Fire for Effect – Teaser 2

Chapter Fifteen

Ibrahim glanced at his phone for what was the second time in the space of a minute. He willed it to vibrate once again. Struggling to contain his excitement Ibrahim paced around the living room of his penthouse apartment. With views of downtown Chicago, he was able to look out over the sprawling cities skyline all the while thinking of what was to come. The message he’d received two minutes earlier had lit a fire in his belly. Ibrahim had been waiting for years to receive this particular message. As soon as he’d received it he’d opened up a second secure texting application to send off several messages to members of his cell. Inviting them to his residence, they would be briefed on the mission to come. Surrounded by his fellow warriors he now impatiently waited for further instructions to be sent via the encrypted messaging application installed on his smartphone..

Throughout houses, mosques, churches, apartments and secreted rooms all over America men and women of both Russian and Arab descent sat doing the exact same thing Ibrahim and his cell were doing. As they received orders they memorised them before deleting the message or burning the piece of paper that it had been transcribed onto. Some of the orders were directions for weapons caches buried outside major cities, others included targets and some were cryptic that only those closest to Yuri and Fatima would understand. Plans that had been decades in the making were now being kicked into gear all over continental United States.

By 9:00 that evening Ibrahim was standing over a map of Illinois placing pins across the state as the cell members crowded the trouble. Each person in the room had been given a specific task to complete.Three sets of different coloured pins were dotted around the state of Illinois, each time a pin went in the map Ibrahim referred to the copy of the Koran he had carried with him since entering the country 6 years ago. There were only 3 red pins dotting the map, while the rest were either green or yellow. The majority of the pins sticking from the maps surface had a green head. The green pins were safe houses or exfiltration points for the cell members who would not become martyrs on their missions for Allah. The yellow pins indicated weapons drops dotted all over the state and the surrounding boroughs of Chicago.

His group of Holy warriors sat reading reports, looking at surveillance footage, youtube videos taken by tourists and websites dedicated to travel blogs around Illinois. They jotted down notes and conferred with each other on approaches and exit strategies to locations, weapon drops and safe houses throughout Chicago before screwing them up and throwing them into a steel trash can that would later be set alight destroying all evidence of their meeting. They would file out of the building one by one over a period of several hours. Some would leave through the front of the building while others would leave through the parking garage at the rear of the building.

The plan for Ibrahim and his followers was to head through the great lakes into Canada where they would hide out for months if needed before hopping a flight back to the middle east where they would be greeted as heroes of the war against the infidels. Ibrahim knew in his heart that none of them would make it home they would die on foreign soil taking the fight to the infidels as Allah had intended for each and every one of them.

Over in New York, Pravin spoke to his cell with passion and commitment to the cause as he pointed at photos pinned to the wall behind him of his garage. A white sheet hanging from the ceiling acted a screen while he showed showed video footage of major tourist attractions that had been taken by members of his cell on a projector borrowed from his work. Like an army general he pointed out their ingress and egress routes. Discussed response times of the NYPD and the likely weapons they could expect. Each man and woman sat before him was to memorise their role in the operation. They were given an alias and told to learn it before the next time they met.

In Washington D.C and Los Angeles two more cells worked on the finer details of the plans that had been slowly evolving since the late 1980’s. In years to come when the world looked back over the events of the next couple of weeks they would slowly, come to realise that the Russians had indeed won the cold war. They had created an alliance that would serve them well into the next two decades bringing terror and fire to their enemies doorsteps. All the while they would publicly denounce the actions of such terror groups while behind the former iron curtain they were rejoicing at the destruction of the western world and their cold war enemies.

The six cells were spread across the United States and operated independently of each other. They were all tasked with their own missions and whilst each mission was similar in nature. Yuri and Osama had been specific in their wishes before they had passed on their vision to their son and daughter. Each of the six cells would split their cell into two teams, one of the teams would cause maximum terror attacking a major landmark while the other team would take out a designated infrastructure target. Yuri Junior had picked out the infrastructure targets while Fatima had picked the tourist attractions that would be hit, her sadistic nature being fed with each location she picked and the thoughts of lives that would be taken from the world..

