The Trials of Loyalty

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Chapter 19

It was nearly midnight and Alexander and Daniel stood outside of the real estate business that was run by Viktor Ivanov. Alexander was so eager to finally put all of this to an end that he wanted to actually do this in the middle of the day but Daniel talked him out of it.

Alexander stood in front of the two-story converted farmhouse, his feet planted firmly to the ground. This was it, Johnathan was finally getting the justice that he deserved. There was something surreal about the fact that this chapter of his life was coming to close. It felt as if this is how things were supposed to end for him. As strange as this was for Alexander to say, this was the most at peace he’s been with himself in probably his entire life. Ever since he could remember there was something he was always at war with. It only intensified when he joined the navy and later the seals.

He found himself shaking his head to bring himself out of his stupor. This was the last place he needed to be daydreaming. Alexander found his eyes drifting towards Daniel who stood next to him, his eyes fixated on the building in front of them. He could already tell that his partner’s mind was lasered in on the task at hand. Nothing was going to take Daniel’s mind off the mission at hand.

“I hope you’re ready for this Ghost because the minute we enter that building, the biggest shit storm is going to rain down on us.” Alexander cocked his 1911, already bringing the gun up to the high ready position.

“Then I guess you better be wearing rain boots Soap.” Daniel found himself chuckling as he too cocked his gun and mirrored Alexander’s position. With a silent nod, the two men began slinking forward towards the building.

Nothing could be heard other than the soft, almost silent sound of their footsteps. Even with the 10-pound backpack over Daniel’s back, he somehow managed to move without making a sound. Alexander and Daniel were careful to avoid the windows as they approached the building.

They both plastered their backs to the building. The cold stone crept through the fabric of Alexander’s shirt as he stood there. The chill began to cool the warmth radiating off of him. Alexander sent a gesture towards Daniel, signaling him to go around the side of the building opposite to him. He nodded his head before slithering along the side of the wall. Daniel peered around the corner of the wall before disappearing from sight.

Alexander did the same thing, only he took the corner faster than Daniel had. ‘Slow down Alex’, he had to chastise himself. ‘Be smart about this, you only get one shot!’. Once along the side of the building, Alexander made quick but careful work of moving against the wall.

He found himself greeted with Daniel. He was standing in front of a wooden door that had seen better days.

“Is the door locked?” Alexander whispered.

“No, I’ve just been standing here for fun.” He rolled his eyes at the sarcasm in Daniel’s voice as he reached the door. Alexander stared at the knob on the door for a few seconds. Then, he crouched in front of the knob.

He only had to fiddle with the lock for a few moments before the two men heard a click.

“Looks like those years away didn’t change you at all.” Alexander didn’t bother responding as he stood up from the ground. He positioned himself on the opposite side as Daniel. Once he was in position, Daniel leaned forward and grasped the doorknob in his gloved hand.

Daniel’s eyes with Alexander’s as he began the countdown. “Three, two, one.” In a flash, Daniel had turned the knob and opened the door. Alexander didn’t waste time charging into the building. The barrel of his gun was pointed straight ahead. Daniel followed promptly behind Alexander, entering the room with the same determined stare in his eyes.

The backroom they had entered was rather small. The only thing in the room beside themselves was a rusted water heater that sat in the corner next to the door they entered from. A door across the room was cracked open, revealing what looked to be a hallway. With their barrels aimed towards the open hallway, Alexander and Daniel slowly began advancing towards the door.

The hallway they entered was narrow, barely leaving Daniel and Alexander enough room to stand side by side as they went down the hallway. Much like many of the buildings in the area, the interior was as well kept as the outside. The yellowed wallpaper was peeling off the walls, revealing the drywall behind it. The floor beneath them was well worn. Some spots even had missing planks. The hall even had a musty smell that probably wouldn’t leave the building if it had been torn down.

As Daniel and Alexander advanced down the hallway, they heard the sounds of two men arguing. Alexander brought his hand behind him, signaling Daniel to stop behind him.

Alexander peered carefully around the corner. The two men were decked out in black, both of them carrying assault rifles of some sort. By their angered tones, Alexander gathered that the two men were arguing about something in Russian. ‘They can’t see us’ He told himself, ‘We’ll just take them out by surprise’.

When Alexander took a step back to regroup with Daniel, the floorboard creaked beneath. ‘Shit’. Daniel rushed up to Alexander’s side as he winced, knowing what was about to happen.

The men stopped arguing long enough to turn their attention towards the sound. Both men grew wide-eyes when they caught sight of Alexander and Daniel. Before the two men could get the chance to draw their guns, both Alexander and Daniel pointed their guns at the men. Then simultaneously, they fired their guns, hitting both of the Russians in center mass. The Russians dropped to the floor, their guns dropping to the ground.

If there were any other guards in this place, they just alerted them.

“So much for the element of surprise.” Daniel found himself muttering. The two men turned their attention to a nearby staircase as the sounds of footsteps drew closer to them. Without warning Alexander, Daniel charged towards the stairwell, taking the steps two at a time.

Alexander watched as Daniel met a guard at the top of the stairs. The guard threw a punch at Daniel, which he swiftly dodged as he drove his elbow into the man’s kidney. As the guard doubled over, Daniel took this as his opportunity to swing the man around and toss him down the stairs. His head hit close to every step on the way down and by the time he reached the bottom, the guard was knocked out cold.

