(tonight we meet the devil) Excerpt Chapter 13 The Black Rose - Presumption of InnocenceMature

Was Morales completely deranged or had his shackles and treatment at the hands of the DEA turned him into a mad dog? Boyd checked his mirror. As they approached the line of cars waiting to enter Mexico, he noticed the Fed’s lead sedan fall back two, then three car lengths.

He quickly reached back, gripped an area of the duct tape loosened by blood and saliva, and began tugging until he was able to peel the tape away enough to allow Morales to speak.

Boyd put a hand in the air for silence.

Morales tugged hard at his restraints but eased up and lowered his head as the two slipped across the border into Mexico.

Their chase vehicle had disappeared from view.

“There isn’t time Morales. Where the fuck are we going, who are we meeting with?” Boyd’s eyes darted back and forth between the congestion ahead and the meandering lights behind.

“Muerte. Viaje a la diablo.”

 “Talk sense, I’m not the fucking enemy.”

 “I tell you my puto friend, tonight we meet the devil. It’s a fucking trap.”

“Then tell me what we need to do.” Boyd demanded. “There’s no one on our tail.”

 “Whatever I tell you now is shit. Whatever DEA tell you is shit. We will stand beside our fathers to burn in Hell. You cannot hide from these men.”

Boyd was working overtime to digest Morales’s fatalism and keep the directions to his destination clear in his mind. Policemen blocked the intersections, overriding blinking traffic lights, flailing their arms in erratic motions, blowing whistles to alter the flow of traffic and lash out at rogue drivers. The sidewalks were alive with locals moving in an out of offices, pharmacies and small cafes. Neon lights flickered above velvet draped passageways leading into seedy cocktail lounges. Bodies leapt from between parked cars and dodged traffic.

“What men?”

The DEA had promised he would be extricated from the vehicle and put under protection. All he could feel was mayhem.

“I am ready to die,” Morales snarled.

Boyd felt his stomach turn. His mouth went dry as they hit their target intersection at Leona Vicono.

 “Hemos llegado. We’ve reached our destination.” Boyd made the final turn, slow and wide, slipping from the street into the darkness of the parking garage at 9108 Leona Vicario.

Parking would be tight for the large sedan. There were few unoccupied spaces. Boyd maneuvered into a narrow slot on his right, realizing he should have backed in to keep his eye out for the blue Ford Explorer. The agent’s instructions were to leave the sedan running. He turned the key and shut the engine off, lowering the window to listen for any movement in the garage.

“Puto,” Morales whispered, straining to look above the window sills, “this is not where we die tonight. Silencia. Listen to the darkness and keep your eyes open.”

The garage remained free of foot traffic or vehicles for five minutes, when Boyd saw the bouncing headlights and shadows cascade along the concrete walls. He watched in his mirrors as the vehicle approached and heard the sound of rubber squealing on the oil slick surface. It was the blue Explorer.

The car moved at a crawl and came to rest at their rear bumper. 

A movement, a shift in shadowed patterns. It happened in a second. A figure stepped from between two cars. His arms extended towards the Ford’s passenger window as three shots were fired in rapid succession. The percussion from the gunfire exploded and reverberated off the walls and low ceiling of the parking garage. Glass shattered and remnants fell to the concrete.

Boyd slumped down in his seat, maintaining a restricted vantage point in his mirrors. The driver of the Ford fell forward, planting his face in the steering wheel.

In the seconds that followed the gunman punched out the shattered glass of the Ford, unlocked and opened the driver’s door, pulled the driver from the car and dropped the bloodied body in a heap on the concrete pavement. The Explorer’s headlights remained on, the engine running. The shooter returned to the darkness from which he’d come, the body in tow. His final movements were beyond Boyd’s line of sight, but he heard sounds of struggle and a car trunk slammed shut. The man returned quickly, startling Boyd as he hammered on the rear window with the butt of his gun.

“Listen,” Morales warned. “Maybe I recognize this man.”

“Open the trunk!” the man ordered, continuing to pound away at the glass.

Boyd reached to his side and pulled the trunk release. The trunk lid arched upright, blocking his view.

“I can’t see anything.”

Boyd heard the man move quickly away from the vehicle. On each return there was the clanking sound of metal canisters and a loud series of thumps as the objects were moved about in the open trunk. The lid closed. The man stepped to Boyd’s open window.

“Don’t try anything stupid,” he ordered. “We are not alone.”

“The man in the back, it is Morales?” he asked, straining to see the hunched figure.

Boyd nodded.

Morales remained silent but strained to see the man’s face.

“Follow me. You and Morales will be free. Follow!”

The man of unidentifiable nationality ran to the Ford Explorer, climbed in and started a slow roll around the cluster of parked cars, circling towards the Leona Vicono exit. Boyd started his engine and followed suit, clipping the rear quarter panel of the car parked at his side.

The two vehicles entered Leona and moved along the avenue at a snail’s pace, maneuvering around clogged lines of traffic.

“Gasoline, mother fucking puto!”

“What?”

“I got a nose for petrol, American. The trunk, it is filled with gasoline. The sound of metal, propane tanks. It is not freedom that awaits us... "

The End

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