Thursday, August 12, 2010
MacKenzie pulled the car into the deserted lot and parked a safe distance away. The last thing she needed was for them to hear her car and freak the fuck out with Jon inside with them. His Chavelle was nestled under arches of rotted trees that flanked the side of the mill. The area had become a wasteland of scattered empty drums, scrap metal, and abandoned cars.
She unrolled the blueprint of the mill and took one last scan at the layout. She took note of the open plan, where the offices were located, and the exits, but it didn't do her jittery stomach any favors. Taking a calming breath, she slipped out of her car and crept across the lot to the main building. Weathered boards and peeling paint told a sad story, making it easy pickings to become a homebase for the gangs.
She lifted her gun and flipped the safety off as she weaved through the maze of twisted metal that led to the back entrance. The door banged in the breeze, but that was the only sign of life. Where the hell were they? And where was Jon? She swept the area before she headed inside. Her heart raced as her she backed herself up against the wall. She closed her eyes, forcing her breath to even out and her heartbeat to stop roaring in her ears. Light carved through the roof making it easier to navigate her way through the shabby hallways wound around the wide open work area. For an area that was once buzzing with work, it was now a graveyard for industrial sheet metal.
She stopped and looked over her shoulder. Hushed voices floated down the corridor where the cluster of offices sat. God, how many of them were there? She darted across to the door and held her breath. She peered around and steadied her gun. Through the gap she could make out three, maybe four young guys, each scarved in the red bandanas and hoodies but no Jon. She took two steps at a time and glided down the wall, careful of making any sounds. Where the hell was he?
The thud of boots froze her feet. She turned around with her gun out in front out and her chest collapsed as Jon stood there wide eyed. She lowered her gun and didn't know whether to shake him or hug him, so she dragged him around the corner and threw him against the wall. "Stay there and do exactly as I say." Her fingers curled tight into his sweater. She wanted to scream at him, but thank fuck he was alive and visibly ok. "Have they seen you?"
He shook his head.
Her voice was little more than breath. "Ok, good. We're going to get you the hell out of here before they see your car." She flinched as the boom of metal hitting the floor echoed through the warehouse.
"Rock star where are you? Come out, come out, where ever you are."
MacKenzie crowded in on him, her finger to her lips. Heavy boots stomped, chains jingled, and Mackenzie’s finger hovered over the trigger. If they were outnumbered she didn't know what she was going to do, but by Christ she was getting them both out of there alive. Their position was partially obscured by a stack of metal drums and with any luck they could stay there.
"C’mon, we just want to talk. I even made lattes." There was a snicker telling her there were at least two of them out there.
Jon’s body was motionless behind her and just as well. He wasn't fucking going anywhere near them.
"You hiding, coward? That's okay, I could just go find your prissy little kids instead. Maybe that would make you come out."
She grabbed his wrist and shot him a warning glance. They were winding him up on purpose it was all in their cocky tone. He clenched his jaw and pulled away from her grasp but didn't move. She nodded and covered him again while they waited. This required the best patience and precision, one false move and it was all over.
"I can wait all day, Preppy. I don't have any place to go, but I’m sure you have some fancy fucking dinner to go to. I wonder if your girlfriend will be there too, or is she off duty tonight?”
Jon shuddered behind her, but she kept their cover. His cheek was warm against the back of her neck. Why did he have to be an idiot and land them both here? She couldn't deal with that now, but God she would kick his ass once they were home. With any luck these guys would get bored and leave, giving them a chance to slip out the side. It was the best plan she had right now. The only one.
Tension hung as thick as the smell of rotting wood. Jon’s legs bumped against hers, the warmth of him behind her was little comfort as she wished she was there alone. MacKenzie could look after herself in these situations, but a guy like Jon was a wildcard. She couldn’t trust that he’d listen to her, he certainly hadn’t so far.
Heavy silence finally drew her attention away from Jon. When a shadow inched along the wall, she wanted to curse her own stupidity. Helluva bodyguard she was turning out to be.
“Well, what do we have fucking here?”
She trained her gun on the voice, saying a little prayer of thanks that it was rock steady. “I’m not dropping it so you can forget asking me to.” She scanned him quickly-gun left, knife sheath on the right.
He chuckled, his face silhouetted by the light. “Tsk tsk. Didn’t I tell you to come alone rock star?”
“He did come alone. I found him here.” She answered before Jon could. “Let us leave. Anything you want is not going to happen here in a place like this.”
“Oh yea?” He let out a whistle, the kind that called your dog. His dogs.
Two guys even bigger than him flanked him. “So whatcha gonna do now, cop? You’re outnumbered. In fact, you’re fucked.” His voice was overly pleased with himself. Hell, he even laughed at his own joke. Not good. He snapped his fingers and both guys drew out semi-automatics.
