The Chimera Within

Chapter 29

Tom was beginning to feel some of his old strength return, and was even yielding himself to hope that Elias had followed them and was preparing some sort of rescue attempt. Tom decided he needed to communicate and assist him in any way possible. He started keeping a mental tally of how many guards were watching over their corner of the compound where they were being held. He counted fifteen, and using carbon from the fire, drew a large ιε (fifteen in Greek numerals) on a plank and discreetly placed it on the outside of the house facing the forest, thus indicating how many gangsters they were dealing with.

That night, Tom was in the midst of a fitful slumber when he felt an iron grip across his mouth. He opened his eyes to see Elias hovering over him in the dim light, with his finger upon his lips.

"Elias!" he hissed once he had released him. "How did you get in here?"

"Shh! I have some rudimentary weapons, that so far have proved themselves effective." He showed Tom a blowgun. "I have darts dipped in frog poison. I was able to take out the two sentries at the side of the forest, but we have a limited time to get out of here." He passed Tom a machete and his Walther P99 semiautomatic pistol. "Ready?"

"You think I'll be able to hit anything with this?"

"If someone's in front of you, shoot. And if we're to try to make a bit of soldier of ye, Tom, what else should ye be guarding?"

Tom wiped the sleep from his eyes and desperately strived to clamber onto Elias' train of thought. "I should try to watch your back! But I'll have to keep my eyes pointing in two different directions at the same time, and I can't count on my spider senses like I had before."

"What, ye have no ears to your head?" Elias asked.

"Alright, well that I do," he whispered. "Okay, I'll listen for footsteps!"

"Ye may have some rudiments of sense," said Elias, grimly. "Now let's kick some narco arse and get the hell out of here."

Tom and Elias had started to move not a moment too soon. The two guards that Elias had incapacitated had been discovered and the alarm was sounded. Zetas began running around in search of intruders and any escapees. Elias handed Tom his dirk, and then drew a huge Bowie knife which he held in his left hand in case someone ran in under the range of his .44 Magnum. Tom clutched his machete in his right and nervously fingered the Walther P99 in his left. Tom had been in fights before, but this was different, not being to call on his enhanced genetic capabilities in a tight spot. Now all he had was what his human parents had bestowed upon him, and even his regular strength felt like it was fleeting.

Feeling somewhat defective as a fighter in a battle amongst hardened killers, Tom was aware of his fear, as his heart beat like a hammer. He knew that if they should stumble they'd be eaten alive, both literally and existentially. He also felt a dimness that came to his eye that he would repeatedly rub away, and which continually returned. The darkest side of the picture for Tom was that hope had finally fled from him, only thoughts of gloom and fury against all the world that had frustrated his plans and forced him to sell his life for the highest price. He had tried to pray, but his thoughts were moving so rapidly that he could not focus on the words, and only wanted to get this vain attempt at escape over and done with.

All of a sudden, as they rushed through the darkness, they were face to face with a pack of men and with a surge of feet and a roar, the desperate battle began. Elias let out a terrifying bellow as he opened fire at close range with his large handgun. Some men yelled and fell to the ground, as Tom leaped forward to Elias' side, swinging his machete like a maniac.

As his eyes struggled to identify forms and shapes in the murky shadow, Tom came face to face with Pancho and upon recognizing him, powerfully shoved him, putting some meters between them.

"That's the guy that killed Omar!" Tom cried.

"Keep to the wings!" yelled Elias; and as Tom swung around with his machete to guard his back, he glanced over and saw Elias pass his Bowie knife through the hapless Zeta's body.

Tom had turned around none too soon, as he faced a group of five Zetas each with a 'cuerno de chivo', their pet name for an AK-47 assault rifle. Tom fired his little pea-shooter pistol into the crowd and dropping and rolling on the ground, fired many shots into the little group, that while much more heavily armed, had been caught off guard in the dark at close range.

Tom could not be sure of where all his shots were landing, but his first shot had caused one of them to cry out and fall back a step into his companion, giving pause to the rest of them. As more shots rang out of the darkness, blinding and confusing them as to how many assailants they were facing, the remaining got a few shots off that went wide and high, and then elected to find some cover.

Tom also retreated behind an old jeep where Elias was hiding, wiping off the blood that had run up the hilt of his hunting knife, and looking like he had so swelled with triumph that he was to be invincible. Lying nearby was Pancho, on his hands and knees with blood pouring out of his mouth; he was sinking slowly lower, with a pitiful, white face; and then turned to look for assistance and propped himself up against the little house to have cover when the shooting recommenced. But it seemed he died in the very process of seeking shelter.

"How many are left?" demanded Elias.

"I hit a couple, but there are still quite a few of 'em." Tom replied.

"Well I settled at least another two. But they'll be coming to finish us off any minute, sure as shootin'," said Elias. He opened his flak jacket to reveal two glass pop bottles in his belt and holster. They were both filled with a noxious looking substance that was certainly not Pepsi. "Take my lighter," he commanded, pulling out two rags. "Wait until we see movement then we light these Molotov cocktails and hightail it out of here. You know how to hotwire this thing?" he asked Tom, referring to the Jeep.

Tom peaked in the window. "No need," he proclaimed, "The keys are in the ignition." Tom went into the house and noiselessly ushered out Claudeth and Maira, the only two left behind in the Casita.

Some shots rang out and Tom saw two shadows run across from behind a shed to a large barrel. "Light 'em up!" Elias cried.

Tom lit and tossed his poor man's grenade in a high lob that landed next to the barrel, blowing up with a blinding explosion and shredding two Zetas with glassy shrapnel. Elias caught sight of the rest huddled together and jumped out with a cry throwing his fire bomb into their very midst, killing and maiming the gangsters. He joined Tom and the girls in the Jeep as they sped away, trying to navigate their way through the dark forest.

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