Authors: K. T. Bryan
Tags: #Suspense, #Fiction
Great, more cops. More guns. More bullets. Or maybe a firing squad and blindfolds, cigarettes and last words. This was insane. But Dillon seemed to know what he was doing, so she tried to keep an open mind and focused on what he was saying.
“Move your cot to the front of the cell and turn it on its side, then squat down behind it. Pull the mattress down over you and make sure you cover your head.” He reached through the bars and gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, looking confident and almost relaxed.
She nodded, then quickly moved her cot as Dillon had instructed, noticing that Jake had already moved theirs.
Dillon clicked once.
Her stomach clenched.
She dove behind her cot, a better-than-nothing shield against the blast, and pulled the thin mattress over her head.
Two more clicks and the air was filled with an excruciatingly loud blast, most of the wall came down with a crash, and she thought, holy shit, he wasn’t kidding when he said loud. Her ears were going to ring for a month.
Before she had time to throw the mattress off, Dillon was there grabbing her hand and pulling her though a thick cloud of dust and debris. Jake was waiting a few feet outside the building and he grabbed her other hand and together the three of them ran and kept on running, first past one tree, then the next, and they didn’t stop running, not even when Sara stumbled, they just hauled her along with no time to think until they’d reached some semblance of cover inside the woods.
Automatic gunfire sprayed into the trees, splintering leaves and branches, but the cop shooting at them was firing blindly into the dark, which suited Sara just fine as long as the guy didn’t get lucky. It wouldn’t be long before a whole lot more cops showed up, which meant their odds of staying alive much longer were going to hit the skids.
They’d gone maybe a hundred yards into the woods when the shooting stopped. Dillon put the brakes on and the lack of forward momentum nearly jerked her off her feet.
“We need to go back.”
She looked at Jake and asked, “He’s kidding, right?”
“Probably not.” Jake glanced at Dillon, turned to her and said, “Yep. Not kidding.” Then looked back at Dillon and asked, “You thinking car?”
“It’s the only way we’ll get back to the safe house before the rest of the cops climb up our butts.”
Oh yeah. The safe house. The flash drives. She sighed, wondered what else could possibly happen, then immediately took the thought back. Murphy and his laws were in full swing, and the way her luck had been running lately, something bad was bound to happen. And how, exactly, were they going to boost a car? Go in and politely ask that nice man with the Uzi for the keys?
Speaking of which, “Why didn’t the guard follow us?”
“Too dark. Three against one, even though he’s armed, wouldn’t be a smart move.” Dillon started off and she followed with Jake right behind her. This was not fun. Not even mildly amusing.
Without warning, Dillon stopped short. He had a bad habit of doing that, and one of these days she was going to end up plastered all along his nicely muscled backside.
They were now about twenty feet from the parking lot, still inside the line of trees and both men crouched, pulling her down beside them.
Dillon leaned forward and said to Jake, “There’s only one car. I’ll check it for keys, if there aren’t any, I’ll hot-wire it. Stand guard by the front door.”
“What do you want me to do?” She hated feeling useless, but more, she hated feeling way in over her head. Which she was.
“Stay here. When you hear the car start, haul ass and jump in. But, if you see me do this,” he motioned with one hand, “go deeper into the woods and hide.”
” Hiding implied being alone. And alone meant bad news for Dillon or Jake or maybe both.
“Nothing awful is going to happen, trust me. There’s still only one cop, but the others could show up any minute now and if they do, I don’t want you in the middle of it.”
“And what if they do show up? What about you?”
“I’ll handle it. Piece of cake.”
Right. Piece of cake. Easy for him to say.
She stayed in her crouched position as the two men moved out. There was only one small light attached to the front of the building and she held her breath as Dillon crept up to a dark gray sedan, opened the door and turned off the dome light. Jake moved off somewhere near the front of the building but she lost him when he hit the shadows.
The door of the jail opened just as Dillon disappeared under the dash and every muscle in Sara’s body froze.
