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A New Beginning – 6

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It had been almost a year since I’d been on a real mission. Even though no one had died and I had no one to avenge, this felt like I was chasing a killer. On the scale of criminals, kidnappers ranked barely below sex offenders and killers.

The small frame house blended in with its neighbors. What was it they said about hiding in plain view? Just one among the many working class homes in a non-descript neighborhood. I imagined they held Detective Griffin in a similar place. Hopefully I’d know more soon.

The Chief expressed her displeasure when I left to pursue this lead. She wanted me to interrogate her subordinates to find out who had bugged her office. I had other plans. It made no sense to reveal that we knew the office had been compromised. Right now that breach was our best hope of finding a trail that led to those who kidnapped Detective Griffin.

With its lights off, the house appeared empty. I knew better. Someone, the someone I’d come for, was inside. Even if I hadn’t seen the man enter the house, I could hear his movements.

My hope had been to get here before the owner came home. Dealing with the disloyal officially ended up taking longer than I expected. If Guthrie and Baker were to have any value to us, they couldn’t know we had figured out their involvement. That meant deleting specific memories, and planting false ones to explain why they were in the Chief’s office. That alone would have taken me some time, but I wanted to explain to the Chief why I tampered with their minds.

If the chief and her lieutenants followed my instructions, right now they should be feeding false information to whoever had Detective Griffin. At least that is what they thought they were doing. I’d explain things to Chief Rawlings when we had Griffin home safely. Right now, however, I needed to do this my way. Our goal was the same; save Detective Griffin, but preserving my anonymity too priority to even that worthy goal

I watched the house for several minutes, waiting to see if anyone else entered. The sound of a clip rammed home followed by the racking of a slide, told me he knew someone was outside. Who he thought it was, I hadn’t bothered to find out. There would be time for that soon enough.

Footsteps alerted me that he was moving towards the front of house. The curtain barely moved as he checked for activity in the front yard and street. Someone else might not have noticed, but I did. I watched the fabric flutter slowly back into place.

My target was alone and anxious and would be easy to manipulate Why then did I hesitate? Gar was better at this type of thing – he didn’t care. For all my efforts, I couldn’t turn on the cold exterior for times like this. I could bluff well enough and maybe fool everyone except Ryan, but it still affected me.

Emotions were fine–no, make that, necessary–when dealing with Ryan. Out in the field, however, they were a liability.  My inability to detach myself from what I was doing was the main reason I turn to Gar forty years ago. But I’ve since learned it’s an all or nothing proposition. Gar demanded total control and I wasn’t willing to let him have that again.

Out of habit, I checked to see if I had my weapons. I wouldn’t need them, not for this mission, but they were still a comfort. Stealth and guile were the tools needed tonight. I couldn’t afford another mistake like the one I made on North Capital Street.

Tapping a key on my box, I waited for it to pinpoint the location of any surveillance devices. Once found, I neutralized the danger to myself and made for the front door.

I didn’t need enhanced abilities to get inside this house. Long before It took my life, David taught me how to pick a lock. Of course a chain across the door would have made things more difficult, but I didn’t have that to deal with today.

The occupant had retreated to the back of the house before I even set foot on the path.  It didn’t matter. I had already made contact with his mind and told him to ignore any sound of my entrance. Having already disabled the listening devices, no one would know I was inside until it was too late.

Pushing the door slowly, I smiled as I heard the hinge squeak. The lock was new; it shouldn’t have made a sound.  My target was well trained.

The smell of new paint and industrial cleaners assaulted my olfactory system.  A fresh start or the appearance of one? I’d find out soon enough.

From the street, the house didn’t look half as big as it really was. Deeper than it was wide, I had to walk through the living room and kitchen to get to the small den at the back of the house.

The black shades were tacked down making certain the weak light from the lone low watt bulb didn’t tip anyone off that the room was occupied. The only person in the room sat on the couch; a gun in his hand and another on the cushion to his left. He clicked the release and dropped the magazine into his hand. After checking to be sure it was full, he put it next to his right thigh.

Pointing the gun in the direction of the small lamp, he locked the slide back and peered through the barrel.

“May I help you with that, Agent Barrington?”

As I expected, he jumped at the sound of my voice. Since I ‘spoke’ directly into his mind he couldn’t figure out where I stood. When he set the gun down, I was truly surprised. Perhaps the man had finally learned.

“I was wondering when you’d turn up.”

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