TG Universes & Series:
The Center: Best Served Cold -
Part Seventeen (Conclusion)
Author's Note: We have come to it at last...here is the last chapter of Best Served Cold. We'll finally get to find out the identity of the mystery shooter. I'd like to thank everyone who's posted comments and said good things. I'd also liked to thank djkauf for editing another story for me. In a couple of days---after I rest my cramped typing hand---I'll move onto a shorter Mattie side story.
“I can explain,” said Karen, the stream of water dropping to the floor with a splash.
But before she could do so, she burst into tears, burying her head in her hands. I think by this time I was so into the emotional meltdown myself I was kinda on autopilot. I walked quickly into the room and wrapped my arms around her, hugging her tightly to me. I was still in a bit of shock, too. How did I miss this? I’d been spending almost all my time with this girl over the past two days or so and I missed this. She was an E, an E trying to hide herself. I should have seen the signs. But I was so wrapped up in my own damn stuff I missed what was staring me right in the face. Some temporary roommate I turned out to be.
I let her cry in my arms for a long time. I think she needed it because she cried and cried. I knew exactly where she was coming from. When I first Emerged, it scared the hell out of me. I can’t imagine how she must have felt. At least I had someone there to explain things to me. But this girl---this tortured thing in my arms---it looked like she had no one. She probably thought she was a freak or even worse, she was losing her mind. Not that I blame her. It’s kinda hard coming to grips with something that big. She cried for another ten minutes, my shirt was now soaked in her tears. When she was finally done, she pulled away, wiping tears from her eyes.
“You can’t tell anyone” she sniffled “please don’t tell anyone. My father will freak.”
I nodded and smiled. “I’m not going to tell anyone.”
She shook her head, violently pushing me away. “You’re just saying that. I’m a freak, the biggest freak in the world.”
I smiled again. I couldn’t help it. “You’re not a freak. You’re a normal, everyday sixteen year old girl.”
She glared at me, angry and upset. Instead of responding, she snapped her hand at the pool of water on the floor. In seconds, the puddle formed into a sphere about the size of baseball. She floated it about five feet off the ground, moving it toward the open window and dropped it outside. Then she dropped on her bed, sniffling some more. Me, I was awestruck. There were a few hydrokinetics at the Center but I’d never actually seen any of them in action. Watching her float that ball across the room and out the window was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.
“I’m a freak,” she said, crying again. I slid over to sit closer to her. She pulled away. “You better stay away, it could be contagious.”
I smirked. “You can’t infect me.”
She shook her head. “How do you know?”
“I’m pretty confident that it doesn’t work that way.”
“Are you making fun of me?”
I shook my head. “You probably feel scared and alone but you’re not. I know how you feel. I feel like that a lot. But there’s no reason to be scared and there’s no reason to feel alone”
I looked around the room, finding a pen. I snatched it up and looked around. I smiled when I spotted a good target. It was a poster on her wall, some hunky teen heartthrob. I turned to her and smiled then without looking I threw the pen. I’d already picked my target before turning to her so I knew without looking that I put the pen right into the center of the guy’s eyeball. The look of shock on Karen’s face was priceless. She opened her mouth but no words came out. Instead, she slid away from me further and stepped off the bed. She walked across the room and pulled the pen out of her poster. She fingered the spot where I threw it.
“How did you do that?”
I didn’t answer. Instead, I asked her a question. “Who were you before?”
She didn’t say anything at first. She bit her lip and started to tremble. Then the tears started to flow again. “My name is…was David” she trembled “David Momochi” She took a deep breath and walked back over to the bed, cautiously sitting next to me. “My father is Japanese, my mother was American. Before all this happened, I was a happy Japanese American kid; I went to St. Bernard’s School for Boys”
I nodded, that’s why she freaked a little when she saw them walk into the club. “Do you want to tell me how it happened?”
