The Powers that Lie

An operative’s family becomes caught in the crossfire of his hunt for an infamous criminal. During the course of the pursuit, he discovers power is not enough, justice lies, and myths are real.

Release Date: 23 December 2021  on Amazon Kindle Vella.

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Chapter One

The sun sets upon Peter’s sunglasses. He pulls on his bulletproof vest and slides a clip into his pistol’s housing with great urgency. His hands slightly, but visibly tremble. Never did he think it would come to this. After years of chases, collisions, dodging bullets, was this really going to be the last time?

An armed man approaches, “Ready whenever you are, sir.”

Peter looks through his tinted shades and acknowledges him with a slight nod. He notices the sun’s setting is reflected on the mirrored windows of the skyscraper across the street before turning to face the group of men dressed in all black tactical gear awaiting his orders. Their position didn’t really provide ample cover. Then again, he wasn’t looking for any.  All he wanted to do was get in, get his family, and get out. But, he knew the consequences of rushing into a situation – especially with a man hell bent on revenge.

“All right. This is our chance to get this maniac once and for all,” Peter briefs his team. It had been a long ongoing battle. Although they had similar backgrounds, Diablo somehow managed to maintain the upper hand. And now he held his wife, Felicia and his son, Michael hostage.

A shadowy figure moves past a window.

“Sir, I see a gunman on the 39th floor, and your wife and son,” the voice of a sniper breaks through on comms. “Permission to take the shot, sir.”

“No! Stay put unless I say otherwise. He knows we’re here. Just stay alert.”

Several of Peter’s men take position on nearby rooftops. The rest cross over the street and into the building, along with Peter, strategically positioning themselves throughout. Not a single movement or word has been heard from Diablo in the hours he’s held his family captive.  Peter fights the agitation growing inside him. He knows this is just one of Diablo’s games. But, this time the stakes are different and far higher.

“Stick with the plan,” Peter orders his team. “This is no time for theatrics or distractions. I don’t care if Diablo comes out dead or alive once my family is out of harm’s way, so save that gun-ho crap for later. As far as his men, kill at will.  Now let’s move.”

“Yes, sir!”

Peter kneels and draws twin pistols from their holster — gifts from his father who had them custom made and engraved for his promotion. Peter waves the rest of his team closer into position.  Their boots quietly scuffle across the floor as they scurry through the building with weapons drawn.

“Which story?” Peter reconfirms with his sniper.

“Still on the 39th, sir. And it looks like he’s finally making a move. I see men scattering. They’re all armed.”

“Well, this is it.  Do not shoot if my family is in the way. If by chance you don’t get him, leave that maniac to me!”

They push through a set of double glass doors. Two agents head to the electrical room. Lights flicker. Red lights from the backup generator now illuminates the hallways.

“Let’s put ’em on.” Peter says.

The agents remove what appear to be sunglasses from their vests.  As they put them on, a small microphone emerges from the side.  Although mainly used for infrared, they can also detect body heat, radioactivity, and if needed, can transmit data via the lenses to be recorded and stored.

Now able to see clearly, they advance through the dimly lit corridors.

“You. Make your way in that direction. This building has 40 floors.”

The men head off, disappearing into the darkness. Peter and the rest of his men begin to search the bottom levels when they hear footsteps approaching.

Gunshots erupt in the main foyer, signaling Diablo’s men were waiting for Peter’s arrival.

“Continue on! Find my family! I’ll take care of the men here and meet up with you. You two. Stay with me.”

Their opponents, also equipped with night vision goggles, open fire. Shots ring out as Peter and his men dive past the pillars. Diablo’s men move in closer, shooting one of Peter’s men in the arm as he fires back. Peter peeks from behind the pillar.  It instantly shatters. He spins around to another, taking aim at one of the armed men, and fires.  The bullet makes its way through the dimly lit foyer and finds its target, striking the man in the chest. He falls to the ground. Quickly eyeing his next target, he catches a man to the left of him off guard. The man hurries to take aim, but Peter is faster.

“Status!” Peter shouts through the comm, checking on his team as he dives behind yet another pillar.

“Just a flesh wound, sir. I’ll be fine.”

The clamor of gunfire soaring past them fills the air, shattering anything in their path. Peter’s men cover him as he advances. Two armed men appear on each side and open fire. Peter dives across a reception area, returning fire midair. Both fall to the ground as he lands. He comes to his feet behind yet another armed man, but immediately hears footsteps behind him. Peter spins around, placing the man in front of him as a shield, and fires. He drops the man’s dead body as his men move up to his position.

“Let’s go.”

They walk past the bodies in the foyer. A voice suddenly booms over the building’s intercom system.

“I see you accepted our invitation, Peter. Isn’t that nice, honey?” Diablo says wryly. “Do we really have to go through this, Peter?  I mean what’s the point? You know I could kill them, and you, without hesitation. Then again, I do like that spark in your eye during our little competitions, especially now that I have your jewels. What a precious little family.”

“Don’t touch me, Robert!” Peter hears Felicia respond.

“I’m coming baby! Hold on!”

