“Duck!” The now all too familiar voice rang out in Special Agent Ortenson’s head. Without hesitating he yelled to the rest of his team, “get down!” Instantly the other members of the infiltration team dropped to the deck. They’d operated with him for a few months now and trusted his instincts. He seemed to know things were about to happen seconds before they actually happened. At first it spooked them, but now it was so commonplace, and it had kept them free from harm, that they just unquestioningly reacted.

Sheer moments after they ducked down behind the crates they had been moving behind, a barrage of automatic weapons fire pockmarked the row of crates behind them. Splinters from the wooden containers popped up from the crates and pelted the team, but that was a much smaller price to pay than catching a slug somewhere.

“Dammit!” Rob shouted. The splinters catching him on the nape of his neck. “Control, we are taking fire. Automatic weapons. Looks like second floor near objective.”

“Copy, Omega One. Proceed if able. Back up is on the move.” Control was a block away in a mobile command center. They had the reserve force for the assault on the targets in the warehouse. A surprise infiltration had been planned, but with every plan there needed to be a backup, and now, with the element of surprise gone, the wheels of a full-blown assault were set in motion.

“Roger, Omega team continuing. Continuing to the primary entry point. Request backup force position themselves at fire point Tango for base of fire.” Rob replied. Although the people firing at them knew they were coming, it was deemed necessary to continue. The reserve teams would keep the cartel members inside occupied, while his team moved to take them out from the inside. The goal was worth the risk, plus he knew he would have some help as they made their way in.

“This way,” he ordered. Pointing to the stairs at the side of the building, the team crouched and ran as fast as they could to the corner of the structure. The reserve team had arrived at their position and were returning fire, drawing the heat away from Special Agent Robert Ortenson’s small force.

The team moved behind Rob like a stream of water flowing up the stairs. They were in a constant state of motion as they scanned up, down, and to the sides, wary of a threat from any direction. Their first objective was a door, a third of the way down the length of the building. The warehouse blueprints showed this would get them in on the side furthest away from where they suspected the heads of the cartel were meeting. Carefully, but deliberately they made their way across the scaffold like walkway that ran the length of the second floor they approached their intended entry point.

The team knelt as they approached the door, preparing to breach. They had a small explosive charge to break the lock for their insert. As the agent with the charge prepared to stick the charge on the door, the voice popped into Rob’s head once again.

“No. Window,” it said. Rob immediately raised his fist, giving the ‘hold’ signal. He motioned to the window that was about ten feet further down the building. The team shuffled the short distance down to the window. Rob took his collapsible baton out of its holder, extending it, then smashing the window out he ran the baton around the frame, clearing the shards. A quick peek with a snake camera showed no one in the area, allowing the Special Agent to shimmy through the window. Rob paused for a moment, scanning the area not shown by the snake camera peek. He could hear shots coming from the front of the building, more than twenty yards away. He couldn’t see any of the perpetrators, so he didn’t concern himself with them for now.

Looking over at the door he saw why the voice had told him to go through the window. There was a huge slab of plastique attached to the door, wires leading to the frame indicated that any forced entry would have resulted in not only the door, but a good chunk of the building disappearing in a flash of fire and light.

“Green, red, white.” Rob heard in his head; the voice just barely audible over the cacophony of machine gun fire. Looking at the explosive package in the dim light of the warehouse he could see green, red and white wires going from the explosive charge itself to the door trigger. He made his way over to the door, drawing his knife from its scabbard. He cut the green wire, the red wire, and lastly, the white as he had been . . . instructed. The lights on the trigger mechanism went dead, indicating the trigger was now inactive. 

The rest of the team had made their way in the warehouse and had congregated behind some crates near the window. Looking over at him they could all see the nasty surprise they had avoided by not coming in the door. They all grinned, feeling content in the knowledge that somehow, their team leader was keeping them safe.

As one, Omega team moved to the front of the building. Closing in on the front of the building they saw the source of the initial automatic weapons fire they had received. Four men were positioned near the windows at the front of the warehouse. 

Closing in on them, Special Agent Ortenson screamed, “Federal agents, drop ‘em!”

All four cartel members spun, startled by the commotion behind them. Raising their weapons to fire they were all cut down by the weapons of Omega team. The Federal agents’ body cameras would have captured the fact that the agents had announced their presence, giving the criminals a chance to surrender. It would also capture their resistance and the consequences of not heeding the warning of the agents.

The immediate threat disposed of; Omega team continued their trek toward the back of the warehouse. Resistance continued as they made their way toward the suspected holdout of the senior cartel members. Bodyguards and cartel members seemed to pop out of the woodwork as the team of Feds moved to the back, each of them being dispatched expeditiously by a double tap of a Federal agent firearm.

The team stopped their progress outside the room that had been marked as the primary objective, where the leaders of the cartel were supposedly holed up. One last confirmation of duties for each member after they breached the door and they were in.

Bullets flew as Omega entered. In his head Rob was getting guidance from the voice. “Left”, “right”, stop”, “go”, were the commands, or rather suggestions, he heard. Complying with each, he noticed that he was once again kept free from harm’s way as he made his way through the room.

