The tinny sound of ricocheting bullets rang loud in Leopold’s ears. It was hard for him to tell just how close the shots were from the sound alone but the small puffs of lime plaster exploding off the walls one foot away from his and his assets heads showed he didn’t have a lot of wiggle room. Leopold wrapped his arm tightly around the neck of the man he was protecting and drew him tightly into his own chest.

“Stay down. This will all be over momentarily.” Leopold’s speech was calm and even. 

In one fluid motion he sent his asset sprawling to the floor, pushing himself up off his shoulder. He carried his upward momentum into a half spin and presented himself, face to face, with the would be assassins. In the blink of an eye he fired off two rounds from the hand gun he’d produced from the holster concealed beneath his coat.

He was only visible for a split second. His turn had taken him from the protection of the thick oak bar to the safety of a large supporting pillar. He waited. Perhaps 3 or 4 seconds. He slowly slid his gun away before coolly grabbing his asset by the scruff of the neck and hoisting him off the ground.

“Quickly. I’ve yet to determine whether those gentlemen are the first wave or the full extent of the attempt on your life.”

As Leopold led the quaking man towards the back of the building, his asset craned his neck to snatch a glance at the effects of his handlers shots. The two men who moments earlier had burst into the abandoned bar now lay motionless, like a pair of marble statues. Their faces were obscured by the dark red blood that flowed liberally from the gaping wounds in the middle of their foreheads.

“My man will have heard the commotion. We’ll find a carriage ready and waiting just through here. This way please.”

It was a little odd that Leopold would say ‘please’ to someone he was treating so severely. But Leopold knew his place and he knew his job. He’d been hired to protect this man and in a situation such as they found themselves in that meant taking the bull by the horns. Yet he was still in this man’s employment. The employment of a rich, no doubt important man, so he was sure to remember his manners, as he tended to no matter how important an individual was.

Leopold kicked out at the door in front of them, he was in too much of a hurry to even try the handle. His heavy boot sent wood splintering in all directions and the afternoon light came flooding in. The contrast, gloomy darkness into a spring afternoon, made it difficult to see what was in the alley before them.  Sure enough there stood a plain carriage, drawn by a solitary horse, driven by a smart though obviously poor man.

Leopold tossed his asset across the bench at the rear of the carriage.

“Feel free to lie down and rest sir.” Once again his politeness was in stark opposition to the roughness with which he was handling the man.

Gripping the side of the carriage Leopold readied himself for a quick get away. “Drive.”


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