The Remaining Equations

Chapter 2 of the Tag Team Fiction Challenge

Chapter 1 (alto):

For the ninth time in the same number of minutes, he pulls back his fleece jacket glancing at his TAG. Fourteen minutes before six am. A quick mental calculation reminds Brandon that when they dock they will have, at the most, half an hour. Precision is the goal. They are five; four more than their intended target.

The pre dawn morning is chilly and wet. An unspoken, collective intention hangs heavy in the fog. Brandon is the first break the silence.

“Last chance to pull out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

When Audra responds after several seconds, her words are clipped, abrupt.

“Wow, that’s convenient Brandon, isn’t it? No, you didn’t warn any of us, did you? And that, you careless fuck, is why we are here.”

Her grey eyes hold his gaze half a second longer than required. Brandon is the one to look away first.

“Fucking ice princess”, he says to himself.

From the treeline 200 yards away, the one with everything to gain and nothing to lose watches the five disembark from the ferry. Years of training have allowed him to remain unseen, though if he had been, his hands would reveal the smallest of shakes. He’s waited so long for this the anticipation is epic. The man smiles and closes his eyes; so close he can almost smell them.

Chapter 2:

“It’s too dark. I don’t like this.”

“Shut up.”

The air-filtered light seeped through the holes in the walls in blurred grey lines. The reluctant sun seemed to agree with Diedre’s assessment; tried, but ultimately failed to deliver its potential.

The five ascended slowly. Every now and then they passed a window and Brendan silently counted. That was the fourth, they should be close now.

Someone behind him bumped and grunted. He cursed in his mind for the amateurish theatrics. He shouldn’t have let them tag along, no matter what. They thought they were needed, that they could protect each other, perhaps even him when it comes down to it. But Brendan never needed protection, he was a pro after all. All he needed, was time.

Time was against him, so he did what foolish people do, he raced it. He increased his steps and after a few steps beyond the fifth window, he stopped before the thick heavy door.

“I have a bad feeling about this. We should turn back.”

No one in known history turns back when confronted with a door, a bad feeling, and the prospect of the unknown.

Brendan turned the handle and pushed.


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