Sorry for the huge delay on this chapter. Life has that annoying habit of taking over when you least expect it. However, with the new job it should provide me more time to actually write! Maybe...
A huge thanks goes out to LouisHarris that agreed to take on the challenge of editing the mess of words I throw on a page. Also to MJ85 for the beta reading, encouragement and the ideas he sends my way.
I reached the end of the tunnel and sighed. For obvious reasons, there was no handle on the inside of the shack to open the door.
We were locked in. There was no escape.
“What's wrong?” Jason asked.
“I can't open the door.”
“Well, just kick the damn thing until it opens.”
“There's not enough room to turn around, and we don't know if there's anyone out there waiting by the garage. Kicking it open would cause too much noise.”
“You didn't think about that during our climb?” He was abrupt. Acerbic. His voice filled with scorn. “I even asked you about it back when you thought of this bright idea!”
I pushed hard against the wooden door, but it didn't budge. Heavy-duty hinges held it in place. There was no way of knowing what lay in wait beyond the door. It would only be a matter of time before they realized we were not in the house. I pulled my Beretta pistol out. The door was wood, there was little chance of the bullet ricocheting off and coming back at us.
“Move back, down the tunnel. It’s safer there.”
“So much for being worried about noise,” Jason said.
I ignored the comment and took aim at the door where the hinges would most likely be.
“Plug your ears,” I told him. “The echo from gunshots in a tunnel is deafening.”
“Isn’t there another way?”
“No other way so I have no choice.” I kicked myself for not keeping the silenced pistol I took from one of our attackers.
I fired five rounds into the door. With as much momentum as I could gain in the small space, I rammed the door and it flew open. I fell face first out of the shaft.
With no way to plug my ears, the gunshots deafened me partially, and all I could hear was a loud, obnoxious ringing and Jason’s garbled laughter as he climbed out of the tunnel. I stood up and brushed off the dirt. We were clear of the tunnel, but weren't out of the woods.
Jason’s distorted voice was difficult to understand. I pointed to my ears and shrugged to let him know. He pulled me quickly towards the garage and yanked the door open just as a bullet lodged itself in the door frame. I pushed him inside and slammed the door shut.
“Only one shot,” I whispered as the adrenaline coursed through my veins. “A sniper.”
‘Where?” Jason asked.
“I have no idea. My ears. I can’t tell which direction the sound came from.”
“We’re trapped.” Jason covered his face with his hands.
“There will be more of them.”
“What now?” Jason asked. My hearing was slowly starting to come back.
“I don't know, give me a minute to think.”
Jason opened the door of his truck and climbed in. “Sure, take all the time you need. It's not like we have people outside trying to kill us or anything.”
“Look, I know you're pissed,” I said. “But will you stop with the attitude and be civil until I get us out of this fucking mess?”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” He screamed. “You lied to me. About everything! You almost got me killed, there's a good chance we're still going to die, and you're a god damned spy! Yet I'm supposed to be civil?”
“I'm not a spy.”
Jason stared directly into my eyes as he spoke. “That's all you have to say?”
“I love you,” I said.
Against my better judgment, I leaned in and kissed him on the lips. He responded by pushing me away and punched me directly in the face. It hurt like hell and soon I’d have a black eye.
“Wrong answer,” Jason said as he walked back to his truck. I accepted the fact that Jason would take a while to forgive me and got in the passenger side of his truck.
“Sorry,” I whispered, quietly.
“For kissing me, or almost getting me killed?” he asked.
Jason shook his head and looked away.
I found my phone and punched in the number of the only person I knew that could help us.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
“Getting help,” I said. “There's no way we'll get out of here on our own.”
“Great, more guns and more spies.”
“They aren't spies,” I responded.
“Right, that's just you. I thought you quit anyways, how are you going to get help? Or was that another lie too?”
“I did quit. I have friends who owe me favors,” I said.
“Shocking, you actually have friends?”
I shook off the insult and went back to punching the number. It wasn't worth fighting with Jason right now. Deep down I knew he cared for me. Love doesn't just disappear over the course of an hour.
