Saturday, December 7, 2019 | By: Drotuno

Heaven & Earth Chapter 28

Chapter 28
BELLA
Bellissima, Edward… The doc wanted me to let you know that Jasper is patched up, getting a blood transfusion, and will be okay,” Alec stated over the earpieces.
“Copy that,” I said softly.
Our team had gone silent, but Mickey and I sighed in relief, giving each other a fist bump. Even though I knew they were out there, I couldn’t see Edward or the dogs. The woods were darkening enough that everything cast a shadow, especially in the brush where they’d be hunkered down low.
Team Alpha has a cluster of heat moving in from the east; they are one-point-five kilometers out, IGOR advised. He’d been set by Alice to automatically give updates through the satellite feeds, drone cameras, and our own GPS locations. Team Beta has a cluster moving in on them from the west.
Mickey handed me a pair of binoculars, and I searched east of our location for any movement as Emmett called in that they’d found their place to lie in wait. The woods were too thick to see very far.
“I’m in position on the west side of the property,” Aunt Kate called in.
“Boris, I need you on the east side,” Carlisle ordered. “Take Jasper’s sniper.”
“Will do,” Boris replied.

At that very moment, everyone was where they were needed. We had coverage on both waves coming in from the east and the west. The barn, the house, and the front gate were all guarded. The kids, Esme, Miranda, and Ji-Yun were below ground and out of the line of fire. Lastly, Jasper was being tended to by Dr. Sharp.
I wasn’t sure what was worse – the waiting or the watching. The anticipation of the fight heading our way was just about to drive me mad. I knew Edward; he’d want to stop this wave right here, allowing nothing to get by us. However, when I studied the thermal image, our target was much larger than the one coming in from the mountains. I had a feeling that Kim Min-Jun was in there.
The waiting also caused my mind to wander. Mentally, I started shifting pieces of this gigantic puzzle around. It felt like we never really got our footing on this whole thing. Starting with the attacks on specific Twi Tech businesses all over the globe, to the hostage terror on Twi Tower, to everything else that had followed – it all felt like we’d been set up. And while I knew that Dean had unfortunately had a hand in some of that, not all of it had come from him.
No, this went deeper. This was someone who knew way more.
“Dean, come in,” I said softly over the earpieces.
“Go ahead, Bella.”
“When you were with Kim, was he truly calling the shots? Or was there someone else he was answering to?” I asked him, unable to stop myself from trying to work through this stuff while I sat in a tree waiting for a fight that was still a little less than a mile away.
Mickey turned to face me, her brow furrowed in curiosity. I grimaced and shrugged apologetically, while most of the radio noise went silent.
“You mean besides his country?” Dean asked with a sarcastic tone and chuckle.
“I mean… Did he take calls or receive texts or emails that seemed to come from a higher place?”
“You think all this fucking shit isn’t Kim’s doing?” Edward asked softly from wherever he was hiding.
“Kim was always on and off his phone, Bella. Whether they were orders or not, I couldn’t tell you,” Dean answered. “But someone else may know. Hang on.”
I knew he couldn’t be far from Ji-Yun, so when he spoke in Korean quickly and urgently over the earpiece, it wasn’t a shock.
Ji-Yun started to answer in Korean, but Dean stopped her. “No, in English, so they can hear you.”
“Okay,” she agreed. “Min-Jun always had someone to answer to. Military contacts, different groups he was controlling, weapons contacts… He even had to answer to Cho Jin-Sang when he was pretending to work for him. If you’re asking if he had a…a… What’s the word? Boss? I think he did, but I don’t know who it could be, other than someone from our country’s military.”
Mickey nudged me, raising an eyebrow at me. “That’s exactly the same shit we already knew.” She trailed off, her brow now furrowed in thought. “Wait. Pretended to work for Cho…”
“What if he wasn’t pretending?” Rose asked over the radio.
“Guys, Kim fucking shot Cho in the back on the top of Twi Towers. Most of you saw that shit,” Edward stated.
