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Mad dog, p.22

Mad Dog, page 22

 

Mad Dog
 


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  Sylvia opened the badge to discover his detectives badge and his identity card with the same photo that appeared on his passport. Smiling, she turned to him and passed him both his passport and his badge.

  -Well at least the photos coincide, -she said, sorry to have bothered you Sir, is there anything I can do to make your journey more comfortable? –

  -You could come with us. –chirped Brock.

  -I’d love to. –answered Sylvia, but I don’t think my husband would like it too much. –

  -Then don’t bring him. –said Harris with what looked like a smile.

  -Careful! –said Brock, laughing, -I told you about the ugly ones copping off. –

  -Thank you Mrs Cooper, -added Harris courteously before grabbing Brock by the arm and dragging him away.

  -Two more minutes and she was ours, -blurted Brock, throwing his arm around Harris. Harris didn’t reply or to that matter react, unsure of how to. It had been a long time since anyone had thrown an arm around him.

  The rest of their trip was only marked by Brock’s incredible ability to sleep. He slept an hour of their one hour twenty minute flight to Amsterdam and seven hours of the nine hour Amsterdam to Minneapolis flight, uncannily only waking when the meal trolley arrived.

  They had no problems with his passport upon arriving at St Paul Minneapolis as Agents Evans and Cooper were waiting for them at customs control and they were ushered straight through. At 13.15 they were climbing into the largest Dodge that they had ever seen, which went by a name almost as long as it was itself, Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie Mega Cab 4x4. Packed in the back were all of the provisions that Brock had asked for including three M-21 tactical rifles, considered by many to be the worlds best sniper rifle and one that Brock was extremely familiar with.

  Their plan was to drive straight north towards the Canadian Border at International falls where they would cross into Canada and take Highway 11 before taking the turning for Bears Pass on Redgut Bay where they would stay the night at the Coppen´s Resort which was some ten miles, as the crow flies, to the west of Josie’s Rest Farm yet some five hours of steady trekking. The option of flying up by helicopter would have been faster but Brock was anxious to not run the slightest risk of their prey being alerted to their presence. If his plan went right, they would arrive at the woods above Josie’s Rest Farm mid afternoon the following day, Sunday, where they would do some reconnaissance and camp the night assuming they didn’t get offered a clean shot at him earlier. They would take up positions at first light and eliminate him the moment he left the farm house that Monday morning. The weather forecast was good and Brock was in confident mood.

  Agent Cooper wished them well as they set off on the Sunday morning having been refused permission to participate any further. It was understandable, the CIA having no authority in Canada and them going for their man with the express intention of eliminating him. If anything went wrong they would have significant difficulties in explaining their involvement in the hunting and killing of an American Citizen. Nonetheless Agent Cooper watched with a heavy heart as the three companions headed off along Highway 11.

  The early part of their trek was easy as they followed Highway 11 as it meandered towards Thunder Bay. They had been walking for just over an hour when Brock decided to leave the road and head across country. At first the terrain remained relatively comfortable with little undergrowth and relatively clear pathways marked by previous trekkers. Things started to become more complicated as they neared Gagne Lake and the terrain started becoming wetter. Brock considered briefly the option of heading for the woods above the lake and skirting it that way but the woods were extremely dense and heavily rutted by the hundreds of small streams that serviced the lake. The going would have been even slower and quite probably more tiring and he was aware of the limitations that Harris’s health put on their march. As a result they continued trudging through the boggy northern edge of the lake until finally they reached the ridge that marked its eastern edge. The ridge was only lightly wooded and, although steep, represented a relieving break from the mire.

  Brock continually reviewed the condition of his companions and as a result decided that they should take a short break when they reached the top of the ridge. Agent Evans looked relatively comfortable but Harris was starting to concern him, not because he appeared particularly exhausted but rather because he looked distant, absent. Agent Evans although hardly breathing heavily was grateful for the break, his legs aching and his calves knotted. Harris however was beyond the pain of it, his legs hurt, his lungs burnt and even the arches of his feet ached but none of it bothered him, he was getting near to the end and he could sense it, he was going to finally get his man!

