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Chapter 31

Shaun woke to a light tapping on his window. He slid the window open to find Henry standing there. “Henry?” Shaun was clearly confused.

“Liborio Fragale got Shyla.” Henry whispered. “I was supposed to be protecting her, but Vinnie dropped a flash-bang, and grabbed her before I could do anything. We need your help.”

Shaun turned pale. “What do I need to do? I’m not even sure what I can do. I’m not trained like you guys are.”

Henry paced to the window and back, and thrust both of his hands restlessly through his dark hair. “My trainer has extended a formal invitation to you to assist us in the operation to retrieve Shyla. I know it sounds very formal, but we need your help. Please help me get her back.”

“Why should I help you?” Shaun pulled his t-shirt on as he spoke. “I admire Shyla, and I want to help, but don’t know what I could do. Henry, I’m not like you guys.”

“I hate to admit it,” Henry said, making eye contact with Shaun, “but you spend more time in the gym than most people do. You’re more than qualified already, because you think outside the training we get, and look beyond the limitations. I would only trust you to help me at this point.”

“Very flattering, but what would I get out of this? She would only go back to you when we’re done.” Shaun pulled on his shoes.

“The fact you’re getting yourself dressed, even as you argue, means you will help.” Henry stepped back as Shaun stood to his full height and looked Henry in the eye. “I’m so grateful for your help right now.”

Shaun felt calm descend over him, as he fought to bring his thoughts into focus. He could see Henry was getting himself flustered. “Henry, the first thing you need to do is calm yourself down. You’re no good to Shyla if you’re stressing yourself out.”

“Agreed.” Henry took a deep breath and held out his hand.

Shaun took it and shook it, and began to work through different ideas as he left his house behind the anxious ninja.

Shyla felt the impact of the flash-bang as it exploded. Then she felt the bodyguard pick her up and toss her into the trunk of the car. The impact of flying bullets penetrated the window above her, and she had the impression that Henry had yelled her name. She felt darkness tugging on her mind, but fought it. She needed to stay alert in order to protect herself.

The ride on the car was seriously compromised due to the shot out back tyres, causing Shyla to bounce up and down. Shyla had to remove any ninja clothing she had, because Liborio Fragale would torture her for any information. The first thing to go in the cramped space was her mask. She tucked the fine, thin material into the back of her pants. The knife went next, slipped – in its leather holster – up her pants leg against her ankle. She realised with some heartbreak that her gun was missing, but there was nothing she could do about that now.

After an hour of rough driving, the car slowed to a crawl. Shyla slid her cell phone into the base of her hair, beneath her plait, securing it with a stray hair tie she found in her pocket. The car stopped, and Shyla felt herself blacking out. She idly wondered if she might have been shocked harder than she initially thought. But it was too late to worry about that now. There was nothing she could do to fight it, and finally succumbed to the cool darkness as the trunk opened.

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