Slipped AwayMature

Everything had erupted in chaos.  In a few moments, months’ worth of planning had been destroyed.  They had no choice but to detonate the bomb now

 Nizar and his men were traversing the sewer, working their way through the last steps towards their objective when a manhole cover had been opened directly above them.  The event had been so unexpected and so improbable that he hadn’t even been able to direct his team into hiding.  They were spotted almost instantly and without giving the orders, a member of his force had begun shooting upwards through the opening.  Soon every barrel was ablaze lighting the darkness around them with orange strobe-like flashes.

 As he watched his soldiers emptying their clips into the ceiling, Nizar cursed Wahab for failing to deactivate the security sensors along the pipe. Unaware that their discovery had been nothing but pure happenstance he blamed the very man that he had once valued beyond all others in the mission.  He would have personally killed him for this failure if he wasn’t about to unleash doom upon them all.

  Jumping into the waters he grabbed onto one of the ropes being used to tow the device and employed it towards helping himself scramble to the bombs controls.  The time that it was set to go off had been preprogrammed once they’d gotten it over the lip of the chute to a time roughly 10 hours away when the Israeli Prime Minister and the Palestinian President would be starting their joint address.  It needed to be now.

 *    *    *    *    *

 In the room above, the Israeli and Palestinian Secret Service agents watched as the guards body went limp falling to the floor.  As he pitched forward, one of the man’s arms dropped down into the hole where it continued to be shot at causing his lifeless carcass to jerk unnaturally with each sharp retort of automatic gunfire issued from below.  In an instant their mood had changed from curiosity to straight defense as they both extracted their pistols and crept towards the open manhole.

 Reaching out, Tabor put a hand on the Palestinians shoulder to stop him from going any further.  “We can’t get close as long as whoever’s down there keeps shooting.”    

  Bullets were still flying through the open cover, ricocheting off the concrete ceiling sending dust and chunks from it skidding across the floor.  One, bounced off a pipe in the basement mere feet from where the two men were standing.  Their breath caught in their throats as they watched the narrow plume of a steam geyser erupt from the shattered skin to spray a fire extinguisher which was hanging on the wall.

 The Arab nodded.  “Then we’ll stay here.”  He said as he turned to grab the red bulb of the extinguisher.  “We’ll send this down in our place.”

 With that he kicked the metal cylinder across the floor sending in spinning wildly in the direction of the hole in the floor.

 *    *    *    *    *

 Nizar never saw the fire extinguisher fall through the hole above his men.  As it did, he was busy fighting the running current and attempting to enter his trigger code into the bomb’s digital keypad.    He’d just typed in the first number of the seven digit sequence to zero out the timer when the concussion of the explosion caused him to throw his hands up covering his ears.

 As the extinguisher slid down through the open manhole cover, Nizar’s soldiers noticed it  too late to halt their gunfire.  Midair, a stray bullet hit the canister causing its pressurized contents to burst in a deafening blast which rang out throughout the closed confines of the pipe with something like a physical presence.  Instinctively everyone below covered their head as the torn metal of its body slammed against the bricks.

 Suddenly Nizar could feel himself moving with the current.  In the roar of the explosion his men had dropped the ropes tethered to the bomb and he was being swept away with it through the sewers.  In an act of futility he tried to grab a hold of the wall with one hand to stop himself, the other he used to hold fast onto one of the ropes still attached to the device.  The force from the water was too great for his fingers to set upon any purchase in the bricks as it sent his body careening fast down the tunnel.

 Wahab noticed this as he turned and began to regain his wits following the blast.  Picking up the rifle which he’d dropped in shock he broke out into a sprint along the catwalk as he chased after Nizar.  Soon the other’s followed.  They ran as the light from their commander’s head mounted lamp seemed to grow more and more distant by the second.

 *    *    *    *    *

Above the hole Tabor noticed the hesitation of gunfire following the canister’s explosion and leapt forward towards the its edge.  Throwing himself onto the dead guards carcass he snapped off ten shots firing blindly into it in every direction.  After he’d expended his clip he kicked himself back to the wall to reload anticipating the return fire that he was sure would come.

 When no retort came both Tabor and Karam looked at one another across the smoking ring in the floor.  Slowly they approached the darkened circumference and stared down into it with caution.  In the distance they could hear screams of anxiousness echoing out from the sewer. 

 “What does that sound like they’re saying?”  Tabor asked the Palestinian his chest still heaving from the rush of adrenalin that had just hit his bloodstream.

 Karam cocked his head listening intently.  “Sounds like ‘get it’!”  He said a little unsure of whether or not he’d heard right.

 Tabor shot him a lopsided grin.  “What do you say we ‘get them’ my friend?”

 The Arab shook his head.  “No.”  He answered simply.

 Tabor frowned.  “Well be damned you, you fucking coward!”  He spat, turning angry.  “If you aren’t throwing bombs at people from afar you are useless; typical Palestinian asshole!”

 Instead of argue with the Jew, Karam put a finger to his lips indicating the need for silence.   Tabor stopped and listened.  After a while he thought he heard what it was that the Arab had wanted him to hear. 

 Somewhere from below, in all the excited screaming growing more and more faint with retreat, the agonized wail of a man clearly injured could be heard nearby.

 “Chasing will get us both killed.”  Karam said as he began to lower himself into the hole.  “I’m going to find whoever you hit and whip him with the butt of my pistol until he tells me everything I need to know about what they were doing down there.”



The End

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