Introduction: In a sense there is a connection to this story and several other non-magic stories I’ve written. Two characters from Mike and Ashley show up briefly. They would be Mike and Ashley. This story, Like “Mike and Ashley”, “Discovery”, and “Cynthia and the Queen of Knight” takes its storyline from the work of someone else. In this case, a production by an Italian fellow named Joseph Green. The story is 16 chapters in length plus an epilogue. I’ve done as much tweaking as I can. Any errors are mine and I will gladly accept constructive criticism; as long as you’re nice.
The good guys know they have only hours, if that before Costa will decide to kill the lot of them. There’s a chopper coming to get them. They hope the element of surprise will allow them to get away. All works well until Peter is hurt. He can’t make the chopper. He begs Anita to leave with the rest; however, she refuses to go without them. Then she tells peter something we should have known all along.
This work is copyrighted by the author and any publication or distribution without the written consent of the author is strictly prohibited. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters to persons living or dead is coincidental.
The three knew they were under suspicion, but they had to act as if nothing was amiss. They were going to have to try to get out of there, and they were going to have to get Peter and Anita out as well. In fact, their main priority would be to get the other two safely out. What Peter knew would be instrumental in bringing the Costa Empire down. But it would only work if they could get him out of there. They were going to have to meet somewhere out of earshot and explain what was going to happen. They would have to rely on Anita to tell them where.
They would be ready to do a test run on the generator the next afternoon. They asked that Anita bring them lunch. She had warned them that she might be suspected as a spy, but the area around the generator, at least for the moment, was the only place they could talk while being relatively unobserved. Robert had scanned the area for listening devices and cameras, and they hadn’t detected any.
“We’re going to get you and Peter out of here tonight,” Robert said while biting into a sandwich. “There’s a chopper on a destroyer waiting for the word. They will come in low over the water and then land where you think the best spot is. It will have to be away from the habitation areas. What area would you pick for a landing? I think the best area might be by that lake on the far side of the cemetery.”
“I agree. I’m going to have to get word to Peter, and that hasn’t been easy of late. At this point I don’t think they trust any of us. I’m beginning to think they suspect Peter as well. What do you have in mind?”
“We will do a test run on the generator this afternoon to show everyone that the system is up and working. When we know the chopper is on the way, we’re going to blow the switchgear. There won’t be light one. We’ll turn out the lights in our place to give you a five minute warning. The chopper won’t be on the ground for more than 30 seconds, and we’re gone.”
“Alright, we’ll be there unless I tell you otherwise.”
Anita hadn’t been able to talk to Peter until dinner. Perhaps that was a good thing. She could at least be out in the open about asking him to do something for her. Another thing would be that he wouldn’t know what was going on. He wouldn’t be able to give anything away.
“Monsieur Costa, I think I may need your assistance. There is something wrong with the television, and something is affecting my computer. I think there is something wrong with the cable or something. It’s been acting funny ever since those men have been working on that generator.”
Peter knew immediately that something was up. “Certainly, how about right after dinner.”
“Thank you, there was a program that I wanted to see on that American cooking channel.”
Peter showed up at Anita’s cottage just minutes after she closed the kitchen. “What’s going on?”
“We’re getting out of here. There’s a chopper coming in a little while,” Anita said as she passed a dark sweat suit to Peter. She was already wearing dark clothing. “I disabled the bugs. They may not notice for a little while. When the lights go off next door we have five minutes until they blow the main power distribution panel. The generator may come on, but it won’t be able to connect to anything.
“We’re going to meet at the lake beyond the cemetery. The chopper’s coming in and we will have only seconds to get on board.”
They were ready when the lights next door blinked off. Anita turned off her lights in acknowledgement. They waited at the front door, and they weren’t disappointed when the explosion rocked the area. The lights went out immediately and stayed off. They took off on a fast trot towards the cemetery and lake beyond. Shouts were ringing out and flashlights were coming on at several points.
Street shoes are not the best running shoes, and Peter slipped and fell just short of the lake. He yelled out in pain as he struggled to get up. Anita turned to help him. She could see the flashlights of their pursuers. They were only a few hundred yards away.
