A quick snatch and grab, Priority Two. Get in, get the target, get out. Keep it simple. Keep it clean.
No fucking mess.
He triple checked his pistol, and tightened the sound suppressor again before shoving it back in his jacket. You never know when you might need it, especially with a Priority Two.
“Calm down Cody, jeez.”
“Not my fault I’m jumpy. Don’t you get like this before an operation?” He thought for a moment, “And don’t call me Cody you idiot.”
“Yeah, whatever. But did you read the brief? It’s a kid, that’s all.” They walked side by side, instinctively in step, through the bright white corridors.
“She’s some kind of freak, they want to do fucking experiments on her or something. That’s what I heard,” he said.
“You heard? Jesus Fucking Christ Cody, don’t start taking the rumour mill seriously. This isn’t a movie. It’s a simple job. Just shut the hell up and let’s get it done. Anyway, look.” Brad waved his phone in front of Cody’s face, “See, we’re not after who they’re looking for – just ‘someone of interest to the case’.”
Cody glanced at the screen, and he was right. Different name. Same age though, probably not a sister. Were they desperate enough to pluck out friends of the target?
Cody stopped talking, but he didn’t stop thinking.
* * *
He turned the handle as gently as possible. They’d checked with the hospital, discreetly of course, and there shouldn’t be anyone they weren’t expecting to see. But still, Cody didn’t like entering a situation this blind. Ideally they’d be spending a few days getting used to the movements of the staff, target and public before dropping in. But no, it had to be a rushed job.
Cody checked the corridor was clear and drew his gun out of his jacket, just in case. With the latch disengaged he gave the door a gentle nudge with his foot. It swung open effortlessly. Peering into the dim room, he could make out the figure on the hospital bed.
A buzzer echoed into the corridor from another room.
“Shit, civvie,” Brad whispered before giving Cody a shove with his shoulder. One of the night-staff, responding to a call? That or they must have taken it upon themselves to roam the corridor.
Brad’s swift decision resulted in them both in the room before he could give it more than the initial cursory check. The door clicked shut behind them, throwing them into darkness. Still, if there was anyone inside it was a better gamble than the certainty of getting spotted in the corridor.
Before Cody could reach out to the light-switch a voice came out of the blackness. “Don’t fucking move.”
Maybe running into a nurse would be the better option… See, this is why you should prepare.
Cody willed his colleague to obey. Of course, eventually they would have to move but the longer they were at a stand-off the longer there was for Cody’s eyes to adjust to the darkness.
In just the few seconds he could pick out the shape, standing in the shadows against the far wall. They’d been assured that visiting hours were over.
Three men, not even drawing breath. One gun.
Then everything moved all at once.
Cody felt Brad move. That was it, time enough. While Brad fumbled to get at his pistol Cody had to just lift his own. But even in the time it took to aim his colleague got hit. He fell with a spray of arterial blood. Wood splintered as the bullet passed straight through his neck and smashed into the door behind.
Cody squeezed the trigger and two shots off before he felt his leg give way like someone had kicked it out from underneath him.
His chest hurt.
He tried to push himself up, confused as to why his arm wasn’t working like it should be. His hand slipped on the wet floor and he fell back down.
What a fucking mess.
Something was sitting on his chest, pressing his lungs down so he couldn’t take a breath.
* * *
Boyd Spencer watched as the boy died, confused at why his body was shutting down. He was just a kid –half Boyd’s age. Probably thought he was invincible. He’d been a quick shot too, managed to get two bullets out. One of them with a quickly collapsing lung by the look of it.
He had a damn good aim, too. Both had hit their target.
He didn’t know how long he had, or how serious it was. He just knew he had to get his daughter the hell out of here. Oh, and that Emma girl. She must be okay, both the bullets had found him. She wasn’t screaming at least.
He pulled at the wires and tubes strapped to Beth. The machines screamed at him, losing the signals they cared so much about.
His left arm felt heavy, and his fingers had no strength. Not a good sign. And here comes the pain, a slow throb in his shoulder. Let’s hope it didn’t hit anything too important. Can’t be that bad.
He glanced over at Emma, she’d kicked herself back against the wall. At least she had the thought to do that. Boyd’s quick shove to get her out of the way when the shooting started must have woken her with a start. He thanked her natural instinct to shut up and freeze rather than make a lot of noise.
“Dad?” Crap. Well, he’d rather Beth wake up to gunshots than stay asleep. Still, how do you explain this situation?
“Shush, Bethany, we just have to go right now.” There must be a wheelchair or something around, this was a hospital… But the most important thing was to get out of this room. He pushed his hands under her knees and shoulders and lifted her slight frame to his body, taking a few steps to the exit. The edges of his vision were dimming. Not now.
The door was thrown open.
He dropped to one knee in an uncontrolled heap of limbs, managing to keep Beth’s head from hit the floor as he brought his good arm up and trained his sights on forehead of the… nurse, Jackson.
The bullet hit the door-jam, he managed to jerk his arm before he managed to stop himself squeezing the trigger.
She screamed and ran.
“Fuck,” He couldn’t carry Beth more than a few steps, he could barely lift his arm. He’d never be able to get out of here. Not like this. He could feel his daughter breathing, but she was silent. Dizzy from the fall. It left him with only one option. “Emma?”
He could hear her panting, but she hadn’t reacted. She seemed a nervous child. He doubted gunfights would do her much good.
“Emma. You need to get out of here. And you’re going to have to take Beth with you.”
“Mr-” Jesus, she still calling him ‘Mr Spenser’ after this? “Mr-”
At least she’s saying something.
“Beth, can you stand up for me?”
“You’re wet,” Beth said, almost casually. She pulled her hand away from his chest, black with blood in the dim light.
“Beth, listen. You’re going to have to go with Emma.” He lay back, slumped against the end of the metal, jutting into his spine, but moving took far too much energy.
“I want to go with you.”
“You can’t.” Boyd blinked water out of his eyes, but even that took effort.
“You’re hurt?” Her hands pulled at his shirt, but they were too feeble to the complexity of the buttons. “Dad? What’s going on?”
“I’ll be fine Bethany, this is a hospital – best place to get hurt right?” He let the gun fall from his hand and grabbed at hers as it she clutched his shirt. “Get out of here. Stay away from your Mother, they’ll expect you to go to her. Just… don’t trust anyone okay? This’ll all blow over soon. There’s some money in the bag, a coat too.”
Can’t have her getting cold.
“We should get a doctor,” Emma’s quiet voice. She shouldn’t get a doctor – but she was thinking logically and not dissolving into a gibbering wreck. It’s the best he could hope for.
“No, I’ll be fine. Just get her out of here.” Beth wasn’t going to leave him, so he looked to Emma. Need to be firm in a situation like this. Give people direction. “Now. Emma, go.”
She reached out to Beth’s shoulder and pulled at it.
“Come on Beth.”
Her fingers slipped from his.
“Dad?” She shook with sobs. Boyd closed his eyes. It would be easier that way. Anything was easier than watching the only thing he cared about be dragged, away from him, begging him to come with her, begging him to open his eyes. But he couldn’t, and doing so would make it that much more difficult for her, how much he wanted to get one last glance at his daughter.
The pleading faded, and he was enveloped by silence.