Continued from Chapter Three - The Governor's Son.
To start at the beginning see Chapter One - The Last Target.
Gamelion 4th, 2021
Teodor was lying in the back of the hazy den, eyes half-closed. His mind was spinning, though he couldn’t decide if it was due to the inordinate amount of ‘synthe he had consumed that night, or his meeting with Benedikte.
A slender, languid beauty sat down next to him and poured him another glass. He felt totally detached, as if he was floating above, watching the green liquid as it rolled out of the bottle, over a sugar cube and into his glass. His head flopped back onto the pillow, causing the young lady to laugh.
Her laughter began to echo, its tone lowering, until it was Benedikte’s guttural laugh. He looked up in a start, eyes widened. He pushed her aside, drawing the huge gun from his shoulder harness and pointing it in the air.
There was nobody else in the small room. The girl was terrified, and ran screaming into the hall, her flowing short dress leaving a wispy trail in Teodor’s vision. He got up to run after her, but stumbled at the door and fell to the ground. Then, strong arms grasped him, pulled him up and dragged him out onto the street.
Reveeka Dumitru slowly pushed back the ancient wooden door. She came alone, as she often did, without her servants or bodyguards. It was most important to her that nobody knew she was there.
Benedikte was already there, gazing out of the mottled glass window, carrying himself with his trademark cockiness. He turned and embraced her, slowly but firmly.
“It is all set up,” he said, caressing her face. “Teodor will be in the Bastille in the morning.”
She breathed a deep sigh of relief.
Constantine gazed up at the full moon from the courtyard. He had been in the rectory, cleaning his guns, when he felt an urge for fresh air. Now, standing beside the throng of marble statues in the dim blue moonlight, he was suddenly filled with a tremendous sense of foreboding.
His premonitions were rare and rarely wrong. He drew his handset from his coat pocket, flipped the cover and pushed the ciphers. “Put the team on alert.”
“Yes, sir. What’s happening.” The voice on the other end wasn’t familiar to Constantine, but it didn’t need to be.
“I’m not sure,” he replied, “tell them to be ready at the Sikorsky.”
Constantine put on his armor, loaded his weapons and said a prayer. He wondered where in this massive city his sister was.
Uriel gunned the engine. Tears were covering his face, and he was trembling madly. He wrenched the muscle car around a corner, causing his passenger to gasp in fear.
The passenger struggled against her bindings as she sat in the back seat of the car. Her eyes widened as she realized where they were going – she recognized the smell.
Teodor stumbled into the dark chamber. His mind was stretching and warping the walls around him, making it harder to move around. Ghostly faces swirled within his peripheral vision, his mother, his sister and his long-dead father. He waived his gun around frantically, trying to shoo them away like so many irritating flies.
He was wearing the red ceramic armor he had inherited from his father, and wielding the gun given to him by his new father, his master. Irony? The thought made him laugh, in a drunken, pathetic sort of way. His laughter echoed through the stone hall.
At the end of the hall, a door stood between him and his destiny. Even in his state of inebriation, he appreciated the poetic significance of the door. “Walk away!” His mind screamed, and he almost did until he realized it was his mother’s voice in his head. He was through listening to her! What about his father, should he have no voice? He shook angrily, took a deep breath and kicked the door in.
The next few moments played out in slow motion as Teodor entered the room. A figure rose from the bed and started straight towards him. Half out of fright and half out of anger, Teodor pulled the trigger again and again until the figure was down and all he heard was the metal clicking of his gun – the magazine was empty, but he kept pulling the trigger anyway.
The Sikorsky dipped suddenly, having been swept by the wind reflecting off of the gargoyle-adorned building. “Ropes!” The Sergeant-at-Arms screamed over the cacophonous din of the rotor blades. Each member of the eight-man team did one last weapons check, and then slid down the black ropes the rooftop.
Constantine’s boots were the first to touch the roof, and he led his team to the nearby portal and down the stairs. Each held a submachine gun at the ready, and with practiced ease, descended into the darkness.
In his night vision reticles, the building took on a ghostly green pallor. His iridescent flashlight threw a beam that could only be seen with night vision, and it painted the walls in broad green strokes.
Teodor was kneeling beside the body when they entered the room. He stood up, drunkenly twirled around and pointed his handgun and the team.
For Constantine, this moment would forever be burned into his memory. Just as he was about to apply pressure to the trigger, just as he was about the fell the killer with a single blessed bullet, his trained eyes noticed the carapace the target wore – he was a Dragos!
“Hold!” He yelled, as his team prepared to let loose a fusillade of gunfire at the assailant. “Teodor, this is your Uncle, Constantine. Lay down your weapon!” He pushed his reticles up to his helmet, and saw his nephew standing over the body of the governor, Alexander Dumitru. It was worse than he had ever imagined.
Teodor stood for a moment, confused. He was finally sobering up – he came to his senses and dropped the huge gold and silver handgun to the floor.
“In the name of the Holy Mother,” Constantine said, with no small amount of sorrow in his voice, “I bind your soul as I bind your flesh.”
Continued in Chapter 5: Aftermath.
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