Die Trying

Free Die Trying by Chris Ryan

Book: Die Trying by Chris Ryan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Chris Ryan
wasn’t going to shoot Bald and give up his position. The thought briefly crossed his mind that he could take down the fireteam, save Bald’s arse. He dismissed it.
    I’ve repaid what he did for me in Afghanistan ten times over.
    Bald rested his head against the tree trunk’s bleeding cankers. His chest heaved, his head arched skywards, his eyes closed. The fireteam were fifty metres from him; Silver Hair and his mates less than half that distance. Bald seemed to whisper something to himself, but his lips hardly moved and Gardner couldn’t make out any of what he was saying.
    Opening his eyes, Bald snarled at the pistol on his lap. Cast it aside, as if disgusted that it had let him down in his hour of need.
    ‘There’s nothing to save you now, John,’ Gardner found himself saying under his breath. Part of him wanted to be the one to kill Bald. Having come so far, and with the history they shared, it seemed only right that he should take Bald’s life. Instead some greasy Russian fucks were going to do the job for him.
    End of the fucking line.
    A few steps closer and Silver Hair was almost at the tree. To the west, the twelve angry men on the hill kept their F2000s directed at Bald. The rifles were intimidating in their size: each man looked like he was wrestling with a shark.
    Bald reached for something at his ankle. A knife, strapped in place with black masking tape. He tore the four-inch blade free. Sprang to his feet. Charged at Silver Hair, one last act of defiance.
    Got to within ten metres.
    The F2000s boomed.
    Bald jolted as rounds thrust into his torso. Bullets ripped out clods of flesh. Dozens of shots tore into him. His arms and legs twitched. After three or four seconds the shooting stopped. Bald raised an arm to his chest, trying to plug holes the size of coffee mugs dotted along his front. Blood fountained out of his wounds. He staggered for a moment, his arms hanging loose. The knife dropped from his hand, stabbed the soil.
    Silver Hair placed a cigarette between his lips and flicked open a Zippo lighter. He took a long drag on the tab, eyes never veering from Bald. The Scot managed a limp step further towards the
man. Silver Hair spared him the effort by walking right up to Bald. Blew smoke in his face.
    Bald collapsed, and Gardner was left looking at a bloody pile of clothes.

    1227 hours.
    Silver Hair smoked the rest of his cigarette while the fireteam dispersed beyond the crest of the hill. He heard the hoarse throttle of an engine some two hundred metres distant. He took the car keys from Petruzzi’s corpse. Done with his cigarette, he tossed the butt into the pool of blood laking around Bald, turned on his heels and strolled back to the Lincoln.
    Gardner spied Silver Hair jumping into the front seat. He tossed the car keys to one of the
goons, who promptly stowed the suitcase in the boot and climbed into the sleeper truck’s driving seat. The engine sputtered. He reversed into the main road, the Lincoln following.
    Gardner was alone. Just him, eleven corpses and the caustic stench of spent ammo.
    When he was sure the Russians were out of sight, he picked himself up and made his way across the field towards the rest stop.
    Bald was a smeared-red heap on the ground. His body was contorted, arms splayed to his left, legs to his right. There wasn’t much left of his limbs, and the bullets to his core had almost severed him in half. Gardner rested his eyes on his old mucker for a moment. This is what you get, John, he thought. Staring at the fag butts in the blood, the holes in his face, he experienced both hate and relief in his stomach. They mixed in his throat, formed a bitter taste in his mouth.
    ‘Stupid bastard,’ he said to the dead Scot.
    The silence was broken by a faint dribbling noise to his nine o’clock. He glanced across his shoulder and spied a body lying in the field, fifty metres distant.
    Surely not, he said to himself.
    Valon was still alive when Gardner

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