They arrived at the site around 2 in the morning. Angela had fallen asleep by then and Nic ended up having to carry her upstairs. They were going to some apartment building this time. Rick had gone ahead to lead the way while Amber was the second person. Followed by them was Nic. He had to be extra careful when he was trying to balance Angela. Wallace and Yvonne stayed back a little–with Wallace being the last one to follow. It was like he knew there was something up and didn’t want to take any chances. And it was like his past abilities were coming back slowly so he was beginning to take the rein on things more and more on the way there.

When they were upstairs, Rick arranged for the girls to stay in one room while the guys took the other room. That also meant Nic had to put Angela down in one of the rooms and leave. He’d stayed with Angela in her room this morning because he was trying to calm her down. Then he had no choice but to take the floor. Last time, it was three rooms so he could stay, but now? He didn’t want to make it too difficult for them.

“I’ll leave her to you two,” Nic whispered.

Amber nodded since Yvonne was still talking to Wallace and Rick about something.

“We can’t stay here long,” Wallace suddenly said.

They were still standing in the girls’ room so Nic was still lingering behind and heard it.

“What?” Nic asked, still remembering to whisper so as not to wake Angela up.

“I have a hunch they’re onto us,” Wallace said, turning to Nic.

“You’ve got to be kidding me, right?” Nic returned, feeling like he didn’t know Wallace anymore.

“You saw something downstairs?” Rick asked, his face showed traces of worry.

Wallace nodded. “Two cars didn’t look right. They might be stationed here to follow us.”

“Who in the world are you really?” Nic blurted out. “Jason Bourne?”

“Not funny,” Rick told Nic, his expression dead serious. “And Jason Bourne didn’t have a past flame that wouldn’t let go of him, okay?”

“I’m just trying to lighten the mood here.”

“Old Nic didn’t mean it,” Wallace spoke up again, feeling like he should defend Nic after all these years knowing Nic.

“Suit yourself,” Rick mumbled. But he didn’t linger. “But you said we have to leave again?”

“We should go by the backdoor.”

“But our cars…” Nic jumped in.

Wallace scanned the room a bit before returning his eyes to Nic. “You and I will divert them away from here while the others go first. Then once we lost them, we’ll meet up with Rick and the others again.”

“But what about Angela? I mean she’s still…”

“I’ll carry her,” Rick volunteered.

“You will not!” Angela yelled out at that time.

Their disagreement had awakened her and she was still stirring so she didn’t speak up yet. But now that she heard them talking about her, she had to state her position.

“Now I don’t have to anymore,” Rick pointed out.

“No, wait,” Nic suddenly said. “Jason Bourne had a son in book 4, remember? So he did have a different family in the past.”

The others gave him a look around then.

“Is it really time?” Amber asked, her expression implied she was questioning Nic’s sanity.

“That’s a rip-off, okay?” Rick argued, not caving in either. “Robert Ludlum only wrote three parts.”

“Guys,” Wallace interfered. “We don’t have time.” He paused his eyes on Nic. “Nic, are you game for this? If not, you can hand the keys to Rick and I can’t promise it’s going to be back in one piece.”

Nic nodded without hesitation. “I’m good.”

“What are you guys talking about?” Angela asked, wrinkling her face in confusion.

She probably didn’t wake up in time to hear about the part with the diversion.

“We’re going to be the target for those two cars downstairs to chase,” Wallace explained, looking at Angela. “You and the rest are going to go with Rick. We’ll meet up with you later.”

Angela’s expression had turned from confusion to shock. “What? Ge…”

“I’m going to do it,” Nic said. “That’s what we came here for, right? To help.”

Angela shook her head. “I’m going with you.”

As if that had triggered something, Yvonne grabbed onto Wallace’s shoulder. But before she could say anything, Wallace shook his head.

“You’re not coming with me,” Wallace said. “They need you here.” He looked at Amber then. “Grab a hold of her, Kid.”

Amber nodded, actually grabbing onto one of Yvonne’s arm.