The cop stepped into the light, a cigarette in one hand, his weapon in the other. He stomped two steps one way, then back again, yelling and cursing loud enough to make her cringe.
Any second now he was going to notice that all was not right in his world, that the prisoners he’d just shot at, who’d just escaped, had circled back and were right under his fat, ugly nose. The grey sedan’s door was wide open, even though the interior light was off, and any minute now he was going to raise his gun and splatter Dillon all over the front seat.
It took about two seconds. The cigarette flew out of the cop’s left hand, the rifle tightened in his right, he raised it, leveling it at the car door, and Sara wondered if she was going to be widowed right there, a million miles from home, and without ever telling Dillon that maybe, maybe she was sorry. Maybe she’d been wrong.
She wanted to holler, scream for Dillon to look out, but before she could open her mouth, before the cop could pull the trigger, there was a blur of movement from behind him, and the next thing she saw was the cop slumping to the ground.
Jake. Thank God. Jake dragged the cop back into the jail and closed the door, then turned off the outside light.
In the next instant, the car engine roared to life and that was her signal to move. She ran headlong toward the car and jumped clumsily into the back seat before slamming the door. Jake was already in the front and the second her door closed, Dillon shoved the car into reverse, spun it around with tires screeching, and took off down the empty road.
Dillon was right. Piece of cake.
Laid anchor today near a twenty-island archipelago off the coast of Cartegena. Geared up and dove with Sanchez to check out his new ultimate in narco-subs. Don’t know if he was showing off or keeping me in the loop. Either way, he’s got a fully submersible which is remotely controlled and can carry up to fifteen tons of cocaine. Going to be damn near impossible for the DEA or Coasties to find. I know the route it takes now and at some point this new toy of his is going to find its way into the right hands. Well, right for me, wrong for him. He’s gonna go apeshit for sure.
On a more civilian note, you would love it here, and I promise to bring you. Water is clear as fine crystal and has an azure hue that defies description. Fancy coral twists and reefs that shimmer. Even the fish glitter with attitude.
And speaking of attitude, I took Dreena for a swim after business hours. For a little kid, she’s pretty fearless. Ditched her life vest to chase a sea turtle. I played pirates with her and taught her how to say, “Shiver me timbers,” in English. Doesn’t really translate into Spanish.
I tossed a few quarters into the water so she could find her pieces of eight. I’ve been reading her Treasure Island at bedtime and for now she’s enthralled with pirates. Sunken ships, buried treasure, gold doubloons and pieces of eight. I’ve told her tales of an island princess, but she insists on becoming a pirate.
She’s taken to calling me a scallywag and insists I walk the plank at sword point (a dull dinner knife taped to the end of a small broomstick), which consists of me hopping onto the dive platform and falling into the water. She thinks this is hilarious good fun and after a dozen or so times, I’m laughing so hard I usually tip her overboard. Gar.
I don’t have the heart to tell her that nowadays the typical pirate wears a ski mask, carries an AK-47, and travels in a speedboat. ~~ D.C.
They were back at the safe house in less than five minutes. Dillon didn’t bother turning off the engine as he turned in his seat and told Sara to, “Stay put.” Without waiting for an acknowledgement, he was out of the car and into the house right behind Jake.
Sara had been crying. He’d heard her quietly sniffle, saw her swipe at her face in the rearview mirror, and he wished like hell he had more time. Time to hold her, to tell her everything was all right, that he’d seen the cop come out and had been ready to move. He wanted to tell her that yes, sometimes the bad guys did win, but he’d do everything in his power not to let anything bad happen. Not to him and especially not to her or their child. But he didn’t have the time, and probably wouldn’t until his business with Sanchez was finished once and for all.
Jake handed him the silver thumb drive and stuck the black one, the decoded backup, in his pocket. Dillon stuffed the drive for Sanchez, which was still in a plastic bag, in the duffel bag with his weapons. The duffel bag was waterproof, but he guessed Jake wasn’t taking any chances.