  From their vantage point on top of the ridge they could now see the route that Brock had planned for them. They were to climb down the far side of the ridge and skirt around the northern edge of the lake they could see, a lake considerably smaller than Gagne Lake but which was situated in a much flatter basin. The result was that the marshy area around it ran from the ridge they were on to the spur of rock that they could see at the far side of the valley, a ridge that rose considerably higher than the one they were on.

  -Gentlemen, on the far side of that mountain spur is the forest that slopes down to Josie’s Rest Farm and Entrut Lake. – said Brock looking directly at Harris.

  -Then what are we waiting for? –he replied.

  -We’re waiting for ourselves nothing else, we will leave when we are ready, we’re in no rush are we? –

  -Yes, but the sooner the better. –argued Harris.

  -No not this time no, this time we will take our time, we will make sure of every move before we make it and that way there will be no mistake. We are here to do a job, we are not here to get revenge or settle old scores, IS THAT CLEAR?

  -Yes I know, -answered Harris looking at the ground, -you’ll have no trouble from me, I know what you’re thinking but you’re wrong, I’m not going to lose it, I know what we are here for and I will do what you tell me to exactly how and when you tell me to do it but I admit that I’m anxious to get there and I’m anxious to get him but I repeat I’ve got it under control I’ve already burnt my fingers once in that particular fire.- he added with a twisted smile.

  -Good – said Brock, Harris’s smile having convinced him far more than his words, -then let’s get moving, the sooner we get there the better! –he added with a smirk.

  The trudge around the upper edge of the lake resulted far more tiring than they had hoped for, each step an effort, dragging their feet out of the greedy, squelchy, sucking mire of semi decomposed vegetation. This time however the ridge on the far side provided no solace being far steeper than its predecessor and far more heavily populated by brambles with thorns the size of pencils and as sharp as needles, that clung desperately to there clothing trying to halt the progress of these uninvited intruders. It was three very weary climbers that reached the top ridge of the mountain spur but the view itself was almost worth the effort. The woods started some hundred feet below them allowing them a view of the lake glistening in the early afternoon sun. What they could not see was the farm itself but they could see the pastures that ran down from it to the lake. What Brock also saw was the mass of darkening cloud that was moving in from the East.

  -We’re going to have rain tonight. –he stated coldly as the others stared nodding in the direction of the darkening sky.

  The passage through the woods was slow as it was dense but at least the floor of the woods was dry and more or less even, which was a good thing for their sleeping that night. It wasn’t therefore until three thirty in the afternoon that they would get their first glimpse of the farm, two hundred yards to their right, nestled on the edge of the woods.

  Brock removed his binoculars from his backpack and focused on the farm building.

  -Right, -said Brock, talking to himself, -we need to move back another fifty yards into the woods and make camp. –

  Once he was satisfied with the ca
mp he once again donned his backpack and turned to Harris and Agent Evans.

  -I’m going to have to leave you for a while, I need to do some reconnaissance and I can move a lot faster and quieter on my own. DO NOT MOVE FROM THE CAMP OKAY! –

  With that he was gone, silently disappearing into the woods to their right.

  It wasn’t until seven that evening, when the skies were darkening menacingly, that he returned catching them by surprise as he suddenly appeared from the trees behind them. They hadn’t heard a sound from him yet they had, or at least they imagined that they had, heard rustling sounds drifting through the woods on several occasions during his absence.

