Location: Castella Residence – Richmond, Virginia
Meghan Castella took in a shuddering breath as she listened to the phone ring. It had taken her a little while longer to work up the courage she needed to place the call. Now as the phone rang, she knew there was no turning back. There was a clicking sound and soon she heard breathing on the other side. It was deep and steady, coming out in breathy waves akin to the rushing wind near a sandy beach.
“You said you could help me.” Meghan began. She knew she was being a bit too direct but given the circumstances, she didn’t feel like she had much of a choice. She took a deep breath and continued.
“Am I in danger?” She asked.
“Grave danger.” Came the slow, deliberate reply.
If the response was meant to heighten her already growing sense of dread, it worked like a charm. Meghan wiped the tears that escaped her eyes and forged on. She had to.
“Why did the Chinese kill John Buchanan?”
“You speak as if sure they did it.”
Meghan took note of the intermediary grasp of English. However, if this young lady was indeed the same German girl on the news, why didn’t she have a German accent? Again, she sounded more oriental than European. Meghan shook her head in frustration. This was probably someone playing a cruel psychological game with her. Anger coursed through her veins as she settled on the possibility of being taken for a ride.
“Listen, I am going to end the call now. Don’t call me again.”
She cut the call and got out of bed, running her hands through her hair as she paced back and forth.
Why the oriental accent though?
She couldn’t get that little detail out of her head. She tossed her towel on the bed and walked over to the ivory white dressing table to the right of the bed. She pulled open a drawer and rifled through some nighties, until she found the one she was looking for. She held out the teal translucent night gown in front of her and let out a wry smile, before slipping it on. Her rebellious nature had kicked in and Meghan decided to make herself happy, rather than shrivel under the fear of being assassinated.
There’s chocolate in the fridge. Chocolate always makes me happy.
Her smile ever wider now, she made for the door and was interrupted by the chirping of her phone. Against her will, Meghan walked over to the phone and checked the new message which had come in. It was from the lady she’d just hung up on. She opened the message and read it.
HE IS ALREADY INSIDE! BUT YOU CAN STILL BE SAVED!!
“Get a fucking life.” Meghan said out loud and tossed the phone back on her bed.
She really needed that chocolate now. Meghan opened the door and stepped into the hallway. Her phone was ringing, but she ignored it. Something else had caught her attention. The hallway was unusually chilly. A cold waft of air repeatedly crashed into her from the left and when Meghan turned in its direction, her eyes widened. There was a big gaping hole in the middle of the window pane, which was still shut and locked.
All of a sudden, Meghan didn’t feel safe anymore. There was a ringing alarm in her head, which seemed to synchronize with the annoying ringing of her phone. Her limbs suddenly felt numb and her heart drummed frantically beneath her rib cage. Meghan’s eyes stared at the shadows, near the window. The wash of moonlight coming in from the breach in the pane, seemed to intensify the shadows all the more. However, her eyes slowly adjusted and the intense blackness slowly dimmed until she could make out the features within it. That’s when she saw what made her freeze in the first place. It had been lost in the haze of her brain trying to process the change in the surroundings it had grown familiar with, over the years. Yet there it was, blinking in intervals. A small green light that came on and off. Its home, a visor worn over a masked face. Slowly, the features of a man became visible to her. His concealment unveiled as her eyes fully adjusted to its surroundings. The man moved and Meghan let out a blood curling scream.
Set rushed towards the door as it hurriedly closed on him. Meghan had let out a scream that would make any mythical siren, proud. As he got to the door, it slammed shut, and the following click indicated that it had been locked. Set scanned the walls with his visor. Soon, the wall became a translucent surface, giving him faint images from the other side. He could see Meghan rush to her bed and pick up a phone and a thick brown envelope. His ear mics picked up her side of the conversation.
“H…how did you know they were coming?!” She ran over to the other side of the bed and slipped on a pair of slippers.
“N… no. I’m listening now. Please… I don’t wanna die. He’s right outside and he hasn’t tried to get in, yet. The doors are bullet and blast proof.”
