The next few seconds spent waiting on the guards to come into our line of sight were tense. I could feel Sarah’s chest rising and falling, her body already preparing for the next few moments of action, I wondered for a second if she had ever killed anyone before? She hadn’t been too upset after seeing me in the process of it a few times now. Compared to Sarah I was still as a statue, one arm now at my side palming my pistol.
Finally the sound of boots were right beside us seconds before one of the men stepped into our sight. He was in a uniform he probably fit into well a few decades ago, now even with the shirt tucked in his stomach was handing over his belt. There was a small ring of hair around his head that should’ve been cut off before he left the house this morning. “Sheila!” He hollered up the ladder with hands cupped around his mouth, voice echoing. That must have been the female soldier I had already gotten rid of. While he waited for a response that wasn’t coming the other soldier came into view.
“Where do you think the bitch is Nate?” The second guard asked, who was an almost exact opposite for the first. Where Nate was clearly overweight there was no way this one would even weigh in at enough to be allowed into any army. He was still wearing the fatigues they all had on but his seemed obviously borrowed from someone bigger. “Think she went outside to check what was happenin’?”
“Tell ya what Mason.” Nate started. “You head up and check while I cover your back from down here.” Mason only shook his head and gripped the first set of rungs on the ladder. Obviously he had been expecting that response. While they were speaking I had felt Sarah turn to face them. As Mason began his ascent up the ladder I tapped Sarah twice on the hip and moved my body forward as a signal to go. We weren’t going to get a better chance to catch them off guard. One of them couldn’t get to the pistol on his side while climbing and the other was looking back up and down the hallway but not behind them.
Sarah shot off in a rush towards Nate whose voice we recognized as the main one talking. Without hesitation I took off after her setting my pace so that I was just barely behind her. She didn’t have much experience with running silently but she made up for it in speed. By the time Nate noticed a noise coming towards him we were almost on top of them both. At some point he must have been formally trained because he didn’t waste time with surprise at the knife wielding threat. As I saw him reaching to his side for his pistol holster I sped up and cut Sarah off, leaving her to deal with Mason who was now trying to scramble back down the ladder.
Without slowing I tucked my head in my shoulder and ran straight into Nate causing him to cry out. The force from the impact sent us tumbling to the floor, his gun falling from his grip and landing somewhere off to the side. “FUCK!” Nate cried out as I mounted his upper body and punched into his kidney. Before I could draw back for another he brought his meaty fist up and around into the side of my face, leaving me slightly dazed. A little higher and he may have knocked me out.
Nate pressured his advantage by trying to buck me off his hips but I managed to stay on even as another punch came sailing towards my face. This time I was ready and shifted so that I could take the hit on the shoulder instead. Finally getting my bearings enough to throw a punch directly into Nate’s nose, knocking his head back against the tile floor.
Beside us I could somewhat hear the sound of Sarah and Mason going at it but I wasn’t going to get a chance to look. I just had to hope she was going to take care of it. While blood started pouring out of Nate’s nose and down his face I drew my elbow back and used the momentum from bringing it down to crush my forearm into Nate’s head before doing the same thing with the other arm. The first few hits he tried to avoid but as another one knocked his head back into the tile floor his struggles got weaker. I didn’t let up, no reason to give him a chance if he was waiting for an opportunity to get another good hit in on me. Instead I got into a rhythm of brining my arms down on his face again and again. I could feel the skin of my arms getting torn as some of the hits connected with teeth.
When Nate’s body ceased jerking completely I stopped and looked down at the damage I had done. His face was nothing but a red ruin while his lungs struggled to draw blood through the blood he was choking on. I narrowed my eyes while I watched him before covering his mouth and nose with my hands. It didn’t take long for him to suffocate and for his body to go still. Before I could climb off Nate’s body and turn my attention to Sarah a gunshot broke the relative silence.
In a second I was up, gun drawn until I realized what I was looking at. Sarah was on the floor, Mason’s body limp above her and he had a hole through his chest. I returned my gun to my waistband as I made my way over to where she lay. When I was finally standing over Sarah she had her eyes closed, head laying back against the tile. Surprisingly calm for someone with a dead guy still draped across their body. The side of her cheek was swelling and there were some rips in what I could see of her clothing but she looked no worse for wear.
I crouched down and grabbed Mason’s body by the neck of his shirt before lifting him off of Sarah. She opened her eyes as the weight came off of her and they were brighter than I had seen them yet. What was a life or death fight like to someone that was a danger junkie? Especially amplified by the way Tuners naturally experience things much stronger than anyone else.
“Taking a nap down there?” I asked, tossing Mason’s body to the side. “That gunshot definitely let everyone in here know something is going on.”
Sarah didn’t respond to my question. Instead she writhed on the ground in apparent ecstasy before looking up at me, eyes heavily lidded with invitation. If we weren’t at risk of an unknown number of armed enemies I would have taken her up on the offer. Instead I only smiled and shook my head before offering my hand for her to pull herself up.
“That was….intense” Sarah said standing and facing me, mouth spreading in a smile big enough that it had to be hurting the injured side of her face.
“You have some nerve to react like that after killing our buddy Mason over there but giving me a hard time about the deli.” I said pointing to his body.
“The deli wasn’t the same.” Sarah scolded face turning down into a slight frown. “You don’t think I noticed you killed that guy with the camera? Not to mention we don’t know if Molly could have been snapped out of whatever that bastard had done to her. These guys weren’t under any strange compulsion. By the way, top right catwalk in a few seconds.” She finished.
For several seconds I only tilted my head and stared at her in confusion. Then as I heard pounding steps running towards us I grabbed my gun and sighted down. A figure came out of the passage at a sprint and without waiting for a clear visual I lead my shot and put one in their chest. The second shot was meant for their head but it missed as they tumbled forward and fell face first onto the catwalk.
Throughout the short exchange Sarah had never bothered to turn around. Choosing to instead stand there facing me with that irritating smirk on her face. “I don’t want to hear it.” I said as she opened her mouth, most likely going to brag about her enhanced senses. Instead as I walked by her I leaned in close to whisper into her hear earning a slight shiver.