The doors open onto an empty carriage inviting us to climb aboard but I can’t move. What the hell is she talking about? How could I call in the air strike? Jane steps into the carriage ahead of me, moving to the centre of the space by the door. I step on behind her, my mind racing. She doesn’t turn towards me or offer any further explanation for what she’d said. Instead she puts her index finger against the side of her ear lobe and taps it twice, resting her finger against her ear.
I can’t believe what I see next. Her finger turns silver, as if dipped in mercury. Then the silver runs like a thick liquid off her finger and into her ear. As the last drop leaves her finger tip I see the data seed that was inside the liquid taken from the dead Torp. The silver sludge drags the seed into Jane’s ear. I see it slowly absorbed, then it’s gone, nothing at all visible any longer, just Jane’s beautiful shell-like. I hear the hiss of the compressed air as the doors prepare to close. This spurs me into pressing Jane to explain why the hell she thinks I was responsible for the air strike that destroyed the portal.
‘How the fuck could I have..?’
She holds out the palm of her hand towards me and hisses, ‘Shhh!’
Whatever’s happening in her head has got her full attention.
I don’t know what happens next in my head but my brain just can’t take any more and the craziness of the last two days gets to me. How did it come so quickly to this, being hunted down by aliens, fighting to save mankind? I was a simple cop hunting down implants and frying them.
Then Jane came along.
All the trouble, all the bad things that have happened to me stem from one place, Jane, the treacherous bitch standing in front of me holding out her hand to shut me up. I can’t take any more. I need desperately to bail out and escape from all this madness. I flip. I pull out my gun and point it at Jane’s head. My sudden movement catches her attention and she turns and looks me in the eye. In that fraction of a second of eye contact I know she’s not scared to die. The look on her face tells me, ‘Go ahead. Pull the trigger. Make the biggest mistake in the history of mankind.’
But I can’t pull the trigger. I can’t bring myself to kill this alien, this killer, this double-crossing, lying, beautiful woman. Her eyes are burning into my skull.
‘Go on. Shoot me,’ she says, turning her body so that we’re squared up to each other.
I hear the doors start to rumble closed. With our eyes still locked and my gun aiming at her head I take a step backwards off the train and onto the platform. The doors snap closed. Jane steps towards the doors and smiles at me, a smile that doesn’t reach her eyes. She puts one hand on the window, then the other. She suddenly looks exhausted, as if the fight is over and she accepts whatever fate awaits her.
As the train starts to move into the tunnel she shouts, ‘Stay on the move and trust no one.’
I stand on the platform until the clatter of the train disappearing into the tunnel fades to a distant echo.
‘What the fuck do I do now?’
I put my gun away and head towards the escalator, heading for the fresh air, sunshine and hopefully normality again above ground.
I walk around for a while in a sort of daze, trying to make some sense of what’s happening. Although my mind is racing I still keep my wits about me, scanning the faces of the folks walking by, looking for those distinctive features that’ll tell me, ‘Hey, I’m not just some Joe, I’m an alien thug, a Dreek. I ain’t your pal. I’m here to kill you and all your kind.’
My cell rings. I’d forgotten I still had it with me. I take it out my pocket and look at the screen. It’s the Sheriff at Polk.
‘Hi Red,’ he says when I take the call. I can tell from the tone he’s not his usual happy self, and he’s carrying all the woes of the world on his shoulders, ‘Where the hell are you?’
‘On a case,’ I lie.
‘You got a barrel of trouble heading your way.’
‘Go on,’ I say.
‘The Chief’s dead.’
I don’t know what to say. I’ve known the man since I joined the force. The Chief was one of the good guys.
‘I’m sorry…what happened?’
‘The knock on the head split a capillary in his brain and leaked blood. It clotted and he had a stroke.’
‘That’s a shame,’ I say, not able to think of anything more appropriate to say.
‘He came round for a while when he was in intensive care,’ says the Sheriff, and I can tell something nasty is coming next, ‘Red, I gotta tell ya, he told a whole different version to the story you gave us about what happened in that helicopter.’
