I KILL RICH PEOPLE 2, page 39
Matt pressed his gun barrel into the crack to force open the sliding door. He could pry it just eight inches. The stench of fuel wafted inside. He pulled off his helmet and tossed it aside to get better air.
The TL pulled Three back from the narrow opening. He pressed his remaining clip into Three’s hand then patted Two for his ATL’s remaining ammunition. Two stretched his jaw wide, screaming without a sound when Curtis touched him. “Sorry Terry. Got to.”
He retrieved two more magazines, slapping them into Three’s palm, their eyes meeting as he exerted himself to command, to control, himself. “When I fire, go!” he instructed almost gently. “Lay down cover. I’ll follow. We go get this fucker and then we come back for Terry.”
Three nodded then Curtis turned and stretched his weapon out into the door, opening fire in scattered waist-level bursts. He reached back and slapped Three on the back, who dived through the open hatch where the cockpit had been, already firing before his heavy frame hit the dirt.
Spencer sprinted over the driveway to Five, flipped him onto his back and rapidly patted up and down his torso, snatching clips, wallet, cell phone, a serrated combat blade, two canister grenades, identifying scattered bursts from two separate HKs. Their buffering fire disgusted him; trained men blindly wasting critical ammo, firing at nothing to show their force. What they really conveyed was desperation.
He maneuvered at a bent run toward the crash site, letting them continue to burn through their clips. Spencer moved along behind the two long poplar trunks, efficiently flanking them. Working his way to the embankment, he squatted low behind laurels and gooseberry bushes until the tangled crash site opened out in front of him. Through the trees he could see torn plastic sheeting flapping from the tail rotor like a shredded flag.
Three, the biggest body on their squad, the one who took down the trailer door, was stomach-down in a prone firing position with his legs opened behind him in a wide vee. He was aiming a full 180 degrees opposite from Spencer’s position.
Spencer held the Heckler-Koch to his cheek and rose, firing a burst that strafed an impact line running from Three’s crotch up his spine. A bullet burst his skull like a watermelon, splattering brains in a six-foot wide fan. The blood mist speckled red over the green foliage.
Spencer fired a following burst through the cockpit hatch into the fuselage. As he ran past the wreck, he pitched the canister grenade inside backhand before diving for cover behind the hickory’s trunk.
Profitt, Two, saw the grenade land at his feet. His eyes opened wide, only his limbs wouldn’t respond. Curtis, the Team Leader, turned and stretched out his leg, reaching his foot toward the grenade, missing. In one do-or-die motion he lunged and managed to clear the canister out of the fuselage. His effort amounted to nothing. The combustible fumes coming from forty gallons of leaking fuel ignited in a soft whoosh that shook the forest. A red-hot ball roiled skyward, leaving only scarred skeletal remains behind, human and machine.
Spencer got up and ran hard toward the blackened floor and gnarled metal that had been the single-wide home, had been XMercy’s home. He stopped on the way, kneeling and rapidly patting down Four’s body. One hip pouch held twenty twelve-gauge shells, slugs. He considered the shotgun, rejected it, and kept searching without a pause. Wallet. Cell phone. Multi-tool.
The Honda motorcycle was gone. Spencer could see what remained of the blue tarp. It was melted black over what looked like a giant spider that had been put to the flames. The Polaris was on fire. But through the burnt skeleton of the trailer, it looked like the 4Runner was still intact. It was scorched black all along the passenger side, but the tires remained inflated, the windows were in one piece.
He started moving toward the SUV when movement caught the corner of his eye. Something was alive, caught beneath a section of charred metal siding.
Spencer flipped the siding clear and recoiled from the grizzled, unrecognizable sight before squatting to bring his face close. His brain told him that it was impossible, that the cooked flesh could not be alive.
“Mouse? Can you hear me?” He wasn’t certain that her ears remained.
“Humm,” Mouse whimpered.
Alarm bells sounding from the direction of Glen Jean were ringing, calling for the volunteer firefighters.
“There’s help coming,” he told her.
“Why?” she asked him. Her voice was an airy whine.
“I’m sorry. God, I’m so sorry.”
“Why?” Mouse repeated.
“Me,” he admitted. “They came for me.” Spencer lifted his ears. In the distance he could hear a siren. “It’s my fault! I’m sorry, Mouse. I’m so sorry!”
“Buh why?” she panted.
“Because I am Dimitri Vosilych,” he whispered into her ear. “I did it. All of it.”
Mouse’s lungs deflated in a long dry wheeze. Spencer rose onto one knee. She was gone.
Did she hear him?
He scanned around him, taking in the smoldering trailer, the burning helicopter wreckage; Four’s prone body face-down in the gravel.
“You dumbass,” he cursed himself. “Like you could stop everything and get away. You caused this!”
The approaching sirens were getting louder. For a second, he considered sitting down, giving up. Then his training took over. Spencer blew out his lungs, inhaled, and centered himself.
Never give up!
