The bedroom door leading to the bathroom was blown out of her hinges and at the same time the window of the bathroom shattered into fragments. The object that was thrown inside immediately started to smoke extremely hard.
Katarina had the presence of mind to throw herself on the ground. Not a second too early because the leader of the scoundrels had drawn his gun and was shooting blindly around him. Fortunately, they hadn’t put Jean-Pierre in the bath yet, so the gangster who had him dropped him on the ground when his boss started to shoot.
One of the bullets hit the man who had held Jean-Pierre in his throat and he sank to his knees while the blood poured out of his mouth and the wound. He dropped on his side on the ground while he tried to keep his hands to his throat with all his force, hoping this would help.
Jean-Pierre, who laid on his side too, and this way looked the man in his eyes, knew that if the man wouldn’t get help in the first minutes, he would die. Obviously, his lungs were filling with blood. His breath came in fits and start and he looked wide-eyed in agony.
You almost couldn’t distinguish anything. Fortunately, the smoke didn’t prevent breathing, otherwise, it would have been bad for Jean-Pierre who still was gagged. Katarina heard sounds everywhere she couldn’t place. She thought she saw shadows moving through the smoke, but it could also be her imagination.
One of the victims of the gangster shooting was the mirror in the bathroom. Nobody had been hurt by it, but Katarina had noticed one of the pieces of glass lying not too far from her on the ground before the smoke had filled the bathroom. During these moments the smoke hung in the place, she had used the glass to cut her cuffs. She crept with bloody hands over the floor to Jean-Pierre and took care of his cuffs and gag.
When things began to look clearer, the shadows got a firmer shape and she saw three soldiers, armed to the teeth. One of them was watching the bedroom, another one kept the gangster leader in control. A third one was looking at the second accomplice who was obviously killed too.
The man in the bedroom transmitted a message in a portable mobile phone. ‘All clear. No victims on our side. Two kills in the enemy’s camp.’ Obviously, this was all he had to say to the person on the other side of the phone.
When General Tavernier came walking in the room, Jean-Pierre and Katarina were not yet recovered from their fear. ‘Glad to see you alive, friends. The transmitter has done his work very well and our directional microphone system has captured everything. I’m glad Katarina was able to give us the signal otherwise this could have ended differently.’
The surprised look of Jean-Pierre was answered with a smile of Katarina. She kissed him on the lips in the presence of all the soldiers. ‘I was able to swallow the transmitter by feigning falling against the night table in the Carlton.’
That, of course, explained why the soldiers were just in time. It could indeed have turned the wrong way if Katarina hadn’t been able to use this ruse. Jean-Pierre couldn’t think what could have happened then. He just looked for a moment at the bathtub, which was full of water and the towel and the jug with water standing on the side of the bath.
‘General, why have you taken one of the tapes out of our room?’ Katarina asked very resentfully Although she was happy to be saved by him and the soldiers, it wouldn’t have come as far if the gangster would have found all the tapes.
The General looked at her in the same way. ‘On my word of honor, Katarina, I’ve taken nothing from your room. I supposed you had hidden it somewhere else when I heard one was missing.’
Katarina shook her head furiously. ‘No, I never would do that. Our lives are a lot more precious than that stupid tape.’
Had the soldier’s attention been distracted by the discussion between the General and Katarina? Who knows, but everything after that went very fast. The gangster with the gloves gave the man a blow with his elbow in the face and in the same movement he pulled the second pistol of the man from his belt and held it against the head of the man. ‘Nobody moves or the soldier dies. Throw your weapons on the ground.’ He quickly disarmed the man he had in his power.
The surviving bandit moved with his free hand to the General and the other soldier that they had to clear the bedroom door. They had to obey the demands of the gangster.
‘Maybe two out of three tapes is not so bad. At this moment, that’s enough for me, but that you have killed two of my best men, I can’t forgive that.’ He pushed the man in front of him hard in the back so that he landed in the arms of the General and his friend.
Jean-Pierre saw him aiming his gun at Katarina and without hesitating, he jumped in the line of fire to rescue Katarina. A shot echoed and the cry of Jean-Pierre was the only thing the gangster needed to quickly leave the area.
‘No,’ Katarina saw Jean-Pierre fell to the floor for the second time this day. This time, the man hadn’t missed. On her boyfriend’s shirt appeared a blood red stain and Jean-Pierre didn’t move anymore.
© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere