Amouraq, Chapter 3

He couldn’t explain why he had this feeling, but every instinct in his body forced him to move urgently! As he hopped back in his car, he felt a small token of gratitude that he studied maps of this neighborhood thoroughly before he got there, so he wasted no time with directions. He peeled out and sped down the road, and he thought that if his hunch turned out to be wrong, it would probably look a little strange of him rushing to them like that. A part of him hoped for that scenario, but everything in his gut told him that they were in danger, so he didn’t hesitate to hurry to them.

The roads were clear until he started getting closer to a major intersection. Traffic started to become congested, and he grew irritated that he couldn’t drive as fast as he wanted to. He audibly groaned when he got stuck behind several vehicles at the red light. He collected his focus and scanned the area to see if he could see them. He had to raise himself up a bit to see the cars on the other side of the street, and his heart nearly skipped a beat when he finally spotted the silver, four-door car belonging to the Seattle agent. Her car idled in the left hand lane, and since she was about to turn on the road he had just gone down, he knew they would make it to Emily’s house safely. His stomach lurched, and somehow he knew it wouldn’t be that simple!

As the agent turned left, a long, dark green car from the street perpendicular to hers suddenly jolted out and blocked her path! Stephen quickly put his car in park and sprang out with his gun out as did the Seattle agent. She partially hid behind her door while two men in black, leather jackets and sunglasses emerged from the other vehicle with their hands in their pockets. She immediately aimed her gun at them and shouted, “Federal Agent, put your hands up!” When they didn’t obey her command and advanced towards her, Stephen jumped onto the hood of his car. The Seattle agent fired at the larger man while Stephen aimed at the thin one. Both of the men fell down, and each agent ran towards them. The Seattle agent approached them with her gun still drawn.. To her astonishment, the larger man had a gun in his hand and fired at her chest!

“No!” Stephen screamed as he saw the Seattle agent fall to the ground. The larger man heard Stephen and picked himself up. At the same time, the backseat door of the Seattle agent’s car opened up, and a woman dashed out, running in the opposite direction. The large man chased after her, and Stephen rushed to catch up with them, yelling, “Federal Agent, I order you to stop!”

The large man caught up with her and put his gun up to her head. “Come quietly or I’ll shoot!” Stephen got close enough to shoot him, but the man moved out of range, scooped Emily up with one arm, and ran off! He couldn’t risk hitting Emily, so he muttered, “Damn it!” as he followed them.

The man ran down an alleyway, and Stephen managed to grab the man’s arm and spin him around, which forced him to drop Emily. Stephen pressed him against the wall and held his gun up to the back of his head. “Drop your weapon!” Stephen barked.

He dropped his gun, and then he hissed, “Shoot me!”

“Did someone send you here?” Stephen forcibly asked him.

“Go to hell!” the man growled.

Stephen huffed, “Did someone send you, or are you gonna take the rap for forty six murders?”

Before the man could answer, Emily stood up, made a claw out of her fingers, and chanted, “Truth be told!”

Stephen felt a cold wind brush by him, and he saw the man’s eyes widen and suddenly turn misty. In a flat, low voice, the man revealed, “Xavier Ryder.”

“Where is he?” Stephen urgently inquired.

“Hidden deep where only one man has gone before,” he unemotionally reported.

Stephen’s brow furrowed at that cryptic remark. Before he could ask anymore questions, the look disappeared from his eyes and he tried to run for it. A score of Hartwood police officers blocked his path with their weapons drawn. Extremely unwillingly, the man surrendered to the police.

After breathing a sigh of relief to see him in handcuffs, Stephen went up to the officers and showed them his badge. Somewhat winded, Stephen quickly spoke to them, “Stephen Knight, FBI. How’s Agent Chae-Won?”

One of the officers reported, “An off duty nurse tended to her, and she’s on her way to the hospital right now. She was still breathing when they were putting her in, but…”

Stephen’s insides wrenched to hear one of his fellow agents got harmed in the line of duty, but his attention quickly averted back to the other victim of this incident. “Miss Pageman, are you…?”

