Slightly giddy with tension, Emily looked across at the derelict buildings of the old docks and decided that all they needed was a blanket of fog to turn this into a 40s gangster movie. They’d been sitting for what seemed like hours (less than twenty minutes) by a tangle of wire, rust and weeds that used to be a fence. And even though they were hidden in the long shadow late evening light, they could see from the water to the roadway clearly enough to read the graffiti on the corrugated metal walls. There were scraps of rope and wood lying around and chain and large haphazard shapes of metal, some corroded barrels and scattered dilapidated crates. It was a lonely, dirty place that smelled thirsty, oily and stained.
But Dreyfus didn’t see any of that. All he saw was the long open space between the buildings on the right and the one by the water that he was interested in. He’d already mentally driven down, turned the car and sent Emily in to get the girl. He’d already counted the seconds, and the only thought he had now was, even though he knew Emily had been right to insist on coming, he wished he’d left her at the hotel.
There was movement.
There. On the edge of the furthest building. Just? But, but, Dreyfus wasn’t certain. He clenched his eyes closed — one … two … three … and open. Yes, it was still there. And another one. And … Dreyfus slightly brushed his hand against Emily’s leg and pointed his finger over the dashboard.
“Just like we talked about,” he said without moving his eyes. “Wait for me to turn and …”
“I know what I’m doing,” Emily snapped, pushed the bottle of water away with her foot and picked the flashlight up from the floor.
The shadows were real now. Five men moving quickly, quietly, half crouching, half running across the open space from the buildings on the right. They didn’t stop at the building by the water, but — in one continuous motion — flung open the door and were inside. There were flashes of light through the open door and muffled pops as if someone was snapping bubble wrap. And then the men were outside again. They paused, looked around and started back the way they had come. Dreyfus reached for the ignition.
Suddenly, the world burst open in sharp lines of whining fire that staccato cracked and ricocheted against the broken pavement. One of the running men folded over like a puppet without strings and another, stuttered, fell and struggled to his feet. The rest dropped to the ground, shooting.
“Shit!” Dreyfus turned the ignition key and looked behind him.
“No,” Emily shouted, “We can’t leave her.”
Dreyfus turned, his face fierce with argument.
“No.” Emily shook her head.
It was Emily’s eyes Dreyfus saw, and without hesitation, he pushed the car into gear and accelerated forward into the firefight.
It wasn’t thinking anymore, just instinct — foot on the pedal, across the asphalt, behind the men, turn, turn, turn, gripping the steering wheel and leaning to help the car doughnut around to the door of the building. The zipping, hot metal hissing chaos, coming at them, around them, trying to find them. The tires squealed in pain, fishtailed and straightened, and Dreyfus drove his foot into the accelerator and then wham into the brake. The car slid and screamed and jerked hard as it stopped.
“Go!” Dreyfus shouted, pulled the Beretta from under his arm and shot two-handed through the open window.
Emily lunged out of the car, stumbled, lurched and ran for the door. Inside she turned on the flashlight. There were three men dead at the table: one still in his chair and two more on the floor in pools of glistening blood. Emily gagged and turned the light up to the walls. There were two doors. She ran to the first one, shouting.
“Hello! Are you there?”
The door was locked. Key! The key! She banged on the door.
“Are you there? Tell me if you’re there! I’ve come to get you!”
There were sounds, cries and, “Yes! Yes! We’re here!”
Key! Emily turned the flashlight back to the table. There had to be a key. She ran back, the surge of adrenaline killing her gag reflex. There was no key. No key! Emily fanned the light across the room. Something. Something heavy. Nothing. Shit! Shit! Shit! She turned the light back to the table. Something! There was an assault rifle leaning on the wall. She snatched it up and ran back to the door. She put the flashlight on the floor, grabbed the gun with both hands and drove the butt straight down on the door knob. The old wood groaned. She tightened her grip and drove it down again. The knob bent. Once more. She slammed the butt down as hard as she could, and there was a crack as the wood splintered. Emily dropped the gun, turned around and kicked backwards with the flat of her foot. The wood around the knob shattered and the door was free.
Emily picked up the flashlight, shone it forward and stepped into the room. “Oh, my God!” She hadn’t expected the smell, but it was the eyes that shocked her. Fever-bright, frightened animal eyes, cringing against the light. Emily shone the light across the floor to the open door.
“C’mon! Nobody’s going to hurt you, but we have to go! We have to go now!”
She shone the light back. The room was alive with movement. Emily stopped. Eyes? There wasn’t one girl here; there were half a dozen! There was a second, maybe two — and then another surge of adrenaline and Emily recovered.
“Come on. Now. Let’s go! Let’s go!”
Emily waited until they were all out of the room. “Stay close to me. Follow the light. Don’t look. Just follow the light.”
Outside, the evening was loud, popping with sound, but it was away from them – somewhere else. Coming out of the darkness, Emily squinted against the late light. She grabbed at the backdoor handle, missed and tried again. The door opened.
“Dreyfus. . .”
“Later. Karga had more men. They’ve taken the fight to the road. Get her in here. We have …” Dreyfus twisted his head, “What the hell?”
“We haven’t got one girl, Sinclair; we’ve got five.”
You can start reading this Emily and Dreyfus adventure here