It’s still the dead of night outside. The clock shows three-thirty. I watch as Andrew shuts off all the lights in the car using one of our specially designed kill switches. Even the quiet hum of the engine is barely audible over the rolling of tires.

“Who’s all going in?” I ask with sleep still in my voice.

“You and me, baby. Lucifer and Simon think we can keep this a quiet affair, so fix the fucking silencers.”

Pulling my HK MP5 to my chest, I start screwing in the silencer. “No, backup?”

“I got James on the rifle out past the subdivision. Heh, fucker is in a cellphone tower.”

With how fucking windy it is, it really does warm my heart to hear he’s fucking suffering with the rest of us.

Handing over a small plastic box, he says, “Ear comms.”

Taking out the little piece of plastic, I place it carefully in my ear and say, “Yeah, must have lost my other one.”

“Dude, we heard the fucking crunch of it.”

“Yeah, probably stepped on it or something.”

Shaking his head, he says, “You give Simon indigestion.”

“Good.”

Stopping a half of a mile away from the house, Andrew hands over an iPad with pictures of an aerial view of the house. Yeah, he was right, this guy’s got a fucking mansion. Probably has ten bedrooms in the house alone.

“Got a basement?”

“Keep looking at the pics, dickhead.”

Swiping my fingers across the screen, I look at models of the house from when it was up for sale. Pictures of the house with infrared body spots.

Swiping further, I don’t see anything that answers our questions. Only old, outdated pictures that show nothing but empty rooms. Getting to the end, I find an old blueprint of the house and see it does indeed have a basement.

Goodie. More places to fucking search through.

“This shit’s outdated as can be.”

“Yeah, I know. Simon sends his regrets, but he couldn’t find much else. Whether by design or simply not enough available information, I don’t know.”

“Fuckers. This is going to be interesting for just the two of us and a guy in a cellphone tower.”

“Yeah, Lucifer has been talking lately about our numbers having being spread too thin. Wants to start recruiting.”

“Shit, that should be fun for you guys.” I can just imagine the files Simon and Lucifer already have on whoever the fuck they are looking at.

“You’re included in the fun, asshole. Lucifer wants you to let him know if you still have contacts with those crazy IRAs, or the French Foreign Legion.”

“For the Irish Republican Army, no chance. They have shut all their doors to me. Too much turmoil going on internally and externally from the wars over in Ohio. Lots of splashback. The FFL? Shit, man, I ain’t talked to those fuckers in three years.”

“You’ve been out what, six years?”

“Yeah, next month.”

The French Foreign Legion. Years of sand and heat. Lots of fights for a country that wasn’t even my own. My adult life was pretty fucked up after Mexico. By the time I was finally able to pay my way out of a dirty Mexican prison, I had spent half my family’s inheritance, been stabbed twice, and shot once. Got too many stitches to count, and more than enough time behind bars to last me a lifetime.

Getting back to the states was almost just as bad. I couldn’t stop seeing all those stabbing knives, the dark eyes full of menace.

They haunted me no matter how much I drank.

So I set off to run from all the fucking demons that were chasing me in my head.

Women, lots of fucking booze, and a string of wrecked hotel rooms landed me in front of a French judge. Salty old hag saw me all fucked up in the head and still reeling from a long bender of booze. She asked me what in the world I was doing. Gave me an offer—join the Legion or get kicked out of the country.

Stupid me was too drunk to understand I wasn’t even in America.

I said the Legion.

Joined up and spent five glorious, shit-filled years with sand in places I can’t even think about without tears welling up in my eyes.

It wasn’t all bad, though. I learned enough shit to keep myself out of trouble and to stay alive. I also found a shit ton of contacts that weren’t the best of people. Lots of unsavory fellows.

I went into the FFL a spoiled brat, and came out almost a hardened criminal.

That’s where Lucifer picked me up. I was running guns in his city and hiring out protection services for anyone who had the money. Some things you can shake when you leave the military, but a taste for danger wasn’t one of them for me. Instead of getting rid of the competition, Lucifer brought me in for an interview.

I’d heard of him, and the deal he made me had enough zeros on the check to make sure I wanted in. Then he showed me how well he treated his guys and what we could do.

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