Forty-One

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Lester stepped up the final step onto the second floor and when he turned he found himself staring down an extremely pissed of Count in his red pimp suit. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as both men raised their weapons. Lester got his up first but before he could fire Nikki backed out of a room between the two men blocking his line of fire. The Count fired into her back and she fell to the floor. The instant her head dropped below the level of his rifle he unleashed a hail of bullets into The Count slamming the body into the wall behind him. Things turned back to real time and he rushed to Nikki and turned her over. Her chest still rose and fell with her breaths but he knew he needed to get her out of here as quickly as possible.

He heard a click and looked up to see The Count had flipped open his revolver and began counting the remaining rounds. "One, two, three, four, five." The dying man said before the weapon snap clicked closed and The Count tried to raise it up toward Lester, but his hand shook badly and he couldn't get it more than a few inches off the ground. Blood burbled from the mans mouth and he began laughing between groans of pain. Lester raised his rifle and walked over to the defeated man. The Count went through the counting motions once more. Lester got to point blank range and put a bullet in the helpless man's head putting matters to an end with sharp punctuation.

He heard a sputtering cough behind him causing him to turn quickly weapon ready to defend himself, but he only saw Nikki on the floor. He returned to her side and knelt down beside her head.

"Am I dying?" Nikki asked.

"Not if I can help it." He slung the rifle over his shoulder and picked her up on his shoulders.He pulled the pistol out from the back of his pants and began making his way out of the house.

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Jackie heard more gunfire on the floor above her so she made her way to the staircase in the foyer. When she got there she found Lester with Nikki over his shoulders making his way quickly down the stairs.

"What happened?" She asked.

"She took a bullet in the back. We need to get her to the hospital as fast as possible."

"What about The Count?"

"It's over. We won't need to look over our shoulders any longer."

"Good. Let's get to the boat and get the fuck out of here."

She led the way out of the building sweeping every room and hallway along the way. She could hear sirens coming for them so she made the trip as quickly and carefully as she could manage. They reached the courtyard and she saw Emma with her rifle at the other side kneeling behind a stone bench.Once in the clear she picked up the pace to a jog hoping Lester could keep step. The sirens were getting closer. They didn't have much time.Once she reached Emma she took a knee next to her. "Get on the boat." Jackie ordered.

"Are you sure?" Emma asked while Lester ran by.

"I'll be right behind you."

Emma fell back behind her and she waited. The sirens were practically on top of them now. In case it came down to it she prepared to open fire on any police officers who might appear from either side of the house. Somewhere overhead and at a distance she heard a helicopter. She prayed it wasn't coming for them.

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Emma got on the boat a hairsbreadth behind Lester who immediately laid Nikki out on the deck near the helm. She set her rifle aside and stood next to Lester. "What happened?" She asked.

"She took a bullet meant for me." Answered Lester.

"She did what?" Emma asked in disbelief.

"It's not as noble as it sounds. She literally blundered into it when she came out of a room just before The Count and I opened fire on each other."

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