If you are looking for a story filled with sex, then you are probably in the wrong place. I don’t write sex stories. I (hopefully) write interesting stories that contain sex. It has been said that women need a reason to have sex, while men just need a place. Like most generalities, that is generally wrong. I think that most people actually need to have a reason to have sex and if they care for each other, if they love each other, then the sex will be even better. All the participants are at least 18.
I have never felt such a helpless feeling of rage and despair. My hands clenched and unclenched in frustration.
I again looked at my watch, for probably the 50th time in the past 90 minutes.
That was how long she had been in emergency surgery.
They told me they would do everything they could, but I had to prepare myself for the worst.
She had died twice in the ambulance, but both times they had managed to get her heart beating again.
She had lost so much blood, her blood pressure was almost negligible when she was brought in.
I knew she had compound fractures in both legs, meaning the bones were sticking out, had a collapsed lung, several broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, a broken arm, a fractured skull, a concussion, and swelling of the brain.
Her right knee had also been shattered by the impact, and they weren’t sure if she would ever be able to walk again ... assuming she even lived.
I looked at my watch again. Only a minute had passed since the last time.
I got up and started walking, and again my fists were clenching and unclenching. I am used to DOING ... not WAITING!
This should have been among the happiest days of her life.
She had been accepted into MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) at age 16, and last month earned a degree in nuclear physics at age 19. A four-year degree in nuclear physics in only three years.
Now she had been enjoying her first real break in three years.
As a family we had spent a month at the beach, before returning to our summer home in the North Carolina Mountains.
In just a few more weeks she was to start her job at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
After graduating number one in her class she literally had her choice of any job she wanted, but she wanted Oak Ridge, where her mother worked.
Earlier today, she wanted to drive into town to buy some clothes for her new job.
I offered to drive her, but she knew how much I hated shopping and told me she would be fine.
And I knew she would. She was a very careful driver.
What I had not expected was that a drunk driver would cross over into her lane, and hit her head-on.
If only ... If only ... If only I had insisted on driving her, I kept torturing myself with the thought that with my experience I could have avoided the wreck.
The other driver was dead, and she almost was.
They had told me that the surgery would take at least six hours, possibly as many as eight, so I knew I had a long time to wait. God, I felt so USELESS!
While waiting, I started thinking back.
Now -- since she was a “grown-up,” -- she usually called me Jack. That is how most people know me, even though it wasn’t actually my real name.
But there was a time when she would call me Daddy Jack, and sometimes she would forget and still call me that.
There had been other times in the past -- during especially playful or tender moments -- when she would simply call me Daddy.
And again, there were times when she would forget she was now a “grown-up,” and still call me simply Daddy. Is there a more glorious word in the world than simply, “Daddy?”
This was despite the fact we weren’t actually related. But no man has ever loved a step-daughter more than I loved this incredible young lady. And I knew she loved me as well.
I continued to reflect back on the past seven years.
Every story has to have an ending. Some endings haven’t been written yet, but nevertheless, every story has to have an eventual ending.
I just prayed her ending wasn’t here yet.
Every story has to have a middle.
And, most importantly, every story has to have a beginning.
But where do you begin?
Do you begin with the first time I saw her seven years ago?
The first time I saw her she was only 12, and looked more like an eight-year-old based on her size. She was also very shy and bashful, not unusual when considering all that she had gone through at such an early age.
All I could see was one beautiful, jade-green eye, hiding behind her mother’s waist, and rather short jet black hair.
She stole my heart that very first day, especially when she started giggling as I performed a stupid little magic trick.
When I pulled a silver dollar out of her ear, she laughed out loud and then threw her arms around my neck and gave me a kiss on the cheek. And I was a goner!
I suppose the story could begin there, or it could begin about three months before that.
On the day I had been ordered to kill her mother.
Technically the orders were “Extract or Eliminate.”
Meaning if I could extract, or get her out of the situation she was in, without any risk to myself, then I was free to do so, but if there was the slightest risk, then my orders were quite specific: Eliminate the target!
I would soon find out there were significant, almost overwhelming risks, so my orders left no room for doubt.
That day, her mother was the target. My job was to follow orders, and ... well, there is no other word for it ... kill.
Those were orders I had performed many, many times before.
