26

Chapter 26

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Ananda slowly reached into his pocket and then offered his hand to Cameron.  In Ananda’s hand, Cameron saw the dull brass key for the padlock on the bottom of the door.

From downstairs, they could hear screams and more gunfire.  Cameron looked at the key and then into Ananda’s lost eyes, “I’m sorry sir, I don’t think we’ll be leaving that way.”  He then raised his voice to the women, “Marie, Nicole, help Lady Yada get Lady Mani dressed and gather up whatever they need.  I am going to try to buy us some time.”

Nicole embraced Lady Mani.  The old woman no longer showed the strength that emanated from her only moments ago when she performed the consolamentum.  Now her vibrant eyes became childlike and her frail body began to shrink.  Lady Yada put her arm around Lady Mani.  “Here child, let’s help her to the bed,” said Lady Yada.

The gunshots had stopped and now the only yelling came from two urgent and authoritative voices.  Cameron’s commando training kicked in.  The muffled words coming from the yelling voices did not matter, the tone told Cameron what he wanted to know.  Someone was being interrogated in the kitchen while the other voice barked out orders.  The picture came clear to Cameron.  He calculated at least four armed and disciplined individuals were running around downstairs and they would soon figure out that the people they were looking for were on the second floor.

Marie turned to Cameron, “Please hurry.”  She still sounded somewhat calm.

“You won’t even know I’m gone,” said Cameron.

Cameron made his way back toward the front of the apartment.  He reached under his shirt and pulled the P226 from between his belt and lower back.  Though he did not think anyone could hear him below, he stepped as lightly as he could.

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