“Get out of here Anita. Save yourself.”
“You’re coming with me.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Save yourself. You’ll take them down. I know you will. I love you Anita. I always will.”
Anita helped him to his feet. He could barely stand on what had to be a badly sprained ankle. “Then know this. I will always will love you, too, and your love will live. I am carrying your child.” She kissed him and turned to sprint away as several shots rang out. Some came from in front of her. She had heard the approaching helicopter, and it suddenly popped up over the wall. She sprinted to where her father was covering her.
“Hurry. What happened to Peter?”
“He sprained his ankle. There’s not enough time to get him to the chopper. Look, I’m not going with you. I am going to save him. Give me your gun and phone. We will see you in a couple days.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m damn sure. I told you I wasn’t going to leave without him. I can take care of things. Besides, he is the father of your first grandchild. I have too much to live for.”
“Oh my God!”
“Give me your gun, phone, and go.” He did, but she followed him towards the chopper. She took out two of the pursuers as she hid in the reeds at the edge of the small lake. As she hoped, they assumed she was on the chopper that made a combat takeoff and headed towards the sea. Some fired off a few ineffective shots at the fleeing aircraft.
“I have work to do,” she said to herself. She had two full clips of ammunition plus what was in the gun. She waited until she was sure the pursuers had given up before working her way around the lake.
The flickering candles did nothing to ease the sense of impending doom that Peter was feeling. He knew what was going to happen. It was written into the manuscript of the Costa Empire. It didn’t matter what one’s relationship was; cross the Costas and you were dead meat. No one ever talked about it, but he was certain that had been what had happened to his mother and her not so secret lover. He had been told his mother had run off with Eugene Onegin, a Russian drug lord. He was certain that both of them were at the bottom of the Mediterranean. He would probably end up in a watery grave, also. But first, he would be allowed to die a rather unpleasant death in the crypt.
They had been rather rough with him as they threw him into the cell reserved for those who committed the most egregious crimes. Now he was sitting in the library tied to a chair, awaiting his already predetermined fate.
Tommaso Costa was furious, without a doubt. His florid face was only the tip of the iceberg of the rage that was boiling inside.
“Who were they? Obviously, she was with them.”
Peter was silent.
“How long have you known about this?” Adolpho Mongini demanded in a tone that indicated his rage that had to have been equal to Tommaso’s.
Peter continued to remain silent.
“What have you told them?” Paolo Medina asked in a lawyerly tone.
“Enough, but not nearly as much as I would have told them had I gotten away,” Peter volunteered.
His rage boiling over, Adolpho slapped him rather hard across his face, cutting the inside of his cheek. “You are nothing but scum. You could have had anything you wanted, but you threw it all away for that whore. You are no son of mine.”
“Unfortunately, I am,” Peter responded, bringing another retaliatory slap across the face.
“Take him to the crypt. We don’t need to waste our time with him. We have too many other problems to take care of,” Tommaso said turning away from Peter to take a sip of coffee. “At least, we have fuel for the stoves.”
“The electricians will be here with the small generators in about an hour. Then we will have power for the house and the chow hall. They will bring in more tomorrow, for the other areas. I’ve been told that the road from the west will be open tomorrow. These people are idiots. They can’t keep anything from breaking down. And now, there’s another hurricane coming.”
Paolo and Luigi jerked Peter to his feet. His ankle throbbed, but he could walk on it, barely.
Tommaso Costa stood in front of him, looking him in the eyes. He grabbed Peter’s head, pulling him to him. He kissed him fully on the lips: The Kiss of Death, Il bacio della morte.
“Take him away. Do it.”
The daylight was fading into night, and the high overcast from the storm that was a few days away helped give an eerie feeling to the event. There wasn’t a crowd of observers as there had been for the execution a few weeks previously. There wasn’t any ceremony. Peter caught a glimpse of the two biers that were inside as they opened the door. He didn’t fight them as they pushed him inside. Then it was pitch black.
“Dio, ti amo, Anita,” said Peter trying to hold back his tears.
