by: Dennis R. Humphreys
Louis Montaigne was a killer...a cold blooded, precalculating killer for hire. For twenty years he was employed by a wealthy industriaslist who had him dispose of problems and people that interferred with his business, and that included politicians.
At forty three years of age he was tired of the work, he was tired of killing and he was tired of his employer, Antoine De Morne. As always, he had a calculating mind and his employer told him from the beginning he would always have a job until death, he wondered by whose calculation when that would be. Lately, certain attitudes and phrases alerted Louis that day might be coming soon, after all he knew where all the skeletons were hidden. Maybe he was becoming more paranoid as he had been wanting out for two years now or perhaps his employer sensed his displeasure with the job now and thought it best to silence him, he didn't know.
However, one particular day found Louis Montaigne, standing on a chair in the basement of his employer's house arranging an explosive device in the supporting rafters. He waited until the family took a three day holiday so he had time to work on one of his meticulously engineered devices. It took time to be thorough and to leave nothing to chance. Some of his assignments had to appear as accidents, others were not and meant tp be warnings. This one's purpose was only to be conclusive and complete and didn't have to appear to be an accident.
Some of his devices he rigged, like this one, were Rube Goldberg type constructs. He had all the windows and both doors rigged to activate the first trigger. That would be Louis as he left openning the door. Someone entering the house would activate the second trigger activating the final trigger which would cause the explosion with any one else leaving or coming back into the house. The device couldn't be tampered with without setting it off, anywhere along the line of activations. He used monofilament to connect to everything...thin and invisible stuff. It took time to create such a masterpiece and Loius figured he had two and a half days to do everything before the family got back.
De Morne's family consisted of his wife and two son sixteen and eighteen years old. Louis had known them his entire life and saw them growing into the evil industrialist their father was. The wife, Caitlynn was as complicit as her husband, well aware of his solutions to the problems he encountered. Louis didn't see a problem ridding the world of such people. De Morne not only controlled the business he wanted but he was slowly controlling the direction of politics to suit him, in a direction even Louis felt was not appropriate for the citizens. Perhaps age brought a growing conscience, who knows, but he didn't see a problem ridding the world of this quiet despot.
He had spent twelve hours in the house getting the device ready and was thinking about leaving soon. He thought he'd go to a bar, a little distance away and indulge himself in some expensive wine thanks to his employer who left a few hundred dollars on his dressing table in the bedroom. Louis found it as he rigged all the windows in the place and the two doors. It was a large row type home with houses on either side. He only had to wire the opennings in the front and the back which made it easier. He had just finished his job and was cleaning up, taking a last look around to make sure he hadn't dropped anything when he heard the front door open. There were voices, a number of them. He listened closely trying to understand what was happening. The first trigger had now been set. The device could still work when he left setting the second trigger but how could he now? There wasn't an exit in the basement. He would have to leave out of one of the two doors upstairs...the front or back. If he could leave and set the second trigger, anyone behind him trying to leave would set off the explosion. It sounded like they were all in the living room too, blocking a front door exit. He had no choice at the moment but to stay hidden and wait. So he listened by the heating ducts at the furnace. There he could hear better.
“Mr. Montaigne you are a pig and all your family are pigs. The fifty million dollars we collect in ransom for you and your family will make some retribution for all the evil you've done,” a woman's voice spoke roughly.
“Your dealings overseas and the body count doing that rises with your wealth. People like you should be aborted from this world,” a male voice added in justification of thier judgement.
“Who the fuck do you think you are taking me and my family like this? It's an outrage!,” Louis heard his employer say indignantly. But then he was always indignant.
“We are the International Citizen's Liberation Movement, dedicated to removing cancers like you from the wortld,” the woman's voice spoke again.
“We're dedicated to stop the corruption and the manipulation of the world's citizens,” a second male voice said.
“To stop the One World Order as Satanic practitioners intent on world domination and control.” another male voice said.
“And every cunt like you who's married and supports a Satanist like you will fall too, and their offspring as well,” a second woman spoke.
Louis counted five terrorists that he could ascertain. He carried a Glock 17 with him fully loaded and as long as he could get a shot and every one counted, he could theoretically get out but the chance of there being one or more assault rifles among the group was signifigant. He'd have a better chance if he could get hold of an assault rifle.
