The Agent Pt. 02: Rogue Nation

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It’s been a rough couple of months, but I’m finally ready to publish this story. Enjoy!

-YoursTruly101

*****

The Windy City has lived up to its name and its citizens have ventured through its busy streets. Grey December skies hovered over its tallest buildings as flurries of snow found their way down from the clouds. Gust of winds over Lake Michigan added the chill in the air, but one location has been particularly chillier. Near Lake Point Tower, a lone woman stayed in a run-down building waiting for something.

Or for someone.

She hasn’t moved an inch at her desk and if she did, it was for a bathroom break or getting groceries. Tired yet determined grey eyes stayed glued to the monitors in front as the woman’s hand fumbled its way through the messy desk to grab a cup of coffee. From afar, she was quite attractive, but her permanent narrowed glare intimidated others. She was smart and handy in hacking, but she couldn’t find what she was hoping on finding tonight.

Her name is Ashley.

Come on, she thought to herself as her small yet strong hands typed away on her keyboard. Then, she stopped typing as a small blue dot popped up on screen. Her heart did a little flip.

Gotcha, she thought.

– – – – – – –

Where am I?

How did it all come down to this?

All my actions and deeds have lead me to this inevitable moment. Call it fate or destiny, but here I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Flashes of dreams and memories flicked at every corners of my mind. I remembered seeing a desperate hand reaching for mine and no matter how far I reached for it, it could never touch mine.

Then, darkness.

I knew at the back of my mind that in any minute now, I’d be dead and buried somewhere deep under Lake Michigan. My body would be wet and frozen and probably near my dead ex-partner’s body. Somebody is going to find us and try to find the relatives the poor younglings belonged to, but they won’t find anything in the hospital or any public records. We’d be forever a cold case to Chicago’s finest archives of unsolved mysteries. Then, probably in the middle of our autopsy, two government official will take over and disclose any information to the public as they whisk our bodies away to god knows wherever.

I should be dead, yet here I am consciously aware that I’m not.

Besides, if I died, shouldn’t I be pulled away by some dark robed grim reaper with an axe in its hand? Or perhaps a beautiful angel with its white wings and yellow halo? No one came to take me away. Maybe my soul is too damaged to be claimed or too invaluable to be used for a higher purpose.

Maybe my soul is too stubborn to go anywhere else.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s not my time to die yet.

Maybe I was meant to stay.

– – – – – – – – –

Voices.

“What do you think, should we just let her stay?”

“Eleanor, look at her wounds. We have to get her to the hospital.”

“Yes, but look at the weather, Don!”

Slowly, my eyes began to open and found myself staring at a middle-aged man and woman, who knelt beside me as I lay on the floor. The motherly-looking woman had dirty blonde hair and thick black framed glasses. Her hands and peach T-shirt had signs of dried blood. The man was tall and well built, scruffy with a trimmed black beard. Their eyes looked curiously into mine, but I sensed the man was starting to feel uneasy. What just happened, I thought to myself as my eyes slowly adjusted to the dim lights hanging over me. I flinched as I tried opening my mouth. My throat was dry.

Grunting, I attempted to lift my head, but the elderly woman gently prevented me to do so by putting her hand over my forehead. At each passing second, I could feel more and more pain at my right side. I was beginning to panic.

“No, no, dear,” the elderly woman said. “It’s okay, we’re not going to do anything malicious to you. Now, everything will be alright. I tried my best patching you up, but it’ll take time for you to heal. You might be a little disoriented, but can you at least tell us your name?”

Silence.

I tried wiggling my hands and toes, and to my relief they were still intact.

“What…,” I attempted to say hoarsely. I cleared my throat. “What happened?”

Both of them looked at each other.

“Well, honestly,” the elderly man said as he scanned my body, “we were hoping you’d tell us that. I was boatin’ my way around the lake, then boom! Big explosion. So, of course being curious and all, I took my boat and went to the source of the explosion. You’re yacht is nothing but bits of wreckage underneath Lake Michigan at this point. I didn’t see any survivors out there, but at least I saw you and took you in.”

