For the previous chapters of Daniel Grant Newton's online book Don't Shoot the Messenger, click below:
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18
“Yēšûă,” called Jude, as the mystic had finished his speech.
Yēšûă turned from the crowd and made his way off the mound he’d addressed them on.
Jude called his name again, and this time he nodded at the soldier and moved towards him.
The mystic spoke in Aramaic to Jude, but the soldier interrupted him. “Look I need you to come with me, you are in grave danger.”
Yēšûă put his hand on Jude’s shoulder, smiled widely, and then started to make his way to the crowd.
Jude pulled his sleeve back. “You don’t understand, I know that. But you must come with me. I don’t have much time to argue in a language you can't speak. Irene has been poisoned and doesn’t have the time left for us to argue.”
This time Yēšûă nodded as if he had understood, and gestured for Jude to take him.
The soldier dragged him through the crowd with one hand while keeping the other one clasping a pistol. The people followed like magnets.
As they came around the corner of the street where Jude had sat Irene up against the side of a building, they dashed to her side. She had collapsed face first in the mud.
Jude rolled her over and put his fingers to her throat.
“She’s got no pulse,” he began to whimper. “It’s too late.”
His face became stiff.
Yēšûă brushed a hand through her hair and her eyes began to blink.
Seeing this reaction, Jude ripped the antidote out from his jacket under the cloak and tipped it down her mouth. Slowly she became more animated, if a little weak still.
“We got here just in time,” said Jude as he turned to face Yēšûă. But the mystic was gone.
Down the street stood Maria. She smiled at Jude and nodded, before disappearing into a building.
Irene groaned. The soldier turned back to her.
“Jude,” she whispered.
“Don’t speak,” he replied. “You’re okay, but you need to save your strength. Yēšûă is back in hiding and will likely evade Spider now.”
“Jude, we need to get back. Spider and Alexander are going to commit horrible atrocities.”
“What do you mean?” Jude asked.
"They've given modern weapons to a rebel group in the hills." She coughed a lungful.
“Alexander is crazy. He wants the group to topple the Roman Empire to prevent the spread of Christianity. We need to go back to just before Alexander bought the machine and stop him or anyone else from purchasing it. It is too dangerous,” said Irene. She put a hand to Jude sooty cheek. “Where is the box?”
“It’s connected to all our minds. The physical location is still back in Alexander’s labs, but we can access it by…”
Jude was interrupted by the sound of a gunshot and screaming.
“Yēšûă,” Irene gasped. “They’ve killed him.”
Jude pulled her up, and holding her sluggish body to his side, hugged the wall and inched towards the corner. He ducked his head around.
“I don’t get it,” said Jude, pressing back up against the wall. “There are a lot of people crowding around the man who has been shot, but it’s not Yēšûă.”
“Who is it?” Irene asked.
“Kofi,” said Jude. “He and Spider were the only two that I wasn’t able to take out before Yēšûă finished his speech. But why would Spider kill Kofi.”
“Perhaps he was attempting to shoot Yēšûă, and in the struggle got shot himself.”
Jude shook his head. “Unlikely. He’s been shot in the back of the head.”
Irene’s eyes widened. “The rebels? I don’t know exactly how much was delivered.”
“We need to access the box before Spider does. If we get back first I can mentally block off his access.” Jude held Irene to his chest. “Now …”
Jude swivelled around to the floor, letting go of Irene, who tumbled on top of him.
He felt blood gushing through his shirt, and raised his vision to see a blood splatter on the wall behind him.
“Killing Kofi out in the open like that is hardly your style,” came a voice. The owner of the voice hidden by the late afternoon glare. “It gave away your position. You’re losing your touch, Jude.”
The man stepped in front of the sun. It was Spider.
“I didn’t kill him,” Jude snarled.
“Well, I wouldn’t have killed my own man, now would I?” Spider smirked.
The two man glared at each other.
“Which one wants to see hell first? You, or your little girlfriend?” he taunted, waving his gun at the two of them.
Neither of them spoke.
“I could kill the doctor first, to see the pain in your eyes as she closes them for the last time,” sniggered Spider. “Or I could kill you first, and then do what I want with her before putting a bullet in her brain.”
“You always were sick, Spider,” hissed Jude.
“Strong, not sick. I can do things you can’t bring yourself to do, which makes me stronger than you, not sicker.”
