The Shack was an old, two-story farmhouse east of Bay City, in Lakeshore. When they were still in the biz, Murphy and Revell had used The Shack as a safehouse.
We pulled off the main road and turned down a mile-long dirt track that led to a rolling chain-link gate. Past the gate on either side was a three meter high chain-link fence topped with razor wire that encircled the property.
Mouse opened the Shelby's glove compartment, pulled out the gate remote, and pressed the button.
The gate rolled open and I drove the Shelby through, followed by Jake in a ten-year old, faded green Range Rover.
A few minutes later, we pulled up to the house and got out.
Mouse led Danny and Donovan into the house to get settled. Jake and I unloaded gear from both cars, parked them in the garage, and got set up in the dining room, just off the foyer.
I had the standard trunk necessities: Remington 870 pump-action shotgun, FN-FAL battle rifle, two H&K MP5 submachine guns, a dozen frag grenades, a dozen flash-bangs, and a thousand rounds for each weapon. Plus a duffel bag with a change of clothes for me and Mouse and a medtech's kit.
Jake just had an M4 battle rifle with grenade launcher attachment, a second two-toned SIG SAUER P250 pistol, a thousand rounds for rifle and pistol, and two dozen grenades for the launcher.
Everything was spread out over the oak dining table and a long folding metal table set against the far wall.
I nodded at his weapons. "That all?"
He shrugged into a black tac vest and pulled on a gear belt with a drop-leg pouch on the left side and drop-leg holster on the right. "I pack light. Mikey usually brings the good toys." He looked at my gear and raised his eyebrows.
"I try to be prepared," I said.
"Is that what you call it?"
"If you think this is a lot, you should see what Mouse packs under her coat."
"I'm not interested in what's under Mouse's coat," he said, his voice suddenly low and husky.
The butterflies in my stomach came back with a vengeance. I felt my face go sun-hot.
"This place is totally wiz!"
Danny stood at the edge of the dining room, eyes and mouth wide with excitement.
Donovan and Mouse came up behind him.
"I showed them the safe room," said Mouse.
"Good," I said.
"That room was the ultra wiz," said Danny, looking as if he was ready to burst. "I betcha there's secret passages and stuff in here, right? Like that rich guy who's a vigilante in the old vids." His eyes got wider and he whirled toward Mouse. "Do you have a secret underground cave?"
Mouse grinned. "No. But we've got lots of vids. Wanna watch?"
"Yeah!" Danny spun toward Donovan. "Can I, Aunt Mo? Please?"
"That'll be fine, Danny," said Donovan.
Danny whooped, grabbed Mouse's hand, and started to drag her away. "C'mon! Hurry!"
Mouse giggled and followed after in a half-stumble.
Donovan watched them head down the hall, then folded her arms across her chest, and came into the dining room.
"He going to be okay?" I said.
"He's distracted for now," said Donovan. "Probably a good thing." She inclined her head at the spread of weapons. "Ready for a fight, I see."
"Yes, ma'am," said Jake.
Donovan nodded. " 'Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war'."
"Shakespeare," I said.
Donovan quirked an eyebrow at me. "Very good, Kat."
I said, "The man who taught me the biz sometimes quoted that line."
"A literate warrior?" she said with a smirk.
"Some are," Jake said. "Don't let the guns and bullets and hardware fool you."
"My mentor once told me that Japanese samurai also studied the arts," I said.
Donovan nodded. "They did. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to disrespect your teacher. He sounds like a very good man."
"He was," I said.
Donovan let out a long exhale then ran her hand along the length of the Remington pump-action. "I used to shoot skeet when I was a teenager. Got one I can use?"
I smiled. "Come with me."
(to be continued...)