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Escape from the Mound

Categories: Fiction

By Jonas Maxwell / August 6, 2016

I have no idea what our mission was.  "Need to know, blah, blah, blah."  As a driver, I only knew where we were, and where we needed to go.  That was the easy part.  Getting out was a little more of a challenge.

We got to our target in a matter of minutes, it seemed, which worked well for my partner.  Every move he made was done at the speed of sound.  We had no problem getting into, and through, the all-gray building without being noticed.  It was still daylight when we arrived.

"The Mound" was just outside an exterior door accessed through the top level of the main building of the complex.

There was only one problem.  The mound was raised.  I guess that's why it was called "The Mound."  There was only enough room for one person on top - my partner - without drawing attention.  No one was supposed to be there.

While my partner was lying on the mound, I was stuck on the exterior platform next to the door which had a glass window.  No place to hide.  I was visible from inside and outside, and I was not at all comfortable with that.

It wasn't long before we were spotted, by a woman wearing a white dress, like a nurse would wear.  But the dress was too dirty for a nurse.  We walked past her, smiling and nodding as though nothing was wrong.  I think we both expected to be shot on site.  She looked at us curiously, forcing a smile with her eyebrows furrowed, but we didn't stop.

We went down the stairs, and she went on about her business.  So I thought.  I lost my partner about that time, so I don't really know what he did to her, if anything.  At the moment, I didn't even have time to think about it.  I just knew we had to get out fast.

At the bottom of the stairs was a dark, dirty warehouse.  I guess that's the nature of warehouses.  I was greeted by a maintenance worker wearing a gray uniform who mumbled something about some bags of something being too large to easily carry.  He said this in English.  I was surprised.  On a global scale, I had no idea where we were, but I knew it wasn't America.  It might have just been a foreign country with English-speaking workers.  Maybe even Americans.  In any case, the English threw me, but I agreed with him and helped him carry one large, black bag with some metal components out to a truck, being careful not to utter a single syllable for fear of raising red flags with my American accent.  As soon as the worker turned his back, I started up the truck and the chase was on.

I still didn't know where my partner had gone.  I thought we were trying to escape at that point.  Just as the truck started rolling, he jumped in, saving me the trouble of having to go back for him.

We were off, and in the chase, I quickly lost track of our exact location.  The map I had been given was small, with a blue dotted line representing the roads, and tiny blue squares for the various structures.  No detail, no text, no legend, no indication of north.  It was just a notch above hand-drawn.  And I didn't really have time to refer to the map at this point anyway.

I drove as fast as the truck would go down the dirt and gravel road.  We had a couple of tails, and somehow we lost them.  At least one violently.  I'm not sure.  I just remember thinking, "I hope he didn't get hurt."  I couldn't dwell on it.  My job was to drive.

I drove as close to other objects as I could - trees, sign posts, walls - hoping that anyone who might be hanging onto the side of the truck would be knocked off.

It was starting to get dark, and it looked like we had run out of road.  I had to make a turn.  We were going too fast to evaluate the terrain at that point, so I turned left - directly into a pond.  It turns out that was the best decision I could have made.

The truck was sinking and we immediately started swimming for the other side, expecting to hear gunshots.

I'll never undertand why no one fired a single shot on the entire mission.  It was not a military installation, per se, but surely the security personnel would be armed.

We climbed out of the water just in time to see one of four vehicles parked at the water's edge take off.  Then another.  There were two left, and it looked like they were going to leave as well.  We had to take one of them.  My partner took out one driver.  I didn't see it - it happened too fast.  One moment he was there; the next, he was out like a light.  Unfortunately, the driver of the other vehicle, a jeep, was a military officer, in uniform and armed.  He didn't see what had just happened either, and was a bit startled when he saw us carrying the unconscious man.  We explained, in English, that the man just collapsed.  As the officer helped us, we made our final escape.  I don't know what happened to the officer.  My partner moved without a split-second hesitation.  I did my job; he did his.

Apparently, the mission was a success.  My partner had completed his assignment while I was helping the maintenance worker load the truck.

We'll never get medals for what we did.  We won't even be thanked.  Or even recognized.  Not officially.  We just hope to be left alone.  That's all I had ever wanted from the beginning.

"If you can't say something nice, let's hear it!"   — Joan Rivers

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