Henry jumped off the ladder as the bullets crashed into the platform behind him. Turning to Luna, “Any way out, from here?”
“We came through the maze.”
Henry pulled her behind him, “Get back in the corner, the platform will give us some cover.” Henry looked around, there were walls of crates all around, they were vulnerable from above and once the dogs made it into the maze, from the front, as well. Henry took the shovel off his belt and smashed into the side of the crate. The wood splintered and then splintered again as more shots poured down from above. Henry jumped back and pulled his .45, “Here, hold this, but keep it pointed away from me,” he said handing the machine gun to Luna.
Henry yelled, “The Major is dead, what say we call it a draw?”
“Nobody said nothing about quitting if the Major died,” came the voice and then another blast of bullets.
The muzzle flash was enough and Henry darted out from cover and got off three quick rounds. Henry had to jump to avoid the falling body. If he hadn’t the shots coming from behind him might have ended the game for Henry then and there. Luna saw the flash from behind Henry, screamed and then brought the machine gun up and pulled the trigger. A flurry of bullets headed in the general direction of the latest assailant. The kick from the Tommy gun sent them all high, but it was enough distraction to let Henry dive back to the relative cover of the corner.
“Maybe we should trade,” Henry said.
“Are we going to die?” she asked, handing the gun to Henry and taking the .45
“It sure looks like it.”
Luna smiled, it was the perfect answer. Henry never lied to her, not even now, when she might have preferred it. “Then I’ll need another clip.”
Henry grabbed her and kissed her, ignoring the bullets raining down around them. They had about six square feet that seemed unassailable from above, and Henry didn’t know if he would get another chance. When he pulled back, she winked, and he stepped out and fired a long blast. Henry had emptied the Tommy gun, but heard a dull thud coming from the direction he had fired.
The sounds of hope and despair started at the same time. Sirens were blaring and getting louder, help was on the way, but it was being drowned out by a chorus of barking. The single crate hadn’t plugged up the maze much at all. Henry pulled the Tommy gun from the body by his feet and found an extra clip. Henry had no idea how many rounds were left in the new gun, so he pulled the clip and tossed it aside. He yanked the empty clip from his machine gun and dropped it on the ground. There was a hollow metallic clink when it hit the ground. The full clip in, Henry’s mind caught up with his hands. What had made that sound? Henry pounded his heel against the floor, and sure enough, they were standing on metal.
“Here,” He said, “Take the flashlight and find the handle, I think were standing on a door.”
“Hopefully someplace with less bitting.”
Luna flipped on the light, and it seemed to expose them to the world. The barking was getting louder and seemed to be nearly on top of them. “I found it!”
Henry spun around and reached for the handle, just as another shot rang out. He felt it bite into his shoulder. The door came up easily enough, and Luna scrambled down the steps. Henry raised his weapon and sent burst of fire down the maze. Six separate muzzle flashes lit up the dogs being released by their handlers. They were less than 50 feet away and closing fast. Henry scrambled into the darkness below and pulled the heavy metal door down. It didn’t have a latch, but Henry took the Tommy gun and was able to wedge it through the handle.
“That should hold them for a bit.”
“Are we going to die now?”
“Yes, but maybe not today.”
Henry took the flashlight and .45., “All we need to do is either find the way out or keep them from finding us until the cavalry arrives.”
The lights came on, and a familiar voice said, “Mr. Wood, you are correct, but sadly you’ve been found. Now, I’m going to need you to drop the gun.”
Henry turned around slowly to see Associate 2 and 3 with guns raised.
Luna stood behind Henry and wrapped her arms around his chest.
Henry laid the gun gently on the floor and then kicked it away. “You still bitter about me getting the drop on you the other day?”
Associate 2, “Now that you mention it, yes. It made me question whether I was losing my touch.”
Associate 3, “I think you just got lucky.”
Henry, “You’re probably right, if that delivery guy hadn’t been there, you’d probably have checked the closet.”
Associate 2, “That is kind of you to say.”
The polite conversation and how it was drawing out the inevitable was too much for Luna, she started to sob, but buried her face in Henry’s back.
Henry reached behind him and patted her on the leg, “Is there any reason why she needs to be involved?”
Associate 2 and 3 looked at each other, and 3 said, “She is a witness and we did kidnap her, which, I’m told, is frowned upon.”
2 said, “Though, I have to say, she was very well behaved. Miss, you think you could behave if we let you go.”
Luna looked up, “I’m not going anywhere without Henry.”
Henry shrugged, “I’d argue with her, but I’ve tried it before and the conversations can be lengthy affairs.”
3 nodded his head, “Broads.”
Henry said, “Before you two finish this game, I gotta ask, how did the Enclave end up doing the Major’s bidding.”
2, “It’s a long story, but it seems there was a debt owed to his grandfather.”
Henry asked, “What sort of debt?”
2, “He provided a service, and the Enclave agreed to do the same whenever he needed it. After the Major made bail, he called in his grandfather’s marker.”
Henry, “And he asked you to kill me and Luna?”
2 thought for a second, “Actually, now that you mention it, no, we were to assist him by kidnapping Luna and then providing soldiers in his stupid battle. I have to admit, I didn’t imagine you’d make it this far. How many of our guys did you get?”
“Henry, well the first guy is bleeding up front and knocked out. I know I got one more, who fell right above us and then there was another one that I heard fall… oh, and of course, Luna killed the Major.”
2, “Really? How?”
“He was focused on me, as I was untying her, and he didn’t see I’d given her the .45.”
Luna, popped her head up, “He was a jerk.”
2 and 3 laughed, “He really was.”
The sounds of men and dogs beating on the metal door made talking hard. 2 waved his gun, “I don’t care for dogs.”
Henry and Luna did as they were told and walked through the doorway and down a long brick hallway. The door at the other end led to the boiler room. They weren’t on, as it was summer, and the room was cool. Henry and Luna were directed to a couple of chairs at a card table.
2 whispered something to 3 and then walked through another door. 3 said, “He’s calling it in. We never discussed what to do if you won.”
Henry pulled a canteen from his belt and unscrewed the top. He handed it to Luna who took a long drink. Henry said after she handed it back, “You want any?”
“I’m good, thanks.”
Henry took a pull and then grabbed Luna’s hand. Somewhere deep in his mind there was a voice saying that this would be a good time to come up with a plan. Despite the voice, Henry knew that there weren’t any more plans. Their lives were in the hands of the Enclave, now.
2 returned and relayed the conversation to his partner. They seemed to be talking for a long time, considering it seemed to be a yes or no question. Henry noticed the slightest nod from 3.
“The Director has said we need to kill you.”
Luna squeezed Henry’s hand and looked at him.
“We’ve decided to retire.”
Henry stood up slowly, knowing the gravity of what they had just said. “I owe you for helping catch the Major and now this.”
2,”The life of international assassin can wear on you after a while.”
“What’s going on,” Luna asked.
“They’re letting us go.”
Luna jumped to her feet and threw her arms around Henry. She turned to the two men, “I’ll never tell anybody about you. You’re secret is safe with me. Thanks.”
2 and 3 smiled, knowing that the police were the least of their worries.
Henry shook their hands and asked 2, “I assume that all the fears you had after the Palmeroy incident, will now be a reality.”
“Yes, but we’ll be fine.”
3 didn’t look so sure, but let 2 do all the talking.
Henry, “Will the Enclave send someone else?”
2, “I have no idea. I think the Director is mostly relieved that the marker has been paid. Still, I’d be cautious for a while.”
Luna said, “I don’t like the sound of that, but I guess it is better than the alternative.”
2 said, “I’ll show you the way out.”