ShadowAspect melted through a couple of walls and emerged in a small electronics shop that had been closed hours ago. Heavy shutters hid what was happening inside.
The two men with guns lingered out of sight by the door. Their boss followed a woman dressed like a shop assistant to a door marked “Private”, then through a stockroom to a large bookcase covered in boxes set against the back wall.
Slinking behind them, ShadowAspect had already seen seven tiny security cameras. They had all been turned off – apart from the one in the bookcase.
The bookcase swung aside. They stepped inside and it shut behind them.
After waiting a few seconds, a heavy security door opened. The man made his way in alone and strode down a dimly lit corridor with impressionist paintings on the wall. Most were fake, but some were originals. The corridor opened out into a bright café with marble floor and walls.
A waiter with a Glock 17 strapped under his apron greeted him and showed him to a table under a rooflight. A glance around the room told the new arrival that everyone there was armed – in one way or another. And they were all watching him.
The flyer couldn’t deflect our bullets himself. He had to stay behind the shimmering cloud to make sure he didn’t get shot.
Six and I turned and ran. Six looked over his shoulder every few steps and fired another shot. Then he reloaded so quickly I almost missed it.
We were getting away.
A second figure leapt in front of the flyer. I could tell it was a woman. Like the flyer, she wore a mask and was dressed in all black. The shimmering air burst out from between her hands. As she moved in front of the flyer, the shimmering air enveloped them both like a shield. Once they were both protected, she ran at us, the flyer hovering behind her.
Six gave up trying to shoot them and we ran for it. We reached the last rows of graves. I glanced over my shoulder. They were still right behind us. The one wielding the bulletproof shield pushed her hands together, making a bright burst of power. She flung a blast out of her shield. The force hit me in the shoulder and blew me off my feet.
The car was stuck. Six gave up stamping on the accelerator and scowled. My shoulder and ribs sang from where the seatbelt had dug into them.
“How the hell did that happen?” he grated.
My phone vibrated.
“What happened?”Silas texted. “Why did you stop?”
“Something took control of the car and crashed it. We’re fine.”
“Get out of the car now. Take what you need and run. Leave files and computer – I have copies of everything. Check the boot.”
I hated leaving my laptop and manuscripts, but I knew I couldn’t run with them. Six found guns, ammo and night vision goggles in the boot. With out night vision goggles on, we left the car and ran over the field we had crashed into, which rose up towards the silhouette of a church at the top of a small hill.
I reached the church gasping for breath and leaned against the wall before my legs gave way. Looking back towards the car, I could see three figures skulking around it. They were searching for us.
Six and I crept around to a graveyard at the back. It was like an army of stones standing to attention. Beyond the graveyard was a meadow leading a mass of buildings that was the farm.
We picked our way through the gravestones, staying close to the biggest ones. Then Six stopped and pointed. I froze. Across the graveyard someone was moving. I couldn’t tell if we’d been seen or not. It looked like a man in a balaclava.
He stopped and lifted his face into the air like he was listening for something. What happened next was so unreal, I don’t think I would believe it now – if Six hadn’t been there and seen it too.
The man in the graveyard spread his arms. He lifted slowly into the air and flew right at us.
Bullets bombarded the windscreen and the bodywork of the Audi Six was driving.
They clanged and bounced off the car like it was bulletproof. The muzzle flashed. But Six ignored it and drove straight at the SUV. The gunman’s eyes widened in alarm, he ducked back in the SUV.
“Hang on,” Six uttered.
He accelerated. Then he heaved up the handbrake and hauled the steering wheel to the right. The car spun around. I clung on. As the SUV was about to hit us, the front of our Audi swung out of reach.
Then I was facing the opposite direction.
The car and the van had skidded to a halt behind us. It looked like they had just avoided crashing into each other. Then they turned around and set off after us.
We kept spinning until we faced the front again. The SUV screeched to a halt. It had just missed us.
Six accelerated and we sped away. My stomach lurched back into my spne. But for now, I was still alive.
I stared in wide-eyed horror at the van tearing right at us. The car behind moved right up until it was almost touching the back bumper. We were heading for a collision. The bars on the front of the van would crush us inside the car.
Gripping the wheel, I froze. I didn’t know what to do.
Six grabbed the wheel. Before I knew it, he was driving and I was scrambling into the passenger seat.
He slowed right down. The car behind bumped into the back of us. Six swung left. The driver behind followed. The van altered its trajectory to charge right at us.
Then Six jammed his foot down and accelerated.
Looking in my mirror, I couldn’t see who was driving. I slowed right down, hoping they would overtake and I would realise I was just being paranoid.
But the car slowed and drove just behind me.
I put my foot down and accelerated.
The car sped up.
It was the middle of the night. There were no other cars around. If anything happned to us now, there would be no one else to see it.
“You want me to take over?” Six offered.
“No. Just takes one passing police car and that’s our adventure over.”
“And Mondial have been known to pay off cops,” Six agreed. “I heard they have hundreds on their payroll.”
The headlights of another vehicle were heading our way. As it came closer, I could see it was a van – with a metal grid on the front.
Suddenly it veered across the road and sped right at us.
The iron gate was floor to ceiling, stretching across the entrance and exit. There was no way of climbing over or breaking in.
“Now what?” Six demanded.
I stared helplessly at the gate. Did Silas think it would be open – or did he have some way to get us in?
My phone vibrated. A text from Silas.
“You’ll be needing this.”
His next text was a ten-digit number.
What was that for?
Then Six pointed to a keypad set in the wall. I typed in the number Silas had sent and the iron gate slid back.
I led the way inside the carpark, suddenly realising I had no idea what I was looking for. The text came.
“You’re looking for a grey Audi S3.”