“WHO’S HIT?!” I screamed, unable to look back as I manoeuvred the trawler out of the mouth of the harbour and north so that L2, Pretty Boy and Sid could swim out and the five or six yards to deep enough water and scramble aboard.
“WHO’S HIT DAMN IT!!”
“FUUUUCK!!! WHO’S HIT!! TONY?! COLLINS?! BALDY!? ANSWER ME!!”
I made it to the others less than a minute later as more bullets smashed in the walkway, the last two bullets in that burst blew out the wheelhouse windshield. Serik’s boys were firing blind across the harbour but the sound of hits on stone and wood echoed in the darkness and told them how to adjust to get on target. I could see L2 and Sid in the water swimming towards the boat for all they were worth, but looking up further I saw Pretty Boy laying on the rocks that made up the seawall.
There wasn’t anything for it, I pushed aside the wheelhouse door, climbed over two bodies on deck and jumped into the water over the heads of L2 and Sid as they reached up to pull themselves up over the rail and on deck. I couldn’t even feel the cold, and looking back now, I never noticed the stillness and the silence on deck at the time.
“SIR!?” shouted Sid.
Coming up for air from having plunged into the water I’d barely heard Sid and just grabbed Pretty Boy by the lapels and heaved him over my shoulder. As I stood up to jumped back into the water I could see more ragtags turning where the northern arm of the harbour jutted out from the land and onto the walkway. They were a hundred and fifty yards away as I threw myself and Pretty Boy into the Caspian on a prayer.
“SIR!! UP HERE, SIR!!” called Sid, his whole upper body extended over the rails. “GIVE HIM TO ME, SIR!!”
I pushed Pretty Boy’s body up to Sid’s waiting hands and then heaved myself aboard. Just before my shoulders came out of the water a bullet clipped the metal rail between my hands and deflected away into the open sea. If I have of come up out of the water a split second earlier it would have passed right through the back of my head. With no time to dwell on it I jumped on deck and leaped over Tyk’s body into the wheelhouse door where L2 was already at the helm.
“GO, GO, GO, GO, GO!!!” I screamed at him as he slammed the throttle forward while spinning the wheel to portside, turning us away from land. The trawler lugged forward and to the left jolting me into the wheelhouse doorframe. Just as I righted myself the sound of the runabout revving its engines screeched across the port through the night, followed seconds later by the dull thud of the grenade exploding. Baldy’s trap hadn’t failed us.
“Hold your course, L2” I ordered, gulping air breathlessly.
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey