I remember being a little girl…standing there upon a stage. The school stage that we all know about when attending a public school with the thick dingy burgundy curtains…maybe blue. Either way this stage is responsible for many moments of strong failures, fateful wins, and beautiful moments of finally putting yourself out there for people to see you…really see you. Everyone was looking at me in that moment…little, scrawny, nappy headed, unimportant…me. There I was in the talent show, ready to sing my ass off because I swore to my friends, my mother, and my father that I could sound exactly like Whitney Houston. Confidence was sometimes far fetched, but hell if I cared, because I was certainly the one that night. I had on this beautiful navy blue dress that was dripping in sequins. I think there were so many that I could have survived any maze or Hansel and Gretel story because there would be a shining trail leading me back the way that I came. I had made it myself and was so proud that I didn’t care about the faces my family wore when they saw me walk out of that room. The giggle that escaped my bratty little sister’s lips couldn’t deter me from my moment, because it was MINE. The only things I mostly remember…over the laughs, the cheering, the stares….was the announcement of the winner…that was not me.
I was devastated and it was MY first moment of knowing what real failure felt like. Up until this point I was not athletic or really for extroverted enough to get into a lot of clubs. This was my first moment of confidence and putting myself out there to see who I really could be…to go against all odds and just take that leap of faith…come what may. I felt like the universe snatched it from me and gifted it to this ugly ass girl that danced some really provocative dance in barely nothing and won over many others more talented than she.
My eyes watered as the oogling eyes of the judges looked on as she cheered with excitement, breasts bouncing up and down in a black leotard with no tights and took home her trophy and fifty dollar prize. I remember repeating that “it wasn’t fair” at least fifty times on the way home. My mother and father sighed while exchanging awkward looks. ” Well maybe next time honey, it will all work out with more practice.”
They are supposed to say that.
“And I know that you think we’re supposed to say that because we’re you’re parents but we really believe in you and that everything happens for a reason, even situations like this.” They continued smiling and staring ahead as our station wagon made it’s way down the street towards our home with more noise than needed. We were always so happy and I admired my parent’s love and relationship. They were so warm towards each other and in this moment of reminiscing on the past, tears began streaming down my face when I thought of what they could be doing now. I couldn’t even check in on them without compromising myself and my life and that was the hardest part of all of this. What if something happens to them? Or one of them dies? Everything was getting out of hand and I was overthinking everything when I really needed to be putting my plan into motion for the next move off of this ship.
I stood at the railing staring out into the ocean in deep thought when I felt a pair of eyes on me. I knew whom they belonged to and slowly breathed out slow streams of air when he walked up on me looking good as hell in another tailored suit. My mind raced to the moments that passed in my cabin earlier the day before and I clenched my legs together in an attempt to calm the feeling he produced down there whenever he appeared.
“I see you had the same idea as me…came to take in some open ocean air?”
He smirked like he knew he had me. Confident and arrogant at the same time while trying to play this game of making it seem like wanted me to come to him, but of course he knew I wasn’t stupid by a long shot.
“Yeah I guess that you can say that…I would have thought being on this ship was growing a little old on you by now.”
I teased him and looked over the balcony without making eye contact with him while he stood closely to my right.
“I have grown to love cruises, actually. Here we are…in the middle of nowhere. Wide open ocean…no land to be seen for miles and miles. Nowhere to run off to when it gets uncomfortable, it’s made for you to hate or love…it’s perfect and I’m on a mission.”
I swallowed nervously but kept my composure as I listened to the smooth bravado of his voice.
He slowly moved around my frame like a vulture while he continued. Stopping right behind me so that his pelvis was against my back as the bottom of my yellow sundress flew around in the night air. No one was in sight, yet he continued to speak in low tones.
He pressed against me and moved closer to my ear, smelling like the sweetest smell of man that I had ever inhaled. My legs practically trembled and I stared out past the horizon of the ocean, watching the bright orange sun slowly dip down out of sight.
“How long do you figure you have? Weeks?…Maybe months….you think you got a year?”
“For what?” I whispered without moving an inch.
“For this running around. It’s interesting to watch your strategy. At times, it would even take me months to track you…such a rush when I finally did.”
His hand moved up…beneath my sun dress, between my thick thighs in light strokes. My breathing sped up and his other hand swiftly came up and forcefully gripped the back of my neck while he slipped a finger past my panties.
“I am the only thing keeping you alive…and you were going to leave without even telling me goodbye?”
My eyes widened.
“What do you mean I was?-“
“I’m not stupid. We both know that neither of us are. So stop fucking playing with me and let’s just make a deal.”
Every muscle I had tightened in his grip and my legs buckled a little when he pushed his pelvis further into me. I could feel the bulge through his pants…slowly grinding and teasing me while the ocean breeze and mist blew across our faces in the evening light, slightly relieving my flushing demeanor.
“How in the hell do you expect me to trust you?? I am on the run right now, I am the most wanted woman on the run right now! And what do you want? You want me to just be “Bonnie and Clyde” with you traveling the entire planet? For you to get what you want out of me then just give me up for the reward later? You are not about the fuck the common sense out of me and bring down everything that I have worked to hide at this point. I am always living on edge while just being another damn assignment for you!”
My voice began to raise and it made him tighten his grip.
“Calm down and lower your voice.”
An elderly white couple strolled by with bright smiles on their faces because his sadistic ass was smiling right back at them and had let go of the grip he held on the back of my neck, transitioning it into looking as if he was playing in my long hair blowing in the wind and romantically holding me from behind.
