Thursday, September 17, 2015

8. Haunting Past

Walking down the stairs to the basement felt a lot like he was walking towards his demise. He was scared of what was at the end of the tunnel. She was in front of him, all mysterious.

She unlocked the door at the end of the corridor and opened it wide. She let him enter first. His eyes widened when he finally saw what was down there.

"Wow!"

Except three libraries that looked antique, there was a fully equipped shooting place. She turned on the lights and walked towards the library.

"My father was a strict man. He used to get us down here and teach us how to shoot. My brother was really good but he was tall and loved the action. He was good with a lunette but didn’t have enough patience. That's when my father replaced him with me." She started. She grabbed a normal gun and closed one eye. There was already a practice figure in the distance. "He was surprised. Against my personality, my skills were good. I trained a lot and he beat me up a lot. I didn't have a normal childhood but I didn't hate it either. I finished first in the Academy." She shot twice and put the gun down. She pushed a button that brought the practice figure closer. Evan's eyes widened. She shot both bullets through his head.

"That was very precise." He commented. She nodded. She told him to get in her place and put the protection glasses on as well as the headphones. She took another pair for herself and went behind him.

"Are you ready?" He shook his head. "It's alright. I won't beat you up if you don't get it from the first try." He squeezed the gun. It was real and he was holding it. It was just crazy. "Shoot." He did and felt his shoulder hurt. He wasn't in a good position and lost his balance.

"That was bad." Even he could see it. She chuckled.

"It was horrible actually." He narrowed her eyes at her. It only made her laugh louder. "It's fine. We won't leave this place until you shoot something." He sighed and let her take control. For the first time since they met, she was the mature and responsible one.

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“Look at me and try to do the same thing I do.” He nodded. “When you're handling the gun, always keep it pointed downrange. Imagine a magnet connects the front of your barrel to your target and keep it pointed in the general downrange direction the whole time the gun is in your hand. Always fire your handgun at a gun range or club set up with the safety backdrops for firing a handgun.” He was amazed. “ Open your dominant hand to expose the webbing between your index finger and thumb. Taking the pistol in your other hand, insert the grip of the pistol into the web of your dominant hand. With your thumb on one side of the grip, keep your middle, ring, and pinky fingers curled securely around the other side just below the trigger guard. You are really gripping the gun only with the middle and ring fingers, the "pinky" is resting on the gun but is not used to grip; neither is the thumb used to grip the gun. The grip should be very tight. Grip the gun so tightly that your hand begins to shake, like a handshake in which you're trying to prove something. If you're gripping it so tightly that the gun shakes, you're in the ballpark, but relax it a bit from there to stop the shaking.” He copied her actions when she went into place. She glanced at him and smirked. “Cup your non-dominant hand to cradle your firing-hand in it. It should not be used to grip the gun, but primarily for steadying the gun vertically and horizontally. Align both of your thumbs for support and accuracy.” For that, she had to help him a little since his posture was really bad. She raised his arms higher and started to explain every little change she was making at his posture. “Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with the foot opposite your dominant hand about a step past the other foot.” She kicked his legs for that. “Lean forward slightly with your knees bent, making sure you’re firmly balanced. The elbow of your dominant arm should be almost completely straight and your non-dominant elbow should be flexed at a slightly obtuse angle.” He nodded. He was scared that if he would move, he wouldn’t be able to get back in position. ”Ensure that the top of the front sight post is level with the top of the rear sight, and that the rear sight appears evenly centered within the notch of the front sight. This will insure that the gun is even and that you'll get a good "sight picture" when you aim at the target.”

“I’m sweating here. Can we do it faster?” She glared at him and he bit his lower lip innocently. She kicked him again and it hurt.

“Control your breathing.” He took a deep breath. “Look at the target and fire right after you breathed in.” He nodded and complied. His bullet went far to the left. It didn’t even touch the target. “Again.” Her tone was authoritarian. It was the first time she acted her age. He glanced at her from the corner of his eye. She was really precise in everything regarding fighting and firing a gun. She was born and raised in that kind of world. He felt respect for her.

After a few more rounds, he was breathing heavily and his back hurt. She helped him twice and he hit the target a few times. However, he only hit legs and arms. No important damage was done.

“Focus on what’s going on at the moment. Sometimes rage helps.” He raised an eyebrow and loaded his gun. At least he learned how to do that.