When I first saw her mother, I was looking through the scope of my sniper rifle. I already had the cross-hairs lined up on her face, and had started applying even steady pressure to the trigger.
From my position only a few hundred feet away, this would have been one of the easiest shots I had ever taken.
At this point in my life, I already had over 200 confirmed kills, so one more shouldn’t have bothered me at all.
But I couldn’t pull the trigger!
So, do I explain why I couldn’t kill her mother, as the beginning of this story?
Or do I go back even further?
You should always begin a story at the beginning, but which beginning?
I have already told you most people, including my wife and my step-daughter, call me Jack. But that isn’t the name I was born with, just the one I use most often.
I had been born in the backwoods of western North Carolina, deep in the mountains.
My name, then, was Jonathan Wilson. But it has been so many years since I have considered myself by that name, it is actually easier for me to talk about “him” in the third person.
Jonathan Wilson joined the Marine Corps shortly after his mother had been killed in a traffic accident on a winding mountain road in North Carolina.
His brother, Samuel Jr., who was two years older, had also joined the Marines, but had been killed in Iraq when his vehicle hit a roadside IED (Improvised Explosive Device).
Their father, Samuel Sr., had been killed in a mining accident in West Virginia many, many years earlier.
Jonathan had grown up in the mountains of North Carolina and West Virginia and hunting was not only a way of life, it was a necessity. There had been many nights where the only thing that kept the family fed were the rabbits, squirrels, wild turkeys and deer the brothers killed during the day, before or after school.
Bullets cost money, and as a family, the Wilsons had very little money, bullets or anything else.
It was imperative that each bullet Jonathan and Sam Jr., used hit its target. A miss, and there might not be any food on the table.
Sam, Jr., was a very good shot.
Jonathan was a lot better.
When one of the brothers killed a turkey or deer, they would often sell it for money to buy flour, sugar, coffee, and of course, more bullets. Rabbits, squirrels and birds provided the bulk of the food that kept the family alive.
One thing Jonathan’s Mom had insisted on, though, was that both boys complete high school. She couldn’t read or write, but she made damn sure her sons could.
After Sam Jr. left for the Marines, Jonathan was the sole provider for himself and his Mom, until she was killed on an icy road one winter.
As soon as Jonathan turned 18, he enlisted. Most of his time at Boot Camp, in Parris Island, S.C., had been pretty average. He was neither the best recruit nor the worst.
It wasn’t until Jonathan’s platoon starting firing weapons that he really began distinguishing himself.
During that week-long rifle training, and qualifying, people began to notice how well -- how incredibly well -- Jonathan could fire a weapon. The first time he fired an M-16, he put 24 bullets, out of 25, inside a six-inch target. That one errant shot (the first one) was about an inch outside.
When they gave him another clip, he put all 25 rounds inside a four-inch circle. On his third clip, he put all 25 rounds inside a three-inch circle.
After that, there was little doubt where Jonathan would end up. Following boot camp, and Advanced Infantry Training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., he attended Marine Corps Sniper School where he broke every record for accuracy the Marines had.
Jonathan also went on to win the Marine Corps Rifle Championship and followed that up by winning the Annual Interservice Rifle Championship, competing against the very best shooters from the Marines, Navy, Air Force and Army.
A year and a half after joining the Marines, Jonathan made his first confirmed kill in Iraq. During the next year and a half, 149 other confirmed kills followed, some from a distance of nearly a mile.
Shortly after his third anniversary as a Marine, Jonathan was visited by a couple of agents from an obscure department of the CIA. He was given the opportunity to not just take out lower-level enemy combatants, but also go after the leaders of different terrorist organizations.
As far as the world is concerned, Corporal Jonathan Wilson died in Iraq.
I have actually been to “his” grave. That was really bizarre.
The fact that Jonathan had no close living relatives meant no one would really miss him that much.
And that also meant almost no one would ever be able to remark that a research analyst -- an independent contractor for the Department of Defense -- named Jack Collins looked an awful lot like Jonathan Wilson.
As the CIA explained to me, while we were making up our fake history of Jack Collins, the best lie is mostly truth.
So Jack Collins was also from the mountains of North Carolina, had served in the Marine Corps and earned two Silver Stars and two Purple Hearts (and I had received all of those), but following the end of “his” enlistment, started working for the Department of Defense.
During the next two years, I became Al-Qaeda’s and the Taliban’s worst nightmare.
