Authors: Anton Swanepoel
Closing her eyes slowly, Laura tilts her head backward, allowing the soft rain to fall on her slender face.The raindrops caress her lips, as a lover’s kiss. In response, Laura slowly parts her lips and runs the tip of her tongue over them, licking up the drops eagerly; the taste is tantalizing. The rhythmic sound of the waves washing against the ocean liner’s hull fifteen decks below helps to calm her thoughts.
Even though it was past midnight, she had to get out of her cabin as her mind was rushing madly, thinking about the past two weeks, losing her job and receiving an invitation from Nick to join her in Spain, a man she has never met before. Now she gives her mind freedom to roam >around, jumping from one happy memory to the next.
Mumbled talking to Laura’s left brings her thoughts back to reality. Slowly, she half opens her right eye. Laura is sitting next to a wooden table at the far port side on the highest open deck of the ship, facing towards the stern of theship. To her left and in front is a stunning large swimming pool that runs right up to a pool bar, allowing one to stand in the pool while being served drinks or snacks from the bar. The bar counter extends 60 feet on either side of the pool to allow people to sit at the bar and talk to the people in the swimming pool. All around the swimming pool is wooden tables with deckchairs, complementing the stunning dark stained wooden floor.
Through her half-open eye, Laura can make out two large men sitting at the bar on her side of the pool enjoying a drink. Only the bartender was on the deck when she arrived, the two men must have arrived later, when she had her eyes closed. Bringing her arm up, she glances at her watch. 1:15am, still around six hours before the ship is to depart for Grand Cayman, which they were scheduled to reach at 6am the next morning. Laura had decided to stay onboard the ship while it overnights at its first stop, Cancun Mexico. Lowering her arm, Laura closes her eye again.
Stealthily, a lone figure slowly moves across the radar deck until it is at the edge of the deck. Taking up a lying position, the figure carefully unslings an M110 sniper rifle, laying it down silently. The rifle is highly customized, fitted with a 30 round extended magazine, night-vision scope with laser sights, a custom silencer, and modified trigger system allowing full automatic fire.
The sniper has a clear view of the entire bow of the ship. Slowly he removes the scope’s lens covers, as if >the people on the deck below were next to him and can hear his slow steady heartbeat. Making one last adjustment to the night scope and laser sight, he takes aim. A single pinpoint laser light shoots out into the darkness, hitting Laura in the chest. The sniper releases the safety on the rifle, his breathing deep and steady, ready for the kill shot.
Unaware of the laser sight feeling her humble left breast, playing with her nipple, erect and visible through her wet cotton blouse, as the laser seeks her heart Laura licks her lips and smiles.
“Evening,” the voice is rough and deep, shocking Laura out of her relaxed thoughts and causing her to jump up in response, almost toppling her chair. A large Russian is standing three feet from her, holding a cocktail drink in each hand. The laser sight had disappeared into the darkness from where it came.
“Apologies if I startled you, care for a drink and company?” The Russian’s tone is softer now, yet his eyes are cold and unfriendly. Laura looks past the man to the bar, and sees that only one man is now at the bar. This Russian must be one of the two she saw drinking together moments ago. The man’s eyes frighten Laura; it is not their unfriendliness, but something in them that tells her to run. A chill runs down her back and she starts to shake lightly.
“Nnnnooo…thank yyou, I amm just llleaving,” Laura manages to stutter out and makes to leave.
The Russian places the drinks on the table as she takes a step forward and to the side to go around him. With shockingly fast speed he grabs her right wrist with his left hand in a vice like grip. A searing pain rips through her arm, and tears starts to form in her eyes, while her legs start to give in.
“Laura, give me the disc, or you will not see the sun rise today.” The Russian’s voice is unemotional; just another target, just another job. Laura is paralyzed with fear; her lips trembling both from the fear and the pain in her arm. She wants to ask how he knows her name, but the Russian’s gaze goes down to his right hand, and Laura follows it with her own as if commanded.
Laura gasps when she sees the gun in his hand, a Walter PPK 32 caliber pistol. This is the first time in her life that she sees a real gun, and it is pointed right at her chest.
With desperation Laura looks over to the bar for help, but both the bartender and the other man are slowly walking towards her, smiling, each with a pistol in their hand. The Russian increases his grip on her wrist, and the pain causes her legs to give in. Laura drops down on her knees in front of him. The Russian releases her wrist, easing the pain in her arm. Thank goodness, he has some humanity in him. All hope is shattered as he grabs Laura by her throat and lifts her off the deck and into the air, causing her to look over his head.
“Give me the disc Laura, this is your last chance,” still with no emotion in his voice. Laura’s feet are dangling in the air, her strength and life leaving her fast. Her head is spinning now, her eyes heavy and her vision hazy. Although she is only in his grasp for a few seconds, it feels like an eternity.
The Russian lowers Laura just enough to allow him to look into her fading eyes, but Laura gives him no such pleasure and turns her gaze up and over his shoulder as the Russian holds her face in line with his left shoulder. So this is how it ends. With her last strength, Laura mentally prepares her final prayer.
A tiny red light comes from above and to the left, out of the darkness, then a quick flash of light.
The bullet takes the Russian in the back of his neck, exiting through his windpipe, missing Laura’s face by inches. The man’s grip fades and both of them fall to the deck. With all her strength Laura keeps her eyes open, staying conscious. The soft rain smears the blood on her face.
Neither the bartender nor the Russian’s friend saw the shot; all they saw is that both Laura and the Russian went down and both men assume that Laura must have a gun and shot their colleague. Both run towards her before she can get up and get a clean shot at them. With effort Laura grabs the rim of the table and pulls herself up from the deck.