Mitch answered after two rings. I gave him a quick rundown of the situation and our location. He immediately agreed to help, but wouldn't be able to get a team up here for another forty-five minutes. I thanked him and ended the call. After explaining the plan to Jason, he started on the insults again.
“So let me get this straight,” he said. “We're just supposed to sit here for an hour, surrounded by god knows how many people that are trying to kill us, waiting on some guys that owe you a favor to save our ass? Brilliant plan! And what happens if the bad guys decide not to play nice? They know there are only two of us in here. What if they get bored waiting outside and start attacking us? Or maybe they decide to just blow this whole damn garage up with us inside. Or what if...”
“Jason!” I interrupted. “There are countless things that could happen. Stop looking at all the bad outcomes and focus with me on getting out of here.”
“Easy for you to say,” he mumbled.
Jason did have a point. They were not likely to wait for very long. We needed a distraction. I looked around the garage and noticed a large metal tank on wheels.
“What’s in that tank?” I asked.
“Gas for the ATVs.”
“Is it full?”
“It should be. Go check.”
We pushed it over to the door and wedged it between the door and the wall.
“Hopefully it will hold up and make it impossible to open the door...” I said, and then stopped.
The door handle turned slightly.
There was no time to hesitate.
I pulled my gun and sent three rounds through the door. We could not know if I hit someone, but I hoped they would back off for a while. The longer we were able to stall them, the closer Mitch’s team would be.
“Here's the plan,” I said. “The gas tank is blocking the door so they can't get in. They'll either try shooting the lock or blowing the hinges with some kind of explosive. Either way, that tank will explode.”
“And we want to die a slow burning death in a raging ball of fire, why?” he asked.
“We won't. We'll be in the truck. The explosion will be a distraction for us to get a head start out of here. As soon as they blow the tank, I start the truck and drive through the garage door and take off. If we time it right, we can gain at least a few minutes lead while they scramble.”
Jason looked at the gas tank and then his truck. “Two problems.”
“What's that?” I asked.
“Number one; your plan is psychotic. Number two; you're not driving my truck.”
“Seriously. Have you ever driven away from a burning building while a team of people shoot at you?”
“Look, I know this mountain, I know these roads, and I know my truck. You don't. I'm driving.”
“Fine,” I said. “Just don't get us killed.”
Jason snorted. “That's funny, I'm pretty sure this is all your god damned fault to begin with.”
“Whatever. Just get in the car and be ready to go,” I said. My irritation with Jason was growing and it was hard to not show it.
It seemed like we had been waiting for hours, but in reality it was only fifteen minutes. Jason and I didn't speak or even look at each other. The silence was extremely awkward, but I knew better than to say anything to him at this point. He'd berate me again as though all of this were my fault.
I heard a faint, shuffling noise outside the garage door and knew the shit was about to hit the fan.
“Get ready,” I said.
He nodded and put his hand on the keys, ready to start the engine. As the seconds ticked by, I imagined what they were doing. I had been on their side of the door more than enough times. The shape charges they would use to blow it open would be relatively small, but I hoped it would be enough to ignite the tank.
I checked the clock; thirty minutes since I made the call to Mitch. His team wouldn't get here in time. Rather than tell Jason, I kept it to myself so he could focus on getting us out of here.
When the door burst open, my heart sank. I was wrong about the charges. They must have used something as a battering ram to shatter the door. Jason, however, didn't seem to notice. As soon as he heard the noise, he turned the ignition and the truck roared. Before he could put the truck in gear, I pulled his head towards me and shot out his window, aiming at the tank.
The fireball was larger than I had anticipated. It reached the outside of the truck before the vacuum sucked the flames back. Jason stared wide-eyed at the flames.
“Drive!” I shouted.
There wasn't enough time to wait for the garage door to roll up. Jason accelerated and crashed through it. As soon as we were clear, he turned the wheel and slammed the truck into drive while I fired at random into the group of men by the door.