Alexander stepped aside as the guard landed in front of him before rushing up the stairs towards Daniel, who had begun to advance down the upstairs hall.

Once rejoined with Daniel, they advanced quickly down the hallway. All that stood in the otherwise barren hallway was a double-wide wooden door. This was it. If Viktor wasn’t in this room then all of this was for nothing. It was at this moment that Alexander prayed for Viktor to be in the room ahead. Just so he could get the opportunity to put a bullet between the fucker’s eyes.

Before Alexander and Daniel could reach the room, the double doors swung open. Two guards stood ready, their guns trained on them. Alexander fired at both of them without hesitating, their bodies dropping to the ground.

After the guards had fallen, a man emerged from deeper in the room, slowly clapping his hands together. He was an older man, a clean-shaven face with thinning grey hair on top. With jeans and a striped button-up shirt that was covering a white undershirt, the man didn’t look threatening. He looked like someone’s grandfather that just got caught up in the wrong. From the file though, Alexander knew this, in fact, was Viktor Ivanov, the man that killed Johnathan.

All rational thoughts flew from Alexander’s as he lowered his gun, bolting after the man. Alexander could hear Daniel yelling at him to back off. He chose to ignore the growing volume of his friend’s insistent voice as he continued after Viktor. Within a matter of seconds, Alexander tackled Viktor to the ground. He was disappointed when he didn’t hear the sound of his bones cracking as he hit the concrete flooring.

The pair struggled on the ground before Alexander came out on top. He had Viktor pinned beneath his body, the barrel of the gun pressed into Viktor’s eyes. The laughter that arose in Viktor’s eyes pissed Alexander off as he somehow twisted the barrel further against his temple.

“I don’t appreciate you coming in here, killing my men. Who the hell are you?” Viktor spoke with such a thick accent that it was hard for Alexander to understand him.

“I’m your worst fucking nightmare buddy,” Alexander growled as he sat on top of the man. Even he was surprised at the amount of venom in his voice as he stared down at the Russian. “Johnathan Miller, 5 years ago. Died in the line of fire after getting shot by a militia member.”

“Am I supposed to know this Johnathan Miller? I’m a very busy man, I meet many people.” Alexander used his right knee to drive it into Viktor’s side causing the man to let out a loud groan.

“You should, considering you had the man killed. Why the fuck did you do it? He had a wife, he had a family waiting back home for him. You being the asshole you are had to make sure he never came home to his wife and kid.” Alexander found himself driving his knee into Viktor once again.

“Take it easy Ghost, alright?” He finally heard the nagging voice of Daniel as he had his gun trained on the two men on the floor.

“No, I want this motherfucker to admit that he killed Johnathan. I promised that I’d make the guy who did this would pay and I intend on keeping that promise. Don’t want to break a death bed promise now do I?” To further prove his point, Alexander allowed his finger to hover over the trigger.

“Oh, you mean the man that was going to rat me out?” Viktor chuckled, the gun to his temple not scaring him in the slightest. “Yeah, the fucker doing some sort of consulting work with the military. When he was digging he got a little too- close to finding me out. I had him killed before he turned me in.”

He couldn’t believe it, Johnathan was killed because he was helping someone out. He wasn’t even an active seal anymore. He had gotten out of this life! All he wanted to do was help the country he served and eventually would give his life for and this is how he got repaid?! He didn’t expect Viktor to show any sort of emotion but even he was too blasé for Alexander’s taste.

Tears appeared in Alexander’s eyes as he continued to stare down Viktor. His finger tightened around the trigger of the pistol, fully intending on killing the son of a bitch right here.

“Come on, you know this isn’t right man!” Daniel called out, desperation peeking through his voice. “You don’t have to kill him!”

“This- this waste of human life killed Johnathan! He took away a father and a husband from an innocent family!” Alexander cried out as a single tear slipped down his face.

“Sure, he killed Johnathan and you know that I want this fucker dead just as much as you do, but think about it Ghost! Think about Rose and Jacob, they wouldn’t want you to do this.” Daniel’s voice grew quiet. “Neither would Johnathan and you know that. We have the chance to bring him in. The list of charges against him is so long there isn’t a chance he’ll ever see life outside a prison cell again. That’s all the justice Johnathan would want.”

For the longest time, Alexander found himself staring into the face of true evil. As the mental debate ensued, Viktor continued staring up at him. He allowed a cocky smile to rise on his face because even he knew that Alexander wasn’t going to kill him.

“Fuck” Alexander muttered, tearing the gun away from Viktor’s temple. He launched himself off the ground, turning his back on Viktor as he stared at the double doors to the room. “Fuck!” Alexander didn’t bother looking back as he could hear Daniel make his way over, presumably binding Viktor in some shape or form.

This wasn’t how Alexander wanted this to end by any means, but Daniel was right. Johnathan wouldn’t want Viktor to be killed. All Johnathan cared about was being apart of the military and his family. As long as those two were taken care of, that’s all that mattered.

With Viktor now going away for a long time and justice brought to Rose and Jacob, his mission was now complete.

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