Ripple in the Pattern: Dead in 15, Part 1 (IWA) Jul 29, 2013 11:15:19 GMT -8
Post by Jenn on Jul 29, 2013 11:15:19 GMT -8
Kurcha, Georgia, 2008
Anya paced in the small hotel room, checking her equipment over and over—satellite phone (connected), encrypted computer monitor (quiet), surveillance radio (chattering), 9mm pistol (locked and loaded). She texted her partner again. “Miss you.” (Where the hell are you?) and “Bring me something good, eh?” (Weapons fire.)
Forcing herself to sit at the rickety table, she listened to the radio. Everything was a mess. Bus filled with civilians fired upon. Grenades thrown. Automatic weapons fire in the city, multiple gunshots nearby. How had it gone so bad so quickly? Their surveillance had said this area was shifting into a cold war. Not a hot one. The fact that Zugdidi hospital was filling up with casualties spoke of how wrong they were.
Anya pulled her weapon from her shoulder holster and unlocked the safety in a smooth, automatic motion as a key scrabbled at the door’s lock. She waited, saying nothing. If it was Anton, all was well. If it wasn’t, she was fucked and a little gunfire wouldn’t make things worse.
The door opened and her partner came through in a hurry, closing the door behind him. He barely gave her pistol a glance with a nod before he paused and took a breath. Anya holstered her weapon and crossed to him. She hugged him tight, kissing him. “You took so long. I was worried.” Her words, in Russian, were laced with a demand for information.
“I’m sorry.” Anton ran a hand through his wave brown hair. “Timing was difficult.”
“Timing for what?”
He shook his head. “There’s no time. I’ve already called in your death. I’ll explain on the way.” Pulling away from her, he hurried to the closet and started shoving their scant clothing into a bag.
Shocked, she stared, not moving. “You what?”
“C’mon, pack!” He voice cracked in a command as he gestured to the surveillance equipment. “There’s no time.”
“No.” Anya shook her head. “No. What do you mean you ‘called in my death’?”
Anton gave her an exasperated noise and dropped the bag. He crossed the room to her and took her face in his hands. “I’m doing everything I can to make sure you live through this. Sayyid wouldn’t understand.”
Anya slapped his hands from her and stepped back. She dropped all pretense of being Russian and their fake names. “Sayyid? Who the fuck is Sayyid, John? What’s going on?”
“I promise, I’ll explain on the way. Trust me. Please. We’ve got to go!” He still spoke in Russian
“Someplace safe. I figured out how to complete my mission… and make everything all right.” He moved to the table began to pack away the surveillance equipment with swift, efficient moves.
Anya was livid, trying hard not to shout at him. “What mission is that? Huh? The one we were sent here to do by our Government? Or a mission for this Sayyid of yours? Is that his name or his title, anyway? Who is this other master?”
John gritted his teeth and also dropped the pretense of being Russian. “I love you, Amina Sarah. I really do. But, why do you always have to be so stubborn? Always have to know everything right the fuck now?”
“Because the last time I didn’t, I spent three weeks of my life being tortured to death.”Amina moved away, looking at him as if she’d not just spent the last 15 months with him as a partner… and 6 months as a lover. “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what the hell you mean that you ‘called in my death’!”
He looked at her, his face twisting into a stranger’s face. “My mission, recruit or eliminate you. Too many of my master’s family have noticed you now. But…” His face brightened, briefly returning to the man she thought she knew. “I figured out what to do. Make it look like I eliminated you. I’ll have earned my right to the blood and then you can be my ghoul. I can’t waste a resource like you…” He looked away, looking almost ashamed. “But I won’t have you taking my place in his heart.”
“You aren’t making a lick of sense. Right to the blood? Ghoul? What are you on about?”
“Later.” John shook his head. “Help me pack. Let me get you to safety. Now.”
“No.” The word had the intended response—John stopped what he was doing—but not the intended consequence. The alien look of rage on his face was terrifying.
Without a word, he was across the room, picking her up and throwing her. She hit the opposite wall hard, seeing stars as her head bounced against the wood. He was there again, picking her up. “You. Will. Listen. To. Me.” Each word was accompanied by a hard shake.
“No!” Amina spit out, then kicked him as hard as she could in the groin, following it up with an elbow across the jaw. She pushed him to the side and ran for the door.
She didn’t make it.
John tackled her before she took three steps, knocking her to floor. She turned, warding him off. There was the flash of a blade as it stabbed her above the clavicle. She screamed as she pulled her pistol from its holster. There was another flash of blade that came for her throat. She knocked it away and up. Pain lanced through her face as she put the pistol to his chest and fired three times.
(To be continued…)