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Chapter 52

The first thing Henry noticed was the hunting knife protruding from Vinnie’s left forearm. He was doubled over in agony, trying to get the knife out without causing further damage. Anthony took the opportunity to run into the nearest patch of cover. None of the men noticed him vanish. Their main focus was the house behind them.

Jordan and Emmett were facing Shyla’s house, firing shots along the edge of the roof. Shaun and Essie were almost to the SUV, when Vinnie fired his gun towards where the ninjas had been standing in the light. Steven, Anna and Henry scattered into the blackness, and Anna raced to where Shaun and Essie were cowering behind the rear bumper of the furthest SUV. She was their shield, having picked up an assault rifle along the way.

Jordan and Emmett turned back to the street, and began firing at anything that moved. A series of shots were returned from further up the street, and Steven’s voice crackled. “I’m drawing fire, Anna. Get them in that car now, before Anthony gets hit. He’s still in the hot zone.”

Anna watched Anthony run to a second patch of cover, and fired her gun at Vinnie. He swung around and attempted to shoot at her. Something went wrong with his gun. Vinnie and Jordan ended up behind the tree below Shyla’s window, bunkered down against the gunfire.

Henry knew Shyla had thrown the hunting knife – she was the best knife-thrower he knew – and he picked up a discarded rifle from the sidewalk. He began to strafe the area where Vinnie was bunkered down with Jordan. It appeared they were still trying to remove the knife. Vinnie suddenly stood up and began to fire at a shape that had appeared to his left. Vinnie had managed to reload his gun while Jordan worked on the knife. Henry knew instinctively that the target was Shyla, and he growled as Anthony vanished into a nearby shrub. At least one ninja was out of the hot zone.

However, Shyla was now right in the middle it.

Anthony had managed to get away, but now he watched as another ninja had ended up in the crossfire. Henry could only watch as Vinnie ran out of bullets again, and began to retreat to the SUVs with Emmett, Jordan and one other man in tow. “Anna, get them out of here.”

Anna couldn’t answer. She was still bunkered down at the driver’s door, trying to get in to hotwire the car. She stood up and hit the window with the butt of the assault rifle, shattering it. Essie and Shaun were with her, and it soon became apparent that they would probably be attacked before Shaun could drive away from the area. There was no time to hotwire the SUV. “Henry, I need cover. Anything would be good right no-“

Her words cut off as Vinnie reached her position. The second knife came out of nowhere, and wedged itself in the gap between the doors. Shyla’s aim was good. It distracted Vinnie long enough for Anna and Essie to scramble out of reach. Shaun wasn’t so lucky.

He took a blow to the head with the butt of Vinnie’s gun, and dropped like a sack of wet cement. From her position on the other side of the car, Anna heard his head connect the tarmac. Anna knew the protocol. Shyla was covering Shaun, and the main directive was to get Essie to safety. She grabbed Essie by the arm and dragged her to where she could see Henry behind the neighbour’s fence. Essie tried to resist, but the adrenaline made Anna a lot stronger than she appeared. Henry grabbed Anna and Essie, and pulled them into the shadow.

Shyla dropped onto the street from the light pole she had climbed, and raced to where Vinnie had opened the trunk of the functional SUV. Jordan was loading Shaun’s limp body into the dark space when a burst of gunfire out of nowhere made them all jump. Jordan swung around and fired back. Shyla grinned, knowing that Steven had provided her the opportunity she needed. He was already on the move, firing again.

There was no time to waste. The gunfire went off again, and Jordan abandoned the trunk half closed to dive into the SUV with Emmett in tow. Shyla ran to the trunk and pulled herself up onto the bumper. “I’ll see you on the inside.”

“Shyla, keep your ears. Yoda will be in contact ASAP. Watch your six.”

“Affirmative.” Shyla tightened her grip as Vinnie started the engine and revved once.

The last thing she heard before Vinnie cranked the gas and pulled out into the street was Henry telling everybody to regroup. Then she yanked herself up over the edge of the lip and into the cramped space with a still unconscious Shaun.

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