Awen: Tongue of Flame

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The Distraction

The survivors were demonstrating an admirable ability to remain calm, where even the slightest of movements, could get everybody killed in an instant.

Two gunmen stood sentry over the hostages, waving their weapons frantically in the air. Ferociously barking at them, they kept repeating orders to remain still. Whatever was going to happen, it would happen soon.

Scanning across the perimeter, the faces of Hal and Jensen slowly peeked out from underneath rustling burnt bushes.

Hal gestured for Jensen's attention. 'Let's move the stretchers over there, out of the way.' he suggested, pointing to the west.

A familiar face caught Jensen's eye, and he stood up without hesitation. 'What the hell are you doing?' Hal demanded, yanking him back to the ground.

Jensen was furious. 'I saw my wife out there, I'm sure of it.' he said.

'Even if it is her, we won't get close enough to help, think about it.' Hal replied.

'I've got to do something!' Jensen pleaded.

Hal nodded. 'Come on then, we stand a better chance with help.' he said.

Kelly heard a commotion coming from nearby, as pounding footsteps hastened with every adrenaline-charged second.

'Hal? What part of silence did you forget?' Kelly asked.

Hal looked down the bridge of his nose at her. 'I'm still your boss remember.' he replied.

Kelly laughed; Hal would never suit the tough disciplinarian act. 'Okay boss, I thought that the plan was to sneak in?' she asked.

'It is, but Jensen thought that he saw his wife out there...' Hal began.

The static of a handheld radio stood out sorely, as one of the villains approached. 'Damn it! We need another plan' Kelly cursed.

'Hal counted to five. One of them we can handle, do you have your knife Kelly?' he asked. Already knowing the answer, he held his hand out to claim it.

Reluctantly handing it over, she gritted her teeth. 'Why do you need it, Hal?' she asked.

'It's him or us Kelly, Jensen you come with me and distract him.' Hal directed.

Jensen did not hesitate. 'I'm right behind you.'

'We can't fight here.' Jensen sighed.

Two and a half stretchers were placed next to each other gently, still carrying the injured. Sleeping faces were staring sombrely up at the sky, and if not for their grievous injuries, one might say that they looked to be at peace.

Urging the others to stay low, Grace looked petrified. Bracing her head between both arms, she curled up into a ball.

'Not here.' Hal agreed.

'How about we lure him over there, by that bend?' Jensen pointed.

Hal nodded. 'Let's move it, once we are around the corner, we can take the high ground.' he replied. They were not soldiers, not by a long shot, but this was the only option left to them.

Glancing back from over his shoulder, Hal skidded to a halt. 'Damn, he's turning around. If he joins up with one of his friends, we're done for!' he fumed.

Without hesitation, Jensen sprang onto his feet, waving vigorously. 'Hey little chicken, over here, come and get me!' he yelled.

Hal was still in shock. 'Well that did it.' he marvelled.

'Wait until we're both around that bend, and then you come at him like a ninja!' Jensen replied, already running away.

Practically hugging the ground, Hal awaited the right moment to strike. Allowing his brain to process the plan, he glossed over it repeatedly. 'Now.' he said under bated breath.

'You called me a little chicken!' the butch criminal bellowed, his rotund belly wobbling as he ran.

'No, I didn't.' Jensen replied.

Raising his gun at Jensen, he threw a childish tantrum. 'Yes, you did!' he argued.

With a poker face, Jensen somehow managed to maintain the time-wasting façade. 'No, I didn't.'

Pouncing down from above, Hal swung the knife at his bulging neck. 'Get off me!' the gunman roared in confusion.

Punching him in the gut, the villain fell to his knees. Within an instant, Hal was on his feet, displaying some impressive combat skills.

Hal slipped to the right as the paranoid gunman began to turn, bringing his right arm up and around in an almost gravity-defying manoeuvre, before slicing the gunman's throat. If not for Hal's crushing palm covering the gunman's mouth, the unpleasant gasping of a dying man, coupled with the curdling of blood would have alerted the others to their presence.

Hal stared blankly at the lifeless body; he was not comfortable with what he had just done. It would take some time to overcome this bottomless pit which had opened up inside of his stomach, and even Jensen could see it in his friend's haunted eyes.

'It was him or us Hal.' Jensen said.

Anger built up like a volcanic eruption, hurling directly at Jensen. 'You didn't murder him!' Hal protested.

Utterly fed up, Jensen took another approach. 'Fine, remember all of those bodies by the ship?'

'I won't be forgetting them anytime soon.' Hal replied.

'Exactly, what you did, and what we still need to do will save more lives!' Jensen said.

Taking a moment to think about it, Hal looked back at Jensen. 'So, we did the right thing?' he asked.

Jensen laughed. 'You bet your ass we did!' he replied.

Standing up, Hal wiped the knife on his leg, the blood staining his already filthy jeans. 'Any ideas on how we can draw out the other gunman without getting shot at?' he asked.

Grinning wolfishly, Jensen cracked his knuckles. 'Watch and learn my friend, wait, give me the knife.' Either Jensen had a plan, or he had finally lost his mind.

Laughing hysterically, Jensen bolted towards the ship. The laughter was a ploy to draw attention, and it was indeed working in that regard. Rachel and Kelly heard the cackling first though, and as he ran past them all, he was met with looks of bewilderment.

Gesturing to them, he told them to remain where they were. Jensen didn't want to risk their discovery too. This was his time to shine.

There were more combatants than he had accounted for. Hesitating for a moment, he changed direction. 'Get back with the others!' one yelled after him.

'He wasn't with the others.' another said.

'Get after him Kowen? Kowen?' the lead gunman called, he would soon realise that Kowen, would no longer be of help to anyone.

'Where's the prisoner going Griffin?' another asked.

Griffin looked ready to explode with rage. 'How would I know? Presley, go and find out. Get after him, you little worm!'

'Why me?' Presley asked, visibly pouting.

Grabbing Presley by the throat, Griffin sought to teach him a lesson. 'You are a soldier in the Blackhawk Brigade, act like it!'

The Blackhawk Brigade was only a rumour on board the grand ship 'Aspire', they were supposedly a ragtag band of mercenaries, without any skill. They were, however, well known for being ruthless.

'On it, Griffin, get back here!' Presley yelled, finally chasing after Jensen.

Sensing movement from the fourteen hostages, Griffin fired his rifle into the air wildly. 'You move, you die, understand?' he demanded.

Howling like a wolf, Presley cheered. 'Griffin, he's dead. You need to come and see this!' he said.

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