As if reassured already, Wallace turned to Nic. “Let’s go.”

“Ge!” Angela yelled louder.

It was then that Amber reached out her other hand to grab Angela as well.

“Let go of me!” Angela protested. “You crazy witch!”

Amber turned to Rick then. “You take care of Yvonne, I’ll deal with her.”

Rick didn’t need to be told a second time, he grabbed onto Yvonne’s arm and yanked her along as they made their way out of the room that was supposedly the girls’ temporary habitat. He led them down the opposite hallway that Wallace and Rick had disappeared from–after they’d left the small apartment.

“Quiet down already,” Amber chided Angela. “You want to kill all of us? Your brother’s effort would be in vain if you keep this up.”

Angela knew Amber was right, even if she didn’t want to agree with Amber, so she piped down. Even Yvonne had returned to her confident self at that point and didn’t need any guidance from Rick anymore.

“You’re right, we can’t let the guys down,” Yvonne said.

They continued down the hallway and were able to find some side staircase. As they descended though, they were met with some strangers walking up. They tried to act normal, just like a few friends hanging out and were on the way to the lobby–or some possible leisure place that was outside this building. The other group of four seemed harmless as well. The more they tried to act normal, knowing they shouldn’t let paranoia get to them. Yet the inevitable happened when the two groups got closer. They had somehow lined up, piling down the staircase and making it easier for the other group to pass as well. Amber was the one going first, next was Angela, followed by Yvonne, and then Rick. However, a gleaming knife was spotted as soon as the other group came even closer.

“Careful!” Amber yelled out.

“Hey!” Angela cried out somewhere around them.

Amber had reached behind her since spotting the knife to shove Angela down thus causing the outcry. Angela, of course, hadn’t seen the knife so she had reacted with the usual protesting attitude. And Angela didn’t get to see the knife the next following seconds either. Amber was grabbing her and shoving her back and forth as Amber tried to dodge from the knife person’s attack.

“Run!” Amber yelled again.

By this time, Yvonne and Rick already made a move. They had engaged in a fight with the other three. Not long after, Angela finally realized why Amber was shoving her back and forth. She wasn’t that clueless. It was hard not to miss that Yvonne and Rick had attacked the other parties of the other group as well. She soon cooperated with Amber and tried to dodge out of the way.

“Run!” Amber called out again.

Angela felt a shove from Amber and then her hand was free. She turned around to see that the others were still being held behind by the four men in maintenance uniforms. She heard another cry from Amber so she turned back to face the steps. Just when she was making her way down, another group of men was making their way up toward her. She turned around in time to see Amber kicked the other guy out of the way, having disarmed him already. Yvonne and Rick weren’t far behind. They had successfully defeated two. There was one left.

“Amber!” Angela suddenly called.

Amber knew Angela wasn’t just calling her out of the blues for nothing. She turned to that direction in time to see more coming. She rushed forward and grabbed onto one of Angela’s hands and shoved Angela behind her again, dealing with the threat.

“Oh shoot,” Rick uttered at that time.

Angela turned his way in time to see more men in maintenance uniforms coming from upstairs. They probably had separated into two groups, wanting to corner the four here.

“Who are you people?” Angela demanded.

“Save your breath,” Amber told her.

Amber was still fighting and trying to protect Angela at the same time. It was getting tiring but they had no choice.

“Up or down?” Rick suddenly blurted out.

Rick sounded like he was tired and had lost it or something. Or so Angela thought.

“Down,” Yvonne responded. “There’s no way we’re going back upstairs.”

Then Angela understood that it was Rick and Yvonne’s way of communication.

“Watch out!” Amber suddenly yelled.

That was when Angela felt another shove and then something wet dripping down her hand. She turned to check her hand to see blood. But the strangest thing was she didn’t feel the pain.

“Go, go, go!” Amber yelled again.

Angela felt a shoved then and she was somehow rolling downstairs before she knew it. Then she realized they were on the ground floor already as she managed to get up–without breaking any bones. She checked the exit to see if there was any more of those maintenance men coming around. No signs of them.

