Kneeling down, he fiddles around with the lock to the kitchen’s mudroom before standing back up. “Got it.”

Nodding, I gently ease the knob in a circle before pushing it open. Three guards are outside the grounds, two in the guard shack, and one on patrol.

“Move in. The guard should be passing here in one minute.”

Walking heel to toe, we quietly move into the mudroom.

Shutting the door behind us, I say, “Alright, should be a guard moving around the first floor. We need to secure him first.”

Nodding his head, James walks first out of the small room and into the kitchen. We both studied the house’s layouts.

There shouldn’t be any issues beyond this guy.

After we get through here, we need to head upstairs to the second floor. First to Beth and the guard we believe that’s stationed at her door. Then we’ll move around a bend to the master bedroom.

From there, it’s a matter of subduing the two goons who are protecting the Senator.

Just because I’m not allowed to kill someone doesn’t mean I can’t carry a pistol with me. The gun alone gives me the ability to intimidate the goon we find in the living room.

My barrel presses tightly to his temple and my hand clamps over his mouth.

“Move, talk, or try to get help and you die,” I murmur in his ear.

He’s a professional though, so I highly doubt he’s really going to let me take him out of the fight easily.

Nodding to James, I watch as he pulls a hypodermic needle from the pouch on his wrist.

Grinning at the goon, James says in a low voice, “You’re going to take a nap now.”

That’s all the guy needs to start struggling against me. I don’t have the best of holds, but with a swift crack to the side of his head with the handle of my gun, he slumps into the chair.

I watch as the needle goes into his neck.

“What kind of cocktail did we just put in him?” I ask James.

Shrugging, he says, “No clue. Simon said it’s what dreams are made of, and should make him lose all control of his muscles. So he’s probably gonna shit and piss himself.”

I wince. “That’s mean.”

Nodding, he motions me towards the archway leading to the stairs then holds up his hand.

Inside his hand I see a little metal whistle.

What the fuck?

Turning to me, he says with a determined look on his face as he lifts the whistle to his mouth, “Take it back.”

“What?!?” I ask, incredulous.

“You know what I mean. Take it back, or you and me are going to have a really bad time.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

This fucker is crazy.

“I said take it back.” Putting the whistle in his mouth, he puffs up his cheeks.

“For fuck’s sake,” I say as I drop my hands and growl. “I take it back.”

He noticeably deflates and slips the whistle into his pocket. “Good, now let’s get moving.”

Stupid fuck. I had my fingers crossed the whole time.

He’s so going to be getting wifed up soon.

I go first. I holster my gun then pull out the tranquilizer pistol. It’s a Co2 shooting little thing, and thankfully it’s not a noisy bastard.

Making my way slowly up the stairs, I get to the first landing and then take it even slower up to the second landing. It’s here I need to be careful. I’ve got a hall to my left that should be empty, but to the right of the staircase should be another one.

There the goon will be watching Beth’s door.

Pulling a thin camera wire from my pocket, I attach it to my phone. Looking at the screen, I slide the wire around the corner.

There, louder than life, is the guard. He’s sitting sprawled out in his chair, watching something on his own phone.

I’m betting it’s porn.

Pulling back the wire, I motion to James that I’ve spotted our guy.

Slowly moving to the corner, I take careful aim with my gun and shoot.

This isn’t like the movies though, where some guy gets hit and he instantly falls down. Nope, he’s not out yet, but this is one of those extremely powerful, loopy drugs so that helps.

“What the?!” he grunts, before I slam directly into his side, headbutting him with all the force I muster.

James is there an instant later, shoving a piece of cloth into his mouth. Tape comes next, and then a good hard punch with my brass knuckles knocks the guy out of the fight completely.

James wraps his arms around the guy as I move to Beth’s door.

Testing the handle, I find it’s unlocked.

Opening the door, I move quickly into the dimly lit room. It’s not exactly what I pictured her room to look like.

The room is almost sterile in its stark emptiness.

There’s a bed with beige blankets and sheets. The walls are some type of light brown too. Carpet is a boring off white. Dresser is there, but it almost looks utilitarian. The only real piece of personality comes from the nightstand where a picture of Beth and a woman who I think is her mother is.

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