There’s Something Here From Somewhere Else – Part 6
(first appeared at valterramagazines.com October 2013 issue)
Having once again located the black helicopter Nap watched it land in the middle of the street and wondered aloud what could be so important that they would be landing a black helicopter in broad daylight. That was exactly the type of behavior associated with assassinations and UFO crashes and the last thing the government or military needed. It was the kind of helicopter that even the most naive viewer could tell did not officially exist. It bristled with weaponry and had a sheen that seemed to challenge radar to try to pick it up. Just seeing one fly by was enough for the average citizen to stand as little straighter and lower his voice when it came time to criticize an elected official. To have one landing in the middle of street seemed madness and Nap was certain that the very fate of the planet must be hanging in the balance.
He cut through the building sitting between the helicopter and himself, eager to explain to whomever had been sent to collect him that they would be sorely disappointed because he had a dog to find instead.
In the old days all the covert forces would just wear wool masks over their faces. It didn’t allow the enemy to see their facial features and helped them blend in a bit more. The downside was that they were hot as balls and after only a few minutes in the field the agent would be sweating like a pig. These days the balaclavas are made of Nomex, a material that although more durable also breathes a little and is fireproof to help against burns from fire/stun munitions. Visually there is very little difference though. Just two holes to allow the agent to see. In the case of the agent whose gun was trained on Ruth the mask had two additional holes for a grand total of four. Two which allowed him to see and two which allowed Nap’s bullet to enter and exit his head.
Ruth ran towards the stranger who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere to save her as he worked to put together what exactly was happening. He half expected Ruth to level a killer karate chop in his direction to indicate he had once again shot the wrong guy but she maintained her innocent demeanor as she hurriedly made her way towards him.
He could immediately see the killer bod that Ruth took great pains to conceal. One eyebrow began to creep upwards and he was about to introduce himself when he noticed two more men clad in the requisite black apparel entering the library.
Introductions would have to wait.
He grabbed Ruth and made for the periodicals.
The sound of bullets on the metal shelving had Ruth wishing she would have lobbied harder for the wood shelving she originally wanted. It was more expensive but would have given the library a much more sophisticated air about it. At the time though budgets were tight and it was either go with steel shelving or lose the small bubbling fountain that sat in the middle of the computer lab.
Nap was trying to make it to the back entrance from where he had originally come in but the two men in black had split up and were slowly working their way around the perimeter. Eventually they were going to get a clean shot on one or both of them and Nap reminded himself that Scrappy still needed finding so the last thing he could afford to do was get killed.
“Scrappy is missing?” Ruth asked.
He gave her a quick “How did you know that, are you reading my mind or something?” look but followed her eyes to the flyer he still held in his non-gun hand.
“I saw him by the water tower earlier this morning.”
“That’s helpful.” Nap replied. “Any idea who these guys are and why they’re shooting at you?”
A bullet tore through the picture of Scrappy. This upset Nap to no end and he stood up. It must be something about libraries but he got a “now you’ve done it” look on his face. Perhaps it’s because talking is frowned upon that people tend to be more expressive but it can’t be a coincidence that three people got particular looks on their face when up until now nobody had gotten even one. Even the way I describe the reaction of people talking in a library, “frowned upon,” is a facial expression.
Nap walked to the center of the room. On the way he shot and killed the two agents who had seen him stand up and who had felt certain that he was about to end this little stand-off. Add overconfidence to the list of things that killed the cat.
Nap turned to face Ruth. “No idea at all? None whatsoever huh? Three trained killers and you have no clue why they attempted to gun you down right in the middle of the library?”
He saw her confused look and then he saw her shocked and surprised look and instinctively reached around his own head and fired blindly at the entrance. When he finally turned his head he saw exactly what he expected to see … another man in black crumbling to his knees.
Well, not entirely what he expected to see. I mean to say he saw what he expected to see but he then heard what he did not expect to hear.
The large chiseled man, mid crumble, slowly raised a hand and pulled off his black durable fireproof mask.
“I didn’t know it … was you … Nap.”
Nap ran over to him, his gun still raised in case Tim decided he’d like some company in the great beyond.
Tim dropped his gun and his mask and the rest of himself to the ground.
“I didn’t know it was you Tim. No offense intended.”
“None …” the words trailed off. A few drops of blood began to ooze dramatically from his lips.
“Taken?” Nap said helpfully.
Tim nodded slightly and then the little light that people have in their eyes to indicate that someone is home flicked off.
Nap looked at the entrance expecting more men. When a minute passed and no more materialized he let out his breath and looked again at Ruth.
In the distance he could hear a helicopter taking off. If he were a betting man he would have bet that officially it didn’t exist.
“You knew him?” Ruth asked tentatively.
“He was a good man.” Then Nap thought about it some more. “Actually he was a very bad man.”
“He was … a very good bad man.”
“And what are you?” Ruth asked.
“I’m more of a very good … bad good man.”
“Well thank you, whatever you are.”
“Can you point me to the water tower?”
Ruth looked a bit dazed. “Why on earth would you want to go to the water tower after killing four men?”
“I have to find Scrappy and to do that I need to leave before the police arrive.” To Nap it seemed pretty straightforward. To Ruth everything about it seemed insane. Papers were still floating down and electrical things that had been damaged by flying lead were fizzling and sparking all around her. Some of the lights were even flickering a bit. I think even you the reader might be a little cavalier about the whole thing. Too many movies and television shows where after a huge gunfight or explosion everyone returns to normal and the hero(s) just walks off without a care in the world apparently. To normal people this kind of thing, when it actually happens to them, can be very upsetting so let’s slow down a bit and give Ruth a few minutes to compose herself before you expect her to start moving the story along again.
“You’d better come with me until I sort this all out,” Nap offered grudgingly. “But I’m telling you now, if you are either planning on destroying the world or planning on stopping someone from destroying the world I will cut you loose in a heartbeat. Not interested.”
This kind of talk did not help Ruth regain her footing any quicker.
Motioning to the back door Nap made it clear that she was expected to fall in behind him.
“I’m on vacation, damn it.”