They were back out to the car in maybe two minutes. He tossed both duffels onto the back seat with Sara. Then he tossed a candy bar onto her lap, went around front and climbed into the driver’s side.
“You got me,” she held it up, studied it. “A Snickers?”
The look on her face was priceless. Joy and gratitude played across her features. Hell, he’d give her candy bars for the rest of her life if it meant seeing that look of pure happiness on her face even one more time.
Except that they had a huge-ass problem hanging between them, not to mention the fact that if he had his way, the rest of her life probably would not include him.
What about Ellie? What about your child?
Under the circumstances, marriage and family felt like a no-win situation and he had no clue.
Sara opened the candy bar and took a bite. “This is probably a dumb question, but did you get the flash drive?”
“Safe and sound and in the duffel bag.”
No sooner were the words out of Dillon’s mouth than the back windshield shattered, raining shards of glass over Sara’s head and shoulders. He yelled, “Get down!” and she pitched herself off the seat and onto the floor, covering her head with both hands.
“I’m getting a little tired of this shit!” He gunned the engine and spun out of the driveway, flying over most of the front lawn and back onto the street. “Jake, I need directions.”
“Northeast. Head in that general direction and after we lose these guys, we can figure the rest out from there.”
There were six police cars behind them, sirens blaring, lights flashing, and Dillon drove like a maniac toward the middle of town, first turning left and then right, over and over, taking every side street and alley they passed, zigzagging through intersections and damn near taking corners on two wheels. They managed to lose three of the police cars, but three were still with them.
The speedometer climbed to eighty.
He glanced back at Sara, remembered she wasn’t buckled in and just like a very good Boy Scout said, “This would be a good time to put your seatbelt back on.”
Sara nodded, then stared mutely out the front windshield, checking he imagined, to see where they were. And right that second, where they were was heading at breakneck speed straight for some kind of produce delivery wagon that was slowly pulling out in front of them and it didn’t look like they were going to have time to avoid hitting it.
“Hold on!” He slammed on the brakes, cranked hard on the wheel, and sent them veering sharply to the left, tires squealing, turning them in a complete half circle as they went skidding sideways, missing the truck by inches.
The first police car directly behind them wasn’t so fast and it hit the truck head on.
Dillon stomped on the gas and the car shot forward, heading back the way they’d come. Muttering a curse, he swerved to miss a couple of drunk partygoers who were crossing in the middle of the street, and then nearly sideswiped a white van on his left. In seconds, the two police cars he hadn’t been able to shake were on their tail again.
Not for long. He pushed the car to its limits, and when he finally had a lead on the last two cops by about half a mile, he turned off the headlights, ducked down a side street, then made a sharp right into the crowded parking lot of an all night cantina. He parked between two pickup trucks and killed the engine.
“This should buy us a few minutes.” He glanced at Sara who looked like she’d turned to stone, and again with no time to say much of anything that might make her feel better, he turned to Jake and asked, “Where’s the best place for me to steal a plane?”
“Under the circumstances, our best bet is to steal one of Sanchez’s planes. We’re about fifteen kilometers away from where he keeps one.” He looked at his watch. “It’s just after nine, so that leaves us twenty-four hours to get where we’re going and contact Sanchez.”
. That might be all the time he had left with Sara and he bleakly wondered if he was going to have enough time to save his child.
to it. There’s just me. I’ll drop you two at a motel.”
Jake’s face tightened, he glanced at Sara, then back to Dillon and after a long minute, nodded. “Fine, but let me get you to Sanchez’s airfield first.”
“Just give me directions.”
“You sure? You might need--”
“Yep. Just directions.”
Jake sighed. “There’s an old, abandoned farm we’ve been watching about fifteen kilometers from here. From the surveillance I’ve gathered so far, Sanchez uses the barren field as a landing strip. He keeps a jazzed up, high-tech Piper there, and since it’s so far out of town, it’s only lightly guarded. I’ve seen a total of six men there, three men at a time, working twelve-hour shifts.”