The terrible sound of explosions died away, leaving smoke and flames around and inside the house; the bodies of several people could be seen strewn about the site, including, appallingly, those caught in crossfire. The two agents, dressed for the operation in camouflage, emerged from their place of concealment and approached the building warily, weapons in hand.
Only one part, the far end, was on fire. Carefully avoiding two bodies, they climbed the steps to the slightly open front door, and still wary, pushed it open and entered. The hallway was clear of smoke, so far; they moved on, glancing into a sitting room – empty. Ahead was a kitchen; through the open door they could see a hob, and cupboards.
The man leading stepped over the threshold and stopped suddenly, with a little intake of breath; his partner bumping into him, looked beyond him and saw what had startled him so much.
It was a child. Sitting on the floor, staring, her eyes vacant, her face grey; unmoving, unblinking, paralysed with shock.
“Jesus... Poor little kid…” Dumbfounded, they looked at each other. “Hell, I think I know who those people outside must be. What is she, about two? What do we do?” The child seemed unaware of them. “We can’t leave her, we’ll have to take her with us.”( Read more... )