A Night in the Park

By Christopher Willings

It was silent. In fact, from what I can remember, I'd never been in a place so silent. It was so quiet; I'd be damned if I couldn't hear the sounds of my circulatory system. Maybe it was just my imagination, I don't know. Of course there were the sudden howls of wind and a grinding echo of some approaching storm piercing this eerie stillness. But in the time between, there was nothing. No chirping, from bugs or from birds. Which at the time I thought was kind of odd.

The park was dark and empty, as they always are in these situations. I had just checked my watch and it told me it was a bit past 3am. I kept asking myself what I was doing out here at this time of night. Intellectually, I knew of course. One doesn't just prance around a spooky park with out a reason.

I suppose my reason was as good as any. But emotionally I couldn't understand what possessed me to go through with this.

Aside from the fact that it was my job, of course.

So even though it was cold and I was a bit fatigued from an already long day, I stayed my post high up in a tree. What kind of tree, I couldn't tell you. I never cared much for such details. Guess that was why I had such a hard time in high school. So sue me.

I pulled the hood of my forest-camo poncho tighter over my head in an effort to keep my face as covered as possible and slowly fine-turned the scope of my modified PSG-1 rifle. Looking through I could see that it was perfect. Now if only they could move their collective asses so I could get home soon. Not a second later I spotted movement up ahead. Too dark to make out in the dead night, so I switched the night vision toggle on my scope and brought the movement into focus.

It was a tall, bulky fellow in a reasonably tailored suit. A fedora covered what I guessed was a bald or crew cut head. He was alone, a quick scan assured. He wasn't the guy we were waiting for. Perhaps security for our friend, I reasoned. German, by the looks of him, or thereabouts. It wasn't too likely it was some random Germanic guy walking around the park at night. I mean, would you be here at 3am in a suit? From the distortion of the night vision and the cut of his jacket I couldn't be too sure if he was packing any heat. Potential threat, regardless. I'd have to keep him in my thoughts.

I looked around with my hand-held scope and found another figure approaching from the opposite side.

He was here. I signaled as much with a double key of my throat-mic.

A Slavic gentleman I had been briefed. It was hard sometimes to distinguish countries of origin from this range. He was dressed very cloak-and-daggerly in a dark coats and hat. To his right he held a small metallic brief case in his gloved hands.

That was what we were after.

My partner, some chick named Amét Thomas that HQ had stuck me with at the last possible second, emerged from the abyss to meet the man.

She was a condescending martinet. A lot of Intel Officers were it seemed. All of them graduates at prestigious universities around the world and dead-set on not letting us Operators forget. But if it weren't for us dumb grunts, I swear nothing would ever get done. These negotiation jobs would end up with agents getting their heads blown off by some terrorist or commie fanatic. But do they ever acknowledge the service we do for them? Nope.

When we had gone over the plan for the operation, she had found the need to repeatedly tell me what I was required to do. Like I'm the green one here! This was Little Miss Perfect's first time in the field. She'd done all the legwork leading up to this point and had lobbied hard to be given this chance to prove herself an asset outside of the doors of the agency. I'd never heard of so much determination in an office geek. Ambition was one thing, but from what I heard she bordered on obsession over this job. So the big wigs had seen fit to make her the Negotiator for this mission.

She was dressed in a long raincoat. Her hair was braided up and clamped tightly to the back of her head. A scarf was wrapped tightly around her neck. You know, as bitchy she was, she could be so hot if she wanted to be. But of course these book worm types were always gay or something. They cared more about precious information then relationships with the opposite sex. At least all the ones I had hit on in my years had seemed that way. Maybe it was just because they were women...another subject I'm hardly a master of.

The deal was underway. From my post two hundred meters away, I couldn't make out what they were saying. Not that I really cared anyway. Talking was her job. I'm just the Operator. The mission was in the hands of someone I barely knew who seemed out of touch with humanity and a little off her rocker.

Maybe that's why I had a bad feeling about this. Or maybe it was the glint of light I barely caught out of the corner of my eye. I jolted my weapon to where it had sparked and found nothing but shrubbery. Quickly I looked for that big guy in the suit and found he was out of sight. Good thing or bad thing, I didn't know. But my senses went from yellow to red. This didn't feel right at all.

Rain began pouring in unforgiving torrents, soaking everything. Good thing this poncho was keeping me dry. Couldn't say the same for the Slavic guy or Thomas. Thunder cracked the sky, startling me I admit. And in that instant two things happened.

The big guy appeared from out of fucking nowhere and I saw that glint of light again.

Fuck.

There was a loud crack and the exact damn second that I bucked to the left almost too late. The sniper's bullet sliced a nice flesh wound into my shoulder and sent me plummeting from my hiding place to meet mercilessly with the ground below.

In that same instant there was the report of a small arm in the direction of Thomas and the two men. Pushing past the pain of the gunshot and bruised body parts, I drew the USP-CT from my CQ concealment holster and got it up in time to see gunmen converging from the bushes.

I took the first one through the heart immediately. The spray of bullets from the second in line danced around me, narrowly missing my body. A shot to the throat took him to his grave. Fucking Amateurs!