Set smirked. The target was right. The door was made from a light composite that was also a force absorbent. A regular gun, with regular bullets would have no chance of penetrating the door. However, he was not carrying a regular gun. The Israeli Jericho 500M was designed to do exactly what the biblical figure had done thousands of years ago – send fortresses crashing down. As for being blast proof, three direct shots was all it would take to bring down the barricade. Set took a diagonal step back and away from the door. He pushed a slider on the side of the gun’s barrel forward, setting it to expel explosive ammunition. Set aimed at the handle and fired once. The bullet detonated on impact, the force rippling through the reinforced concrete and steel frames around it. A stream of fire emanating from the epicenter of the explosion, shot towards Set and he crouched beneath it. His ear mics could pick up the screams of the guards who were making their way towards him.
You’ve got 4 incoming
Horus’s warning crackled in his ears.
“I know.” Set responded calmly. His eyes were fixed on his target.
She was pressed back on the wall opposite the door, with the phone to her ear. Suddenly, she darted towards her walk in closet and closed the door. The visor’s x-rays were not designed to penetrate that far in, and she was now more difficult to see. Set opened fire again. The second explosion, partially tore the door off its hinges. Set could make out parts of the room, but the space was too small to squeeze in. A fire had been started, and raced around him, raising the heat in the hallway. A layer of smoke streamed from the burning walls, above the assassin. He could hear the coughs and swears of the security guards, as they rushed up the stairs. Set calmed himself and took one more shot. The door was blown off and he rushed inside. His lungs inflated rapidly, grateful for the cleaner air that was still trapped inside the room. He reveled in the deep breath, before the smoke rushed in to claim more space. Set opened the door to the closet, his gun trained in front of him. It confirmed what the x-ray images had already told him. The target wasn’t there. Another door could be seen on the right adjacent wall of the closet. The x-ray images showed a set of steps that led down to a secret room, positioned in between both floors of the two story home. That room also had another door that led to the study downstairs. The entrance through the study, being a book shelf. He could barely make out the target’s form, struggling with the bookshelf.
Set closed the door of the closet and quickly made his way through the other door, to the secret flight of steps. He closed that door too. Chances are, the guards didn’t know about this, if they referenced the same architecture he was given. It was easy enough to find, but the few extra seconds were all he would need. Set spoke into his mic.
“I believe our target’s got someone helping her, Horus.”
How do you know this?
“She’s been on a phone call since she made me, back in the hallway. I’m relaying the signal now. She’s at a dead end. Shouldn’t be long now.”
Set broke into a jog, just as he tapped on a button on the side of his visor. It would relay all sound signals his ear mics picked up, back to Horus and Ketra. As he made his way closer to the hidden room, his mics picked up her conversation once more.
“Damnit! Damnit! Which tile is it?” She yelled.
“Oh God. I’m gonna die. I’m gonna die. Please do something.”
Set made his way to the room and tried to open the door. It was locked. His visor scanned it. Another barricade. It wasn’t as strong as the first, but it would require some more breaching. Set took a step back and reconfigured the Jericho he carried, to expel armor piercing bullets. He fired two shots at the door handle and it creaked open. As Set slammed his foot into the door and made his way through, he could hear the frantic and incoherent babbles of the target, below.
“I can’t… I can hear him coming. I know I’m paying for it. What I did to Miki all those years ago. N..now I’m here, talking to you and I don’t even know who you are. I would give anything… to see him again. My death confession I guess.” She chuckled.
Set opened fire on the last barricade between himself and the target. The door would lead into a set of stairs that descended into the study where she lay sobbing. With each shot, he could hear her take in a sharp breath. In a way, he felt sorry for her. She and her partner, John Buchanan, had crossed the wrong people and they had been marked for execution. The door finally flew open, when Set heard a clicking sound. It was followed by a grating noise.
“I found it!” He heard her yelp.
“Shit!” Set cursed and broke into a sprint, down the stairs. They wound down towards an open door that led into the study. As Set ran in, he saw the scampering figure of his target ducking around the revolving bookshelf. As it revolved, its edges grated against the floor. Set whipped out his gun. He would get one shot, and he had to make it count or else things would get a whole lot more complicated. As she disappeared behind it, Set opened fire.