She nodded. “One day I was in the shower with the others, I’ve always been sorta an outsider you know, I liked to shower away from the rest of the guys. The others guys were all almost gone now, it was just me and my friend TJ. He was showering two stalls down from me. I’d been feeling lousy all day. I went to the clinic but the nurse there said it was probably a touch of the flu. She told me to take it easy but if you knew my father, he would have been furious. He’s always about academics, sickness is for the weak. So I grinned and mustered on. I went through that day feeling horrible. Things went from bad to worse in the shower. One minute I was washing my back and the neck I was doubling over in pain. TJ ran to my side and when he saw how much pain I was in he told me to wait there and he’d get the nurse.”
She took a deep breath, tears flowing freely down her cheeks. “That’s when it happened. It was like all the water in the room exploded from the pipes. It swirled about me, spraying everywhere. I blacked out and when I came to I was in the nurse’s office. I was scared and confused. I heard the nurse talking to the Headmaster; the two of them were talking about what happened to me. I didn’t understand what they were talking about so I got out of bed and wandered into the little bathroom. When I saw the girl staring back at me, I screamed and fainted again.”
She started crying uncontrollably now. I squeezed her hand. “You don’t have to continue if you don’t want to?”
She sniffled but shook her head. “When I woke up again, I was in the car. It was my father’s limousine; my father and stepmother were sitting across from me. They could barely look me in the eyes. I tried to ask them what was going on, how I’d gotten there but neither would speak to me. I later found out that my father arrived shortly after my second black out, he was enraged. He was convinced the school did something to me. He threatened to sue them, to do horrible things to the Headmaster, the nurse and even poor TJ who found me lying unconscious in the shower stall. He pulled me from school; he threw a lot of money at the problem. A few weeks later, he had a medical explanation ready when I was enrolled in Chairmont. Apparently I was intersexed and had decided to start living my life not as a young man but as a young woman.”
She burst into tears again, unable to continue. I wrapped her in a hug again. I couldn’t imagine what that must have been like. I’d never known my folks but if my father had ever treated me like that, I think I’d have kicked his ass. I mean what kind of person treats their son/daughter that way. She cried on my shoulder for a while again. All my problems seemed miniscule compared to hers. She was terrified; hiding who she was really was, hoping no one would ever figure it out.
When she was finished crying, she wiped her eyes again. “That was six months ago. I’ve been here ever since. My parents haven’t even tried to contact me. They send money, care packages; they let me buy whatever I want. But they want nothing to do with me otherwise, I’m a freak to them. My father arranged it so I’d have this private room so no one would discover my secret.” She sighed.
“You’re the first person I’ve told. I tried contacting TJ but he’s gone. After my father paid him off, his parents pulled him from Bernard’s. I’ve emailed him a couple times but I never got any responses. Then a month ago, Miss Pennington told us a group of girls from our sister school in America were going to be staying here. She was looking for girls who had singles to volunteer some of their space for the week. I happily volunteered. The girls kinda avoid me around here, it got out the second week I was here that I used to be a guy. They treat me like I have the plague. I tried to explain things to them---gave them the fact story my father compiled but no one believed it, they think I’m a transsexual pervert.”
Kids can be cruel. Especially girls. Thinking about that made images of that bitch Samantha flash into my head.
“You know everything else,” she finally said, smiling. She sighed too; I think it was a big weight off her chest.
“You were really brave sharing something like with me.”
She nodded. “I still don’t understand what’s going on though” She sniffled. “I’ve been to a couple of private physicians but everyone is baffled. Do you know what’s wrong with me?” She bit her lip. “I’m scared. Can you help me, please?”
I smiled and took a deep breath. “Let me tell you my story.”
I was staring out the window now, watching the ocean through the clouds. England was an hour behind us and we were traveling across the Atlantic. It would still be several hours until we got to New York then from there at least another day before we took a flight back to the Center. A part of me was happy to be finally going home but another part of me wanted to stay away as long as possible. There were so many things I was going to have to face as soon as I got there. One of the biggest was Karen. After Karen and I talked yesterday, I got some z’s. A few hours later, I woke up to find Karen gone. At first, I thought maybe she ran but it turns out, she was doing some things of her own. One of those things was making the first phone call to her parents in months. She told them how things were and how they were going to be from now on.
