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A gruff, booming voice spoke. He wasn’t sure what the word meant. But whatever significance it had, it was disrupting his pleasant rest. Mentally burrowing back into his subconscious, he ignored it.
He felt a jarring force attempting to shove him out of his comfortable dark solitude, and the noise was louder now. The invasive entity was so persistent. Why couldn’t he just be left in peace?
The warm embrace of his shadowy haven shook in protest, cracking around the edges and threatening to shatter forever. He clung on in desperation, but to no avail. The destructive earthquake was pervasive, continuing until it decimated the entire sanctuary. He was aggressively thrown back through the blackness into the blinding light of consciousness. He felt like a bullet being shot through the long dark barrel of a gun, exploding into the world.
His eyelid violently snapped open, the pupil dilating with lightning-fast precision. The eye opened wide as it took in the surroundings. Its twin copied the actions. The brown irises of his eyeballs stuck out in sharp contrast to the expanding black pupils.
The man with short, greased-back hair lay against a box. He realized that someone had been calling his name and pugnaciously shaking him. That was what brought him out of his deep state of oblivion. He focused, taking everything in.
“Brian,” He said the man’s name, realizing that he must have been the person attempting to bring him out of his stupor.
Brian knelt beside Jim with his hands on his shoulders, looking into his eyes to ensure that he was becoming coherent.
“Hey buddy, you all right? You got shot and blacked out.” A modicum of concern played through his authoritarian demeanour.
As Jim looked around the room in astonishment, he noticed a few other assassins encircled around him. “What the fuck happened? Did you guys kill those motherfuckers?”
“Actually, one of them got away,” Ray replied regretfully.
“There’s another exit we didn’t know about in the room he jumped into. We don’t even know if he knew about it beforehand, or if he just got incredibly lucky.” He stood a few feet back from his wounded partner.
“Fuck!” Jim reacted in frantic rage. “Well why aren’t you guys going after him, or at least all of you except one of you to treat my wounds?”
The only person who hadn’t spoken chimed in. “I was going to stay with you,” Sarah said, standing by the door and motioning toward him with her gun. “But I couldn’t wake you up, so I got Brian to do it. You were pretty gone. Ray stayed in case we need to carry you. Your wounds are pretty bad,”
“I can suck it up,” Jim defiantly proclaimed. “So who went after that bastard then?”
Brian filled him in with no emotion. “John, Michael, Bill, Matt, and Aaron. I’m sure they’ll catch him,” he said with confidence.
“Why don’t you guys just go after him too?” Jim suggested, looking at Ray and Brian. “Sarah can stay and treat my wounds. I’ll be fine. You need to go kill that motherfucker,” He was overcome with determination as he ordered the other killers to do his bidding.
Ray dubiously raised his eyebrows. “You lost a lot of blood, man. I don’t think Sarah can drag you to a car by herself if you can’t really walk.”
“I’ll fuckin’ manage, man,” Jim insisted, his irritation building.
He pushed himself into a half-seated position, shoving against the floor while he forced his body up higher against the box. He stifled a grunt, gritting his teeth with copious pressure. The bullet holes in his body maniacally stung and burned. Pain increased as his caution receded.
“Just go after that asshole! He might be the one who did this to me!”
Ray and Brian exchanged quizzical glances, and looked at Sarah for her silent input. Her expression was tenacious, and she was painfully aware of the implications of her decision. She swivelled her gaze to Jim.
“I can take care of him,” she said, making sombre eye contact with him, and maintaining the façade of certainty that he would survive.
“Just go, guys. You might still be able to catch up.” Her inflection sounded commanding.
“Are you sure?” Brian asked. “What if you have to move him?”
“Well, I can treat his wounds. But realistically, I don’t see how moving him would actually help until he can get to a doctor. I can call and arrange that. But it’s probably best to wait until you guys get back anyway, with some other people. That way, after someone lets our doctor know we’re coming, we can have 4 people move him, because if we’re not really careful, moving him could make his injuries worse.”
“All right,” agreed Ray. “Let’s go, Brian.”
“Yeah,” Brian conceded, standing up and brushing the dirt off of his pants.
As the men moved to the exit, Sarah requested, “keep me posted, guys.”
“Will do,” replied Ray as Brian and he walked through the doorway and into the hallway. “You too.”