Where Honor Lies – #3
By BearStarfire McQuinn
C. 2021, Mcquinn.
Note: We left Jonquil needing to hold his position for an hour until the extrication team arrived…
‘This is insane.’ Jonquil muttered. ‘Things are moving too fast. I’ll need to change the plan.’
Glancing around at the alley, he noted that it was blocked in on three sides. This, too, was not strategically good. the strategist who had chosen this particular location for extrication was ill-informed or.. or, this was deliberate sabotage. Neither thought sat well with him. Behind him, echoing through the parking structure, he could hear the angry mobs growing in intensity. Grumbling about misplacing his trust in the strategist, Jonquil reassessed his situation.
If only he’d double-checked the plans personally. He’d seen the warning signs that not everyone was akin to the plan. He’s seen them, but the gravity of his mission had clouded his mind in that moment. He knew that not everyone on the planning team was for the mission to unseat the dictator. Many were too frightened of the reprecusions should the mission integrity become breached. Dictator or not, some felt that it was a game of ‘better the devil you know’. Now, he chastised himself for not acknowledging his instinctual doubt in the young strategist’s plans.
As the sounds of the mob grew louder, Jonquil’s mind reassessed the plan. He cursed. He still had forty-five minutes to wait before the extrication team arrived. Three quarters of an hour, that’s what he needed to buy… but, how?
Instinct brought a slight twitch as Jonquil heard a shot fired so close it echoed in the alleyway. It was soon followed by an answering volley.
Cover… He needed cover. Here, amid the debris of hospital waste; his clean, crisp uniform would stand out like a homing beacon. If he could just – …
His eyes scanned the alley again, falling on the debris piled around the dumpster.
‘Bags… garbage… perfect.’ He almost smiled.
Keeping as low as he could, Jonquil made his way across the open roadway and over to the overflowing dumpster. Many of the bags piled around were marked bio-hazard and smelled of rotting flesh. Jonquil wrinkled his nose. Death always did have a distinctive smell to it.
Between the rotting flesh, and a myriad of chemical smells, he couldn’t help but to gag. As he toed one bag, the all too familiar smell of human decay accosted him full-force. It stung his nose and constricted his throat as he fought his stomach’s need to expunge itself. Gulping, he forced himself not to add to the miasma as he did what he needed to do for protection.
As quickly and as quietly as he was able, Jonquil wedged the barrel of his smoker under the edge of the refuse pile. Then, using it as a lever, he managed to work his way underneath the heavy bags of waste. The putrid odor causing reflexive gagging as he maneuvered into as comfortable of a position as was possible.
At the moment, Jonquil thought, the only upside to the situation was that the aerobic reaction of decaying waste was creating warmth. A warmth that was more than welcome to his half frozen limbs. In fact, before he could get settled, he was already beginning to sweat, and sweat heavily at that.
Between the weight of the debris and the plastic that blocked the flow of air, he was finding it exceedingly difficult to breathe causing his eyes to sparkle due to lack of oxygen. He knew he wouldn’t last the hour if he didn’t get a good draw of air. His body’s automatic gag reflex was creating danger to his safety as well. The way it wracked his body between gasps for air threatened to reveal his hideaway. He needed air… clean air. Cautiously, Jonquil stirred the debris over his head, just enough to create a hole large enough for air to pass through. It was barely enough, but it would have to suffice. The air still reeked, but he could now breathe without choking. He only hoped that he was still hidden enough to avoid detection.