While she was off having a heart-to-heart with the folks, I finally got around to touching base with the Center. After securing Declan’s compound---Baker’s designation for it---we were able to reestablish communication using Baker’s untampered with equipment. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones having problems. The Center had another traitor on top of Barry. They had a nasty computer virus that shut down all their systems and a murder to contend with. Mrs. Fine didn’t want to give me all the details via video chat. She said she’d debrief me once I got stateside. I gave her a rundown of events. I tried to be as objective as possible, telling her my mistakes and how I jeopardized the mission with my revenge. She didn’t say anything. She told me we’d discuss everything in my full debrief once I got back. The only good bit of news I had to share was the acquisition of three new students.
Yeah, that’s right, three.
After having a long discussion with her father, Karen was able to convince the Ambassador to allow her to leave Chairmont. The Ambassador was reluctant to allow her to leave England first but Karen was able to convince him that she’d be with people just like her. Suffice to say when I told her about the Center she was extremely excited. I think the prospect of knowing you’re not alone goes a long way. Of course, I didn’t tell her the real reason why I was in England, that was classified. I gave her some bull story about one of our Precogs sensing Emergents in the area. So as far as Karen was concerned, my team was in England recruiting. I guess it wasn’t far from the truth, after all, we were bringing her, Diana and Kat back with us.
“You look deep in thought” said a familiar voice.
I turned from the window as Emma slipped into the empty seat next to me. She was dressed like a normal person now, wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Even though the jeans were a little tight and she was wearing the cutest boots. Remember, they got to wear normal clothes, I was so jealous. I was stuck in one of those dresses Mrs. Fine made me pack. It was an airy blue sundress, which showed off way too much skin for my liking.
I looked past her over to Karen. She was sitting alone, too. The plane was only half full so most of the passengers got to sit by themselves. Karen was looking out the window too.
“You think she’s going to be ok?”
Emma looked at her and nodded. “We’re a resilient lot, we bounce e back fast.”
I smiled. “You sure did.”
She frowned. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Emma was Miss Apologetic since the moment we left Declan’s place. First, she had apologized to her brother and Stella. She thrashed them pretty good. Then she apologized for throwing me across the room. I tried to tell her it wasn’t her fault but that didn’t seem to matter. She kept telling us she’d make it up to us over and over again. There was no convincing the girl that what she did, she did under severe mental control. Miles wasn’t the first Dominator she’d encountered but I think he was the first one to put the whammy on her. Though she would probably never admit it, I think it shook her up a lot. But that’s what Dominators did. They were nasty pieces of work. I’ve had my run-ins with more than I’d like to admit. They leave a mark on you, one that takes a while to get over. A few nights after my run-in with Declan and Scarlet at Section Four, I was still having nightmares about it.
“It gets better” I told her, squeezing her hand.
She nodded, tearing up. I changed subjects quickly, deciding to breach one that I knew would make her blush. The first mention of Samson and she went as red as a cherry. It was kinda funny. When he first saw her back at Strickland’s place, he went beet red. I think she was too busy to even notice he was looking. But once things settled, the two of them got talking. It had been a cute little scene and I don’t think she noticed but the two of them had been flirting like crazy. It’s strictly forbidden of course, for them to have a relationship, besides a little illegal. He was twenty-five after all but it was cute nonetheless. So I ribbed her a bit about it, asking her if she was really jealous when she thought Kit and Samson were hitting it off in the nightclub. She got even redder and tried to change the subject. But I pushed it and we had a good laugh, not before she defended herself and Samson.
“There’s nothing going on between Peter and I?”
She blushed at the slip. The two of them were on a first name basis.
She turned things on me though. “What’s going on with you and my brother?”