‘Go on,’ I say and brace for the worst.
‘He said the pilot had put the chopper down safe and sound on a helipad in Washington. As he was opening the door to get out you just went crazy, pulled your gun and shot the pilot in the face before you gun-whipped him…gotta tell ya, his version of the story matches the evidence better than yours, Red. His head wound…confirmed by the doc in the hospital, consistent with being struck by the butt of a pistol. They found the pilot in the lake, body all mashed up from a long fall. The drop didn’t kill him, though. The slug in his face did that. Y’know we have the barrel rifling of all SOS issued guns on record. The marks on the slug pulled out of the pilot’s head…well, there’s no room for doubt, Red. The slug came from your gun. They figure you dumped the pilot’s body over the lake on your way back here.’
‘Who exactly are they?’ I ask but he ignores this and continues his catalogue of evidence of me being a murdering nut job.
‘Then there’s that young lady of yours, Jane Krieff…a whole lotta shit went down at her place soon after you turned up back here…a cop got shot, Red.’
‘Yeah, and a bunch of implants too. I’m sure they noticed their bodies decorating Jane’s lawn.’
There’s a silence before the Sheriff speaks, ‘Nothing in the scene-of-crime report about any implants found at the scene, Red…no sir, just the dead cop.’
‘Well there was. Five of them. Attacked me. Thank God, Jane shot ‘em all. If she hadn’t I’d be all chewed up and dead.’
‘Red,’ he finally says, slowly, as if saying farewell to a faithful old dog before putting a bullet in its head, ‘You and I both know implants don’t run in packs. Suppose you gotta story for what went down at Harvey Keen’s place, and why you or your new pal Jane put a slug in his head too.’
I have, but it’s one I know he won’t believe, so I stay silent. When the silence becomes an embarrassment to both of us he says, ‘Come on back here and help us sort out this mess, Red.’
‘Can’t do that right now,’ I say, ‘Got a big job on. Something important.’
‘What can be more important than clearing up this mess, Red?’ he asks sounding tired, as if the spark of humanity he once believed existed in good men like me had somehow been snuffed out.
‘Saving mankind,’ I say. I know it’s stupid as soon as the words leave my lips.
Another long silence.
This time I think he’s gone but eventually he sighs then says, ‘D’you know how crazy that sounds, Red?’
He’s right. It doesn’t pass any sense test for something a sane man would say.
‘Gotta go Sheriff,’ I say, ‘Got a lot to do.’
‘You take care, Red,’ he says and I believe he genuinely means it, ‘I’d hang up if I were you.’
It’s one last act of kindness from the old friend he is. He’s telling me my phone is being monitored and tracked, and I need to skedaddle double quick. I know whoever they are they’ll know he tipped me the wink, and I know he’ll be in deep shit for doing it. I promise myself that if I get through all this crap I’ll make it up to the old guy. I don’t switch off my phone though. I drop it into the back of a pick-up truck stopped at the lights next to me. I watch it speed off when the lights change before I high tail it in the opposite direction, not a clue what to do next.
It’s dusk and I’m exhausted. I’ve been wandering the streets of the city for hours trying to figure out a plan but it’s all too big for me. I’m no more clued up now than I was when I bailed out on Jane. I need a place to sleep and clean up so I start looking for a hotel. I spot a cheap looking dive and check in. The guy behind the desk is glued to the TV and ignores me till I ring his little bell.
‘A single for one night, if you’re not too busy,’ I say, giving the guy my best buddy smile.
He looks at me as if I’m ruining his day, then drags his ass out of his chair and steps over to the desk. He eyes me up and down. I know I look a mess, muddy, torn clothing and an eye like a boxer after a bad night.
‘Looks like you need a room with a bathroom,’ he says, pulling a key from under the desk, ‘Number eight. Fifty dollars. Cash or card?’
I pull out the fifty from my wallet and put it down, then pick up the key.
‘I’m wearing it.’
‘Then you’ll need this,’ he says and pulls up a pack from under the counter that contains a shaving kit, toothbrush and paste, and a cheap plastic comb, ‘…five dollars extra.’
