Monday, November 2, 2009

Girl Sleuth-Chapter 42

(To read from the beginning go Here.)

Anne’s hand felt as if it had been soldered to the doorknob. Should she tear down the hall in search of help or stay and try to help Erik?

Dear Lord, help me. Help me!

“I thought so.” Erik’s voice held no hint of fear. “It had to be you. You pulled the other agents off the stakeout. I suppose it’s a good thing I played my cards close to the vest until the last minute or you’d have sabotaged the entire operation. Too late now.”

What was he thinking? Surely antagonizing the man with the gun wasn’t the wisest option. Anne finally remembered to breathe and eased the door closed. If she left now, she might not be able to return in time.

“Your problem, Carter is that you’re cocky. You didn’t have the faintest suspicion before a couple minutes ago. And even if you did you waved them away.” The tone carried with it the hint of a sneer.

“Well we both know that you’re not going to get away with it. Armstrong will spill his guts and then you’re done. Shooting me will only make matters worse.”

“But it’ll be so much fun.”

Anne slipped out of her shoes so that she could move silently but also quickly. Half-crouching she crept along the outer wall of the room. She wasn’t entirely certain where he was and it would be better to come up behind him rather than ruin the element of surprise by approaching too obliquely. Now to find something heavy.

“You can’t hate me that much.”

“No. You needn’t take it personally. I just don’t want anyone gumming up the works for me. I’ve got a plane waiting to whisk me to a cushy position in Moscow. No more of the sanctimonious swill I’ve been drowning in for years. It’ll be a positive relief.”

“So why not just go? Why are you still hanging around the office?”

“Oh, I’ve got a job or two to do. Once your witness gets back I’ll kill you both, then I’ll head on down to the interrogation rooms and send the agents home. They’ll actually be grateful for the break.” His tinny laugh sounded more like a cackle. “Then Armstrong and I will collect the fake plates and the juiciest files from this office. Just a little something to ensure a warm welcome in our new homeland. They may give us a parade right through Red Square.”

“More likely a bullet to eat,” Erik said.

“Shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Why don’t you just kill me now?”

“I was waiting for your girlfriend to get back. I’d hate to scare her off. But you’ve tempted me once too many times.”

Anne was only a few feet behind the man as he raised his gun.

“Hey! You looking for me.”

He turned to look at her and she launched the heavy typewriter she’d raised above her head. The muzzle of the gun flashed and Anne’s ears rang with noise of a shot. The typewriter struck his temple eliciting a grunt of pain. He staggered and slumped the floor, the gun clattering free of his grip.

Erik was on him in an instant. He snatched up the receiver of a nearby telephone and used the receiver to tie his boss’s hands behind his backs.

The room whirled and swirled as if someone had tossed them all into an enormous blender. Anne sank to floor. She dropped her head to her knees. So tired. So very, very tired. The temptation to curl up on the floor and go to sleep was nearly overwhelming.

A hand touched her shoulder. “Hey, you okay?” Erik’s voice was as warm and sweet as a biscuit dripping with honey.

Her head felt as if it were a granite boulder but she managed to raise it and meet his eyes. “I’m okay.”

“I’m going to go get some help from the guys downstairs. Will you be okay here or do you want to come?”

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