He moved the 4Runner, dropped the Heckler-Koch onto the passenger seat, heaped atop the additional clips, cell phones, and wallets. The car keys dropped into his hands when he let down the visor.
It started on the first try.
He assessed its worthiness on the fly, reversing and spinning the wheels around the wreckage. On the driveway, he shifted and plunged the pedal down to the floor.
Four minutes from start to finish, he calculated. Six combatants plus pilot. He had done that.
“Get it together,” he shouted. The adrenalin crash was standard; massive secretions had to be dissipating from his system, but he had no time to reflect on what was normal and what wasn’t.
Mission mode. He raced down the gravel to get out before first responders arrived then jammed the brakes. He had nearly missed it and was suddenly furious at himself, screeching the 4Runner to a stop. All three cell phones were powered up.
“Dumbass! You’re delivering a GPS trail!”
He pulled the sim cards out from each phone and separated the batteries to keep them from pinging location, then gunned the motor. Debriefing would have to come later, if he ever had the time. Right now, he needed to make distance.
Route 19, two lanes north and two south, offered the faster path, but red and blue police lights flashed in the rear view mirror, moving toward the farm. He swung the 4Runner past the hardware store where a crowd eating maple bars stood outside looking to the northwest. The volunteer firefighters fired up the one engine as he went by. In a minute he was across Glen Jean, heading east alongside Dunloup Creek past the spot where he had caught the trout only a few short hours before.
You let yourself dream. He sped along, traveling at ninety miles per hour. His ankle and knee were serviceable as he worked the pedals, braking minimally along curves and passing everything that came up ahead of him. He continued east along the New River east and north on a long loop that took him back to the west before it crossed Route 19 fifteen miles north of the farm. On 19, he continued speeding northbound; sheriffs and state police had converged on Glen Jean from Beckley, Charleston, and as far away as Morgantown, leaving him a nearly empty highway with ten miles to the county line. Radio reporting was already focusing on the scourge of drug activity after a deadly shootout and explosions rocked this bucolic section of Fayette County. But no mention of his name.
“I am Dimitri Vosilych,” he said to himself. The prison, th
All three wallets held North Carolina driving licenses; Fayetteville, NC, addresses, all within spitting distance of Bragg. He should have taken the time to look at their arms; he would have bet money on them being a sword and three lightning bolts; he could recognize Special Forces from a mile away.
Their credit cards were worthless to him; he might as well tell them right where to find him. Almost eleven hundred in cash that he tried to pocket before realizing the sweat pants had no pockets. He folded the bills and pushed the wad past the Emporio waistband down inside his briefs.
No company cards, no family photos. Black Ops or private? They had broadcast their intentions. He wasn’t giving them any more consideration than they would have given to him.
“You were after me! Me, not them! You motherfuckers!”
Commandos follow orders. Whatever they did, they were the extended arm of whoever had made him disappear, whoever had the pull to run a torture prison literally under the government’s nose. Whoever that was, they would never quit. They would buy more hired guns and keep coming.
“I would have let it go,” Spencer realized. “But not now. Not ever.” They weren’t going to leave him alone. He wasn’t ever going to disappear, to live a quiet life. He was going to die. He knew that. All he could hope to do was die on his own terms.
Spencer reached over to the passenger seat, tilted the HK, and released the clip. He counted out four rounds, then replaced a fresh mag and switched the trigger setting from 4 to 2, semi-automatic. He pushed all but two of the credit cards and IDs into the wallets, opened the window, and tossed them deep into the bushes. He had plenty of cash. The tank was only a quarter-full; he would get food and water when he bought gas.
“They didn’t put out an APB before.” He was betting that they would keep law enforcement out of it now, too. With four hundred miles to cover, he counted on that bet to get him through.
He knew where he had to go; he had a long night ahead crossing Pennsylvania. By morning, he could be back to New York. By morning he intended to be crossing the bridge into Tarrytown. First order of business: he had to get a real weapon. The HK was for close-quarters work. He was coming for the Barrett.
“XMercy and Mouse aren’t anybody’s ‘collateral damage,’” he determined aloud. “They were my friends. I’m done with running away.”
“There is never going to be a better time than now,” Jeffers said in his introduction to the assembled Vision Partners. “Some would argue that we should put our tails between our legs and lie low, but we have nothing to apologize about and we are not adopting a victim mentality! The takers, the do-nothing losers who want to drain our economic lifeblood, they always attack those whose hard work and vision makes us successful! I am proud to announce that Americans for Patriotic Action, along with the American Legislation Network, will be putting forward legislation in all fifty states, in Washington, D.C., and in Congress, to secure the rights of all American citizens to be free from discrimination based upon our economic status.
“We, Vision Partners, we are going to send this message loud and clear: Class warfare is a hate crime! Americans never need to apologize for success!”
Owen couldn’t raise Bishop by telephone. He tried getting Miller on the hotel phone and cell phone; both times he was answered by automated voicemail: “the guest is not available, please leave your message at the tone.”
