Harry froze. Anika had chained the door after him, hadn’t she?
Harry continued up the stairs. The only reason he had shot Gino was his threat to turn Anika into a heroin gallery whore. Wrong thing to say. Heroin was the whole reason he was in this mess. The Bureau assigned him to Waco because black tar heroin smuggled in from Mexico was getting routed through Waco on its way to Chicago. The DEA was worried about another “Plano, Texas” incident, the result of which was a bunch of dead teenagers who had no idea that “chiva” was actually heroin.
With his mob ties in Chicago, it wasn’t long before he was plugged in. The name he had taken when he first went undercover helped, too. “Harry Lime.” Right away people in the business recognized it – it seemed to give him instant credibility. What he didn’t like was civilians recognizing it, like that guy at the party last night. It just pounded home the fact that he lived a double, no – triple – life. How had he let himself bring Anika into this?
He stepped out onto the roof. He couldn’t call for backup even if he wanted to – his cover might be blown, but other lives were still at stake. He had to get Anika and make it out of here alive. If he was captured they would torture him; they’d find a way to make him talk.
The fire escape was a metal staircase and it went right past the bathroom window of his apartment. As he descended the stairs, stepping as carefully as possible to avoid shaking the rickety structure, he could see that the window was a sort of glazed, smoked glass, opaque from the inside. The window was cracked and he could see that the door was only open by a foot or so, and the fan was on. Perfect.
Harry tried to ease the window up, but it wouldn’t budge. Pulling upward as hard as he could, the window began to jerk up in awkward fashion, the result of friction from too much congealed paint. He climbed in, stepping onto the toilet, and as he quickly moved to stand behind the door he saw through the mirror a man standing in the hallway.
The man had a shaved head and he was wearing a black suit. He was facing the other way and talking on a cell phone. Harry guessed he was 10 feet from the bathroom door. Not knowing how many other men there might be in the apartment, Harry realized he couldn’t use his gun. He needn’t to make this quick and quiet. The man looked to be at least 6’2”, and easily 220 pounds. He wouldn’t be able to do this with his hands, despite his training.
Harry surveyed the bathroom’s interior: plunger, cleaning products, safety razors – nothing that could be used as a weapon. Then his eyes settled on the porcelain top of the toilet tank. Harry eased the top off and hefted the heavy slab several ways to figure out how best to grip and swing it. He tapped the door softly, just enough to get it to swing open an inch. Another tap. Again. The man was still on the phone, oblivious to any approaching danger. The carpeted hallway masked Harry’s steps. CRACK! The porcelain top exploded as the man crumpled to the floor.
Revolver in hand, Harry looked into the bedroom. Empty. He made his way to the living room – it too was bare. The house was silent. Entering the kitchen, he immediately brought the barrel of his gun up to aim at the body on the floor. Lying face down on the tile was a young blond male, who looked to be in his early 20’s. His hair was matted with blood and next to him on the floor was the roast leg of lamb that Anika had taken to the party last night, still frozen. Anika was nowhere to be seen.
Harry knelt beside the body and noticed that the leg of lamb had blood on it. She must have swung the frozen meat like a club! Wasn’t there a Roald Dahl story about this? He didn’t have time to contemplate the literary analogy, or to consider the irony that each of them had used their mock choice of “weapon” from the previous night. He had to find Anika.
Harry’s mind was racing. He began thinking of the places they might take her. But something was tickling the back of his mind, like an inchoate thought he just couldn’t describe. Something was wrong, aside from the chaos and carnage that the morning had already seen. What was it? Then it hit him: this morning, Anika was dolled up and wearing makeup and perfume at 8:00 o’clock, yet she never mentioned having any plans. And she had tensed up when he had mentioned the man from the party who was in the paper this morning.
Just then music began to play. Harry walked toward the hallway, where the sound seemed to be originating. Just as he thought: the sound was coming from the cell phone lying on the floor next to the man Harry had just knocked unconscious.
Up Next: Dragon