Over 50 confirmed kills, all of high ranking members of those organizations.
Of course when I traveled out of the country on assignment, I had my choice of five other passports to travel under. Each of those five identities included a complete cover story, and a variety of credit cards under those five different names.
I was well aware of the risks. If I had ever been picked up in any country in the Middle East, the U.S. Government would deny any knowledge of my existence. And if my fingerprints happened to match those of a former Marine ... well, that guy had died years ago!
Why did the government go to so much trouble to establish a new identity for me?
Well, you have to understand that according to Executive Order 12333 (signed by President Gerald Ford in 1975 and reauthorized by every president since then), the United States does NOT perform assassinations.
The list of people we don’t assassinate includes not only heads of state either military or civilian, but even extends to criminal drug lords or heads of terrorist organizations.
So those 50-plus people who were no longer among the living, well, they were not assassinated by the United States. They were either killed by people within their own organizations, or possibly some lone nut.
One of the most important things for the United States Government was what has been termed “plausible deniability.” And what could be more deniable than having records, and even a grave, showing Jonathan Wilson was dead?
If I were captured, my life wouldn’t be worth a plugged nickel. All I could expect was hours of some of the most sadistic torture ever devised. So I had my own little pill I could quickly crunch between my teeth. I have been told it was both quick and painless.
While there were great risks, there were also compensating rewards. In the Marines, I “eliminated” targets for free, other than my military pay. As a civilian, I got paid for it. Handsomely.
As a civilian, my usual fee for each confirmed kill of a primary target was $50,000, although it could go as high as $100,000 based on the difficulty of the assignment. You do the math, even assuming the lower figure: 50 confirmed kills of primary targets, times $50,000. There were also smaller bonuses for the other “targets of opportunity” I had chalked up.
My official salary as a research analyst also paid $90,000 a year.
I had only been back in the U.S. for less than a week, after an especially difficult mission. I had spent five difficult days on a mountain peak in Afghanistan, just waiting for one particular target to show up.
Contrary to popular belief, accurate shooting -- while essential -- is usually the least of the job about being a sniper.
The secret to being a sniper is patience.
If your location, high up on a mountain, is baked in the noonday heat, just be patient.
If it is well below freezing at night, just be patient.
The best description of what it is like to be a sniper was written by French novelist Honore de Balzac, and is not even about a sniper. Balzac was actually writing about the life of a spy, when he penned these words: “The trade of a spy is a very fine one, when the spy is working on his own account. Is it not in fact enjoying the excitements of a thief, while retaining the character of an honest citizen? But a man who undertakes this trade must make up his mind to simmer with wrath, to fret with impatience, to stand about in the mud with his feet freezing, to be chilled or to be scorched, and to be deceived by false hopes. (Oh, yes, there was always that little possibility!) He must be ready, on the faith of a mere indication, to work up to an unknown goal; he must bear the disappointment of failing in his aim; he must be prepared to run, to be motionless, to remain for long hours watching a window; to invent a thousand theories of action...”
Someone once said that “all good things come to him that waits,” or something like that. That is especially true for snipers.
After five days of alternating between baking during the day and freezing at night, I had a six-second window of opportunity while my target walked from his armored vehicle to an old abandoned warehouse.
Although it was not necessary, I could have put multiple rounds into a target during a single six-second period of time. Scratch one Taliban! I had also taken out two other “targets of opportunity,” and while they didn’t pay as much as the primary target, it was still a nice bonus.
This last mission had been my third in a month, and I was overdue for some time off.
I spent a week at the beach, and now I was back home in my government furnished house in North Carolina.
I was supposed to have at least two more weeks down time before being assigned my next target. That was where the “research analyst” came into play, because I would start researching the best way to eliminate that target.
I had just been getting ready to go to bed one night when my secure satellite phone rang.
And my life changed forever.
As far as I knew, only two people on earth had the number to the phone, so I knew it would be a scrambled call. After pressing the start button I initiated the sequencing feature so both phones could scramble, and then unscramble the conversation.
The conversation began, as it always does, with my code name.
“Ghost, we have a situation, and the NSA has asked for our help,” I heard my boss, Colonel James say. I had no idea if he was actually a colonel or not, since I had never met him. Our only contact came via the phone.
