Being Inspired, maybe - 89

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

And, then, the words:

Amy took out her cell phone and looked at the screen with a knowing expression.  "As I thought, they've made it impossible to call out, except on a landline.  A lucky guess on their part that we might hold off until out of the room to call for help."

"Wouldn't that also stop the use of the internal communicators?"  Like the unit, she used to talk to other members of the team.

"Most likely."  She tried a grain to raise the others and received only static in return.

I didn't think that meant there wasn't anyone, but only a possibility they might have been taken out.  But not being able to raise them worked in their favor.

Still, I tried to sound optimistic.  "Then there might be help downstairs."

But the thought of that possibility didn't seem to brighten her mood.

I checked the clip in my gun.  Eight rounds.  The other, six.

Amy checked hers.  Five and seven.

"What now?" I asked.

"Carefully go down the fire escape."

"Where do you think they'll be?"

"First floor.  No one else will be there.  There are no conferences scheduled for obvious reasons."

That there was a fugitive languishing within I guessed, and the hotel was minimizing the possibility of incidental casualties.  That in itself was a dead giveaway that I was being kept there.  Latanzio hardly needed a traitor to tell him where I was being kept.

Suddenly I had a very bad feeling.

I followed her through the fire escape exit and stopped at the top of the stairs to listen.

For what I was not sure, but there were no other sounds coming from below or above us.  Something I did know and had not told anyone in a moment when I had managed to shake off my guards, was that there was a heliport on the roof.

It was why, just before I followed her down, I looked up, and shivered.  Trouble, if it was coming, would come from above, not below.

"Let's go," she said quietly.

I hesitated, and she picked up on it.


It was hardly a conciliatory tone on her part.

"I think we're underestimating the severity of the problem."

She stopped halfway down the first flight of steps and looked back at me.  It was not the first time I had the feeling that she might shoot me herself, even when there was no reason to think that of her.

"How so?"

"The heliport on the roof.  Shouldn't that be factored into escape calculations?"

"It was until we learned that it was declared unsafe a few months ago."

"Convenient, don't you think?"  I didn't wait for an answer, I started heading towards the roof.

"Where are you going?"

"Up.  Something I learned a long time ago, always do the unexpected."

I didn't wait to see what Amy was doing.  I had a hunch that any attack that might be coming would be from the roof.  I seriously doubted the helipad was anything but serviceable.

Amy caught up with me three floors from the roof.

"What makes you think the helped is not broken."

"Too much of a coincidence."

We were at the door.  I could hear a noise that sounded like a helicopter coming in for a landing.  I opened the door and as I had hoped, the helped was about ten feet above the roof level. 

I pushed the door open.  "Go around the back way.  If the chopper lands take out the landing party or cover the pilot and make sure he doesn't take off."

A nod, she brushed past me and headed for the other side.  In front of me to the right were the steps leading up to the pad.  I walked up the first few and saw a helicopter just coming in from the other side, about to land.

I ducked down and waited.

The noise grew louder, much louder as it hovered, and then set down.  I raised my head.  The door opened and three men jumped down, each with what looked like AK57s.  There was no mistaking their intent.

I jumped down off the stairs and his behind the staircase and waited.

Seconds later the three ran down the stairs heading towards the exit do it.  Six shots, three fewer thugs, they had no idea what hit them.

Another shot rang out, about the sound of the whirring of the helicopter’s rotor.  I saved up the stairs and saw the man who must have been the pilot, face down in front of the helicopter, now winding down.

Amy came running over.

"What happened?" I asked.

She stopped and was standing over the body.  "He heard the shots and was coming to you."

I could see where he had been shot in the back.  It seemed more like he'd seen her approaching with a gun and was running away from her, rather than running towards me.  He didn't have a weapon, in his hand, or on the ground in front of him on the ground.

"Who's going to pilot the helicopter now.  That was our ticket out."

She looked resolute, not the expression I was expecting.

"He was coming for you," she said.  "I wasn't aiming to kill him."

And yet she did, and given how good a shot she was, accidentally killing him was not an option.  I was starting to get another bad feeling.

I went over to the helicopter.  I'd flown one or two in my time, something a friend of mine had suggested I try since I had a pilot’s license in another life.  It wasn't the most modern, so it wouldn't be that difficult to fly.

"Come on.  We're leaving."

© Charles Heath 2020


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