Earlier, while the Sidekick, armed with a semi-automatic pistol, kept the Villain and his henchmen (with several other pistols of varying shapes and sizes) at bay, the Hero had rescued, valiantly, the Heroine from inside the old, dilapidated fortress (built in the early 1500s), where she had been help captive by the Villain. He had then carried her single-handedly to one of the Villain’s henchmen’s motorbikes and proceeded, in hair-raising style, to drive her unscathed through the haphazard gunfire and off to safety.
He had driven her straight to her apartment (6 miles from the Villain’s den) and commanded her to take care of herself. As he prepared to return, their eyes had met.
Two clear teardrops had formed at the brim of the Heroine’s eyes, threatening to spill over any instant. He had found his own eyes prickling with the pent-up emotions he had kept bottled inside through years of heroism. On an impulse, he had disembarked from the bike and embraced her. Thus, they had remained until an inconsiderate truck driver had honked and bellowed (simultaneously) at them, for the Hero had parked the bike right in the middle of the road.
Joy is never meant for heroes. Duty beckons, sooner or later.
“I must go back for the Sidekick. Goodbye love.” he had said.
And now he was back.
In the meanwhile, the Sidekick, having expended his entire stock of bullets and mortally injuring about half a dozen, had finally been captured and subdued.
Before any of the Villain’s clan could realize what had befallen them, the Hero had already accounted for the three men who stood guarding the trussed up Sidekick. The next two received bullets through the heart before they had had time to reach for their weapons. By the time the rest were sufficiently armed and prepared, the Hero had slipped behind one of the many broken walls that dotted the terrain.
For some time after, everything was a blur. Observers would later report that when the gunfire had eventually halted momentarily and the smoke had thinned, they could see bodies of the henchmen strewn everywhere. The Sidekick had been freed and, along with the Hero, was hiding (this would be confirmed later) behind a stack of cement sacks, ostensibly brought there to renovate the fortress.
“Damn! I don’t have any bullets left!” the Hero whispered, between breaths.
“I have only three”, the Sidekick reported.
“What do we do now? How many of them left, you think?”
“At least a dozen. We’ve got to find a way out!”
“Yes, I am aware of that”
They peered around for a possible escape route. There were none in sight.
“We don’t have much time left. They will realize any moment that we have no ammunition left” This from the Sidekick.
They peered around some more.
Finally, the Hero spoke.
“Can you see that truck over there?”
The Sidekick saw.
“That is almost forty yards away. We’ll never make it” he observed.
“It is our only chance. One of us has to go and drive it here”
They looked at each other. The games had ended. The time for martyrdom had come.
“I will go” the Hero, volunteered.
He put his hand on the Sidekick’s shoulders and tilted his head ever so slightly. It was the best he could manage in the absence of a hat and the consequent impossibility of tipping it.
“It has been an honor.” he said.
He reached for his wallet. In it, was a passport size photograph of the Heroine, clicked three years ago for her passport application. He sighed, kissed the photograph and clasped it to his heart. He heard gunfire.
When he looked up, the Sidekick was already halfway to the truck.