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Chapter 62

Shyla jumped when a new voice filled her ear. She had been hiding somewhere on the second floor, concentrating on locating Joe’s office. That was no easy task in the dark, and Shyla was cursing the need for unnecessary furniture. Who needed a table halfway down their hallway? The only purpose it seemed to serve was for Shyla to walk straight into it.

Some ninja she was turning out to be. The dry thought flitted through her mind as she grinned. “Birdie, good to hear you.”

Before Essie could answer, a second noise took Shyla’s attention. A door banged to her left. As she headed towards the noise, she could pick up voices in the darkness. “Vinnie, get to the chopper. We need to get out of here.”

Shyla moved closer, and spotted the beam of light a second before it illuminated her position. She froze, and raised her hands up to shoulder height. She knew who was behind the light. Vinnie chuckled. “Come back for more, Shyla Evans?”

Shyla smiled, and pulled off her mask. She moved her hand to her right ear, and pressed her finger to the earpiece concealed there. “I love you all.”

The chatter in her ear ceased, and then picked up with great ferocity. Shyla didn’t hear it, because she pulled out the earpiece and dropped in into her right pants pocket. Joe stepped out from behind his second, and smiled. “So, this is the little bitch who has been causing me so much grief.” He turned to Vinnie. “She doesn’t look like to much trouble. After all, you know they’re not infallible.”

Shyla said nothing. She knew that Henry would be furious with her if she made it out alive.

But this was something that she couldn’t walk away from. She knew there was probably a gun pointed at her from the shadow, and she didn’t want to chance a distraction. The rest of the team was doing fine without her.

She kept her stance loose; her hands stayed where the two men could see them. Joe stepped into the beam, and Shyla could see the assault rifle strapped to his back. “So, Miss Evans. What do you have to say for yourself?”

Shyla grinned. “Nothing. I’m just popping in to visit a friend.”

The beam of light shook at the force of new gunfire, and Shyla heard shouting through the window in the room behind Vinnie and Joe.

Anna and Henry paused in the basement, in front of a set of four closed doors. Henry grabbed Anna’s arm, and pointed to the first door. It was unlocked, and Henry checked to see that it was empty. “Birdie, do you have Home’s location?”

The earpiece crackled. “Dark, Silent, he should be ahead of you. Second or third door down.”

Anna glanced around, and picked up a stray crowbar that had been abandoned in the entryway. Henry had seen Anna play minor league baseball, and knew her swing was better than most major league players. She swung it at the lock on the second door, and Henry shoved the door open as the lock snapped. The room was empty.

She did the same thing to the third door, and Henry ducked as bits of the lock scattered everywhere. A shout of surprise came from inside, magnified into their earpieces. “Shaun!” Anna yelled, hurriedly shoving the door open and rushing in.

She trusted Henry to keep both of them safe while she dropped to her knees next to Shaun and checked his injuries. He was lying in the corner under the window, and groaned when Anna shone a small torch into his eyes. “You should be okay, but we need to get out of here now.”

Henry hoisted his friend up into a fireman hold, and headed for the door. Anna picked up the crowbar from where she had thrown it, and followed close behind Henry. The two ninjas made their way back up to where they could see the front door, but were blocked by the swarms of security still dominating the area. There was chatter in their ear, and Henry froze when he heard Shyla’s voice. “I love you all.”

Anna gripped his arm as the master began barking out orders to them. “She needs to do this, Henry.”

They all knew what it meant, but Anna was right. Fighting the people who had killed her father – that was Shyla’s battle. Only she could put her demons to rest. For someone like Henry, who was desperate to save her, it wasn’t easy walking away. But there wasn’t much else they could do. “Dark, Silent, get Home out of there. Polka will join you on the perimeter.”

Henry gripped Shaun tighter around the thighs, and nodded once at Anna. And then they ran for the door.

Henry and Anna burst through the front door together, and began to run for the perimeter. They were halfway across the expanse of lawn when the first shout came up. A movement to their right drew Anna’s attention, and she swung the crowbar she still carried. The security guard dropped to his knees, clutching his head.

Gunfire broke the night, and the two ninjas could hear bullets peppering the grass around them. Henry knew security guards were firing from the house, and he headed out to where he knew the master had placed Anthony. He knew Anna was on his tail, brandishing her chosen weapon. Her baseball swing was definitely coming in handy tonight.

The bullets continued to hit the area around them, and Henry realised Anna was weaving behind him, running interference on their path. It was intelligent, Henry mused. Their prime directive was to get Shaun out of the hot zone, and Anna was willing to sacrifice herself to keep him safe. Henry wasn’t too distracted by the other ninja, and soon they reached the relative safety of the fence, and the dark shadows.

They were greeted by a fuming Anthony, although he wouldn’t say why he was angry. That was unimportant. He took Shaun from Henry, and nodded once at both ninjas. Henry tried to ignore the tension between Anna and Anthony. There was no need to bring that up now. The master’s voice crackled in their ears. “We think Shyla is on the third floor. That is where our sources place Joe’s office. We need two of you to get to her.”

Anna nodded. “I’ll go.”

Anthony stopped her with his hand on her arm. “No. Let Henry go. We need you here with Shaun.”

Before Anna could argue, Henry turned and bolted back into the combat zone. Steven appeared on his right, and Henry knew the other ninja had heard the conversation. They reached the house, and both began to climb the outside wall.

They had just passed a window two floors up, when bullets hit the walls around them. The gunfire abruptly ceased, and Henry had his suspicions about exactly why the gunfire had stopped. “Silent still had that crowbar.” Anthony confirmed his feelings as the thought went through his mind.

Steven nodded at Henry, and they picked up their pace. They knew Anna would keep the security guards busy. Voices coming from the shattered window above them caused them both to pause.

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