“Go!” Amber barked again.

Angela pushed the door out slightly and checked to see if there was anyone else coming. It was so dark outside. She couldn’t tell. Soon, she felt a wet hand on hers. She turned around alarmed, but it was only Amber. Amber pushed the door out all the way to let the night air in. Angela risked a turn around to check on Yvonne and Rick.

“Come on,” Amber urged, grabbing Angela’s hand. “They know how to take care of themselves.”

Angela was still worried but she followed Amber’s instructions anyway. She still couldn’t see in the dark night.

“This way,” Amber said, tugging Angela along.

They rushed down the path and steered toward a side path before Amber stopped. Angela could finally spot some objects in the dark. The streetlight somewhere nearby was aiding her cause. Soon, they heard some more ruptures and rapid clanking sounds. Angela didn’t want to panic, but she couldn’t help feeling anxious that those men were really coming after them.

“It’s not them,” Amber assured her, her tone a whisper. “Yvonne and Rick managed to seal the door.”

Angela didn’t believe Amber. But she soon spotted Yvonne and Rick rushing toward their way.

“Over here,” Amber called out, still managing to keep her voice low.

Yvonne and Rick quickly made their way toward them.

“How long would it last?” Amber whispered to Yvonne.

“Awhile unless they circle around,” Yvonne replied. “Let’s get out of here.”

“I’ll call for a car,” Rick volunteered.

“No, don’t.”

Rick wrinkled his face in confusion. “Why not?”

“I don’t know how we’ve been followed but calling the agency now will give away our location.”

“You think it’s an inside job?”

“How else could it explain this attack?”

“But we can’t just travel on foot like this. It’s going to be morning in several hours. We won’t be able to catch up with Wallace and Nic. And Amber needs medical aid ASAP.”

“I’m fine,” Amber said in the dark.

It was then that Angela realized the person injured was Amber. She had thought she was the one injured but she had blocked that off because of the danger so she didn’t feel the pain. Now that she found out Amber was the one actually injured, it made sense why she could feel that wetness spreading wider yet she still couldn’t feel the pain. It was because Amber had been holding onto her hand and guiding her out the door and was still on guard to grab her to run at any time so she was able to feel the blood spreading.

“Amber…” Angela called out, feeling guilty because she knew Amber must have gotten injured trying to protect her.

It was like Amber understood from Angela’s voice. “It’s not your fault. I persuaded Yvonne to let you come along, didn’t I?”

“We have to get out of here,” Rick reminded them again.

“Turn off GPS first,” Yvonne said.

After she said that, she had gotten her cell phone out and shut the feature off. Rick was doing the same with his. Angela didn’t need to be told the second time, she reached into her pocket to turn off her GPS.

“I don’t have a phone,” Amber murmured, telling them they didn’t have to worry about her.

When Yvonne was done shutting off her GPS, she pocketed her phone again before tearing off a piece of fabric from her blouse. She turned to Angela and gave it to her. Angela didn’t know what was going on but hold onto the piece of fabric anyway. Yvonne reached for Amber’s right hand and tried to roll her shirt sleeves up. That was around the time Rick poured something onto Amber’s hand. Angela could see Amber wincing, but she didn’t cry out. Yvonne then took the piece of fabric back from Angela and wrapped it tightly on around Amber’s hand.

“That’ll have to do for now.”

Amber nodded.

“Let’s go,” Yvonne said, turning to Rick. “It’s desperate times, and we didn’t mean it.”

Rick nodded, seeming like he knew what that meant. “Okay.”

Yvonne then turned back to Angela. “That way.”

Angela didn’t need to be told a second time either. She guided Amber toward the direction that Yvonne pointed. They continued down that narrow alley until they reached the other side. It was also then that Rick did a routine scan. He took out a set of keychains before making his way to a dark sedan. Yvonne signaled for Angela to wait when Angela made a move to follow Rick. It was until Rick successfully started the car that he waved them forward.

“Come on,” Yvonne urged, tugging Angela’s arm.

“What?” Angela uttered, confused.

“Either this or die,” Amber told Angela, dragging her along as she made her move.

Angela finally knew what Yvonne meant about the ‘desperate time’ comment. They were carjacking.

“We’ll leave it at somewhere safe,” Amber assured Angela as they were already in the backseat–and Rick had pulled out of the spot. “And we’ll forward some money into his or her account later as compensation.”

Angela didn’t look convinced. Yet when she turned to look straight ahead, she spotted Yvonne reading some registration information she found in the front compartment. Yvonne was actually snapping a picture of the information. After she was done, she placed the information back into the compartment. Angela also realized that Rick and Yvonne were both wearing gloves.

“Don’t get blood on the seat,” Yvonne said suddenly.

Angela was finally able to see the amount of blood on Amber’s sleeve. She gasped, reaching for Amber’s hand.

“Here,” Yvonne said.

Angela could see that Yvonne was attempting to take off her coat.

“No, don’t,” Angela said, remembering how Yvonne had already ripped off a piece of her blouse earlier–and had to button her coat up earlier before to cover up. She didn’t want Yvonne to be exposed any more than that. She took her own coat off and wrapped it around Amber.

Amber didn’t say anything but just sent Angela a rare smile. Angela didn’t want to push it so she just returned the smile before looking straight ahead again.

*****

Wallace and Nic were lucky. They managed to divert the two cars to two different locations before heading toward the meeting location. Rick had to call Wallace up later to tell him of the location. Rick had also remembered to tell Wallace to turn off GPS. Wallace, of course, had passed the information to Nic when he called Nic up.

“Are we lucky or what?” Wallace said when he spotted them by the harbor. Then he could see Amber’s pale face. “Kid, what happened?”

Amber smiled, not showing fear. “I didn’t let you down.”

Wallace returned the smile and directed his eyes further down her body and finally spotted her injured hand. “What a gamble, Kid.”

“Where are we going to go now?” Rick asked, walking over to them.

Rick had to make sure no one was really around before joining them at the spot.

“I mean we can’t call back to ask for information,” Rick continued.

“I had a feeling it’s an inside job since I spotted those two cars,” Wallace said.

“Yvonne said it was an inside job too when we almost got nabbed.”

Wallace suddenly directed his attention toward Yvonne, pondering what other suspicions she had. And if it was similar to his.

“There’s one thing we can do though,” Wallace said, trying to regain himself, not wanting his mind to drift any further. He needed to focus, like saving his wife. “We call up the agency, asking for information. But that would set those people up again. Then we allowed ourselves to be captured.”

“What?” Angela jumped in. “That’s crazy! We nearly escaped this time. And now Amber’s injured.”

“I meant only some of us would end up getting captured while the rest of you hide somewhere safe and wait for us.”

“What?”

“When we get captured, they will probably bring us back to their boss. Then we could find Tammy without any more senseless analysis from the agency’s system.”

“That’s a good plan,” Yvonne said. “But it’s too risky.”

“That’s why I need to do it.”

Yvonne shook her head. “No, I’m going with you.”

“No, you’re not.”

“Quit arguing,” Rick interfered. “Angela and Nic will stay with Amber. I’ll go with you two.”

“But Yvonne…” Wallace objected.

Rick shook his head. “You’re always the same, whether you remember or not. But I think this time, we should let Yvonne come along. Even if we don’t successfully save Tammy, at least the four of us will end up going together.”

Rick obviously meant ‘death’.

“That’s crazy,” Angela jumped in. “You’re all crazy.”

Rick smiled, not offended at all. “Yes, we are.”

“Guys, come on,” Nic finally spoke up. “Stop joking around. We don’t have time.”

Rick looked at Nic then. “I wasn’t joking.”

“Wallace?” Nic called out, knowing talking to Rick was impossible.

“You don’t have to make that decision anymore,” A voice from somewhere said. “You’re all going to have to die sooner or later.”

That was when they realized they’d been followed.

“But how?” Nic asked as they all turned around at the same time and tried to shield their eyes of the blinding white light coming their way.

