In the morning, we are awakened by gunshots. The cot finally collapses, startling us both. But the two of us quickly reach out for our garments. Finn peers into the window and lets out a stinging oath.
“They’re earlier than expected!” he mutters.
He passes to me a gun and takes a rifle from one of Zamir’s men.
The war is on.
We duck and exit through the back door, which can lead us to the latrine. When his round is finished, he takes the gun that he places near the latrine door. Now I get why he has placed it there. Just in case. He then gives me the other one.
Both of us take down most of Zamir’s men. The other man is disappointed and furious.
“You American bastards! Why don’t you just come out and we talk like civilized people, huh?” Zamir calls out.
We crawl slowly toward the back of the cabin-like house. Some of his men are already there, shooting at us. We quickly retreat, thankful we’re not hit.
“You stay here. I’ll divert his men,” Finn decides.
“But—” I start to protest.
“No buts. Just listen to me, Phoebe. We have to hold our ground until my air support arrives. No matter what. Do you get me, Phoebe?”
I am forced to nod. He captures my face with one hand and gives me a hard kiss on the lips. Then, he is gone.
I check my round. I still have about four bullets left. I hear some more shots that are being exchanged. I close my eyes for a moment.
I crouch and slowly peer to see the back of the house. One of Zamir’s men has his back on me, trying to locate Major Davis in the opposite direction. When he turns around to face my direction, I pull the trigger, and I hit him in the chest. He falls to the ground, and I rest my back against the wall, panting. ‘Shit! I killed a man!’
Okay. Three bullets left. My mind tries to keep track.
I circle around the back of the house when I hear footsteps from the direction of the latrine.
‘The bastard tries to sneak up on me,’ I muse. I run like hell and pick up the dead man’s rifle. It is heavier than I thought. Nevertheless, I carry it and use it when I see him peeking in the direction I just left. He drops to the ground like a log. A big thud indeed.
I hide behind empty boxes while I wait. It is like forever. Even though with the occasional gunshot sounds that echo from a safe distance, it feels like the world is closing in on me. I keep asking myself if this is really my time to die.
Suddenly, I loud explosion shakes my senses. A helicopter not far away flies and hovers above. I have never been so happy to see an air mobile in my life but now.
It’s a miracle! They have also arrived earlier than expected. I’ve even thought Zamir would eventually capture me again.
Some minutes later, Finn finds me in my hiding place. He looks down at me for a moment before he embraces me tightly. My heart jumps joyfully to see that he has made it, though he has a graze in his left arm.
“Thank you for staying alive, Phoebe,” he whispers in my ear.
His fellow Airmen sweep the perimeter.
“How about Zamir?” I query.
“I got him. Alive.” He grins.
I smile at him. Then he holds my hand to escort me to climb aboard the helicopter.
Some hours later, I’ve been able to retrieve the memory card from where I buried it, near the market. Thankfully. I then hand it over to Finn. I don’t know how the military is going to use it, but they are going to identify and trace Zamir’s business partner’s whereabouts. Another thing to be thankful is that he leader they want released stays in his prison.
“Can we have dinner some time?” Finn asks me with serious eyes.
My lips slowly turn upward into a smile. “Sure! I’ll wait for your call… Finn.”
Without even expecting it, he wraps me gently around his arms. “I want to have endless nights with you, Phoebe Shaw, without enemies trying to kill us both.”