As recently promised here is a mini-chapter which loosely follows on from where we left Bill and the children trying to escape Fang Mountain but takes us somewhere else entirely.
Entirely unbeknownst to Bill, 1,500 miles away at that very moment Anatoly was also making his way down a ladder in fraught circumstances. It was two hours later in Moscow than it was in Wales, putting it at somewhere around four AM but Anatoly hadn’t had the opportunity to check his watch for a while, so he couldn’t be sure. He’d spared a brief thought for Bill, thinking how lucky he was to be enjoying a relaxing holiday and having no idea that he was currently in a sticky situation himself.
His language as he came down the ladder was utterly foul, if muttered under his breath. He had picked up a couple of good English insults – better than even the ones he had heard at school – from Bill and some of the other agents he worked with but those had been merely punctuation in the stream of Russian curses. His father had rarely cursed but his mother frequently went into a torrent of abuse whenever she went into a rage, which was often, so he supposed he had her to thank in a small way for his proficiency with cursing.
His own situation was not ideal and he had not meant to end up being chased, but these Russian KGB agents were hard to trick and ruthless with it. He scrambled down the last rungs of the ladder into the sewers of Moscow, cursing again as he splashed through things he didn’t want to think about, while hoping his modest knowledge of the sewer system would be advantageous to him. He knew the guards were following, but they were a fair way behind, they hadn’t been as young or mobile as Anatoly, and their heavy uniforms would slow them down. He moved along the tunnel and ducked into a smaller tunnel leading to the left, and half crouched as he started along that tunnel, hoping that he wouldn’t be followed.
As he scrambled along his ears strained for footsteps following him. Shortly he found another turn off and slipped into the tunnel and turned off his torch and stood, in a slight curve of the tunnel, hoping he was concealed from searching torches as he caught his breath and waited to see if he was still being followed.
He pressed himself against the dripping tunnel wall as his pursuers came closer, he could hear the splashing of their footsteps and see the faint flicker of their torches. His dark clothing afforded him some protection from sight but in direct torch-light he would still be visible. He could only hope that they would take a different tunnel and not pass the opening to the one he was sheltering in.
The footsteps came closer and Anatoly swallowed hard, wishing that he’d taken up Bill’s offer to join him in Wales with Allie and her children. He closed his eyes for a moment and tried to hold his breath as he started to hear the hushed talk as the men drew closer.
His gun was in his hand and he kept a tight grip on it, knowing that it might be all that would stand between life and death for him that morning. He tried to shrink back further as a torch beam suddenly cast a light down the tunnel towards him but he had nowhere else to go. If he turned and ran they would be on him straight away, if he continued to hide they would see him in a few seconds and be on him. His only option was to fight.
To be continued…