“GPS,” That same voice answered, still not emerging from those overly high voltage lights.

“What?”

“You think turning off your phone is clever. But you didn’t check if we planned some chips beneath your cars or not.”

“Damn,” Wallace muttered under his breath.

“So we decided what was the harm of playing along for a little longer, right? That was when I told my men to disperse. They pretended they’d been misled already. So it was too easy to follow you when you met up with the rest of your team.”

The person belonging to the voice finally emerged as he said those last words.

“Samson,” Wallace blurted out before his mind could register what was going on.

“That’s right, Mr. Huo,” The voice confirmed. “It looks like you’re back. But what’s even better, Mr. and Mrs. Huo are back together.”

Amber and Angela turned to look at Wallace then, pondering what he would say next. Yvonne, on the other hand, had stepped forward.

“Samson, if you think you’re so smart, then release Tammy immediately,” Yvonne said in an authoritative tone.

Samson laughed around then. It was like he’d just heard the funniest joke ever. “Are you ordering me? You obviously think that everyone is scared of that lousy agency. Let me enlighten you, you’re surrounded. So it’s best that you follow us back or I’m forced to leave some bodies behind.”

“Yours?” Wallace taunted, stepping forward and standing next to Yvonne.

“You two are as funny as always,” Samson continued, like he was just catching up with them during tea time. “You know how I found out you’re the Huos? Thanks to…”

“Yeah, inside man, right?” Yvonne cut him off. “Who is the rat?”

“Clever,” Samson complimented, his voice reeking of mockery. “You two are a match all right.”

“Get to the point,” Wallace said.

Samson smiled. He was definitely enjoying making them nervous. “Impatient, aren’t we?”

“Let Tammy go.”

Samson looked like he was thinking things over. He gave them a brief scan before giving Wallace a taunting glare again. “What if I want you to exchange for her?”

Samson had pointed at Yvonne when he said the last word.

“No deal,” Both Wallace and Rick blurted out at the same time.

Samson’s taunting look intensified upon hearing that. “It seems like someone’s more popular than the prisoner.” He stopped to rub his beard before making a gesture. “Get them!”

It was then that men in black from all sides stepped forward. Some of them maintaining the surrounding task while the rest tried to restrain them. They were forced to fight once again. This time, Angela and Amber tried to work together as a team. Nic, on the other hand, got some help from the other three. His dodging wasn’t bad either.

“This is our chance!” Wallace yelled over to Rick as he shoved Nic further toward the water.

They were at the edge of the harbor and the place that Nic was standing at now was a short bridge leading out to where the boats were.

“Amber!” Angela yelled out at that time, having seen someone else attacking from the other side.

Nic had spotted that too so he rushed toward them–after some dodging and tried to help. Yet Wallace got there first, managing to get some attackers off Nic’s back.

“You guys have no choice,” Wallace said, lowering his voice all of a sudden. “Water.”

“What?” Nic asked, confused.

Rick didn’t wait for Nic to react. He had read Wallace’s lips. It took two shoves before Nic was back at the bridge.

“Go,” Amber rushed Angela. “That way.”

“What?” Angela asked, her turn to be confused.

“Water,” Amber whispered real quick, shoving Angela toward where Nic was standing.

“Go,” Yvonne yelled their way again.

Before Angela could react, she had been shoved into the water. It was more like a pull. She wasn’t sure.

“Amber, your hand!” Angela managed to yell before they hit the water.

“Angela!” Nic called out. “Amber!”

Nic didn’t need anyone shoving him into the water because he took one look at the others before diving in. When he hit the water, he didn’t care to adjust his breath, he tried to swim to where the other two girls were. Or at least he thought they were there. No signs of them. Soon, he felt a tug on his left foot. He looked down to see both girls trying to hold their breaths below. He saw Amber’s quick signal and then they weren’t moving anymore. He took one look above them and heard some echoes of yelling. He took a deep breath before holding it and submerging into the water completely.

© Friday, June 28th, 2013

Posted: Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

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