Aquarium Altercation

“What a joy it’s been to write today. First I invite you to enjoy my hopefully thrilling story. Then below I’ll share with you some of the woodworking creations that have been taking all my writing time away as well.”

I wrote this story for the following prompts.
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Myopic
Your Daily Word — Cavil
Word of the Day Challenge — Task
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge – Maven
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Fish – Bliss – Kiss

Aquarium Altercation

“It’s all right for you, fish; swimming lazily about in your tank. While I’m risking getting holes in my arse out here!” Cavil whispered into his radio mic, crouched beneath an aquarium filled with red-bellied piranha.

“Stop complaining, or I’ll start shooting your arse!” retorted his partner Maven. She tapped her SA80 submachine gun barrel, raised one finger, then indicated ahead.

Cavil nodded ‘One gunman ahead’ edging forward he came face to barbels with an enormous, grey Piraiba catfish. It and the Redtails occupied the largest of the tanks in this the Amazonian Department of the aquarium. “Tell me again why these gun-toting idiots decided to hold an aquarium hostage?”

“Well —” Maven paused to free her blonde plait from her helmet. “I suppose some of these fish are worth a pretty penny.”

“Works for me Beluga Sturgeon caviar is worth a fortune. I can’t believe the myopic manager of this place thought they were holding toy guns until they shot up the stingray exhibit.”

Maven slipped up to the door ahead. She signalled one gunman again. “They sell toy guns. He probably thought it was those. One guy patrolling in green fatigues and balaclava. He has a Baikal 12-bore.”

Cavil hid a sigh, “Guess it makes sense.” Joining her at the door, he focused on her soft blue eyes. Waiting for her signal. Wishing he could kiss her.

She held up three fingers.

Two.

Then one with a nod.

Cavil lunged through the door, leading with his gun.

Balaclava spun on his heels bringing his shotgun to bear. Too late, the butt of Cavil’s gun smashed into his teeth.

Driving an arm under his chin, cavil dragged him through the door.

Maven seized the shotgun, broke it and remove the two red shells.

Balaclava choked and struggled for several seconds then fell limp in Cavil’s arms. He dumped him on the floor and zip-tied his wrists.

“Nice! About twelve to go,” Maven said.

“Ladies first,”

“Oh, sure. Now there’s a chance of flying bullets you get all chivalrous!”

“Well, it was worth a try, darling.” Cavil winked and slipped into the corridor. A boot connected with his backside leaving him chuckling silently.

“Behave!” Maven followed him. “Looks like we’re heading for the North American continent,” she added nodding toward a sign.

“Yup, I see white sturgeon, striped bass, the beautiful alligator gar, and two scumbags with Mac-10’s,” Cavil edged up to the rooms entry arch. Designed to look like an Atlantean underwater room, it reflected aquamarine in the light. The room smelled like seaweed, salt and mould.

“I’ve got eyes on. I’ll go left around the large pike you get the guy on the right,” Maven decided as she curled her lithe body around the arch and moved into the room. “

“Muskellunge,” Cavil muttered.

“What?”

“The pike, it’s a muskellunge. Went fishing for them last sum —”

“Whatever, let’s stick to the task and not get shot, shall we!” Maven rolled her eyes as she pressed against the tank of large speckled-green and orange-finned fish. “Lure them.”

“Roger that – ready?” Cavil slipped behind the sturgeon’s tank.

“Do it!”

Cavil rapped his gloved knuckles against the glass, creating dull thuds. Then dropped to his knees.

“Alexei, you see what make that noise,” grunted one of the men.

“Whatever you say, Dmitri.” The one called Alexi hitched his green camo trousers and advanced around the tanks.

Cavil held his breath, indicated one and circled his finger to the right.

Maven nodded.

“See anything?” Dmitri asked.

“Negative,” Alexei reached the end of the muskellunge tank, inches away from the two officers. “Probably just the fish bumping against their ta—”

Cavil had lunged low, taking the man out at the knees.

Both crashed to the floor in a hail of bullets.

Dmitri, seeing the danger, had unleashed a violent salvo from his Mac-10; stitching a ragged line of holes in the wall and archway.

The Muskellunge tank exploded as bullets ripped through the glass.

Maven rose through a waterfall of fish. Her gun barked once —

Cavil grappled with Alexi, catching him with a stiff elbow to the jaw.

The Russian kicked free, rolled to his feet and aimed a savage kick.

Blocking with his gun, Cavil jumped up, absorbed a second kick and swept his adversary to the floor.

On his chest, Alexei could do nothing but go to sleep with Cavil’s arm squeezing his carotid artery.

“Where’s the other one?” Cavil asked as he rose and wiped the blood from his nose.

Maven had reached the far end of the room and was scouting the next room. She nodded to heap on the floor.

Cavil paused to zip-tie his man. Walking her way he noted Dmitri was down with a bullet hole between his eyes. “Well done, hotty-shot!”

Maven grinned, “Down boy!”

“Sorry!” Cavil raised a hand. “What’s next?”

“A question.”

“Fire away.”

“Well, you said the alligator gar was beautiful,” Maven indicated the prehistoric-looking green, armoured fish with the alligator-like mouthful of teeth. “Why does he have the same smile as Damien?”

“Haha!” Cavil looked at the fish. “Guess it does kinda resemble the boss.”

“The boss who’s going to fire you two, if you don’t shut up!” Came a booming voice over the mic. “Rick and Leo, dropped two in the gift shop and restaurant before falling silent,” he added.

“Roger that, we got three, and sorry for the joke,” Maven replied. “Let’s move and find those boys!”

The two moved through the underwater tunnel of the shark and ray exhibit. As incredible as it was to walk beneath nurse and bull sharks, to see graceful manta rays flying through the water; neither enjoyed it. They knew the gunfire had alerted everyone within to the officers clearing the building. Something that only stood to raise the levels of anxiety.

Coming into an area of touch pools that allowed people to handle crabs, lobster and even starfish, Maven despatched another gunman, then peeled off to check a staff access door. “Locked.”

Cavil nodded and proceeded with his gun raised and ready. The room opened to the left revealing a cinema of sorts, the aquarium held lessons and even film days here. “Screening room clear,”

The room ended at a T-junction corridor.

“Manager’s offices, and staff canteen through the door on the left,” Maven said.

“Reception on the right,” Cavil poked his head out. The aquariums began with a few tropical fish tanks here. Beyond those was a glass-walled reception area. An officer lay within the area of the tanks. “Shit, Leo’s dead, I don’t see —”

Blam!

Cavil threw himself backwards.

The wall where his head had been exploded into a cloud of white plaster.

“I take it you found one arsehole with the shotgun then?” Maven quipped she dragged cavil back into the touch pool room.

“You might say that!” Cavil regained his feet.

“Welcome to party pigs. You soon be piranha food!” yelled the gunman.

“Yeah well, couldn’t feed you to the sharks; you’d give them indigestion!” Cavil replied.

The gunman’s laughter echoed down the corridor, “Funny pig!”

“What’s this all about?” Maven questioned.

“Ownership game – we own aquarium. You trespass and soon you die!”

Cavil reached around the door, sited his foe and fired two shots.

The shotgun barked back. Again, Cavil was covered in plaster.

“Bad game,” Maven covered Cavil allowing him to get off some more shots.

“Why bad?”

“We hate losing.” Maven lunged at the door unleashing two shots.

The gunman took a hit in the shoulder a fell out of sight.

Maven opened her mouth to speak, saw the light in the corridor change and jumped.

The manager’s door flew open, and the corridor erupted with the staccato clack of at least two AK-47’s unleashing destruction upon everything before them.

“Bloody hell!” Cavil yelped as he hit the deck and fired through the hail of flying debris.

Someone screamed in the pandemonium as the air was rent with an explosion of shotgun and machine gun rounds obliterating everything in sight.

Cavil rolled and fired, something crashed into his face and darkness surrounded him

Maven slumped against the wall, blood dripping off her fingertips. A look revealed the bullet had grazed her left forearm. It might need stitches but at least it wasn’t life-threatening.

Footsteps thumped along the corridor. A gunman entered the touch pool room.

Maven lay eyes closed, barely breathing.

“Hey, pretty lady!” The gunman prodded her with his shotgun. “Ilya, she’s dead!”

“Make sure.” Came the reply.