“You were a mess, dear,” the elderly woman chimed in. “Two deep cuts at your right,” she put her hand softly at my right side, “but at least it didn’t hit any of your major organs. A lot of bleeding though. If Don hadn’t found you, you’ would’ve died a couple of minutes bayrampaşa escort after due to the cold and the bleeding. There are other additional wounds,” she pursued her lips and pushed her black-framed glasses up her nose,” that weren’t consistent with the blast, but I won’t ask about them. It’s your business. From what I can see, there aren’t any big fractures on your chest, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were minor ones.”

Don shook his head. “Look, kid, we don’t want any trouble. From my experience, your wounds look like you were involved in some kind of fight-“

“Don!”

“Now, Eleanor, I’m a veteran,” Don continued as he eyed his wife. “And I know what war wounds look like. This woman has been fighting-“

“This young woman is hurt,” Eleanor snapped. “Regardless if she’s been fighting or what, she’s hurt and she needs our help.”

I let my eyes scan the room I was in. I must be in the living room, I thought to myself as I scanned the two couches, coffee table, a big flat screen T.V. and a burning fireplace by my side. “How long have I been here?”

“A week.”

A feeling of panic rose inside my body. “I’ve done my best sewing you up and getting blood in you,” she continued once she saw my eyes widen. “Thank god Don is an universal blood donor otherwise I wouldn’t know what to do with you. I cleaned you up for the most part. The bruises are starting to heal a bit and the swelling at the side of your face has decreased. Cuts are started to heal. Problem is you started moving in your sleep and you had a high fever for the past two days now, so I had to put some medicine in you. Your cuts at your side are deep. I don’t want to assume, but I suspect someone tried stabbing you with a knife. It didn’t hit the major organs, but it did do some major bleeding. However, some of your sutures kept breaking off because of your restless sleep, but I managed to replace them. You should be okay. And damn lucky to be alive!”

That’s right, I thought to myself. Jason did stab me. I remembered. I looked through the window just behind Eleanor. A whirlwind of white snow stormed heavily outside. The wooden cabin creaked as the harsh winds crashed against their home.

“Thank…you,” I mumbled, but I was pretty thankful for them. Sure my body felt sore, but I’m breathing and alive. “I don’t know how to repay you.”

Eleanor shook her head. “No need. I’ve been a trauma nurse for a while now. I’m just happy you’re alive. Just get some rest. We’ll figure what to do next once the storm passes through.” I did a small nod and eyed her husband. He had a distrustful stare, but he sighed and agreed with his wife.

“Well, as soon as you’re able to stand and walk,” he said, crossing his arms, “we’re taking you to the hospital. You’re healing quite fast and no offense, I don’t want you to stay here for more than a month.”

?”Don!” Eleanor’s eyes snapped as Don shrugged his shoulders.

“I’m sorry, Eleanor, but something just doesn’t add up and my gut is telling me that’s she’s dangerous. Best if we don’t find out why.”

Eleanor sighed and shook her head. “Don’t mind him, dear. He’s been a veteran for far too long. Just rest.”

I silently nodded my head, but Don had the right to be suspicious. I needed to get out from their home because I knew the Agency would come looking for me after the incident. Once the Agency declares an agent a criminal and wanted for conspiracy, most likely it’ll never stop looking until the agent has been found. The organisation is black and white that way. Even if I was found not guilty of my supposed crimes, I didn’t want to involve the innocent couple.

I needed to get out of here once I had enough strength to, but all I could do for now was rest.

– – – – – – – – –

Two and a half weeks have passed and my wounds were healing rapidly than Eleanor thought, but not fast enough for my liking. Nonetheless, it was something.

I attempted to stand a couple of times, but with difficulty. Once I started to put my foot in front of the other, my whole body screamed in pain, but I was determined to get out from their home. The cabin that I was currently staying at was on a small isolated island near a lighthouse. Their nearest neighbour was on Michigan’s mainland, which was a couple of miles east. In other words, the only way of getting back to Chicago was through Don’s boat.

I was exhausted, but I continued to push myself to stand longer and walk further until the bandages at my sides had small pools of blood seeping through. It was a little hard for me to breathe since there was a minor fracture on my sternum, but it was enough for me to walk around the cabin.

“You should really let your wounds fully heal,” Eleanor said as she sewed me up again. I was sitting on her kitchen’s counter with a couple of bloody bandages on it. “You can’t push yourself like this.”

