Breaking the Line

I kept my cool, hoping to slip in with the last group headed for the gates, or for an influx of new passengers.  But this section of the lower floor was thinly occupied by the time I'd finally been allowed to purchase a boarding pass on a flight scheduled to depart in just under an hour.  So I doubt my watcher had much more trouble spotting me than I did him.

I couldn't swear it was Allegre (which is in itself perhaps a touch ironic) as I'd never gotten a really clear look.  But he sure fit the general impression of my memory: fairly big, perhaps an inch under six feet, broad shouldered, dark complected.  And focused.  Anyone seeing that unwavering glare would have no trouble believing that was the face of a man who'd just personally shot three men and had arranged for the deaths of two others.

He leaned against a pillar a couple of dozen yards to my right.  The stairway leading upstairs and around a blind corner to the safety of security and the departure gates was about an equal distance to my left.  A wall nearly bisected the terminal.  On this side was an open floor plan, I could take it all in at a glance: the ticketing counters, me, and the Narco.  On the other side was a warren of airport offices, restrooms, utility closets, and the stairway to freedom, which last could be seen through about a three yard gap between the bisecting wall and the glass and steel exterior of the terminal.

He wasn't going to take me here, too many eyes.  No, the open area near the stair would be it.  A gunshot would be heard, but perhaps not observed.  If he closed quickly maybe a knife would silence me without a noise.  Right here I was safe.  But if I missed the plane I was done for.  I couldn't stay here forever.

Cold swimming pool time again.  I made my move.  I walked briskly towards the opening leading to the stairway.  He followed, closing rapidly with deceptive speed.  I wasn't going to make it; he'd catch me near the stair.  Passing through the gap, instead of veering left to the stairway I stepped to my right into the hall that branched off into the administrative half of the terminal building.  The hall was empty, no one walking to or from the restrooms or offices appeared.

I flattened myself against the wall.  I caught only a flicker of something bright and sharp preceding the Narco around the corner.  By that time my fist was already clubbing down in a sledge hammer arc.  The knife, held low, was still making the turn when the base of my balled fist impacted on his skull with all of my strength, weight, anger, and fear behind it.  The blade slipped from suddenly nerveless fingers.  Allegre – if it was Allegre – dropped to his knees and then the floor in two herky-jerky motions, sprawling awkwardly on the tile.

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