I’m back home and this story has been sitting on a back burner for a few months, waiting for some more to be written.
The trouble is, there are also other stories to write, and I’m not very good at prioritising.
But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.
Is it going to be revenge or just plain bewilderment?
There were protocols to handle every situation. It’s why I was stuck in a room with a dozen others for nearly six months, learning the ropes.
That’s what Alex called it. He’d also said it was a waste of time because by the time we made it out into the field all the bad guys would be locked up. Patience wasn’t one of his virtues.
That’s why Alex didn’t make it through the first cut.
It had been a long six months but it had been worth it when ten of us out of the original intake of 24 made it. I considered myself lucky.
Now three of those men were missing, and I believed they were dead, or if not dead, incapacitated. This was our first live mission. We had been excited but held that in check. We could celebrate our first mission together, and then if it was a success.
At this moment, in my mind, it was anything but a success.
And my anger was building. I kept the target in sight, and once or twice he nearly slipped away, but I knew the area having studied the maps the day before. I liked to know what it was like on the ground, and if it was the target’s home turf, then I didn’t want him to have the advantage.
It was those little things, our instructor said, that could make a difference.
I knew or thought I knew where he was going.
At some point, I was going to have to take a chance, and head him off. It also meant I might lose him, but I had a point on the map where I believed if he didn’t go where I was anticipating, he’d still be within range to find him again.
He went right, I went straight ahead.
His most likely destination, the train station. His training wasn’t much different from mine. After a calamity, look to make an unexpected exit. There were buses, but they led basically to the same place.
Five minutes, and I’d know.
I came out on the main street that ran alongside the train tracks, the station was behind me, and he would have to pass me to get there.
There was also a dead end lane between him and me, and that was where I would corral him.
Almost a minute passed, and it was too long. Two. The thought of possibly being wrong leapt into my mind, along with the sickening feeling in my stomach of failure.
Two and a half. I took several steps in his possible direction, then I saw him turn the corner. I stepped back and out of sight. I needed him to get to the lane entrance before I made a move.
He was wary and looking around. He knew I was on his tail.
As he approached the laneway, I stepped out and started walking slowly towards him. It took a few steps before he realised it was me, and stopped. Was he surprised at my enterprise, or shocked.
Predictably he turned into the lane.
At the entrance to the lane, I stopped and saw him reach the dead end. There was no climbing over the fence at the end,. Nor were there any ladders or climbable points either side.
He would have to get past me.
I had him, and he knew it.
© Charles Heath 2018-2019