“You have a lovely night.” He nodded his head towards them until they walked by and out of sight, continuing his pointless debate with me and trying to make me give in to his plan just like any man would that found a woman like me so interesting just because I’d outsmarted his ass a few times.
He continued in low tones.
“So when you planning on running this time? Where you headed?”
“Wow, you’ve never just straight out asked me. I thought I’d leave you a nice little challenge….”
I turned around and faced him now. He leaned in with the expectation I would kiss him as I moved into his space, then moved close to his ear.
“….just the way that you like.” I whispered then kissed the left side of his cheek and in one swift motion I kneed him in his groin, causing him to double over in pain and wince. I brought my entire elbow down on his head, causing his large frame to crumble to the ground. I grabbed a large bag from behind him and life jacket that sat on the deck.
He attempted to gain his composure and limp towards me, but I sat up on the railing of the ship, smiled, and flipped off backwards, landing into the water with a crash.
I could hear him calling after me and looking as if he wanted to jump in too for a minute but realized he had neither the gear nor the time. I floated in the water until the ship was completely out of sight and it was just me and all of the stars in the sky. I breathed slowly in the dramatically cold temperature of the water but remained calm, pushing through.
The bag I grabbed possessed only my essentials. I eyed my watch as I floated on the large duffel bag and just in time breathed out a sigh of relief as a small fishing boat with one bright light on the side approached and lowered a small ladder for me.
I quickly grabbed it and tossed my bag on deck, shivering and breathing through several sighs of relief.
“Got yourself into a bit of trouble, huh?”
I shook the ocean water from my hair and let out a sigh.
“I guess you can say that. Thanks for deciding to meet me.”
“Hey, I honestly can’t stand the guy and I’ve been out of the game a long time. You have nothing to worry about because the person I can’t stand more than Vincent is that stupid ass president that started all of this bullshit in the first place!”
I let out a light chuckle and shook my head. His southern accent was strong and made me a bit nervous, but he seemed harmless so far. He hovered over me with a cigarette in the side of his mouth, blowing out puffs of smoke and looking me over in amazement that I’d escaped.
Apparently Vincent wasn’t that smooth and dropped some type of book that had names in it before he left me flushed and horny inside of my cabin. My mind went back to me taking it from between the covers and eyeing it’s pages in fascination. The names included were some of the most infamous criminals and gangsters around the world and shocking jobs he’d completed for politicians and celebrities that no one would have ever known. I knew I had to get off of that ship some kind of way and what a better way to contact one of his known enemies just for them to have a rush and something over his head. To know that anything slipped through his fingers unknowingly enraged him and I knew what I’d just done was created the ultimate monster.
Hank Greisman was a retired assassin that never stayed home and never sat still, so when I contacted him and let him know what was going on and what was in it for him, he promised it would only take him until the following evening to find a jet and a boat to reach me and help plan the perfect escape. I realized I had found my first ally from a known enemy.
“Well we can’t sit out here for too long. No use in freezing to death.” He tossed me an extremely thick blanket.
“Thanks…I know it’s a little too late to be asking this…but how do I know that I can really trust you?” I clutched the blanket around my body and eyed him suspiciously.
He chuckled. “Well, I can tell you’re certainly new to this young lady, because this is the worst time to be asking something like that. And the fact that Vincent has not killed you tells me all that I need to know as far as reasoning. You’re a pretty little thing, I can tell you’re smart as a whip. Stop asking questions you already know the answer to and that you don’t want to know the answer to. Now pick up that thermos of coffee there, sit down and enjoy the ride.”
Without another word, he moved towards the front of the boat, grabbed the wheel and revved the engine. I slowly took a seat in the back and snuggled into the blanket. We took off into the night, beneath the stars in the amazing feeling of victory. Inside of my head I could see the little girl that thought losing would be her entire life…the one that stood with a look of disappointment in a homemade blue sequined dress she loved so much. She knew at that moment nobody could take the bursting adrenaline coursing through her body. That feeling of winning a battle in order to take over the entire victory.
She sipped the thermos of coffee in calm and peaceful thoughts as she looked out over the ocean…unsure of what direction she could be heading next….
“Hey, hey little lady, rise and shine.”
I squinted as the sun beamed down into my face, reflecting off of the waves of the ocean water. Hank could have easily killed me in my sleep but here I was.
“Would you like a little chow? It’s not much.”
I looked over and saw that he’d caught some fish or either already had them but they smelled pretty damn good to me.
I was starving and dug in like I hadn’t eaten in weeks. I felt drained by the sun and just wanted to lie back down but there was too much adrenaline rushing through my veins now that I was up and now that I had to keep an eye on Hank.
“I’ve done ya a great favor and need you to listen up carefully, you hear me?”
I quickly stared up at him in mid-chew.
What was this about?
“I have another friend that owes me a favor, he’s about to drop in any minute. His name is Taylor and he’s a great guy, pretty harmless and sure does believe in everything that you’re out here doing too.”
I perked up and cracked a confident smile.
“Seriously? That’s…um…thank you.”
I kept chewing then slowly looked up at him again.
“So…since you haven’t asked me…I take it that you’re also a rebel that didn’t get the chip inserted.”
He kept his back to me.
“I guess that you can say that. It isn’t easy being all alone because you’re not a follower isn’t it?”
I smiled and nodded my head in agreement and reminisced.
“Yeah…I can still remember the day he came on the news and announced it. I was in disbelief then and even more now that they’ve actually gone through with it. They own everyone now and they can’t even see it. American’s have become property right beneath each other’s noses…”
“Well, I guess we both had the balls-” He looked at me and cleared his throat. “And the vagina to not become anybody’s damn property.”