“Sorry, ma’am,” I said, flinching. “I just need to keep going. This has been a great inconvenience beykoz escort for you and your husband-“

“Oh, hush. This is nothing. I’ve handled a lot worse and a lot bloodier during the twenty years serving as trauma nurse. Just don’t push yourself too hard.”

“I remember you saying that,” I said. “Are you retired?”

“No, no. I’m on leave for a month. Our son died a couple of weeks ago and, well, Don and I just needed to go be alone for a while to cope. That’s why we came here in this small isolated island. Don has his fishing and hunting, and I have my books and some peace.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I answered politely, eyeing her. “How did he die if you don’t mind me asking?”

Eleanor shook her head, “A hold up gone wrong. He was just going home from work and walked on the sidewalk. A couple of guys jumped him and wanted to get his money, but he fought back. Next thing I knew, I received a call the next day saying he died due to multiple stab wounds.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am. That’s got to be hard to take in.”

She paused then nodded her head. She pushed her thick framed glasses up her nose. “It is. I never thought my son would die before me. It’s not the way it’s suppose to be. But it’s okay. It’s life and it is what it is, but I guess in a way you’ve helped me, dear. There! All done.”

I pulled the blue T-shirt down. “How so?”

“Well,” she said as she doffed her latex gloves, “I might not have been there by Adam’s side to tend his wounds, but at least I’ve tended yours. It was quite therapeutic, thank you.”

“I think I should be the one thanking you,” I said, laughing. But deep inside, I was pretty grateful for her. Her motherly glances made me feel homely and almost made me want to stay even longer, but Don was a different matter. His suspicious and distrustful glances didn’t change.

Three weeks have passed, and I was walking more and more with minimal difficulty. After walking a couple of rounds around the cabin, I sat next to the lake and relaxed as the grey clouds hovered above me. The cold wind seeped through my coat. I shivered. What do you do from here, I thought to myself. Jason is dead, but Alfonso was still out there. What were my choices?

I could go back to the Agency and continue doing what I do best, but after the run-in I had with Carrie, I was having second thoughts. If she was ordered to kill me, wouldn’t other agents try to do the same? I didn’t want to risk it. There were too many uncertainties.

You need Ashley’s help, I thought to myself. She really was the only ally I have left. I conjured up a small plan as I laid my head on the frozen and cold sand, until I heard a small rumbling sound nearby. Don just came back from his usual fishing rounds with his small speedboat. His brown eyes looked tired yet there were signs of sadness and determination behind them. I sat up slowly and waved towards him. He nodded my way as he walked towards his shed to secure the boat. He then decided to join me.

“You’re doing pretty good, I see,” he said as sat right next to me and stretched out his legs in front of him. He grabbed something from his pocket and gave it to me: it was my watch. “Here, I forgot to give it to you. Pretty cool watch, may I add. I tried playing around with it to adjust the time, but…”

I froze. I grabbed the digital watch, hoping Dan didn’t somehow pushed the correct sequence of buttons to summon and manipulate Emma. “When did you adjust the time?”

“Maybe an hour ago. I was going to give it to you once you’ve woken up, but I guess I forgot and it’s been in my pocket all this time.”

Not good, I thought to myself. The Agency could track the watch down if it became activated. I felt a sense of dread as I looked at the black watch on the palm of my hands. I could feel Don staring at me with curiosity.

“Listen…I don’t mean to pry. I’m a hard-ass and I’ve served in the army for fifteen years. I know the look of trouble when I see one and woman, you have trouble written all over your face. When I found you, I know for a fact you were wearing some combative outfit. I just didn’t tell Eleanor and said it was some scuba diving suit. I have so many questions about that and your wounds. As of now, I don’t care what you did or what you will do, but just…I don’t know,” he ran his fingers through his hair. He waved his hand in the air,” Eleanor and I are going through something…difficult. I just don’t want her to worry about anything else. It’s my job to make her happy, but as of right now all I can do is let her be.”

I looked at him silently and then nodded. “I understand.”

“Okay,” he then said. He stood up and brushed the little sand bits off his pants. “Take it easy there.”

He left me with my thoughts. I laid back down and stared at the grey skies for hours until little flurries of snow started to come down. I sighed and looked at my watch.

I went back to the cabin, hoping to sit next to a fire with a cup of hot cocoa.