This time I flushed a bit. Ok, so I liked Brad, I think everyone knew that. But I also liked Barry. Even after he turned into a traitor, I still couldn’t stop thinking about him. Now…it’s going to take some time to get over him. After cleaning up a bit at the “compound”, Brad and I only had minutes to talk before he and Connor shipped back early. We didn’t really know what to say to one another. He knew I was still hurting over losing Barry and I knew he was relieved to see Emma was all right. It was kind of strange and awkward. I owed him so much though. He saved my life after all. I was about to let it all go; I was going to let that bastard run me over. I didn’t even hear Brad coming when he scooped me up in his arms and did what he did.
I sighed. “It’s complicated,” I finally admitted.
Emma laughed. “I’ll say. Me I have a crush on a man’s man and you, you’re crushing on my former little sis.”
I punched her in the arm for that. We both had a laugh though.
We talked for a few minutes more then she went back to her seat. I went back to staring out the window. Watching the puffy white clouds floating by made me drowsy. I fought sleep for a long time though, my mind still reeling. I was still numb to everything that had happened in such a short period of time. Barry turned out to be a traitor; Declan was creating an Army, failed and got away. That one was going to haunt me a bit. Then Barry’s death. When it happened, I was a wreck. Connor told me afterwards it took him three times to actually get my attention. Then of course, I went nuts and stole his gun. Most of that was a blur now. I remember doing it but I don’t really remember why. I think I wanted to kill Declan, I almost did. But I made a promise too. Barry’s last few words were still dancing in my head: “Revenge isn’t the answer. It’s never the answer; promise me you’ll let this go” But could I really honor them?
I sighed. Sleep finally got me. My last thoughts before drifting off were of Trish and a tear rolled down my cheek as I slowly drifted off into dreamland.
“No more bad dreams. When I woke on the plane, we were making our final approach into New York but I’d dreamt happy things. Dekker was gone from them.”
Dr. Tipps smiled. She was sitting across from me, her legs folded over one another. She looked professional sitting in her chair. I was sitting on the little couch, spilling my deepest darkest secrets to her.
“How do you feel about that?”
Ok, yeah so I caved. It’s not like I had much of a choice. I was tired of feeling like my life was going to explode all around me. I was being pulled in different directions, everything coming at me at once and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. The England mission taught me one very important thing; it taught me that I can’t keep things bottled up inside anymore. Diana and Karen taught me that lesson. Here was Diana, a girl who thought she was with the greatest people in the world and they turned out to be monsters. All her rage and anger toward them built up to a point where she almost killed Declan. Something I think she would have really regretted.
Then there was Karen. The poor girl was alone and confused for so long. She didn’t know what was going on or why it was happening to her. So she pulled into herself, shutting herself off to the world. It didn’t help that her father and stepmother completely ignored her. She was such a bundle of emotions that I think she was really relieved when I walked into the room and caught her doing her thing. I know she was a bit scared I’d think she was a freak but she was happy too that someone else knew her secret. She wasn’t alone anymore.
Both of them helped me in more ways than one. After getting off the plane in New York, we spent the next hour or so in the airport. We had one of two options, catch a flight immediately back to the private strip that would take us to the Center or spend the night in the city. Karen was really excited to get to her new home but the rest of us were bushed. We ended up spending the night in New York. It worked out rather well for us though. Karen’s family had a penthouse in the city that they rarely used so we got to stay there instead of the hotel. I guess being an Ambassador had its perks. But it surprised me to find out that all the luxury actually belonged to Karen. Like Emma and Brad, her mother was loaded too. Upon her mother’s death, Karen or rather David became the sole benefactor of her family’s immense wealth. Her father was caretaker of said wealth until Karen turned eighteen. Until then she was given weekly allowances to help her with her expenses.