“Damn it!” Owen yelled. “I’m not here to sit in a hotel room!”
Miller wasn’t available because he was fully engaged in a video-conference, seated on the guest-side of Jeffers’ giant oak desk and speaking to Jeffers’ image on the monitor while APA’s leader was in flight. Jeffers was returning from a triumphant monthly meeting only to have his mood spoiled.
“Seven men dead,” Jeffers noted miserably.
“And two women,” Miller added. He had been fully briefed.
“Let’s say the entire operation has been crude,” Miller continued, “to keep the conversation polite. I have never met Mr. Rooks Bishop. All I can say is your sheriff left a trail of breadcrumbs leading right back to your desk here. He flew commercially, rented a car and a truck in his own name, and multiple witnesses can tie him to the death of Felicia Diane Reynolds. That moves Bishop from the asset column to a liability, and I don’t like loose ends.”
Jeffers paused, considering. Miller pitched before he came to the obvious conclusion.
“I’ll say it bluntly because I don’t think you’ll respect anything less. I get it. You’ve got yourself in a pickle. Every lie, every manipulation, every move you make, you get in deeper. You’re way outside your comfort zone, you have a lot to lose, and you need all of this to go away. So I’ll be your Mr. Wolf and I’ll clean up this mess. I’ll make it all go away. Secret prisons, enhanced interrogation, and this laundry list of federal, state, and international felonies that can’t be folded behind the corporate veil. Not even you can pull that off,” Miller said. “Spencer just took down a six-man assault team. It is going to get uglier; I don’t need to tell you that.
“I’ll find him and I’ll kill him for you, period. Make him disappear. My fee is $2.5 million, $500,000 up front, paid into an account that I’ll provide immediately, with an additional $2.5 million to follow upon delivery.” Downtime and good meals aside, he hadn’t left a good thing in Afghanistan with a short remaining shelf life to do real work for spare change. “Those are my terms. That’s about one percent of your gross this year. A rounding error. We both know his weapons stash was never uncovered. My hunch is he is right on it just about now. It’s going to get downright exciting, I’d say, but until I see money and support, I’ll be finding a quiet corner and taking a nice long nap.”
“And what about Bishop?” Jeffers wanted to know.
Miller considered momentarily then responded on the fly. “Bishop is fungible; he’s an anachronism, a superfluous Good Old Boy. And right now he’s a speed bump getting in the way.
“Remind him that he has signed your Non-Disclosure Agreement and that all provisions remain in full force and will be enforced to the fullest measure if he discusses his employment with anyone. Tell him that he will still be paid, but that he needs to disappear until West Virginia blows over,” Miller advised. “After that, have him leave the country. Give him airline tickets for a long vacation. Let’s say Brazil or Thailand. Better yet, you let him choose. Tell him that final compensation will be wired to either location. Then get the destination and flight number to me.”
He always paused ahead of making the conclusive close. “APA will never again see or hear from Rooks Bishop.”
Stephen Nussbaum’s team continued tracking Spencer’s movements. Kip, the fourth tech, reported the first probable sighting when Spencer stopped at a Marathon Gas Station outside Cumberland, Virginia. The second hit came through by auto-text. Spencer ate at a Denny’s just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at 3 a.m. No Bishop, not that it mattered.
They can only plot his whereabouts, Miller reminded Jeffers by text. Without an Operations Unit, they couldn’t intercept Spencer. He has just decimated your team.
Miller intended to have his assets in place by 09:50. He texted: Ready to get the job done. Still waiting on your wire.
Based upon Spencer’s present trajectory, Spencer was returning to the scene of the crime. Round 2.
Miller booked early morning flights, ExpressJet from Dulles-Newark.
They would be working from new facilities located in New Jersey. The techs were entirely portable; the Jers
“Where we heading?” Owen asked Miller.
“We’re going to North Bergen.”
“Proud home of James J. Braddock,” Owen observed. “The Cinderella Man.”
“They made a movie,” he began to explain, and then shrugged it off.
“Nevermind,” he told Miller.
Miller read through the case files, FBI/NYPD/NSA. They were all delivered straight to his internal storage, which meant, to his conclusion, that “The Client” had roving access wherever they wanted to go. Bringing himself up to speed on the killings was straightforward enough. He harbored no doubt as to Spencer’s capabilities; Spencer was an outstanding killing machine, proven time after time. But why the “I Kill Rich People”? he wondered. He couldn’t make sense out of that one. Miller thought Spencer was a Boy Scout, never imagined Spencer was a lefty. Then again, he had literally dropped ten thousand dollars into Spencer’s lap and he had passed on free money.
By all rights, Spencer should have been stabbed dead. If the Afghan hadn’t failed, none of this would be happening. They would have folded the flag and given it to Spencer’s next of kin. Case closed. He wouldn’t have just had the best meal of his life a few hours ago, on Bishop’s nickel, and he’d be light $2.5 million with $2.5 million more to come.