I pay the man, pick up the kit and head off to find the room, which turns out to be the last one at the end of a long, dimly lit corridor. The room is everything I expected and not worth the fifty bucks but I couldn’t give a damn. I lock the door and flop on the bed still fully clothed. In seconds I’m in a deep, deep sleep.
The dream returns. I’m back in that room, that cell, sitting on a chair, same bare brick walls, same darkness. Above my head hangs the single light bulb, swinging backwards and forwards as if it has just been hit. I sense the shadowy movement of people. I try to move but I can’t. My hands, feet and head are locked down somehow. I look at my wrists. They are both bound tight to the arms of the chair by metal bands. I can see the needle stuck in a vein in my left wrist with a tube and syringe hanging from it. I can feel sweat and blood trickling down my cheek from my forehead across my mouth. I can feel the tight metal band gripping my head against the back of the chair and cutting into my forehead. The air is cold and damp, and I’m drenched in sweat. One of the shadows moves forward and pulls at my eyelids, then holds a pen-torch near my eyes, dazzlingly bright, adding a little more to my pain. I know what is coming.
‘He’s coming out!’
‘Do something,’ says Noone, behind me, out of sight at the top of the bed, ‘If he dies…well, I hardly dare think about the consequences.’
This time I concentrate hard, trying to remember every detail of this experience, whatever it is. I can hear Jane’s voice in my head goading me, ‘You’re supposed to be a detective. Act like one.’
The room is constructed of cinderblock, grey, with the surfaces unfinished. The ceiling is made of concrete beams locked together. The electrical cable feeding the light above me is clipped to the ceiling with staples. It’s a room that’s been slung together in a hurry, not by skilled craftsmen but by grunts. I figure it’s army.
I can see two figures in the dim light, one at the end of the bed, one beside the bed, both in medical garb, green, long sleeved, white plastic aprons covering the front of their clothing. Both are wearing operating theatre face masks. I can’t see the bottom part of their faces but I can see their eyes. One is male, the one about to empty a syringe of God knows what into my wrist. The other is female. She is distracted by something and doesn’t look at me for a few moments. When she does our eyes lock and I immediately know exactly who it is. Our eyes had locked before, earlier that day. I know straight away that I’d made a huge mistake. I’d been weak. I know I should have pulled the trigger and wasted the treacherous bitch in the subway.
I’m slapped back awake but this time not by Jane. When reality returns I’m looking at a room full of heavies, all bar one in Ninja get-up, all with guns or Tasers of one kind or another, and all aimed at me. A big guy in a black suit is standing over the bed. He’s the one in charge, the one slapping at me. It’s not nice being woken up like this and my first instinct is to smash this guy’s face to pulp. But it takes only a fraction of a second to figure out that wouldn’t be my best move, so I lie there giving the guy a look that lets him know he’s lucky to have his buddies in tow.
‘Hey, Red,’ he says with the cockiness that comes with holding all the cards, ‘Hope I didn’t startle you.’
‘Who the fuck are you?’
‘Special Agent Digby Reeves. Pleased to make your acquaintance. Y’know Red, I’ve heard a lot about you lately. You’re some guy, right? You’ve had quite a spree, a Senator, a pilot, a couple of cops, and a boat load of innocent bystanders. You’re a one man killing machine, Red.’
‘I think you’re mixing me up with someone else.’
‘Get on your fucking feet, you scumbag.’
‘Now that’s just plain rude,’ I say, making no effort to move.
He looks at me like I’m shit on his shoes, then talks to the goons behind him.
‘What do you reckon guys? Is he resisting arrest?’
A grunt steps forward and lifts his Hi-V to his shoulder. I’ve been on the business end of one of those suckers recently and can’t say I enjoyed it. So I decide to play Mr. Meek-and-Mild for a while. Besides, I want to know what happens next.
‘Okay, okay,’ I say, raising my hands and swinging my legs slowly off the bed, ‘I won’t give you any trouble. Let’s go.’