Us four girls had one hell of a night. We got to have a limo pick us up and take us to the airport in the morning too. From New York, we flew to the private strip. The Center’s private jet was waiting for us when we got there. Kit and Samson were there too. They took an earlier flight than us. I think Emma was happy to see Peter---I’m going to have so much fun with that. We flew to the Center in quiet solitude, all except for Karen who kept bombarding Kit with questions. I think after she got over her initial shyness, Karen really opened up. All the time at Chairmont she was afraid of the other girls, not sure how to act around them. Now she was a completely different person, so alive and vibrant. It was hard to believe that she was the same girl that I spent two days with. I think she was just happy to be rid of that place; I know I was. After coming home from Declan’s, Britney was kinda sour with all of us for abandoning them the way we did. Stella hadn’t really explained things all that well to them and she didn’t like being brushed aside while we had fun elsewhere. So Stella got a cold reception for the rest of the time she and Britney were roommates. As for the rest of our short time at Chairmont, we kinda blended in with the crowd. I think the girls in the band were kinda bummed that we had to bail so early but Miss Pennington promised she’d find us some local replacements.
I think she was happy to see us all go.
“Rebecca, are you ok?”
Dr. Tipps voice shattered my thoughts. I sighed, forgetting where I was. I only agreed to come here because Stella and Mattie nagged me into it. Yeah, Mattie turned on me too. But I could forgive her; she’s had a rough time with things too. I guess there was a little excitement here why I was away. But she didn’t really want to talk about it---something that was on the need to know apparently---so I dropped the questioning.
“I’m sorry,” I said, smiling fakely at her. “I was lost in my thoughts.”
She smiled. “You were telling me about your dreams.”
What can I say, when I open up I really open up. After getting back to the Center and going through a two hour debrief with Mrs. Fine, Kris and the Colonel, I barely got about an hour of sleep before Mattie and Stella roused me out of bed. They said that there was no way they were going to let me get away with loafing around anymore. So they dragged me out of bed and forced me to go to Dr. Tipps. They may think that they’re doing me a favor but wait until Stella finds out what I have planned for her and the rest of the team. After the debriefing, Mrs. Fine and I discussed the team’s performance. We both agreed that we did all right overall but there was definite need for improvement. So I decided it was high time that we got really organized. That meant there was going to be no more slacking. I was going to whip everyone into the team they should be.
So I opened up to Dr. Tipps a little. I think she was as surprised as I was. I told her everything that had been on my mind for the last few weeks. It didn’t take as long as I thought it was going to. When we got to my dreams, I faltered a bit. I wasn’t really sure if I was ready to handle the Trish stuff yet. It was like opening a wound that I wasn’t ready to close. But Dr. T seemed to want to know how her death was fueling my dreams. I wasn’t sure how to respond to that but she kept on asking me how I felt. How do you even respond to something like that?
“You seem distracted, Rebecca,” she said, setting down her notepad.
“There’s a lot on my plate.”
“Understandable” she said, looking at the clock sitting on the coffee table in front of us. “The two of us have been talking for about two hours now.”
Really. Who would have thought?
She continued. “I think we’re making good progress but there’s something I need for you to do on your own.”
“As long as it doesn’t require me going around and hugging people, I’ll do it.”
She laughed. “Nothing that extreme. But I think it’s time you come face to face with your grief.”
It took me about a day or so to do what she suggested.
I kinda dragged my feet because I wasn’t sure if I was ready to do what I think she wanted me to do. I’ve been avoiding it for so long, but I knew it was about time. So after leaving Dr. Tipps’ office I made some arrangements. Where I needed to go was off Center. I went to Mrs. Fine and told her my plan. I wasn’t sure what she was going to say. She kinda surprised me when she told me it was a good idea and actually asked if I wanted her to come along. But I refused, telling her that something like this really needs to be done alone. I think she understood that.
So after that I built up enough courage to actually do it. I’ve been avoiding it for so long…I didn’t know how to do it or even what to say. Stella actually gave me some sound advice. She told me to just be myself, talk about whatever comes into your head, maybe say good bye.
“So here I am, Trish,” I said, talking to her headstone.
