We fed on blind adventure, devouring each course it laid. It was nothing more than a game, a way to appease the adrenalin monster. It lived in both of us; craving violence and danger the way other people craved coffee.
Looking back we should have known it would lead to trouble. The very essence of our role in the government was covert and we were drawing too much attention to ourselves.
So, abseiling down the tall, expensive building in central London, I began to suspect our winning streak had just run out. The civilians staring up at us were one thing, but the bullets pinging off the side of the building were the real kicker. The only thing worse would be if someone reached the roof and severed the rope securing our line. Still a part of me craved the challenge of it. Clearly I needed a new job.
“Son of a bitch, that was close,” Chris said from beside me, swinging left and right to make himself a smaller target.
My eyes snapped to the building opposite and I caught the flash a moment before he did. The glare from a sniper’s rifle meant the fun was over.
“I think we get off on this floor,” I told Chris, drawing my weapon.
“I’m right behind you, buddy.”
Bending my knees I swung off the side of the building and raised my gun. On the forward swing I shot out the window and let my body follow the momentum of the glass. The landing was harder than I anticipated.
When I looked at my rope I saw why. A sniper’s shot had sliced right through it.
“Now that’s close,” I muttered, waving the rope at Chris.
He merely pushed a finger through the hole in his uniform to accentuate his point.
We were pressed against the floor beneath the ledge, keeping ourselves well out of the sniper’s sights. The rumbling vibration from the hall meant we didn’t have much time to hide, because we had company.
Chris reached over to drag the pack from his back. “This hard-drive must be pretty damn important.”
“What gave you that idea?” I asked, rolling my eyes at the thunderous sound of running feet.
“We could just hand it over and play nice.”
I fought off the urge to laugh. Hell, I didn’t want to make it easy for them. “Where’s the fun in that. Besides, they’d take it, and then shoot you in the head.”
The grin was quick and arrogant; his green eyes dancing with merriment. “Nah, I’m bullet proof.”
“I told you we should have brought more weapons,” I muttered ignoring him to roll towards one of the desks.
Chris’ hand went inside the backpack to bring out his favourite knife. “Have this, pretty boy. Those bullet won’t last forever.”
Our welcoming committee took that moment to announce their arrival. It was fairly predictable; bursting in with all guns blaring like someone had yelled ‘Action.’ Only this wasn’t a set and the redecoration costs were going to cost a fortune. Not that I gave a damn. I had other concerns, like staying alive for example.
I tapped the mic on my black shirt. “It’s been fun,” I said, meeting Chris’ eyes. I knew the earpiece would pick up my words despite the deafening boom of gunfire.
“See you on the other side, my friend.” He moved quickly, rolling between the furniture like a gymnast and firing his gun with perfect aim. Three men hit the ground in quick succession, and I couldn’t help but pause to admire his handy work.
Me, I’m a bare knuckles kind of guy, but I roll with the punches; pun intended.
I crawled into position and, as five men rushed forward, I slung my leg out. The first brave soldier went down hard. He twisted at the last minute, his finger seizing on the trigger and sending a wave of bullets into the ceiling. Thank God he hadn’t fallen onto his side, I thought, although I didn’t get off pain free. A chunk of ceiling tile fell down and caught me right on the back of the skull.
I fired into the guy on the floor before he could swing my way and took out the two directly behind him, ducking out of the way when another opened fire. Talk about unfriendly.
Chris, always ready to back me up, disengaged two more without breaking his stride. If we got out of this alive I knew he would ride me all evening for saving my ass.
When we were crouched over the bodies of seven men five minutes later, alarm bells began ringing in my head. We were two of the best trained killers in the business and it was nowhere close to our record, but something sure as hell wasn’t right with the picture.
“That was too easy,” I said, swinging my eyes in Chris’ direction.
“Shit,” he muttered, jumping on board. “They were a distraction weren’t they?”
He spun on his heel, eyes narrowed for a moment as he surveyed the room. His gaze honed in on the only computer in the room that wasn’t decorated in bullets, and a second later he was moving.
Plugging in the hard-drive we’d been sent in to retrieve, he brought up the goods. As I stared at the contents in the file I felt a cold chill creep up my spine. Only two files were saved on the terabyte of data and each name was a death certificate; Drake Joshua Tobias and Christopher Theodore Mills. Every mission, every one of our kills was right there in black and white.
“They wanted us to find this,” Chris muttered a moment before he put a bullet in the computer screen.
“Which means that they,” I nodded over my shoulder. “Were just the warm up act, and our contract has just been terminated.”
“I never liked the job anyway.”
I laughed and slapped him on the shoulder, just as the other window blew out and our new guests arrived.