“And Kim threatened Cho, slapped him around when we were all in Carlisle’s office,” I added to that.
“If you’re in it for the big shit, you gotta go all in,” Alec pointed out. “You know what, just to be fucking safe, we’ll make sure the Chos stay all nice and fucking cozy on that military base. Until then, Alpha Team, you’ve got company closing in. Look sharp.”
Mickey put the binoculars up, scanning the woods toward the east while I studied the thermal map Alice was sending our way.
“Ten and two o’clock,” I pointed out. “Edward, we’ve got scouts several paces ahead of the group. The rest are starting to spread out a little.”
“Roger that, sweetness.”
“Pretty boy, you have a shot at the one on your right. Stay low. Stay silent.”
“Ten four.”
Mickey had to have seen where Edward was, because I didn’t. The brush down below just to our right shifted minutely. And it was Lock and Load who caused the rustling, not Edward. Both dogs flanked him as he stayed low, stalking the first scout, who was deliciously twitchy and scared, especially when a lone wolf howl echoed through the woods. It was followed by another, closer one.
“Aw, he’s scared,” Mickey sang sarcastically. “Jesus, Edward, this will be too sweet if you use Lock and Load. Bastard may just piss himself.” She stopped for a moment, watching through the binoculars. “Okay, halt. Count to ten. He’ll be within grabbing range. Wait for my say.”
Edward didn’t answer.
On the map that Alice was controlling, Edward’s location was clear, as was a slow-moving mass of heat. The former was flanked by Lock and Load, who were waiting for their commands.
Mickey scanned the area again. “Edward, listen to me. When you’re done with that one scout, you need to immediately take the one on your left. Eleven o’clock.”
Looking in the direction that Mickey had her binoculars pointing, I still didn’t see Edward until he stepped from the brush, grabbing the first scout from behind and wrapping a hand around his mouth. The glint of Edward’s knife was swift, and he dropped the man to the ground. His next target was exactly where Mickey said he’d be, and the dogs were faster than Edward. Lock and Load moved in sync, the growls echoing through the trees. The second scout only had time to utter a cry of surprise before Load’s teeth latched on to his throat. Load only let go when Edward got to him to finish the man off.
“Edward, down,” I told him.
My husband reacted instantly, flattening himself behind a fallen tree. The dogs did the same on either side of him. I needed him to stay still so I could listen and watch for any sign that he’d been heard or seen.
I traded my phone with the map for the binoculars. “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon,” I whispered frantically to myself, scanning the woods the best I could in the failing light. “Where are you assholes?”
“They’re on the move,” Mickey said, tucking the phone away. “Alice, you’ll have to be our eyes. We can’t use the light of the phone anymore.”
“Got it, got it, got it,” she chanted. “They’re moving faster now, spreading out. Your best bet is to stay quiet, stay still. Let them pass you by.”
As I waited, I was wishing I’d had more equipment. Sniper rifle with a silencer would’ve worked perfectly in this scenario – as would have my bow and arrows. Both would have allowed me to take out these men in silence and from a distance. However, everything that I grabbed from Aunt Kate’s barn cache was meant for loud and in-your-face attacks. I even checked Mickey’s bag, and even though we had plenty of ammo, there wasn’t anything for silence.
“Edward, don’t move.” Alice’s command was firm yet calm. “There are heat sources moving through your area.”
Edward didn’t answer, but I don’t think anyone expected a reply.
“Mickey, Bella… You two need to stay still, too,” Alec added.
“Copy that,” Mickey replied softly.
The two of us nestled down on that deer stand, using the overgrown branches for concealment. I readied my weapon, aiming out over the woods, and Mickey did the same. Kim’s men were quiet – no chatter, no radio, and barely a sound made with each footstep. I couldn’t see faces, simply shadows moving through the trees, which meant I couldn’t see which one of these assholes was Kim. Knowing Edward like I did, it wouldn’t matter. Everyone in these woods would die before the sun came up.
