Anna lurched onto the street, and laughed as she passed the FBI vans that lined the narrow lane. She jerked her mask off, and tucked it into the top of her pants. There was no more time to waste. The FBI would clear up the carnage they had left behind. Right now, Henry needed her support.
She hadn’t seen how badly Shyla had been hit, but it was bad enough that Master Wong had sent Anthony in to assist them. Anna remembered something from when she had been at school back in Miami, and began to mutter it under her breath. “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”
Anna was never very good at poetry, but she kept repeating the only lines she remembered, the miles being eaten up by the big SUV. The highway opened up ahead of her, and Anna felt the car lurch. A suspicious grinding sound could be heard, and Anna figured something had ripped off underneath the car when she hit the fence.
A service station appeared on her right, and Anna pulled in. She shoved the door open. A quick look underneath confirmed the vitals were still attached. Anna knew she was wasting time, so she climbed back in and restarted her engine.
Anna dug around in the glove compartment as she drove, and pulled out a cell phone. She flipped it open, and grinned when the screen turned on. As Anna drove on towards the nearest hospital she knew of, she dialled the master’s personal number.
Steven was behind the wheel, and was pushing the old van to its limit. There was a hospital about ten miles ahead of them, but the master didn’t concern himself with that. His main focus was the injured ninja in front of him.
Anthony was putting pressure on Shyla’s wound. The red-haired ninja was drifting in and out of consciousness, and Henry was desperately trying to keep her awake. Shaun had managed to pull himself together long enough to sit up front with Steven, acting as a spotter. Essie was trying to stay out of the way, clearly in shock from the whole event.
The master’s cell phone rang, and he tossed it to Henry, who answered it. “Hello?”
There was a pause. Henry bent forwards. “It’s Anna. She’s out of the compound. She wants to know where we are going.”
Master Wong breathed a sigh of relief for his most shy of ninjas. “Tell her to meet us at the hospital in Kennebunk. Give the phone to Shaun.”
Henry nodded, said a few words into the device, and then handed it to Shaun up front. Shaun was to keep constant contact with the other ninja in order to co-ordinate any details that might need to be covered. Master Wong returned his attention to the task at hand. He had managed to patch the ninja enough that the bleeding was slowing. Shaun was still speaking to Anna, and Shyla opened her eyes slightly. “It… hurts.”
Henry bent over her, and cradled her face in his hands, leaving streaks of blood on her cheeks. “I know, baby. I know it hurts. But you just need to hold on at little bit longer. Just five more minutes. Please, Shyla. Just hold on.”
Anthony grabbed Henry’s bloody hands, and placed them over the bullet wound. “Hold here.”
Two pairs of green eyes met across Shyla; one bright green, the other pale leaf green. Henry nodded, and Anthony stood up. He made his way to the front. “How much further do we have?”
Steven swerved the van, and held the slide as it rounded the corner. “We have about two minutes. Anna is five minutes behind us.”
Anthony held on as the van bounced through a parking lot. The hospital soon appeared ahead of them, and Steven accelerated towards the emergency doors. “Brace!”
Master Wong held onto Shyla as Steven hit the brakes. The van skidded, and slid into the bay sideways. The van stopped moving, and Henry threw the door open. Doctors and nurses poured out of the bay at the noise of Steven’s arrival, and there was a flurry of activity around the van.
Henry followed Shyla as she was loaded onto a gurney and wheeled into emergency surgery. He was giving the doctors details as they went.
Steven grabbed Shaun, and made him follow the nurses to get his head checked for serious injuries. That left Master Wong with Anthony and Essie, and they waited for Anna to arrive. The squeal of tyres marked her arrival close to five minutes later. The SUV came flying through the bay. Anna hit the brakes, narrowly missed the van, and hit a nearby pot plant. It jerked to a stop, and there was a heartbeat of silence.
Anthony ran over to the steaming SUV, and yanked the driver’s door open. Anna scrambled out past the deployed airbags, and reached back in for something she had forgotten. The master appeared by her side, and rested his hand on her back. “Well done, Anna.”
Anna smiled wanly at the acknowledgement, and hooked a battered crowbar onto her rifle holster on her back. “Where is Shyla? Is she okay?”
Anthony nodded. “We got her here in time. It’s now in the hands of the doctors.”
Anna sighed, relieved, and Essie wrapped both arms around her. “Thank you, Anna. For everything.”
Anna hugged the thin blonde. “We are a family, Esther. We don’t leave anybody behind.”