It had taken Fatima’s father years of meticulous, careful planning from his safe house in Pakistan. He had sought Yuri’s council on several occasions. After the success of the 9/11 plans in which they had hijacked several commercial jetliners to use as missiles by piloting them into the twin towers and the pentagon. Since 9/11 the US had beefed up their homeland security presence in all major cities quite significantly. Planning often ground to halt as intelligence gathering exercises stalled for months on end as it became increasingly harder and harder for the members of the cells who were of middle eastern appearance to move freely around the cities without scrutiny.

The majority of intelligence gathering was then left to the Georgian and Russian members of the cells. There caucasian appearance allowed them to move freely around the cities, often playing the role of tourist as they snapped photos in front of targeted landmarks or hours of footage walking through the cities. Each cell was comprised of 10 couples or 20 twenty people in total, once the cells split into the fire team for their separate missions they each had 5 women and 5 men who were all highly trained in the use of explosives, small arms and long arms. They had been trained by former special forces soldiers in the woodlands, deserts and tundra of the American landscape.

Across the other side of the world Yuri and Fatima sat watching the small monitor as Catherine slept in her cell. Still under the influence of drugs pumping around her system. Slowly they would either break her in interrogation or she would become addicted at which point they would stop injecting her until her body craved it. Most people would then sell their deepest, darkest secrets just to get their next fix. Over the last couple of days they had changed strategies and started injecting her with heroin instead of the truth serum. Her body was becoming addicted as they increased the dosage with every interrogation session. Fatima stared menacingly at the screen before turning to Yuri and pulling him closely. ‘What is it my dear you look worried? she said.

Sighing deeply he turned back to the screen before speaking, ‘My father warned me of this, of the Americans and their stubbornness. We may kill her before she spills her secrets my that troubles me. We need this to work! I promised my father and your father that I would see their plan through even if it killed me’. His voice was mixed with both anger and worry.

‘My dear you think too much, by this time tomorrow the American whore will be begging for her next hit and will do anything for it. That includes betraying her much loved country, I promise you’ Fatima said before kissing him passionately and leaving him with his thoughts as she began preparing herself for bed. Sitting there for a moment longer staring at the screen, Yuri removed a piece of paper from his pocket. He had carried it with him for the past 5 years, it was always on his person no matter what he was doing. Over the years he’d thought of destroying it but everytime he come close he’d look at the words on the page and pocketed it before he could go through with it. Today was no different, he stared at the page before him knowing that he had memorised every line but Yuri could not bring himself to part with the page until the mission was complete.

The page was split in 6 sections within each section there were two dot points under a major location and a name. The first of the dot points was a major infrastructure target like a power plant or water purification plant, the second item was a major tourist attraction. Scribled at the top of the of the page in chicken scratch were two words that had only been spoken in selected circles over the years in Yuri’s home.

Operation Awakening

California – Los Angeles – Vladimir

  • Double Canyon Power Plant
  • Universal Studios

New York – New York – Pravin

  • Nine Mile Point Power Plant
  • The Intrepid, sea, air & space museum

Illinois – Chicago – Ibrahim

  • Jardine Water Purification Plant
  • United Center

Nevada – Las Vegas/Boulder City – Mishka

  • Hoover Dam
  • Nellis Air Force Base

Virginia – Washington D.C – Natalia

  • Possum Point Power Plant
  • National Air & Space Museum

Texas – Houston – Asif

  • Lyondellbasell Refinery
  • Space Center

It was all there before him on the page as it had been written years earlier with Fatima, the two of them had painstakingly researched their targets to cause maximum damage and fear in the hearts and minds of the infidels. They would strike a blow for mother Russia and Osama’s AQ, forever forging a relationship that had been created all those years ago in Afghanistan.

Across the hall Anatoly stared at the roof thinking of his father, his mind wandered forever questioning whether he was doing the right thing, What would his father think if he could see him now, would he agree with the choices he’d made, the friends he was keeping and more importantly his unrelenting urge to help his uncle’s crusade against the West.

His thoughts soon drifted to the woman in the cell below them, he imagined her without the bruises and cuts that dotted her body. He had seen her naked and knew she kept herself fit, she had a great figure and reminded Anatoly of the women he used would chase in bars when he was a much younger man on the streets of Moscow. It had been years since he had enjoyed the warm embrace of a woman. His tour of Afghanistan and now his uncle’s mission had put a stop to life as he knew it.

