Chapter 53

Copyright© 2010 by Michael Wolfam

Liv and Finn left the plush East Wing and entered the sterile, white, hospital-style corridors. An arrow on the sign hanging from the ceiling pointed toward the front desk. They were about to turn a corner when two men, dressed in black and carrying submachine guns, ran past them. Time stood still, as the four people stared in surprise at each other. In slow motion, the two opposing groups maneuvered their weapons, desperately trying to get a shot off.

The men were pulling the MP-5s up to their shoulders when Liv opened fire. The AK roared and bucked in her hands as she rapidly pulled the trigger of the semi-automatic rifle. Her shots slammed into the first man's chest, knocking him to the floor. The other heard the shots and started firing, long before he had a solid lock on Finn.

Finn didn't make the same mistake. As bullets whizzed around him, he drew a bead on the shooter and fired three shots from the AR-15. Each bullet hit the assailant in the face, and the man slumped to the tile floor. His death grip on the MP-5 caused it to unload the remainder of the magazine. Plaster flew as bullets stitched the wall, deafening Liv and Finn.

The man who had been knocked to the ground tried to raise his weapon, but Finn raced over and kicked the gun out of his hands. Finn's next kick slammed into the man's face, knocking him out cold. Finn crouched next to the unconscious man and secured his hands and feet with several plastic, zip ties he had taken from the salvage yard. Satisfied that the man would be unable to move, Finn stood and turned.

Suddenly, the wind was knocked out of him, and he went flying. A burst of deadly, 9 mm rounds filled the space where he had been standing. Liv had slammed him to the ground with a flying tackle.

Another gunman had rounded the corner, intent on earning his silver notches. The moment Liv hit the ground, she spun around on her back and opened fire with the AK. Most of the rounds from the soviet-made rifle went wild, but three found their mark and dropped the man, before he was able to lock onto her.

"Watch out. He's got a buddy around here somewhere," Liv said as she rose to a crouch, the barrel of her assault rifle focusing on the corner in front of her. "I just saw a peek of him, but he's out there somewhere."

Finn noticed the tip of a barrel peeking around the corner, and he aimed about a foot behind it. In unison, he and Liv emptied their rifle magazines at a spot just around the corner.

None of the rounds hit Chang as he waited for the right moment. He had chosen his position well. The wall was thick enough to absorb the bullets aimed at him.

The barrel retreated, but Finn wasn't satisfied. He grabbed a grenade off the webbing of the man he had killed. He was about to pull the pin when Liv stopped him.

"Hang on, I've got an idea. We don't want that asshole throwing it back at us like you did with the grenade at my house," she whispered. Liv reached into her Go Bag and pulled out the mangy bunny slipper that was filled with holes and missing an eye. She took the grenade from Finn, while he swapped magazines in the AR. She pulled the pin, flipped the spoon, stuffed the grenade in the slipper and sent it flying down the hall. Her aim was perfect. It bounced off a wall and then skidded around the corner. Both covered their ears and waited.

David Chang was about to make his move when a beat up, pink slipper clanked and bounced on the floor in front of him. He stared at the strange sight for two precious seconds before realizing that slippers weren't supposed to sound like they were stuffed with metal. He reached for the slipper, picked it up and looked inside. "Fucking bunny-"

The explosion rocked the hallway. The moment the grenade detonated, Liv and Finn raced around the corner. A man, or what was left of him, was splattered across the walls. The hallway was scorched. Linoleum floor tiles were melted and blood-stained plaster fell from the walls and ceiling

Finn searched through the remains, but found nothing of interest. Liv found a pink, fuzzy ear and held it up sadly. Finn laughed. "I guess this is the end of that slipper? He served his country well. I think only a burial in Arlington National Cemetery would be proper."

"Yeah, it would only be fitting," Liv said dramatically, as she wrinkled her face in revulsion. The sight was nauseating, but after seeing so many dead bodies in the past few days, she was starting to become desensitized. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a small amount of movement.

"Oh shit, behind you!" Liv yelled as she pulled the AK's trigger. The silence was louder than any explosion. She had forgotten to reload. Shit.

Liv could see Finn starting to turn, but she could tell that it would take too long for him to get his AR in position to return fire. They didn't have long before the man mowed them down with his submachine gun.

Without thinking, Liv dropped the AK, freed one of the throwing knives from its place on her left arm, and hurled the sharp dagger. As the metal shank left her fingers, she hoped that the years spent throwing knives at targets in her backyard would pay off.

Time passed in slow motion as the man raised the MP-5 toward her head. She could see the knife cartwheeling through the air. It was closing the distance rapidly, but it seemed too slow. She started reaching for the Steyr at the small of her back.

The homemade knife sailed past Finn's head and embedded itself in the gunman's throat. The man grasped his neck, staggered backward, and fell to the floor. Blood gurgled from the fatal wound.

"Wow, you're full of surprises. Most of them scary and strangely arousing," Finn said as he stared at the dead man. Liv smiled slightly and changed the AK's magazine.

"You know me, just a pretty, pretty princess," she said grimly. "Let's go see what our friend back in the hallway knows."

While Liv covered him, Finn dragged the bound man into Mitch's office. Liv barricaded the wooden door, while Finn sat the man in a chair, facing him toward the powerful spotlights mounted to the armored SRT-8.

Satisfied that no one could easily barge in on them, Liv walked between the man and the headlights, casting a menacing shadow on the prisoner. "Where's my grandma, mother fucker?" Liv demanded, as she pointed the barrel of the AK at his crotch.

"Trust me when I say that I really don't want to ask twice. I bet you scream like a girl, and I don't want to hear it." To punctuate her threat, Liv squeezed the trigger and shot a hole in the chair, between his spread legs. The anger in her eyes and the deafening roar of the AK-47 caught the man by surprise. The eerie illumination from the rack of lights gave her the appearance of a mythical, avenging angel. A gorgeous, avenging angel, but one who obviously wanted nothing more than to kill him, right then and there.

"Look, I don't know where your grandma is," the man replied truthfully. He yelped when a hollow point grazed his leg just above the knee.

"One more time, asshole," Liv growled. The smell of gunpowder hung thickly in the air and served as a constant reminder of her threat. Deep in the back of her mind, she observed her actions with a mix of horror and fascination. It felt almost as if she was possessed by a spirit that was hell-bent on seeking revenge for Mitch's betrayal of her family. Her actions didn't feel like her own.

The prisoner hesitated, and the AK barked. This time, the bullet grazed his inner thigh. "You've got two more tries before you find out what having an extra asshole is like." Liv's eyes narrowed menacingly.

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