The Russian Connection (11): Sparring Partners

Year: 2042

Month: July

Day: 25

Location:  Castella Residence – Richmond, Virginia

Time seemed to thicken into a viscous liquid, idly slopping along, prolonging the agony Meghan felt in her heart.  She stared into the darkness of the gun’s nuzzle.  It’s black hollow, ever reminiscent of the death it promised.  Sirens could be heard in the distance, but they were steadily growing louder, as support drew nearer.

“Horus.  Finish the job.  We don’t have much time.”  Set said in an icy tone.  “Five minutes at best.”  He added.

The seconds dragged on themselves as Horus held his aim.  The wry smile he had let himself give Meghan, was gone.  Instead, an inner turmoil plagued his heart.  He stared at her in a mixture of emotions, each one threatening to break through the surface, before being dragged back to the icy depths of his heart where they had remained subdued for so long.

Finish the job. 

It would be so easy.  All he needed to do was pull the trigger.  He wondered if that would rid him of the demons that plagued him at night.  Not only that, he had heard her delirious confessions, while the fear of death ravaged her being.

“Horus!”  Set yelled.

Horus spun right, on his heels.  It was almost a snapping motion.  He stopped dead in his motion, with his gun held steadily in front of him, in his fully extended right arm, and his left hand cupped underneath it for support.  Set dived out of the way, just before the bullets buried themselves in the wall behind him.  Horus crouched and backed up until he was at eye level with Meghan.

“Move into the garage and start the car, now.”



Meghan, jolted out of her shock, scampered through to the kitchen door leading into the garage, while Horus and Set exchange suppressive fire on each other.

“What are you doing, Horus?”  Set asked as he fired a few shots in Horus’s direction.

“It’s complicated.”  Horus responded as he fired off return shots.  Set ducked around the corner, and the wall exploded on impact with the bullets.  “There’s more to this mission than we know, Set.  I need answers.”

“Who do you think you’re bullshitting?”  Set asked, the irritation in his voice clear.  “You’ve been off since we were given this mission.”

Set opened fire on Horus once more.  He quickly scampered into the kitchen and crouched low, behind the counter, on the opposite side of Horus.  All that separated them, was concrete and marble.

“Okay.  You are right.  I’m bullshitting.”  Horus admitted.

“Who was she to you, Horus?”

“That’s what I wanna find out.  Can you let me?”

“You’re throwing your life away!  Kill her and we can retire.”

“I can’t.  You won’t understand.”

“Don’t make me kill you too, Horus.  If you can’t, I’ll kill her.  If you get in my way, I’ll kill you as well.”

The deafening silence that fell between them was absolute.  Each man could hear the steady beating of their hearts.  They were professionals and as such, getting into a close combat situation was nothing new to either of them.  However, they were about to go up against each other and each man knew the stakes couldn’t be any higher.

“You have been like a brother to me, Set.  I can’t let you kill her.”

Set let out a deep breath and Horus realized he had also been holding his breath.

“So be it then.”  Set said with ice laced within his voice.

He whirled around the counter, crouch walking as quickly as possible, with his gun churning out shots with repeated spitting sounds.  A shadow passed above him and for a split second, the heat in his neck rose to prickling levels as the sense of dread that follows a mistake, washed over him.  Horus had jumped on the counter and was sliding over the marble top, his gun pointed directly at Set’s head.  Set arched his head out of the way just as the bullets rifled past his face.  The thunderous booms of the gun sent his eardrums into a vibrating frenzy.  Set grit his teeth and lashed out with his left arm, grabbing Horus’s and yanking him down to the floor.

Horus landed with a crunching thud, but quickly slammed his leg into Set’s hand, kicking off his gun before he could aim it at him.  Horus had also been disarmed of his own weapon, as Set had depressed the median nerve in his wrist, forcing his fingers to flay out.  With the pain spreading to his thumb, middle and index fingers, Horus hurried to his feet in time to block a vicious kick to the head with his left arm.  A sharp pain seared down the arm, but he ignored it, crashing his right foot into Set’s midsection.  The assassin doubled over and Horus raised his knee, slamming it into Set’s jaw.  Set staggered back, steadying himself by holding onto the shattered counter top.  He grunted as he pried a broken off slab of marble free and hurled it at an approaching Horus.  Horus turned around, letting the marble piece shatter on his right shoulder and shielding his face with his arm.  He felt the wind get knocked out of him, as Set crashed his foot into his ribs.  Horus crashed to the ground in a heap.

It felt like someone had set his back on fire and then driven hot metal stakes through his ribs.  Explosions of pain shot up his arms as he pushed himself off the floor.  Horus heard the running footsteps and the whoosh of displaced air from the leg swinging in.  He instinctively caught Set’s leg in a lock and yanked with all his might.  Set slammed into the tiled floor, back first and grunted in pain.  Before he could react, Horus had rolled on him and elbowed down on his chest.  Horus rolled again, facing Set and slammed his other elbow into his face.  The back of Set’s head slammed into the floor and snapped back up again.  The assassin writhed in pain, clutching his head.

“I’m sorry, my friend.  I do not mean to kill you so don’t come after me.”

Horus got up and walked towards the kitchen exit.

“C…Curse you, Horus.  You… know… I will…  Even… if I didn’t want to… they’ll make me.”

Horus sighed.

“Then I hope I can stay out of your reach long enough to find my answers.”

Horus staggered out of the room and nearly fell into the garage.  His eyes quickly caught hold of a slumped Meghan in the passenger seat of her car, and Ketra coolly seated in the backseat.

“I thought I told you not to follow me.”  Horus said.

“Nice to see you too.  Now get in the car before he comes out and beats your ass again.  You also have a lot of explaining to do.”

Horus nodded and got in the car.  Meghan had passed out.  He could see she was injured on her right shoulder.  It was just a graze, but it had to hurt like hell.  The sirens were getting louder now.


“On it.”

Horus tapped a button on the car roof and the garage door began to slide open.  He quickly reversed out of the garage and put the car in drive, lurching off just as Set staggered out of the kitchen.  The car zoomed off into the blizzard.  They took a back path, through the forest and were out of sight just as five police cars tore down the main road leading to the house.

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