Jude scowled. “You’re wrong, Spider. That’s exactly what makes me stronger.”
“You know, Judey-boy, I respected you, but then I discovered your weakness. Now I pity you. You could’ve been the best if it weren’t for your Achilles’ heel.” Spider slowly swaggered towards them. “Your Achilles’ heel that screwed you over in Brazil, and got those innocent people killed. Not to mention screwed you up in bringing down those large criminal organizations, which no doubt are still funding drug trafficking rings around the world, and putting mummy and daddy killers at the wheel.” He chuckled. “And it’s the same ‘strength’, as you call it, that is getting you and the doctor killed. Your emotions cloud your judgments, son.”
Jude reached behind him and grabbed a handful of sand. “I disagree.”
“You disagree with what? You disagree that that is what is getting you both shot, or that you are weaker than I am? Because either way, you aren’t really in a position to argue it right now.”
Jude straightened his back and squared off with Spider. “I think you are the weaker one. And that’s why I was always chosen ahead of you for the biggest assignments.”
“I know I should just blow both your brains out right now, but I got to ask…” Spider’s finger twitched on the trigger. “What one reason could you have that could even suggest you are the stronger one?”
“You aren’t good when things don’t go to script,” croaked Jude. He threw the sand in Spider’s eyes and slapped the pistol out of the soldier’s hand.
The gun fell into the hot sand.
Jude flipped up, but as he did, Spider hit him across the face with a fist making his head spin and a vibrant red streamer flick out from the corner of his mouth.
Jude turned back around and spat out a mouthful of blood.
Spider snarled and round-house kicked Jude in the arm he had been shot in. He grunted in pain, but before Spider could give another blow, he pushed the giant Brit backwards with his foot.
Jude moved forward, but when he was in range of Spider’s reach, he was taken off-guard by a series of punches and fell backwards.
The two faced off again. Spider put his meaty hands up to cover his face, but Jude kept his hands by his side and widened his stance a little.
This time when Spider threw a punch, Jude evaded the attack, and smacked him in the face. Two teeth flew out from the tall soldier’s mouth.
Jude then struck Spider in the kidney and the solar plexus in quick succession.
Spider shoved Jude back, and ‘spun on a dime’ to collect Jude in the face with a turning kick.
The two fighters moved in towards each other and threw a series of elbows and punches that the other one evaded or blocked and countered, before finally Jude landed a punch. He followed this up with a kick to Spider’s knee, a kick that lowered the big man, and then a backhand across the Brit’s face.
The towering soldier spun to the floor. But as soon he touched the sand, he rolled back onto his feet, picking up the pistol in the process.
Before he could point it at Jude, the Australian did a crescent kick, once again knocking the gun out of Spider’s hand.
He bared his teeth at Jude. Then, in a fit of rage, threw a punch, and then another punch, and another, which were all knocked away by Jude’s quick feet.
Jude then kicked sand up to mask his attack, and using the force of his leg coming down to launch himself into a jumping spinning kick that threw Spider to the ground.
Jude held his wounded arm as he watched Spider get to his feet and pull out a jagged-edge dagger.
The two men circled each other, before Spider lunged at Jude with the knife.
Jude caught the attack up in his cloak, before driving a punching counterattack.
Spider stumbled onto Jude, and as he did, he stabbed himself in the chest. He attempted to lift himself off Jude, but couldn’t.
Jude let go of Spider and the big man slid to the ground in a pool of his own blood.
“It’s done,” Jude said flatly under his breath.
He walked to Irene’s side and knelt down beside her and put a rough hand on her forehead and flushed cheeks.
Her olive skin looked pale. “I’m fine, Mr. Stone – Jude.”
He nodded. “You had me a little worried there…”
“I know,” she said, interrupting him.
They stared at each other in silence.
“I am glad you're okay,” she said, raising her eyebrows. "I thought of a really good line about you being the missing link, and I thought I would never get to … you know … say it when you do something stupid in the future."
“I think I might be falling for you, too, Irene,” he responded warmly, which made her smile and her complexion take on a pinkish tinge.
He leant down and kissed her, and as they kissed, they were pulled back into the future.
Click here for the season finale ... the thrilling end to a story I hope you have enjoyed. Thank you again for making this a great season, and following so closely.