The group moved slowly to stay quiet, and they moved almost in a line. As they moved by us, I listened to Rose guide Emmett’s team with the wave of men coming in from the mountains. They had fewer men to face than we did, and their fight would soon be over. Ours, however, hadn’t even started yet. I had a feeling that once Emmett, Austin, and Junior had cleared their side, Carlisle would send them our way – or at least to this end of the farm.
Until then, we were going to follow Edward’s lead, and he was slowly shifting his position from behind that fallen tree to behind a man who seemed to be lagging behind the rest of the group. Lock and Load stayed where they were, and Edward stalked his target, knife in hand. He stepped when his target stepped to ensure he remained undetected. When he saw an opportunity to take him, Edward struck quietly and harshly, cutting the man’s throat and pulling him down behind a large shrub.
Mickey and I held our breath when we waited to see if the straggler was missed. He wasn’t.
“Clear,” Mickey whispered over her earpiece.
I scanned the line of men working their way toward the farm. All of them seemed focused on moving slowly, evenly, and they were just about by us until I caught the one asshole standing still. He was facing us, slowly lifting his weapon.
“Shit! RPG!” I hissed at Mickey.
The two of us scrambled to the ladder of the deer stand, but the hiss, the heat, and the push from the explosion knocked us to the ground awkwardly. My ankle gave a twinge, but I looked back at the deer stand, which was now obliterated.
Mickey groaned, rolling over to me. “You okay?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said, scrambling behind a tree trunk when shots pinged all around us.
“Bella? Mickey?” Edward snapped over the radio. “Check in now!”
“We’re okay,” I stated. “Let’s end this shit, Edward.”
“That’s my girl,” he praised between shots fired. “You two… On me.”
“Roger that, pretty boy,” Mickey replied, tapping my shoulder to point which direction we were going.
“They’re digging in for now,” Edward advised. “I need that wicked aim of yours, sweetness.”
“Copy that.”
~o~H&E~o~
EDWARD
Only the girls’ silhouettes could be seen as they took cover. Bella seemed to be favoring her right leg or ankle, but otherwise both she and Mickey were moving okay.
“I see you. Hold your position,” I told them, glancing down at the dogs.
Lock and Load were alert but not frightened. They were waiting on my command. I couldn’t risk them getting shot, but I needed their extra eyes and ears. For the moment, they needed to stay down, stay hidden.
“Lock and Load, clear and stay,” I ordered them, and both took off into the woods to wait.
Night had completely fallen, and the woods were dark, with the exception of the burning tree. All shooting had stopped because no one could see shit.
“Alice, we’re blind. Give us a hand, would ya?” I whispered over the earpiece.
“Okay, okay, okay,” she chanted. “From what I can tell from the thermal, you’ve got about twenty men out there, give or take a big red blob or two. The three of you are split, with about thirty yards between Mickey and Bella and you. They’re even with you – three o’clock.”
“Copy that. Now…help me find these fucking assholes.”
“Gladly. Closest one to you is forty-five degrees, aim low,” Alice instructed. “Or if you want to do this by hand, then you have to stay low and quiet.”
I did as she suggested, staying low, practically crawling the direction she’d said. My steps were slow as I avoided anything that could make a sound. The target was facing away from me by the time I set sights on him. He started to turn as I got closer, and before he could truly see me, I wrapped my hand around his mouth, ending him there.
Shaking my head, I noted how young these men and women were Kim was sending to their slaughter. I didn’t understand it, because these were rebels of a sort, not actual North Korean soldiers. They weren’t fighting for their country; they were fighting for this motherfucker, Kim. Or if Kim wasn’t in charge like my wife was considering, then they were fighting for some-damn-body else, but it was voluntarily or some shit.
“Clear,” I barely whispered over the radio.
“Ten-four, kid,” Alec answered. “You’ve got a cluster to your left, another moving west toward the farm. Mickey, you and Bella have a shot at about five men. Right in front of you – one o’clock.” He paused for a moment. “Boris, keep a sharp eye. If that group keeps moving the way they are, you’ll set eyes on them soon.”
“Roger that,” Boris replied.
“We got this,” Mickey whispered back.
