Part 2- ‘A Mother’s Trust…’
The heat from the blast radiated over her back as Marie kept both Evelyn and her son pinned to the ground beneath her, she felt a sharp stab of pain to her right leg, and as she turned at last to the burning car wreckage, the intensity of the flames had her shielding her face.
She pulled herself to her feet, straining as her right leg buckled, she saw a large piece of metal embedded deep within her calf, teeth clenched tightly against the pain, she stared at the shivering hysterical form of Evelyn, curled at Marie’s feet, her tears causing her mascara to run, ugly black streaks forming over chiselled features.
She clutched her son close to her chest, and as she stared up at Marie’s form, illuminated by the burning car, bleeding heavily, gun held tightly in her hand, a vision straight out of hell she began to scream and scurry backwards holding tightly to her son and retreating back to what she thought would be the safety of the house.
Marie had no choice, ignoring the pain in her leg she hurried after Evelyn, dragging her injured leg behind, her gun pointed towards them, she thumbed off the safety, and fired.
Evelyn saw everything with eyes widening in horror, every new scream choked out of her, disbelief taking hold and strangling her heart. She watched as Marie hurried after them, her gun, Evelyn saw it all in slow motion, her natural maternal instincts allowing her to turn her back to take the oncoming bullet, wilfully placing herself in the firing line to protect her son if only for a few moments longer.
Evelyn had trusted this woman, Marie, entrusted her with the protection and well being of her child a promise she had now betrayed in the cruellest way.
She waited with an agonising inevitability for the bullet that was to come and take her life, her eyes shut tightly at last, her son held close to her chest, she waited as every sob racked her body, she waited for an inevitability….an inevitability that never came.
Realising at last that she was still breathing, she slowly prised open her eyes only to see one of her husbands bodyguards lying before her, a round hole punched into his forehead, his lifeless, hollow eyes staring up at her.
Hysteria took over once more and before she knew what was happening she found herself caught in a rain of bullets, frantic, she curled tighter into a ball, her son pinned firmly to her chest, the sound of exploding cartridges, and the ping as empty bullet casings fell to the floor, seemed to resonate louder than she could have ever thought possible.
Louder than her own hoarse sobbing, louder than the cries of her child she heard and felt the sound of bodies hitting the floor, the dull thud of human life cut short. Aching moans, promises of pain and the last hiss of a final breath.
It seemed to be an age before everything fell silent at last and Evelyn fought for the courage to open her eyes again, prising one eye to look around her, she saw dozens of them lying around her in a rough semi circle, the body guards, what she had considered to be her last line of defence, all dead, bullet holes puncturing their bodies, blood pouring, eyes sightless.
Her mouth locked open in an eternal look of horror and shock she turned back to stare at her, Marie, she stood firm, blood pouring down her leg, the muzzle of her gun smoking away in her hand, the smell of cordite and gunpowder heavy in the air.
Marie stalked up to mother and son once more, ‘We have to go…’ she seemed to be screaming down at her, but Evelyn heard nothing, shock having frozen her still. Marie reached out and grabbing the boy by the arm began to drag him towards the second car that had been waiting only moments ago for them.
Marie lifted the near hysterical child up into her arms, tucking him under her arm as he kicked and screamed, she dragged him around the burning sedan and headed for the passenger door of the other car. The roughness of her approach had been necessary; snatching the child would be the only way the mother would follow, she dumped the boy into the back seat of the car.
Evelyn sure enough hysterical and screaming clambered after her son, but she held firm, courage having found her at last, she stood a few feet away, a semi-automatic held in her shaking hands, the gun held up and aiming at Marie’s head. ‘You get away from my son…’ she spoke as firmly as she could, but the tremors were noticeable.
Marie turned back to her coolly, ‘Listen to me…those men…’ she pointed back to the bodies littering the driveway, ‘they were sent here to kill you, the both of you.’ Evelyn’s teary gaze flickered to her son, staring at her from the window of the car. Marie stepped forward; Evelyn grasped the gun tighter, her fingers hovering over the trigger. Marie carried on walking all the same.
‘Ah was sent here to kill you, but ah’m going to help you instead…ah promise, but ya have to trust me Evelyn…’ Marie spoke gently and reaching out took the gun from the woman’s shivering hands, resignation and exhaustion taking over, Marie grasping her firmly by the arm she pulled her towards the car and her son.
Evelyn climbed into the back of the car, as Marie quickly started up the engine, watching mother and son in the rear view mirror, as she pulled the boy into her lap, ‘Wait..’ Evelyn called out, ‘I won’t go without my husband, I won’t leave without my Jonathan…’ her hand was on the car door handle, Marie engaged the central locking quickly and the locks clicked shut.
‘Your husband was not the target…’ Marie spoke firmly, her gaze never leaving the other woman’s face, ‘ya and your son are…’
Marie listened intently to the sounds of the footsteps trailing quickly and silently through the small corridor. She gestured towards Evelyn and the boy to keep quiet, with a finger on her lips she waited ‘til she heard the faintest sounds of someone breathing just outside the room door.
Twisting the handle of the door slowly, she jerked the door open quickly and pulled the figure waiting outside in, tripping him up and pushing him to the floor she pinned him to the ground climbing atop his chest she pressed the gun to his forehead.
‘Wait…’ he shouted, ‘Marie…it’s me!’ She stared at him, and recognised him at last, nodding slightly she pulled him to his feet and put the gun away. He patted himself down, shaking the dirt free and turned to look at Evelyn and her son crouched on the small makeshift bed, fear and exhaustion written clearly on their faces.
‘Ya find out who ordered the hit?’ Marie called the attention of her handler back to herself, he turned to her slowly staring at the wound on her leg he handed her a thin file; she snatched it impatiently from him and began to read it in the dim room light.
She had brought them to the one of the few abandoned safe houses she knew the Firm to be no longer using. They would know by now that the job had gone wrong, that she hadn’t carried out the contract, and now as a result she was as expendable as the two lives she had just saved.
Marie scanned the documents, Jack, her handler, her friend and the one human in this world she almost, nearly trusted read over her shoulder, ‘They hadn’t changed my security clearance yet, I knew something had gone wrong when you didn’t check in like we agreed. Figured we’d need these, if we’re gonna have any leverage over the Firm…’
This was their contingency plan, as far as the Firm was concerned any mistake by an asset was considered to reflect badly on the handler, as such both became expendable. Both Jack and Marie had agreed if there ever came a time when they needed an out they’d need something to buy their way out from under the Firm, information, extortion, blackmail, anything.
As she read Marie’s hand clutched the file tighter, knuckles paling, she couldn’t believe what she was reading, this couldn’t, shouldn’t be right, what the hell was going on? She turned to face Jack, his face mirroring the surprise written on hers, they both looked at Evelyn and the child she held firmly in her lap.
‘The hit was ordered by Jonathan Woodhouse-Browne?’ Marie repeated the words she’d just read, her voice barely carrying over a whisper, ‘that can’t be right, what sort of man orders the death of his own wife and son…?’
Evelyn stared up at them, her eyes glowing with anger, her next words were spoken with a bitter tinge, words Marie could barely believe she was hearing, ‘He isn’t his son, my son is not the child of a Jonathan Woodhouse-Browne the famous senator, my son is a mutant…’