Anchors No More #34: Somebody You Used to KnowSep 8, 2014
It was hectic after the gunshot, the confusion and the screaming and the pushing and shoving… Holly came out of her daze slowly, realizing James had his hands on her shoulders and he was speaking to her, saying something…
”… come on, we need you. Holly!” Her eyes focused and James smiled, “That’s my girl,” he said, “We’re here, we have to move.”
“Good,” she managed, “okay.”
She shivered, the shock wearing off. She leaned against a table, warmth creeping into her stomach, “I’m just… I…”
James’ smile wilted to a grim seriousness as he spoke, “We were right there behind them,” he gestured over to where Mike and Carla led the four soldiers towards the corner. The soldiers were stripped of their weapons and equipment. Pointing to the guard laying dead in the center of the room, James said, “We took one of them out.” Steven was standing beside the corpse, aiming his gun at the group of scientists sheepishly huddled on the floor.
Holly looked back to James, “How did you…?” She scanned the room again, taking everything in, “How long did I…?”
“A minute or two,” James said, “You were just standing there for a couple minutes. You’re in a little shock so I want you to take it easy, okay? Let us get everything started and you catch your breath.”
“No,” she said, resolve igniting her eyes, “We all have our jobs.” She steadied herself, unsure if she could sustain her small blaze of determination but certain she would try. “We have to work double time, someone is bound to have heard that gunshot.” She pulled a piece of paper from her waistband, opening it and handing it to James, “We have to be ready when they get here.”
James looked at the paper, schematics for hooking up the power couplets. He glanced at Holly, “Where do we set it up?”
She pointed at the far wall where a line of heavy-grade power outlets was embedded in the thick concrete, “There,” she said, “Carla and Mike have the rest of the parts.”
James’ cool, serious stare morphed into a smile, “Yes, Ma’am,” he said. When he saw she was flustered and could not reply through the thickets of her thoughts, he placed a hand on her shoulder, “You did good, now let’s finish it.”
She nodded gratefully, touching his arm, “Thanks.”
Glancing over at the prisoners, she saw Liam staring at her from the huddle. “I’ll be over to help in a second, get the parts together and start hooking up the power.” She walked away, approaching Liam, “I’m so sorry,” she said, “but you know this has to happen.”
Liam said nothing, his mind unable to assemble the fact that this was Holly Marshal, his first lab partner, the girl he remembered once eating a tuna salad sandwich that she hated simply because she was too shy to tell the waitress she brought the wrong order. “I can’t believe you would do this,” he finally said, “You killed that guy,” he said looking briefly at the dead soldier, “You…” he searched her eyes, shaking his head, “What are you?”
“We’re desperate,” she said, “and we need your help.” Liam’s mouth opened but no words came out. Holly looked around. She saw Steven standing beside Liam, she watched James lining up power couplets and she nodded to Mike who stood watching Nancy finish tying up the four soldiers. “Help us, Liam,” she pleaded, “We have to stop what they’re doing, you have to know that. You had to understand the practical applications they have mind. You’re a smart gu…”
A scream suddenly interrupted her explanation and then a gunshot interrupted the scream. Holly whirled around and saw Carla on the ground, one hand holding her leg, blood seeping between her fingers, and the other hand holding her rifle, still pointed at the guard she had just shot. The soldier slumped forward with his legs tucked under him. He tipped over, head thunking hard against the cold concrete. Mike’s rifle was raised, his finger dancing over the trigger as he moved his crosshairs from guard to guard.
Holly looked at Steven to insure he was in control of the six scientists. He nodded, yes he was. She ran to Carla and knelt beside her. Carla’s face scrunched in pain as she pressed her hands into her bleeding wound. “I’m okay,” she said, nodding at the dead man, “He got his hands loose,” she said, “He had a knife in his boot, we missed it.” She examined the ugly hole in her thigh, the hot blood pulsing from it. “I need a pad and some gauze, James has the first aid pouch.”
“Okay,” said Holly, “I’m on it.” She went quickly to James and was on her way back to Carla with the medical supplies when three muffled gunshots rang out and drew everyone’s attention to the top of the stairs. Holly looked back to James, “That was upstairs, outside the door.” The look in his eyes spoke the same silent expletive as Holly’s did. There was no question what those gunshots meant.
“We have to do something,” she said, looking from James to Steven.
James turned to Steven, “It’s your call.”
Steven thought for a second and pulled his pistol from its holster, “Holly, here,” he said waving her over. She ran to his side and he handed her the pistol, “Take this, watch them,” he told her.
She did as he asked, putting the screwdriver in her pocket and taking the pistol, standing over the scientists as Steven gave one last ennobling head nod to his companions and ran up the stairs, hoping he was not too late to offer his friends some form of ancillary assistance.
© David Edward Wagner 2014. All Rights Reserved.