“Members of the security services are already beginning to suspect your existence and the work of your organisation,” Wolsingham said. He gave a sneering laugh. “Mondial. But they are unaware of mine and I need it to stay that way.”
“It is my understanding that there is a specialised agency dedicated to bringing you down.”
“Not for much longer,” Wolsingham replied. “As no one else knows about them, their demise won’t even make page 11 of the Evening Standard.” Wolsingham finished his tea, dabbed his mouth with a serviette and got to his feet. “I need the writer taken care of. In return, my people will provide assistance when you need it. I hope you gleaned everything you needed to with this visit.”
“I did,” Hoyer smiled. “And Jason Rybak will be dead before his first book charting the exploits of your people hits the internet.”
I slammed my laptop shut and bowed over in my chair, trying to suppress the urge to vomit. Two of the most dangerous men in the world, never mind just the UK, and I was their next topic of discussion.
I took a deep breath and read on.
“Jason Rybak,” Wolsingham said. “The second people start taking the content of his work more seriously, we will both be in trouble.”
“I attempted to have him killed,” Hoyer replied. “As I know you did.”
“But he has help,” Hoyer continued. “I know nothing about this helper. None of my people have even seen his face. But their accounts suggest he belongs more to your world than mine.”
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.
Six and I backed away through the gravestones. The dark figure flew after us.
We changed direction, turned and ran, aiming for the back of the graveyard and the meadow beyond.
The dark figure veered in the air, sinking until his feet nearly touched the ground, then took off after us.
We ran hard, but the flying figure was catching us up with evey stride we made. Six pulled his gun, turned and fired two silenced shots at him.
The air shimmered in front of the flyer. The bullets zipped into the shimmering air and deflected into the night.
Six fired again.
The air concentrated into a glimmering, silvery cloud. The bullets ricocheted away. We backed away as Six kept firing. The bullets didn’t get near the flyer.
My eyes caught a shimmer to the flyer’s right. He wasn’t the one deflecting the bullets. Someone else was doing it for him.
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.
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.”
“So it wasn’t you who pulled me out of the van?” I asked Six.
“I was on a rooftop,” Six replied. “It must have been the same person I’d shot at before.
One of them got mixed up in our first shootout. Didn’t end well for him. But I knew then that they were coming for you.” Six shook his head. “I saw him from the rooftop. So quick.” He shot me another look. “He could do things – things that should’ve been impossible. I tried shooting at him anyway and I still couldn’t hit him. He pulled you from the van without touching you.”
“Did you get a look at him?” I asked.
“Wouldn’t know him if he passed us on the street right now.”
We took a longer, roundabout route to out next destination, circling back on ourselves a couple of times just to make sure we weren’t being followed.
“Gonna need more ammo,” Six grunted eventually, a scowl on his face.
“You ran out?”
“Can you get more?”
“When we get to London – I have some hidden in a few places.”
“You have ammo hidden around London?”
“And some other stuff.”
Six looked up at me before I could ask any more questions.
“I barely landed a shot,” he said pointedly. “That first guy I ran into – I didn’t get near him. Whoever he was – he was so quick. Then I made it to the cathedral as that team were shoving you in the van. I took a couple of them down, but then he attacked them and killed the rest.”
I couldn’t just stand there in case someone saw me. All I could do was head for the next meeting point and forget about what kind of hell was going to break loose when the mess I was standing in was discovered.
Taking care to step around the blood, I did a quick check to make sure there was no obvious trace on my clothes or shoes, then strode away.
A face peered around the corner I was heading for. It was Six. As I got closer, he had a look on his face that was probably the look on my face aswell. Confused. Stunned. Like something horrifying had happened. Knocked for six – so to speak.
I rounded the corner and we walked together in silence.
“What happened?” I asked eventually.
“Don’t want to talk about it.”
As my hands reached for the hood, I knew that whoever had pulled me out wasn’t Six. Why hadn’t they identified themselves? And how did they get me out wihout climbing into the van?
I pulled the hood away.
I was alone. There was no one watching me, no one waiting to ask if I was okay. Whoever had helped me had gone.
But my eyes were drawn to the scene around me. There were dead bodies scattered over the ground. One was slumped against the van, which was riddled with bullet indentations and spattered with blood. Some of them had been shot. The rest had been beaten to death. I recognised the couple I’d passed before among the dead.
They were all armed and trained. They were organised. So who took them down? And why didn’t they let me see them?