send me on a suicide mission, but it damn sure would be the last.
“With all due respect, sir,” I said as I stood up and walked towards the door. “Go fuck yourself. I'm done.”
“You can't just walk away, Derek! We both know you'll come crawling back to me!” Gordon screamed as I slammed the door in his face and walked out of the building for the last time.
There was one more place I had to go that day.
“That's what I fucking am to you?” Jason screamed at me. “I'm just some guy you used for your assignment?”
“It's not like that...”
“Bullshit! You just said that you used me so you could get information on my father!”
“Babe, listen to me!” I said.
Jason raised the gun at me again. “Don't. You don't get to call me that anymore. Everything that's ever come out of your mouth was a damn lie.”
“Damn it, Jason, listen to me! I quit. I walked away for you. I couldn't hurt you or your father. I love you!”
Jason seemed to think about it and halfway lowered his weapon.
“I quit the company and left it all behind,” I said. “If you were just some assignment, I wouldn't be here.”
“I don't even know your name,” Jason whispered.
“It's Derek. I'm still the same person you fell in love with. Everything I've said you to is the truth. I love you,” I said as I got up and walked closer to him.
I reached out and tried to hug him, but Jason pushed me away. He shook his head and looked at me with tears in his eyes. I could tell he was hurting, but I needed him to trust me.
“Jason, I need the gun,” I said.
“Why, so you can finish your assignment and kill me too?”
“God damn it, Jason, if I wanted you dead you wouldn't be here! Just give me the fucking gun!” I screamed.
Jason tossed the gun at my feet and stood there waiting. I picked it up and checked to see if it was loaded. It was. Jason had tears silently running down his face as he looked at me.
“Jason, I need you to leave the room for a bit,” I said.
“Why?” he asked.
“Ian here has information that I need in order to keep you safe.”
“So?” he asked.
I couldn't help but sigh. “It's not going to be pretty. You don't want to watch.”
“Fuck you,” Jason said as he turned and left the room.
I turned back and looked at Ian. He sat motionless as he watched the entire exchange. Ian and I previously worked for the same company. While we were technically on the same team, we always had a bitter rivalry that ended in us almost killing each other numerous times. I needed to find out why he came here and who sent him, but I knew it wasn't going to be easy to break him.
Ian cocked his head to the side and smiled at me. Irritated that he was so cocky, I shot him in his other foot without warning. When his screaming subsided, I launched into my interrogation.
“Why are you here?” I asked.
“You really do love the little pansy, don't you?” Ian asked.
I stepped on his foot and twisted causing screams of pain from Ian. “Answer my question.”
“Go fuck yourself, we both know why I'm here. Gordon sent me to kill you.”
“Just me?” I asked.
“And anyone else that was here, but you were the target,” he responded.
“How did you get in?”
“Oh that was easy. When you and your little boyfriend went off to play sheriff and shoot rifles, you forgot to reset the security measures. Amazing the things you forget when you think with the wrong head,” he said nodding towards my pants.
I mentally kicked myself for the mistake. It was out of character for me to forget something that important, but maybe he was right. Maybe my attachment to Jason had been clouding my judgment. I continued to ask Ian questions, occasionally prompting him with a squeeze of his elbow or another step on his foot.
After forming a decent picture of what was going on I asked my final question. “Are you alone?”
“Yes,” he responded quickly.
“You're a horrible liar,” I said as I raised the gun to his head.
“And you're a dead man,” Ian said.
“You first,” I said.
I pulled the trigger and walked away in search of Jason. I found him hovering just around the corner listening to the entire exchange. He gave me a look I had never seen before: disgust.
“Did you kill him?” he asked.
Jason simply nodded and turned for the door. I reached out to stop him, but as soon as I put my hand on his shoulder he pushed me away.
“Don't touch me,” he said.
“We can't go out there. There's probably a team waiting for us in the forest.”
“He said he was alone.” Jason responded.
“He knew I was going to kill him so he lied,” I said.
“How do you know? Maybe he was telling the truth just so you would think someone was out there.”
I shook my head. “There wouldn't be a point. He knew we would eventually leave or call for help.”
