Authors: David Leadbeater
Copyright © 2013 by David Leadbeater
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher/author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
All characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
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“They call me depraved and deceitful, the most dangerous man in the world. But I’m just a man. I live and breathe and bleed just like they do. They call me inhuman, but I was born in blood, in battle. What do they expect? I am the Blood King. I am the nightmare made flesh, the terrorist they really should be scared of. And I . . .”
Dmitry Kovalenko stared through the bars of his cell, speaking
to the stale air, to the heavy silence that marked the passage of time.
“. . .
I am coming. Right into your homes.”
The message fell on deaf ears. The cells around him were empty, the guards occupied elsewhere.
The maximum security prison, a research facility according to the sparse signage scattered around the lonely desert approach, sat baking in the Nevada heat. In the ancient silence of Death Valley there was no one to hear a prisoner scream.
Kovalenko waited. The appointed hour was almost here.
Finally. The last few months of incarceration had passed quickly for him, so caught up was he in the formulation of his greatest plan. Countless hours had passed whilst he studied the filthy ceiling, tracking the nightly movements of spiders and other bugs, fine-tuning ideas that he would then run past his new trusted lieutenants, Mordant and Gabriel. They were his now. Loyal to a fault and deadlier than VX gas, in a perverse way Kovalenko was glad to have been incarcerated with them. It was only with their terrible, invaluable help that he would see his violent, outrageous plan brought to fruition.
No good deed
His thoughts turned briefly to other matters, to the smug team that had put him in here and their various key figures. They would all experience the deepest devastation before the coming week was out.
The distant sounds and movem
ents started as they always did when the guards prepared to release a group of prisoners from their cells to get breakfast. The guards worked their routines efficiently and carefully, but, by necessity, the schedule never varied. The Blood King shuffled forward, hampered by ankle chains, holding the gaze of every guard he passed, as he always did, demonstrating the unbending iron will of a man who was prepared to blow up the entire world just to get his way if he had to.
, the short line of prisoners passed along the cell block and down a ramp. A group of men, the first bunch, were just finishing up. Kovalenko saw Mordant, the big, well-muscled albino, and Gabriel, the powerful, wiry African, among them, and knew the time was at hand.
, although he had never seen the outside of this prison, he knew exactly what would be happening up there.
’t take many capable and determined men to organize the kind of assault designed to throw a previously undisturbed facility into total chaos. Around two dozen soldiers would be operating up top, some choppered in from the surrounding desert, others driving tourist SUVs from nearby Las Vegas by way of Pahrump. They would be pounding the fences, striking what they could reach of the main facility and its communications room. And the guards would react, some leaving the mess hall as orders were barked at them by their superiors . . .
realizing that the real attack was about to strike like a hammer blow from within.
Mordant and Gabriel ros
e fast, emanating such a sense of terror they might have been rampaging demons, and took hold of the nearest guard. These two men were truly frightening, they were ex-Special Forces soldiers from an insanely proficient covert unit, mercenaries from hell, men who got into it for the battle and the bloodshed and never looked back. They could have dispatched the guard in less than a second, but instead took their time, holding him and making him scream so that every guard in the room focused on them.
Weapons swung around.
The sudden sound of gunfire caromed off the walls, lead slugs zinging and crisscrossing paths. Kovalenko didn’t flinch. Instead, he watched the guards themselves convulse, targeted by one of their own. The single man he had been able to buy.
Sullivan’s face twitched manically as he aimed and fired his weapon. His new friends ‘up top’ had carefully introduced him to the finest things that wealth and privilege had to offer these past few months after understanding early that an escape could not be properly facilitated without the help of a guard. Now he proved just how far he would go to partake of his nefarious dreams, shattering apart the men he worked with. The ones he couldn’t take down—the guards protected by their wall-mounted bulletproof cages—he left for the time being, to be dealt with momentarily.
Kovalenko watched as Sullivan crossed ov
er to a control panel, input a code, and released all the other prisoners. The riot would start down here, the prison to be left under the control of the inmates. It was all just a smoke screen though, every act facilitating and masking the escape of the Blood King.
was at his side, but Kovalenko didn’t acknowledge him at first, he was too interested in watching the guards hidden behind their cages get their just desserts. Never again would they stare hatefully into his eyes. Some of the inmates used a mixture of detergent and chemicals found in a key-coded cleaning cupboard, which Sullivan had unlocked, to start a small localized fire underneath the cages. The Blood King settled back to watch. It would take some time, but the guards would either have to come out to face the prisoners or die of smoke inhalation if they weren’t rescued. Kovalenko saw every one of them scream into their radio headsets.
It reminded him of Mordant
’s presence. “Time to go?”
’s deep voice was emotionless. “It’s now or never.”
“Lead the way.”
Kovalenko followed the bald albino across the mess hall and into a small square unadorned room, one of many on the lower floor of this facility. Behind a gray metal door at one end stood the familiar oblong glass panel signifying a lift shaft entrance.
Kovalenko frowned. “
Is this right?”
Gabriel spoke from behind, guttural tones practically making the air cringe around him. “
It’s smoke and mirrors. Dey’ll see you on camera.” The African loped forward like a puma chasing a gazelle, pressed a button to open the doors, and deposited a churning bowl of liquid inside. “Confusion is our friend.”
“The battle up top should be
raging by now.” Mordant swung Kovalenko toward another door. “Let’s go.”