He gave me a fist bump and continued to steer after taking a long swig from a silver flask. I eyed my watch and saw that it was about 8 a.m.
Early starter, I see.
Suddenly I could hear a low humming noise that sounded like something chopping through air.
Hank smiled and looked to the sky.
“Taylor’s here.” He stated with a smile.
My eyes widened when I realized that Taylor was hovering over us in a large helicopter and quickly flipped out a ladder over the boat.
“Well little lady, I guess this is where we part ways. I honestly don’t want you to, but should you ever find yourself in a bind with that asshole then give me a holler.”
He handed me a small sheet of paper with a phone number. I looked it over for five seconds, balled it and swallowed it. I left no traces and I didn’t have a dumb ass book with everyone’s phone number inside of it to contact me for anything.
He smirked and gave me a fist bump.
“Be safe little lady.”
He delicately lifted me into the air to reach the ladder and handed me my duffel bag before zooming off the way that he came. I had so many more questions. Did he have a home or does he just live off the ocean all day just below Africa? This was getting more and more strange ever since the murder of my fiance and the capture of my client.
Once pulled up I looked in the face of a tall and handsome Hispanic man that eyed me over in admiration and looked as if he was honored just to be in my presence.
“Ah….here she is. My goodness, you’re so small. Not tough looking at all.”
“Well I’m a doctor so…nothing’s ever been tough about me.” I timidly sat down.
“Well hold on tight. I’ll get you to a place where nobody should ever be able to find you!”
I smiled and settled into the seats as I pulled the headphones on my head.
“That would be great, Taylor.” I shot him a warm smile. “Thank you so much.”
“Ayyyye, it’s no problem. I’m with you. Nobody was about to put shit in my body!”
He laughed as he zoomed off over the ocean and I looked down and out past the horizon. I felt more calm and at peace that I ever had since this all began and before I knew it I’d drifted into another deep sleep…
I breathed in the cool air as I looked on towards the horizon. Fisherman with tight dark skin and strong muscular arms tossed their nets and pole lines into Yawri Bay and talked back and forth to each other in Krio. Their skin glistened beneath the bright sun and I sat not too far away in dark shades and a black wide brimmed hat, adorning a simple sundress like I was a tourist with no specific purpose or destination. My brown hair lay in soft natural curls that I often twirled through my fingers when thinking. At this moment a lot of things were on my mind. I admired the fisherman and their strong physiques, remembering I had not had sex in more than five years or less. Memories of Will flooded my mind and I could feel every emotion now that I was in a calm location and able to sit down and think about all that had transpired in just the last 48 hours.
I sat up and looked straight ahead when a random Black guy came and sat down on the bench facing the other direction. I could see him through my peripheral and that he was wearing a dark suit, dark shades and had jet black hair cut into a fade. He was out of place in this location and in this weather and I wondered how many buckets of sweat he’d created just walking over here. One thing was for certain, he smelled good as hell!
He cleared his throat and continued to look ahead.
“Should I call you Doctor Hartley or Justice Young? I’m sure it’s changed once again…”
I froze and never said a word, maintaining my composure as I let him continue in his low baritone voice.
“You are quite to hard find when no one is really looking for you…but for a billion dollars…I certainly found you…again.”
“Well that’s because you know me by now…and how much I love water.”
Vince Cray had to be the only guy that could track me down and always came with the bullshit as if I cared that I was wanted and my head was worth a fortune…alive. He didn’t know whether he wanted to turn me in or remain fascinated by my skill and talented ability to stay out of sight and out of range for years at a time, because the crazy part was that for some reason he was the world’s top assassin and he had not killed me yet, nor had he told anyone where I was for the reward.
“It wasn’t that easy this time, you know. You’re getting better at hiding your scent.”
“Is there something in particular that you wanted to talk to me about?” I asked through gritted teeth while still smiling like everything was all good. This is always the worst part about being on the run, never knowing just how long you could be at some type of peace before someone came and crashed the entire foundation down. The one that I ever think is strong enough to completely shut everyone out. There was too much technology, too many cameras, and nerdy ass experts bored enough (some even rich enough) to hunt me down.
Then there was this guy! I can’t even put a label on him and he’s just really an absolute pain in my ass.. I couldn’t just kill him in the open and blow my cover and he never came around to kill me. It’s was as if he honestly just shows up to let me know that he’s watching me and that he had the authority to do whatever he saw fit with the most wanted target on the planet. A big ass cat toying with a mouse someone pumped with steroids. I knew at this point, he adored our little game and it’s what he lived for! So, therefore…how could he ever live without me? So trust I was never afraid, just irritated.
“Aren’t you just going to do it this time?” I glared at him, turning my full attention toward his solid physique. I found myself licking my lips when my gaze moved down the glisten of his strong dark neck. I watched the vessels move in and out, up and down as he breathed slowly and contemplated his response to my statement. His heart rate was heightening sitting near me and I wondered if he knew that he often did the same to me.
“I could have killed you an hour ago.” He stated it with no emotion, continuing to look on toward the water beyond the horizon.
“And yet…HERE I AM!” I practically shouted loud enough for the fisherman to look up and avert their attention our way. This was on purpose and I could see the perplexed look in his face at the risk I’d just taken. Something in me was amused and I could feel the goosebumps on my skin from being so anxious about what he would do about it…
With a shake of his head and a chuckle he tossed an index card and small envelope my way, rose from the bench, and walked away in the opposite direction that he’d come without another word. I waited at least five minutes before picking it up from the bench beside me and unfolding it’s contents. My face twisted into fear and shock as I read the words and eyed the photos that dropped into my lap, but I kept my composure and folded all of the documents before pulling a lighter from my pocket, setting it all on fire, and dropping it into the waste bin nearby, I could barely catch my breath and hyperventilated as I took a brisk walk around the bay before boarding the nearby luxury cruise liner I’d been waiting for the entire time. I stumbled near the docks and clutched my chest in an attempt to steady my breathing and relax before boarding a ship to take a cruise sailing around the coast of Africa for nearly two weeks.
The ship would take many tourist stops in other locations, but the only thing that concerned me was that it would make it’s final stop in Australia. That was my next destination and what was better than being “down under”? I figured that nobody could track me there but I was wrong before I could even know what being even a little right felt like. I boarded the ship with no luggage, no life, a fake I.D. and my dignity. My large shades hid my face, along with the scarf wrapped around my head like I’d stepped out of the 60’s. I awkwardly greeted everyone who came my way with a shy smile and head nod as I finally found my way to a beautiful and spacious suite with a large balcony that overlooked the entire ocean.
I exhaled and thought out my next move to become invisible again, but one thing was certain…Vince was going to always be my problem until I found a way to fix it. I cringed as I thought about the photos of Will that Vince obviously retrieved by making his way into my home after The Survs got to him. It was disturbing how close he’d gotten to Will’s deadened facial expression and limp body. He was tied to the chair the same way I’d left him, except with his head blown wide open.
I suddenly rushed to the bathroom when I felt the chunks of vomit rise in my throat. I’d endured seeing many things at this point, but seeing the man I loved and nearly married mutilated like that was something no one could ever prepare themselves for. I was really planning to spend the rest of my life with him and now he was only a memory and had gotten caught up because of the pain he felt from me suddenly leaving him and attempting to help the wrong people find me.
I wiped my mouth in exhaustion and let my head rest on my arm over the toilet after flushing down my small lunch of mango and melon from earlier. What in the hell was I supposed to do now? It was as if so many pieces of my life were being exposed and eliminated all for this damn chip! I rinsed my mouth and splashed my face with the cool water cupped in my hands from the faucet. I wanted to cry when I looked at myself in the vanity mirror above the sink. I looked drained and like I lived the life of a person on the run from EVERYTHING. There was nothing relaxed about me and every move I made was frantic, frigid, unplanned, and life threatening at this point.
I was becoming sloppy and desperate to just be out of everyone’s way that I didn’t realize I was only putting myself in more harms way.
I needed a long hot bath, food. and sleep just to make it through the next thought in my head. I never even made it to the food I ordered and when I sat on the bed, before I knew it my body slumped over into a deep and unexpected sleep that went on through the whole night and late into the next day.
I outstretched my arms and let out a long yawn before opening my eyes and emerging from beneath the thick white comforter to invite the sun into my cabin and onto my refreshed and freckled caramel face. I felt as if I’d gotten the best sleep ever with my natural messy curls all over my head like a lion. I smiled from ear to ear before turning over and shrieking in fright when I met the face of Vince sitting up in the recliner chair across the room. His hands were clasped and legs were folded like he’d made some observational notes about my sleep process like he was some type of physician.
“How long have you been sitting there??” I asked in astonishment. I brought the white sheets up to my chest and covered my breasts although I was still wearing my bra.
“Long enough to know that your dreams are going to haunt you the rest of your life.” He never cracked a smile or took his gaze from mine and slowly rose from the chair. I scrambled backwards towards the headboard and eyed his every move as he slowly walked over to me.
His tailored gray suit never moved an inch and was ironed so crisply I wanted to inquire about his dry cleaning.
“Get out of my room.” I bravely stated before I knew it. He looked at me as if I’d lost my mind and before I knew what was happening I was grabbed up by my throat in one swift motion and thrown against the headboard like a rag doll. I winced in pain and heard a ringing in my ears, then I realized he was standing over me with my neck still in one large hand…slowly pressing down my airway bit by bit and staring into my eyes so deeply while taking large grunting breaths that I thought my soul might have been stolen by his. Desperation entered my eyes and the room began to fade. I began flailing my arms and legs in an attempt to fight for my life and I realized I had only seconds until unconsciousness. I didn’t come this far to lose my life now…on a damn cruise liner.
“You know, I do believe I am the only thing keeping you from living this little relaxing runaway life you decided to live after becoming a terrorist and a traitor to your own country. You’re wanted everywhere and there were SO MANY times I could have taken your life and gotten it over with, but if I didn’t have you to track down, what else would I do with my life?” He casually shrugged like I was the only thing keeping him from being bored with everything about his life.
I was right.
My chest tightened and I could feel my oxygen being cut off as I thrashed and scratched at his arms, drawing small streaks of blood. He never moved a muscle. He suddenly let go of my neck in one motion and pushed me back on the bed. I rolled over and violently coughed, sucking in air and desperately gaining my composure while he watched me in a strange way. I scrambled away from him until I was backed against the headboard holding my neck with both hands and fear in my eyes for the first time in a long time.
I saw concern for a brief moment before his face turned to stone again. Emotionless. Numb.
“Look I’m sorry. I just wanted you to know…”
My eyes widened at his sudden empathy and my face grew heated with anger. I felt as if my cheeks were crimson red and certainly knew my neck was.
“What the fuck?! You wanted me to know what? You’re a fucking psycho?” I practically screamed at the top of my lungs now that I could breathe and speak normally again.
“First of all…lower your voice. Second…you’re the only assignment I’ve never killed.”
I looked up at him in confusion and shook my head.
He stood at the end of the bed now, pacing back and forth.
“You’re crazy and you just almost did kill me and since you didn’t…you need to leave.” I stated sternly in a low tone while pointing at the door.