My codename -- Ghost -- because almost no one sees me enter or leave, but I always manage to scare the hell out of the bad guys.
NSA is short for National Security Agency, and they are tasked with gathering intelligence and analyzing whether the intelligence presents a threat to the United States.
Although the NSA specializes in listening to foreign communications, they are frequently also asked to coordinate intelligence obtained in other ways, and to compare those to known threats.
As usual, the Colonel did most of the talking, and I did most of the listening.
“Just minutes ago, NSA received a distress signal from one of our safe houses, which is in your area,” he said, “and now they are unable to communicate with anyone at the safe house.”
I knew that as a general rule, if anyone is staying at a safe house, either for protection or debriefing, no fewer than three agents would be assigned. Depending on the importance of the person involved, or on the suspected threat level, that number could be increased to six or nine.
A couple of times I had been called to help provide security for safe houses in and around Washington, D.C.
The Colonel gave me an address, and I realized with a shock that the house was less than a mile from mine. The property that house sat on actually backed up to my property.
Suddenly it made sense to me why I was operating out of a house in the North Carolina Mountains. As much as I loved the mountains, I had never really understood why I was so far from any major, or even large, city.
“It will take NSA as least an hour-and-a-half, possibly two hours to get a team out there,” he added.
I knew that unless they flew in on helicopters that was probably a very optimistic time frame. Actually, even on helicopters that was an optimistic time frame.
“So what is the mission, Colonel?” I asked.
“Two-fold,” he answered, “Evaluate the risk, then based on that make your own judgment. Either extract, or eliminate,” he added.
We both knew what he was saying.
If an actual penetration of a safe house had occurred, that almost automatically meant that the custodians, as they were called, were probably dead. And if those three or more agents were dead, then it was extremely high risk.
I was being told -- in polite terms, but very clearly -- to eliminate.
There was no way that one man, no matter how good he might be with a sniper rifle, could take on a force good enough, or strong enough, to have killed or overpowered multiple highly trained agents.
Especially in terrain he was not completely familiar with.
“Who am I looking for?” I asked.
“All I can tell you,” he answered, “is a young female Chinese national who just defected. I don’t have photos or anything else I can email you at this point.”
“Acknowledge, Evaluate, then Extract or Eliminate,” I affirmed.
Even though both the Colonel and I knew there was only going to be one outcome from this mission, we were both adhering to the unspoken rules about believing there might be another ending.
I immediately ran down to my basement, and grabbed everything I thought I might need.
That included camouflage clothing, my sniper rifle and scope, a 9mm silenced Glock 17, and a Heckler and Koch UMP sub-machine gun, the successor to their MP5. The UMP also fired 9mm rounds. I grabbed a half-dozen 30-round clips, along with my night vision glasses, and the infra-reds as well.
My sniper rifle is not the Marine Corps issued one I used in Afghanistan. In fact, I had purchased it after my first few missions for the CIA. I had nearly missed a shot and knew I needed something with a longer range.
The British, who invented it, simply call it -- with typical understated British reserve -- “The Long Range Rifle.”
Everyone else calls it L115A3. It fires an 8.59mm bullet which is heavier than the old 7.62mm round I had been using. The heavier bullet is less likely to be deflected over extremely long ranges. It had cost me over $50,000 and was worth every penny.
The rifle itself, loaded, weighs about 15 pounds but its accuracy more than makes up for its weight. The folding stock reduces its length, making it easier to carry in a backpack. It also includes a built-in sound suppressor which reduces both flash and noise, but no matter what they show in Hollywood movies, there is no such thing as a truly silenced weapon.
Within minutes I had started jogging towards the safe house.
There was a medium-high, fairly steep hill between our two houses. If you were anywhere but in the mountains, most people would have said the hill qualified as a mountain on its own, but here in the actual mountains we usually referred to something this size as a hill.
I knew if there were any bad guys there, they would be expecting trouble to come from the road. I would be coming in the back door, down a mountain.
After I crested the hill, I immediately started checking out the house through both the night vision glasses and the infra-reds. The night vision glasses would amplify any light, making the grounds nearly as bright as daytime, although everything would look green.
The infra-red glasses would pick up any heat coming from a defender lying in wait for me.
There were lights coming from the house, but I could not see anyone outside, so I started slowly making my way closer. I was probably about a half-mile from the house.