His wife and child didn’t even know he was alive, as Anatoly saw it they may never know he was alive. He knew his uncle’s plans would be seen out and if he didn’t agree to participate he may likely be killed like all those he had seen brought before his uncle who had refused. As he thought he knew he needed to talk to the American woman. It was her only way to survive and she could also be his only way out from under his aunty and uncles spell. Smiling he closed his eyes and found a peaceful place as a plan formulated in his mind.

Forcing her eyes closed as her body began to tremble as it went into the first stages of withdrawal. She’d watched Fatima smile every time she tapped a vein and depressed the plunger on the syringe. Euphoria washed across her body as the drug threaded its way through her veins into the nervous system covering her with a warmth like a blanket leaving Catherine feeling relaxed and carefree. She would feel her brain slowing down along with her breathing and in those moments she would step into another realm as her brain drifted away from the reality of the world.

With withdrawal effects began to wreak havoc on her mind and body, Catherine knew it would not be long before she gave in to Fatima and Yuri telling them all they wanted to know about the CIA’s mission to uncover what they had dubbed the ‘The Bin Laden Connection’. Weeping to herself the nausea finally became too much as she rolled over the side of her cot vomiting violently into rusty tin bucket that had been placed next to her bed. Catherine looked down seeing a plastic water bottle, whilst her mind was clouded with the effects of heroin there were moments of clarity. In this particular moment she knew it wouldn’t be long before they realised she was awake and escorted her off to another session of torture and interrogation.

She would get her next fix, in the recesses of her mind a dark whisper found its way out and hoped that with the next fix she would overdose or her body would simply shut down before she spilled her secrets with the new Bin Ladens. Catherine had lost all track of time and days, she no longer knew how long she had been kept prisoner nor what time of day it was. It was only the brief outings where she was chained up like a dog that she got to see the sun or moon high above the castle.

The castle remained quiet in the early hours of the morning as the waves crashed against the cliff face that protected Swallows Nest from a direct attack from the sea. Yet tonight something stirred in the seas surrounding the castle. The men on guard could feel the cold sap through their clothes entering their bones as though death were approaching on the wind. Search lights combed the darkness for threats lurking amongst the blackness that seemed to be enshrouding the castle more and more as night wore on.

Teaser… Fire for Effect

Folks it’s been awhile since we shared a spoiler of the upcoming novel, Fire for Effect with our good friends at A Mind of Its Own. So we thought we’d give you a small piece of a chapter to wet your whistle in anticipation of what’s to come later this year. Without further delay, happy reading we hope you enjoy this chapter from the team and I.

Chapter Thirty Two

It all happened in slow motion, both doors splintered in an explosive blast as a vollies of machine gun fire criss crossed them, stitching the walls. The concussive force threw Pairs across the room into the bathtub. Mac was knocked from his perch on the window sill landing hard on his back, spare magazines and the ballistic plate dig into his back as the wind was knocked out of him. At the front of the hotel Skye and the OGA driver had not fared any better. The driver had taken a round to his shoulder and lay rolling in pain, his hands stained red as he attempted to stem the blood flowing from the wound. Skye sat slumped against the wall of the motel, shards of glass and wood dotted her arms, a large gash had opened up just below her hairline where a piece of brick had splintered off and struck her. With her ears ringing and the world around her swimming she was on the verge of blacking out.

Further windows exploded in a hail of glass and bullets as two figures stepped from the room their weapons up and leading. Firing from the hip they stitched the driver once more in the leg. The 5.56 rounds tore flesh from bone leaving a growing pool beneath the driver. Searching for targets they walked towards the government issued vehicle continuing to spray indiscriminate bursts of fire into their surroundings. Standing in front of the Chevrolet, the female target unleashed a long burst into the radiator, with round after round from the two squad automatic weapons or SAWs as they were better known.

Fatima and Yuri climbed into their car spraying further rounds towards the hotel in an effort to keep the heads down of anyone that wanted to pop up for a look or try to stop them. Yuri floored the accelerator, wheels squealed as they tore out of the car park onto the highway almost causing an accident as an oncoming vehicle had slam on the break to avoid a collision. They sped east flying past motorists well in excess of the speed limit. They’d woken up as the Chevrolet entered the motel car park. Yuri had watched the woman leave the car and run into the office before returning to the car. He caught sight of the weapon on her hip and watched as she pulled on body armour.

