30 October 2009

Unholy Crusade, part nineteen


'Shots fired! Shots fired!'

The panicked cry came through the radio as Gretl ran down a grey-walled corridor toward the fire escape. It was Cartwright's voice, she could tell despite the interference. The guy clearly could not hold his own in a tense situation. He would get someone killed one day, that was for sure.

Hopefully he would not do it tonight.

She burst through the fire escape, grabbed the railing and leapt over it. The gravel crunched beneath her feet as she landed, and again as she dropped into a crouch. Over the commotion now going on in the yard, she doubted anyone would notice. Nevertheless, from here on in she needed to be careful.

Allemand was there. Allemand would hear her coming.

She looked around, scanning the area for trouble; for places anyone might hide now the shit had most definitely hit the fan; for places where she could sneak through the shadows and reach her man. Baron would take care of Dupont and the others, she only needed to deal with Allemand. He was the wildcard the Ministry were ill equipped to handle. If she did not catch him before he made his move, no one would leave the yard alive.

Keeping low and sticking to the shadows, she made her way into the yard.


The night was not going as Seth Baron had planned. Then again, few do. He had expected problems, but when the emaciated dogsbody had shot the city's most powerful drug lord, he knew there was no way he was getting the upper hand without a fight.

Cartwright stuck close to his left flank as they approached the entrance to the yard. Seth kept his eyes on the gunman, ready to fire if things turned nasty again. At present, it was stand-off; just lots of angry chatter, nobody wanting to make the first move. That was fine by him.

Cartwright moved to the left side of the entrance. Seth took the right side. Crouched and with his gun drawn, he waited for his backup to move in.


'That was a brave thing you did there,' said Dupont. 'There are going to be many men after you tonight.'

Jeremy Pellier looked down at the corpse piled at his feet, then at the fat man in the expensive suit. He was right. People would be out for his blood, and not just tonight. From here on in, he had to watch his back.

'You're going to need help just to stay alive,' Dupont continued.

'That sounds like an offer,' said Jeremy.

The Frenchman snorted. Jeremy did not understand the response.

'What do you want?'

'Fifty percent. Of everything.'

'Pull the other one,' Jeremy sneered. 'No one in their right mind would take that. Try harder.'

'Mister Pellier, I am trying to be reasonable here. The cost of setting you up in this town will be significant. If you want to work with us – and I assure you, you do want to work with us – then you have to accept our terms. Fifty percent, or you can take your chances out on the street.'

Jeremy looked down at the old man's body. It had been so simple. Would his end come so easily?

'Thirty five,' he said, mustering as much force as he could convey.

The Frenchman shook his head.

Jeremy felt his grip on the gun slipping. His palms were hot and sweating; his shirt clinging to his back. He needed to finish this and soon, before more problems arose.

'Fine,' he said.

The Frenchman smiled. 'Then let's do business.'


'We're in position now,' said Travis through Seth's earpiece.

Seth said nothing in reply, but looked over at Cartwright, who nodded to him. Seth held up three fingers: move in on three. Cartwright nodded again.




'Armed Government Agent!' called Seth as he stormed into the yard. 'Hands in the air!'

Pellier turned quickly, his gun raised. Cartwright shot him in the shoulder before Seth could react. The gun fell to the floor with the heavy thud of metal on concrete. Pellier clutched at the wound and screamed obscenities, but Seth hardly noticed. His eyes were fixed on Dupont. No one else mattered now.

No one except Allemand, wherever he might be. He was the rogue agent in all this. If the vampire woman did not hold up her side of the bargain, Allemand could prove their undoing.

He put those thoughts out of his mind and walked toward Dupont, his gun raised; ready to fire at the slightest provocation. Cartwright and the others cold deal with the monkeys, he wanted organ grinder all to himself.

Come on, you bastard. Give me an excuse.

But the fat Frenchman just stood there in his expensive suit, sucking on a cigarette and holding his hands up on either side of his bulbous head. His grey eyes followed Seth's every move but other than that, he said and did nothing.

'Marc Dupont, I am arresting you on suspicion of conspiracy to the murder of David Baron,' the words cut deep in Seth's throat. He held the gun so tightly it shook in his hand. Do something, you bastard! Give me a reason. GIVE ME A REASON!

'You do not have to say anything,' he heard himself say. 'But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in court.'

The fat man sniffed, and lowered his hands. 'Is that it?' he asked. The tone made it sound like he was almost bored.

Seth grabbed the man's arm and forced him against a packing crate. He reached into his jacket for handcuffs when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Suddenly he was spun around and a black gloved fist smacked into his face. He lost his footing, and fell; his gun slipping from his grip.

'Cartwright!' he called as Dupont's guard came at him again.

A shot rang out. The guard's eyes glazed, and he crumpled. Behind the falling man, Cartwright walked forward, his gun pointed at Dupont's head.

'No!' cried Seth, scrambling to his feet and pushing Cartwright away. The younger man fought to keep his footing, but at least he was pointing his gun at the ground now. 'He's mine! I want him alive!'

He could feel tears welling in the corners of his eyes. He brushed them away. There would be time for grief later. Right now, he had a job to do.

He felt the gun on the back of his head, and went cold.

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