Guardian

Guardian by Erik Williams Read Free Book Online

Book: Guardian by Erik Williams Read Free Book Online
Authors: Erik Williams
cut off my dick and make me eat it.”
    â€œChoke on it,” Kitra said. “Swallowing would have been your choice.”
    Haddad returned to Mike, eyes watering. Snot ran down the side of his face in fat, stringy globs. Not such a tough guy after all.
    â€œI have a wife and child,” he said.
    Mike shrugged. “You didn’t seem to care if I had a wife and child, did you?”
    Haddad didn’t reply.
    â€œI’m going to ask you one question. Just one. You answer it truthfully, I’ll let you live. Understand?”
    â€œI do not believe you.”
    Mike laughed. “I don’t give a shit what you believe. I’m telling you how it is. Give me the truth and you’ll live. Understand?”
    Haddad nodded.
    â€œThere was a man here earlier. Very well-­kept. Nicely trimmed beard. Perfect teeth. Expensive clothes. He seemed to be the man in charge around here. Who is he?”
    â€œHe will kill me.”
    â€œMotherfucker, I’m going to kill you if you don’t give me his name. Now spit it out.”
    â€œYou will let me live?”
    â€œYes.”
    â€œAnd your friends will let me live?”
    Mike glanced at Kitra, who gave a slight nod. “Yes.”
    â€œForgive me.” Haddad took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “Kharija bin Al-­Aswad.”
    â€œLook me in the eyes,” Mike said.
    Haddad opened his eyes and focused on Mike’s.
    â€œTell me again. Who is he?”
    Haddad didn’t hesitate. Didn’t blink. His face never twitched. He didn’t lick his lips. In a flat voice he said, “Kharija bin Al-­Aswad.”
    Not lying, Mike thought. At least, as far as Haddad knew. It might not be the guy’s real name, but to Haddad it sure as hell was.
    â€œWhere did he go?” Mike asked.
    â€œYou said one question.”
    â€œI lied.”
    â€œI do not know. He comes and goes. I am not high enough in our order to have that kind of information.”
    Order? It was the first he’d heard the term applied to the guardians. It seemed an appropriate word. But for some reason it also gave him the creeps.
    Mike moved away from the table. “How often do your ­people come by here?”
    â€œThere will be a transport arriving this evening. They had orders to move you after your . . . operation.”
    â€œReally? Where to?”
    â€œI do not know. It involved a flight but I do not know the destination.”
    Mike nodded. “Well, when they get here they’ll find you and free you. In the meantime, you’ll stay strapped down.”
    â€œYou said you would let me live.”
    â€œAnd I am. I never said anything about freeing you.”
    Kitra and her men left the room without saying anything. As Mike followed them, Haddad called after him, “What am I supposed to do until my ­people arrive?”
    â€œPonder your life.”
    Outside, the team loaded into the Land Rover. Before Mike could climb in, however, Kitra pulled him aside. “You think this is wise, leaving him alive?”
    Mike shrugged. “Probably not. But I gave him my word. And I’m trying to avoid killing ­people if I can at this point in my life.”
    Kitra chuckled. “Not kill anyone? Interesting choice of careers, then. You Americans . . .”
    Mike got in the backseat and the car sped off toward An Nasiriyah. His left arm, secured by a makeshift sling, throbbed. He needed more pain meds. Now. For the second time that day he wished for his flask.
    Focus on the job.
    As he rode, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed Glenn Cheatum.
    K harija sat in the Gulfstream-­V, looking out the window as the plane passed above the desert of northern Iraq en route to Beirut, and pieced his explanation together. His defense. His excuse. He rehearsed his speech over and over in his head but it never sounded right, no matter how many times he went through it. Plain and simple, he had lost

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