The cuffs are on in a fraction of a second and my hands are locked tight behind the back of my neck. As they bundle me through reception I ask my new buddy, ‘How did you find me?’
‘You dumb fuck,’ he says, ‘Your face is all over every TV screen in the country and you check into a hotel.’
I glare at the receptionist who’s gawping at me as I’m pushed out of the hotel door. He decides it’s his chance to play the big man for once in his miserable life and calls after me, ‘Y’all have a nice day now. Come back soon.’
There’s not much to be thankful for as a couple of heavies push me into the rear seat of a black Sedan that’s unmarked but screams FBI. The only grain of comfort I take from the whole experience is that none of the eighteen guys that turned up to arrest me was a Dreek.
I reckon we’re about fifteen minutes in the Sedan, a cavalcade of tough looking vehicles in front and behind, all with lights blazing and sirens screeching, ‘Don’t fuck with us!’ We’re past the suburbs and into a run down industrial area. The motorcade pulls off the road towards a derelict looking warehouse, and thunders through the main doors. The Ninjas circle wagons around our Sedan as we draw to a stop. I can hear the ratch-ratch of their weapons being cocked as I’m half dragged from the Sedan. Their guns are trained on me as I stand up and look around.
The building is tall and long, probably a steel plant of some kind a long time ago. The floor is concrete, damp and not quite cleared of the junk from the long dead factory. A section of the floor space has been converted to what looks like an incident room, fiberboard partitions, a couple of dozen desks with phones and computers, wires trailing everywhere. In one corner is a Titanium cage like the one back at the Sheriff’s office in Polk. Inside it’s set up like a cell, steel can and sink, mattress on the floor. I figure this is going to be my new home for a while. There are Fibbies everywhere, about three dozen I reckon, all beavering away. I can hear their pay checks ticking up the dollars as they bundle me across the floor towards the cage. I notice the Ninjas don’t step down. They form a ring round the little office enclave, guns still at the ready.
The door opens and I’m half lead, half pushed into the cage. A flunky snaps the lock on the door, gives the keys to Digby, then drifts back to his pointless job. My new pal Digby Reeves pulls over a wooden chair and sits down outside the cage, Cabaret style, so he can rest his arms on the back of the chair while we talk. I get in first.
‘Before we have our little chat I need to clean up and have a dump. Then I want some chow and a gallon of coffee, not your usual Fibbie shit either, I want 100% Arabica and piping hot.’
He looks at me curiously, a look that says I want to slap you again but I need you.
‘You’ve got some mouth, Red.’
He whistles and the flunky is back like a sheepdog.
‘Get him some toiletries and rustle up a breakfast…and make sure the coffee is half decent.’
I think, ‘Perhaps Digby is my new best friend.’
When the flunky has scurried off on his errand I say to Digby, ‘Don’t I get some privacy?’ I nod my head towards the can. He smiles.
‘Don’t be embarrassed, Red. We’re all boys together.’
The breakfast was good and the coffee even better. I hadn’t eaten in a while and didn’t know how hungry I’d gotten with so much going on.
‘Ready to talk?’ says Digby, rocking on his chair. His eyes haven’t left me since I made my demands.
‘What do you want to know?’
I sit down cross legged on the mattress on the floor. I figure this is going to be a long session so I may as well be comfortable.
‘Let’s start with why you shot the chopper pilot.’
I look into his eyes. I figure he’s a tough enough guy but he hasn’t got a clue what’s really going on. I figure somebody out there in power does but this information is above Digby’s pay grade, so he’s flying blind. That means there’s an opportunity to negotiate, trade information.
‘I’ll do a deal, Digby. I’ll answer everything you ask me, honestly and in full if you’ll do the same for any question I ask.’
He thinks for a while.
‘Okay,’ he says, ‘I can go along with that.’
‘So, let’s start with me asking you a question before I answer yours.’
He nods, and the game starts.
‘What’s a Dreek?’
‘What’s a what?’
I can see by the bewildered expression on his face he’s never heard the term before. Perhaps I hold some of the cards now.
‘What’s a Torp?’
The same dumb expression.
‘Do you know about Krillik?’