  -Right, well there’s no one at the farm! Now, he could be out hunting in which case he’ll probably be back this evening given the storm that’s closing in and if he is we’ll know because he’ll almost certainly set a fire judging by the size of the log stack that he has on the far side of the farmhouse. The windows are heavily shuttered and once this weather whips up he’ll be keeping them that way but none the less I’ll be able to see the smoke. It’s imperative that we stay out of sight until he returns and that means no fire so we’ll be getting cold tonight. I’ve been back up to the top of the ridge and unless he’s hunting goats, there’s nothing for him back that way although there are wolves in the area, I’ve seen quite a few tracks so we need to be wary though they’ll only attack us if they’re really desperate for food and I understand that the winter wasn’t that fierce this year so that shouldn’t be the case. –

  -Do you think that it was wolves that we heard rustling through the woods? –

  -I would doubt it, especially during the day; they’d be extremely wary of you and wouldn’t get near enough for you to hear them. Unlike the images in the films the truth is that wolves, like most wild animals, have an inbred fear of humans. –

  -So what was the rustling? –

  -Well my first guess would be the wind and if not that then possibly rabbits. –

  Harris wasn’t at all convinced that the wolves would fear them more than they the wolves; he remembered only too well what Alf had managed to make the wolves do to his victims.

  Half an hour later the first drops of rain started to fall amongst the branches and within five minutes they could hear the torrential force of the storm being unleashed although beneath the dense cover of the trees they remained remarkably unaffected. The howling of the wind however had Harris twitching nervously, imagining packs of wolves calling to each other organising an attack on them. It wasn’t until ten o’clock that night that the rain started to remit sufficiently for Brock to decide to take another look at the farmhouse returning half an hour later to inform them that there was still no sign of life.

  The sound of the rain beating on the roof of trees above them was remarkably refreshing and the fresh smell of wet grass that the wind carried to them lifted their moods as they sat in a circle and quietly chatted about the day’s events and their hopes for the following days. The conversation slowly drifted towards the more personal subjects of family and friends and Brock couldn’t help but notice that Harris’s contribution was always restricted to work related friendships and that he never once mentioned having a family that he could talk about. The refreshing wind and the almost hypnotic rhythmical strumming of the rain on the leaves seemed to lift them out of there bodies, their minds floating whilst their weary limbs gently recovered from the days rigours.

  It was Brock that moved first, rapidly pulling out his hunting knife, suddenly sensing that they were being observed, he could feel it and deep in his mind he was trying to decipher the signals that he had received that would allow him to understand exactly what it was that had alerted him. The smell! He had caught on the swirling breeze the unmistakable smell of wet animal fur. THE WOLVES! his mind screamed as the leader of the pack sprang from the trees to his right directly behind Harris. Brock dived instinctively in Harris’s direction catching him at chest height at the precise moment that the wolf impacted. A bemused Harris watched as first Brock struggled on the floor at his side and then almost simultaneously Evans’s move towards them was halted as he took the impact of another two wolves one on his back and the other ripping into his left leg.

  The knife fell from Brock’s grasp when the wolf hit him burying its fangs deep into his shoulder forcing the muscles in his hand to snap open. His left arm struggled to get a grip on the wolfs mane as it tried furiously to clamp its jaws on the side of his neck a tactic that, if successful, would quickly bring an end to it’s preys struggle. As he rolled on top of the animal, trying to wind it, the knife came into view only inches away from Harris’s hand. Harris didn’t have time to think, he simply reacted, grabbing the knife and as Brock rolled once more on to his side exposing the flank of the wolf he plunged the knife deep into its side. The screaming yelp that it produced was accompanied by the release of Brock as it turned savagely towards the cause of the pain. The force of its movement threw Harris backwards, knife in hand, and the wolf didn’t hesitate a second as it sprang in his direction. Harris’s movement was more reactive than intentional as he threw his hand forward defensively, the wolf impaling itself on the knife with its own body weight.

