The Falcon & the Viper

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Chapter 78

Charlie ran along the pontoon and stopped at the yacht. Noticing the Arabic name Saiph painted in gold script on the stern, he walked down the gangway and stepped aboard. The companionway hatch gaped open in front and he cursed as he realised the gun he had purloined was in the glove compartment of the Jag back at the Guildhall. He looked around and took a heavy winch handle from its housing in the cockpit, swallowed a deep breath and stepped quietly down the stairs into an empty salon below. Adrenalin coursing through him, Charlie, holding the winch handle in readiness, opened each door to the forward cabins only to find them empty. Returning to the salon he checked the galley and saw the open door beckoning him into the engine room in the stern. A shaft of sunlight filtered through the skylight fitted in the deck above the dark room, illuminating the terrorist struggling to lift a heavy battery to one side, revealing a small case behind. As Charlie crept towards him, ready to make his move, the terrorist dropped the front of the case open. Charlie looked in horror at what appeared to be a bomb inside. The Viper tensed as he sensed that he was not alone and turned to face Charlie.

‘Get away from that box.’ Charlie ordered, raising the winch handle for emphasis.

The Viper snarled back, pulling a wicked looking knife out of a sheath on his belt.

‘Stay where you are!’

Charlie saw his other hand reaching towards the control panel of the bomb.

‘Get away from that or so help me I’ll bust your brains in!’ warned Charlie, threatening him with the heavy handle,

‘You will not stop me. For it is now finally within my grasp to avenge the deaths of my family.’ cried out the Viper.

‘What the fuck are you talking about?’ muttered Charlie, keeping a close eye on the terrorist.

‘My family would still be alive today if those infidels hadn’t plundered and set fire to my father’s shop.’

Charlie edged closer.

’Stay where you are. Get back!

’It’s over, you can’t escape.

Exhausted and confused, the Viper wondered who this man with the eye patch was and hissed.

‘And who are you, the fucking Guiding Light in the street of the blind?’

‘No, but I’m a great believer in an eye for an eye, and you’re the bastard that caused this when you nearly shot me down over Afghanistan.’ snarled Charlie, pointing to his patch.

The Viper gave him a bewildered look and, momentarily distracted, Charlie charged across the room and swung the winch handle at the terrorist, who ducked and the blow glanced off his shoulder. They grappled violently with each other as the Viper desperately reached for the switch that would detonate the bomb. Both lost their balance and fell to the floor, rolling over as they punched each other before colliding with a thump against the forward bulkhead. As Charlie staggered to his feet, the Viper thrust the needle point of the knife upwards into Charlie’s chest, under the rib cage towards his heart.

Gasping in pain, Charlie staggered back against the wall clutching his chest, as the terrorist ran back over to the switch that would detonate the bomb, and tripped over the winch handle lying on the floor. Charlie felt faint and reaching for support, his hand grabbed a metal rack. He looked down and saw the handle of a signal flare gun sticking out from the rack. He grasped the gun as the Viper climbed back to his feet and reached for the switch. With a loud bang and a whoosh, the flare burst out of the gun and buried itself in the terrorist’s side, thrusting him back against the case holding the bomb.

Charlie slid down the wall, holding his blood soaked hands over the wound in his chest, his eyes on the terrorist. The Viper, his face contorted with pain, finally realised that he had failed miserably in his task. Charlie stared back and saw the terrorist’s expression change to one of disbelieve, as the Viper took in the words that Charlie had just uttered about Afghanistan. Now he understood, the infidel jet he had nearly shot down with the missile, just as the burning flare stuck in his side exploded in a gory mess. Charlie slumped on the floor unconscious as the sound of sirens filled the air.

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