About 250 feet from the house, and down about 2000 feet from the hilltop, I found a large boulder about the size of a washing machine. I crouched down and made sure I had a good line-of-sight on the house. I was now looking at the side of the house, rather than from straight back.
I immediately spotted two “bogies,” inside the house at ground level.
At this point, I didn’t know if they were the good guys or the bad guys, but I could see both appeared to be armed with assault rifles. Not a good sign.
After checking all the other downstairs windows in my line of vision, I began tracking upstairs where I could see light coming from what I assumed was a bedroom window.
I immediately saw two men, standing with their backs to the windows.
One guy was huge. He had to be at least 300 pounds, and towered over the second man, who was standing slightly to his right. The second guy was nearly a foot shorter, and was really thin and scrawny.
Short-thin was standing about a foot in front of big-fat, and had one hand in front of him, looking as though he was holding someone or something. I saw his hand jerk downward, then he stepped back towards the window and moved a little to his right until he and big-fat were about a foot apart...
I could see he was holding what looked like a dress.
And in the space between the two men, I could see that I had found my target!
The Colonel had said, “Young female Chinese,” and she was definitely all of that. If the Colonel had added extraordinarily beautiful, then that would certainly have applied as well. Her waist-length black hair gleamed from the overhead light.
I could see that her hands were behind her back, and I had to assume her hands were tied together, or perhaps she was wearing handcuffs.
Aside from the possible rope or handcuffs the only other thing she wore was a pair of panties!
When I first saw her through the scope, I almost assumed she had to be a young child, since she was so tiny, and her breasts were so small. But as I began studying her more through the scope, I realized I was probably wrong in my initial assessment.
She had a very narrow waist, widening to very shapely hips, and I could see that her legs were thin, but extremely well-muscled.
As I began moving the cross-hairs of the scope upward, I again stopped when I came up to her breasts. Yes, her breasts were definitely small, but perfectly shaped and firm. I could also see that her nipples were hard. I guessed her body was reacting to fear.
As I brought the cross-hairs up across her torso to her face, I realized this was not a child, but a young, and as I have mentioned, extraordinarily beautiful woman.
Just based on her face, I upped the estimate of her age to about 18 or 19.
She was bleeding from a cut on her lower lip, and I could see a small bruise just under her eye. Apparently short-thin had already done more than just rip her dress off.
I could also tell that she was angry, and guessed she was probably cussing out the smaller of the two men, since she was looking at him and apparently yelling.
Short-thin then struck her across the face, opening up the cut on her lip some more.
But again, rather than cower in fear, she seemed to be getting angrier. Through the scope I could see her green eyes flash in anger.
I really spent more time than I normally would just watching the young woman, and realized that I had a job to do, and needed to hurry up and get it done.
My orders were quite specific. If there was any kind of risk -- and at least four armed men meant there was a big risk -- then I was to eliminate the young lady.
There was virtually no wind, and I would be shooting downhill.
From my spot on the hillside, I estimated I was about 250 feet from the house, and probably 25 or 30 feet higher up. It would be a slight downward shot, but not difficult at all.
I again sighted in on her face, and was beginning my normal routine before making a shot, which always included my saying, under my breath, “Well, folks, it’s Showtime!”
As almost always happens to me, in those 60 to 90 seconds before I pull the trigger, I entered an almost otherworldly state.
It first started happening when I was hunting for food in the mountains, then seemed to grow stronger at Parris Island in Marine Corps Boot Camp and by the time I completed my first mission in Iraq, it had become part and parcel of who and what I was.
Usually, just a minute or so before “eliminating” someone, time just seemed to slow down.
In addition, I would have an almost otherworldly feeling of supreme clarity.
I would suddenly start hearing sounds that I knew I would otherwise never have been able to hear.
I could smell odors that I would never have been able to smell before.
And I could see everything with an absolute crystal clarity. Colors were more vibrant and intense.
As intense as those feelings had been in the past, they were almost nothing to what I was experiencing now.
I was focusing every fiber of my being through the scope of my rifle, and yet I was also aware of everything that surrounded me.
I could hear a mouse moving in the leaves 40 or 50 feet away. How I knew it was a mouse was something I could not tell you, but I knew.
I could hear the wings of an owl swooping down to snare that mouse, even though it is almost impossible to hear an owl fly. I heard a terrified squeak coming from the mouse as it was caught in the owl’s talons.
