Chapter Four: The Miracle and the Death
On a small residential street in the Kreuzberg district, a rush of excitement rolled over the residents of one of the two story concrete homes. Inside, a middle aged woman ran down a flight of stairs, accompanied by two teenage girls.
“Karl! Karl! Sie ist wach! Sie ist wach!!”
She stumbled on the last step, but quickly regained her balance as she raced through the living room and towards the kitchen.
“Karl!” She called out again, walking dangerously close to a singing kettle placed on a gas stove.
She opened the kitchen’s exit, revealing a rather spacious backyard, with three greenhouses positioned parallel to each other. A man was crouched halfway in the second greenhouse.
“Karl!” The middle aged woman yelled again.
“What is it, woman?” The man asked, backing out of the greenhouse.
As he emerged, his thinning mat of greying hair was revealed. It fell lazily over his head and face, currently holding more than its fair share of soil. His beard fared no better and his spectacles were also smeared.
“It’s Agnes. She’s awake!”
“And she’s talking… a bit.” One of the teenage girls added.
The man’s eyes were wide in shock. He quickly broke into a sprint towards the house. The woman and her girls barely got out of his way, before racing in after him.
“Agnes! I’m coming! Where are you?”
The adrenalin sent a shock of youthful energy through Karl’s bones and he took the steps two to three at a time. The middle aged woman and her girls were not far behind, happy smiles on their faces. Karl got upstairs and banked right on the hallway, flinging open the door to his right. As he stood there panting, his eyes beheld his first daughter, Agnes. She sat in bed serenely, her legs still covered by the duvet that had been draped over her.
“Agnes…” He called out as she slowly turned her gaze towards him.
After a few seconds, she smiled.
“Papa.” She said, softly.
“Meine Tochter!!” He yelled, as he rushed in and embraced her.
“Oh… thank heavens.” Karl said as he rained her with kisses on her forehead and cheeks, before pulling back to observe her with a big smile.
“We thought we had lost you.” The middle aged woman said. She had walked inside and was standing behind Karl. Her eyes glimmered with the tears she desperately sought to keep in check.
“Mama. I’m so sorry. I should have listened back then!” Agnes said, sobbing.
Mother and daughter embraced and soon, Agnes’s younger sisters joined in the emotional reunion.
“It is alright my child. We are all reunited.”
They all pulled back to give her some room to breathe.
“I have missed you all too. How long have I been… um?”
“Not to worry about that now.” Karl interjected. “You must be famished! The potatoes and tomatoes are just right too.” He turned to the middle aged woman, his wife. “Christianne, shall we?”
She looked at him, beaming as she nodded in agreement. The family went down to the dining, finally complete.
As Agnes walked behind them, her mind was distracted with thoughts and voices.
What have you done to me? She thought.
I merely give you another chance at life. A fragment of her mind gently replied.
There was a brief silence before it spoke again.
However, I need favor in return. If all goes well, you can return to your family.
What is it you need?
Your body… and your voice.
And when you are done, what happens to you?
Another moment of silence followed.
I continue my journey beyond this reality.
And… what if I say no?
I hope you won’t. I can help your mind gain back its power… but if you say no… I leave and you go back to sleep.
“Is everything alright, Agnes?” Christianne asked.
“Yes, mama. I am just a bit tired.”
“Don’t worry dear. Soon you’ll have some hot potato and sauce made with love.”
They all exchanged smiles as they got into the kitchen.
I cannot go back to sleep. They will hurt. They will break and so will I.
I know. And they will panic when ‘we’ leave. But I promise… I return you safely.
Where are we going? Who are we going to see?
We go to the U.S, to see the only person who will listen to us… Meghan Castella.
Location: The Global Watch Towers – Virginia
Meghan Castella ran a hand through her hair and blinked her eyes several times. The tears of fatigue and sleep, still broke through. They were accompanied by a long yawn. She sat at her desk, in her private office which was now so quiet, she could hear the tick of the clock hand, on the opposite wall. Her desk was a mess. It had paperwork scattered all over it. Some of them were notes scribbled in a hurry, while others were books. Others yet were newspapers or newspaper sections cut out and underlined in various places, with markers.
