“Looks like they’re going to try and enter from the back porch, through the sitting area,” Logan said in Ashley’s earpiece.
“All right,” Ashley said, then walked out of the room and got her gun out of her jumpsuit’s pocket.
“Hey—” Mackelvore started, but she was out of earshot before she heard that sentence. Moving through the corridor she saw that Logan was already out of the hall, and into the living room.
A smash from out at the far end of the sitting area riveted her attention. She stopped just inside the hallway’s exit, that familiar sense of danger and urgency and total engagement in the moment upon her again.
The angle of the hallway denied her a clear line of sight to that part of the house, but she didn’t need to see it to know that the intruders were breaking in through there, and that she was also out of their line of sight. So was Logan, pressed against the wall between the kitchen and the dining area, closer to the intruders but not able to see into the sitting area.
So she stayed fixed in her spot, and both hands locked on the grip of her gun, brought up her weapon.
The first of the intruders, proceeding deeper into the sitting area, came into view.
He dropped, maybe hit, maybe not (he fell behind a chair, and his black clothing made him hard to see in that darkened part of the house), and then the next thing she knew there was another shot from a gun she didn’t fire, which made her reflexively press herself flat against the wall of the hallway.
Her phone rang. She checked it, saw that it was Logan (who had retreated from the sitting area, to the door of the utility room), answered it.
“I’ll get to the hatchback, get it started,” he said to Ashley. “You exit the house through the bathroom, go around the house to the garage.”
Flee the house? Yes. Because even if they fought off these guys for now, the people after them knew where they were, and there would be more of them soon. Because someone in the neighborhood had probably heard that smash and the gunshots, and was calling the cops, who would show some regard for calls from a residential area like this. Because the private security company their landlord had watching the house—
“All right,” Ashley said, moving back down the hall to the sound of more shots, from different directions (Logan fending off the intruders, alone). She looked into the room where he’d been sitting, found the laptop on his desk, grabbed it, and continued into the bathroom. There she opened the window and jumped out onto the house’s lawn with the laptop in her arms, half-expecting to find herself in the middle of still more bad guys. That didn’t happen, and she didn’t wait for it to happen either, instead running back around the house to the garage, the door of which was still sliding upward when she arrived.
Still, she could see Logan through the hatchback’s rear window. Ducking to avoid hitting her head, Ashley went in underneath it and found the passenger-side door left open for her. Ashley dropped into the seat next to Logan and shut the door behind herself just before he threw the hatchback into reverse and rolled backward out of the garage as a man came in through the utility room door. The next thing Ashley knew they were turning sharply in the driveway, toward the gate, which they approached at a ninety-degree angle.
They wouldn’t be able to smash through the gate, which was heavy enough to wreck any car that tried that, so Logan pressed his security fob to its adjacent sensor through his window.
“Cover me!” Logan said as one of the intruders came out of the garage, gun up. Ashley fired back at their attacker through her own window, making him retreat behind the bulk of the Audi.
Another shot cracked right over Ashley’s head, making her drop back into the car on reflex before she heard the ricochet and recognized the source, the other man in black coming out of the house’s front door. Ashley raised her gun to return fire just as the car reversed and turned sharply again, then rolled through the open gate, into the street.
Ashley fastened her seat belt as Logan accelerated now, sending them careening down the lane. Refusing to slow down any more than he absolutely had to, Logan turned at the end of the block so sharply that the car bucked the curb to cross over the sidewalk corner instead of going around it.
But they were going in the right direction to get to the highway, Ashley thought, and sure enough they hit it a minute later. The six-lane road looked wide open in both directions (there was virtually no traffic in sight, and no sign of cops), the way clear for Logan to go west, with the headlights off.
The Windjammer’s where Ashley had a latte Saturday popped up by the side of the highway and then receded behind them in an eye blink. Also behind them, Ashley noticed, was a barely visible pair of lights, just twin pinpoints, coming from about where she thought the exit to Montrose was. Ashley kept watching those lights, saw them getting larger, quickly.