“Did it help you?” She frowned. He looked at her without thinking he hit her in a sensible chord.

“Yes. It did.” She grabbed his gun and fired. She didn’t need glasses or earphones. She only had to remember.

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Look who we got here! It’s newbie Abby!” She was already used to that kind of behavior. Her father was an important NCIS agent and he wasn’t usually around. But his title was always around. She couldn’t get rid of the pressure of it. Besides, her brother was working already for MI6.

The officers spread when her boss entered the room.

“Stop messing around and get your equipment. We have a case downtown.” Everyone nodded and saluted before they left. “Lincoln.” She stopped mid step. “You’re not allowed to shoot.” She nodded and left.

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In the car, her partner was silent. He wasn’t exactly the bright guy but he was muscular and somehow, graduated the police academy with flying colors.

“The suspect is driving a red Mustang. I repeat. The number is 6549980. He went down to Coventry. Repeat, he’s on his way to Coventry.” Abby took the station and turned it on.

“Got it. We’re going there right now. We’re close.” The response wasn’t exactly what she wanted to hear.

“Don’t force yourself too much, Lincoln.” She glared at the station and placed it back. She scoffed and turned her head to look outside the window.

From the corner of her eye, she noticed a red Mustang parked somewhere on a corner street. She told her partner to check it out and they both agreed to take a closer look.   

The parked the car a few feet away and got out. She went to one side while her partner took the other. They nodded at each other and silently entered the alley.

“It’s the right number.” He said after he checked the car. However, no one was there. “Do you think he abandoned it and continued running by foot?” She shrugged.

“That wouldn’t be smart, would it?” Her partner chuckled.

“Who said he has to be smart? Smart people don’t leave collateral victims behind. They’re clean and precise.” Abigail knew that. But it was funny to hear him say it. He was making it sound so much more mysterious and interesting. 

Suddenly, her partner’s eyes widened and pushed her aside. She heard two shots and she froze.

He coughed blood and fell on his knees. Once she was sure the criminal ran away or hid, she went by his side. He got shot in his chest and stomach. It was bad and he wasn’t going to make it. She could feel it.

“I’m sorry. You got shot because of me. I was the target.” She didn’t know why but she started to cry. It was the first time someone died on her. Besides, he saved her life. She was sneezing and crying and he could only watch her consume her energy on his pitiful life. He grabbed her hand and gave her his gun.

“Go and do me justice.” She glanced between the gun and his face. “Forget the rules, Abigail. Sometimes, you have to bend them in order to make it worth it.” She nodded. She grasped the gun and watched him as he gave his last breath before he died.

She got up and wiped the tears from her face. She grabbed her station and announced the death of a important cadet. However, right afterwards, she heard her boss shouting something about the east part. She glanced at him for the last time before she ran over.

When she got there, she saw a few police cars and but no police men. She turned on her station and let it like that. She followed the shouts and instructions of the others but didn’t move fast. She was just like a fox; or so she saw herself move. She grabbed the gun with both hands and turned the corner. Two police men were there and one was shot in the hand. She hurried to him and called for an ambulance. It was one of the guys that used to make fun of him.

“Where is he?” She asked. The one unharmed pointed at a building. Her eyes widened. It was a shopping center. A dangerous criminal entered a shopping center.

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She sneaked in silently and walked up the stairs. She could hear him shouting nonsense. She opened the door slowly and saw that he had the gun pointed at someone’s head. She gasped. It was a kid.

“I told you not to carry a gun, didn’t I?” She flinched when someone pulled her under a table. She breathed in relief when she saw her boss.

“My partner is dead, sir.” He nodded. However, she didn’t see any regret on his face.

“That’s the risk of the job. You get used to it after a while.” She frowned. That didn’t sound good at all. It wasn’t supposed to be like that and she had clear examples in her life.

“We have to save the kid.” She stated. Her boss was silent. “We’re going to save the kid, right?” He sighed.

“Look, it’s a life instead of thousands.” Her eyes widened. “His parents will understand that as well.”

“No. I can shoot the guy without harming the kid. Just let me shoot”. He shook his head. “But-“

“No. I said no, Lincoln.” She continued to watch the scene unfold before her eyes. The guy was in the center and more police men were surrounding him. He was crazy and scared.

