Outcome of Chapter 21 Plot Hinge… read on to find out.
With one final look over her shoulder, Tina raced out of the temple with Isabella and Dr. Medora. They were headed for the terrace overlooking the courtyard. There they would hold Bellakov and the Windigo Agents off as long as they could; giving Will the time he needed to flip the suicide switch and bury the bastards.
A pale-faced Agent Isaiah grabbed Will’s arm. “There’s not enough time,” he said. “The trap… it’s not built for survivors.”
Will crouched down next to him and heaved a sigh. “Yeah. Yeah, I know.”
Isaiah studied Will’s face before speaking again. “I’m sorry you got mixed up in all of this, Will,” he said, his arms still limp by his side.
Will shrugged. He felt strangely calm given the circumstances. “You know what I was doing just before you and your goons kicked in my door?” he asked. “Eating chips and watching the Shopping Channel.”
Agent Isaiah chuckled, nodding knowingly. The makeshift bandages Tina had provided were already soaked with blood.
Tina. Man, he was really going to miss her.
“At least this way,” Will continued, “I get to go out the hero and not the bum who choked to death on a nacho.”
“You’re a good man, Mr. Dalton,” Isaiah said, his voice getting quieter.
Will grabbed a gun off the floor and pressed it into the dying Agent’s hand. “And you’re the most terrifying man I’ve ever met, Mr. Isaiah.” Isaiah looked up at Will, a spark of the old fire returning to his eyes. “So don’t get soft on me now.”
Will stood up and took a deep breath. Looking one last time at Agent Isaiah, he gave the man a wink. “Gotta run.” With that, Will ran toward the North Tower just as the first gunshots rang out from the courtyard.
His legs and lungs burned as he sprinted up the spiral stone steps. His heart pounded in his ears, dampening the sound of the battle happening below him. Higher and higher Will climbed on his way to his grave. There was no fear now. Only clarity of purpose.
Will smiled as the adrenaline coursed through his veins. Funny that he should feel so alive so close to death.
“This one’s for you, Tina,” he said as he reached the top of the tower and flipped the suicide switch.
Six months later… The Windigo Group’s weapons depot, Hong Kong
Agent Davidson shoved the prisoner roughly onto the metal chair while Agent Coghlan cuffed the woman’s hands behind her back. Isabella Medora stared at them, her eyes ablaze with white-hot fury.
They were in a large, dirty warehouse, surrounded by stacks of crates. Probably rats too, Agent Davidson thought, scanning the dimly lit room. It was a far cry from the pristine facilities they had had in Canmore. But thanks to the woman sitting in the chair and her little band of soldiers, the Canmore facility was now a pile of rubble and ash.
They had moved operations to Hong Kong three months ago and this time it appeared as though its location had remained secret. Good, Davidson thought. He was tired of bouncing around all over the freaking globe.
The door to the office above the warehouse floor opened and Dr. MacGregor slowly walked down the metal steps. Dr. MacGregor. Davidson still couldn’t believe he was now their new boss. From everything Coghlan had told him, the man was a sadistic nut. But now that Irene Bellakov was dead—along with 75 of her best agents—it was a new day at the Windigo Group.
Davidson couldn’t complain too much. After all, with Agent Isaiah, Coyote Jack and most of the Group’s best men and women dead and buried on that stupid island, he was sitting pretty as the Windigo’s new top agent.
Dr. MacGregor crossed the warehouse floor and emerged from the shadows and into the light they had set up next to the prisoner’s chair. “Good evening, Ms. Medora,” Dr. MacGregor said, giving her an oily smile. Agent Davidson did his best not to stare at the man’s greasy wisps of hair combed over his skeletal head.
Isabella stared up at the doctor but said nothing.
“You’ve been a busy girl, haven’t you?” Dr. MacGregor moved to the nearby metal table, its surface covered with pliers, hammers and other instruments of pain that Davidson didn’t want to know about.
“Canmore. Buenos Aires. Vienna. Nairobi.” Dr. MacGregor continued, rhyming off the Windigo Group Facilities she and her crew had taken out over the past six months. Dr. MacGregor finally settled on a large set of metal pliers and turned back to Isabella. “But you didn’t know about our Hong Kong office, did you? And now I’m afraid you’re little crusade of dismantling our organization has come to an end.”
“You’re right,” Isabella said as Dr. MacGregor approached with his pliers. “You guys have been getting better at covering your tracks. We couldn’t for the life of us find this lovely little rat’s nest you have here.” Coghlan instinctively scanned the shadows, looking for rodents. “But I know where it is now,” Isabella continued.
Dr. MacGregor stopped and gave another skull-like smile. “True,” he said. “But unless you’re planning a miraculous escape, that information does you little good. And rest assured, although this ‘rat’s nest,’ as you call it, doesn’t look like much, its security is quite impenetrable.”
“That’s what they said about Buenos Aires,” Isabella replied. “And from what I heard Donovan Isaiah got around that security pretty easily.”
“This is not Buenos Aires,” Dr. MacGregor said, his face flushed with anger. “And you are not Donovan Isaiah.”
Davidson cringed. Losing William Dalton in Buenos Aires was definitely a taboo topic around the new boss. He was just glad Dalton had been killed on that island with the rest of them. Davidson risked a quick glance at Agent Coghlan to gauge his reaction.
But Agent Coghlan didn’t seem to be paying attention to their conversation. Instead, he stood there trembling, staring over Dr. MacGregor’s shoulder at something in the shadows behind him. Agent Davidson watched as a dark pool of urine spread down Agent Coghlan’s pants.
Agent Davidson whipped his head to figure out what he was looking at in those shadows.
“You’re right, doc,” Isabella said. “I’m not Donovan Isaiah.” She nodded over Dr. MacGregor’s shoulder. “But he is.”
