The water stirred, foam and bubbles splashed as the waves struck the rocks below. A little girl could feel the mist hitting her face and it tickled her – it was the first time she saw the ocean. An ocean so vast and unfathomable, gentle tides and crashing waves; it was powerful like Daddy and graceful like Momma. A wave was thrown upwards and struck them, soaked through their clothes and laughed in good spirit.
“Mommy, look at the bubbles!”
Annabel splashed her hands at the bathwater, determined to enjoy her bath time as much as she could. Her mother Sylvia scrubbed at her, laughing as she enjoyed this time all the same. Mankind had fought and progressed so far through the centuries, and the world itself before man, to lead to this – a mother bonding with her daughter. Every second of however billions of years of time were worth this one moment of gentle intimacy.
Sirens screamed through the neighborhood, blue and red lights illuminating the dark street corridor. Blue and red flickered on the eyeballs of the neighbors as they grouped outside the burning building, neighbors crying and screaming for their loved ones as firefighters worked to contain the blaze. Bravely, they carried out children and adults, elderly who weren’t as mobile and pets. One family was unaccounted for, and despite their valiant efforts to reach them, a support beam locked them in a bathroom as a mother bathed her child for the last time.
Fire kissed the apartment building, a small 2 bedroom flat that Collins acquired cheaply through a family friend. All of his possessions were there, his paperwork, his T.V. and his family. It was determined to be an electrical fire, a single spark ignited a fire that burned away everything physical thing he had cared about. The fire alarms had failed, and the tenants had no warning before it was too late. The sprinklers never turned on. Collins came home to ashes, words and images blurred as the reality of it set in.
“Sir, you ha…list…she…orry…s..”
A man shook him, but he couldn’t hear anything but a ringing noise. He staggered, turned away and tried to find a place to sit down. No tears, just ash stuck to his face; the neon signs of the bar across the street burned into his mind.
Fire kissed his lips as Collins gripped the back of the singer’s hair, her muscles losing tension against his.
“We really shouldn’t, I have guests coming soon,” she mumbled through his caress.
He had already wrestled his shirt off, toned with lust beading down his chest. A raw, primal power was at her fingertips as soon as she gave the word.
“Really now?” Collins danced her into the closet while still locked in an embrace, he was as graceful as he was strong.
“You’re so bad, maybe I’ll write a little song about you.” Blood rushed their faces as a person knocked at the door.
“Hello! I would love to speak to the lady of the evening, I’m a big fan if you can spare one moment.”
Collins pursued her but she made attempts to break away. She was not the spontaneous type, but something about this gentleman broke her – she was in a closet with a total stranger in a venue.
“I’ll be right there!”
He sighed, but a smile lit his face.
“You’re going to leave me just like that?”
“I make a living from my music, so stay here and don’t make a peep Lover Boy.”
“What if I get lonely in here?”
“Then you’ll just have to be jealous, now won’t you?” She smirked as she shook her head and gathered her appearance. She grabbed a hair pin as she puffed up her hair.
“I’m so sorry for the wait, I was just freshening up,” She spoke softly as the two barrels of a gun greeted her at the door warmly; shots fired.
Olivia watched one of the two men from the bar head directly for the singers room. This was not planned for, and she needed to take a precaution.
She ordered two vodka martinis, one for her and the other for the man at the bar. The bartender handed him the drink, and pointed his confusion to the brunette who took up to shooting sultry glances at him from across the room.
He looked worried, she thought, as he casually waved at her.
“He’ll be easy,” she said to herself. She noticed a concealed 9mm pistol earlier, and figured they would be trouble. Olivia needed to identify all potential factors in the operation, her paycheck depended on her expertise and she wasn’t going to lose to neglect.
“Alone, are we?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m with my friend; he went to see –“
“I’m not really interested in your friend,” she moved her hand to his thigh. He jumped, but didn’t move.
“I um, I really appreciate the drink but I’m involved with somebody.”
She felt the gun, strong and powerful. She needed to take control, and quickly.
“You think she doesn’t have her own fun? You’re very naïve, little boy.”
She straddled his lap, rubbing his face in her hands. He struggled but she was in control – Alwin was going nowhere. He tried to leap up with a gunshot deafened the room, but a knife met his throat.
“You’re going to stay right here and enjoy yourself,” the words wisped from her lips, wrapped in a sinister grin. The edge of the blade drew a drop of a blood as she pressed it against his throat; he knew if he made a move he more than likely wouldn’t live to make another. She kissed him slowly, biting his lip. Olivia was in complete control.
Sam screamed in pain as a hairpin was jabbed into his arm, recoiled and writhed as his arm bled heavily. Two bullets had shattered the window behind the singer, and caused Collins to break out of the closet gun in hand, half-dressed but coiled like a pit viper ready to strike at any moment. Olivia realized the plan was somewhat awry when she heard Sam’s screaming, and threw herself off the cop to come to Sam’s aid. The target was the only one that needed to be neutralized, so taking a cop’s life on top of a failed mission would not have a pleasant outcome. She just needed to be careful in their escape.
The crowd was frantic, confused and scared. Taking advantage of this, Olivia escaped into the mass hysteria taking place as cover until she could get to Sam.
“Stop right there!” Alwin aimed his weapon to the girl who forced herself on him, but quickly lost her in the shuffle. The gunshot came from the dressing rooms, and realized Collins could have run into trouble – the femme fatale was involved somehow. His mind raced, as he ran to the back area of the establishment.
Sam dragged himself behind a bar, and tied his tie around his arm to help the bleeding. Remembering his goal, he gripped his gun Lilith and took a deep breath. Olivia slid beside him, bewildered by wetness on his jacket.
“This should have been simple! We need to get out of here now.”
“Did you see here, where did she go?!”
“The bitch is gone, Sam. But we have a bigger problem – there’s a pissed off meathead cop and his slut partner between us and our exit.”
Sam peeked past the counter and saw a shirtless man with a pistol raised, and another, more stealthy man with his pistol lowered hiding and searching the area. This was big trouble.
“I’m going to give you cover, run to the back door and pull the fire alarm. We’re running out of time, I can hear the sirens coming already.”
Sam struggled with his arm and had trouble aiming and firing but shattered a glass picture frame behind Collins with six shots near simultaneously. Collins dived to the floor, crouching under a small table while Olivia flew behind the counter and down a hallway. Alwin returned fire towards Olivia and caught her in her left leg; it had only grazed her and she reached the fire alarm. Water rained down as the sprinklers came to life, the strobe lights flashed as the alarm screeched through the tension in the room.
“Who are you!” Collins yelled at the man behind the bar.
“Collins! They are trying to make a break for it! Get between them!”
Collins started making a move between the bar and the back hallway. Alwin could see the plan – the armed man makes a cover for the woman to make a diversion for their escape. Alwin also realized the fire alarm was not the only diversion when he saw a grenade releasing tear gas roll near him. Sam ran past a wheezing shirtless threat, taking a second’s glance to remember his face.
“I spare you because you are not my enemy. But I can’t promise your safety. There’s someone who will not be happy with you.”
Water beaded down Sam’s face as he spoke; Collins choked on the vicious gas that filled the room, but noticed the familiar handkerchief that Sam wore. He lay on his back; water drenched his clothes and seeped through his skin. Sirens wailed and firefighters rushed to his side. The silver lining, Collins thought to himself, no ashes.