Even a two year old could hit a target with that many bullets spraying. Shit.
She lowered her weapon and nodded. “Ok.”
She swallowed. She let the gun skitter to the floor, but didn’t move from her stance in front of Jon.
The leader took a step forward. He smelled like cigarettes and oil. “Now, let’s go and have a little chat, shall we?” MacKenzie flinched as he tucked a loose strand of her hair behind her ear. She held Jon with her body weight and nodded.
His thumb traced across her bottom lip. “You’re not bad looking for a cop.” Her hands curled into a fist.
The screech of tires outside pulled him back. “What the fuck? That better not be the fucking cops.” His eyes were flat and cold as the end of his gun dug into her ribs. “He’s dead if it’s the cops.” He nodded to his boys and they disappeared.
MacKenzie prayed to God it wasn’t back up. She hadn’t called any, she wasn’t that stupid.
Footsteps pounded through the warehouse. “It’s the Vipers!”
“Fuck that shit!”
MacKenzie took the opportunity and pushed him toward the offices. It wasn’t where she wanted them to go, but at least she could cover them there.
More shouts and the distant spray of automatic rounds kicked her adrenaline into high gear. “Get behind here.” She shoved him under behind large sheets of metal resting against the wall. There was a human sized gap that should hold them both.
“Vipers?” he hissed.
“It’s another gang. They’ll be too preoccupied—“
Gunshots echoed, telling her they fire fight was in the main room. That was much too close. She shoved him forward, thumbing 911 on her Blackberry. As long as there was another gang in there, she just might be able to get the police in.
“Jon, get as close to the end as you can.”
He looked back over his shoulder. “You’re coming, right? Tell me you are.” Even in the dark, their gaze locked and she nodded.
“Yes, of course I am,” she lied without a qualm. She waited for him to crawl and ducked. Bullets ricocheted around them and MacKenzie flinched as the side of her head burned. Dammit, she’d probably clipped herself on the edge of one of the steel sheets. She crawled in behind Jon and kept low hoping the shower of gunfire would desist.
Blood splashed against her hand. She reached up to her her temple and her belly bottomed out. Her arms shook and her breathing staggered. She’d been shot. She needed to try and pull herself together and at the same time keep them safe but her body started to shutdown.
Concrete shavings and dirt stabbed through his pants as he crawled into the makeshift cubby hole. He flinched at the gunshots and breathed out. His heart jack hammered against his chest. Holy fuck. He turned again to make sure she was following him but his blood ran cold. Mackenzie was crumpled on the ground and blood streaked her face.
“MacKenzie!” He backed up. No, no, no. What did he do now? She was the brave one. She was the one that always knew what to do He scrambled back and gripped her shoulders. His skin turned to ice and his gut clenched as ruby red blood covered his hands.
“Talk to me...” She blinked and then her eyes rolled back into her head and fear kicked him in the chest. His throat constricted and he fought for breath.
“Oh, God…” She couldn’t be...no.
He pulled her close, shaking her. “Kenzie-Kenzie, no.“ She moaned and lifted her hand but dropped it. His stomach jerked but he swallowed. He closed his eyes as the faint wail of a siren, stampede of boots, and shouts blurred around him.
“Kenzie...God, Kenzie please.” He wanted to yell, he wanted to scream but he couldn’t’. He had no idea of anything except her limp body and so much blood.
His heart leapt as he heard the crackle of a walkie. He waited, his fingers digging into
her shoulders, his sweater heavy with her blood. He bent over her and whispered her name.
“No sign of them in here.”
“Ove-“ he choked. “Over here.”
He lifted his hand to his face as light burned his eyes. “I have a positive ID send in the paramedics. We’ve got someone down.”
The rest was like a dream in slow motion. The face crouched in front of him and talked, but it was all white noise. Men in dark blue uniforms blended with the red… god there was so much red. “Is she--“
“You’re in shock Mr Bon Jovi. Just relax, we’ve got you. You’re ok.”
The face came into focus. He gripped their arm. “Is she alive?”
“We’re doing all we can. You’ll need to come with us.”
Two hands hooked under his arms he was lifted up on his feet.
“Is she alive?”
He would never forgive himself if anything happened to her. If she died because he was stupid enough to come out here alone and think he could handle this. His eyes burned as he looked down at his hands. Her blood on his hands.
“She’s unconscious but we’ve got a pulse. That’s all I’m able to tell you ‘til we get her to the hospital. Now, I need to you come with me to an ambulance. Is there someone I can call for you?”
He nodded. “Her ambulance. I have to go in it.”
The paramedic looked over his shoulder and then back at Jon. “OK, but Gary will have to check you out.”
He didn’t care about himself, just her. Only her. Only Kenzie. The paramedic led him to the ambulance and he saw her there. Two men in the back of the truck working on her feverishly. All he could do was watch.