KILLING ME SOFTLY - Teenage Assassin - Chapter 45

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CHAPTER 45:

GABRIEL’S  POV:

So, we waited.  All night and into the morning.

At one point last night, when Jackson was dozing in and out of sleep on the couch and I was trying to do the same on a divan, I cried.  I'm man enough not to be ashamed of it.  All I could think about was whether or not she was still alive, praying that she was.  Willing to sell my soul to save her, but not knowing who to offer it up to. 

In the morning, Jackson showers first, while I man the phones.  Then it’s my turn to shower.  As I'm in there, I think about our situation.  Simon will be arriving at the airport late tonight.  Brent should be here in just a few hours.  Porky is supposedly close to confirming the identity of the nameless enemy behind all of this. 

Two years of emptiness just to find her and lose her again.  But this time I won’t be able to handle losing her again.  I’ll go insane.  I’ve loved Anna the girl and I’ve loved Anna the woman.  I’ve loved Anna the high school student and I’ve loved Anna the assassin.  And I’ll kill anyone who hurts her.  I punch the shower tile only to hurt myself.  My life was nothing before I met her, my life was nothing without her.  Together, we’re something breathtaking. 

Death brought us together, death tore us apart.  Now, it seems as if more death is destined to bring us together once again.  Let it not be our own. 

Rinsing the blood off my knuckles, I then turn off the shower and dry off.  Once dressed, I enter the living room to see a silent and still Jackson looking out the window.  “The call came to the landline.”

Anxious, I ask, “And?”

“We won’t be able to wait for Simon, but thankfully Brent will be here before we have to go.”

I let out a long breath.  “Annabelle told me about your parents.  I can’t help think that it’s like history playing itself out all over again.”

A pained expression flashes across Jackson’s face.  “It’s not the same.  My father went in alone, without Simon.”

“We’ll be going in without Simon.”

He nods slowly, “Yes, but we’ll have Brent with us.”

“It’s professionals, isn’t it?  Not like before.”

He nods again.  "Most likely."

“They want me.” It’s a statement of fact, not a question. 

“Yes.” 

“I’m willing.”

He shakes his head, “Won’t matter, they’d just kill you both.”

“I love her.”

He looks at me for a long time, neither of us speaks until he finally murmurs, “I know.”  Then he laughs, shaking his head, “Good luck with that.”

I smile wryly, “I don’t need luck, just her love.”

"You're such a girl," Jackson gives me a genuine smile, perhaps a first, but then we quickly sober up and both of our thoughts return to Annabelle. 

Brent shows up several hours later, taking a taxi from the airport.  Really, his concern is appreciated, but you'd think it was his sister or future wife in danger.  Jackson finally shuts him up and explains what's to come. 

When his attention shifts from Jackson to me, I brace myself for a fight.  "You," he pauses, "You aren't going with us."

Standing in the entryway, I cross my arms over my chest, "Not up to you."

He scoffs, "You'd be just as likely to shoot Anna as save her."

I take a step forward, intending to put my fist in his face, but Jackson comes between us, "Settle the fuck down both of you or you'll both be staying here."

Deciding that I'll get violent if I have to look at Brent's face any longer, I storm off to the kitchen to scrounge up something to eat.  As I'm about to lift the banana to my mouth, I wonder if Anna is being fed.  No longer having an appetite, I force myself to eat the banana and a sandwich.  The last thing Anna needs is for me faint at the moment I'm supposed to be rescuing her. 

We have so little information.  We don't know who took her, other than that they are probably using her to get to me.  Probably saw us together and took the opportunity to snatch her when she went to the market by herself. 

We're to meet them at sunset in Rafina, a small town outside of Athens, less than an hour drive away.  The address provided over the phone is residential, from what Porky has been able to find out.  The place is listed as being owned by a Greek businessman, a man who is currently out of the country.  So, the question is, is it locals that took Anna or some person or group who followed us here to Greece?'

It doesn't  really matter, cause they'll all end up dead either way. 

ANNABELLE'S  POV:

Through a haze, I slowly gain consciousness.  Vaguely, the memories from before come to me.  Going to the market, the dart, the annoyance.

My first instinct upon that realization is to lash out.  Doesn't happen since I find my wrists lashed together.  My next instinct has me taking in my surroundings.  I'm trying to focus on my surroundings, but there's a dazed feeling to it. 

Oh my god, I must have been abducted by homeless people.  Or at the very least, really poor people.  I'm thinking about what a dump the place is when I realize that I'm in a steel shed.  Dumbass Annabelle, focus.

Still feeling a little loopy from the aftereffects of the dart I remember yanking out, I realize that I need to use common sense.  The tranquilizer must have knocked me out for a good while because I've never had to pee so bad in my life.  Rocking slightly in place, I test the sturdiness of the chair I'm slumped in.  Damn, sturdy and metal.  Not that I'm exactly sure wood would have been any better.  The only light in the place is coming from windows near the ceiling, which I suppose I could crawl out of, using the chair, if my wrists and ankles weren't tied together.  The shed is actually large, the size of the average bedroom, but empty of anything but me, my chair and the dirt below us.

One thing's for sure, I need more information.  And a weapon.

So, with only one option that I can see at the moment, I start screaming for help.  Hey, it even helps to clear my head of the remainder of the drugs in my system.  My screaming is of course rewarded when I hear the scrape of metal as one of the doors is slid open.  I get my first look at my captors.  Older than me by at least a decade or two, olive skinned, dark hair and eyes.  Maybe Greek, maybe Italian, but dead either way. 