“You’re a doctor, you know good and well the point you were about to lose consciousness and die. Low and behold…you’re still here.”
He straightened his suit jacket and grunted in sarcasm but he slowly made his way to the door before suddenly stopping.
He turned around in deep thought and walked to the bed like he had something else to say but never let a word escape his lips.
I looked at him as he slowly removed his jacket and eased up on me until he was only inches away from my face. He smells so damn good. He took in my hair and the features on my face like he was observing every detail…taking mental photos of each freckle, mole, and blemish. My breathing grew hollow and more noticeable as my breasts rose up and down in a rhythmic motion that made him roughly grab one with his right hand then touch on my pussy with the other.
I didn’t fight back or tell him to go, my body grew weak and excited at the same time and a deep moan escaped my lips immediately. I came in less than two minutes when he brought his hand to my neck again, this time only gently squeezing the sides…making my blood flow. He began caressing my clitoris in circles to the ultimate climax when he stared into my eyes and demanded me to come on his fingers and “let it all out”. I was getting so turned on I was ready! I gyrated on his hand and grabbed for his hard dick, which look promisingly thick and long through his pants; but as soon as I did, he strangely stopped everything out of nowhere, grabbed his jacket and rose from the bed.
I still sat back gasping and getting the sheets wet, leaking and wondering where the hell he was going. His dark eyes lowered when he looked at me and flicked the largest tongue I’d ever seen across my juices that were dripping from his fingers before walking out.
I nearly came again in that moment as I rushed to the bathroom to take a long shower.
What the hell was that??
I was at a loss for words as I touched on my body and thought of his tongue wrapping around his large fingers. That devious and dark “fuck me look” he gave me made it no better.
This was new. This sexual game we started was unexpected and I was questioning the entire situation now. He could have planned it all along to throw me off and turn me in once he fucked me into exhaustion. I shook my head in the shower, scolding myself for being so dumb and naïve.
“Get it together woman! We have a mission to complete.”
I then began trying to tame the tingles down my spine with my fingers…masturbating until I fell back to sleep with thoughts of what transpired in my mind.
“Someday we’ll be safe.” I mustered a weak smile, knowing I didn’t even believe in my own words. The young woman in front of me named, Madison, presented an even weaker smile followed by a silent frown when my scalpel made the cut into her wrist. I stared into the pools of her frightened hazel eyes. Her chestnut hair flowed around her face in a choppy and messy “bob” cut…but it suited her. The color in her milky skin looked drained beneath the bright medical lights in my basement. I flipped her wrist and tapped the spot I would have to dig in for the extraction. “Take deep breaths…slowly…this will only take a moment…but it will hurt like hell,” I warned. She blinked and sadly peered up into my serious dark brown eyes. Before she could make any statements or question me any longer I dug deep into the thin skin of her small wrists with sterilized, yet magnetized tweezers. I’d done this so many times I was prepared for the reaction of yelling, trying to pull away, pushing me away with their other hand. Not her. She winced and flinched slightly for about thirty seconds as blood escaped the deep incision I made.
I knew how to work quickly and accurately and just as I expected, my tweezers pulled up the tiny chip lodged deep between her muscles and bones. She whimpered when I finally extracted the solid glowing chip and, tossed it on to the tray, then bandaged her more quickly than I cut. She eyed the glowing chip like it was a disease as it pulsated on the silver slab of metal. “It’s just crazy how we really agreed to have those things put into our bodies…they kept convincing us…” Her sad voice faded off as she shook her head in disbelief.
I patted her shoulder after dressing her wound.
“Hey, don’t feel bad. You’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last.” I peeled the rubber gloves from my hand and led her out of the back. She turned toward me and stared into my face with gratitude.
“Now, you’re going to have to care for this and give it a new dressing everyday. That was a pretty deep incision and you’re open to all kind of infection if you don’t keep it clean. The signal they inserted at the back of your neck will still be there…but without the chip they’ll be unable to see and control anything else. But in about an hour or so they will realize it has been tampered with and removed…you don’t have long.”
“I can’t thank you enough..” She grabbed both of my hands gently. “The money is already in the specified location that you gave me…I’ll be gone before sunset today.” She patted my hand then slowly sashayed away, but ducked her head low to ensure she wasn’t being watched.
I shook my head and headed back inside to clean and sterilize everything. I was deep into the business now. I’d been hiding out for years and now wore the reputation of a rebel, terrorist, and pretty much public enemy number one. Setting people free from beneath the government’s judgmental eyes and controlled terms of living was what I loved to do and was paid to do. But it held deadly consequences and a life of loneliness.
I still remember it like it was yesterday as I finished performing heart surgery on a very young patient of mine. Once everything was finished and she was stitched and ready for recovery, I pulled the rubber gloves from my hands and washed up. After informing her parents of our success and her promising recovery, I headed to the cafeteria for something to snack on during what I knew would be a long night shift. I had two more surgeries already scheduled and exhaled as I sat down for the first time in hours.
Something inside of me sunk as I unwrapped the turkey sandwich I’d purchased and saw the words “PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT” flash across the screen and our sad excuse of a president flashed a cheesy smile like he knew he was about to literally FUCK US ALL.
“Good evening fellow Americans! His voice boomed with enthusiasm, pale hands folded together on the desk in front of him as he continued.
“As you all know, nothing on this Earth can work nor be organized without order. We are currently living in a land that has lost control of what’s most important in this country…trust. We…need…to trust those surrounding us every single day of our lives in this beautiful land!” He pounded his small fist on the desk like he meant business.