Fatima had silently loaded the two SAWs while Yuri attached breaching charges to the doors in preparation for their visitors. Yuri had study American law enforcement and knew the Canadian’s often learnt their tactics and techniques from their neighbours to the south. He knew they would try to catch them in a crossfire. With the bathroom and front doors now wired they interlocked their fire with Yuri facing his SAW towards the bathroom door and Fatima facing hers towards the front door of the hotel room.

Yuri heard the pop of the bathroom window and the nearly silent pad of feet as they touched the bathtubs surface. He’d signalled Fatima as he held the clacker for the charges in his hand his other griped the machine gun as he tucked it into his shoulder. He counted down from ten. As he got to six a knock on the room door sounded. Without a thought he squeezed the clacker detonating the charges. The sound reverberated around the little room as the doors exploded outwards. They both squeezed their triggers sending round after round down range in short succession.

The 5.56 rounds tore through walls filling the air with cordite as they grabbed their bags shouldering their weapons and tactically retreating towards the now missing front entry. Yuri was the first through the entry firing off from the hip wildly as he stepped through the threshold. Fatima followed in similar fashion turning her weapon on the black SUV hosing it down before concentrating her rounds on the engine block. She then shredded the tyres front to back. An American in a black suit lay clutching his shoulder, his legs were bleeding from fresh bullet wounds. He would bleed out before help arrived.

They tore out of the motel car park nearly sideswiped a family on their way home from a night out. Yuri righted the car and continued to tear past vehicles on the highway. They had planned for this, Yuri had known the American’s would eventually track them down he just didn’t think it would be this soon. They relaxed the more miles they put between themselves and the motel.

Mac coughed up dust as he rolled on to his side, the concussive force that had flung Pairs across the room had also forced him from his perch on the window sill. His back ached and his hearing rang as he forced himself up on to an elbow. It was a struggle to stand. Mac’s world spun around him. Forcing himself to stand he found his pistol laying several meters away and holstered as he transitioned to his long gun. He staggered his way to the front of the motel. The scene before him was one of pure destruction. Flames licked at the door frame to room number twelve. Beside the door Skye sat cradling her head, blood dripped through her fingers onto the pavement beneath her.

Agent Mayes lay metres from the front door a pool of blood growing around him. Mac looked at Skye then back at Mayes. He’d need attention before Skye did. Forgetting his own pains he moved quickly to the man’s side. He was in a lot of pain and losing a lot of blood. Mac took out two tourniquets and applied them above the man’s knees to stem the flow of blood. Next he removed gauze from a small medical kit at the middle of his back. He used clotting agent on the bullet wounds then covered them with gauze before wrapping them tight with bandages. The man was going into shock and required urgent attention.

With Agent Mayes now taken care of Mac made had time to check on Skye. Her wounds were superficial and he went about patching her up as best he could with the little supplies left in his trauma kit. The whole time he worked on Skye his thoughts were of Pairs. He really needed to check on his buddy, Pairs had taken the brunt of the explosion in the small bathroom. Hurrying he finished bandaging Skye’s head. Mac’s hearing was starting to return. Blaring sirens grew closer and closer by the minute only getting louder and making his head hurt.

Mac stepped cautiously into the room searching for trips wires or sensors that may be linked to further explosive devices. The air was thick with dust and cordite as he moved slowly across the room surveying the scene. The far wall looked like it belonged in downtown Fallujah than a motel room in Canada. Bullet holes riddled the wall forcing Mac to steady himself for what he might see as he moved closer and closer to towards the bathroom. He took a deep breath stealing himself as he kicked the remainder of the door from the frame. Splintered wood and broken tiles littered the floor, water gushed from an exposed pipe that had taken a round. The air was thick with the smell of chemical explosives, smoke still hung in the air obscuring some of his view. Pairs was in the bath laying on his side, blood streaked the side of his face creating rivers of blood where it flowed quickly enough through the dust now settled.

