“Remote (cont’d): Setting the Web” By Robin Chappell

Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

I ducked between shadows and through alleyways, making my way down blocks for miles without stopping. I knew for a fact that Will was dead. He didn’t do what “The Survs” requested of him and with that being the only true reason they approached him in the first place, he would be destroyed. I felt no emotion nor shock for anything as simple as death anymore, that was destroyed years ago with the transitioning of this project. I did reflect on his dark and handsome face, never thinking I would have to ever see fear and desperation in his eyes…

“Doctor, doctor, please…I think I might be sick, don’t go.” Will’s beautiful smile flashed beneath me as I lay on top of him telling him I had to go to the hospital for the umpteenth time while he playfully tugged at my arm for more kisses. Sun streamed through the blinds of his windows and he traced the freckles sprinkled across my face and hiding in and out of sandy brown and unruly curly coils of hair down to my shoulders.

I grabbed his hand and kissed his fingers. “I just checked your vitals, everything worked perfectly fine to me.” I gave him a blush and a sexy grin as I bit my bottom lip thinking about how great he made me feel the night before. I jumped up quickly before he could grab me again.

He rolled over and groaned in his cobalt gray colored sheets when I began pulling on my clothes and rummaging through my bag to freshen up a little before taking the, after a date, long sex night, “ride of shame” home, then to work.

“I promise that I’ll see you again.” I gazed into his pouting face and surprised myself because I meant it. My eyes roamed his physically fit physic and rock hard abs, almost making me jump back into bed with him. When I looked into his eyes and we made direct contact at my friend Theresa’s barbecue two months before, and he made a corny joke about pigs in a blanket, I knew we’d hit it off.

“Hmmm…promises already? I must be on a roll then.” He chuckled. Folding his hands behind his head with pride.

I shook my head with a smile and grabbed my bag, then walked over to him and gave him a light, sweet kiss on his lips.

“I never break a promise.” I smiled then sashayed out of his apartment with confidence, yelling back to him over my shoulder. “Call you later.”

We were deep and heavy ever since then. Quickies during lunch (sometimes in the hospitals “vacant” rooms, late night dinners, simple coffees…if there was even two minutes of time together we took it as if we needed it to survive. Falling deeply in love that it showed all over our skin, to others around us…nearly sickening. He treated me like a queen and always asked himself how he’d gotten lucky enough to snag the most beautiful doctor in the world.

I snapped out of my thoughts to empty out my bag and it’s contents. The many passports and identities, different currencies of money, and weapons of choice had me practically living like an assassin, but it was all needed just to stay alive and I’d come too far to die now.

Hiding out in the gorgeous city of Rome, Italy for about six months had been the most relaxing location I’d discovered so far. Going back to America was out of the question so I moved around constantly through foreign countries while keeping undiscoverable contact with Americans that wanted out and needed their chips destroyed along with the rest of their lives as an American citizen as they knew it.

I made my way a few more blocks until I approached Grand Hotel Ritz Roma. I gazed at it’s beautiful architecture before making my way inside to request a room, paying in cash. I crept away with my head low beneath the hood of my coat lined in white and brown fur, damp from the drizzle of icy rain outside. The portly female receptionist remained friendly even through my stone cold facial expressions and alert eyes roaming everywhere while trying to be somewhat courteous. I thanked her in a heavy Italian accent, breathed a sigh of relief as I grabbed the key and my bags, then made my way up the elevator to the third floor. An old balding man eyed me as I slowly walked off and I waited until the doors completely shut before walking to my assigned room.

I flopped on the large plush bed once I made it inside and it was like landing on a cloud. I exhaled while I looked out of the window at my beautiful view. The adrenaline that had just coursed through my body began to calm down and I was instantly tired. I dialed room service and ordered something to eat. Specifically making sure I ordered the lamb with their chef’s special sauce. Once he brought my food, I thanked him sternly as he looked at me once over before I handed him a generous tip. I set the tray on the bed and lifted the plate to retrieve several tri-folded hotel brochures full of hundred dollar bills and a small note of gratitude from Madison, a woman whose chip I’d extracted earlier tonight before Will’s emotional ass found my spot and ruined everything.