‘What the fuck is Krillik?’
‘It doesn’t matter,’ I say, ‘I need a sketch pad and pencil before we go on.’
‘Are you fucking with me?’
‘Just get me the pad,’ I say.
For a couple of minutes we sit in silence till the sheepdog brings the pad and pencil. Digby hands me them through the bars.
‘Give me a minute,’ I say. He waits patiently while I do the necessary. I don’t show him the results of my artistic handiwork just yet.
‘Stop fucking me around, Red. Tell me why you shot the pilot. I was at the Chief’s bedside before he died. He swore the chopper had landed at the helipad in Washington. The last thing he told us was that you shot the pilot in the face before slugging him.’
‘As you didn’t answer my earlier questions, answer this one then I’ll tell you everything I know.’
‘Quit fucking with me.’
‘Was there a man in the room at the time that looked like this?’
I turn the sketchpad around so he can see the picture I’d just drawn.
His words tail off as he takes in the picture, then he says, ‘How the fuck do you know that?’
‘Let me guess, some sort of security guard?’
‘Yeah, hospital security. He just stood in a corner like your typical minimum pay dummy.’
‘He was a Dreek. You’re going to find what I’m about to tell you stretches credibility to the very limit, but I promise you every word is the truth.’
I take a risk with Digby and let the story unfurl, starting with little Tommy’s tale. Digby would have interviewed the Sheriff, so that part of the story could be verified and give me credibility before I move on to the less easily digestible parts. It’s when I mention Jane Krieff it all starts to go pear on me.
‘Who exactly is Jane Krieff?’ asks Digby.
‘She’s the statistician that got involved. Tommy gave me her number. I called her in to help me interview Tommy.’
Jane had betrayed me on more than one occasion, but she’d also saved my ass a few times too. I gave her my word I wouldn’t give her up to the authorities so I’m cautious about what I tell Digby about her. Then it’s his turn to surprise me.
‘There is no Jane Krieff. No such person exists, Red,’ he says, ‘We’ve checked all the records. There was no woman with you at the Sheriff’s office, or with you at the crime scenes for the murders of the guy in a restaurant, the school bus driver, Senator Keen, or the traffic cop. There is no mystery lady, Red.’
I look at him, my mouth falling open. I can’t believe what he’s just said.
‘You’re shitting me.’
‘I shit you not. Every witness we’ve spoken to confirmed you were on your own at each of these tragic events. Like I said earlier, you’re a one man killing machine Red.’
‘But she was there!’
‘You’re looking at the chair, Red. You’re gonna fry just like all those implants you put away… unless you can give me some unbelievably believable mitigating circumstances.’
My mind races as I clutch at whatever straws I can think of.
‘Jane shot Senator Keen, not me. Check the caliber of the bullet, the rifling marks.’
‘We’re still looking for the slug. It wasn’t in his head. It went straight through.’
‘Okay, the Dreek. How could I have known about one of those guys being in the hospital with the Chief?’
‘Lucky guess, I suppose. There must be hundreds of big lugs walking round with Neanderthal features like that.’
Perhaps I was a little premature thinking that this guy could be on my side. But things take a sudden turn for the better.
‘I want to believe you, Red,’ he says, and I can tell there is something troubling him, something that doesn’t rest easy about this whole business. Then it sort of slips out but I pick up on it straight away, ‘That’s why I brought you in.’
There it is. He didn’t have to bring me in. That tells me all I need to know. His orders were to find me then shoot on sight. If Digby had followed his orders I would have woken up dead back in that hotel. But something got up Digby’s nose, a nasty smell he didn’t like coming from the next rung up the ladder. I was trapped in a hotel bedroom, probably asleep and with nowhere to run. I was an easy arrest. So why issue shoot on sight orders? Someone up there wants me dead and that doesn’t sit well with Digby. He’s one of the good guys and just wants to get to the truth. I grab the chance and go for it.
‘You were ordered to kill me, weren’t you Digby?’
He looks at me sideways, just like Jane used to. He has a long think before speaking.
