It is a long drop, but I feel confident that I will make it. The alternative is not acceptable. I glide through the air. It is cold and the wind bites at my face. I close my eyes so it won’t hurt, but then realize that it is a bad idea. I hit a branch, and instead of gliding, where it was a somewhat slower descent, I start plummeting down without control.
I look down and realize that I am only a few hundred feet from the surface of the water. I tuck my body and after a few seconds, the warm water envelopes my cold body, instead of how I thought it would be; a sudden shock of intense chill. I go to the surface of the water and suddenly things start flying around my head everywhere. I hear gunshots everywhere.
I am starting to flow down the rushing river, and see a cave that isn’t too far away, but it is upstream. I start swimming as fast as I can, but feel a sudden pain in the back of my leg. The water behind me turns crimson red. The pain is strong, but I fight through it. I get to the cave. I rip off my shirtsleeve and put it on my wound to stop the blood from escaping too much. I wrap it around, and pull tight, trying to stop the bleeding.
My leg still hurts, but I decide to get up. I realize that there are torches lit all around me. A small speedboat in the water near me. Where am I? I think to myself. I start limping around to check it out, when I suddenly hear voices.
“Get to the boats,” I hear a man with a rough voice say. “We have to find him!”
I scurry into the shadows, up against a wall. I see the silhouettes of the men’s bodies quickly walking toward me. I swing my head back when one of them turns my way. I hit the back of my head on the rock wall and even though I want to yell, I only make a small whimpering noise.
When they are about forty feet from the one speedboat in the water, another one of the men yells, with anger in his voice “WHAT?!”
“The other boats are gone!” one of the men says with frustration.
They must be talking of someone other than me! I think. But then whom?
It is a beautiful day in Mauritius. I am staying in the Oberoi Resort and so far have had no trouble with work. The trouble of work seems to have left completely. I have been laying in the soft sand without a thought passing through my mind. It hasn’t been all relaxing though. I have been going to the gym for hours every day.
It is Thursday the 20th of October. It is 1:32 pm and my phone starts ringing. I set down the barbell on its rack, and pick up my phone and say “Hello?”
There is some static and silence before I hear a man with a deep voice. “Come to the bar. Three o’clock.”
I don’t know who it is. I don’t even have an idea. I put down my phone and get back to lifting, wondering who it is, and whether I should come.
It is 2:57. I decide that I should get there early and wait for this guy. If I saw any trouble I would put up my black hood and leave. I also had a gun on me so if he made any trouble while around me I would be at least a bit of a threat. The minutes pass and he still hasn’t arrived.
I take my phone out of my pocket and turn it on. I go to my email and check through it. I have an email from Mr. Smith, my boss. I filed a report on my last mission, and I mentioned the other guy who took the boats. I read the email:
Good work Milburn. Your next mission is going to be a challenge, and you may not be able to complete it. I will assign it to other agents if you do not succeed. The man you mentioned. Track him down. We need to get information on him. Find out who he is. Find out what you can.
I turn off my phone and look up. There is someone now sitting across from me. He is wearing an all black suit with a white rose in his pocket. He is looking at me. I look back, searching him up and down, checking for anything harmful. He is the first one to speak.
“Take it out,” he says, in a low and quiet grumble.
I reach into my coat and hold the gun out in front of me.
“Set it down,” he says.
I put it on the table.
“On the floor.”
I hesitate, then set it down. He suddenly kicks it away into the corner of the bar. Nobody notices.
“Who are you?”
“Classified,” he says.
I continue looking at him. He has his eyes fixed on me without blinking. I stare back at him.
“What do you want?” I say to him after about four minutes without talking.
He hesitates to respond, then says “You were in the Ivory Coast recently. Correct?”
“Who wants to know,” I respond with a sassy tone.
“Were you or were you not?” He sounds frustrated now. I don’t want to have him lose his temper, him being about a foot taller than me, and having much more muscle.
“Yes,” I say. “I was. Why does that-”
He interrupts me and says “You are going to have to come with me.”
“I don’t think tha-”
I get interrupted again by him.
“Come with me now,” he says as he reaches into his jacket. He pulls out a small gun with a thin barrel. “Or there could be trouble.”
I think about my family. My two little girls and my wife who I would give the world for. I think about what would happen if I get shot now. My daughters, Martha and Amanda would be fatherless. My wife Victoria a widow. But I think about my other option. I go with him and become a prisoner presumably, and I cannot decide whether knowing that I am dead would be worse than knowing that I am alive, but may not be with them again.
But in the end, I decide to go with him. We stand up. He grabs my arm and begins to escort me out. We walk towards the exit slowly. We are almost there, but I jump away, wriggling my arm from his grasp. I lunge for my gun which is only a few feet away from me. I crawl towards it. I grab it tight in my left hand. I shoot once in his general direction and kick over the table in front of me for protection. I hear gunshots from where he is. But it seems that it is more than just him shooting now. There are others with him. I lean against the wall and point the gun towards the loud crackling of the shots being fired. The steel table shielding me from the bullets now has dozens of dents in it.
I lean to my right and instantly a bullet flies towards me. Then another. This one catches my ear. I thrust back towards the safety of the table. The blood spills from the side of my head onto the floor, leaving a puddle on the beige tile floor. I drop my gun and fall to the ground clutching the lump of wet flesh where my ear used to be.
I hear the sound of sirens. The shots stop coming. I cup my right hand over where my ear used to be, and wipe the tears out of my eyes. I search for my gun with my left hand, which I now realize is stained a red that resembles the color of a rose, with my own blood. I slowly peek my head around the table. The men all seem to have run away and there are three police cars pulling up to the the restaurant. I try to stand up, but right away start feeling light headed. I fall into a sitting position and lay my head back against the wall. I try to keep my eyes open, but my eyelids are too heavy for me to hold open. I suddenly hear a gunshot. In my lower gut I feel a pinch. I feel the metal squeeze through my skin and through my flesh and muscle. I feel my body go limp. I feel myself being picked up and get set onto something that feels like a wood board. I see lights above me and it seems that is will be last time that I close my eyes. My eyes fall shut, and my mind goes blank.
I wake up to a loud beeping noise. My eyes flutter open. There are curtains surrounding me. There is a needle in my arm. It is hooked up to a machine which is has some sort of liquid in it. I think that it is pumping into my arm. I also have a mask over my face, probably providing oxygen. I keep looking around. In the corner of the room I notice a beautiful woman holding two young girls. She is staring out the window with a blank expression on her face.
“Hey honey,” I manage to whisper out. She turns around and smiles. Tears start to build up in her eyes. She moves her chair over to the side bed that I am on and hugs me.
“They say that you aren’t going to make it. The bullet went too deep,” she now is staring straight into my eyes and is on the verge of crying.
“Don’t worry honey,” I say, trying to cheer her up. “You will be fine.”
At this point the doctors come in. They tell me what’s wrong, but I don’t pay attention. I already know that I am done for.
“Sir? Sir?” They say. I look up at them. They are staring at me.
“Sorry. What were you saying?”
“We were asking if you would like us to pull the plug.”
I look over at my daughters who are still sleeping. I kiss them on the forehead. I then kiss my wife. She is now crying. I hold her hand and say the last words of my life.