The moment the final jeep entered the valley, they hit Cuervo’s convoy with everything they had.
Heinrich opened fire first, his RPG taking out the lead vehicle. It went up in a messy cloud of dirt and smoke. Dolph did the same for the tail car, while Maria and Jean-Francois riddled the middle van with 7.62’s, their rifle fire echoing like laughter in the tiny valley.
The attack lasted less than a minute. When the dust settled, and the dead were done dying, Heinrich was the first to descend the hill where they’d been camped. He used his prybar to tear open the van before hopping inside. By the time the others caught up and reached the road, Heinrich was making his way back outside, his expression as cold and lifeless as a cadaver.
“It’s not fucking here,” he said.
Dolph frowned. “Bullshit.”
Heinrich shook his head. He spoke through flared teeth. “No coke. No diamonds. Nothing.”
Maria and Jean-Francois traded glances, before she climbed inside past Heinrich. There were two rows of about 20 boxes each, stacked from floor to ceiling. Heinrich had already opened several, their spilled contents lying on the floor by her boots.
Bibles. Dozens of mint condition bibles.
Dolph jabbed Heinrich in the chest with his finger. “What the hell did you get us into?”
Heinrich pushed him back. “Keep your greasy hands to yourself.”
Jean-Francois glanced at the cargo, and then up at Maria. “What kind of nut would send two jeeps full of men to die over bibles?”
Heinrich and Dolph kept arguing. Jean-Francois tried to keep his distance. It was then that Maria pointed to something taped to one of the boxes near the front. It was a white envelope.
“This is your fault,” Dolph accused Heinrich. “You said everything checked out for today.”
“Fuck you,” Heinrich replied as he paced back and forth in the dirt. “My guy at the villa must have messed up.”
“Messed up? Like he got the dates mixed up with his personal organizer?”
Maria ignored them and opened the envelope. Inside was a simple, hand-written letter.
“What’s that?” Jean-Francois called over to her. But she barely heard him.
“Guys,” she shouted. “There’s a letter signed by Don Cuervo himself. It says, ‘May you find salvation in these.'”
Dolph pushed Heinrich. “He knew we were gonna hit him today!”
“Touch me again and you’ll lose a hand.”
“You sold us out.” Dolph reached for his sidearm, but Heinrich beat him to the draw. Dolph took two bullets in the gut, but still managed to fire, hitting Heinrich in the thigh.
Both men cried out. Heinrich fell to one knee. Dolph collapsed in the dust. Jean-Francois raised his AK, pointed it at Heinrich.
“What the fuck?!” He shouted, but Heinrich was already lifting himself up, weapon still in hand. “Stay down!”
Both Jean-Francois and Heinrich fired.
Heinrich took two in the shoulder, somehow still got up from the ground, and took another volley before he was down for good.
By the time Maria was out of the truck, only Jean-Francois was still standing and barely. He smiled, holding a hand to his chest.
“Shit,” he said. “Should have seen it coming.” He pulled his hand away. Blood seeped from the hole in his chest and pooled in his open palm.
Maria caught him as he fell, cradled him in her arms until he was gone.
When she was alone, she pulled one of the bibles from the floor and sat down in the back of the truck. She opened it at random and managed to read through the last half of the Gospel of Luke before night fell and she heard distant engines coming down into the valley.