Mark Terry

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


October 5, 2011
[My apologies. I've been swamped with work and family responsibilities lately. Hope you enjoy today's installment]

He didn’t make it far. He peeled out of the alley, turned onto a narrow street, and skidded to a halt. The street was blocked by two cars. Standing in front of the vehicles was none other than Juan Osorio. On his left stood the auburn-haired woman he had noticed while barhopping with Coro, the one that gave off the Russian vibe. On his right were two uniformed men carrying assault rifles.
            Osorio called out, “Senor Hamill, you are under arrest.”
            “The hell I am,” Derek muttered, spinning the bike on its rear wheel and hammering the throttle. The bike roared. He heard gunshots over the bike’s racket.
            He skidded around a corner only to see another vehicle blocking the street. This one didn’t block the entire street and the soldiers or agents or cops, whoever they were, stayed in their vehicle.
            Pull his handgun, Derek held it in his left fist, gripped the throttle with his right, and raced toward the car, firing as he went.
            He was squeezing past on the right when the car slammed into reverse. The car’s trunk struck his rear wheel. The bike skidded, wobbled, then Derek laid it down on the pavement, rolling away from the bike.
            Lying there for a moment, he wondered if he’d broken anything. Bruised for sure. Looking down at his jeans, he saw he’d shredded his right leg and hips. He was sure as hell bleeding. And sure as hell lucky.
            Rolling to his feet, pain shot up through his leg and his side. Behind him, a uniformed cop staggered out of the car, the shoulder of his uniform dark with blood. He raised a handgun.
            Derek shot him.
            Turning, he levered up the motorcycle, whose engine had cut out. He straddled it with some difficulty and tried to kick it into life. Nothing.
            He tried again. Still nothing.
            He turned to see the red-haired woman standing two dozen feet away from him. Their eyes met.
            She had a gun pointed at him. In English with a Russian accent she said, “Derek Stillwater.”
            A jolt of adrenaline blasted through Derek. She knew who he really was!
            “I think it would be better for my country and yours if you just got out of here. Go.” She waved the gun at a doorway. “Through there.”
            He didn’t ask questions. He sprinted for the door. Who was the woman? He had no idea, but she’d done him a hell of a favor. And if she was Russian – and it seemed she was – perhaps she was right. The analysis Derek had read after the breakup of the Soviet Union and their relationship with Cuba was that it was spiraling downward in a big way.
            He didn’t give it much thought. Gift horses, and all that. Darting through the door, he found himself in an apartment building. Racing through the hallway, he headed upward. The buildings in this part of Havana were old and sandwiched together, sometimes only a half dozen feet separating them, sometimes less, sharing walls.
            It was six stories tall. It smelled of herbs, mildew, some sort of cooking meat or beans. This early in the morning it was quiet.
            He climbed the narrow stairs to the top floor. A ladder went up one wall to a hatch. Derek climbed up, pushed it open, and rolled onto the roof of the apartment building, closing the hatch behind him.
            Heart hammering in his chest, lungs burning, he took stock of his situation. Scraped up, but functional. Pretty much out of options.
            As far as he was concerned, he’d just been about as lucky as he was likely to get, running into a Russian agent who would rather get him out of the country than turn him over to the Cubans.
            Glancing around, he saw that the next closest building was about six feet away and maybe four or five feet lower. Pocketing the gun, he took a deep breath, set himself, and leapt the distance between the two buildings. He hit the next building, rolled, and was happy to discover that the next half dozen buildings were built adjacent to each other.
            Within minutes he was several blocks from where Osorio was looking for him. Hopefully the Russian woman had pointed Osorio in a different direction.
            In the east, the sun was starting to rise, the sky ribbed with scarlet as the sun burned through distant clouds. A beautiful sunrise, he supposed, if he weren’t such a pessimist: red sky in morning, sailors taking warning.
            Derek thought a storm was coming. 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exciting stuff, Mark.

If you get too jammed up with other work there's always "Suddenly he was run over a fishing boat."

2:32 PM  

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