Before I continue, I need to make a few things clear.
Firstly, I am not a bad person. I'll admit to doing a lot of bad things, but those were acts of necessity, never pleasure. I don't like what I sometimes get involved in, but I have no choice.
Before he continues, I also need to make a few things clear.
Whatever he said? Pretty much the opposite for me.
Secondly, when I look back at everything, there's just so much of the good and bad, that its hard for me to tell which from which. Could working for the Triads be a good thing, if you were part of a family? Would saving a international company be a bad thing if you had to kill a few dozen innocents to do it? There were shades of gray in everything I've done.
Ah, we're just wasting time with this. No matter what I say now, it won't change what happened. And instead of trying to make myself feel better, I might as well just get on with it. When a man takes you into his family, when you have no place to go, no other choice to make, and when you actually make something out of the life he gives you, you know you owe him all that you have, all that you are.
Money was such a man, and I killed him.
Jacinto was also such a man.
I nervously stood at the road side corner. Our hotel was only half a mile away, and I was uncomfortable about doing the trade here. But I had no choice. They chose the exchange point, I could only say yes. Jacinto was still in the shower when I left. By now, he would have found out, which meant I didn't have much time. I'd board a flight today, and get out of this bloody country for good.
Rahid came, alone like he said he would. He had a duffel bag in his left hand, and he handed it towards me, as I pushed forward the box that contained the panel. He knelt to pick it up, bending down on his knees.
My hand whipped out the Colt and slammed the butt of the gun on the back of his head. Rahid crumpled like a pile of bricks as he fell to the floor. I paused for a second, till date I'm still not sure what made me do that. But it was only for a second. I hoisted the duffel bag over my shoulder, picked up the panel, and ran for my life.
I had only made it a few steps, when I heard the car screech around the corner. Two rifle-totting bastards leaned out of the windows, taking aim. I fell to the floor as bullets tore away at the wall behind me, taking aim from the ground. I shot once, twice, thrice. The last two bullets went straight to the driver's chest. Now a dead weight on the gas, I watched as the car kept on speeding.
Right towards me.
Swearing, I leaped to the side to avoid becoming roadkill. The car shot over the pavement and crashed into the building on the other side. The driver was dead, the gunners knocked out from the crash. Wincing as I got up, I quickly hoisted the duffel bag again and looked around for the box containing the panel.
Boy, did you fuck up.
I could see what was left of the box, under the car. One close look told me all I needed to know. The stone tablet was broken, no longer a series of pictures on a slab, but now just some pieces of crushed rock.
I kept on running. I knew how this works, and Abdul wouldn't have sent just one car for back up. I turned corner after corner, trying hard to search for a cab. I needed to get to airport fast. Once inside, I knew that I'd be safe.
This is the part.
I rounded a corner and crashed straight into Jacinto. We both fell sprawling to the ground.
"Lurch, what the devil? The tablet is missing from the hotel. Do you know what happened to- is that a gun in your hand?"
"Jacinto, I don't have time for this. Get out of my way."
Understanding crept into his eyes. "What did you do with the tablet, Lurch? Where is it?"
The first bullet missed me by inches as it crashed into Jacinto's shoulder, sending him spinning to the ground. I whipped around, falling to my knees as I did so, bringing my gun up to my sights as I looked for the shooter. My eyes widened as I saw not one, but two SUVs roaring up the road towards us, gunners popping out of almost every available window. But my eyes were on the man standing up the forward SUV's sun roof, readying an RPG in his hands. Without hesitating, I fired, clipping the man just as he launched the grenade. Its course veered as it exploded into the building's wall above us, showering Jacinto and me in a rain of plaster and debris. Grabbing Jacinto, I dragged him through a hail of bullets towards the only sign of cover I could find. The door into the building behind us.
We entered a tiny lobby, decorated with a few paintings on the walls and a desk behind which I could see the trembling legs of the receptionist. Leaving him in his hiding place, I dragged Jacinto towards the lift, pressing on the button to open the doors. Thankfully the lift was already on the ground floor, and we got in just as the first of Abdul's lackeys jumped in through the door. I got him in the chest, just as the elevator doors closed, and we began a slow ascent to the top floor.
I took this time to examine Jacinto. It was bad. The shoulder wound was only the first. There was blood leaking from a hole in his leg, and his belly was bathed in blood as well. His face was pale and lined with sweat. The monocle had fallen out of his eye and loosely hung from the golden chain attached to his collar.
"Made... some friends?" he asked, coughing blood across his shirt as he did so.
"Rest now," I said. "Save your energy."
He laughed, bringing about another coughing fit. "What energy? I'm dying... you bloody idiot. And I... I have a feeling you have something to do with it, yes?"
I have never, never in my life felt as guilty as bad as I did at that moment. I still remember it with too much pain.
"Spare it, Lurch." He cut me off. "I don't want to hear it. I always knew there was something... hidden about you... didn't expect it to be this though."
I didn't know what to say.
"You probably don't know what to say, do you?" He smiled grimly. "Strange, Lurch. I thought everything gets dark before death. I can still see you clearly. It... makes sense. Right now... right now everything makes perfect sense."
He reached out for my shoulder. "Run. I forgive you."
I blinked. He was gone. The elevator beeped as the doors finally opened.
He was too far gone. Bloody fool didn't know what to do. I know he'll deny it if you ever ask him, but he was in fucking shock. Probably why it was so easy for me to take over. I stood up and quickly reloaded. I tightened the strap on my bag, and paused for a moment, just long enough to remove Jacinto's monocle and put it in my pocket. I then ran out of the elevator and burst into the stairwell. I could hear them rushing up the stairs, not waiting for the lift to come back down. I ran up as well, heading for the roof.
The door to the roof was locked. I shot the lock and kicked the door open. Sunlight streamed into the dusty corridor as I ran outside, avoiding a rusty satellite dish that had fallen of its stand and was now useless. I didn't slow down as I reached the end, and then leaped into the the air.
I landed on the next roof, some six feet away and two stories down. I turned around to see Abdul's men on the previous roof. I emptied the full magazine at them as I watched the faggots duck for cover. In the meanwhile, I ran for the roof access door, kicking it open and rushing down the stairs, taking them three at a time. I reached the ground floor and burst out of the building, gun armed and ready.
Turns, out I didn't need it.
The two SUVs were still there, roughly parked in front of the hotel and untended. I ran to the nearest one and spotted the keys still in the ignition. Talk about fucking lucky. As I was reversing, the first faggot burst through the hotel door, having doubled back down. My bullet caught him in the eye and he went down without a sound. As the others came out behind them, I tossed a little gift I had found in the back seat.
A pair of grenades.
I did stay long enough to see the effects of my work. Blood and bits all over the sidewalk, and the door to the hotel was now just a few splinters hanging from its hinges. I slammed on the gas and sped down the road. Egypt had finally gotten too hot for me. As I drove down the road, I felt something fall down my cheek. I dabbed at it to find something shining on my fingers.
Tears! The cunt had actually started crying! I laughed to myself as I pulled into the airport, leaving the car in the parking. I headed towards the first airlines counter I could see. My passport and visa were in the duffel bag as well, and I quickly paid for a ticket and quickly walked into the terminal. I still had my gun on me, but this wasn't the first time I was boarding a plane armed. I knew what to do.
As I looked out of the window, Luxor had already shrunk to a small patch of land surrounded by the endless sand. The Nile shone in the evening sun, its waters gleaming in an almost reddish hue. I reached into my pocket as I fingered with Jacinto's mononcle.
Where I was going, I might be needing it.