I heard other forest denizens reacting to that mouse’s cry of terror as they begin searching for hidden threats.
Even though I was several hundred feet away I could hear the two men in the downstairs part of the house move around, and I could hear the angry words from the Chinese woman as she berated her captors.
The window was closed and yet I could clearly hear every word.
I didn’t speak Chinese, but if I did I could have understood everything she was saying.
I heard a toilet flush in the downstairs part of the house, then water running in a sink. A few seconds later I heard a door close, then the men downstairs spoke to each other.
Without even being entirely conscious of it, I now knew there were three men downstairs, plus the two upstairs.
Were there any more outside? If there were, then they would have to wait. I knew there was no one close to me, and that was the only thing that was important at the moment.
I was preparing to take my shot, using what I had learned at Parris Island, and Marine Corps Sniper School. There was NO possibility of my missing. I was only 250 feet from the house and was using a rifle capable of hitting a target a mile away.
The Long Range Rifle has a muzzle velocity of 936 meters per second. That means when the bullet comes out of the barrel it is supersonic, traveling 936 meters per second or over 3,000 feet per second, or roughly triple the speed of sound.
That means even before I can take my finger off the trigger, the woman would be dead.
The Marine Corps called it the BRASS system of shooting.
B -- Breathe. I took a deep breath.
R -- Relax. I exhaled.
A -- Aim. I was already dead on target.
S -- Slack. Take up any slack in the trigger.
S -- Squeeze. I was already beginning to squeeze the trigger when the most extraordinary thing happened.
She stopped talking and looked over at the window.
Suddenly I was looking right into her bright green eyes from a couple hundred feet away.
She was in a situation that should have terrified her, and yet I could see no fear in her eyes. Instead I could see anger and defiance, and then a look I could only call relief.
She actually gave a half-smile, then slightly nodded her head up and down.
I would have sworn that somehow she could see me, and was telling me to go ahead and shoot, that it would be a relief and infinitely preferable to what would otherwise lay in store for her.
Even as I was thinking that thought, I knew how utterly impossible it was.
It was night, I was quite a distance away, and was so well hidden that if someone was walking just five feet away from me, they would have never seen me.
It was impossible that this woman could know I was there, and yet I somehow felt she knew.
And she was telling me to shoot.
Instead, I shifted the cross-hairs over to big-fat, and squeezed off a round into the back of his head.
In less than a second, I had chambered another round, and squeezed this off into the torso of short-thin.
Big-fat’s head had exploded, throwing pieces of skull and brains all over the room. Before his body could even start falling, the chest of short-thin erupted, blowing blood, pieces of spine and rib cage fragments across the room.
An 8.59mm round makes a big hole going in, and an enormous hole coming out.
The two shots were so close together, they probably sounded as a single discharge.
The lights immediately went out in the living room of the house.
Fighting against every instinct I had, which was to get as far away as possible, as quickly as I could, I continued to study the young woman in the bedroom,
She, quite literally, was covered in gore. Brains and blood from big-fat, and blood and pieces of bone from short-thin were covering her upper torso and face.
I had expected her to collapse in terror, but again I was amazed to see no fear.
Instead, she took a step backward until she hit the bed with the backs of her legs. She immediately laid down on the bed and raised her legs high into the air and brought her hands down over her panty clad buttocks and slipped first one, then the other leg, through until her hands were in front of her.
It looked as though she had zip-ties on each wrist, with another zip-tie connecting them together.
She ran over to both bodies, knelt down, and when she stood up she had pistols in both hands.
She ran back over to the bed, put both pistols down and turned towards the window again.
She held up five fingers on one hand, plus a single finger from the other.
Then she held up two fingers, and then made a slashing motion in the air, and pointed to the two men I had killed.
She then held up three fingers, and pointed to her feet.
Finally, she held up one finger and made a circular motion around her head.
I knew she was telling me there were a total of six men. Two were now dead, three were downstairs in the house, and one was somewhere outside. I had only seen two men downstairs, but had heard another, and she was confirming that third man was there.
It was the most surreal experience I have ever had.
How did she know I was there?
How did she know I was still there?
I was still watching her and continued to be amazed at the courage this woman was displaying.
