“Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.”― Richelle Mead
Venomiss (Lady Atherton) opened the bathroom door to a scene of destruction. None of the hotel suite’s costly furnishings stood on their legs.
Shielding Mr. Goldman, Venomiss yelled as she shuttled him to the hotel suite’s main door—”Cover me. Moving!”
In transit, wincing heavily in pain, Mr. Goldman took the time to snatch his white jacket from the floor near the now overturned settee.
Tiny and Alligator scrambled to their feet from their entanglement with four female assailants and charged to Venomiss’ position.
Venomiss with Mr. Goldman at her side and with Tiny and Alligator in the rear—opened the hotel suite’s main door. Then these four souls stepped outside the door into the narrow hallway. Alertly, Venomiss closed the door behind them; however, she kept her keen eyesight peeled, suspicious of the apparently vacant hallway.
Three female assailants rushed from the alcove leading to the Emergency Exit, a few steps further down the narrow hallway. They brandished muzzled Luger Glock 19s —the exact gun that Venomiss saw in her dream earlier this morning! Each of the three assailants then took aim and fired…at Mr. Goldman.
Venomiss dropped to the floor, tugging Mr. Goldman with her left arm, as three bullets zinged, whizbang, and twanged past Mr. Goldman’s temple. The ineffective bullets embedded their misfortune into the door frame just millimeters above Venomiss’ head.
Meanwhile, Mr. Goldman’s wound began to bleed on the carpet. He winced, groaned, and grabbed his shoulder in response. Venomiss twirled on the ground keeping her assailants in view.
Then, from a full prone position, Venomiss flipped her entire body upright and landed on her feet (also known as a no-handed kik up). She then sucker-punched the first female assailant, who by now, had charged within arm’s reach of Mr. Goldman’s head.
Immediately the female assailant flopped to the floor, motionless. The female assailant’s Luger Glock 19—already triggered to fire, released the 9-millimeter subsonic bullet exploding from its chamber. The bullet grazed Venomiss’ dinner jacket shoulder pad.
Simultaneously, Rameses Gizufi (aka “Tiny”) dispatched the second female assailant with a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus. He grabbed her Luger Glock 19 and made short work of shifting the gun’s slide, removing the bullet in the gun’s chamber, and expelling its magazine.
Meanwhile, Homer “Alligator” Gantry, the Baton Rouge native, deployed his body as a javelin directed at the third female assailant. Then, following that impact, he bounced on his left foot backing away from his assailant in a move known as stick and move.
The female assailant lost her weapon and her footing as their bodies collided. However, she quickly regained her stance. Now furious, she reached into her belt and unsheathed a seven-and-one-half-inch blade hunting knife. She brandished the knife in her right hand over her head in a carving motion, taunting Alligator.
Alligator grinned. The massive alligator tattoo festooning his entire right hand and arm gleamed in the hotel hallway’s chandeliered lumens as he sized up his opponent with his fists clenched.
Then…Alligator turned as though he was about to run away. And, with his back turned, he landed a crescent kick, surgically extracting the knife from the female assailant’s right hand in seconds. The knife flew over Alligator’a head and fell aimlessly in front of his left foot.
Surprised by the move and now weaponless, the third female assailant fled via the narrow hallway’s Emergency Exit. But not before she commanded her other two companions, still groggy from their trouncing, “Let’s move!”
With that said, her two companions scrambled staggering to their feet. Then hurriedly supporting each other, the three female assailants escaped down the Emergency Exit stairwell.
Run! Cried Venomiss to Mr. Goldman.
Requiring no further encouragement, Mr. Goldman made a quick exit via the private elevator just a stone’s throw away.
Venomiss turned to enter the suite only to discover upon opening the door that the other four female assailants were long gone. They had escaped by repelling down the fourth-story suite’s gaping wall via harnesses built into their bodysuits.
Looking at the now totally trashed hotel suite, Venomiss said tongue in cheek to Mr. Zero and his team—
“Now, this is why we can’t have nice things!”