‘What’s so important about you, Red? Why do the powers that be want to ignore three hundred years of developing a fair and just legal system and order me to plug you on sight?’
‘Because what I’ll tell you will be the truth, Digby, and it’s huge, the biggest thing ever…and I mean ever. At first you’ll think I’m a grade A fruit loop, but the evidence is overwhelming. You will believe me.’
‘Hang on to your hat. There are aliens living amongst us right now, hundreds of thousands of them. Most of them are Dreeks. They all look just like the drawing I showed you. They’re the grunts that do all the dirty work. The rest are Torps. They’re like the senior team. They all work for one guy. His name’s Krillik. He’s a contractor, sent here to wipe out the human race. He’s responsible for all the implant horror we’ve had around the world. Senator Keen was involved with them in some way, but I don’t know how or why. I figure others upstairs are involved too. They need me dead, but again I don’t know why.’
He looks at me for a while then says, ‘That’s a lot to swallow.’
‘Okay, I say, ‘Then how about the big event? What’s your take on that?’
‘A farm in the middle of nowhere, seems harmless enough but suddenly gets blown off the face of the Earth by a missile bombardment.’
‘That was fully explained by the military,’ he says. It’s news to me.
‘A pilot went crazy…that’s all it was. Poor fucker lost the plot and unloaded on a random target.’
‘Was that his version? Did he land and turn himself in?’
‘Like hell. He was blown out of the sky minutes after firing the missiles.’
‘So, how do you know he went ga-ga?’
He thinks for a while. I can see by the contortions across his forehead he’s wrestling with the facts and doesn’t like the conclusions.
‘That’s the version that came down from on high.’
‘…and you believed it. Why wouldn’t you? Truth is it wasn’t a farm, it was something a lot more sinister, and I can’t figure out who blew it away or why.’
‘Okay, I’ll buy it,’ he says, and I can see he’s beginning to come round to my way of looking at things, ‘What the hell was it if it wasn’t a farm?’
‘It was a shuttle portal, one of hundreds and the means by which the aliens move people and materials on and off Earth. I have every reason to believe their original plans to wipe us all out have been fucked up and they’re trying to skedaddle to God knows where. I don’t know why but I’m very afraid they won’t be gone long. It’s like a breathing space to get them out of the road till something else happens.’
‘Like what?’ he says. I shrug my shoulders.
‘I don’t know, but it won’t be fun. I’ve every reason to believe this guy Krillik has a fall back plan. I think we’re supposed to wipe ourselves out when his guys are off the planet. Then they come back and clean up.’
‘Have you any idea how crazy you sound?’
One thing they trained me to do in the army was all the time, whatever else you’re doing, to watch, watch, watch. No matter where your focus is at any time always keep an eye on what’s happening around you. Without this training I’d never have spotted the cop. He was a big guy in normal cop’s uniform. That’s what made him stand out. Everybody else except me is either in a suit or Ninja get-up. So, what’s a cop doing floating about the incident room? Then I see his face, see the facial features, and I know me and my new buddy Digby, and all the other poor bastards in the room are in deep shit up to our chins.
I move as close as I can to the bars and whisper.
‘Do you trust me, Digby?’
‘Hell no,’ he says, breaking into a smile.
‘Then start. There’s a Dreek just walked into the room. He has the power to plant visions into the mind of any human. They all have. He can make you see whatever he wants you to. He is going to get your goons to shoot the fuck out of us and then themselves.’
‘Really,’ he says incredulously.
‘Did you read the report of what happened in the basement at the Sheriff’s office back at Polk? How did they explain the guards shooting the fuck out of each other?’
A light goes on in his brain, ‘The official version was that one of the guards had some sort of mental breakdown…what can I do?’
‘You? Nothing. In a few moments all I ask is you try not to believe whatever you see. In the meantime give me your gun.’