“There have been far too many shootings, kidnappings, sex trafficking and murders by those surrounding us. These are people we communicate with everyday, yet these violent crimes continuously increase. We don’t know what is going on in the minds of others, we can’t read their emotions, their intentions. So how are we stop them? How are we to console their problems mentally by getting them the help they need? What if I told you that is all going to change?”
My eyes widened as he continued with the exact words I had been waiting for. The words that I knew would cause an even worse riot than police brutality, ICE, and feminism ever could. “I now introduce to you the chip that will change ALL of our lives.” He continued with a creepy smirk and lifted a thin computer chip between his fingers for all to see.
“This right here is the Surveil-Eye 3000. It looks small in size, but this chip of the future is PACKED with the ability to change the face of America and it’s safety. We will no longer have to wonder what’s in a young person’s head when depressed enough to shoot an entire school. We will no longer fear the reasons behind kidnapping, child pornography, or even just premeditated murders among ourselves. It reads emotions, violent thoughts, and whether there is ANY reason for concern about someone possibly performing terrorists acts, mass killings, or any tragedy…it sends out signals to law enforcement to act IMMEDIATELY! With just a small incision in the wrist, everything will become easier, safer, and we’ll be more involved with one another. Simply scan your wrist across an automated register to pay for all items and services. It is the new form of revenue and all that you earn is represented in this one tiny chip!”
He paused before he continued as if he wanted to let everything he said sink into our minds.
“Your bank account, credit card information, your yearly income, background information, credit score…EVERYTHING is now literally at your fingertips. You may feel this is an invasion of privacy and human rights but I assure you, there is no recording or audio recording of private or intimate moments. You’ll still live your life privately with only the monitoring of major emotions, depression, or issues that could cause harm to others! You’ll no longer have to fill out job resumes nor explain your background. Everything will be conveniently be stored in one place.”
I shook my head in disbelief. This was it, we were officially doomed and about to live beneath the thumb of controlling tyrants able to make everything we want and need something that can be disrupted if they chose to do so just by contacting the feds or exiling us, or even worse…death. He was grinning as if it were the best plan ever imagined and we should all be excited too.
“I pray this chip saves our country and it’s application will be required to remain in this country so…the decision is yours. But that decision will need to be made within two months before the start of the new year. Do what is right for us all.” With a smirk and a shrug he was gone and it went back to our “Scheduled programming.”
That’s it? The decision is ours?? What decision??
I hadn’t taken one bite of my sandwich and eyed the other nurses and doctors on their breaks. Their mouth hung open in shock for what seemed like five minutes. There was confusion, questioning, and then exactly what I knew would happen later. The conversation changed because there was no other choice in their opinion and discomfort could never be an option.
“Well maybe he’s right. He IS our president. It may put a stop to all of this unnecessary crime lately!“
“It shouldn’t be too bad, plus what will we do if we can’t buy anything or pay our rent? Provide for our families?”
“They said there won’t be any recording or privacy invasion. It’s in our wrists…what’s the worst that could happen?“
I rose up quickly, throwing my entire unbitten turkey sandwich into the trash bin, removing my scrubs, snatching my hospital badge from around my neck and leaving the hospital without notice. I breezed past doctors and nurses I’d worked with for seven years, cheerfully greeting me as I sped by without saying a word. I knew what time it was and everyone else would fall into the plight of delusion and cooperation.
I fell right off of the grid and withdrew every dime that I had in my name the next day, I closed all of my accounts, all investments, retirement, savings, stocks and bonds, anything that would be included in that chip and ended my entire life as everyone knew me. I would no longer be Doctor Cassidy Hartley, one of the most intelligent well renowned heart surgeons in the country. Many would even tell you that I’m dead, murdered somewhere unknown, kidnapped in someone’s basement…the stories and assumptions have been endless.
I snapped out of my thoughts when I heard the buzzer go off from upstairs. My heart thudded in my chest and my adrenaline kicked in like a shot of caffeine. Cautiously making my way to the intercom and cameras, I saw the face of a tall, dark and handsome, stern faced man in a black suit that hadn’t made any appointments nor contacted me.
Before answering I watched him closely, intently folding my arms. He ran his large fingers through his black wavy hair. He then checked his watch twice and jammed the buzzer once more, with authority and irritation this time.
“I know you’re in there…Doctor Hartley.” Him stating my name like that caused my heart to drop and I breathed deeply. I knew I’d have to acknowledge him or he’d certainly be back and I had to get rid of him.
“Um…there’s no one here by that name. Please leave.” I commanded.
“Ok…well Justice Young might live here then.” I gasped and turned back toward the buzzer, releasing the door so that it slowly opened and let him in. I grabbed my pistol, stuffing it in the back of my jeans before making my way up the stairs. When I walked in, I found him eyeing every piece of artwork I’d collected, and running his large fingers along my record collection next to a genuine record player it’d taken me ages to find and sneak in here. I cringed before speaking up.
“Please stop touching MY things.” I commanded. “And tell me why you are here.”
I walked over to my stocked bar in the corner to pour a glass of Brandy for my nerves, never offering him even a drop of water. He watched my every move.
A smug look covered his face as he walked closer on me.
“They told me you were still quite a beauty and I saw the recent photos of you…they finally snapped some of you coming through Mexico years ago, but they certainly do you no justice…’Justice’.”
He made air quotes as he stepped around my couch and eyed the alcohol on my bar.
“Isn’t that your name now? Kind of obvious and ringy don’t you think?” Like a personality or even a stripper.” He eyed my facial expression as he made his way around the room. I automatically grew agitated at his display of being the worst type of asshole in this moment.
“I know you didn’t come all of this way just to get a look at me and sarcastically compliment me, so what is it that you REALLY want, Will?”