It was hard to see if he was breathing from where Mac stood. He couldn’t bring himself to move further into the room. He’d already lost too many friends and no this Operation. Two of his team were currently lying in hospital beds somewhere in Europe and now Pairs was laying probably dead before him. There was a sense of responsibility despite all soldiers knowing they were putting themselves in harms way every time they went down range. These boys were being paid quite well but that was irrelevant to Mac. They were his team, his responsibility and more importantly he’d come to see them as friends, as people he could trust.

Groans emanated from the bath forcing Mac to move quickly across the room. As he reached the bathtub, a thumbs up flashed beneath a pile of rubble. The thumbs owner slowly rolled on to his back, he blinked a couple of times before a croaky voice louder than it needed to be asked what had happened using some colourful language in between the core question. Mac helped Pairs climb slowly out of the bath that had protected him. He had plenty of scraps and cuts but didn’t look like he’d sustained any life threatening injuries. Just to be sure Mac wanted to check him over once they were outside.

Extract – Fire for Effect

The follow is an extract from my Book Fire for Effect, an Action thriller that I’ve been passionately working on for the past couple of years. I’m almost at the point where I am ready to get it edited and make the final changes before publishing. Anyways I hope you enjoy and it leaves you wanting to read more.


Enjoy and look out for the next installment of A Mind of it’s Own coming this week…

Catherine Collins head rolled from side to side taking blow after blow from the Pakistani she’d nicknamed sneakers. He’d become quite fond of dishing out punishment on a regular basis over the last few days since they’d arrived from the cave in Afghanistan. She had no idea where she was or how they had moved her. At night when she wasn’t being handed a dose of backhands and blows to her body, when all was quiet waves could be heard crashing against a cliff before retreating back into the sea. She’d traced various routes in her mind to keep herself busy and assumed they’d moved down through Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and across the water to Somalia where she knew her Al-Qaeda captors had plenty of fans, followers and Muslim extremists friends to hide them from the world. That was her best guess given she knew that the agency would have people out looking for her. There would be bounties placed on the heads of anyone she’d come into contact with over the past 12 months with ties to Al-Qaeda. At night when she was listening to the water pound at the rocks below as it had done for centuries she heard the low whispering’s of the guards, Catherine thought she was starting to lose it when she heard what sounded like Russian accents chatting away outside her cell.

Sneakers continued to give her the good news as blood and spittle exploded from her mouth as her head snapped around to the right with the connection of  the back of his hand to her cheek. With her left eye swelling shut, her lips starting to crack and dry blood dotting her body she was physically in bad shape. Catherine’s pretty face now looked like a plastic surgery gone wrong. She was thankful that she still had all her teeth, fingers and toes.

Finally sneakers let up cutting her free from the rope that had been keeping her upright suspended in a stress position. This particular position had been criticized around the world for being used in renditions to create discomfort, pain and finally muscle failure during interrogations as a way of extracting information. Collapsing to her knees she wet herself, thankful to feel the warmth as her own urine trickled down her legs. Moments later her body shut down and she was out cold lying in puddle of urine and blood. The two mixed together swimming their way through grouting of the tiles beneath her as they flowed towards a drain in the middle of the room.

Cold water hit her naked body sending a reaction across her skin like she was being poked with thousands of pins, shocked and now awake, the water made the cuts stung and heightened the pain of the swelling beneath the bruises. Shivering her body covered itself in goosebumps, the bodies natural method of trying to retain warmth. She pulled her knees to her chest, hugging herself in an attempt to conserve warmth. Bucket after bucket of ice cold water rained over her before running down her legs and pooling beneath her. She watched as the water turned a brown translucent color as the dried blood flaked from her skin and mixed with the water. As soon as it had started it felt like it was over and she was once again left sitting in a darkened room.

Catherine crawled around on all fours, feeling her way around the room as she waited for the one eye she could open to adjust to the little light filtering into the room. She’d been moved to a room with a drain in the middle of the floor that was tiled from floor to ceiling. Her clothes had been taken and they had bucketed her in cold water, they were cleaning her up. Her mind worked at light speed processing what this meant in between each burst of pain coming from her leg. Was this the end? Would she be sat down in front of a video camera and beheaded like the video clips she had seen on CNN, Al Jazeera and every news station around the globe.

