Lying in bed, Teague got a sudden case of the creeps. He made another circuit of the house, peeping out the edge of the drapes in the living room. With the room dark behind him, the moon reflecting off the water, he thought he saw a person lurking in the shadow of the dock. As he watched, a lighter flared, barely illuminating the figure. It was a man with a shaved head. Teague couldn't see details from his room. He had the impression that the man was solidly built.
The idea of calling the police flickered through his mind, but he dismissed it. Instead, he got dressed in dark jeans and a black T-shirt. He got his survival knife, attaching it to his gun belt. Next, he got his Glock 22 out of the locked cabinet. He had a license to carry a concealed weapon. That went in a holster opposite the knife. As prepared as he could be, he put on his military boots and left the house by the side door that opened off the utility room. It was concealed by an arched trellis covered in bougainvillea and nearly invisible from the street. Chances were, if someone was watching the front, they were also at the back and the door facing the side street. He doubted they knew that this other side door existed. He'd lived in the house nearly a week before noticing it himself. Leaving it unlocked, he eased through the trellis, the thorns on the bougainvillea grabbing at his clothing and uncovered skin.
Ignoring the stinging wounds, he moved like a shadow through the overgrown side yard down to the street. He knew he'd be exposed crossing the street, but the nearest light was almost a block away. There were deep shadows from the thick water oaks that surrounded his house and the one next door.
Becoming part of the night, he took a circuitous route to the dock next to his, coming at the man from the right rear. His knife was out and across the unprotected throat before the other man knew he was there. Left hand held the knife, right clasped his neck in an unyielding hold.
"Who the fuck are you and why are you watching my house?" His voice a menacing whisper.
The man didn't move, but Teague felt him tense. He was going to try to get away. The knife blade turned slightly, catching the glimmer of moonlight along the razor sharp edge. It was the only part of the knife that shone. The rest of the blade was a dark, matte finish. An assassin's knife and Teague knew how to use it.
"Give me a reason," Teague growled.
The man relaxed. "I've got friends," he murmured.
"I'm sure you do. But you'll be dead before they can take me out. Keep that firmly in mind. Now talk."
"Doing what I'm told," he grunted as Teague's grip on his neck tightened. "I don't know."
He hyperventilated as Teague's forearm put pressure on his windpipe.
"Swear ta God—I don't—know!" He gasped as he collapsed on the ground. He wasn't dead, just unconscious.
Teague went through his pockets looking for identification. He had a driver's license on him. Teague couldn't see it clearly in the half light, but caught part of the address. He wasn't a local. Memorizing the face and as much of the name and address as he could, he put it back. He wondered where the other men were. Had they seen him? Doubtful, or he'd be surrounded.
He took his concealed route back across the street, making his way to his neighbor's yard. He was up and over the high wooden fence in one smooth movement. Landing lightly on the soft turf behind his garage, he took another watcher by surprise. This one had the time to make a faint noise of alarm before Teague knocked him out.
He couldn't have seen the other man's ID in the murky darkness, but he searched him anyway. This one was armed. Teague emptied the magazine into his palm, ejecting the chambered round before tossing the gun on the man's chest. He pocketed the bullets.
The first man had mentioned friends. Teague assumed that meant at least one more. Since he had another door facing the side street, he figured the third man was probably watching it. There was heavy cover around it. That would play to his advantage as well. He thought of the place that would be the most obvious ambush spot and headed for it. He wasn't disappointed to find a third man standing by the birdbath under the oak tree, surrounded by a thick stand of ferns, hibiscus and other tropical plants.
It wasn't the place Teague would have chosen, there were too many mosquitoes and noseeums hiding in the undergrowth. He hoped the guy was getting eaten alive. A slow, feral grin spread across his face as the man swatted multiple times, grumbling loudly about getting bitten. The grousing lasted about 20 more seconds before Teague had his arm locked behind him, his face grinding into the bark of the oak tree.
"Who are you?" He snarled low in the man's ear. "I swear, I will end you and your buddies if you don't talk."
"This is your place?"
"Why the fuck would I be here if it wasn't? Talk!" He emphasized the importance by slamming his thigh against the man's knee from the rear. A grunt told him that it had connected with the tree. "And don't give me 'I don't know' like the guy by the docks."
"What?" His voice rose in volume and pitch.
"How many are there?"
"Three. I swear, just us three."
© 2016 Dellani Oakes