Boulder (Riders of Apollo #5)

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Riley Everett

“Riley! Wake up! God, you’ve been sleeping for seventeen hours.” I hiss in pain when Johnson shakes me to wake me up. Last night was the worst night of my life. I chased seven agents into an underground car park and the fuckers kept dropping heavy shit on me.

They shot me like seven times, all of which hit my Kevlar and bruised my already fucked ribs. One guy tried to run me down in his SUV so I had to dive to avoid that and I smacked my ass on solid concrete. Thankfully, despite my extensive injuries I was able to kill the bastards - as deserved - and get back to the safe house without passing out.

So it was a success but now I’m in excruciating pain and riddled with exhaustion. No matter how much sleep I get, I just have no energy. My body aches whenever I move and my head always feels like someone is jackhammering my brain. “I know you’re tired but the commander is sending out four agents to pick up a delivery of guns and RPGs.”

Two weeks ago we finally managed to hack into the network these idiots are using to do their corrupt business. We’ve been recording everything, including a body cam on me to monitor my actions and all of the other things we’ll need for the investigation once I’ve finished this bullshit.

You’d think we would’ve taken a run at the commander but it’s illogical at this stage. I’m trying to make him desperate by cutting him off at the knees and hopefully he’ll reveal his endgame without any further prompting. But it is seeming to be more difficult than we first thought. This runs deep.

Turns out for the last seven years he’s been working up towards high ranking positions so that he can push through hires. He’s been taking on criminals and idiots that never would’ve passed the entrance exams if he hadn’t smuggled them the answers and smudged their results. He has dozens of agents in every part of the organisation and he seems to have connections in local gangs that are providing what he needs.

I found out all of this from Diana before I killed her. At least she was useful for something in the end, I suppose. I force myself into a sitting position and glare at Johnson. He looks as tired as I am, him and Chief have been doing everything they can to help but they can only provide support from inside the safe house.

My mum has been cooking and cleaning a lot and she helps me with my injuries. She hasn’t complained much even though I know she’s terrified and pissed off. I still can’t believe how much she’s sacrificed for me and I love her for it. “Your bruise is looking better.” Johnson brushes his fingertips across the yellow bruise on my jawline.

That was from some dick with knuckledusters. I should be grateful the fucker didn’t break my jaw and shatter my teeth. “Where’s the exchange going down?” I whisper, trying not to tempt my poor brain into pain.

“Grove park.”

“And we’re sure this isn’t a trap?”

“It was on the second line, the extra secure one so I can only assume it isn’t. It should be four high ranking agents so if you can bring back one, we can get some more info. Also, try and take one of their phones but turn it off as soon as you can so they can’t fuck with it or track it.”

“Okay boss. How long have I got?”

“About twenty minutes before you need to leave.” I nod and he leaves the room so I can get ready. I take a shower and sigh as the hot water runs over every bruise and cut on my poor body. And to think two months ago the only bruises I had on my body were hickeys.

Once I’m out of the shower, I braid my hair and slip on some black cargo trousers and a long sleeve black top with padding in to try and protect the rest of my body. Socks and combat boots later, I strap my Kevlar on with a groan. While Kevlar saves lives, it is also the worst thing ever invented.

It’s tight on your shoulders and back, often leaving marks and it’s heavy to carry around so slows you down in a fight. I strap myself up with guns, knives and grenades (just in case) and head into the lounge where everyone is. Chief checks my vest while Johnson straps me up with comms and cameras as I stand there ready to fall over.

“Here, this should give you some energy.” Chief hands me a syringe filled with adrenaline and I nod. “Don’t use it until you really need it.” I down a can of Monster before shaking out my achy limbs.

“I’ll see you guys soon.” I head out the back door and take the tarp off my car before starting the drive. I blare my hype up music but find myself too far gone to enjoy it. This is gonna be a problem.

Four high ranking agents means well trained - at least better than the others I’ve faced - which means this’ll be a fight for my life. I think I’m gonna have to long range this bitch and just shoot them with my rifle because hand to hand will likely mean death. I confer with my team and they agree, telling me to leave one of them alive afterwards.

The good thing about this camera is I can record their faces, Johnson can run them and I can find out which one will be the most beneficial to keep with me and which ones I should just kill. “They’re trading with the Graveyard gang, despite they’re namesake they will bounce at any opportunity so you shouldn’t have a problem.” I sigh in relief, thank the fucking Lord for small pleasures.

I pull up on a side street and get my rifle from the boot of my car before making my way over to the meeting point. I spot the four agents looking mighty conspicuous and Johnson zooms in on all their faces. “Okay, the one you wanna keep in Sergio Forentes, he’s the one who took Chief’s job when we left. He’s the one by the streetlight.”

“Copy.” I wait for the van to turn up and the merchandise to be shown before I open fire. Gotta get it all on camera and that. As expected, the Graveyard gang hops off as soon as the first bullet hits and the other three agents scramble for cover.

I have a flash guard on my rifle so they can’t see where the bullet came from so they’re looking high instead of low. I mean I’m led on the grass on a rise just behind the idiots and I can see them hiding behind a small wall loudly arguing about the plan.

Idiots, I swear.

I shoot the other two and Sergio gets brave. He obviously realises where the shot came from and comes flying at me, I can’t shoot him so I roll to avoid his bullets and to my feet. I kick the gun from his hand and punch him in the mouth, trying to ignore the searing pain in my knuckles.

I kick him in the bollocks before twisting around, keeping my upper body low and my leg high, kicking him right across the face. I screech in pain as I feel some of my stitches rip and I press my hand against the fresh wound. Good thing he’s unconscious because that would’ve been embarrassing if he had heard that.

I pack up my rifle and grab my car so I don’t have to drag him across the whole park. I throw him in the boot to take him back to the compound. “Riley?” Chief sounds concerned and I groan in pain as I press my hand tighter.

“Yeah, I’m good. I ripped a few stitches from the cut on my stomach, it’s fine.”

I basically collapse into Johnson’s arms when I get back, leaving Chief to cover my car and bring Sergio inside.

I can’t wait for this shit to be over.

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