Click here to read the previous chapter; Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 1, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 2, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 3, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 4, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 5, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 6, Shadow Corps: Escape From Shadow – Episode 7
A powerful beam of light suddenly appears over them from one of the drop ships. By now, Paul’s heart is thumping feverishly in his chest.
“Unidentified vehicles, stand down,” boomed a voice over a speaker above. “Prepare to be boarded.”
“Paul,” Irene breathed.
Paul glanced at her. She motioned at the rear view mirror. “Look,” she whispered.
Paul looked. Racing towards them was a long motorcade of SUVs. More agents were inbound—they had probably been following them for a while, waiting for them to get to this point, where their options of escape was all but nil.
Paul’s phone rang.
“Scott,” Paul said, putting the phone on speaker.
“We’re surrounded,” Scott said.
“No kidding, Scott,” Paul replied. “I already see that!”
“There’s no escape from this one,” Irene said, “we have to surrender.”
“I can’t!” Paul swore. “They’ll take me in and torture me.”
“Yeah, well, maybe you should have thought of that before you developed a conscience on us,” Irene retorted, bitterness rolling from her like a boulder down a hillside.
Paul glared at her. The tension racked up a few notches.
“There’s one option,” Scott said a moment later, his tiny voice cutting through the sizzling atmosphere. “We can stall them, while you take off into the bushes. You can find your way out of Lagos.”
“You want me to run?” Paul asked.
“It’s the only way you don’t end up in a cell or worse in Purgatory, boss,” Scott replied. “I and Irene can easily be pardoned. Thomas, on the other hand, may not be so lucky, since he ordered us on this path. But you, you will not be spared.”
“He’s right,” Irene said. “Thomas put a lot on the line to get you out. If you decide to stick around, his sacrifice will be in vain.”
Paul frowned. He didn’t like it. He didn’t like it one bit. He hated running like a scared cat. How could he run away from a challenge? He was a first rate, tier one black ops operative with a military background that would make any soldier in the world envious. Running away had been trained out of his DNA. To even consider such a suggestion was loathsome.
On the other hand, the points Scott and Irene had made were true. Thomas was going to be investigated for ordering Scott and Irene to take off with the prisoner. He could probably get himself out or he could get himself killed, it could go both ways for him. Whatever the case, he had put himself in the field of fire because of Paul. It would be insensitive and down right irresponsible if Paul took that sacrifice for granted by refusing to run.
“Make a decision, boss!” Scott said.
Paul looked again in the rear view mirror. The distant SUVs were now closer. Their red and blue lights pulsed but without the siren. Above, the drop ships had leveled up at a height of a thousand feet. It was close enough for the agents to rapel down. But they weren’t. They were waiting for the SUVs to surround them first. Paul judged that he had less than two minutes to make his escape, while not getting gunned down by the eighty something plus agents hanging over his head.
“I’ll run,” Paul muttered, shutting his eyes and sucking in a lungful of air. When he opened his eyes, he said, “I need weapons.”
“No time,” Irene and Scott said at the same time. Irene continued, “If they see you going for a firearm, they’d think you want to attack. They won’t jesitita to blow us up.”
“So how do you suggest I make it away?” Paul said.
Irene looked at him. She didn’t know.
“You’re probably the most talented and powerful shadow powered individual I know, Paul,” Scott said. “You’ll figure something out. I’ll distract them.”
Paul wanted to tell him not to do anything stupid, but it was already too late. Scott had hanged up the phone, and he was now exiting the vehicle, his hands held high in surrender. For a moment, the high powered beam jumped from them to Scott.
“Be safe,” Irene said. She turned to exit the car, but Paul grabbed her and kissed her fiercely. She recoiled from him, her eyes glistening with tears. She shut them, letting a few drops slide down her face.
“I’ll find you,” Paul swore. “I’ll always find you.”
Irene, still closing her eyes, nodded. She walked out of the car, hands held high, and ambled slowly towards Scott. While all that attention was on them, Paul called up his shadow power and turned to mist. He floated through the car door, off the road to the first line of trees on the side, where he solidified. He was now standing behind the tree, looking at Scott and Irene and their two cars. He had a clear view of the drop ships and the on coming SUVs. They had not yet noticed that he was gone.
For a moment, Paul thought about staying. If he ran, he’d always be on the run. They would hunt him down. They would never stop coming. They would turn every house upside down until he was in custody. If he stayed, at least he could fight for justice. He could prove his point, maybe even spin the issue in his favor. There was a lean chance that he could com out of this unscathed, but it was there nonetheless.
The SUVs arrived. Shadow agents spilled out of their vehicles. Assault rifles were trained on Scott, Irene and the vehicle, where they thought he was still occupying. As Paul watched Scott and Irene put in cuffs and his car surrounded by the shadow agents, he knew he could never go back. At least not now. He had to run.
The shadow agents surrounding the car stopped suddenly and opened fire on the vehicle. Irene screamed, probably thinking Paul hadn’t escaped. Before long, the car exploded in a ball of flames.
Paul realized he’d stopped hiding his breath. It was then he realized the mission of the shadow agents sent after him. They weren’t interested in bringing him in. They only wanted him dead. It was then, and only then, that it dawned on Paul that there was no need going back to the Shadow Corps. He was done with them. This was his escape from shadow—the one he’d been dreaming of from day one.
His only regret was Irene. He loved her. He wasn’t sure he could let her go. But for today, the best decision he could make was to go.
Paul turned his back on the conflagration and stole away into the night.