Location: Motel 6 – Harrisonburg, Virginia
Horus and Ketra sat and talked for hours, breathing in the cold air. A radiation draft was due in the next 24 hours. When it hit, the frozen landscape would be turned into a cooking, poisonous hell. For now, the two of them let their skins soak up the chill as Horus took Ketra on a journey that had nearly spanned three decades. Ketra listened in wonder. She smiled at the adventures of MeMe and Miki, growing up. Her heart fluttered in jealously when he spoke of how in love they were, with dreams of fleeing to Africa and starting a family. She flinched in sympathetic pain as he narrated the events that transpired, the year Meghan had left him. 2027.
“I ran after the car, with all my might. I still don’t know what I would have done if I could have caught up to it. I guess… I just ran hoping she’d tell him to stop it. Hoping she’d come back for me. She never did. I don’t remember much else after that. I think I screamed. I heard someone screaming. I suppose I was the one. But I blacked out. When I woke up, I was in some sort of makeshift sick bay for injured soldiers. I was told a battle had happened, right over my unconscious self. No one shot me because everyone thought I was dead. Truth is… I wished I was.”
Horus looked off in the distance, not really staring at anything at all. Ketra could tell by the faraway look in his eyes. It was like he was reliving a memory, caught in a time capsule of unimaginable pain.
“What happened then?” Ketra finally asked.
Horus’s eyes regained their focus and they rested on her. His gaze was intense now, as he peered into her.
“I asked to join the army. If you are wondering why, it was to fulfill my wish. I wanted to die. I have never had the heart to take my own life. However, I figured if I could meet a worthy adversary, then he might do me the honors. There was the added benefit of fighting for my country. That’s where I met Set. I liked him because he never asked about my past. Not once. Yet he had a way of always talking me out of my downers. We had one mission – kill all those bastard terrorists and protect the homeland. We were young and clueless idealistic men, given a purpose that lead straight to death. We all knew it, but we accepted it. It was for America. Then… everything changed.”
Horus put his finger to his lips, signaling her to be keep quiet. There was a faint chirping sound, from the room. Horus quickly walked inside, following the sound all the way to the bag resting beside a lightly sleeping Meghan. Horus opened the bag and retrieved the beeping phone. He read the incoming caller ID.
“Ketra!” Horus yelled.
Meghan startled out of her sleep and her eyes widened as soon as she saw Horus.
“What?!” Ketra asked, walking quickly into the room. She saw Meghan sitting up and panting.
“Yes. Her phone is also with her. Do you know what that means?”
“Shit!” Ketra exclaimed, rushing for the phone.
“Don’t bother. They are most likely already here.”
“Who is here?” Meghan asked.
Her eyes darted between Horus and Ketra. Her phone began chirping.
“Who is that?” Meghan asked.
“Never mind. You’re not going to answer it.” Horus answered coldly.
“That could be my husband.”
Horus walked back to the balcony. His gait had changed and he moved with silent, wide steps that pressed unto the carpet with barely audible taps. Horus slowly conducted a sweeping gaze of the cars in the parking lot. His professional mind quickly cross checked each car with the experienced image he had of a nondescript surveillance vehicle or the kind used in a stakeout. Suddenly, it was there in front of him. A blue Toyota Ascencia that was a tad bit too classy for the kind of patronage Motel 6 usually attracted, was parked on the other side of their lodge, a few cars down from a black SUV with no make or model on its body. Horus watched as the occasional wispy white smoke escaped either car’s exhaust pipes. They were parked, but their engines were idling.
A small clean up team.
From their lack of action, it was clear to see they hadn’t made them yet. However, they had triangulated their position. He caught movement in the blue Toyota. Horus retreated inside.
“Ketra, hand me your scopes.”
The young lady quickly riffled through her duffle bag until she found the sleek double scoped gadget. Horus stepped close to the balcony sliding doors and peered at the Ascencia. There was a young light blonde, sitting in the front seat and fiddling with her phone. As soon as she dropped it, Meghan’s phone chirped. Then the girl did something that would have sent Horus scampering in fear if he hadn’t seen a few strange occurrences in his life. She stared directly at him. It sent a chill down his spine and Horus shivered now more than he had against the biting cold. It wasn’t just the action that gave him goosebumps, but the way she looked at him. He’d seen that look before. He just couldn’t remember where.
Horus stepped back inside and picked out the phone. It had a text message from a number with no name associated with it.
I’M ON YOUR SIDE, KURT.
SHOW MEGHAN CASTELLA THE NUMBER.
SHE TELL YOU THE REST.
BUT YOU NEED TO MOVE FAST.