“Hmm…still remember my name and everything, but for some reason you couldn’t tell me you were just going to up and leave the country?? Exile yourself for the betterment of your goddamn self!” His voice began to raise and the truth of his emotions began to spill out as he stood in front of me seething in anger and eyeing me like I’d stolen something from him. And I knew I had…his heart.
“What was I supposed to do, Will? As soon as I saw him make the announcement I knew I had to do…something…but I could not stay there! My father told me this was going to happen when I was a little girl! I mean he KEPT SAYING IT!”
I paced and took a sip of brandy as I thought about how everything had manifested and people often called him a lunatic or conspiracy theorist that didn’t have his facts together. “
“He was one of the medical scientists on staff helping create the technology for all of this to even exist! And you expected me not to believe him?? To just go along with everything? After all that I know? HOW COULD YOU EVEN SHOW UP HERE AFTER ALL OF THAT??” I screamed slamming my glass down in frustration.
“It never mattered Cassidy…we were getting married in two weeks…I didn’t care what was going on, what I had to do, or who I had to be just to be with YOU. It wasn’t supposed to be this bad…they told us all that it was this…simple…standard…for the greater America…procedure.” He didn’t even sound confident in his reasoning and I could hear fear in his voice. Just like everyone else I had helped, it was more than he ever bargained for.
I sighed and sat on the couch in exasperation. This was turning out to be quite a day.
I still hadn’t gone near him, finally deciding to ask the question I needed to know right now, besides all of the irrelevant side bar conversations about how I walked out on him.
“How did you find me?” I stammered. I finally calmed down enough to pull out another glass for him and poured him two large shots of Brandy. He had on an expensively tailored suit but he looked like shit. I could tell he hadn’t slept a wink in at least three days and eating had been out of the question.
He sat up straight and downed his Brandy in one gulp without even making a face from the strong taste of it moving down his throat. He eyed the glass in admiration and stared in my eye before answering.
“That’s pretty damn good. I see you still have excellent taste.” He licked his lips in reference to the liquor, but could quickly see in my face I was still patiently waiting for his answer to my inquiry.
“It wasn’t easy.” He shook his head and looked at me in amusement with that adorable grin. Then his face changed to sadness. “It’s like you truly…DIED Cassidy. No one could find any traces of you, the hospital knew nothing, your family…me.”
He began tearing up. “I thought the worst happened to you and that I’d never see you again.” My face remained unmoved by his tears and his emotions. “I still call your phone everyday, just to see if you’ll pick up..just once.”
His face became wet with tears and he hung his head like he was trying to desperately process my betrayal.
“I-I got a job…at the Pentagon about two years ago.” His breathing became heavy and he started to slump a little. I continued to stare into his face intently listening to the details carefully and weighing his words.
“They were there…conducting this worldwide search for you…this manhunt to find you by any means necessary once they…t-hey they heard…they heard.”
“Once they heard what?” I asked sternly. His speech was slurred and he tried to continue. “Once they heard you….weren’t dead…and what you…you were doing out heeeere.”
His beautiful face was sweating bullets now and he was slumped across the arm of the couch pointing at my face like a child.
“W-what’s happening to me? Cass….casss….ah shit.” He rolled off the couch like a hopeless drunk, hitting the floor with a hard thud as his eyes rolled into his head before going completely unconscious.
Will slowly blinked open his light brown eyes in confusion. He groaned and rolled his head to the right, processing everything around the room. His eyes finally became focused and landed on me in shock once he realized he was down in the darkness of my operating basement and tied to a chair because he’d obviously been drugged.
“Cassidy…WHAT THE FUCK??!!” He shouted in anger while he jerked his arms trying to break the military style rope ties that he’d never escape.
I reached in the back of my jeans and pointed my .45 right at his face with no emotion.
“Will…We’re going to try this again…how the hell did you find me and what are you doing here?” I asked slowly through gritted teeth.
“Cassidy, come on. Untie me! What is this? Why would I come here to harm you? I just really needed to know that you were ok! We haven’t heard shit about you in five years and this is the type of low you think I am??”
I swiftly brought my right foot up and kicked him dead in his chest so that he fell backwards in the chair. I stood over him while he winced in pain from hitting the back of his head on the cold tile floor.
“I won’t ask you again.” I stared straight into his eyes without blinking and slowly squatted over him waiting for him to tell the truth. I slowly put my pistol to his temple once again and made him realize the awareness of me not giving a fuck about his feelings right now.
“Cass…you’re in deep shit.” He stated with sad desperate eyes.
I instantly grew agitated.
“NO SHIT SHERLOCK! You think that you being here at all didn’t let me know that small fact? You came to find me because you were WORRIED?” I mocked his first statement.
“In fact, you’re wasting time and I already know what needs to be done.”
I cocked my gun back in one motion.
“Shit CASS!! CASS!! WAIT!!!” HE shouted while succumbing to flinching like a little bitch since he’d been here. All of that arrogance went right out of the window and I could see the purity of panic in his eyes.
“I-I don’t really work for the Pentagon…hell I don’t even work for the government, period, anymore. I lost my job…right after you disappeared and they figured out what you were doing…they thought I was involved in your escape…now I just work at the post office. The Survs ran up on me like three weeks ago when I was finishing my shift….started asking all of these crazy ass questions about you after you’d been gone for five years right on the exact date. Started talking all this shit about how they know you left me out to dry and asked if I knew where you were.”
I never lowered my gun and allowed him continue.
