Part 110

One Hundred Ten

It was too quiet the farther Jenny got from the water.

She thought there should have been more noise from Abe Harker’s house, a big multi-room mansion a couple hundred feet from the edge of the water.  The fact that half the upper floor showed fire damage and was abandoned, and that the lights were only on and coming through half the windows on the ground floor, didn’t make sense to her.

What light she saw coming from the house reflected in an off glow on the layer of algae filling up the swimming pool she passed as she made her way up the lawn.  She could see where the two members of Big Bobby’s crew had run to the house; the patches of wild grass growing up over her knees had been threshed by them as they ran.

“So why haven’t they shot us yet?” Charlie asked as Jenny slowed her gait.

“Wish I had an answer,” Jenny replied.  “My guess is, were it me facing us, I’d pull back far enough to get cover at an advantage.”

“How far back you think they pulled?” Tia asked.

“Columbus?” Charlie guessed.

Before anyone could find that funny, shots rang out from the house.

All eight of the party coming ashore hit the ground and rolled aside, using untrampled grass before them long enough to ready themselves and return fire.

The rain of rounds more than made up for the stillness before, echoing over the lawn and out to the water long after they stopped firing.

Before the stillness returned, Jenny popped up, and took the chance to charge the house.  She made it to the wreckage of the sun room, crouching behind the frame that had long ago lost all the panels, and used what cover the rusting metal latticework offered to crouch and listen.

“…tells us about both Governments’ statements, in that neither Moscow nor Beijing are offering any leeway in their rhetoric regarding the border incident,” Jenny could hear from inside the house.

She tried to ignore the distraction the announcer was providing and separate that from any other sounds that could be heard from her position.

So far, just the slight wind coming in off the lake…

“…but with conflicting casualty figures coming in from both Russian and Chinese military sources, both sides appear to be looking for justification for their responses…”

She refocused, able to identify the other seven out on the weedy lawn by the shuffling of the grass around them, then tried again.

“…other major headline, the shelling of communication centers in and around Asuncion as negotiations between Paraguay and Brazil abruptly ended.”

Jenny sighed and cursed as she concentrated.

“Brazilian forces, which intervened in the last conflict between Paraguay and Bolivia, then stayed despite protests from China and the US, were expected to start returning across the border at the end of the current round, until Paraguayan negotiators introduced…”

She shook her head from side to side, desperate for any aid in filtering the noise.

“World markets are responding with spikes in coffee prices as Brazil, which controls over ninety percent of all output, threatens embargoes against states that fail to…”

Too much noise, not a good position to be in-

“Move it up! Now!” Jenny cried, waving up the rest of them desperately.

The slowest to respond was Tomo, who still got a few feet closer before a shot rang out from over the pool to where she’d been in the grass.

All seven hugged the house as Harker’s backup showed…

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All content Copyright © 2013 James Ryan


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