She got out of there and ran to the stairs. She was a level above them and could easily shoot the guy. She didn’t even need a lunette. She had him right in front and could easily save the kid. She remembered what he partner said.

“Bend some rules in order to make it worth it.” She mumbled. 

With those words in her mind, she raised her gun and shot. At the same time, someone else shot. Someone from a close range. Both the kid and the criminal fell down. She was sure she hit the criminal. She hit him right in the head. But then, what about the kid? Her boss got out with his gun in hand. He shot the second bullet. He looked up and glared at her. She was confused.

“Good job, Lincoln! You shot an innocent life!” He yelled at her in anger. She blinked repeatedly and ran down there. No. She shot the criminal. She knew exactly because the target was hit exactly where she intended.  

“Sir, with all my respect but you shot the kid! You killed him! I told you I can shoot the criminal and that’s what I-“ He grabbed her arm and pulled her close to his face.

“I shot the criminal and you shot the kid.” Her eyes widened. He was lying. And he was blaming her!
When her father heard about that incident, he was scandalized. He didn’t believe his daughter but he believed her boss. He didn’t believe the girl he raised and taught. He didn’t believe his own blood. That was the moment the rage begun.

Abigail shot the next three bullets straight through the head. Her eyes were narrowed at the target and she was stiff. Evan didn’t know what happened but revengeful was definitely one word to describe her. She was like a chameleon. She could enter the scenery perfectly but when she was making herself known, she was the best attraction. 

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“So, your father used to get you here and teach you how to fight, right?” She nodded. After their little session, they took a seat at the table. “Then what are these libraries here for?” Evan continued. That was indeed a good question. She trailed her eyes over the old and dusty shelves and couldn’t contain a smile spreading on her lips.

“My father was a man who loved reading. He had a soft spot for little and pretty animals. He loved nature and he would always take us out for camping.” Now that she remembered, those camping times weren’t all that bad. Even though, in the middle of it, everything would turn to 90 degrees and it would change into a military camp, she wasn’t disappointed. She had fun.

“Why did you act so crazy in Portobello?” She started to laugh loudly. Well, maybe she was still a little suspicious.

“Because it was fun. As you noticed, I didn’t really have a normal childhood.” He agreed to that. “I wanted to feel free. I got sick of people labeling and judging me. You didn’t give a shit about who I was and what I did. I liked that. Besides, we ended up living quite the runaway life. Just like Bonny and Clyde.” He chuckled. It was fun, in a way. He did learn how to make drinks and how to sweet talk people into giving tips.

Suddenly, her phone rang. The song was echoing through the whole basement. Her posture tensed and she placed her phone on the table. She responded and put it on speaker.

“Abby, Abby. You got into a big freaking mess.”  Evan didn’t find that encouraging at all. “The people you deal with are famous mafia clan. They make business with the Italian and Russian mafia.” He glanced at her. She was calm. Maybe too calm for what they were dealing with.

“What kind of business?” Her brother sighed.

“Everything. But they are specialized in prostitution and tobacco. They sell it quite cheap. Also, their boss is Max Lee. He’s the CEO of a chain of supermarkets. The police have been after this guy for a while now but they can’t find anything incriminatory. Besides, his business helps the economy in these hard times.” Evan scoffed. So that meant they couldn’t even use the police?

“What about his son?” Matt shifted and it sounded like he was typing on his computer.

“Right. Johnny boy. He is a petty thief. But lately, he’s been making some suspicious deals with Yakuza. Since the Japanese police started to investigate it, we’ve been left in the dark. We caught him when he tried to smuggle women from Indonesia. His trial is ongoing.” He stopped and sighed heavily. “Getting him out will be a piece of cake. But once Max got his eyes on you, he will be coming more and more for favors. It won’t be only your families. In no time, he will have you wrapped around his finger.” She hung up and started to think of a solution. When she raised her head and looked at him, he swore he saw her orbs dilating.

“What are we going to do?” She smirked and leaned over the table.

“We’re going to kill him.” He froze. He could feel his blood boiling and his heart beating so fast that it was ready to jump out of his chest. His feet and arms were like jelly and felt a bittersweet taste in his mouth.

“What!?” His voice cracked. He was terrified. He was going to die. He could already picture himself dead by his brother’s side; eventually, asking for forgiveness. 

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