His voice was intentionally loud, signaling all
those who had been chosen to escape. Sullivan joined them, along with half a dozen inmates who had agreed to offer themselves as cover just for the chance of breaking free. It was almost certainly the only chance they would ever get.
waited for Sullivan to input the code, then threw open the door and raced up the concrete steps. In addition to the code, two guards’ thumbprints would be needed to exit at the top level, so Gabriel had thoughtfully brought along the severed appendage of one of Sullivan’s colleagues. The stream of men leaped upward two steps at a time, heads down, expecting no resistance and getting none. Bare peeling walls passed them by. The dizzying turnaround at every mini-level made Kovalenko feel light-headed by the time they reached the final platform.
Before them stood the exit door.
Sullivan immediately stepped forward, holding his weapon low, and input the code, finishing by pressing his thumb to the small scanner lock. Gabriel followed suit and every man held their breath and then sighed as the little security device flashed red.
’t have initiated lockdown yet,” Mordant said confidently. “It takes warden approval and
back home, all in pieces. These clowns are still sittin’ with their thumbs up their asses, waiting for him to get in. Try it again.”
Sullivan and Gabriel stepped up again, and this time
, after a short delay, the lights flashed green. The sound of the door unlocking was more soothing to Kovalenko’s ears than the trickle of Southern Cross vodka into a frozen shot glass.
Something else he would be enjoying come evening.
Mordant stepped cautiously out into the corridor beyond, a steel-walled rat run with no doors, no windows and another security scanner at its far end. Hopefully by now the men downstairs were taking out the security cameras—they had been left with half a dozen rifles, not to mention tasers and other more makeshift weapons. Kovalenko thought it would be interesting to monitor the evolving situation below, to see who came out on top, who failed, who lived and died and who bled the most, but this time his own plans were far more appealing.
Maybe another time, another place.
Sullivan stepped up and shot out the caged CCTV camera. Kovalenko mused on the fact that the success of this mission would be subject to more than one fortunate situation, but it was the only chance he would get, and he had made sure all the best players were on his side. Mordant beckoned Sullivan and Gabriel forward again, skull shining under the bright lights. The dome-shaped head looked unnatural, adding to the man’s ferocious appearance. If any man could be said to be born with one foot already in the Devil’s door, Mordant the albino was that unfortunate man.
The door c
licked open and Mordant pushed his way through. The chaotic scene beyond provided a soothing balm for the Blood King’s aggravated mind. Through a set of thick iron bars lay a large open-plan office. Cluttered desks and partly concealed cubicles took up the floor space. To a man, the prisoners fanned out and stared at the long row of windows beyond, seeing daylight for the first time in a long while. A hubbub of cursing, shouting and harsh exclamations imbued into the office a desperate atmosphere. Most of the assembled guards and administrators were assembled in front of the expanse of windows, staring out and shaking their heads. Others were shouting into a phone, gazing at their colleagues as if they might see through them to the tumult beyond. Even from where he stood, Kovalenko could hear the gunfire and see the rising smoke outside the window. Many of the phones rang incessantly, ignored. Gabriel and Sullivan opened the inner door in less time than it took for Mordant to say the words, and it was only then that one of the men saw the escaping prisoners.
His shouts were lost in the
bedlam. The only time his fellow colleagues noticed was when his blood sprayed across the windows, soon followed by their own. The glass shattered instantly, showering down to the ground as an encouraging message to the attackers, and a howl of desert wind whipped into the room. Some of the men did manage to get shots off, but their efforts were in vain as both Mordant and Gabriel skipped through the carnage of bodies, desks and chairs to scoop up discarded guns. Both men fell to one knee and took out the last of the guards, a dead-center head shot at a time.
Kovalenko strode toward the bank of windows.
Below, he saw a small parking lot bordered by a high fence. The fence would be high-security, but the problem with presenting a secret facility to the world was that it couldn’t appear to be heavily guarded. At least on the outside.
Its designers had trusted in the abilities and morals
of the men who worked there. But it only took one rotten apple to spoil the barrel.
Part of the fence was
leaning inward, the result of a rogue unmanned vehicle with a plank of wood jammed against its accelerator pedal. Two helicopters were waiting outside the prison, painted with the logo and colors of a local Grand Canyon tour operator. Fire splashed up against the high fence time and again as homemade bombs were lobbed at it. Gunfire rattled off the uprights and smashed into the cars standing in the parking lot. Many of the guards must have been staring, bemused, wondering just what the hell the attackers were trying to achieve, maybe even hoping to re-educate their misbegotten asses at length in the near future, when Kovalenko and his men bust out.
Never dreaming it was a mere distraction.
‘Smoke and mirrors’, as Gabriel had said.
Now they lay in pools of blood, dead.
Mordant headed unerringly toward the facilities entrance, no doubt following a blueprint he had committed to memory. They weren’t out of here yet. Gabriel turned as one of their fellow prisoners rifled the guards’ lifeless bodies.
What de fook you doing, man?”
Cash. Jewelry. We’re gonna need it on the outside. Maybe we should take their clothes, too.”
up to him. “Fookin white ape. Dey jus’ trace you with dat shit. Follow me twin brother o’er dere. He get y’out.”
Mordant grinned back at him. The two men
—known inside as The Twins—were equally as good or as bad as each other, matched in every way, never defeated or even close to being challenged, the worst of the worst made doubly strong by their union.
“No dawdling now
,” the albino said. “Their response time ain’t too shabby. No army bases around, but both Nellis and Fallon are close. Unless they send a team from Area 51.” He grinned.
Look out. Dey hav’ dem fooking ray guns.” Gabriel shot back.