February 5th, 2020

(no subject)

Part 9

In the centre of the castle was the main hall, a high, vaulted room and above it a minstrels' gallery running around on three sides; a balcony with a planked floor, carved oak balustrade. Doyle and Bodie met there, and cautiously moved to look down on the scene below. The remainder of the hostages were gathered there, tied together in a grim parody of a conga line. Two men, armed, their faces shrouded by woollen balaclavas, stood guard. One was squat and thick-set, the other boyishly slim. The thick-set man spoke now, gesturing upwards as he said : "Carney's a long time on the roof. Shouldn't i go and check?"
The slim man nodded, and Doyle and Bodie drew back as the other man started up the wooden steps that would bring him to their level. Bodie pointed down at the slim man and whispered, " Mister Number One - the leader." Doyle nodded agreement then dropped into hiding behind a long, worm-eaten chest as the thick-set man climbed the last few stairs to the gallery. The man stepped onto the gallery and moved towards the door that would take him up on the roof. Doyle had to admire Bodie's style. He stood just behind the door and his hand clamped over the man's mouth before he hit him low and viciously in the groin. Doyle caught the gun that fell from nerveless fingers, and then the man himself. Bodie grinned. "Like those old Hope/Crosby films. Teamwork." They moved back to the balustrade.
The last terrorist, the slim man, had heard nothing. He had not moved, but remained leaning against the long table, his machine gun pointing at the line of hostages. Bodie tapped Doyle on the shoulder, pointed at the gun he held, then down to the floor below, and drew a finger across his throat. Doyle hesitated. Bodie raised an eyebrow.
"What's wrong?"
"Be just the time for a gun to jam wouldn't it? And him with his finger on the trigger, aiming at those hostages."
Doyle gently put the gun down and then unslung the harpoon from his back, primed it, took aim, and again hesitated.
"Now what's wrong?" Bodie hissed.
Doyle looked at Bodie, then at the slim man down below, then at Bodie again. "I never killed a man before."
"For God's sake." Bodie put an arrow to his Bow and bent it back as he took a very careful aim on the man below.
It was at that moment that the man turned and instinctively looked up and saw Bodie. And he saw her. The Balaclava concealed all but a wisp or two of her blonde hair, but perfectly framed her blue-eyed, luscious-lipped face. Bodie stared at her through the taut string of the Bow, across the hardened steel tip of the arrow and he saw again a girl standing across the other side of a bridge, her face lifted in mute appeal. He watched as shock turned to realisation in the girl's eyes, and she swung the gun round towards the hostages, her finger reaching for the trigger.

(no subject)

Part 10

He heard the rush of compressed air and saw Doyle's harpoon strike her just above the ear, saw the gun fall from her hand and, as it hit the floor, fire off a clatter of rounds that jerked him back to reality.
"You...you..." Doyle tried to say something to him, his eyes already moistening.
Cowley heard the crackle of shots, the sudden silence, and then was on his feet, gun in hand, running towards the castle. Behind him the other waiting men were starting to run in too. Ordrrs were being barked now, and lights started to snap on again, to bathe the castle in a pale white light. Cowley reached the moat and stood there, listening to the screech of a winch. The drawbridge began to move, to descend, and Doyle and Bodie were revealed.
Bodie was first on to the lowered bridge. He looked at Cowley and then: "No casualties on our side."
Doyle steped up alongside him. "No?" he said ironicalky. He walked past Cowley and away. Bodie stood and watched him go, the suddenly followed.
Cowley turned to watch them. They were too far away to hear what was said, but he saw Bodie grip Doyle's shoulder and Doyle shake him off. He saw them stop and face each other, and talk, and then finally turn to move on again. Together this time. In step.
Cowley glanced at the sergeant. "Do you know," he said, "I think we may have found ourselves a good team there."
The sergeant frowned. "Looked to me like they were ready to slug each other."
Cowley's eyes twinkled. "A lot of good marriages began that way."

The end.