Everyone laughed—exhaling a sigh of relief.
Unbeknownst to all of them, Lady Cat, Venomiss’ best friend, observed the entire fray, with great interest via secret camera and satellite feeds—feeds to which she had claimed over the years she had no access. Employing a host of trained mercenaries in Malta ready to deploy at her beck and call; yet, Lady Cat offered no aid to her friend Venomiss.
Following Venomiss urging, Mr. Goldman dashed inside the elevator. Reaching for his cellphone as the private elevator doors closed, he speed-dialed his most recent contact:
“Hey, Neshema (“loved one/soul”) it’s me… Yes, it’s done.”
“No, I don’t think she suspects. A bit of blood and gore always “sells” a story, especially in spycraft.”
Meanwhile…in the now trashed hotel suite. Mr. Zero answered his cellphone. He did not speak. He listened to the caller and then hung up.
Venomiss inquired, her arms outstretched—noticing her torn jacket for the first time, “Who was that? Normally, you would be strategizing your next move by now, Mr. Zero.”
“Just a wrong number,” replied Mr. Zero, convincingly.
Venomiss nodded and smiled amicably as she grunted while righting the overturned settee.
She plunked herself on the settee with a deep sigh, as if exhausted. However, her actions were meant to conceal her mounting suspicions…about…everything.
Without alerting anyone around her, Venomiss sat musing on the settee. She allowed the scent of gunpowder to envelope her nostrils like a sommelier savors a sip of port. Her burgeoning suspicions grew by the second. She deduced— that from the angle of the gunshot wound, coupled with the distinct odor of gunpowder on Mr. Goldman’s jacket, and his haste to recover said jacket from the floor earlier—that…Mr. Goldman had shot himself!
She suddenly felt like she was in a game of musical chairs and the music had stopped. She was the one left without a seat. She worried…perhaps they had found out that she was not who she claimed to be.
Venomiss stood up from the settee and scanned the room’s debris for her cellphone. Finding it in the rubble, she retrieved it quickly avoiding Mr. Nowhere’s diligent cleanup efforts vigorously sweeping debris to one side of the room.
She dialed without speaking. The call connected. Silence answered.
Venomiss hung up and waited.
Moments later, her cell phone rang. Venomiss answered:
“Can we meet? Yes okay. One hour. I’ll be there.”
Hanging up from the call Venomiss explained, “I am going out for some fresh air. I shan’t be too long.”
“I recommend one of us tag-along just in case?” Mr. Zero offered, with apparent sincerity.
“Oh no. I shall be okay. I will be back shortly. Thank you, my friend.”
Venomiss changed her torn jacket, replacing it with her cedar-colored bulky sweater. Its secret lining had everything she needed for a quick escape (cash, weapons in its underarms, identification, prepaid credit cards, and all fully lined in the latest flexible kevlar.)
Unbeknownst to all else present, there was no one on the line when Venomiss answered her cellphone moments ago. The only sounds, which she understood well—were five short clicks from the other end of the line…
Then Venomiss, the former MI6 double agent considered her options. For the first time, she saw her life with unfettered clarity. It was time for the prodigal daughter… to return home.
Striding to the hotel suite’s door, suddenly, she sensed a strange heaviness in the air. It was a familiar omen from her instincts warning her of impending peril. She had always trusted and obeyed that strange heaviness deep in her gut like scripture to her soul.
In the ensuing eerie silence, Venomiss sensed all eyes in the room painting an invisible target on her head with skull candy, as she turned the hotel suite’s main door handle, and walked over the threshold. She closed that door and left for good.
A few minutes later, following the Emergency Exit stairwell’s ground floor access, Venomiss departed Malta’s finest hotel via the cleaning staff entrance (no cameras there).
Then she wrapped her sweater with its generous folds around her shoulders and set off on foot—breathing in the welcomed cool of Malta’s nightfall.
Suddenly, she sensed a queasy quiver at the base of her skull—she was being watched…through a sniper’s scope…
****To Be Continued Next Sunday****