On Her Majesty’s Bloody Service

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Chapter 3

I like to practise a lot on the firing range and situations like this are where it pays off. Picture each of the guards turning with surprise to see a man in shirt sleeves walking out of a lift with a gun raised as a paper target spinning around on a spring-loaded mechanism.

The difference is that those targets don’t bleed and collapse when they’re shot.

Guard to the left, shotgun readied across his chest. Not readied enough. Double-tap right of centre of body mass. Blood blossomed through his white shirt.

Even as he dropped, I drew a bead on the second hired hand. His pistol still holstered. A single shot blew his jaw off and severed his spinal column before his hand was halfway to his armpit to get it.

The suppressor helped, but didn’t completely muffle the gunfire. There was enough noise to draw the attention of a third guard who had his back to me and was filling a plastic cup from a water cooler. He dropped the cup and I dropped him before he had a chance to spin round fully. My shot went through him and into the plastic water bottle which began to empty itself over his bleeding corpse.

Four shots used and an unlucky 13 left in the staggered-column magazine. Arms extended and gun raised, I scanned left and right. No more guards and only one way forward – towards a set of heavy wooden double doors.

I snatched up the shotgun as I passed the first guard and pumped it one-handed as I continued towards the door. Slipping my Walther back into its holster, I raised the shotgun to hip level, walked to within six feet of the door and let loose a blast that disintegrated the locks, handles and a two-foot diameter circle of wood where they’d been fitted.

The doors flew open and I dropped the shotgun, pulling my PPQ back out and readied it before the larger weapon had hit the ground.

Another steroid-ridden stooge was on his back just inside the doorway. He’d obviously been just about to walk out when I’d made my entrance. He lay still, splinters and buckshot causing him to bleed from countless holes, his shirt a shredded mess much as the skin underneath would be.

Hynes himself was behind a very impressive desk though he seemed in quite the sudden rush to be somewhere else. I could see three more henchmen, these smartly dressed and far more professional-looking than the cheap hired hands I’d disposed of so far.

A door in the far corner seemed to be Hynes’ destination and he was already making a dash for it as I marched into the opulent office. His three remaining bodyguards closed around him, weapons already in hand and all pointing in my direction.

This time it was my turn to hit the floor, tucking and rolling behind a bank of filing cabinets as the three let loose a barrage of gunfire. The thin metal was little protection from the bullets, but thankfully the cabinets seemed to be crammed full of paperwork which slowed them down enough that I was quite safe as long as I remained in cover. Safe and gun-less. Somehow I’d managed to drop my Walther in the scramble to reach cover.

A slight pause in the barrage gave me a chance to peek out quickly and see that only one guard was left, the other two apparently fleeing with their boss. A bullet spanged off the filing cabinet in front of me as he saw me looking out. I ducked back, but as I did so I heard the familiar dry click of a trigger being pulled and a round not being in the chamber.

Now was my chance, and I took it.

Sprinting out from behind my cover, I could see him dropping the cartridge out of his gun and fumbling for a spare from his jacket pocket. As I bore down on him, he stopped trying to reload and instead raised the gun and tried to bring it down on my head.

I ducked under his arm and kept running, ramming my shoulder into his midriff and lifting him off his feet. The air rushed from his lungs as I tipped him up then forced him down again, pile-driving him into the hard floor. His head snapped back and hit the ground with an audible crack.

Before he had a chance to come to I punched him one, twice and a third time. His front teeth shattered and blood poured out of his mouth as his eyes rolled back in his head. A letter-opener lay on the floor next to us. I grabbed it and stabbed it into his right ear, through the eardrum and deep into his brain.

A gasped, hoarse scream erupted from him for the briefest of moments as his limbs thrashed and then he was still.

I rifled his pockets for the spare magazine he’d been looking for. I found it, slid it into his gun and packed that into a trouser pocket as a spare. Looking behind me I spotted my own gun on the floor and grabbed that, then made for the doorway at the back of the room.

A quick peak around the doorframe told me that there was nobody lying in wait and that the doorway led to a flight of stairs heading upwards. This came as no surprise as I knew Hynes liked to travel in his own helicopter. Of course, it did mean that my time was limited.

At least I had him on the run and ahead of schedule. As such I doubted the chopper would be ready for him on the roof as it would have been if I’d not gatecrashed the party, so I had a little leeway to try and reach him before he managed to get airborne.

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