He turned around and saw Emily walking towards him. Despite going through such a frightening ordeal, she moved with such composure! Her makeup didn’t smudge at all, and her hair, while slightly ruffled, still sculpted her face very neatly. He had only seen a picture of her head, so he didn’t see what her body looked like until now. She had a thick frame, but she still had an hourglass figure. She wore a pink blouse and tan trousers that accentuated her curves very nicely. She moved with such grace that Stephen had no doubt that she was definitely a future queen!

Emily approached him and gave him a little smile as she queried, “Was he wearing a bulletproof vest?”

“Huh?” Stephen shook off his torpor and got back to business. “There wasn’t any blood on him, so he must have been.”

“Yes, ma’am, he is,” another police officer confirmed for her. “Oh, if you two don’t mind, I have some questions for you.”

Stephen declined, “Sorry, but she’s a high profile subject, and we need to get her to safety. I’ll give my report to my superior, and I’ll have her email you a copy.” The officer nodded, and Stephen turned back to Emily. “Follow me.” Emily seemed a little hesitant, but after noticing the officers behind him, she reluctantly agreed.

Stephen and Emily reached his car without saying a word to each other. They could hardly discuss classified information in such an active scene, and he knew it was imperative to get Emily out of the area quickly, but he felt a little inconsiderate to rush her out of the spot without communicating anything to her. She nearly died, and she probably had very little idea about would happen next. He was impressed at her ability to appear unemotional after all she had gone through, but he knew inwardly she must feel very distressed. He logically reasoned that they didn’t have a great distance to travel to get to his car, but at this time, it felt really long! She didn’t have to deal with her inner turmoil for that much longer, but he still felt a surge of guilt for the minute she had to go through it!

When they finally arrived at his car, he opened the passenger door for her. She didn’t look thrilled to climb in, and he didn’t blame her. He figured that she probably had a lot of trust issues at the moment. They stayed quiet as he got into the car, started it, and made a u-turn. Once they were away from the crime scene, Stephen waited for Emily to break the ice. He didn’t quite know how she would react to surviving such a harrowing ordeal, and he wondered if she would burst out crying or if her anxiety would cause her to rant and rave. He also supposed that she would blurt out a flurry of questions, but he was prepared to receive whatever scenario that she offered. What he didn’t expect was more silence. He hoped that she didn’t think he was rude for not speaking to her, and his mind reeled from different possibilities on how to begin. To his surprise, she calmly said, “They wore bulletproof vests!”

Her statement baffled Stephen. Out of all of the things for her to get mystified about, he couldnt’ believe that she focused on that! He reminded himself that trauma can sometimes make a person hyper-focused on a random detail of the event, so he tried to show her support. “Yes, they did. Sometimes a criminal has the foresight to wear some kind of body armor, which is why I usually aim for the head if I have to take someone down.” He instantly regretted disclosing that information to her and now hoped that he didn’t upset her by talking about killing someone after she almost died.

She stunned him once again by not responding to his comment. Instead, she absentmindedly gazed out of the window as she wondered aloud, “Why would they wear bulletproof vests when they could do a…? Unless they were… No, that couldn’t be!”

The more she talked, the more perplexed he grew. As politely as he could, he queried, “I’m sorry, but what do you mean by-?”

She suddenly whipped her head to face him, and her expression displayed the utmost concern as she questioned, “How much did they tell you about us?”

“You mean the heirs?” Stephen replied. “We did a background check on everyone, but-.”

‘You should go,” Emily advised him. “You’re not safe with me!”

Stephen assured her, “I understand it’s a dangerous assignment, but all of my assignments are like that. It’s okay, I accept the risks, and I have the training to-.”

She interrupted him again, “Trust me, you don’t have the training for what you’re about to encounter! You have no idea what Amouraqians are capable of!”

As they arrived at her house, Stephen requested, “Then please, enlighten me.” She sighed exasperatedly, and she gave the matter serious consideration…

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