Shaun and Henry crouched in the darkest shadow they could find. They had managed to get over the outer fence without touching it, and were now hidden up against the inner compound fence, awaiting the signal from the other two ninjas. All four insurgents were masked, and blended seamlessly into their respective shadows. The compound grounds – a large rectangle with the house set along one side of the internal fence – were mostly in darkness. The old stone and cladding house was lit up like a jewel, but looked no different to any of the other mansions that dotted the landscape.
The base of Liborio Fragale looked unassuming, unless you cared to notice the armed men who always seemed to patrol the grounds. The cell containing Shyla and Esther was situated in the basement in the south-western half of the house, with the window a foot off the ground. The house – Henry estimated – was around two hundred years old, the reason why the basement walls were only three feet underground. It looked tasteful, but made for a tricky rescue.
Shyla was anxiously pacing the basement cell. Essie sat on the floor under the window. It was getting later and later, but there was no sign of any activity in the lot outside the low window. Essie looked up at Shyla. “They will be here. Henry will come for you.”
Shyla smiled, and the alarm siren went off somewhere above them.
Shaun peered at his watch, and then looked over at Henry. Henry held up two fingers, and Shaun nodded. Exactly two minutes later, the siren began to blare again. Shaun waited another thirty seconds, before getting up and sprinting behind Henry to the inner perimeter fence. They had probably less than thirty seconds to breach the inner perimeter before the guards came looking. There were no dogs around, because the dog trainers Liborio Fragale had hired found that the dogs kept escaping to chase the resident wildlife in the area. Henry began to cut the razor wire, taking care to avoid the electrified strands. The siren went off again, and Henry pushed Shaun through the gap into the inner compound.
On the other side of the compound, Anna and Steven were dropping branches up and down the fence, intentionally setting off the siren. They wanted to attract as many guards to the south east corner of the outer perimeter as they could, to give Henry and Shaun a chance to get to the cell undetected. The guards were patrolling the fence, removing the offending branches. That was when Anna and Steven stepped it up. They made themselves visible, and the guards opened fire into the trees. The gunshots drew more guards from the other areas of the compound, but Anna and Steven were too fast. This was a good thing, because the trees were being peppered with bullets around the dodging ninjas.
Shaun and Henry dropped to the ground in the shadow of the house. Most of the guards were shooting at two ninjas in the trees, unsuspecting of the two people concealed in the shadows. They crawled through the dirt to the last window on the south west corner of the house, and Henry peered through the bars. The cell was empty. He moved to the next set of bars, and breathed a sigh of relief. Shyla was in there, and she wasn’t alone. “Shyla,” he hissed.
She turned to him, and flashed a grin. “Two bars are loose; you can probably force them out.”
Henry nodded, and he and Shaun pushed on the bars. They gave way, dropping to the cell floor, and Shyla boosted Esther up. Shaun grabbed her arms and hauled her through the gap. Henry pulled Shyla up, and the four of them crawled back to the gap Henry had cut in the razor wire of the inner perimeter fence. They squeezed through, and hid back in the dark shadow. The next phase was about to begin.
Steven and Anna both looked at their watches, and each ninja pulled out a gun. They were about to mount a sneak attack on around twenty armed guards, to cover the escape. Anna looked at Steven, and he winked at her. Anna blushed, and turned to the men on the ground below them. Then they opened fire.
Henry heard the shots, glanced at his watch again, and smiled. It was time to move. He motioned his hand, and Shaun sprang to his feet. He and Esther sprinted ahead of the two ninjas, and they scrambled over the final perimeter fence a minute later.
Henry pushed everyone back into the bushes. They all ran through the thick brush, only slowing when they reached the town. Safely away from the compound, they began celebrating.
Steven heard the alarm siren, and stopped shooting. He and Anna raced up the street away from the compound and scrambled into the back of Master Wong’s pickup truck. The master hit the gas, and they sped up the road away from Ronaldton.