I counted out $20,000 and stuffed it inside of my bag of nearly everything that I owned. I always planned my moves out three steps ahead and I knew what living this roguish type of lifestyle meant. I had no one and trusted no one, even most times picking up and mimicking the local foreign accents so I wouldn’t be questioned about hints of being a former American. I no longer had a place or an affiliation. Whenever I chose a new location I made no friends, no conversations, and I fully stocked everything once to lower the need of venturing out into the town. Creating disguises and shopping for loads of groceries incognito. I couldn’t make nor have relationships with anyone around me, but created the convenience of figuring out whom I could hire locally to for small errands with enough “hush” money and without a trace. Will was right, it was like I’d died and I wanted no one to bring me back to life, but now The Survs were trying to sniff out my trail and almost had me. That could never happen again.

After eating my lamb, which was absolutely delicious, I passed out before I even knew that I closed my eyes. Falling into a deep sleep, my dreams were flooded with my life in America, my family, Will, and everything I once stood for that meant nothing now. And I realized…most of it was full of pointless and endless bullshit besides the impeccable art of saving lives through my heart surgeries. That was where I created magic and endless possibilities. I practically lived in the hospital before meeting Will. Other parts of life included formal benefits, fundraisers, working out, the usual. Outside of cutting on people, I never really liked dealing with them too often and my social skills were almost nonexistent.

“So…red velvet ooooorr…the German chocolate?” I swooped a chunk of wedding cake into Will’s mouth delicately and let him savor each one before asking. Although I already knew I wanted the red velvet.

His eyes closed and he looked to the right thoughtfully.

“German chocolate. Hands down.” He smacked the table and sat back like he just knew he was a cake genius or something.

“Noooo….red velvet!” I laughed and punched in the arm playfully.

He shook his head with a smile. “Why the hell did I even have an opinion then?”

“Oh you didn’t.” I poked him in his nose. “I just knew you’d pick the opposite of what I did.”

He chuckled and planted a kiss on my lips before gazing into my bright eyes.

“Touche’ Dr. Hartley.”

I snapped out of my thoughts and woke up to loud knocks on the door. I jumped up quickly, grabbing my robe and my gun beneath the mattress before slowly inching towards the door. I didn’t step in front of it nor look out of the peephole. This visit was unexpected and I knew exactly the only people that could be on the other side. There was dead silence and the knocks had stopped like they were listening for me too.

“Hey…Dr. Hartley, just open the door. You’re surrounded.” My heart dropped to my stomach as I continued to quietly listen. I knew it had to be the men that found my hideout and killed Will because the voice continued with confidence.

“We have Will.”


“And…we have Madison.”

I paused and instantly began to panic.

They got to her before she could get to her destination and she ratted me out.

I cursed at myself for even working with her but knew The Survs were relentless when it came to locating someone like myself.

I continued to remain silent with my pistol in the upright position standing on the left side of the door. My breathing was heavy now that I really needed to rethink everything, but first things first.

I darted towards the bedroom and threw on my clothes in a flash. Just a pair of sweats, a hoodie, and some Nikes with literally my entire home inside of two bags in tow.

The knocking grew more incessant and louder now that I hadn’t answered after all of the facts he’d spilled.

“DON’T DO THIS!! OPEN THE GODDAMN DOOR!!” More pounding. I inhaled then exhaled deeply, upset that it even had to get to this point, but I had limited choices now.

In one motion I stepped in front of the door, planted my feet apart and aimed my pistol dead in the middle of the door, shooting off four rounds through both sides of the wood with ease. I heard moans, a couple of screams, and two bodies hitting the floor with a thud.

I flew open my hotel window and slowly eased out of it. Dropping my bag to the ground three stories below, I crept out of the window and scaled the building until I made it down a fire escape on the corner.

I knew there was panic and commotion everywhere, including a newly issued manhunt for me throughout Rome, but I was long gone now. I landed on my feet with a thud, finding my bag I disappeared once again into the night.

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