Out of the shadows a dead man emerged. Agent Davidson’s bladder suddenly felt weak as well.
“Hello, Dr. MacGregor,” Agent Isaiah said, taking the pliers from the stunned man’s hand.
Agent Davidson fumbled for his weapon, his fingers suddenly numb. Agent Isaiah simply shook his head. Davidson opted to put his hands in the air instead. The urine-stained Coghlan followed suit.
“But you’re dead,” Dr. MacGregor stammered.
“It’ll take more than six gunshot wounds to kill this guy,” another man said, emerging from the shadows behind Isaiah. Agent Davidson recognized him: Darius Mack, part of Isaiah’s Panama Crew. Darius took Davidson and Coghlan’s guns and placed them on the table. “Quite frankly I don’t think he knows how to die.”
Agents Wu and McCrudden appeared from behind Davidson. “Barclay’s got the place rigged to blow, sir,” Wu said. “Time to hit the road.”
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Isabella said, waggling her cuffed hands. “After all, it was my plan to put Darius’ stupid tracker in me and have you guys follow me here.”
Aurora McCrudden walked in front of Isabella’s chair and crossed her arms. “I say we leave her.”
Isabella glowered at the woman. “Do I need to beat the crap out of you again, McCrudden?” Aurora rolled her eyes as Agent Wu undid Isabella’s cuffs.
Agent Barclay, the Panama Crew’s demolition expert emerged from the shadows a moment later. “Hey, Mr. Pee-body,” he barked at Agent Coghlan who still stood rooted in one spot. “You’ve got five minutes to get you and yer friends outta here. Tick tock, Huggies.”
“You won’t get away with this,” Dr. MacGregor spat. “You think you and your precious Panama Crew can take down the Windigo Group?”
Agent Isaiah turned to Dr. MacGregor who wilted under his gaze. “Haven’t you heard?” he said calmly. “We’re the Dalton Crew now.” With that, Isaiah backhanded the doctor across the face with the pliers, crumpling the leader of the Windigo Group into an unconcsious heap on the floor.
Agent Isaiah took out a cell phone and put it to his ear. “Transport,” he said. “You’re up.”
Out of the windows of the wall nearest him, Agent Davidson could see a set of headlights growing brighter. A second later he heard the roar of an engine as a large SUV came crashing through the warehouse wall. Agent Davidson didn’t even have time to scream before the car crashed into him, sending him flying across the room.
As the dust settled, Tina Keller stepped out of the car, her boots crunching on broken glass and debris. “Uh, sorry about that,” she said sheepishly. “Accelerator’s is a bit touchy.”
“Really?” Isabella said, gaping at Isaiah. “You let her drive?”
Agent Isaiah shrugged as the members of the Dalton Crew climbed into the vehicle. “She asked.”
“Relax, Izzy,” Tina said, pinching Isabella’s cheek. “I’ll have you home to Daddy before your curfew.”
Isabella slapped Tina’s hand away and got in the passenger seat. “Just drive, Keller,” she said.
Tina threw the car in reverse and sped off into the night. A minute later the Windigo warehouse exploded in a fiery blast behind them.
Tina smiled. “This one’s for you, Will,” she said quietly.
Meanwhile, back on the Island of Ma’Chavu…
Chief Acalan stood in the West Tower and surveyed the city below him. Much of it was now destroyed. The North Tower was a pile of rubble. The courtyard, a sunken crater in the earth. Even from where he stood, Chief Acalan could make out the twisted shapes of bodies half-buried in the earth.
Losing so much of the city was a terrible loss. But there was more to the Island of Ma’Chavu than its city and gold. Much more. He, at age 247 knew that better than anyone. Or was it 248? It was getting difficult to remember.
Leaving the West Tower, Chief Acalan began the long walk back to the village.
Entering his hut, Chief Acalan greeted his family with a smile and kissed his great-great-great grandchild on the forehead before entering the back room. The room was dark and smoky and unless you knew it was there, it would be easy to miss the man lying in the corner of the room, covered in blankets.
Chief Acalan approached the motionless man and crouched next to him, his old bones creaking. It had been six months and they had seen no improvement… But there was more to the Island of Ma’Chavu than its city and gold.
Suddenly the man on the dirt floor stirred.
Oh, yes. Much more.
Slowly the man’s eyes opened. Chief Acalan put a bony hand on the man’s shoulder and smiled.
“Hello, Mr. Dalton,” he said.
A note on the outcome of the Chapter 21 Plot Hinge:
This past Sunday, June 24th, I competed in the Toronto Spartan Race. The race was billed as a five-kilometre course and I told you that the plot would hinge on whether or not I could beat my previous time of 37 minutes.
I got quite a few emails and comments from readers concerned about Will’s welfare. My landlord even threatened to evict me if I killed off Will. That’s a lot of pressure.
The race was an absolute blast and I did well. But as it turns out it was actually a seven-kilometre course. And as motivated as I was to keep Will alive, there was no way I was going to beat my previous time! In the end, I finished well past the 37-minute mark (but do think it wasn’t a fair outcome, given its unexpected length!).
But, rules are rules, so I did kill off Will in this chapter as promised. However, nobody said anything about him not being able to come back from the dead
I want to thank you all so very much for joining me on this storytelling adventure! I’ve had so much fun leading Will, Tina and the others on this journey. And not knowing myself how each week was going to unfold kept things incredibly exciting for me as the writer. It has been a real delight and I hope you enjoyed it too.
It’s hard to say goodbye to characters I’ve come to love. But who knows, we may see more of the Dalton Crew in the future! I’ll be keeping the site up so feel free to share it with your friends and family. And if you want to read the story again end-to-end, go for it!
I’d love to hear what you thought of the book so please feel free to leave your comments below or send me an email.
Long live Will!