(Read the rest of this series here. It is more heroic than all of Greek mythology combined.)
It was the last night at the Alamo. It was the final charge of Shiroyama. It was me, a travel blogger, accompanied by a zookeeper and four vaguely-foreign former captives. Together we were the unwavering legion of three hundred Spartans and this dark, dirty room inside of a villainous warehouse was our Thermopylae.
“Zero!” shouted Sid from the other side of the door, finishing his countdown. He started issuing commands to his criminal cohorts. “Open the door. Put six bullets into Chris’ head. Try to save the girls if you can, but if they fight back fuckin’ blast ’em.”
A little clicking sound. The turn of the deadbolt. The door opened.
Dominika had been right. They didn’t lead with grenades, thank God. Instead, one of the traffickers – the pointman elect, apparently – pushed open the door and came into the room, gun drawn. It was a vicious looking submachine gun, a piece of machinery capable of sending out an absolute barrage of bullets in a matter of seconds. Pointed right at us, the group of weaponless prisoners. Under normal circumstances, this scenario ended with the six of us shredded like carnitas.
We all know that my snout is too cute to wind up like this.
However, this armed maniac hadn’t counted on the little surprise we had arranged for him.
The crowbar. That was the key. In the scant few seconds we had while Sid was counting down, we managed to use it to pop the pins out each of the door hinges. The big metal slab sat there, not locked into place, just waiting for a bit of a push. So when Criminal Douche #1 charged into the room the whole door tipped forward with him. Caught by surprise, he fell forward, stumbling to hop around the falling door. He staggered to catch up with his center of gravity and slammed right into the tall, imposing Dominika.
Or, rather, she slammed into him. With the crowbar.
She clotheslined him with the metal rod, hitting him right in the mouth. He collapsed mid-run. Teeth danced across the floor like spilled Skittles. He slid face first about four feet, a streak of blood left on the ground behind him.
Somehow he had managed to keep a hold of his gun. He rolled over onto his back, screaming in pain, fumbling with the trigger. Dominika moved in, unafraid of the gun barrel pointing right at her. She swung the crowbar and bent the guy’s forearm into a ninety degree angle. He screamed again through his bloody gums and dropped the gun, finally. But Dominika wasn’t done. She let out a roar that would make a grizzly bear faint and planted a foot on his chest. The crowbar arced high up in the air, then came down and smashed him in the skull. Again and again she swung. His screams disintegrated into gurgles which soon became indistinguishable from the squelching sounds of the crowbar mashing his brain pulp into the floor.
Here’s another totally unrelated food pic for you.
Dominika stepped back, her chest heaving. She still held the crowbar at the ready, in case he showed any signs of movement. Not that there was a chance of that. They wouldn’t even be able to get dental records out of him.
Dominika turned to us, blood splattered across her front. Maria and I gaped at her.
Maria said, “Oh my God. You killed him.”
Dominika met her gaze, towering a head and a half above her. “Yes. I do. You want me cry for kidnapper? Sing him eulogy?”
“No time for that!” I shouted, recovering quicker from my shock than Maria. “Can a bro get some help here?”
I had grabbed the door from where it had been leaning, at an angle against one of the walls, blocking the entryway. Maria snapped out of it and came to my aid, grabbing the other side of the door and pushing it forward. We held it in front of us like a makeshift riot shield. The ladies huddled behind us, doing the best they could to stay protected. This was the other part of my ingenious plan, you see.
“Ingenious” being a subjective term.
Sid said, “What in the fuck is this?”
We shoved the door through the frame, cocking it at first, then straightening out once we got through. Maria and I braced the door while the rest of the group followed close behind.
The traffickers opened fire almost immediately. Bullets pinged off the metal, leaving large bulges on the other side. Our makeshift shield wouldn’t last forever. Still, we moved forward, trying to find some route of escape.
I couldn’t see anything in front of us. I had no idea how many of them there were, or which directions they were moving. All we could do was trudge along and do our best to keep the door between us and wherever they might be.
“Around them!” shouted Sid. “They’re open on the sides, you idiots! Fucking flank them!”