Continuing to crawl around she found fresh clothes in the opposite corner to where she had started. She sniffed them recognizing the lavender smell most likely from washing powder. She pulled on the track pants and hoodie which was 3 sizes too big for her and draped past her waist covering her bum. Pulling the hood up to cover her head she giggled to herself thinking back to her childhood where she had hooded up to keep the world outside at bay letting the darkness envelop her. Sitting in the corner she gazed across at what she now recognized as the door due to slither of light fighting its way in between the bottom of the door and the floor. The sight in her right eye had adjusted to enough to the ambient light filtering into the room. Looking around the room objects began to take shape. From her surroundings Catherine was able to make out that she was in a wine cellar, empty wine racks hang from the roof above her, she could just make out the marks on the floor where racks had been dragged out through the door gouging the tiles as they were dragged across them.

Sitting still she opened her mouth slightly to block out any internal noises allowing her to concentrate on the sounds emanating from outside the door. Once again she heard the sounds of waves crashing against a cliff but this time the addition of squawks could be heard  most likely from seagulls as they flew overhead. For over an hour Catherine sat listening and concentrating on the sounds around her. The only other sound she heard was the heavy footsteps of the guards pacing the corridor outside her cell. Counting in blocks of 60 she worked out it took roughly 6 minutes for the guards to complete a full lap of the compound. She stored that little nugget of information away for later when it may come in handy. If she got the opportunity to escape she would need to time her movements to those of the guards outside. Tiring again Catherine crawled to a dry corner and curled up into a ball.

It had been 2 months since the convoy she had been travelling in had been ambushed in the foothills of the Hindu Kush. The convoy had been struck swiftly and with the precision of a Special Forces unit. The IEDs that had disabled the column had gone off in unison disabling the first and last vehicle in the column blocking in the remaining vehicles while the ground units swarmed over them. There were casualties, as well as a lot of cuts, bumps, bruises. Some of the support elements had been taken out of the fight before it even began. She replayed the events in her mind. The soldiers that had taken her had to be special forces she was sure of it  the more she remembered. They moved weapons pressed into their shoulders , muzzles up searching for targets, treading softly around the cars while searching for something, someone, searching for her. She had blacked out as they had ripped her from the vehicle. But the knife, the knife that had cut her seat belt played over and over in her mind as she slowly drifted off to sleep. A Karambit but not just any Karambit she’d seen it before she just couldn’t remember where.

She woke to the sound of the door opening, the hinges protesting as the door swung inwards.. Balling herself up in the corner Catherine waited to be given her daily treatment from sneakers. She had no idea how long she had been asleep. The footsteps of three men indicated their entrance to the room, opening her eye slowly she caught a glimpse of sneakers in his usual attire, Adidas shoes, pants and an urban camouflage anorak. The two other men were dressed in boots, jeans tight tee shirts and black leather jackets. They looked like mobsters with their slicked back hair and gold jewelry hanging around their necks.

The three men approached as she tried to press herself further into the tiles in an attempt to escape their grip. As they moved closer she could smell the stench of cigarette smoke and their foul breath as they pulled and grabbed at her, bringing her to her feet before them. Sneakers balled his fist and thrust out with a jab to the abdomen. His two new friends scolded him, pulling Catherine to her feet once again. Directing him to lead the way, the two mobsters dragged Catherine from the room. She let her head bobble from side to side taking in as much as she could without letting on that she was gathering information of her surroundings.

They moved up a flight of stairs arriving in a massive dining room with round tables arranged all lined up against large plate glass windows that looked out over the black sea. In the middle of the dining room a man and woman sat alone at a table. Eating a meal of what looked like fresh crab, washing it down with glasses of champagne. Sneakers pulled out a seat for her at the table with the man and woman and shoved her into it before nodding at the couple. He turned on his heals and marched back down the stairs with his mobster mates in tow. Catherine  was poured a glass of water by a woman in traditional afghan dress who appeared out of nowhere and began serving her a plate of traditional flat bread and dipping sauces. Pulling the plate close Catherine ate slowly at first with her head down not wanting to look at the couple seated less than a meter away dining like they were the king and queen of a castle.

