Chapter 21 Chinese
I slipped through the door. There were some closets and bathrooms down the hallway. At the end of the hallway I turned into the printing area. Quiet. It was dark here, a few night lights; but the lights were bright coming through the office area. I am not seeing anything and I am not hearing anything. I move up to the big window and sneak a peek. Nothing!
I move to the door and gently open it. They must be upstairs where the computer guys work. The street entrance door is opening, I slip back behind the partition.
“I hate working with these Chinese!” I think it was the boss.
“How in the world did they know you had the girl?”
“They couldn’t have known, it was only 20 minutes ago that we grabbed her.”
“No, they knew and they immediately showed up to take her off our hands.”
“We are looking like amateurs. I wanted her out of the way without them ever finding out that there was a problem.”
“You want us to track them down?”
“No, no sense now, I just didn’t want them to know about the leak, now they know. Just get out of here, I need to see where I stand with them.”
I receded back into the shadows as they walked past me. I only had a minute or two if I was lucky. I pulled my pistol and faced the Las Vegas player. He froze.
“Who are these Chinese guys who took Savanah?” He hesitated.
“Tell me something or you will be walking with a limp. Your boys will be back in a moment. Give me something good or take one for the team.”
“I am dealing with Chinese guys everywhere. Some of them operate out of the embassy in Vancouver and some local guys work out of the offices of the National Bureau of Asian Research.”
“What’s the story about this guy named Xi?” This was the name on the card Savanah had showed me.
“He’s the top dog.” Time was running out, I pushed him into his office and told him to lay on the floor and don’t even think about moving. I went out the front door and ran to the next street, took a right, went by the alley, and got to my truck and took off.
Empty, totally empty. My life was over. We drove back from the hospital in silence. What could Pastor say? As we drove into Sparta he asked if I wanted to stay in their guest bedroom. Nah, home was fine. We stopped in front of the house. He prayed for me, I thanked him and went inside.
Emptier! Where am I at? Prayer, useless. Maybe, a silver lining, not a chance. If I had booze in the house, I probably would go for it. Dental pain pills, why bother. I had been separated from my unit in Fallujah. I was ripped up one side of my body and I was dragging myself around through the wreckage of the city. The bad guys were looking for me because they knew I was around. The blood was flowing at first but it had stopped so I wasn’t leaving a trail to follow any longer. I was clinging onto life. I was alive.
I was leading a rifle squad ahead of the company. We were one tough group of guys. We were told to push further south into the city and make contact with more than snipers. We had a couple of guys on both sides moving along the roofs. We were moving quickly and quietly in between the maze of destroyed buildings. Nothing, but you knew it was coming. They were watching us, we could feel it. We pushed on. Word passed from the flank, bad guys moving around us on both sides. I picked a side an ordered everyone to move to the right towards the river where there were more good guys.
They realized we had changed direction and they let everything go at us. We shared locations and knew fire support would be coming in. My guys were about to enter a building to go through it when something glimmered in the sun. A trip wire. Freeze, I shouted and we did. We backed away but the fire was becoming too much for us. Several guys had been hit but we were all still moving. I funneled all the guys around the house. We surprised the moving bad guys and a fire fight broke out and we continued our western movement. We were free and I ordered everyone to move out towards the river full speed. Our mission was completed, we found the hard spot.
Next thing I know I am waking up dazed and bloodied. I checked the time, we were only talking five minutes. I tried to get up, but couldn’t. The firepower from the distance was coming in hot and heavy so the bad guys were pinned down for now. I assume my guys had made it out of the hornet’s nest; but they would probably be coming back for me. I did my best to stop the bleeding and crawled around looking for a safe place. I squeezed under the broken foundation of a building. I pushed rubble and dirt into the opening behind me. I moved to the far side of the caved in basement of the building. There was a three-inch space to view down the street in front of me.
The firepower ceased and there were bad guys running everywhere. They were getting ready for what was coming. Our guys were close and going to come at them with the whole company now. I could sense the direction we would be coming from by how they were positioning themselves. I was alive with purpose. Was it to please my deceased father, to make my mother proud or to be a part of a team of Marines accomplishing the mission, it was all of the above; my life mattered. I was alive, on the edge of death. I genuinely prayed, I wanted to live but if I died, I wanted heaven not hell.
I spotted some movement down the street. My guys were coming. Door by door, building by building on the ground and on the roofs. They were supported by machine guns and Mk 153’s. They would blast there way through, but it would cost them at that initial contact. It was ready to happen! I heard a sound of pushing dirt behind me. They found me. I propped my rifle up to shoot through the opening and began blasting the positions I could see. Purpose accomplished they returned fire at me showing their positions to my guys. Next thing I know I woke up in a hospital in Germany.
I was alive and I wanted to live.
I looked up the National Bureau and found it on a map, it was close. I drove over to it. Somewhere in this high rise they might be found. The phone rang, it was Shaman.