To my amazement he slips it out of his jacket and hands it to me, and it’s in the nick of time. A fraction later and the room is carnage. The guards dressed in the Ninja get-up that had encircled the area open fire onto the poor bastards sitting at their desks, ripping every one of them to shreds in a matter of moments. But they don’t stop there. They turn their guns on each other. They just stand there and blast away until every last one of them is riddled and cut to ribbons. It’s a bloodbath. There’s blood and torn flesh everywhere, the air full of screams and the smell of cordite. The firing stops to an eerie stillness. There are only three people left standing, me, Digby and the bastard that caused all this, the Dreek. Digby is looking straight at me and I can tell from his eyes he’s been given a vision of some sort, and that he is fighting hard not to believe what he is seeing. But he’s standing directly in between me and the Dreek so I can’t blow the head off the bastard without killing my new pal.
Digby is clenching his teeth hard, his eyes tightly squeezed together. He’s fighting the vision. His hand slips into his pocket and he pulls something out and throws it at me, but it hits the bars and bounces away from the cell.
Digby doesn’t move for what seems like infinity. The expression on his face turns to one of shock. His eyes widen, empty now, dead. Moments later, the blood gushes out of his mouth just before he flops like a rag doll onto the concrete floor. As he drops I get a clear view of the Dreek for the first time, big dumb smile on its face, smoking gun in its hand pointing at Digby’s body on the floor.
‘This one’s from Krillik,’ he says as he raises the gun towards me.
One in its heart and one in its head.
Now it’s the Dreek that has the shocked expression on its face. It slowly sinks to its knees then flops forward, its head hitting the bare concrete floor with a sickening crunch.
I slide down onto the mattress in the cell and survey the scene around me. It’s hard to take in the full extent of all the carnage. There are dead bodies everywhere. It’s the worst bloodbath I’ve ever seen in my life. Nothing in Iraq was as bad as this. Whatever the vision was that the Dreek planted in the Ninjas’ heads it made them go only for head shots. The bodies lying around still bleeding have nearly all had their heads and shoulders cut to pieces with hollow point shells. It’s the stuff of nightmares and I pity the forensics team when they turn up.
I’ve survived, God knows how. By divine intervention or by sheer luck I’m still alive. I breathe hard to calm the adrenaline pumping like a river through my veins, and steady my nerves. My army training surfaces again. After engagement with the enemy as soon as the skirmish is over take stock of your predicament.
The good news is I have just survived an assassination attempt by a Dreek.
The bad news is I’m locked in a Titanium cell in a derelict building, dead bodies all around me, nobody left alive. I have no phone and no access to one, and no one to call for help if I had. The Dreek had tracked me down. Digby as good as told me there was a person or persons in the higher echelons of the FBI that wanted me dead. That’s as good as telling me whoever they are they’re in league with Krillik. So the Dreek probably got given my location by somebody in the Fibbies. Bad news. That means as soon as the word gets back to the FBI, whoever’s behind this will dispatch more Dreeks, and I’m locked in this cage.
I’m a sitting duck.
I check the magazine of the gun Digby slipped me. Only four bullets left. That’s not enough to stave off an attack from a determined bunch of Dreeks. It’s not even enough to shoot out the lock of this cell. It’s Titanium encased. It would take a shell from a tank to break it off. I’m not optimistic about the future. Even if I escape from this cell then what? If I don’t get the message to the right people and some serious help then Krillik will win, and mankind is doomed.
Before he got the back of his head shot off he threw something at me, something that bounced off the bars of the cage. I stand up and step across to see what he’d thrown to me. I hope like hell it was a bunch of keys as I strain my eyes in the gloomy light of the warehouse in the area I think the object landed.
There they are! I spot a bunch of keys lying on the floor about two yards off to the left of the cell. Straight away I recognize one of them as the key used by the sheepdog to lock the cage. I drop to my knees and stretch through the bars but it’s obvious the keys are too far away to reach. I stand up and search the cell for anything that could extend my reach.
I take off my jacket and, holding on to one sleeve, try to throw it over the keys so I can drag them towards me but the keys are too heavy. The jacket just slides over them. I’m on my sixth attempt with the jacket when something catches my attention. My blood turns to ice when I hear the sound of footsteps, one, possibly two people, coming slowly across the concrete floor towards me.
End Of Part Seven