I hopped to my feet, fast but somewhat clumsy from the pain. Looking in the direction of the Slav and Thomas, I saw the guy on the ground, but her and the big German nowhere to be found. If the Slav was dead, that wasn't my problem and I didn't exactly have time to check for vitals. I reached up to attempt contact with Thomas and paid once more for the error in judgment. This teamwork stuff was pissing me off.

Another guy popped up practically on top of me. His balance wasn't as strong as it could have been, though. I took advantage of it, bashing him in the head with my .45 and pulling him close. The pair of bullets from the sniper that would surely have killed me instead became more acquainted with my other would-be assassin. As I dropped his body, I caught side of some more of his buddies. I canted back up and rained deadly fire upon more converging assailants. One, two, three, and finally a fourth went down. God bless Heckler and Koch.

Bullets and blood was the last thing two unlucky chumps saw before they were sent to the great beyond. Apparently their friend with the sniper rifle didn't like this too much and took to returning fire on me. The nerve of some people…

I took cover, swapping out my magazine in the process. I gave him something to worry about in the form of a few rounds going in his direction. Nothing hit, of course, but it was enough to make him sweat. I keyed my throat mike and called out for Thomas, but unsurprisingly got no reply.

Fuck all! If she was dead…

Making sure to stay near the trees, I made my way without haste to the bastard's position as he got to his feet and tried to find a better position on me. He darted up behind a tree just as I was about on him and tried to catch me with his scoped-out G36, but he should have clearly known by now that my reflexes were a lot faster than his. I went down in a slide right at his feet, causing his shot to fly well over my head. Holstering my weapon, I spun my legs around and up, smacking the rifle out of his hands. The force of my spin and the end position of my legs helped me to leap up quickly and take the guy while he was still adjusting to having just lost his weapon. I grabbed his right outstretched arm and turned my body into him. His elbow resting for a millisecond above my shoulder, I proceeded to snap his arm like a twig. The sound is enough to make some people loose their lunch, but I was used to it. A slight turn and I was in position to send my foot right through his left kneecap, sort of evening his legs up with his arms. His wails didn't even register in my ears and it didn't matter if they registered in anyone else's.

Sure, it would have been easy to just to pop a shot into his face when I was down on the ground, but then where would I be, huh? I wouldn't have someone to pump for information about our missing Negotiator. She may have been a heinous bitch, but I'm not heartless enough to just leave her to her fate. And hell, it was in my job description to make sure she came back safely.

Hopefully this guy would know something.

Still crying like a baby in his native language, I pushed my captive against the tree trunk and pointed his G36 at him. Politely…okay, you got me…forcefully I told him to talk. He just cursed at me in his gibberish.

Now it's my opinion that if you torture anyone long enough, they'll start speaking English. So I went ahead and gave him a few good hits with the butt of his gun. Still, he wouldn't co-operate with me. I was getting kind of annoyed at him. I slung the G36 over my back and threw him to the ground. The dumbest tried to pull a pistol on me, but I easily knocked it from his grasp.

With that out of the way, I stomped on the fingers of his good hand to drive my point a bit further home. Finally, I explained to him that all he had to do was tell me where they had taken her and I wouldn't kill him. I swore it to him as an agent for the United States federal government. I told him there was only two ways out of this and it was his choice either way. Funny how some people start speaking English when you offer them their life. He told me in a few broken sentences that his little play group had set up shop in a warehouse not too far from here and that was where they took the Agent Thomas. A different man might have asked him what was going on, but hell if I care. Let her worry about what all this was about. I doubt his English was good enough to explain it to me anyway. And Serbian or Croatian (whatever he spoke) isn't among the languages I've picked up.

I promptly thanked him and gave him his gun back. I guess I didn't break the fingers on the hand on the good arm, because he took his G36 and insisted on trying to shoot me as I walked away. Of course a split second before he could pull the trigger I put a bullet in his head courtesy of the SW 360 I keep holstered on the back of my belt.

Okay, you got me. I gave him back his weapon so I could break my promise. I've never been a fan of leaving behind people that want to kill me. I am, after all, an assassin. And I certainly couldn't call anyone in to pick him up. This operation wasn't set up for something like that. You can't blame me, I was just defending myself. He didn't have to try to shoot at me. He could have just left me alone and would still be alive now.

I am free from guilt.

With all the death and dying done for now, I went to check what I already knew about the Slav who apparently had been caught trying to sell out his crew to the US. He lay there, a nasty hole in his face. Not something you'd really want to see. I did feel a pang on regret. This guy was trying to do the right thing. But I'm sure he was far from a saint and perhaps in the end justice was served to him. And that's that.

So from there it was time to get to this warehouse about four miles down the road. Our nondescript van was sitting just outside the park. Not likely to have been molested, but I'd be cautious before taking off. From there I would let HQ in on the mission and assure them I had everything under control. They would need to alert the local authorities about the bodies. I'm sure they'd come up with a good story.

But my night wasn't over yet. With any hope, our negotiator would still be in one piece.