“Drop it!” he yelled at the sole remaining cartel leader. The man had been backed into a corner and was reloading his pistol when Rob came up on him. Staring down the barrel of his assault rifle, the Federal agent was as menacing as he looked. The Bureau wanted to take as many of the leaders as they could alive for possible intelligence, but not at the expense of any agent’s life. Rob would have no compunction at all about pulling the trigger, blasting the contents of the man’s head all over the wall.

The cartel member saw the look in the agents’ eyes and decided that he wanted to live to see another day. He raised his arms and then slowly bent over to place his weapon on the floor.

Rob was moving to zip tie the criminal’s hands when he heard the voice again. “Threat to your left!” it screamed at him. The urgency was apparent, and Rob spun, coming face to face with a hidden gangster, who was leveling his pistol at the agent’s face. Two quick pulls of the trigger of his assault rifle and the other man went down in a red haze of blood and bits of tissue. Spinning back to the front, Rob ensured his captive hadn’t gotten any crazy ideas when he’d been distracted. The man who had been surrendering was still frozen in place, much to Rob’s satisfaction. 

With the assault over, the few remaining cartel members rounded up and in custody, it was time to debrief Control and the team. It took a little longer than usual as Control was in a very inquisitive mood.

“What caused you to abandon the door entry for the window, Agent Ortenson?” Special Agent In Charge, SAIC, Michael Crenshaw asked. His reputation was that of being exceptionally thorough. Painfully so, much to the chagrin of many junior agents.

“I had a bad feeling about it. There was no one guarding, or near the door, so I thought it was hinky. I opted for the window. Just lucky I guess.” Special Agent Ortenson replied. He didn’t want to lie but he could hardly confess that the voice of his dead wife was guiding him, protecting him as he went about doing his duty.

“Luck, huh?! You sure are one lucky sonofabitch aren’t you, Rob?” the SAIC asked.

Rob shrugged. What could he say? He opted to say nothing but shrug his shoulders and smile.

“Fill out the formal report tomorrow. See you at the office. Good work Omega.” Crenshaw said, in his own way dismissing the team from the site.

“Thank you, sir. See you tomorrow.” Rob said, turning to leave the premises as soon as he could. He wanted to get a good strong Bourbon and turn in for the night.

“Catch ya later, boss” one of his team members said as they all went their separate ways. Rob waved nonchalantly, his mind already turning to other thoughts as he made his way to his car.

Later, alone in his modest apartment, FBI Special Agent Robert Ortenson reflected upon the evening’s events. With his tall three finger pour of Bourbon in his hand he smiled as he recalled hearing the voice in his head, guiding him, and once again keeping him safe.

The voice. The first time he’d heard it, it had caught him by surprise. It had saved him while he had been deployed as a Special Forces operator in Afghanistan. He had been chasing the Taliban through tunnels when it had alerted him to a booby trap. It had been shortly after that incident that he learned his wife had been murdered and he was quickly shipped back home. The police told him it was a home invasion gone wrong, but he eventually learned otherwise. It was a hit by the local gang which ran drugs, guns, money, pretty much anything for the cartel. His wife was trying to help one of her students escape the gang life and that was frowned upon. He decided to take matters, and justice, into his own hands. It was on his quest for revenge that he started hearing the voice more frequently. It was unsettling at first, but the more he heard it, the more he began to recognize that it was helping him; keeping him safe. It was only when he had finished the job, gotten the justice he wanted by killing the men responsible for his wife’s murder, that he was enlightened by the truth. As hard as it was to believe, as much as he hadn’t believed in that type of paranormal stuff before . . . he was sold. He had a hard time believing his ears and his eyes, but the proof had revealed itself to him. A misty, foggy shape, with the voice in his head relating facts only his wife knew had convinced him. There weren’t conversations, per se, but rather glimpses, fleeting moments, particularly when he was in distress that she called to him.

He now relished whatever connection he had with his spouse, especially since she was on the other side. She had kept him safe as he pursued his career as a field agent in the FBI. It was like he had his own personal shield, protecting him. More than once during his time with the Bureau the whispers in his head had kept him from getting shot or blown up, just as it had tonight. He felt like he could start to feel her presence now, more and more as he heard her voice more often.

Rob laid down in his bed, exhausted after finally allowing himself to fully relax. The adrenaline rush of earlier this evening had worn off and sleep fell upon him like a heavy fleece blanket. Lying there in his bed, had he opened his eyes, he would have seen a mist, a fog, a hazy shape hovering near the head of his bed. And then, if he’d focused on the mist, he might have seen, illumined by the moonlight streaming in through the window, the shape of his wife’s beautiful face looking down at him, smiling. Smiling, like a doting mother who’d just tucked her baby in for the evening.

Not knowing if he was still awake, or dreaming, somewhere in that in-between stage, Rob could have sworn he heard her voice once again. 

“Good night, Love of My Life. See you tomorrow.”

January 16, 2020 22:47

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Holly Huntress
21:27 Jan 22, 2020

Great story! I like the angle you took!


Timothy Gabriel
14:22 Jan 23, 2020

Thanks!! I originally had an idea for a novel with this theme, the prompt gave me a chance to ‘test drive’ it and introduce the character(s).


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