“Get her back to the chopper,” Pike told Donovan. He didn’t stick around to see if Drake did it.
Pike ran full out, his gun in his right hand. He was already behind the curve in the situation, and if Gemma was in the resort, he wasn’t going to stop until he found her.
He sprinted up the steps to the lobby. The portico opened up into a huge, room with an exquisite marble floor. To the left was a massive counter that must have been sixty feet long. If there was a concierge on duty at three in the morning, he had found a hiding space when the shooting began. The right side of the room was devoted to a bar. There were dozens of tables, and soft music played from speakers mounted in the ceiling. There was no one present here, either.
There was no back wall to the lobby, just open space that provided a view of the hotel rooms and a pool that apparently wound its way through the resort. A dozen steps led down to the edge of the pool. One of Jiminez’s goons – the one who hadn’t spoken – lay on the concrete, curled into a fetal position. Pike didn’t stop to check on him. Another gunshot spurred him on.
The sound of the shot echoed off the concrete walls of the guest quarters, making it difficult to tell how far away it was. So Pike took a straight path, east toward the ocean. The resort grounds were illuminated by streetlights that were constructed to look like Mayan statues.
He ran for more than a quarter mile, though it seemed longer, thanks to the detours he had to take to get around that damned labyrinthine pool. Finally, he reached the edge of the resort property. The concrete turned to sand, and a set of wooden stairs gave access to a beach. Jiminez’s other man, the one who spoke English sat at the top of the steps, leaning against the railing support. He held his left hand against his side. Even in the pale moonlight, Pike could see a lot of blood around the wound and spattering the sand. The man’s eyes were closed and his chin rested on his chest.
Pike knelt next to him. He realized he had never asked the man’s name.
“Hey, you okay?”
The man slowly lifted his head. “Sure, never better,” he said.
He spoke so softly Pike had trouble making out the words.
The man cleared his throat and when he spoke again, his voice had a little more volume.
‘It’s one guy. White man. American, I think. Got a Glock. He ran down those stairs a couple of minutes ago.”
Pike nodded. He didn’t have time for words of comfort, and he didn’t believe the wounded man desired them. He followed the steps down to the beach.
It was a private beach, as it turned out. Beach chairs were stacked by the dozens at the top of a small rise of sand. Below, the Atlantic rolled in and out with a soft, pleasant roar.
There was movement to the right, about 40 yards away. A shadowy figure was tugging at something next to a stack of pedal boats, the kind of plastic contraption Mom and Dad could take out in calm waters to give the kids a ride in the ocean. The man pulled a rubber raft away from the pile of pedal boats. It had a small motor attached. He must have used it to come ashore with Elizabeth, then hid the boat from sight, in case anyone patrolled the beach.
The man used both hands to tug the rubber boat toward the water, so the gun must be stuck in a holster on in the waistband of his pants.
Pike ran again. The soft sand and the ocean’s murmuring masked his footfalls.
The dark figure was at the tide line when Pike stopped six feet away, gun raised.
The man raised his hands. There wasn’t enough moonlight to make out his features, but he was larger than Pike.
“Who are you? Where is Gemma Ravenscroft?”
“Well, hell,” the man said. He talked like he was suffering from a bad cold. Yet the voice sounded familiar.
“Who are you?” Pike stepped closer, and the big man jumped on him.
Pike couldn’t shoot him, not if he had any information about Gemma. Pike landed on his back with the other man on top of him.
Pike’s gun hand was free. He swung the barrel into the other man’s face.
“Shit!” The man rolled off Pike and covered his face with both hands. “Not the nose again! Jesus!”
A cloud moved away from the moon and there was enough light for Pike to see his opponent clearly.
The man who brought Elizabeth to the resort, the man who had vowed he was out of this, was Pike’s old pal Jimmy Swift.
To be Continued
© Mark Justice 2011