“Beh, ti amo anche tu. Ma abbiamo il lavoro da fare.” (Well, I love you, too. But we have work to do.)
“Anita, what are you doing here?” They hugged and kissed in the darkness.
“Well, I’m certainly not planning on dying, in case you’re wondering.”
“But, they’re going to flood this place with gas. We have only minutes.”
“We have bit more time than that. I drained the nitrogen tank last night. They will have to get another from the shop.” She turned on the cell phone which gave them adequate light. There was no reception inside the marble structure when the door was closed.
“I borrowed these from the shed down there. We have enough air to last us about four hours,” she said indicating a stack of tanks and scuba gear. “I gave a signal when they threw you in here. They have a code to pass when they open the door. If anyone else opens the door, they will have to argue with this little pistol I acquired. I am a very good shot. We’ll have to run for it, and you’re not exactly in the best condition for that.
The sounds of something being done on the outside indicated the gas would soon be flowing. They donned their masks and made sure everything was working properly. They were about half way through their third tanks, with one more to go, when they thought they heard gunfire. Then there were three sharp raps on the door. No one would think about knocking if they thought there were dead people inside.
The door swung open and they were met by several uniformed and armed men, including a lieutenant colonel. “Come on Anita, we don’t have much time. These two,” he said while indicating two muscular NCOs, “will carry your friend here. Some of our men have the dock secured. Somebody will be picking us up in about ten minutes.”
“Stan, it really is you! What are you doing here?”
“We were in the area and thought we’d drop in, literally. Enough chit chat: those guys will be coming after us very shortly. They are really pissed about our intrusion. Let’s go. We need to get to the dock.”
“That may be a problem. The elevator will be inoperable, and without power the entrance to the stairs can’t be opened.”
“What do you suggest?”
“Have your men cover me. I think I can get there, as dark as it is. But once I start it up, I’m going to be an easy target. Have all your men head for the opening that leads to the dock.”
Anita took off on a run towards her old cottage and the spot where the generator sat impotently. She jumped on the yard lift, and fortunately, it started immediately. As she suspected, it wouldn’t go unnoticed. A shot caught her in the left shoulder. It hurt like hell, but she was pretty sure it hadn’t hit anything critical. She’d take care of it later.
As she came around the corner. Paolo Mongini stepped in front of her. He was about 30 feet away. Like many men in high places, he was one arrogant son-of-a-bitch, and he had little respect for women. His pistol was levelled at her head.
“Just who in the hell are you?”
“I am your worst nightmare, signore. The line is not original, but I am your worst nightmare,” she said in very acceptable Italian.
“Don’t make me laugh. You are a woman, and a black woman at that. You’re not worthy enough to suck my cock. I might have you do that, anyway. My men will have your friends taken care of in a few minutes. You have caused me to lose my son, but there are other women. I will have other sons. Men who are real men, not effeminate omosessuali.”
“Listen to me carefully you miserable asshole. Your son lives, he knows you killed his mother. As for being a man, he is more of a man, a decent human being, than you ever could be.
“Just one last thing, I am carrying your grandchild. You should know that.”
“Not at all.”
He raised his pistol, which had drooped a bit during the conversation. He fired a shot, but it was too late. Anita had fallen to the side. Paolo’s head basically exploded as the bullet passed through it.
Anita ran the yard lift at maximum speed as more shots were fired in her direction. She slowed up at the fence and lowered the forks. She ran the forks into the fence and then raised them, ripping the fence out of the pavement. Then she attacked the gate to the stairway, ripping it apart. Their path to below was open.
“Let’s get the hell out of here.”
Peter was able to get down the stairs on his own. But once at the bottom, they picked him up and ran to the end of the dock. A rather large speed boat was racing toward them. As it pulled up to the dock, they jumped aboard. It pulled away immediately and headed towards the southern horizon.
They make their escape. Mike Donatella rendezvous with a Virginia Class submarine where he leaves Peter and Anita. The Costa adventure is mostly over, but Peter’s is just beginning. By the way, he proposes.
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