He dropped to his knees and edged toward the door. Checking back over his shoulder he saw Nina bound out of bed while removing a black leather case from beneath the bed. They both knew the stakes. Looking out, the dark hallway yawned before him. He heard the back and front stairs creak almost simultaneously. How many were there? Who had sent them? Who were they coming for? In his 15 years with the agency, his private sanctuary had never been breached. Perhaps Nina was the target. He’d have to save those musings for later. He maneuvered back into the room and quietly locked the door behind him. Entering his closet, he pulled down on a clothes hanger and the back wall slid aside. Once inside the small anteroom, he pushed the wall securely into place and made his way down a narrow staircase. Alighting from the stairs he was in a small dressing chamber. A small wardrobe sat to the right of the stairs. He quickly removed a custom made suit. The suits were made by a grandmother who lived on the outskirts of town and got most of her clientele from a small ad placed in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine. Deftly slipping into the pants, he pressed in a series of characters on a touchpad on the wall behind the stairwell. He watched as a drawer slid out of the wall revealing a multitude of weapons. He was no James Bond but he could hold his own. Placing the weapons in the pants specially made pockets, he slid the drawer shut and checked his ammo supply. He quickly surveyed the knives in the leather sheath that was sewn into the jacket. Mrs. Turner was a genius. “Perfect.” No one could tell he wasn’t a business man heading for the office. The floor shook as a percussion grenade took out the door upstairs. Who were these guys? Stepping onto a round platform he pressed a bobble headed duck and began to descend into an earthen tunnel. The heavy dank odor of fecund earth and mold filled his nose. Small animals peered at him from burrows as he passed. The platform came to rest in front of a door. As he pressed an alphanumeric code the door slid open to reveal a modest car and a jeep. Each vehicle had been manufactured at a facility outside of Northern Virginia. They had been created to withstand even the most vicious assault. Once the door closed behind him he input a detonation code. On the flat panel of the LED screen a series of numbers began to count backwards. Throughout the house were a series of depth charges which were carefully calibrated to create a modest but deadly implosion. Tomorrow’s news would report that a gas leak had leveled a home in one of the newest of Houston’s master planned communities. Stavros climbed into the Jeep and drove through a warren of tunnels that brought him out of a garage next to a modest stucco home that served as a safe house for many who defected to the United States through Houston.
By the time the house collapsed, he was already five miles into his trek up FM 249.