The basement was damp and cold yet beads of perspiration dripped down Louis', forehead. He had been in positions like this before but always there had been an escape route. Here he could do nothing without exposing himself. He didn't care about the family. The terrorists could get rid of them and do his job for him but it was those five that stood in the way. They were looking for a ransome of quite a bit of money and something like that could take days. Then there most likely would be police intervention resulting in a shoot out. The place would eventually be searched and Louis would be discovered hiding in the basement. If he had a chance at all he had to not let it get that far.
“You're nothing but a bunch of stupid liberationists. When are you going to get wise and understand people like me know what's better for you?” the homeowner spouted but got a fist driven into his face. His wife screamed and Louis heard a slap, shutting her up.
Louis had come here to rid society of his employer and free himself but there was a dilemma. To save himself and escape he had to save them and get rid of the terrorists who technically Loius wouldn't classify as such, but extreme nationalists wanting to bring down De Morne and people like him. Their efforts to take people like him down through legitimate, political means were probably thwarted in the past and they became disillusioned with the system, deciding to take things in their own hands. Hell, he may have even been part of the problem in the past as he assassinated certain people that stood in the way of De Morne's progress.
“We want you to make a phone call to your CEO and ask for the money. It's to be wired to this address,” He heard the first woman's voice say. She must of handed him a paper with it written down.
“Fuck you!” De Morne told her, which met with the sound of something blunt hitting him.
“How would you like your throat slit in front of your family?' The second male voice offered.
Here Louis could hear his wife's voice, sobbing and crying something intelligible.Then he heard her slapped again, hard enough to send her to the floor, where Louis heard her body thump.
Louis had his battery powered hand drill. If he could use one of his large drill bits to poke a hole through the floor he could see what was going on. It might even give him the opportunity to shoot through the floor and get one, maybe two of them to improve his chances but he couldn't do it without them hearing. Then he thought he might be able to use the drill bit without the drill, turning it by hand to create a spy hole. It probably wouldn't take but several minutes but wondered still if someone might hear...perhaps if he did it while there was talking...there were no rugs, just a plain hardwood floor above him.
Louis decided he needed to lure one or two of these people down into the basement after drilling a hole first. Just a noise. Then he might shoot whoever came down and get one of their rifles. Then he might be able to observe some of what was happening through the hole.
He took one of his larger bits and wrapped it with a rag he found in the room. He waited until he heard talking and twisted the bit a couple of times. Bits of wood began falling from the subflooring and quickly he was through that. Now he had to get it thru the three quarter inch oak flooring above it. He positioned the bit about where the sofa was and hoped he was right to block sight of the hole while giving him a clear view. When he knew he was about through he slowed his progress intentioanlly and listened closely. When there was talking he twisted the bit but he listened to make sure nothing was said about any noise. Finally he was through and he could see clearly as one of the men paced across the floor. He could easily shoot through the floor now and he knew confidently he could take this person out with a couple of well placed shots but someone would come to the basement then, firing or ready to fire, lessening his chances of getting out of there.
His job demanded to be able to look at a room and pretty much memorize it. Instinctively he knew where things were within the room, like a blindman committing a map of a room to memory so he could walk thought it successfully without sight. The ability was of great help. Louis looked around the basement for something. He didn't know what. He didn't want to make a noise like someone was in the basement rummaging around. That alert would be as bad as sending a couple of bullets through the floorboards into someone. He found a radio. It was perfect he could turn it on low and slowly increase the sound until it was heard faintly by someone and then one of them would come to investigate.
He set to radio near the steps and plugged it in to a wall socket. He threw some loose rags over it to conceal it and turned it on low and left it awhile and listened. No one heard it so he turned it up. It was a music station....easy listening. Louis took his position behind the washer and dryer there offering him some protection and listened. The talking continued upstairs and a phone call was made. It was De Morne calling his CEO finally after regaining his senses.
“This is Antoine De Morne. I want to speak to Dominic. Yes, I'm fine. Yes, I'm enjoying my holiday. Please, just put me through,” De Morne demanded, ending the niceties.
“HI there, Antoine! How's it going?” Dominic asked the owner.
“”We have a situation here, Dominic. My family and myself are being held hostage. Some terrorist group wants fifty million dollars to release us,” De Morne educated him.