Well shit, it’d be over quick then. Two of the traffickers, both big burly assholes, followed their boss’ command. They came into view, guns drawn. One on each side of us. If we turned toward either of them we’d open ourselves up to the onslaught in front of us. No matter what we did, we couldn’t block them all.
I covered my head with my arms. “Don’t let them shoot me! I’m worth so much more than money!”
Though I am also worth a lot of money.
Then Dominika was right behind us. She had retrieved the gun from the battered clutches of the man inside the cell. Soon she made it very clear that she had no qualms about using it.
She squeezed the trigger, holding the submachine gun steady against the recoil. A flurry of bullets tore into the guy on our left. Thanks to the safe space Dominika had just created for us we were able to turn the door, just as the trafficker to our right started firing. His bullets ricocheted away and we stayed alive for another few seconds.
Dominka stuck the gun out and fired blind. It was hard to tell if that did any good.
“No more,” she said, waving the gun.
It took a moment to register what she meant. I said, “Oh balls, you’re out of bullets?”
I figured that meant we were doomed, but Maria didn’t waste a single second contemplating our fate.
“Back up!” she said. “Toward that guy!” She indicated the body of Dominika’s most recent victim.
The group shuffled backwards at the pace of a confused turtle. When we reached the body of the most recently deceased, Dominika moved in. She pulled off two of the ammo clips hooked to the dead man’s belt, stuck one in her waistband and tried jamming the other into her gun. The clip didn’t fit, so without any hesitation she tossed the gun aside and scooped up the new one.
“Dominika!” shouted Maria. “How many of them are there?”
The Ukrainian Amazon took a half step out from behind the shield, her expression hard and focused. She brought the gun up and fired several controlled bursts, aiming the barrel in a different spot each time. Screams followed.
She stepped back behind the door and looked at us. “Less.”
Like this, but a lady.
We continued to back away. One of the traffickers rushed forward, tried to blitz us, grabbing Aleja by the arm. She yelped and tried to yank away but he held her tight. He dug his heels in, pulling her out from behind the shelter of the door. Dominika lifted her gun made short, brutal work of him. She reloaded.
I glanced back. Just a few yards away was a break between the aisles of the warehouse. If we could manage to inch our way over there without being massacred we might be able to make a break for it.
A hole appeared in the door, two inches away from my eyeball. Then another right between my legs. Well, this wasn’t good.
“They’re punching through the door!” I said. “We gotta get out of here!”
“Would you people just kill them already!” cried Sid, still somewhere out in front of us. The fact that he hadn’t been shot yet further convinced me that God is an asshole.
I said, “Yo, just so you know I haven’t pooped in like three days so if you kill me I’m gonna void my bowels all over your nice clean floor!”
A flurry of bullets slammed into us. Another hole exploded in the door and this time a scream followed. Sophie fell backwards, rolling around on the ground. We had to stop moving to keep from stepping on her. Lindsey bent down to her aid, helping to pull the wounded woman to her feet. She was alive, thankfully, but not in good shape.
Sophie let out a furious moan as she held her hands over her face. I couldn’t see the full extent of the damage, but the little bits of ragged flesh poking out told me all I needed to know.
I said, “Holy shit, are you OK? How are you even still standing?”
Blood ran through her fingers. “I am fine. We must go.”
I couldn’t help gaping. Badass chicks, these Ukranians.
These streets look like a place for sissies?
“Chris, come on!” Maria now, urging me on. “Just a bit more and we’re there!”
Our little shuffling cluster made it at last. Which was great because the door was now just a step above binder paper in terms of protection. Lindsey and Aleja helped Sophie through the break between aisles. Maria went next, leaving me holding the door. Dominika held back, covering all of us. She fired from behind the meager cover that was left, doing as much damage as she could.
Then, clicking sounds.
Dominka dropped her spent gun. She looked at me. “We must go.”
The sounds of footsteps and rage thundered toward us, uninhibited now.
“Run!” I said. “Holy shit, just run!”
The bullet-riddled door fell to the ground with a heavy clang. We took off, sprinting as fast as possible away from the hail of gunfire.