Aleksei dove behind a boat, rolled, then ran down the dock. He raised one arm, then the other. A second later a dense cloud enshrouded the entire moorage area within forty metres of him.
Anya stopped herself just in time. Aleksei’s dive nearly ~made her shoot a bullet through his skull. “Idiot, you don’t dive when your enemy is aiming low!” she muttered in anger, realising that if her reflexes had been slower, she would be out of a job.
Mashka saw a cloud erupt from the lake to her right, the field of rising mist gobbling up the docks, expanding her direction. Soon a rush of damp air blew at her, covering her clothes in moisture.
'This isn’t part of the plan, Aleksei!' she thought, as she stared into the thick fog. 'Now my eyesight’s useless…' Before her train of thought could go further she realised something. 'If he needed to lower visibility, they must be shooting! I didn’t hear any projectiles. What’s going on?'
Mashka could only see about three metres into the mist. She now needed to rely on her remaining senses to detect anything. She sighed, lowering barriers and allowing her enhanced hearing and smell to manifest. Immediately she heard the quiet, but hasty steps of her brother, the only one who could be running in these conditions. His blurry visage appeared and, after glancing her direction, vanished back into the mists. She heard him open the door to the boathouse across from her. Now she just needed to wait for the Association agents who were bound to follow.
Anya bit her lip nervously as she climbed down from her perch atop one of the stores. The situation was too calculated, she felt as if everything was going according to someone else’s plans.
The Czech walked up behind her. “Aho, they have made themselves a fortress.”
“Da, I know,” she replied thoughtfully, pulling out a small device with a yellow dot blinking on its screen, “We know where Aleksei is, but we’re blind otherwise. Perfect for an ambush.”
“That is not the worst,” The Czech added, “We can’t sit around, it will only take a moment for them to start a motor and escape. The boy can ‘see’ anything within his fog.”
“So they’ve given us no choice but to play right into their hands.” Anya sighed. “We have to act according to their plan. I would give the credit of this situation to Chekhov, but this is not his style. The mastermind behind this is thinking simply, and is expecting to have less than capable partners.”
“Perhaps it’s the boy?” The Administrator said, walking up from behind.
Anya hopped up to her feet from her prone position. “Excuse me sir? The boy is behind all this?”
The Administrator grinned. “Well, at least part of it. Chekhov probably laid out the complex details, but Aleksei,” he chuckled, sounding almost amused, “His simple idea is what has put us in check, but not checkmate.” He put his hand to his earpiece. “Agents one through five, enter, look out for ambush.”
“They don’t have a chance.” Anya noted.
The Czech smiled, catching on to his boss’ way of reasoning. “No they don’t, but they would take up their time. We move in once the commotion starts.”
“You’re ruthless.” Anya said affectionately to The Administrator.
“I know, it’s half of my charm.”
Five ~pairs of feet thundered on the wooden docks; at least that is how loud they sounded to Mashka. She tried, and failed, to gauge their distance from her, too disconcerted by her overpowered hearing. With a gentle fist, she knocked on the metal wall of the boathouse.
Two knocks replied, John’s way of stating all was ready. He snuck out and found a hiding spot on the opposite side of the building from Mashka.
Her heart quickened, and the reality of the situation hit her. She was lying in wait to take down an enemy who outnumbered them, and could kill with the pull of a trigger. She felt scared.
With the sudden realisation of fear, pain coursed through her. Her perspective changed, she felt pushed out of her own body, like she was watching from a distance, and yet trapped within herself. Her chest rumbled with an eerie hiss and she bared her now sharp teeth. She felt her back bend into an unnatural rise. As the figures finally approached, a voice spoke within her mind, it sounded foreign. It was just one word, “Kill”.
Her heart jumped, 'No, stop!' She could have sworn she had cried out, but her mouth was clamped shut, only opening slightly for her tongue to lick her lips, like a slug crawling across her mouth.
The next thing she knew, she was being dragged forward, by her own body, and running to a tall brunette agent. The woman raised her gun and Mashka found herself looking down a barrel.
She screamed at herself to dodge, but her body seemed to have other ideas. She dove forward, reaching her arm up, to snatch the woman’s wrist. Mashka had moved so quickly, the woman was still trying to process what had happened when she found herself lying on the dock, her wrist bent at a strange angle, her weapon gone, and a bone sticking out from the middle of her forearm. She would have cried out had a fist not hit the side of her skull just then, silencing her.