Looking over the table and past the two drinks, Laura is just in time to see the bartender lifting his pistol and taking aim, even while running he manages to keep the 10 mm Glock 29 stable and on target. Expertly he gently starts to squeeze the trigger.
There is a strange noise like hail falling on wood as bullets rip into the wooden deck causing splinters to fly in all directions. Two bullets find the bartender, one in the right shoulder and one in the back, his friend takes four bullets, three in the back and one in the head. Both men fall mere steps from Laura. She turns her gaze up into the darkness towards where the flash came from, but her cocktail drink on the table is blocking her view. A pinpoint red light answers her gaze, shining straight into the glass and lighting it up in the most beautiful way as the light dances in the glass. The sniper is aiming directly at her, between her eyes.
A soft moan from the bartender catches Laura’s attention, and looking down she sees him lifting his pistol and aiming at her. His expression is one of satisfaction; he will be the one to score the kill shot even if it is the last thing he does. The red light darts from the drink to the bartender, and instantly his life is cut short as multiple bullets rip into him. His gun falls harmlessly to the floor.
Again, the red light moves back to Laura, this time playing with her lips. For a second, she waits for the bullet to strike, before letting go, slipping back to the wooden deck. As her head clears the table, she hears the glass explode, poisoned vodka stains the tablecloth. Laura hits the deck hard with her head, and a blinding flash of pain goes through her mind, for a moment she clings on, fighting the darkness before fainting.
Laura does not know how long she has been unconscious. The rain has stopped, but her head hurts, and if it was not that she is soaking wet and miserably cold, she would not even bother to open her eyes. Slowly, she opens her eyes, hoping it was all just a bad dream. The act of opening her eyes causes a blinding pain to flash through her head, and she quickly closes her eyes again. Her left temple where she hit her head on the floor has a heartbeat of its own and the world around her starts to spin.
The sound of footsteps on the wet deck startle her, fear filling her body. Laura’s mind is screaming at her to get up and run, but her body does not respond. All she can do is wonder at who the person is.
Is it the sniper coming to finish her off? She can hear the person stopping at each of the men. Is the sniper making sure they are all dead? What will he do to her when he finds her still alive? Will he cut her throat with a knife or shoot her in the…The sound of someone kneeling next to her stops her thoughts dead in their tracks.
“Ppplease don’t kill mmmee” Laura stutters in a whisper.
A warm hand gently touches her right shoulder.
“Do not be afraid, you are safe now.” The voice is soft and gentle, but full of confidence, and Laura relaxes a little. Someone places a warm jacket over her, and then suddenly powerful arms lift her up carefully and carry her away, away from the dead men she does not wish to see. The man’s warm and well-toned athletically built body presses against Laura’s.
Looking up and opening her eyes slowly to see who her rescuer is, she looks directly into his eyes. Piercing blue eyes meet her gaze, drawing her in. Time comes to a stop and their souls communicate through their eyes. Suddenly shock and emotion overwhelms Laura and she bursts out crying. She throws her arms around the stranger’s neck and holds on. Laura becomes dizzy again, but this time she does not mind the darkness taking her, feeling safe in his arms. She lays her head on his shoulder as the darkness takes her.
Four hours later, Laura starts to wake up. Her headache is less, but still uncomfortable. Soft expensive silk linen caresses her body, pressed down by the weight of a thick warm blanket over her. No doubt she must be in a room on the ship, but whose? Not daring to open her eyes yet for fear that if she is not alone they will know she is awake, Laura listens for any movement or talking. Nothing, she must be alone then.
Slowly opening her eyes, she starts taking in the room while lying on her left side. A closed door is in front of her, possibly leading out of the room. There is another door towards her feet, slightly open. Through the opening one can make out that the door leads to the bathroom. Next to the door is a pinewood study desk and matching chair. The room is larger and more upper class than hers, probably one of the First Class rooms. This is not my room, whose room am I in?
“Morning sleepy head,” the voice comes from behind her and gives Laura such a fright that she jumps out of the bed and makes for the door. In the process her left foot gets entangled in the bedding, tripping her, and she falls flat on her face on the floor. Luckily the floor is carpeted with a soft plush carpet that breaks her fall, hurting only her pride. The man kneels beside Laura, while openly laughing at her.
“Well now, it seems you have not yet woken up.”
Laura turns her head to look at him, brilliant blue eyes meet hers, washing away all anger at him.
His smile is contagious and Laura cannot help but smile back. A lock of her hair falls over her eyes and she blows it out of the way, only for it to fall down over her eyes again, blocking her view of the man’s athletic body. Without warning the man effortlessly picks her up and sits her down on the edge of the bed, then sits down next to her.
He has on running shoes, with black tracksuit pants and an UnderArmour short sleeve compression t shirt, showing every muscle. It looks like he is ready to go to the ship’s gymnasium. While Laura is still admiring his toned muscles rippling under the shirt, he suddenly says, “Well, shall we do this?”
Laura is so taken aback by his comment, she cannot get a word out. The man is attractive, but this is moving a bit fast for her. He gets up and starts walking to the door.
“Oh, by the way, I am Victor.”
Laura’s mind is still confused and all she can get out is, “Do what?”
Victor stops and slowly turns his head so that he is looking at her over his shoulder. He makes no attempt to hide looking at Laura’s body, 5ft 4 inches, slender petite build with soft green eyes, long flowing red hair and humble breasts, B-cup Victor guesses.
Laura’s body responds to his look and her nipples harden, she starts to blush, and Laura is at a loss as what to do.
Suddenly Victor turns his head forward again and continues to the door while answering her. “Your talk with the police, they have been bothering me to wake you up since I informed them about you, there is an agent just outside the door waiting for you now.”