Chapter 57

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Bay 5 is occupied by a large cargo ship. I'm not sure if the trade will take place on the ship or on the dock. I presume inside because it's less public, but then again – they'll be trapped if they board the boat itself. Jez suggests half of us go inside and the other half stay on the dock just in case, and it seems like a logical idea. I go with the Southbend bikers who volunteer to board and we find a way onto the ship via the aft – there's a gangplank that hasn't been raised yet.

Once we're on board, we split into three groups to search the ship. Donatello knows everything about shipments and advises us of the top three places that precious cargo is hidden and then unloaded. I go with Todd and Mickey to the starboard side entrance.

The ship is bigger than it looks from the outside. So many hidden doorways, stairwells, low roofs and rusted planks in the floors. All I can smell is dank seawater. What's worse is the darkness. We don't want to draw attention to ourselves so we walk through the ship in pitch blackness. There's obviously no one on this side, I know because there's no power and most of the doors are locked. But there has to be someone somewhere watching the cargo, even though there's no swap just yet.

We make it into the hull and Todd leads the way. I'm sure he doesn't know where he's going. Plus it was a bad idea taking Mickey – he's tripping the fuck out. He keeps stepping on the heel of my foot.

"Jesus Mickey!" I snap and turn around. He just about knocks me over.

"Ow!"

"Shut it you two," says Todd. "We're nearly there, I –"

A single gunshot blasts through the silence. It's fairly far away but we still hear it. My heart leaps into my chest and a chill runs through me. I can barely see Todd in front of me. I hear Mickey shivering.

"It came from the aft," he whispers.

"How the fuck do you know that?" asks Mickey.

"I know," says Todd. "Stay with me."

We navigate our way back. Left. Right. Down a set of stairs. Through a long corridor. I try desperately not to let my shoes clang on the metal walkway. Todd opens a door that creaks horribly loudly and light pours into the corridor.

He turns back to us. There's sweat dripping down his face. He puts a finger to his lips and waves us forward.

The door leads to a small entryway that opens up into a giant engine room. It's like something out of the titanic. To the right are giant machines used to power the ship. Pipes and cogs and rudders and all kinds of technical shit I don't even want to know about, nor care about. To the left is a cargo hold. Rows of crates of different sizes piled high. The platform we are on runs all the way around the square room. The three of us duck down low and start to climb around, following Todd, closing the distance between us and the cargo crates. As we get closer, we hear voices. Then, way down below in the center of a column of crates, we see bodies.

Live bodies. There's at least twenty of them. Two groups facing off, one man lying on the ground and whimpering as he clutches his leg. I notice Garcia is holding the gun. Another man is standing on the other side. He's tall and lanky and looks kind of Italian from where I'm crouched down.

I look around for Connor, Billy and Li. They were supposed to be down this way. They could be hiding, or they could be somewhere else. I don't know and I can't afford to guess.

I need to get closer and find a place to set up my rifle where they can't see or hear me. I can't shoot Garcia from this angle, it's too obvious and unprotected. I look over at Todd and he points toward the closest column of crates. It actually goes higher than the platform, which is perfect for me to jump on top of and climb in between two crates where I won't be so easily seen. It'll be tricky to get away after I shoot Garcia, but that's okay.

I move back into the corridor and make my way around to the closest door. I hope Todd and Mickey are smart enough to stay hidden too, but I can't worry about that. As soon as I'm back on the platform, I carefully slip under the railing and stretch as far as I can onto the nearest crate.

It's pretty stable. For some reason I imagined a pile of Lego blocks swaying like the leaning tower of Piza, crashing to the ground. I climb down one and then squeeze in between two even-sized crates. There's just enough room for me to lie down on my stomach, and from there, I have a perfect view of the two groups. I'm angled just enough that Garcia's head is in full view. I just have to unpack the rifle in silence and I'll be good to go.

It can't be this easy. My heart pounds and my hands are sweaty as I screw the rifle together. For a split second, I forget how to do it. Calm down Jess, I tell myself as I rack my brain for the day that Nate taught me how to assemble different weapons. Rifles were actually one of the easiest. I know I'm just panicking because the longer I take, the closer Nick gets to the ship. How are the police going to do this?

I flatten myself on the crate and unclip the stand for the rifle, adjusting the scope so Garcia is in my sight.

I can't hear what they're saying, but I hear their voices. I don't want to know. The sooner I get this over with the better. Todd said wait for the right moment but I can't wait any longer. I ignore all the feelings rushing through me and try to stay numb. He's just a man. An evil man.

I breathe in, curl my finger around the trigger and –

"Don't move."

The whisper scares me almost enough for me to actually shoot. It's nearly on top of me. A hammer is cocked and I freeze.

"Take your hands off the rifle and get up slowly."

I do as I'm told. As I get up on my knees, I bravely peer behind me. The barrel of a gun stops me from moving but I've already seen him bleed from the shadows.

DannyGarcia has a gun to my head. 

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