ONE IN FOUR SHOT • by Mickey Mills

Mack Henry estimated he had about a one in four shot of surviving the next hour. His footsteps echoed against the walls of the empty railroad station. The prototype weapon hidden inside his bag was heavy and pulled at his shoulder much like this task strained his common sense. He thought back over the telephone conversation and continued down the platform.

“Mister Henry,” the voice on the phone had said, with a peculiar European accent. “Don’t say anything, just listen.  If you want to see your girlfriend alive, you will bring the X-99 plasma prototype to the railway station in three hours. Get off the train and walk to the south entrance. Someone will collect you. Do you understand what I am telling you, Mister Henry?”

“Yes,” he had replied, not thinking of anything but Donna’s safety.  And now a hundred thoughts clouded his judgment.  I should’ve asked questions.  I should’ve tried to talk to Donna.  There were a dozen things I should’ve done, but all I could come up with was, ‘Yes.’ Real Smart, he thought.

In the confines of the mental third degree, Mack failed to notice a man slip up behind him and push the barrel of a gun into the small of his back.

“Keep walking and don’t look back. Don’t try anything funny or I’ll plug you right here,” he said.

They walked a few feet when Mack Henry asked, “That wasn’t you on the phone, was it?”

“To be so stupid, you’re pretty smart, kid, now shut up.”

They turned into a narrow corridor leading to an exit. About halfway down the hall, the gunman pushed the pistol harder into Mack’s backbone and said, “At the next door to the right, I want you to open it and go in.”

Mack Henry swallowed hard and approached the door. He reached out for the knob and gave it a tentative twist. He walked into the storage room, his captor close behind.

Standing in the middle of the room was a man looking like he’d just stepped off the pages of a bad spy novel. He wore a pencil thin mustache and a black leather coat with a black hat to match. Leaned against the shelving along the back wall, Donna Smith puffed on a cigarette, her red lipstick shining on the brown filter. Mack felt the gunman behind him tug on the bag holding the X-99.

Mack clinched the bag tighter and said, “What about me and Donna?”

The little man laughed and looked at Donna.

The woman dropped her cigarette on the floor and crushed it with the sole of her shoe. She walked over to Mack Henry, pulled his lips to hers and gave him a deep kiss, as she’d done on a hundred times before. When she pulled away, she said in that same peculiar European accent, “My name’s not Donna, dahlink.”

Mack began to tremble inside; like a biological earthquake, rage began to grip him completely. Her eyes never left his as she removed the bag from his shoulder and handed it to the little spy. “It was fun, Mack, but now I will go back to my country a hero and you will go to prison for stealing such a valuable military secret.”

He felt the pinch of a needle slipping into his neck and instantly began to feel the effects of the drug.  “Hurry, Victor,” the woman pleaded as she handed the bag containing their prize to the little man.  “We must go before someone comes in.”

The small spy verified the bag held the secret weapon before grabbing his partner by the arm and saying, “It’s here, Natalya. Let’s go.”

Mack struggled to stay awake.  He fought the drug long enough to hear the distinct click of the detonator as the bag left the protective perimeter of the radio transmitter taped to his leg. He smiled when he heard the explosive roar of two pounds of C4 doing its job at the end of the corridor.

“I’ll take one in four any day,” he mumbled before drifting off to sleep.

Mickey Mills: Fiction writer, world traveler, explorer, dog lover, patriot and vagabond. Dichotomy of the third kind. Enjoys… Mozart and Metallica — Rembrandt and R. Crumb. — Paula Dean and Pizza Hut — Harley Davidson and… there is no and! His debut novel, Haunting Injustice, has been described as: “…a bona fide page-turning thriller.”

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