It was obvious some were hurt or wounded from the explosion, but there were still some standing to return fire. I could hear the pings of bullets lodging into the truck as Jason sped away, and hoped none would hit the tires. Or us for that matter.
I had to give Jason credit for his driving. He rarely slowed down on the turns, and didn't flinch when the back window was shot out. I saw the gate ahead and knew we were almost clear of the immediate danger behind us.
“Take a right at the gate,” I said.
“Why? That leads us further up the mountain. The way out is to the left,” Jason said.
“Mitch’s team should only be a few minutes away. I need to tell them to set up and wait down the road. They'll most likely try to get us before we reach a populated area. They may be professional killers, but they don't like to harm innocent civilians,” I explained.
Jason made a right out of the gate while I called my friends to relay the plan. We continued for two miles until we reached a small turn-off.
“We need to be ready in case they follow us. Park so we can get out.”
“So, now what?” Jason asked as we waited behind the truck.
“Now we wait until they call to give us the all-clear.”
“No, I mean what happens after this?” he asked. “We just barely avoided death multiple times. Who's to say they won't send someone else after us?”
“They probably will. He won't stop until either I'm dead, or he is. And I'm damn sure not about to let him get the satisfaction of killing me. He won't get away with this.”
Jason put his hand on my shoulder and I flinched, waiting for either a punch or another verbal beating. When none came, I looked into his eyes and saw tears.
“I... I can't say that I'll ever forgive you,” he started, “but I still do love you. There's no way I can be around you right now though. I need time to think about things. And once my dad finds out about all of this, he'll most likely lock me inside until this guy is taken care of.”
A tear slid down my face as he finished. It was hard not to reach over and hold him, like I'd done so many times in the past. “Your dad already knows.”
“What!? How?” Jason asked. “What do you mean he knows?”
There was no point in lying. “I promised to tell you everything once we were out of here. For now let's just focus on what’s going on.”
My phone rang. Mitch’s team had intercepted our remaining attackers and gave us the all-clear. I told them to collect the bodies and move everything to the garage and we would meet them there. I didn't want anyone to stumble upon the wreckage and call the police.
Jason's eyes were burning a hole through me as I disconnected the call. “Tell me what's going on,” he said.
“I will, but it's complicated. Let's finish up here and head somewhere safer to talk.”
“You know my father, don't you?” Jason asked bluntly.
I hesitated before answering. “Yes, I've known him for a while.”
Jason got back in the truck without another word. One step forward, two steps back. He finally shows that he still loves me, then I go and fuck it up again. I half expected him to take off without me, but was grateful he waited for me to get back in before taking off.
When we reached the garage, Mitch’s team was waiting for us. The car filled with bodies was next to where the explosion happened. Based on the number of bullet holes in the car, it looked like it was a quick death for all those inside. They never stood a chance.
I spoke with Mitch as I looked over his team. Some of them I knew, some I didn't. They took zero casualties and were happy to help an old friend.
“Do you want us to dispose of the bodies?” Mitch asked.
“No, I'll have someone else do it,” I said.
“Let us know if there's anything else we can do to help. It was nice to get away from training for a while.”
“I may take you up on that,” I said. “Gordon needs to be dealt with, and I probably can't get to him on my own.”
As we said our goodbyes I noticed a flash of light from the hill. Instinctively I hit the ground and took cover. The team jumped into action immediately, but not before I heard a shot echo through the woods.
The most experienced marksman on the team noticed the muzzle flash first, and returned fire immediately. The shot was only 300 yards, making it an easy one for an expert like himself. With the shooter dead, I looked around to make sure everyone was okay. The team stared in my direction.
When I turned around, my blood turned to ice.
Jason clutched his stomach, blood flowing through his fingers.
Once again, thank you to LouisHarris and MJ85 for the massive amounts of help they give me. And I can't forget to thank you, the readers, that keep me going! I would say the next chapter will be up soon, but I'd hate to lie to everyone. So I'll just say that there WILL BE a chapter 5