They stand there, looking at me curiously, as if not sure what to do with me.  I decide to make a suggestion, "I have to use the bathroom."

One says something in Greek, which is totally no comprendo for me, to the other then walks over and leans down to start untying my ankles.  Hmm, to kick or not to kick.  These dudes don't even have their guns out, which means they probably think I'm harmless.  Tsk-tsk, shame on them.  Shame on me if I act out of impatience and don't wait for the right time. 

One of them grabs me by the arm, not to roughly, but I want to elbow him all the same.  As they lead me out of the shed, I get a look at our location.  Hearing the waves crash and smelling the scent of the ocean, I realize that we're still on the coast.  The large white house that they're leading me to has me wondering why I was trussed up in a shack out back.  Scare tactic?  I'm shaking in my flip flops.

Going through a back entrance, we run into another man, younger, probably late twenties.  Fucker checks me out.  That one better not get any ideas in his greasy head.  On the criminal social ladder, he is so beneath me.  He says something to the two men leading me down the narrow hallway in Greek and they all start laughing.  Just to startle them, I start laughing with them. 

They give me a weird look and the one holding my arm says something in Greek to me.  Probably asking if I speak it.  Note to self:  Learn Greek.  He rolls his eyes at the blank look on my face, then starts hustling me down the hall again.  Abruptly stopping, he pushes me through a dark doorway then flips a switch.  Praise the lord, it a bathroom.  Spinning on my heel, I hold my tied wrists in his face, raising both eyebrows at the same time. 

He shakes his head and pushes me further into the room to slam the door shut.  First things first, I take care of business, with my freaking wrists tied together.  What an experience.  I clumsily wash my hands and leave the water running while I look in the cabinet.  Empty, dammit. 

Leaning against the sink,  I take the time to think about the situation.  Most likely I was take as bait for Gabriel.  I suppose it's better that I was taken instead of Gabriel, cause if they'd got him, he'd be dead already.  Of course, that means that they plan to lure him here, but do they realize that'll bring Jackson too?   Do they know who we are?  Not me, obviously, otherwise they'd be taking more precautions.  My guess is that they're Greeks who heard about the contract and also heard through the grapevine that we were in Athens.  How the hell did they find us, then? 

Times up, the door starts opening and my patience has run out.  I reach up to grab the back and of guy's head and ram my knee into his face.  He drops to the floor, but won't be out for long.  Before anyone else can rush in at me, I put my back against the wall adjacent to he doorway.  After ten seconds, there's no shout of alarm, so I lean down and feel around the waistband of the guy's jeans until I find a gun at his hip.  Checking for bullets, I see that I've got four shots.  As much as I want to shoot this guy in the back of the head, there's no silencer. 

"I'll be back for you," I promise the unconscious man. 

Slowly, I ease past him and into the empty hallway.  Deciding that I may as well take care of the threat while I'm here, with my back against the wall, I make my way further into the house, the direction I can hear male voices coming from.  Running into a kitchen first would be nice, to find a knife for the rope around my wrists.  I'm about to turn a corner when I feel a sting on my left shoulder.  Whipping my head to the left, I see the young guy grinning at me from about fifteen feet away and glance down at the dart sticking out of me.  Jeez, I really hate that creep.  He better not . . .

GABRIEL'S  POV:

As requested by Annabelle's kidnappers, at sunset I'm walking alone up to the front door of the house.  Jackson is hiding behind a copse of bushes about fifty feet from the house and Brent is somewhere out back.  When Jackson pretended to be me over the phone, he was told to come alone and unarmed, without the police.  The man on the phone spoke broken English, but that was clear enough.  So, my weapons are hidden. 

The door opens before I can use the knocker and a large man is standing there with a gun.  He opens his mouth to speak, but doesn't manage to get out even a syllable before there's a hole in his forehead.  His body falls onto the front porch and I get out of the crossfire, pulling out one of my guns while taking shelter against the stucco wall, I wait for Jackson to join me. 

Shots coming from the back of the house let us know Brent's status.  Jackson is about to push off the wall and storm in when I put my hand on his chest, "Me first."

He gives me a long look then nods. 

Holding the gun out, I flip around the corner and into the house, to come face to face with a man holding a sleeping Annabelle in front of him like a shield with a gun to her head.  No, not sleeping, passed out.  The sound of more gunfire can be heard from the back of the house. 

"Throw down your gun," he orders in heavily accented English.

Jackson is still around the corner, so I know that I'm not completely defenseless as I lower my weapon to the tiled floor.  Especially since I have another one tucked at my lower back.  He looks over his shoulder, as if waiting for backup, then back at me.  He moves until his back is against a wall then, still pointing the gun at me, lets Anna drop to the floor like a rag doll.  My first instinct is to rush to her, but I know I'll be dead before I get there.  The man gives me a smile that I've never seen on Anna or Jackson's face and I realize the difference between him and them.  He's enjoying this and relishing the thought of killing me. 

"You are worth a lot of money," he says. 

"Priceless," is my comment.

He gets a confused look on his face, obviously his English doesn't extend to credit card commercials.  When his evil grin returns, I know that I'm about to die.  The sound of glass shattering is followed by bullets flying in from a window to our right.  The guy is dead before he lands on the floor.  Guess he didn't know Jackson was outside. 

I fall on my knees by Annabelle, praying that she's just knocked out and not dead.  Grabbing her and pulling her onto my lap, I hear someone run into the room.  Pulling out my other gun, I point it in the direction the noise is coming from. 

Brent comes to a stop at the end of a hallway, "Is that all of them?"

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