Cruel Paradise

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Chapter 9

“Can you believe that Blane Aberluhn? I always knew he was up to no good,” one of the guards in the governor’s employ was saying in his muted Creole accent.

Another shook his head. “He was smart but not smart enough it sounds. Things done in tha dark always come to tha light, they say.”

They both turned at the sounds of whooping and running in the hall to see a couple of younger soldiers shoving their way in to the room.

“Found ’im yet?” one yelled, obviously relishing the rare opportunity to hunt a man down.

“Nah man,” came the reply with an exasperated roll of the eyes.

The other new arrival had spotted footprints by the far wall. “These have to be his big man boots; dey can’ be tha girl’s here in de dust. When I find tha bastard, I’m goin’ to cook him on a spit for dinner,” he said, elbowing his buddy with a big grin. Their eyes hungrily tracked the prints, which led to the private balcony overlooking the front drive.

“You idiots haven’t even checked tha balcony yet?!” Shouting, they bolted towards the filmy glass paned doors, and as they came closer, realized that they were slightly ajar. Slamming them open, they clumsily bolted out on to the landing, practically panting as their eyes combed the dingy whitewashed surfaces.

Concealed down in the bushes at the forest’s edge, the agents watched the scene in anticipation, imagining Aberland wrestling with the bindings in vain.

“He’s going to be completely ambushed. Problem solved, as long as they didn’t find our gear and figure out that there’s more than just one American here to spy on them,” Smith said firmly, not without a twinge of misgiving.

They watched as the soldiers rushed out to the balcony, only to find a frayed electrical cord lying on the ground. One of the older guards chuckled.

“Yah, we’re de idiots.”

“What is this heah??” a younger compatriot asked, stooping to pick it up. His friend was about to make a smartass remark but stopped mid-sentence, his eyes widening in surprise.

Blane could not have planned it any better if he tried. It was the perfect moment to jump back down on to the private balcony from his perch on the roof above, landing on the cocky kid. He threw a punch at the other one, who was just standing there with his mouth hanging open. He went down easy. Whirling to face the older men, he found them retreating back in to the main house, probably to sound the alarm.

Sure, he didn’t really need to start a fight; he could’ve just stayed hidden out of sight on the rooftop. But it would bring the troupe rushing upstairs soon to retaliate, and he hoped they’d do a little searching and discover traces of his other two agents to take some heat off of himself. Besides, he had some frustration to get out.

On the ground below, his fellow agents had watched in utter disbelief as Aberland climbed to the roof at the last possible second, then paused to beat up a few soldiers before disappearing on to the roof again to make an escape. Martin groaned. Aberland would turn out to be a problem after all.

Back inside, the lieutenant had just been advised of the events, and his roar could be heard echoing throughout the house. Guards poured out of the front doors, fanning out to search the jungle. Smith and Martin took off in a panicked run. This was definitely not going the way they’d imagined it. Now they were being hunted too, and having attempted to serve Aberland up on a silver platter, they could no longer rely upon him for a rescue. Each one realized mid-escape that Blane would most certainly want to exact some revenge, and instead their only expectation could be for him to find them and string them up at any moment. The whole lot of them had just made a powerful enemy, though the unit of soldiers didn’t fully know it yet.

From the rooftop, Blane watched amusedly as the leathernecks fled in terror and the guards spilled out like ants going every which way in search of him. The odds were in his favor now, but the island was only so big. And he still needed to find a way off of it.

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