Their beylikdüzü escort cabin was good for two to three people with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen. It had a homely and cozy atmosphere especially when there was fire in the fireplace. Usually Eleanor and Don ate together, but I didn’t eat at the same table with them. I felt out of place, awkward like I didn’t belong there because I knew the third chair at the table was meant for their son.

When I went in, Don and Eleanor were already eating in silence. I went upstairs for a very hot shower to warm my body. As soon as the drops of water made contact with my skin, I relaxed. I left my watch in the guest room and usually I slept there, but the days were getting colder. So, I slept in the living room near the fireplace until the fire dies out. Tonight was nothing different, yet I felt anxious.

You should probably try to go tomorrow, I thought to myself. Take Don’s speedboat and go to Chicago. At least from there, I can think of my next step.

Once I finished showering and put on a black long sleeved shirt and dark-grey pyjamas, I went downstairs for a quick dinner and rolled myself up under a thick blanket beside the fireplace. Eleanor passed by the living room with a book in her hand.

“Goodnight, dear,” she said smiling. “I’ll see you in the morning.” With a cup of hot cocoa in hand, I smiled back and stared blankly at the dancing flames in front of me, hypnotised by their violent nature to spread chaos by just merely touching. Yet at the same time, their usefulness can sometimes overcome their violent chain reaction. You’re a flame, I thought to myself. I knew I was violent to some extent, yet the outcome of my violence can benefit others.

I just had to be careful how I scatter my flames.

After finishing my drink, I laid myself down and closed my eyes.

– – – – – – – –

Darkness. The flames in the fireplace died out.

I opened my eyes as a small adrenaline rush surged through my body. Something woke me up, but I didn’t know what for sure. I strained my ears to hear as my hand reflexively went under my pillow to grab one of Eleanor’s kitchen knives that I borrowed.

I know I heard something.

I untangled myself from the warm blanket and crouched down behind a couch. The cold floor creaked somewhere in the house, but it wasn’t necessarily the creaking that bothered me. The only time the floor creaked was when Don walked around, I thought to myself. Either Don was walking around in the dark, which I doubt because he always turned on the light when he goes downstairs, or another 180 lbs or more human being was inside the cabin.

I don’t like this, I thought to myself. I was in the dark blindly. Even with the knife in my hand, I wasn’t confident on using it. Calm down, I thought to myself as I closed my eyes and focused all my senses on hearing. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and immediately I sprung up and attacked. I felt a body attacking me and I blindly defended myself, strategically sequencing my moves based on his attacks. With my eyes still closed, the body was a lot taller and bulkier than mine, but I managed to get it to its knees. I kicked it and slammed the blunt end of the knife. The body slumped to the ground.

My hand roamed its body and felt a vest, some type of combative suit, a mask and night goggles. I grabbed the night goggles and put it on my eyes. My eyes widened as I saw an unconscious agent on the ground. Suit and equipment are from the Agency, I thought to myself. Was he here to take me in or kill me?

My train of thoughts were interrupted by the sudden commotion in the second floor. There were yelling and screaming. Eventually, there were some gun fire. Multiple footsteps were heard around me as I hid the unconscious agent underneath my blanket. I grabbed his SC-20K M.A.W.S. and pistol, then hid behind the couch, which was facing his body. I peered around and saw a couple more agents moved in and shined their flashlights in the living room. Eventually, one flashlight found the hidden body then five or more aimed theirs at it.

Curiously, I stared with the gun ready in my hands.

Silence.

Abruptly, multiple gun shots penetrated through the blanket and I whipped my head forward. They were here to kill me. I shook my head. This can’t be happening, I thought to myself. I didn’t want to kill them because they were my brothers and sisters in arms. We were on the same team, but their orders were clear.

The Agency still wanted me dead.

I grabbed the clip from my gun: it was still enough. Then, another idea came to mind. I looked at the side of the rifle and found an alternative solution to my ethical dilemma. Next to the trigger, the gun was still full of tranquillisers and the rifle had the capability to shoot them instead of deadly bullets. Ten tranquillisers, I thought to myself.

Once the shooting stopped, a lone agent stepped forward to check the damage. As soon as he pulled the blanket down, I shot a tranquilliser to his neck. The five other agents turned their flashlights off, leaving me in the dark with a gun and night goggles. So you guys want to play a game, huh, I thought to myself as a little discomfort was felt on my side. Let’s play.

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