The report John had given her was filled with information about Jiang Li. It also included a put together report of what might have really happened ten days earlier. Insider reports suspected the use of nano-assassins. They were microscopic robots that could be introduced into food or drinks and ingested without the victim’s suspicion. Once absorbed into the blood stream, they quickly made their way to the victim’s heart, inducing a massive heart attack. That was how he had done it. The assassin they called Horus. He had infiltrated the Waldorf Astoria as a kitchen worker. She had to admit, it was brilliantly done. However, it was the monk who truly caught her attention. He sure had travelled a lot, meeting with world leaders as he did. What stuck out to Meghan was that he had mostly met world leaders who were opposed to China’s dominance and support of the Middle Eastern Movement or MEM as they called it.
It was a possibility. His attempt to meet with the also late German chancellor, screamed defection all over it. It would also explain why the Chinese wanted him dead. Yet for all his meetings with the Western world leaders, one didn’t go so well. The meeting with the current republican presidential nominee, Matthew Sanderson. Meghan flipped through the pictures to a particular one showing Sanderson and Li together. There was a certain uneasiness in the monk’s demeanor and she wondered why. That meeting was over a year ago, when Sanderson was still the secretary of state.
Could his death be connected to this meeting?
It was highly improbable, but it was a lead she would pursue anyway. Meghan still didn’t know why Jiang Li had met with the late chancellor or for that matter, any of the other world leaders. Was he trying to spread his fame? Was he trying to curb favors from them? Did he have sensitive information about the Chinese? Meghan slammed her hand down in frustration. She didn’t have much to go on. The more she contemplated it, the more it appeared she would need some time off to travel to Berlin. Maybe she could find answers there. As she contemplated this, her phone rang. It was a number she didn’t recognize. She looked at it for a few seconds before picking up.
“Castella speaking.” She said as she answered the call.
“Meg, where are you?” John asked.
His voice sounded fearful and his breath was coming in rasps.
“John? You okay? What’s going on? This isn’t your number.”
“I… am sorry Meg. I didn’t know it was gonna come to this. Now I’ve put you in a world of shit.” John sounded almost hysterical.
“John… John. Calm down. Where are you? I’m coming to get you.” Meghan said as she stood up from her chair.
“No! No! Meg… are you in the office?” John asked.
She could hear John panting again and ruffling movements in the background.
“John… seriously… what’s going on?”
A sense of dread was beginning to sink into the pit of her stomach, and it made her sick.
“They’ve almost found me, Meg. I can’t finish this, but you can. Get to the bottom of this. Get out of that office, discreetly and whatever you do… do not take your car.”
“John you are scaring me.”
There were screams on John’s end of the line. She could hear him talking to someone else.
“Guys… guys… hang on. I gotta toss my phone.”
Meghan heard a loud bang that was quickly followed by a splotch sound. Suddenly it sounded like she was underwater as she listened intently.
“John? John?” Meghan called.
The tears rolling down her eyes were no longer of sleep but of grief, fear and confusion.
I gotta toss my phone.
She had a feeling that was said to her. Meghan was rooted to the spot, shivering. Despite the air conditioning, a cold sweat had broken out on her forehead and neck. She quickly snapped out of her daze and began to pack up the documents strewn about her desk. John had asked her to get out of the office discreetly. That meant whoever got to him would be coming for her, here. She had to move fast. John was dead and it was because of this assassination. Meghan shoved the files into her handbag and quickly walked to the door. After checking the hallways for movement, she slipped outside. She knew her way to the back of the office building. That was step one. From there, she would figure it out. For now, all that matters was completing step one, alive.
Whatever secrets you held Jiang Li, I’m gonna find out. John’s death won’t be in vain.