She grabbed both pistols, ran over to the bedroom door and I saw her lock it from inside. She then walked very carefully to another door, which I assumed was the bathroom. She opened that door, and ducked inside.
Within seconds of her entering the bathroom, the inside walls of the bedroom starting coming apart.
Have you ever seen what a sub-machine gun, on full automatic, can do to a sheetrock wall?
I have, and it can utterly destroy it in seconds.
I was assuming that at least two, if not all three, men from downstairs were now in the hallway outside the bedroom, firing through the walls. I could only suppose they had called out to the men inside, and stated firing when they received no answer.
The room was soon filled with dust and debris from the sheetrock walls.
I still didn’t know where the outside man was hiding, but had to assume he was somewhere down near the road.
I was already making so many assumptions tonight that I knew sooner or later one of those assumptions was probably going to come back and bite me in the ass.
I knew that by now the girl should be dead and I should be at least a half-mile away from the house, and yet here I was -- acting like a complete idiot -- still hanging around with at least four armed and very dangerous men and a girl hiding in the bathroom.
I was still looking inside the bedroom through my high-powered scope. From the window I could see the door, which I had to assume was the only way into the room.
There is that damned word again -- assumed.
I had been taught over and over and over again to NEVER assume anything!
If I were inside the house, waiting to come inside the bedroom and kill anyone there, I knew how I would play it.
In Hollywood a guy always kicks open the door, then calmly walks inside moving his weapon back and forth ready to kill anyone who moves.
In the real world -- my world -- there is a word for the kind of man who kicks open a door, then walks upright through the middle of the door. That word is corpse.
I would wait 30 or 40 seconds for the worst of the dust to settle, and IF all three inside men were actually in the hallway, one man would kick open the door while the other two would duck-walk through the door, or roll in, with guns blazing.
If I were in charge that is what would happen. I had to assume (damn that word), these were professionals and they would react in a similar manner. I also had to assume they would expect me to be long gone.
I waited for nearly 40 seconds, then fired one shot just to the right of the door, about three feet off the floor. I immediately chambered another round and fired it just to the left of the door, again about three feet off the ground.
That was when I was shot!
A barrage of automatic weapons fire started peppering the rock I was using as a shield.
One bullet hit me high on the right shoulder, barely grazing the skin, while another passed through the fleshy part of my upper right arm.
Whoever was shooting may not have known EXACTLY where I was, but he had a pretty good idea!
I started sliding backward, behind more of the rock. The entire time the rock continued to be peppered by bullets. A brief respite told me he was reloading.
Mentally, I had to shift gears. I was no longer the hunter, but now the hunted.
Again, if I were out there, how would I play it?
As a research analyst, my life depended on analyzing his movements during the next minute or two.
I quickly determined that while I may have been shot -- not too sure just how serious yet -- I actually liked my odds better than his.
I still had my sniper scope, still had my night vision glasses and had to assume he had a pair as well, and I also had my infra-red glasses. The fact I was still alive was a pretty good indication he did not have infra-red glasses.
If he had been using infra-red glasses, he could easily have picked up my heat signature and zeroed all his fire directly towards me. Instead he was shooting back and forth across the rock, trying to keep me pinned down.
I had to assume (God, I hate that word), that he was also advancing while firing.
I continued to slide backward, up the slope, trying to keep the rock between me and where I thought the fire was coming from. I remembered passing a large oak tree on my way down, and it wasn’t long until my feet hit the tree.
Once my feet hit the tree, I shifted around and quickly ducked behind it.
After that, well, it became just another day at the office.
Thirty seconds later I started going back down the hill, towards the house. I quickly passed what was left of my assailant, not stopping until I was only about 50 feet from the house where I again hid behind a large tree.
I had taken out half the enemy forces, but now had no idea what was going on inside the house.
Even while sliding backward up the slope, I had heard gunfire coming from inside the house. It was rather surprising but the shots seemed to be coming from a pistol or pistols rather than automatic fire from a sub-machine gun.
Violating every principle I had ever been taught about remaining hidden until you know what you are up against, I called out to whoever was inside.
“Hello in the house. Are you okay?” I yelled, very loudly.
I was fully expecting another barrage of gunfire, but instead -- after a few seconds of silence -- I heard a woman’s voice.
“Yes,” came an answer, in English.
“Five dead inside,” I heard, in heavily accented English.