  As Harris struggled to get the dead weight of the wolf off him he observed out of the corner of his eye Brock rising to his feet and removing a knife from an ankle strap in one fluid movement. In one stride he had hold of the wolf that was on top of Agent Evans’s back ripping open the padding on his coat in a desperate attempt to reach the flesh below. Pulling its head back Brock ran the blade deep across its throat tossing the beast to one side as he did so, its final choking snarls went unnoticed as Brock tried to get a grip on the wolf that was thrashing on Evans’s leg. The trousers were already shredded and blood was emanating from the wolfs jaws in a sickly salivary mixture the taste of which augmented the frenzy of its desire for flesh. It was all over in a moment as Brock saw the opening he was looking for and buried the knife between its shoulder blades twisting it right and left until he severed the spinal cord leaving the wolf a twitching heap.

  The attack had lasted less that thirty seconds but the intensity of it left three dead wolves and two of them seriously wounded.

  -We were lucky, -said Brock calmly looking at Agent Evans’s injured leg. –it was a small pack, two more and we wouldn’t have had it so easy. Don’t move, Harris get me the first aid kit; I’ll get you cleaned up as best I can. Listen, I can stop the bleeding and clean the wound and I can even give you a jab to limit the possibility of infection but I’ve got to tell you, you’re legs pretty fucked up and you are going to need professional attention. Now we have two options; call in and get a helicopter over here to get you treated with the urgency you undoubtedly deserve or grit our teeth and stay here until we get the job done. What do you say? –

  -Stop the bleeding and get me strapped up, I ain´t goin anywhere! One thing though, you thought that was easy? –

  -Well I’ve been in worse situations and at least they didn’t have guns. –

  Harris passed Brock the first aid kit noticing the blood soaked patch on his shoulder and the fact that he only used three fingers of his bloodied hand to grasp the bag.

  -Are you okay? -he asked quietly, -resting his trembling hand on Brocks uninjured shoulder.

  -Nothing that a little cleaning up and a few plasters won’t cure. –

  -Okay, but once you get Agent Evans here cleaned up; you can get that jacket off and let me have a look at that shoulder. –

  The damage to Brocks shoulder was far worse than Brock was willing to admit, the leader of the pack having opened a gaping ragged wound at least three inches deep and seven long. Neither cleaning up nor plasters were going to cure that.

  -Look, -said Brock calmly staring Harris in the eyes, -I need you to control that trembling, it’s over now, they won’t be back. I need you to inject me with the coagulant serum and then stitch me up. I can get it done properly when we get back but I’d prefer you to ha
ve a steady hand if you don’t mind. Have a smoke if you need to, I can wait. –

  -No need, I’ll be okay, -said Harris, -but stitching you up isn’t going to get those two fingers moving again. I’m no expert but that looks like nerve or tendon damage to me and if you don’t get that seen to right away then you’ll end up with permanent damage, so lets get the helicopter in here. -

  -NO CHANCE. –snarled Brock. –If we call a helicopter in we’ll lose him for certain, so, let me worry about my future I’ve got a job to do, now get that coagulant and get me stitched up then I’ll tell you what Plan B is. –

  Harris injected the serum and waited as almost immediately the blood started to clot and the flow stemmed. With more or less steady hands he started closing the wound with clumsy stitches. Brock, in order to distract his mind from the pain, started to explain Plan B.

  -First thing in the morning were going to help Agent Evans to his position to the left of the farmhouse. He’s going to have a clear shot of the front porch, left side and rear of the property, some two hundred yards; you can do that can’t you Agent Evans? –

  -Yes, no problem, five hundred yards as well if I need to, especially with the M-21, that almost does the shooting itself. –

  -Right, then you and I Harris are going to be on the left of the building in the copse down by the lake, I prepared the hide out this afternoon. From there you’re going to have a clearer shot still of the front of the building and the right side, uphill as well which is always easier. Ouch! –

  -Sorry, -said Harris apologetically, -but you gave me a start. I thought you said that I was going to have a shot at him for a moment there. –

  -I did, what’s the problem? –

  -Well it’s simple, I’m the worlds worst shot and it doesn’t matter what rifle you give me, if the term automatic doesn’t mean that the gun does the sighting and the firing all by itself, I’ll never hit him. I have a phobia of rifles, I mean I shake like a leaf. –

 
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