Hunger soon overwhelmed her body and she started shoveling in mouthfuls of bread  washing it down with glasses of water. A tall man appeared dressed in full BDU’s he was a medic. Catherine identified the red cross on the shoulder patch. He was also Russian if she was to believe the flag patch adorning the other arm. He strolled towards the table a medical pack slung over one shoulder. Pulling out a chair he sat opposite Catherine and began looking her over before opening his pack and rummaging through it. First thing out of the pack a penlight that he shined directly into her good eye before trying to open the heavily swollen and bruised eye. The stethoscope was next checking her breathing and pulse before he finally removed steri-strips and a small scalpel laying them on the table. The sight of the scalpel cause Catherine to fidget in the chair as she tried to draw away from the Medic. Now finished in his bag he reached across and pulled Catherine’s chair closer to him. Slowly and methodically he dabbed at each cut and abrasion with antiseptic soaked gauze cleaning them thoroughly to remove any foreign objects.

Checking the swelling around her eye he cut it like a boxer would to relieve some of the swelling before again reaching into the bag and removing a syringe in which he injected into her brow a shot of local anesthetic to numb the area. He swabbed the cut and pulled the skin tightly together before using the steri-strips to keep it together.

Now done with his check he placed everything back in his bag. As he got up to leave he pulled a second syringe from his pocket and stabbed her in the arm pushing down the plunger to inject the brown liquid into her bloodstream. He gave it a minute or two before speaking.

“You’ve been injected with SP-117, my bosses are going to ask you some questions you should have no trouble telling them the truth now as it is highly effective”. With that he turned and left the room.

For Catherine the world started crashing in around her. The room started to spin and the man and woman sitting at the table with her went in and out of focus  before blurring completely. The Russian truth serum was now well and truly coursing through her veins. Trying to keep a grip on her mind, she could feel a darkness creeping over her. The man stood and walked towards her, he went in out of focus as he approached.

Pulling out the chair in front of her he sat and moved his face within inches of hers. Smiling he watched as her pupils dilated trying to focus and sharpen the image in front of them. The powerful drug was taking effect. He leaned in even further before speaking.

“I’m am Yuri Bin Laden and this is my wife Fatima, you may of know her father? You pigs gunned him down in his sleep while his wife and children lay within meters of him. Your country is the reason you sit before me and you will tell us everything we need to know! I warn you now my wife can be very persuasive if you do not tell me what I want to know, do you understand?”

Her words appeared to come out slow and slurred but she couldn’t make out whether it was actually happening or that was the drugs making her think it “I do understand, what do you want with me and where am I?”

“You are in Europe, but where you will never know, you can try and escape but it if do know this, no one will know where you are or that you have gone from this world”.

“What do you want from me?” she said once again, this time defiance rising up in her voice.

“See you are catching on Catherine” he smiled knowing that he had caught her off guard knowing her real name.

“That’s not my name, my name is…” he cut her off raising a hand to silence her before she could finish the rest of her sentence.

“You are CIA are you not? Catherine Collins born September 2nd 1986 in Bay City Michigan, attended Bay City Central School before accepting a scholarship to Columbia University, that’s where your file became a little thin but it pays to have friends in high places, should I go on?”

“What do you want with me? I haven’t done anything wrong!” he looked at her with hatred in his eyes, raising a hand to slap her, she flinch into the chair, pleased with the result he continued on.

“Recruited into the CIA fresh out high school you spent a further 3 years after completing your degree in language schools and are fluent in Farsi, Pashto and Arabic as well as mandarin and Cantonese, All very impressive I must say. Under your alias Lindsay Stone you then joined the NBC as a reporter and were assigned to the Middle East as your language skills gave you an advantage over others at the NBC. Your boyfriend or should I now say ex boyfriend was Navy no? Chief Petty Officer Macintyre Tavish or Mac as he is better known, served aboard the USS Spruance, his jacket is pretty thin but his time serving his country is commendable, not a warrior though perhaps the CIA positioned you in his life, something to do with his role as an intelligence officer? Despite this you provided yourself with a strong cover for what you really are Miss Collins. A Farangi, a spy, infidel and I should wipe you off the face of this earth in the holy name of Allah. I won’t as it is his will that I find out what you know and use that information to do his bidding”.

“What do you want to know?” he asked, aggression and hatred wore across his face as he gazed intently at the woman before him.