Jason was about to respond when we heard movement in the house. Without hesitating I lunged at Jason and pulled him around the corner just as a three round burst hit the wall where we were standing. The team had already entered the house.
I pushed Jason towards the security room. One pistol was not enough to defend ourselves.
As we entered the room, I immediately noticed the computer and security system were destroyed. The team must have tried to disable it, but then decided it was easier just to destroy the entire thing. Jason typed in the code to open the gun safe in the wall and we both set out arming ourselves.
Hidden in the back of the safe were bulletproof vests and military utility belts designed to hold two handguns and multiple spare clips of ammunition. I assumed they were for the security detail for Mr. Lang, but didn't care at that point. I heard the floor creak right outside the door to the security room. Time's up.
I sent a three round burst through the wall two feet to the right of the door hoping they weren't reinforced. I got my answer when I heard a yelp and the sound of a body hitting the floor. Poking my head out the door, I saw a man wearing tactical gear laying on the ground moaning. I quickly put two more rounds into him and pulled his body into the security room.
He was wearing armor, but one of my initial bullets had just barely made its way around and hit him in the stomach. His pockets were empty, but I took his radio and placed the ear bud in my ear. He also had a silenced pistol and a sub-machine gun. I holstered my own gun and took the silenced handgun.
“Alpha-three do you copy?” I heard on the radio.
I muted the headset and looked at Jason. He stood there in full gear ready to go, but I could still see the fear in his eyes. I reached out to him, but he took a step back and gave me an icy glare.
“Get us out of here,” he whispered.
“I will. I promise,” I said.
“Your word means nothing to me now,” he said. “Just find us a way out without getting me killed.”
I nodded in response. I desperately wanted Jason to forgive me, but now was not the time to be discussing things.
“Alpha-one and alpha-two what are your positions?”
“Alpha-one making my way towards alpha-three's last known position.”
“Alpha-two sweeping the green-room.”
“Roger. Be advised Alpha-four is covering the cabin exit.”
“We need another way out,” I said looking at Jason. “There are two more in the building and another covering the cabin. Is there another way out of this place?”
“No. For security purposes my dad only wanted one entrance and exit,” Jason said.
“Alright, I guess we have no other way but to fight our way out. Are you ready for this?” I asked.
“I might not be some secret spy that fucks up people's lives for a living, but I know how to handle a gun.”
“I'm not a damn spy! I used... look we can talk later. Will you stay behind me and follow my lead?” I asked.
“Not like I have a choice,” Jason mumbled.
I took that as a yes and made my way towards the door. I risked a quick glance in both directions in the hallway and didn't see any enemies. Sticking low to the ground, Jason and I made our way back towards the living room.
As I turned the corner to look into the living room, the power went out. Jason said the entire facility was on its own grid, but they must have found a master shutoff switch inside somewhere. A few emergency power lights came on, but it was barely enough to see half-way across the room. The living room appeared to be clear, and the exit door was just on the other side of the room. If we could make it there and sneak out, we would only have to deal with one hostile waiting at the exit.
I was about to lead us across the room when I heard the radio chirp in my ear.
“Alpha-three is down. I repeat, Alpha-three is down. Targets must be headed for the exit.”
Shit. Somehow one of them was behind us in the security room. Just as I was telling Jason to watch our back, I saw a figure creeping along the hallway coming towards us. I used the silenced pistol to fire off two shots to the man's head. He immediately dropped, dead before he hit the ground.
There was one more hostile in the house, but I had no idea on where he was.
“Alpha-two, what is your position?” I said into the radio.
“Alpha-two in the living room covering the exit door.”
He was somewhere on the other side of the room, but the emergency lighting wasn't bright enough to see him in the shadows. Moving beyond the hallway would put us directly under a light giving him the perfect opportunity to see us. I had to draw him out somehow.
I grabbed one of my non-silenced pistols and fired a few rounds down the hallway in the opposite direction. Jason gave me an incredulous look, but I fired off two more.
“Alpha-two, this is Alpha-three. I've been hit. Requesting assistance in the security room,” I said into the radio.
There was no response and no movement from the room.