It was a nice one, real big and made out of marble. Homeland Security went all out. They placed her in a private part of the cemetery, near these real pretty yellow rose bushes. There was even a little fountain a ways away and a copse of trees behind her. The cemetery was a couple miles down the road from the Center. Officially, it was an unsanctioned government plot. There were a few others buried here too, most of them in unmarked graves. A lot of the enemies we killed were buried around here---I don’t know where and I don’t care. Barry will be placed here too. I’ve already sent in a request to get him a headstone though. I didn’t like the idea of him not having one. I’m still waiting for the authorization on that.
I cleared my throat, fighting back the tears. “I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get here but I’ve been really busy.”
I told her everything. I know it sounds stupid because I’m not sure if she can hear me but I did anyways. I spilled my guts to her, finally succumbing to my tears. It took me a long time but I think in the end it felt pretty good to get it off my chest.
“I’m sorry if I disappointed you too,” I said, now on my knees. “I went after him. I know I shouldn’t have, but he killed you. I couldn’t let that bastard just walk away like that. He took you from me, ruined our lives, ruined our plans. But I failed. I was tricked into following a false trail and in the end, I ran into something much worse. Barry is dead because of it.”
I didn’t tell her about Barry being a traitor. It would have broken her heart. He helped us so much, helped her so much. I think she would have been appalled to know that we inadvertently led him to the Center. I did tell her about Declan though, telling her how I should have killed him back in Section Four and all the problems he’s been causing. Once again, I’m not sure if she can really hear me or not. I’m not sure what I believe as far as the Hereafter goes. I’d like to think there is a place where good people go and where bad people are punished. Declan and Dekker deserve the bad place. Hell, all the Syndicate bastards need to rot there---I’m sure some of them are.
I stayed on my knees for about ten minutes, muddying my brand new tights. Yep I wore a dress; Trish would have laughed at that. She would have liked it too.
A snap sounded behind me. I didn’t react. I knew he was there; he’d been following me since I left this morning. I’m not sure when I picked him up but he’d been tailing for at least a couple of hours now. He was a good soldier, stealthy and sly. But sloppy too. It took me a long time to make the connection. When I saw him on the plane going to England the beard through me. He looked so familiar but I was distracted. I spotted him again in the city, when I was running after my imaginary Dekker. I only caught him out of the corner of my eye though. I didn’t pay much attention there. It was at Declan’s though that I kinda figured it out. When he shot Miles. It bothered me when I thought it was Janks. But when I all but confirmed it wasn’t, it could only be one other person.
I sighed, slowly getting to my feet. My escort was back at the car, probably reading the paper. But it wouldn’t matter. If the guy hiding behind the tree wanted me dead, he would have done it when he first followed me into the cemetery. He was here to talk. He was unarmed; I could tell by the way he was standing. The only weapon I had was a small dagger and it was in my purse---something that was lying two feet away. Not that I needed it though.
“You’re getting sloppy, Mr. Red.”
I heard a slight laugh. I turned and he stepped out from behind the tree. He was dressed in a large trench coat, buttoned up. His hair was slicked back, he was wearing dark sunglasses and he was recently shaved. The last time I saw him, before half recognizing him on the plane was months ago. He was with us when we left Section Four. I thought he was a good guy back then but he was just a snake with a conscience. He killed my best friend, Dell, left a note explaining the whole thing. I suppose it was the least he could do. Gideon had told me to ditch him anyway. Mr. Red aka Greg Dwyer was a Merc, a hired gun. He was brought in to teach us all how to be more efficient killers or some shit like that. All the girls used to fawn over because he was so damn cute. Even now, standing by the tree, he was still a looker. But that warming smile was gone, replaced by a hard edge.
“How long have you known I’ve been there?”
“Since outside the gate” I said “your bike makes too much noise.”
He followed me from the Center on a motorcycle; I think he thought he was being stealthy. But you can’t hide those things from the likes of me.