Maven heard a knife being withdrawn from a scabbard

“I feed you to sharks, they enjoy you,” said the man reaching over her.

Maven smelt his aftershave as he seized her by the body armour. It was then she slammed her leg into his groin and crushed his nose with her helmet as she connected with a savage head-butt.

Paralysed by pain, the man simply collapsed into a heap.

“Idiot!” Maven muttered as she staggered to her feet, zip-cuffed him and straightened herself.  Holding her wounded arm across her body, she turned to find Cavil.

There in the doorway was a hulk of a man. At least six-foot-eight, and almost as wide with his muscles, he had tribal tattoos upon his bald head and angry green eyes. He was terrifying and that was without the AK-47 he held.

“Good afternoon, Ilya” Maven said with a cheery smile masking her fear.

“Seems you killed all of my men. This will be your last afternoon,” he said, his voice almost demonic with bass.

“Pity, tomorrow’s Friday. I always liked fish and chip supper Friday afternoon, don’t you?” Maven glanced about, she needed to gain an advantage. She knew kicking Ilya in the groin would be as useful as kicking concrete.

“I hate fish!” The giant moved like lightning. He grabbed and hurled Maven over the crab pool before she could react. She hit the wall and slumped to the floor.

“Then — why attack — an aquarium?” Maven gasped as she crawled back to her feet.

“Our boss sent a shipment of Wels catfish to aquarium with extra goodies inside. The manager Carlson lost it and now we make him pay.”

“Let me guess – heroin.”

“Perhaps really good vodka.” Ilya caught and punched her the stomach.

Maven wretched feeling like she’d been hit with a wrecking ball.

With one arm he propelled her into a giant plastic starfish causing it to thunder to the floor with her rag-dolling over the top.

“Nope, none of the catfish are blind drunk!” Maven rose on wobbly legs and beckoned him. “Come on throw me again!”  

“My pleasure,” Ilya grinned, he was having way too much fun. Balling his fist, he aimed for Maven’s jaw.

She evaded, scything into his thigh with a stiff kick as she passed. As much as the blow hurt her foot, he barely flinched. At least she landed by something she could use.

“You hit like a girl!” he said with a laugh. “Try to hit me again.”

Maven swung her left hand, her injury flared with pain and she yelped.

He ducked, then blanched having sold a dummy.

Maven had taken hold of a fire extinguisher with a good right hand. She revelled in the hollow clang as it thundered off his skull. “I am a girl, arsehole!”

His eyes lolling on his head, Ilya staggered backwards and toppled into the crab pool.

Exhausted and breathing like an asthmatic Maven hauled him out to the floor and zip-tied his wrists. “Maven … To Dam … ien. I think … All the gunmen… are down … Get medics in here.”

“Roger that, Maven. What’s Cavil’s Status? Have you found Leo and Rick?” Damien replied.

“Leo is dead, checking on the others now.” Maven stepped into the corridor her gun leading the way. Four men lay dead, many hit by friendly fire in the melee There was Cavil, on the ground with a dead Russian gunman across his head and chest.

Maven hauled him off her partner. “Cavil, wake up!” She demanded while shaking him.

“Wha – er what’s up?” he spluttered.

“Rise and shine, sunshine. We’ve got a lot of bodies to clean up in here,” Maven smiled at him as he sat against the wall with a dumb smile on his face.

“Hey, darling. I was just dreaming about you and a hotel room. It was bliss,” he said as realisation dawned and his smile vanished.

“Whatever, please don’t go into detail.” Maven remarked.

“Did we win?”

“I did, you were sleeping?” Maven entered the manager’s office and canteen. The aquarium staff were all bound and gagged there, but alive.

Turning she found Cavil standing.

“You, okay?” he asked indicating her injured arm.

“Just a flesh wound.”

“That’s a relief.” Cavil put an arm around her. “Come on, let’s get you patched up. Then take you for a slap-up fish and chip dinner to celebrate.”

“Bugger that! With all the scales in blood around here, I’m going vegetarian!” Maven started laughing and walked away.

The end


I love what I’ve been making. Even better I love that I get to spend time with my dad while we make these beautiful planters and bird boxes among other things.


Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection

Have a great day!

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