“Alpha-two, this is alpha-four. Bravo team is en-route. Be advised that is not alpha-three. I repeat, that is not alpha-three. Switch to secondary radio frequency.”
My plan to lure the last enemy out had failed miserably. I took the ear piece out and turned off the radio as I had no way of knowing what the secondary radio frequency was. Jason and I were on our own.
“They have another team headed here. Someone really wants us dead,” I whispered to Jason.
“You mean they want you dead,” Jason responded. “I'm just collateral damage.”
I was about to respond when I saw movement in the shadows across the room. I quickly emptied the clip left in the silenced pistol, hoping that at the very least it would cause the enemy to duck for cover. Without hesitating, I rushed to the other side of the room intent on killing him. I heard a groan coming from the other side of the couch. He was injured, but not dead.
I raised my gun towards the couch, but Jason fired first and sent four rounds through the back of the sofa. We waited, but heard nothing. Peering over the couch I saw the man was dead. Jason had made his first kill.
“Is he dead?” Jason asked.
I nodded. Jason showed no signs of remorse for taking the man's life. “We have to find another way out. They're covering the exit.”
“There are no other ways out,” Jason said.
“We can't just stay here forever,” I said.
“You're the spy, you figure it out.”
“I'm not a god damn spy!”
“Well what and who the hell are you then?” he asked.
“Look, it's complicated. Can we just focus on getting out of here for now? I'll explain everything later,” I said.
“If we don't die first,” he mumbled.
I ignored the comment and shut the door to the tunnel leading outside. If Jason knew the real truth he would never forgive me.
There had to be another way out even if Jason didn't know about it. No one with this much security in mind wouldn't have a backup plan. I went from room to room looking for any sign of hidden doors. Mr. Lang's office would be the most likely choice for a secret exit route, but nothing seemed out of place. Jason tagged along and watched me as he continuously reminded me that there wasn't a secret exit.
I made it back to the bedrooms and stared at our bags of clothes on the bed. Jason saw what I was looking at and made the connection. The conveyor belt to the shack.
“It won't work,” Jason said.
“First of all, the space is tight. Even if we fit, we won't have much room to move,” he said. “Second, if we start the belt, they'll no doubt hear the motors going and figure it out.”
“It's our best shot at getting out of here alive,” I said. “It's probably our only shot. If we climb our way out without turning the motor on, they'll never know. We pop up in the shack, run to the truck, and take off before they even realize we're not in the house anymore.”
“And what if they're covering the garage too?” Jason asked.
“Then we handle that when we get there,” I said.
Jason sighed but nodded his head. “Fine.”
He led the way to the conveyor belt in the hallway and opened the door. The opening was about two feet by two feet and pitch black inside. It was going to be an extremely unpleasant climb to the top. Jason involuntarily shuddered next to me.
“You okay?” I asked as I put a hand on his shoulder.
“I'm fine, I just don't like small spaces,” he said.
“You'll be fine. I'll be right in front of you the entire time.”
“That's comforting,” he replied sarcastically and brushed my hand off his shoulder.
I looked at him with pleading eyes eyes, but only received a cold stare in return.
Carrying a gun in hand along the climb would be nearly impossible so I reluctantly holstered it and climbed in the small opening. With no flashlight to see, I felt around my surroundings. The walls were smooth and made of metal. On one hand, it made it safer to climb knowing there weren't sharp edges along the way. On the other, if the enemy figured out where we were, it would deflect the bullets and funnel them directly at us. I kept this to myself and hoped Jason wouldn't think about it.
We were well along our way to the top when Jason sneezed. The confined space caused it to bounce off the walls and echo. I stopped climbing and lay flat on the belt waiting to see if anyone heard. Jason, however, continued to climb and ended up directly on top of me. The closeness in the tight space made me smile and wish none of this ever happened.
“Sorry,” Jason mumbled and started climbing backwards. “If you grope me right now I'll kill you.”
My hard-on immediately went away. At that point I had no idea if he was serious about killing me. I decided not to respond and started climbing again. After another thirty minutes, I saw a faint light creeping in the tunnel. We were nearing the end.