Yuri’s wife stood walking around the table to pull out a chair next to them both. She was dressed in traditional Afghan dress that was brightly colored, Catherine giggled as the colors on the dress went in and out of focus creating a psychedelic rainbow of colors before her. She reached out and grabbed Catherine’s hand.

“Catherine we are both women of honor, I serve my husband and honor my father’s wishes in the jihad against the western nations that oppress our people across the Middle East. What Yuri and I would like to know is how much do they know about my father’s wishes and how much do they know about Yuri and I? Can you please tell me??” She pleaded with Catherine in a sorrowful tone.

“You are a beautiful woman and I would not like anything else to happen to that beautiful body of yours”

Out of now where with lighting fast reflexes she drew a Karambit from beneath a fold in her dress, driving  it down to the hilt into Catherine’s thigh. She then pulled the knife towards her the sharp blade parting the muscle and flesh with the ease of butter. Pulling the knife out of the wound, she smiled as she inserted 3 fingers into the wound and removed the small pill shaped tracking device from Catherine’s leg. Holding it in between her thumb and forefinger she notice that it wasn’t emitting a pulsing light like it was designed to do. Dropping it to the floor Fatima crushed it with her heel to ensure that it would not give away there location.

“Now will you answer my question so that I can get the medic back in here to sew you up before you bleed all over the floor you silly white whore?”

Catherine could feel the words rising through her chest, desperately she pushed them down forcing her mind to focus on anything else other than answering the questions before her. She’d been trained against all types of interrogation including waterboarding but the SP-117 was designed to prevent her from suppressing her thoughts or feelings. Her drive to keep herself alive pumped much needed adrenaline into her system allowing her some modicum of control over her thoughts. Fatima gazed into her eyes searching for an answer but she was not going to get one.

Catherine managed to spit what little saliva she could produce at Fatima scoring at direct hit as it landed on her face in an act of defiance. A fist flew from the right and collected Catherine across the jaw. The hard right cross had split Catherine just above her cheekbone and would add to the swelling on her face. She spat blood onto the carpet and rubbed her face where Yuri had hit her. He asked her again in a cool even tone laced with malice; she shivered as he spoke knowing what was coming next. Within seconds another punch knocked her to the ground, bunching herself into a ball to try and protect her stomach and face out of instinct. She willed herself to pass out. This was met with an increase in ferocity as Fatima and Yuri kicked at her kidneys. They got off on inflicting pain, laughing  as they kicked and stomped away at Catherine’s back and arms trying to get her to open up from her protective little ball.

It was a full 5 minutes in her ball being kicked and punched before Catherine finally blacked out from the pain. Waking groggy several hours later she found herself lying on an old canvas army cot, she’d been stripped of her clothes once again and the knife wound to her leg had been sewn shut and wrapped in a bandage. Tears welled in her eyes as she thought about what could have happened to her in the moments after she’d blacked out. Had she woken and told them everything? Had Sneakers and his mate had their way with her? She thought of home and for the first time in a couple of years she thought of Mac and what she had done to him in service of her country.

Sobbing uncontrollably her thoughts kept coming back to him. Catherine had known everything about him, she knew he was a highly decorated Navy Seal, she also knew he was part of the raid on the safe house in Abbottabad, she knew he had things he wanted to tell her but couldn’t as he thought he was protecting her. If only she’d told him the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth they might still be together today and she might not be rotting in a wine cellar somewhere in Europe.

Although she had been order to end there relationship by her supervisors she’d fallen for Mac years ago and hated herself for the way she had treated him in the end. The more she thought the tireder she got and before long she was once again sleeping.

The infrared camera blinked to life on the monitor before them.  Fatima and Yuri stood watching Catherine sleep. She spoke in low hushed voice in her husband’s ear, vowing that she would break the woman’s will and spirit to live in order to find out what they needed to know. A smile crept across Yuri’s face as he thought of the warning he had given Catherine about Fatima. He knew she would stop at nothing to extract the information they were after. He thought of previous westerners Fatima had tortured, she had taken them to the brink of death only to bring them back time and time again until they were begging her to kill them. They had all broken, they always did, Fatima had learnt her techniques from the Serbians who were renowned for the torture methods. He pulled her close and kissed her passionately before turning to the monitor.

“Sleep well Miss Collins for when you wake you will wish you had listened to me”.