“Shit...now that's going to be a problem. I's Friday afternoon and the banks will be closing shortly. To get that kind of money will take awhile,” he told the owner the load of bull. De Morne knew it was a load of bull as well but it was said for the sake of the terrorists and to buy time.
“Don't fucking think we're a bunch of imbeciles. I know the banking industry and you can get a wire transfer almost immediately these days, especially with what you have in your accounts. Fifty million is nothing,” the one male voice quipped angrily feeling he had been insulted. “I already know what there is in all your company accounts and your personal bank accounts. That's the address we want the money transferred to,” a woman's said loud enough for the CEO at the other end of the call could hear,
“You heard?” Antoine asked, looking at his wife.
“I heard. Let me get on it and I'll get back to you,”” the CEO replied. The terrorist doing the talking grabbed ther phone from Antoine.
“No we won't hear from you and your attempt to drag this on. We will check that account in two hours. If the funds aren't there, then no longer will this man be that's sitting here shitting himself or his family,” the woman said. If it gets to that point we'll be coming for you and your family. She hung up cursing. Finally the talking and the shouting stopped.
Louis sat still to see if anyone heard the radio. There was some light talking and then it stopped. Then there was more almost inaudible talking but enough to make it indecernable. Then it stopped. Louis could hear the light sound walking across the floor towards the hall where the basement door was. Then it stopped.
He clearly heard a man's voice somewhat understated but audible.
“There's music...downstairs. What's down there?” he yelled towards De Morne, who was at a loss.
“Nothing...it's just a basement...washing machine, dryer, junk,” he described, probably ninety percent of the basements out there.
“Bambi, Mickey...get down there and check it out,” he ordered.
Bambi? Mickey? Were they using Disney characters to cover their names? He waited in silence with a clear shot of anyone coming down ther stairs, but they had a clear shot as well if they spotted his gunfire. He could see the door open when it some light illuminated the stairs from the first floor. Then he heard the first footstep. In a second a foot became visible on the stairs. Slowly the rest of the person emerged in plain sight as a second individual behind the first, appeared.
Louis remained motionless until the first person reached the bottom of the stairs, and the second came halfway down, a woman. Louis openned fire on the woman first to eliminate her and block the stairs from the man's retreat. He was the one carrying an assault rifle and his automatic fire began pelting everything behind Louis, hitting the wall and knocking things down that were hanging from it. He wasn't even close to Louis when Louis openned fire again on him and killed the terrorist. Two down and three more to go.
He could hear the muffled sound then of another man barking orders but couldn't clearly hear him with all the shooting still ringing in his ears. It sounded like one had taken position at the top of the stairs. The other stayed in the living room. Louis quietly went to where he had drilled the hole and climbed onto the chair to take a look. The one was standing in front of the sofa as if De Morne, a coward, would attempt something. Louis thought the only thing he might try is to push one of his sons into a terrorist and atempt to escape.
Louis went and picked up the assault rifle. It still had ammo in the magazine. He went back and looked through the hole again to make sure the one man was still in the spot he saw him at. He was. Then he got down from the chair and located the spot about where he was standing. He pointed the gun at it and pulled the trigger, sending a dozen bullets throught the floor.
In the living room, it was a surprise. A multitude of holes appeared in the floor as splinters of wood flew through the air and landed on De Morne and his wife, seated on the sofa. It looked as if the terrorist was having some kind of seizure as he danced about the floor, riddled with gunshot. De Morne's wife screamed and then there was a dull thud on the floor above Louis. Another down and two to go. One man and one woman.
“Whoever you are down there, drop your gun and come up here or we will kill these people,” the man's voice warned.
“Go ahead. I don't care and any promises you make regarding my safety if I surrender is a lie. I won't believe you so don't insult my intelligence,” Louis answered.
“Louis? It's Louis. Thank,God,” De Morne said from the couch.
“Louis?” the male terrorist left repeated. You know this man?” the terrorist asked.
“Yes. He's someone that has taken care of problems for me for almost twenty years,” De Morne answered.
The terrorist knew what he meant by the statement and was worried.
“Shit, we're in a house with a professional killer...” the man said.
“Maybe we should just leave,” the woman suggested.
“Not on your life. If the money's tranferred we will but not until,” he told her.