He moves even faster through the building; the men with him close behind.

“Now, now, Felicia. Is that any way to talk to me? After all we’ve been through?  Haven’t we had great times? Remember when I came to your home for dinner? You make the most delicious Primavera! But, the good ole days are over,” Diablo’s voice changes abruptly. “Tell your husband to stand down, and I mean tell him now!”

There’s a brief silence. Peter hears the microphone reverb and Felicia wince as it hits her lip.

“Tell him now!” Diablo shouts.

“Peter? Baby? Robert is crazy!  He’s going to kill us no matter what you…” Diablo angrily pulls the microphone away.

“Stupid woman! You just signed your death warrant! Take her and the boy away!”

A scuffle is heard over the intercom.

“You hear that, Peter?! They’re kicking and screaming their way to death. Call this whole thing off before I do something you’ll regret!”

“Peter don’t…” Felicia screams in the background.  “Don’t listen to him!”

“No!” Peter screams from the stairwell. He bursts through the door of the 39th floor. In desperation, he removes two light grenades from his vest and tosses them into the hallway. Diablo’s men attempt to shield themselves from the blinding light as Peter’s team rush into the hallway and open fire.

A man suddenly runs out of one of the offices behind them and rushes Peter, picking him up by the waist, pushing him towards the wall. But, Peter walks up and over the man, landing behind him. He presses the cold, stainless steel barrel firmly against the man’s head.

“You have two choices: live and tell me where he is, or die and I find him myself.”

“All right. I’ll tell you. Right after you go to Hell!” The man makes a last-ditch effort to rush Peter again.

Peter shakes his head, “You first.” and opens fire.

Further down the hallway, Peter hears Diablo.

“Let’s go. Peter will be here soon. And bring them with you.”

Peter makes it in time to see Diablo exit the room, pistol drawn, and headed toward the elevator.  Felicia and their son struggle with his men in vain as they are dragged into the elevator.

“Felicia! Michael!” Peter screams. Just as he reaches them, the elevator doors close. He barely catches a glimpse of his family cringing in fear.

Peter and his men instinctively head to the stairwell, bounding several steps at a time.

Diablo instructs his men, “He’ll be waiting for us when we exit.  Kill the woman, but leave the boy with me.”

Horrified, Felicia looks at Diablo with tear filled eyes as one of his men snatches her son away from her grasp. She pleads, “No!  Robert, stop this please!”

A masked man steps in front of her and shoots her chest. She feels her body move in slow motion, and uses what’s left of her existence to take one final look at her son as the elevator doors close.

Peter hears the shot ring out from the 40th floor just as he and his team come around the corner. He rapidly pushes the elevator buttons. The doors open, revealing his wife on the floor, bleeding profusely. Peter drops to the floor immediately and cradles his wife’s head. His team quickly administers first aid and calls for an ambulance.

“Hold on, baby. Baby, please hold on! You’re going to make it. You’re going to be okay. I am so sorry, baby. So sorry! I promise you I’ll get our son back.”

Felicia barely manages to raise her bloodied hand to touch his lips. Her hand drops. Her eyes shut then slowly re-open to look at Peter as she fades in and out of consciousness.

“Where’s the ambulance?!” he screams.

“A block away, sir.”

A voice breaks through on the comms, “Diablo is headed for a chopper, sir!”

“You! Stay with her! Make sure she gets whatever she needs!” Peter orders his men. He closes his eyes tightly and lingers briefly to kiss her forehead before dashing away. Felicia takes her last shuttered breath before he makes it through the door.

What’s left of Peter’s team falls in behind him. They see Diablo just as he makes his way to the chopper.

“Give me my son, Robert!”

“Daddy!” Michael cries out. “They shot Mommy! You’ve got to help her!”

Diablo slowly turns to face Peter, squinting as if he were shielding his eyes from the sun.

“Peter? Peter is that you? Look everyone. It’s Peter!”

Diablo’s men boisterously laugh.

“Why do we always meet like this, Peter? You could have prevented this, you know. As a friend, I warned you what would happen if you pursued me.”

Peter raises his firearm, but Diablo quickly places Michael in front of him as a shield, backing both of them into the chopper, beyond the range of snipers. Once the helicopter gains altitude, Diablo shouts, “Peter, do you want your son back? I hope you can catch.” He pushes Michael out the chopper and laughs as the boy falls.

Noooooooo!” Peter screams in agony as he runs as fast as he can with outstretched arms toward his son, hoping against hope, to catch him before he hits the ground. Diablo, still looking on, smiles, then opens fire from the copter, intentionally missing Peter’s feet.  Peter flies into a rage, trying to dodge the bullets and still reach his son. Michael’s limp body bounces off of the ground. Diablo ceases fire and salutes. Peter rushes to his son side and holds him tightly, glaring at the chopper in the distance. His eyes swell, tears flood down his cheeks. Overwhelmed, he rocks back and forth with his dying son in his arms. Between guttural screams, he manages a whisper in his son’s ear, “Diablo will pay. I promise; I will make him pay.”

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