There was real business to be done tonight.
I can do this. You have to trust me.I trust you. It was an agreement of the plan.
Again, we travelled at vampire speed – silent and stealthy – as we entered the house. Salem darted up the stairs just as Max, Stuart, and I rushed out of the front door. Max paralysed the senses of the two guards, giving them no time to cry out before Stuart and I were behind them; our hands cradling their heads as if to snap their necks. I looked up at the balcony to see that the third guard was cradling his jaw, courtesy of a psychic slap from Salem.It was obvious that the three guards wanted to loudly grumble and march off as they headed to the ‘dead zone’, but they resisted; knowing it wouldn’t be fair to give away our presence. The moment Salem joined us, he turned to Stuart. You know what to do once we get inside. Then he opened the door wide enough for us all to slip through. I exhaled a relieved breath when it didn’t creak.In molecule form, Stuart entered first, quickly followed by Max. Salem signalled for me to go in before him, but he stayed close to me once the door was shut behind us. I could hear voices coming from another room, recognised them as belonging to another squad.
Suddenly, Stuart was once again before us. He held up two fingers, mouthed ‘kitchen’ and then ‘alert’. The three guys made a series of gestures I didn’t have a hope in hell of understanding, which had me feeling like I’d been ranked as unimportant. There was no way Salem was leaving me out of this. It wasn’t something he could afford to do on a real assignment, so there was no way I’d allow him to get away with it now.I elbowed him, pointed at my chest, and then gave him a ‘what about me?’ look. He gestured for me to stay behind him. The bastard was protecting me, even during practice! I would have pressed him to involve me if Stuart and Max hadn’t chosen that moment to quietly advance toward the kitchen.
This wasn’t the time to argue, I reminded myself. But I’d definitely give Salem a verbal rollicking when the session was over.
In the kitchen, the boys attacked much the same as before: Max paralysed the guards’ senses, Salem gave one a psychic slap, and Stuart threatened to snap the neck of the other. Off the guards went to the ‘dead zone’. It might have all been very simple…if another guard hadn’t then began to creep up behind me. I heard him before I saw him; swiftly I twisted my upper body and rammed my elbow into his throat. Then I knocked him unconscious with a blow to the jaw. I caught him before he could hit the floor with a thud, carefully placing him on the ground.Tina turned to us and squeezed my arm. You okay?
Yes. I turned to her. I’m fine.Rosa? Tina said. You want to bring Manuel back for the swab? She moved toward the corridor past the desk.
When Rosa stood, the boy seemed to panic. No no no no! he cried. She leaned down and picked him up, letting his knees settle on either side of her hips, a movement so natural for other mothers that it made my stomach quiver. I’d only held my son once. Just once. Long enough to watch him breathe a few last times. She had been holding her boy his whole life.I felt my control falling away. I wasn’t going to be able to keep my emotions reined in. The tears behind my eyes triggered all the other sinuses to leak. My throat was gooey. I needed to cough. There might be gunk. I felt overwhelmed.