Garrison's CreedBy: Cristin Harber
Sighting the target in his crosshairs, Cash Garrison accounted for all of the variables. Wind speed and direction. Distance and range. Now the world would be free of one more bloodthirsty warlord in less time than it would take for the walking dead man to finish his highfalutin champagne toast.
Hours had passed since Cash nestled into place, high-powered rifle held like a baby to his chest. A thousand yards out from the extravagant mansion, he’d burrowed into position, melting into the landscape, and waited for this moment. Antilla Smooth, dressed like the million dollars he made as an arms dealer and unaware of the grim reaper sighting his forehead, made his way past the French doors.
Cash caressed the trigger, knowing exactly how many pounds of pressure it would take to fire the round. He monitored his breaths and heart rate. When his entire body was still, in between beats and respirations, he’d take the bastard out. One less piece of shit strutting on God’s green Earth. The world would be a better place, and Cash’s job for the day would be done. He and the team could find a local bar, find some ladies, celebrate and make a night of it. Good plan.
He adjusted for a breeze, blinked his eyes, counted down his breaths, and—stopped. Stunned. Frozen in place. Heart pounding like a coal-eating locomotive.
A woman in a golden dress and sparkled-out jewelry that’d make royalty jealous wrapped her arm around Antilla. A soldier would sell his last bullet for a kiss from her lips. Cash saw her through his scope as though she stood a mere twenty feet in front of him.
She looked like… but it couldn’t be.
His spotter spoke the direction in his earpiece. “Send it.”
Cash spoke into his mic. “Stand by.”
His spotter whispered again. “Eyes on your target. All conditions accounted for. Go. Send it.”
Nothing. Cash didn’t speak.
Earpiece again. “Go, goddamn it.”
The woman slunk around his bull’s-eye, her beautiful hair piled on top of her head, save for the loose pieces framing her face. Her smile slipped into a laugh. I’ve inhaled gun oil fumes. I’m losing my mind right this second.
“Cash, man. You there?” His spotter grabbed his attention, wrenching him back to reality.
“Here. Yeah, man. Here.”
“Wind from three o’clock. Dropped to five mph. Hold. Target blocked.” The woman draped over the man. This was a nightmare—his nightmare—blasting from the past and slapping him clear off of his prone position and onto his stupefied ass. The spotter spoke again. “Clear. Dial wind right, two mils. Send it… now.”
Heartbeat. Breath. Heartbeat.
Now, they had to move. Fast. He knew the spotter team should be slipping through the thick Maine forest. Cash paused and glanced longer than he needed to confirm the kill. Tuxedoed man on the ground. Kill shot. Dead. Panic attacked the room. People ran, most likely screaming. Security scrambled. Dogs loosed. Barks growing closer. But the woman. The golden silk-draped woman stood still, staring at the busted windowpane in the French doors. No expression. No emotion. Not a drop of anything.
Cash shook his head, clearing the ghost of her image, and focused on his job. One shot, one kill. Just the way he liked it. He cleared the shell and casing from his bolt-action rifle, policed his brass, and snapped to a crouch, erasing any evidence that he had spent hours in the spot. A half second later, he beat feet, sliding down the side of the wooded hill, leaving no trail.
His spotter buzzed in his ear, confirming their meet-up point. “Rendezvous at location A, twenty-two ten.” He could do it. He should do it. He powered down a hill, sliding as dirt gave under his feet. Brush slapped him in the face. Vicious barking closed in. The main house illuminated day-glow bright.
Man, he was going to hear about it for this one. He told his spotter, “Location C, twenty-three hundred hours.”
It took a lot for Roman to break protocol and use his name over the radio frequency, but Cash knew his spotter, his closest friend, was pissed. And an upset Roman was as much fun to deal with as the dogs Cash was about to run back toward.
Not much to do except kill an hour. Cash pulled his earpiece out as Roman cursed again. Nothing good would come at the end of that sentence. Cash laughed. Radio silence wasn’t the best road to take, but it was better than coughing up an explanation of the impossible.