“They told me that they had a possible lead from someone about where you might be and knew that if they sent me, it’d be a better infiltration of your operation and that you’ve destroyed over hundreds of The Surveil-Eye 3000’s, damaging over 7 billion dollars worth of government property and helping other American citizens hideaway and leave the country once they want nothing to do with the chip. You’re all over the news in America, I mean that by the hour, check every flight and checkpoint type of shit. You’re on billboards, magazines, they talk about you on the radio…you’re the only one that performs the extraction…without death being the end result. Many others have attempted what you do, but they oftentimes hit the wrong vessel, or they send too much electric waves to the signal, causing damage to the brain. Cassidy, you’re the only successful extractor in the world right now and they’re still trying to figure out how you do it. You’re a terrorist and now they want you alive OR dead…they promised me a life of no worries and 5 million deposited right into my chip if I could somehow bring you back either way….”
His voice trailed off.
“I-I didn’t want to do it Cass…plus I knew you’d be too smart to see me show up and not think some crazy shit was going down! I begged -“
“SHUT UP!” I shut my eyes tightly. “So you still have the chip in your wrist? RIGHT NOW??!” I shouted in panic.
“Yeah…I mean…but I don’t-“
The buzzer began incessantly going off and I could see two men at the door on my cameras in uniform and obviously armed.
Will panicked when he eyed the screen. “That’s them! The Survs that came up on me!! OH SHIT!”
“OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR DOCTOR HARTLEY AND NO ONE GETS HURT!! WE KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE!!! OPEN UP RIGHT…NOW!!
They continued to pound and buzz as my mind began springing into action.
I pulled out a large set of keys that were always in my pocket no matter what.
I grabbed my medical bag and began dropping in as many bandages, antibiotics, and operating tools as I could before grabbing another bag I’d already fully prepared and placed in the locked and hidden supply closet in the back.
“Cassidy! What the fuck? What are you doing??” Will yelled from the same position in the chair on the floor. “Just let me up, come on!”
I ignored his words and grabbed another bag that had everything else I needed; change of clothes, toiletries, another identity and passport. I slung everything over my shoulder and bolted past him.
“CAAAAAASSSS PLEASE!!” Will pleaded as I pulled out a book from what looked like a shelf against the wall filled with medical remedies and diagnosis. A secret narrow passageway opened in the wall and I stepped inside. Never even looking back at Will. I could still hear him screaming my name in agony after the door closed behind me and I executed my backup plan to get safety once again.
“Verd…what do you see?” Verd’s partner, Redman, cautiously stepped into Doctor Hartley’s home behind him.
“Hmmm…nice digs. Quite the art lover.” Verd sniffed around and eyed everything like a hound dog without saying a word. His sharp gray eyes rested on the two glasses sitting on the coffee table. He sniffed them and smelled the strong scent of brandy.
“They were here.” He icely stated before making his way down the hallway. His leathery face never displayed a smile and his job was the life he laid on the line for it. He pulled his damp coat around him and searched every corner for notes, files, paperwork…any clues as to what other locations she could possibly have as a set up.
She was clean and cautious with no traces of evidence, contacts, family photos, or anything personal.
“CAAAASSSSSS!!! PLEASE!!!” He could hear a male’s muffled shouting and searched for where it could be coming from.
Redman’s ears perked up. “Aye, that sounds like our guy.”
Redman was a rookie that was a little too excited about the mission for Verde’s liking but he admired his enthusiasm and how he only went by the book. His face was pudgy and he wasn’t in the best shape of his life to be a thirty-eight year old male in law enforcement, and his greasy black hair was graying and thinning, but Verde knew he was a quick thinker and an exceptional partner in Verde’s opinion. There were only the times when he made the most obvious statements and discoveries, like the one just spoken.
Verd rolled his eyes and made his way to the bedroom in the back, but turned quickly once he realized the sounds came from inside the bathroom. When he flung open the door everything looked normal, but he could hear the cries from behind the mirror over the sink. With great observation, he found a button near the most unbearable feminine products men usually wanted nothing to do with. An entire entryway opened and led to descending stairs and Verd quickly pulled his gun from it’s holster before creeping down to see what the commotion was.
Redman inched behind him and motioned for him to continue, letting him that he had him guarded from behind him.
Verde shook his head in disappointment and he lowered the gun once his eyes rested on Will being stuck on his back andhelplessly tied to a chair.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk…Mr. Fredrickson. What a mess we have here.”
Will’s eyes widened at the sight of them coming towards him.
“Look man…I told you that she’d be too smart for this shit and she’d know wassup when she saw my face! I tried!! I prom-”
“SSSSSSHHHHHHH.” Verde hushed him by gently placing the barrel of his gun to dark full his lips where his finger would be. Will’s eyes widened.
“Did you even get any information? Next moves? Anything we told you to do?”
“No, I mean, she drugged me as soon as I got here!”
Verd shook his head again and removed his hat from a head of graying sandy blonde hair.
“You fought a good fight for the service of your country Mr. Fredrickson…but I mean really…you’re a black, poor class, working mailman. And now you can add dumb ass to the list for actually taking the liquor she offered you. You drugged yourself.” He laughed in disgust. “Plus…Who the fuck would miss you?”
Will tightly closed his eyes. “Wait! WAIT MAN I-“
Verd quickly pulled the trigger, blasting Will’s head and what was left of it all over the floor.
He stared down at him a few moments and Redman looked on in shock but said nothing.
Comes with the job
Verde’s face become perturbed like he realized what he’d just done but began smiling.
“Sheesh…I’m pretty hungry Let’s grab something to eat.” He commented as he faced Redman and walked back up the stairs right past him. Redman shrugged and followed with a sigh. “I guess…when in Rome!”