I wasn’t sure what I expected the two girls to do, but I trusted the two of them completely. Both were stealthy things, not to mention wicked shots. There was a rustling of trees and shrubs off to my right. Mickey ran, dodging the sudden onset of flying bullets, but really, she was showing Bella exactly where to aim. My wife’s counter-fire was brief and deadly. I don’t think she wasted a single fucking bullet.
“Nice, Bellissima.” Alec’s praise was instant. “Okay, Edward. You’ll have to flush out the next set. Mickey, Bella, you watch his back.”
“Copy,” I barely said aloud as I checked my last target for whatever weapons he’d been carrying, and I came away with a couple clips, a knife, and two grenades.
I caught the sound of shuffling in the bushes off to my left, along with whispers. There was a collective gasp when the howl of a wolf resounded around us. Giving a soft whistle for Lock and Load to come back to me, I smiled a little as I remembered Mickey’s comment about scaring the shit out of these guys with the dogs.
Load may have been the bigger and more aggressive of the two, but Lock looked the part. He was gray and white and fluffy like a wolf. Huskies were a medium-sized dog, but in the dark with teeth and growls, their similar looks would definitely throw someone off for a fraction of a second.
I gave a soft command, and both were flanking me as I worked my way silently toward the noises I’d heard. Just as another wolf’s reply echoed through the woods, I sent Lock and Load through the brush. I would’ve laughed at the screams of terror if I didn’t have to cover the dogs. All thoughts of silence and concealment went out the window with these assholes. They started to push and shove each other to get away from Lock and Load, who immediately had grabbed a target each, latching down on bone and skin and shaking the shit out of it. There were five of Kim’s men altogether, and with the dogs as distraction, I was able to end them all.
“Did you just use Lock and Load like attack dogs?” Alec asked over the radio.
I smirked but didn’t reply as I praised both dogs with scratches to their heads. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I’d have done without these two; they’d been my right and left hands since the bullshit at Twi Tower.
“I need an update,” I whispered, shifting my gaze in the direction of the farm. I knew we had more bastards out there, but I wasn’t sure where we stood as a whole.
“Beta Team has just about cleared their area on the north side of the farm, Ed,” Alec replied, “but you still have heat sources milling around out there. And they seem to be closing in on the farm’s perimeter fence.”
“Edward, come in,” Dad ordered over the radio.
“Go ahead, Dad.”
“I want you three to—” he started, but Ned and Harry cut him off.
“We’ve got a truck moving in hot and fast! Looks like about a dozen men,” Harry yelled over the sound of gunfire.
“Alpha Team, move your asses back to the back gate!” Dad ordered. “Dean and I are moving to the front to catch these assholes in the middle.”
“Roger that,” I said, breaking into a run with Lock and Load at my side. “Mickey, Bella… Meet me there.”
“Already on our way, Edward,” Bella replied, sounding winded but focused.
“Alec or Alice… Someone give me the safest fucking route to the back gate,” I stated, staying low as I retraced my last few steps back to where I’d originally started. “I don’t want to accidentally step on any of these motherfuckers.”
Alec chuckled but answered me promptly. “You’re good to go back toward where the deer stand was and then work back the way you three had come in. Bella and Mickey are almost there.”
“Ten-four.”
I used the shadows of the night to do exactly what he’d told me. Lock and Load stayed with me every step. As the fence and then the back gate came closer, I could see the girls waiting for me. I could also hear the bullshit commotion toward the front of the farm.
“You okay?” all three of us kind of rushed out at the same time.
“Yeah, I’m good. You?” I replied, and Mickey nodded. “Sweetness?” I added, frowning at the little bit of a limp she had.
“I’m okay. Just twisted my ankle a little when we jumped from that tree fort thing.”
Grinning at her refusal to call it a deer-stand, I kissed her temple. “Fine, but if you start to really hurt, we’re gonna set you up high somewhere and let you kill ’em all, baby.”
She nodded, tapping her earpiece. “Carlisle, we’re inside the fence. Where do you want us?”