He smirked. “You’re getting better at those things.”
“I had a good teacher.”
He nodded. “You should give him an apple then.”
The pleasantries were annoying now. If I had a gun, I wouldn’t hesitate to shot this bastard. Dell was the only friend I had in that hell hole of a foster home I came from. This man took that from me. He deserved to die. “I take it this little meeting has a purpose?”
He smiled. He opened his coat to show that he was unarmed. “I come in peace.”
“I know. If you’d been armed I never would have let you get that close.”
He laughed. “As astute as ever” I nodded. “But sloppy too. You should have made sure the bullet went into that bastard’s head.”
I nodded. “I missed the opportunity.”
“You hesitated. You had a chance to shoot him in the hall after he shot Barry. You could have taken him then.”
I didn’t disagree. “What’s done is done. I’ll get him next time.”
There would be one too; I had no doubt about that.
He smirked. “He’s going to run back to Daddy you know.”
I nodded. “Is that why you came here. You the Messenger now?”
“Consider me someone concerned for your well being.”
“I’m touched. Is that why you plugged Miles?”
He didn’t deny it. “I don’t like to leave things hanging. I wronged you and I was trying to make amends for it.”
The fire flared in me. So one murder for a next. That’s what he called making amends. How fucked up is that. “I could have handled it”
“No you couldn’t have and you know it. They had you beat. I gave you the upper hand.”
“You come here for a thank you, then?”
“No” he said, leaning against the tree. “I’ve come here to tell you that I’ve found who you’ve really been hunting for.”
Dekker. I felt a pang of excitement. Revenge? I’d been duped before, by people I trusted in fact. But by someone I don’t trust, someone I don’t even like. “I’m not interested.”
He smiled. “Oh yes you are.”
He had me there. “I’ve gotten over it.”
He shook his head. “No you haven’t” He leaned off the tree and reached into his coat. He pulled out a large manila colored envelope and tossed it at my feet. “Everything you want to know is in there.”
I glanced at the envelope and quickly back at him. “Does this make us even now?”
He chuckled. “No this makes us partners.”
He nodded. “I want the Syndicate gone just as much as you do. I hate it when I get screwed over by pompous billionaires and their bratty progeny. I figure you and I have the same goals. We both want to ruin Carson. I figure you help me do that then the two of us are even.”
I still didn’t look at the envelope. “I’m not interested.”
He ignored me. “When you open it up and look inside, you’ll find a card. That’s my personal number. Don’t bother trying to trace it because it’s scrambled. When you decide to make your move, give me a call and I’ll give you whatever back up is necessary. You might even get a chance to use that fancy engraved bullet you’ve got burning a hole in that pocket of yours.”
I looked at my coat pocket. How did he know? I snapped back up to ask him and he was gone. Son of a bitch. I ran to the tree but he was nowhere in sight. I listened for him. I caught him running off, toward the fence. I suppose I could give chase but there was no reason. Besides, I had to admit that his offer intrigued me a little. I heard him gunning the motorcycle a few minutes later and listened as it peeled away. I went back to Trish; the envelope was lying on top of her grave. I stared at it, biting my lip. Everything I wanted was in there. Dekker was in there, everything about him. My hand trembled as I bent down and reached for the envelope.
I stopped for a second before picking it up. Could I really do this? I looked at Trish’s headstone. Can I do this, Trish? Revenge has brought me nothing but heartache. Its lead me down a nasty road. I hurt my friends, I hurt myself. I hurt you.
I sighed and made a decision. I grabbed the envelope but at the same time reached into my pocket and pulled out the bullet. Revenge led me down a horrible path. But doing the right thing was going to lead me down the other. If there was information in here that I could use against the Syndicate than I was going to use it. If I happened to run into Dekker along the way then I’m not sure what I’d do about it. I’d handle that when I got there. But revenge… I took a deep breath and laid the bullet on top of Trish’s headstone.
Then I turned and walked away.
Photo Credit: Model AJ Stewart
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