What is this about?

Reinforcements, Part II

The copters swept in low over the mansion and nightsun lights momentarily lit up the study. Harris briefly surveyed the corpse before him then leaned against the desk, grabbing Sheridan’s Blackberry.

Up and out of the room, Harris looked through a window at the end of the hall and saw one of the helicopters touching down on the motorcourt. The second one he guessed was landing in the back. Almost tripping over the body of one of Sheridan’s men, he knelt down and recovered a Mac-10, still warm. Rifling through the goon’s clothes he found a tin of Macanudos, a Zippo lighter, but no extra mags, dammit.

Bouncing on his good leg which made his wounded shoulder hurt all the more he made his way down the servants staircase to the kitchen where he saw four men running from the airship in the backyard toward the house. At the same time the front door crashed open and loud voices sounded. All he could do was dive through the basement door, half falling in the dark down the winding, narrow staircase to the floor. Pain from the gunshot wounds was excrutiating and he squatted on the concrete floor for a few moments trying to will the sting away.

A snake like Sheridan had to have an escape route, Harris thought while footsteps pounded up the stairs. Then the backdoor smashed open and cab held his breath, aiming the barrel of the machine gun at the top of the stairs, but the quartet of killers thundered through the kitchen ignoring the basement. For now.

Taking a deep breath, Harris prayed that there had to be a tunnel of some sort. Pulling the lighter out of his jacket he flicked it, waving it back and forth in a desperate search of the chamber’s walls. Swinging around in a half circle, the Zippo’s flame suddenly illuminated a tiny pair of bright blue eyes that blinked back at him wide and afraid.

Heart leaping in surprise and shock, he reached forward and slowly peeled the dirty gray duct tape from the mouth below the eyes that he instantly recognized.

“Daddy!” his daughter cried, and as if the result of some sort of operant conditioning, tears fell from his eyes upon hearing the word. In the flickering flame light, he was staring at his little girl. Quickly unbinding her hands and ankles, she leapt up and threw her arms around him, blowing out the flame.

“They told me you were dead, Daddy!” and they just held each other in the darkness.

“They lied to me about you too, Siena.”

A yell came from upstairs and footsteps suddenly pounded down the main staircase. This was no time for a reunion, He held his daughter out at arms length and reignited the Zippo.

“Siena, listen to me. Do you know if there’s any way out of here?”

Almost too calmly she walked beneath the staircase and into the darkness as footsteps thundered back into the kitchen and stopped. Harris let the room go dark again and heard safeties being switched off and heavy breathing and pictured all of Sheridan’s second wave circled around the basement door.

A latch clicked and her daughter whispered, “This way.” Diving under the stairs he pushed his daughter into the dank, narrow opening before climbing in on his hands and knees. Reaching back to close the door, he heard the bounce and clang of something coming down the steps. He had a good idea what it was and turned away from the door.

“Fire in the hole!” came the yell from above, and Harris filled the crawlspace and braced for the explosion.