“Someone back up Boris at the west side of the farm. The other two meet me at the front. We’ve got assholes on foot.” My dad’s reply was fierce, but he sounded winded.
“I’ll take Boris,” Bella volunteered, nodding a little, but she leaned in to kiss my lips. “You stay sharp.”
“You stay safe. Constant communication,” I told her before tugging Mickey toward the front gate.
The two of us took off at a run with Lock and Load, passing through the barn and giving Tom and Obie a wave. Tom’s huskies couldn’t resist following – I noted that they’d been strapped down in vests similar to my dogs’ vests – so the young Ada and Zeke joined Lock and Load. It was when we reached the military tent that we were stopped.
“Ed!” Jasper called weakly from the tent’s entryway.
“Get your ass in the house,” I ordered, but he shook his head as he held up a weapon.
“Let me help.”
He didn’t have his sniper rifle – that had been given to Boris to cover the east side of the farm. However, any weapon in that man’s hand was deadly.
“Fine, but you’re no good on that goddamn leg. Find a good spot and dig in,” I told him, continuing toward the front and my dad.
Mickey and I slipped through the front gate, around Tom’s truck and Aunt Kate’s SUV and not far from my chopper. As soon as we neared the opening to the drive, shots pinged around us. We dove for cover behind Tom’s truck.
“Shit,” Mickey hissed, rolling onto her stomach and crawling underneath in order to get a sight on our enemy. “Go, pretty boy. I’ll cover you from here.”
“Copy that.”
I could hear gunfire closer to the main gate, which was several yards ahead of me through some trees. Those trees were hiding some of these assholes, and trying to navigate my way through the curved driveway would get my ass killed.
“Lock, Load, sweep!” I ordered, running behind them as all four dogs took off like a shot. “Dad, watch your fire. I’m heading your way with the dogs.”
“Roger that,” he answered.
“Mickey, stay there,” I advised.
“Copy that,” she said with a grunt.
As we ran parallel to the driveway, Lock and Load found their targets. Three men were hunkered down behind a fallen tree, and before they could react, four dogs launched themselves over the downed tree and landed on them. Teeth flashed in the night and growls rumbled low, but it was the shaking of heads that caused screams from those men. Several shots rang out – mostly from me but also from the surprised enemy who had large snapping jaws in their flesh.
“Sweep,” I ordered the dogs again, continuing the several yard run.
The dogs and I cleared two more men before we caught up with my dad and Dean, who were dealing with their own targets. Emmett was on the radio.
“Papa Bear, Beta Team has cleared the west side. We’re inbound to you,” he said breathlessly, as it was clear he was running through the mountain trails. “Where do you want us to come in?”
“The west side of the fence,” I answered instead of my dad. “Bella and Boris need backup over there.”
“Got you, Ed,” he acknowledged. “On my way, Bellsy. Hold your position.”
“Ten-four,” Bella replied softly. “I’ve got company over here. They’re moving slow through the trees and shadows.”
“Sweetness, watch yourself,” I told her – unnecessarily because I knew she’d be sharp over there, but I needed to say it anyway.
If she replied, I didn’t hear her. Shots fired around all of us, splintering the bark of the trees and chipping the asphalt of the driveway. All of us dove for cover, including the dogs. The night allowed us to hide well in the trees, enough for even my dad to crawl over to me.
“I feel like this is a waste of time and ammo,” he expressed through heavy breathing as his hand raked over Lock’s head. “A misdirection, if you will.”
I nodded, glancing around him in the direction that the shots had originated. “You might be right. I can’t wait to kill this motherfucker.”
Dad looked back in the same direction, and we both caught movement around the truck that Ned and Harry, who were still in their front gate position, had disabled. The tires were flat, the windows and windshield were shattered, and the engine was spewing liquids, smoke, and steam. But the cowardly little fuckers were hiding on the other side of it.
He turned back to me. “How good is your pitching arm?” he asked, holding out a grenade.
Grinning, I shook my head as I took it from him. “Alec asked me that shit back at Twi Tower. I did okay.”