The commotion attracted the attention of a tall, slender man. He slowed down and turned on his torch. The beam of light revealed two figures, one, a woman, lying down unconscious, the other rising from a crouch over her. For a moment, he thought his co-worker had been successful in taking down subject one. Until the figure’s face turned towards him, and her eyes reflected the light as two bright orbs, he was wrong.
John had heard Mashka dash out. No, it’s too early! he thought, getting ready to come to her rescue. The next thing he heard was a quick shuffle, than a thump, and finally a sickening smack. After a moment of silence, he heard a barely audible growl.
He saw another figure turn on a torch. John emerged, and ran into a third person. The two of them looked at each other in surprise. John recovered faster, grabbing the small man’s muscular arm and twisting it around his back. Then he grabbed the man in a chokehold, cutting off his breathing and circulation. He needed to hurry and help Mashka. Already she could have been caught.
From a buoy on the lake, Evan stood watch. When he saw the mist erupt from the water, and engulf the docks, he knew something was wrong. He was unsure whether he should head in now, or wait for the signal. The plan was, signal or not, for him to enter into the fray in about six minutes. He needed to come in behind the enemy’s second wave. He knew The Administrator would send in the grunts first, and then follow them up with the better agents. That is when he would be needed to make a his entrance, giving the others enough time to get on the plane.
He decided to wait a few moments longer. If he came in too soon, the element of surprise would be gone, and that was what they were counting on.
Aleksei tried to lighten his breathing as he hid in the small tool closet within the boathouse. He had already discarded the tracking device in the lake. Finally the coast felt clear, the sounds of conflict outside of the boathouse had died down. He cracked the door open, taking in his surroundings. The large boat shed was empty, all he saw was the dark water and the dock on the other side of the building. He exited the closet, closing the door gingerly, and was about to make his way to the exit, when he felt an odd presence.
Looking behind him, all he saw was the dock he was on, and a few random crates against the port side of the building. Through the boathouse door, he could see the dark waters of the lake stretch onward into the distance. His mist told him all was peaceful, but still he felt uneasy, tempted to return to his hiding place. His determination got the better of him and he turned around to continue. To his dismay, in front of the door was a dark figure.
“Well, I am lucky today,” the figure wheezed from the shadows. “I have caught you.”
“You,” was all Aleksei could utter, a shiver running up his spine.
Like a flash, the thing was right in front of him delivering a punch to his gut. “You’re mine! The Messenger will take good care of Aleksei.” it chuckled darkly.
Aleksei backed away quickly, bent over in pain, but he could not stay still long. He had to leap backwards to avoid another swipe, then made two back-flips. On the second flip, he also spun around, so he faced away and started running. He felt like he was going to throw up, and he knew he was badly bruised in the gut. Judging by what he heard, the thing was gaining on him quickly. All Aleksei saw in front of him was a dead end, and the large door to the lake.
When he came to the wall, he leapt feet first against it, twisted around and pushed off in one swift motion. He rammed into The Messenger with full force, knocking it to the ground. Aleksei, unable to stop, tumbled head over heels. Getting up, he ran a distance towards the exit, spun around, his legs throwing sweeping kicks in the air. Following after this motion, a wave of mist tore itself from the water and hit The Messenger in the side, just as it was regaining its footing.
The creature braced itself, and stood its ground, as two more clouds struck. Then it dashed forward, leaping first to the roof of the tool shed, then up in the air, to pounce on Aleksei from above. Aleksei turned to run, making a quick hand motion for the mist to rise and hit The Messenger. However, his action was too slow and weak. The Messenger landed, scattering the meagre fog.
Aleksei’s eyes were wide in terror, as he realised he was outmatched. He tried to retreat, gain enough distance to use the lake beneath him. But The Messenger was too fast, and landed a vicious kick to the boy’s chest, knocking the wind out of him and throwing him back.
The force of the blow threw Aleksei’s upper body back, and caused the two charms around his neck to fling out, breaking the string, sending the saintly icons scuttling over the boards of the dock, coming to rest over a crack. The faces of Seraphim and Mary looked on in lifeless compassion and concern.
With a thud Aleksei slammed against the lakeside wall and slid down into a sitting position. His head was throbbing from the impact, and his breath was only barely returning to his lungs, as his eyes closed like curtains, granting dark respite.