Henry Wood: Edge of Understanding Ch 93 pt 5

Henry’s eyes were beginning to adjust, and he barely avoided a pipe jutting out of the wall. He ducked under it just as bullet ricocheted off the pipe. Henry dove to the ground and another two shots rang out, zipping over him and hitting a stack of crates just ahead. Henry rolled over brought his weapon up and fired five quick shots back down along the wall. Three more passed over him and then the shooting stopped.

Henry hoped he had gotten him, but it was possible that the guy was just reloading. Henry crawled forward. It looked like a dead end, but he couldn’t be sure, the flash from his gun had readjusted his eyes, and now he was back in complete darkness. The Major would know if this was a dead end or not and would be bringing his troops down on him any moment.

Henry felt along the wall of crates and quickly found he had been right. There was little time for retreat, so he felt around for anything that might let him climb out of the trap. Then he remembered…the pipe. Henry took three quick steps, his hands out in front, and then he found it. It came out and went up, so he grabbed above the bend and hand over hand until he could get his foot on the pipe. Using the pipe and the wall of crates he propelled himself up the stack of crates, which were four high, probably twenty feet, and came out on top of them.

A flashlight beam passed along the wall next to him, and he heard running, then someone yelled, “37 is down”. Henry understood immediately who the enemy was, beyond the Major, it was the Enclave. He didn’t know why or care, Henry just knew that these were ordinary soldiers, these were trained assassins. They knew the terrain, were more skilled in the art of death, and were more than enough of a match for a gum shoe from Brooklyn.

From his spot, he could see that he was atop one of three long rows of crates. What he hadn’t noticed on the model is that they all ended half way, except for Bravo path. Now, though, he was on top of the canyons looking down and on the other side, a maze, which he presumed, was filled with more dead ends. But he wasn’t in the maze, he was on top of it.

There were three lights converging on the entry point to the dead end he had climbed out of and one had just leapt across to his stack of cargo. They were being cautious and moving methodically into position. It was truly professional, but their one flaw was in assuming Henry couldn’t see where they were. He slid himself over the top of the crate, hoping that it would drop down only one level, and he could get a foothold. He did. This level went a little further to the center, and Henry scrambled over the dividing wall. He was now on top of the maze, and his pursuers were out of sight. The lighting was still tenuous at best, but he could feel his way along the top of the maze. It would have been easier to turn on the flashlight, but he didn’t have any intel about troops stationed on this side. So he crept along as quietly as possible, hoping not to run into a waiting sniper or anything.

Henry almost fell into the maze when the lengthy burst of machine gun fire rang out. It was quieter than he imagined, he could pick up the pace and they wouldn’t hear him. Of course, soon they would know that the mouse was out of the trap and headed for the cheese.

Henry realized that the maze’s outer walls were a giant square, and he would be able to head straight for Luna. Still, he was watching his step. He got to the platform and whispered, “It’s me, Henry, stay still”.

Luna had been crying. Henry reached out and touched her face, “Shhh, don’t cry.” He took the gag out of her mouth and then started to untie her. It wasn’t easy, as the knots were complex. Henry wished he’d looked for a knife on the table.

The sound of commotion from the front half of the warehouse told him the Major and his friends were back on the chase. It was no use, the ropes wouldn’t give. Henry said, “I’m need to put the gag back in, so they don’t know I’ve made it here, okay?”

Luna whispered, “Okay,” without hesitating. She was the bravest women he knew. Henry made his way along the maze wall, heading for the back left corner. He wanted to get his his pursuer’s target as far from Luna as possible. He saw the flashlights go out as two of the men crossed the midway point. Now, everybody was in the dark. Henry needed an edge. He tried to remember how many shots he had fired, but couldn’t. He pulled the clip from his .45 and replaced it with a fresh one. The partially used clip went in his back pocket.

Henry reached the corner and found it was a column of stacked crates that were two by two. He looked over the edge, and it seemed to be a straight drop to the ground. It was too dark to see the two men, but from the creaking of the crates they were flanking him. Had he been making noise, too?

Henry didn’t move. He listened. The sounds were faint, but he could tell that one of the guys was coming straight for him. If they hadn’t heard him, maybe they are just getting into fallback positions, he thought. The voice in his head was wrong, they were moving slowly with purpose, not retreating. Henry had an idea.

He pulled the clip out of his back pocket and gently removed the remaining rounds. He shoved them into his pocket and then gave it a long arching toss towards the center of the maze.

The footsteps moved quickly now. He heard them turn and head towards the center. Henry crept forward and snuck past the spot where the man had turned. He could see that the wall dropped down only one level. Then he got a lucky break.

The man who had been moving down the opposite wall whispered something and then counted to three, he lit his flashlight and shined it into maze. Henry didn’t hesitate, he fired, from his side, three rounds and saw the man and flashlight drop, as his machine gun fired wildly into the space below. Henry saw the remaining man spin around and open fire. Henry dropped off the wall onto the next level.

Just as Henry was feeling as if the scales were evening up, he heard it…dogs.