Part the Two Hundred Sixtieth: Around the Henhouse
“It must be Abigail!” Hope insisted with a rising mania. “Why would you guard a henhouse, unless you had something valuable there? And if it were a simple treasure, it wouldn’t need a meal. You don’t feed valuables, you feed valuable people. It must be her!”
She took a moment to compose herself when she noticed that the rest of the party, even Nina, whom as far as she was aware knew no English, stared at her with a bit of alarm.
“Right,” she continued, calmer, “that right there, the henhouse,” she pointed to the block on Nina’s map, “that’s where we’re going.”
“How are we going to do this?” Charity asked.
“Let’s see, eleven of us, two of them… OK, Nina leads us to the rear of the henhouse. At that point, Nina and Osei, Samuel, Goddard, Charity and I will go one way, the rest of you the other; we get them from both sides that way.”
“Aye, should work,” said Mullins. “Provided we get them at the same moment when we come ‘round on them.”
“Let me hear you count to ten.”
He blinked a few times before he started, “One… Two… Three…”
“Four… Five… Six,” Hope kept in time with him, completing the count the same instant he did. “Good; the two of us, we get there, we both give a ten count as we split and move forward round the sides, and on ten we go for them.”
He nodded with his charge.
“Very well; let’s see to this then.”
The party soon found themselves to the rear of the henhouse, where Hope stopped and gave one last glance at her companions before the plan was-
“Hang on,” she said as she gave a quick look. “Where’s Jukes?”
There were a few glances cast around before de Rojo spoke up. “He said he’d be coming; he motioned at me to keep going and said he’d catch up.”
“Damn him for that.” Hope cursed. “Of all the-”
“No disrespect meant to the man,” said Mullins with an edge in his lowered voice, “but the five of us here should be able to do as well if not better without him.”
Hope took a breath and replied, “Very well; as we planned, then.”
The party split as they circled the henhouse, Hope and her companions to the left as she kept a quiet count, her hand raised to give the signal.
Seven… she counted in her head; Eight… Nine…
She was so deep into her count, that by the time she realized Nina had freed herself from Osei’s grip and started to make a run for it, she was three steps ahead of the party…
Osei and Samuel were the first to go for Nina, who made a side step and ended up around the corner of the henhouse.
By the time Hope started to move, she heard the cries of men in pain, and readied herself for the fight…
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