“That's probably not for another hour,” she reminded him of his own parameters he gave the man on the phone earlier. Maybe we can make a deal with him.”
The other man stood thinking. It wasn't a bad idea. This man sold his soul for money working with this guy maybe a few million would set them free. But Louis heard her suggestion.
“No...no deals. I haven't lived this long doing such things. I don't trust you and that's that. There will be no deals. I suggest you two throw your guns down here and surrender yourselves if you wish to live,” Louis recommended.
“You lived this long suggesting something like that? You've had dumb luck all these years,” the man said insultingly.
It didn't phase Louis as he looked around the basement ceiling. There was the line for the land line phone. The circuit breaker was in the corner. He turned that off and cut the phone lines They had no way of getting in or out without using their own cell phones if they had any. Louis questioned that they had since they had used their mark's land line to negotiate ransom but they may have done it intentionally for any caller id there might be at the other end, just to solidify their sincerity where they were regarding the ransome.
“Tell you what, throw your guns down here and then come down with your hands up. I'll let you live,” Louis offered.
“You think I'd believe a hit man?” the man answered.
“Listen...you have a better chance at that then when you see me face to face,” Louis yelled upstairs.
“We'll take our chances,” the men yelled back.
“Good, I was hoping you'd say that,” Louis repsonded. He didn't want anyone leaving really. That would set off the second switch and arm the device. Then the next time a door was openned would be the last.
They waited. The two terrorists avoided walking across the floors, staying in one spot. They hadn't realized Louis' peep hole directed him where to fire not the sound of their walking. Louis stood beneath the hole watching. The terrorists even took off their shoes which made Louis laugh. They were quieter walking on the floor but no one had come into sight yet. Louis had no more ammo in the assault weapon but he had thirteen rounds left in his Glock. Several well placed shots through the floor would still leave him enough for the other one.
Soon enough De Morne opened his trap. He normally did. Wanting the last word. He began saying derrogatory things which was his character. He felt more confident now that three of the five terrorists that got him and his family, were dead and his hit man was in the basement. He figured Louis would get them all out.
Louis watched and listened.
“Shut the fuck up you asshole,” the men yelled at him, “before I beat that face of yours in.”
Go ahead keep him going Antoine. I just need him to come to your couch where you're at, Louis thought to himself.
“You'll never get out of here alive you idiot. The man downstairs will see to that,” De Morne went on finally pissing the man off.
Louis heard him walk across the room in his stocking feet and he saw him then in the hole as he prepared to bring the butt of his rifle down on the loud mouth. But as he did so the man caught sight of the hole in the floor...and Louis' eye staring back at him. Before he could move or shout a warning, bullets came through the floor and riddled his torso passing through his crotch. The man, like the other appeared in convulsions or some strange night club dance.
Louis ran to the stairs and then quietly up them as fast as he could. He knew the last person left, the woman would take a few preciouis seconds to think of what to do. By the time she had, Louis had come from the basement, down the hall and into the doorway of the livingroom where she stood. She tried to raise her gun but before she could aim it Louis had put three bullets into her chest.
“Ha, I knew you'd get them all,” De Morne laughed coming off the couch. His wife just began sobbing and his two sons were busy giving each other a 'high five'.
Louis looked at all of them and put his gun away into the holster he had under his rain jacket.
De Morne went over to the body of the one terrorist and began kicking it in anger, cursing and swearing.
“Don't do that,” Louis told his employer. “At least they bleieved in what they were fighting for and their cause was for the people.”
“Listen I'm grateful for what you've done but don't fucking tell me what to do,” De Morney told the hit man.
“Or what? You insolent ass hole. Or what?” Louis said as he went out the front door and closed it.
He knew De Morne would want the last word. He always did.
De Morney was beside himself. He was just going to order a hit on this guy to replace him anyway this week with a younger man. Louis knew too many secrets and was over the hill. Now this asshole calls him one. He wasn't going to let him get away without hearing what he really thought about him.
As Louis walked down the sidewalk outside, he was almost to the end when he heard the doorknob click as someone was openning the front door. It was overshadowed by the explosion that ripped through the home sending debris over two blocks of the suburban area and leaving an empty space between the two other homes.
Louis meerly smiled and stepped into his car, a retired man.