He chuckled, giving my shoulder a squeeze. “I’m sure. That should eliminate the remainder of this wave. Go ahead.”
“Lock and Load, clear.” I ordered softly, waiting until my dogs took Ada and Zeke several yards back toward the farm before turning my attention to that hobbled truck. “Okay, cover me.”
I crawled through the brush, using the trees’ trunks as cover. As soon as I was in a position I could maneuver well enough, I pulled the pin and threw the grenade, aiming for the gas tank, before dropping to the ground. The explosion was teeth-rattling, and the heat pushed through the trees as the truck actually bowed up off the ground a few feet. When screams of pain met my ears, I stood up, firing off several shots.
Once everything went quiet, another explosion echoed from the west side of the farm.
“Christ! Bella? Sweetness, come in!” I demanded.
“Ed—” she started, but it cut out – or something or someone cut her off.
“I’m going. I’m on it!” Mickey snapped, and I knew she’d beat us to that side of the farm.
“Ned, Harry?” Dad called over the radio.
“You’re good, Carlisle. Go!” Ned answered. “We’ll clear up the last of the bullshit on this end.”
I gave a sharp whistle for the dogs as Dean and Dad ran with us back up the drive toward the farm. As we passed by the barn and the military tent, Jasper’s voice was soft in our ears.
“Ed, Carlisle… We’ve got a serious problem,” he warned.
Before I could question him, a voice rang out loud from the fence area of the farm.
“Cullen!”
“Shit,” Mickey hissed. “This is so bad. This is so fucked up. Ed, you gotta keep your shit together. Come through the barn. Stay low and silent.”
Dean split from us to the right, and Dad and I did what Mickey had advised.
As we ran by the horse stalls, Dad pointed to Tom and Obie. “You stay invisible, and no one makes it through these fucking doors.”
Both men nodded, readying their weapons. When Dad and I made it to the barn doors, we slowed down, crouching low. The scene at the west fence was not what I expected.
Several of Kim’s men were lined along the fence, weapons locked and ready, but it was Kim himself who caused curses to hiss from my lips. Kim had my wife in front of him as a shield, gun at her head, and was practically lifting her off the ground. I scanned the area for my team – anyone – but I came up empty, until I barely caught sight of Boris’s body on the ground. He wasn’t moving.
Dad slapped a hand over my mouth. “Shut the fuck up,” he breathed in my ear. “It’s us he wants, not her. And she’s tough as fucking nails, so we need to give our team an opening. Got me?”
I nodded, still breathing heavy as I tapped my earpiece. “My team,” I barely said aloud. “I need to know the very second you have a solution to this motherfucking problem.”
“Working on it, Ed,” Jasper replied.
“I’m getting into position,” Mickey added.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck… Someone tell me what’s going on. My team is minutes away.” Emmett’s voice was breathy because he was most likely running at top speed.
“Em, Kim has Bella and… And Boris is down,” Rose told him, sounding a cross between weak and pissed.
“Oh my fucking God, we’re on our way,” Emmett practically growled.
“Cullen!” Kim yelled again. “Father or son… I don’t care at this point. Show yourselves, or she dies right here.”
Dad looked to me, his eyes filled with fire and hate. “Let’s go see what this asshole needs.”
“He needs a bullet in his head,” I muttered, sneering when my name was called again.
“Yes, and we need to give our team a chance to do just that,” he said through a deep sigh, giving my shoulder a squeeze. He waited until I’d composed myself enough to nod, and then he stood, bringing me up with him.
We stepped through the doorway of the barn, holding our weapons up.
When Kim caught sight of us, he smiled wickedly, jerking Bella around in front of him in order to keep her as a shield. “Ah, two for the price of one.”
My lip twitched, my eyes on my wife. If I thought she’d be scared, I was wrong. My girl was fucking livid, and that would end the man holding her, but for the moment, we needed to let Kim think we were cooperating.
Stepping closer, I readied myself for this shit, because we’d all have to be prepared and at the ready. “All right, asshole. What do you want?”

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