Leading Francesca by the hand, Maxwell directed them along unfinished corridors and round corners that were moments later chipped and pitted by the hail of bullets from the pursuing AK-47s. Francesca ran barefoot, her scarlet high heels carried in one hand. They rounded another corner and found themselves at a dead end, trapped by unfinished walls with only the cold night and a twelve storey drop on the otherside.
“Dammit” said Maxwell. He set about rifling through the nearby piles of paint cans and construction tools but found nothing of use. He’d used his last bullet to take down that chandelier and crush the two hitmen sipping cocktails beneath it.
A cold, methodical clapping caused the two of them to freeze and turn. It was Lexus. The Georgian arms dealer still wore his trademark sunglasses despite the late hour. Around him his goons fanned out, each pointing a firearm at the maverick CIA operative, still looking calm and collected in his dinner suit and the stunning, tanned bombshell who he was now trying to shield behind him.
“Well, well, well” said Lexus, smirking. “The legendary Agent Maxwell, cornered at last! You know I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a very, very long time.”
“Max, what on earth are we going to do?” whispered Francesca.
“Don’t worry,” said Maxwell. “I’ve been hunted by Somalian pirates, smuggled diamonds out of Cuba and once fought a Great White with my bare hands. We’ll find a way out of this.”
“I don’t think so” said God to himself, resting one elbow on the softness of cloud, his hand squishing and further exaggerating the deep wrinkles of his face.
“You may not have noticed Agent Maxwell but you’ve got nowhere left to run, nowhere left to hide.”
“Oh just you wait” said Maxwell, sweeping back his hair. “Any minute now, something incredible is going to happen.”
“Well if it is, it’ll have been nothing to do with me” said God. “You’ve killed seven men today and you stole one of their guns afterwards. That’s two of the Commandments broken right there. Just because they’re Eastern Europeans, doesn’t make that okay. They had families and wives you know. They may have been up to no good but that’s for me to sort out, not you.”
“Any last words Agent Maxwell?” asked Lexus, one eyebrow raised.
“What about – ‘I could really do with a helicopter right now’?” grinned Maxwell.
“Well at least you’ve still got your sense of humour” said God. “Along with that STD you passed onto the lovely lady standing next to you. That’s something else we need to talk about, her husband may have been corrupt and hiding a coke habit but that doesn’t mean what you got up to wasn’t adultery. In fact I don’t think you’ve called back any of the women you’ve slept with, let alone married them first.”
Lexus took the Glock from the scar-faced man at his side, pointed it at Maxwell and fired a succession of rounds into the man’s chest.
“Max! No!” cried Francesca and dropped to his side. Maxwell’s white shirt was quickly seeping up the red liquid spilling out of him.
“It… it isn’t supposed to be like this” said Maxwell, struggling to breathe and looking confused.
“Just because you’re the main character, doesn’t make you right” said God, shaking his head sadly. “I would have liked to have discussed this with you in person but I suspect you’ll be going downstairs, not up.”
Maxwell’s eyes glazed over and his head drooped lifelessly. Francesca began to cry then became aware of the group of men drawing in around her like a knot, a wicked sheen in their eyes.
“Oh I suppose you are relatively innocent in all of this my dear” said God, cracking his knuckles. Sitting to his side was a large lever, a bright red handle on the end. God yanked it backwards.
One of the pipes running overhead must not have been installed properly and abruptly broke, dropping from its fastenings and bathing Lexus and the other men below in a cloud of scalding steam that blinded and burned at their faces. It proved just enough of a diversion for Francesca to slip out and run to safety.
“Hopefully this has proven a learning experience for you and made you want to lead a better life” said God, thinking he might make himself a toasted cheese sandwich for lunch. “Maybe do some charity work or something.”
Title image courtesy thearchive