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A New Beginning – 9


The waiting nearly killed me. Gar had the patience to wait as long as needed. Will, however, had ADHD – or that would have been the diagnosis if I had still been a kid. I finishing typing my text and sent it to Ryan. Not bad for a sixty eight year old man.

I missed Ryan–a lot. Another thing Gar wouldn’t feel. I needed to stop comparing myself to Gar as if he wasn’t really me. He’d been necessary at the time, but wishing I’d kept parts of him led me toward a place I didn’t want to go–detachment.

Sure, I had had a good reason to become Gar; I couldn’t handle what vengeance required. Even after Ryan helped bring me back, every time ‘Will’ went on a mission, I tried to slip on the cold, uncaring exterior. Missions like this, where I wasn’t hunting a killer, didn’t change the equation. I still found comfort in ‘Gar’s’ dispassionate view of events.

Ryan didn’t want Gar involved in anything, no matter how small. Of course he never had to avenge the guilty. Had he walked in my shoes one time he might feel differently.

My ‘guests’ slept on the couch. I caught wind of their plan to ‘overpower’ me and put them to sleep before they could try. Gar might have taunted them for their stupidity first, but reading their thoughts convinced me otherwise.

From their perspective, this was a matter of life and death. All their intelligence suggested I was capable of killing on an unprecedented scale. But they only had half the story.  Sending them into unconsciousness felt kinder than leaving them to worry about what I’d do next.

Barrington’s footsteps from behind annoyed me with their intrusion. “Who are you expecting?”

“Whoever shows up.” If they sent an underling or someone with no authority, I’d send them back before they could speak. Eventually I’d get the right person.

“Which means you don’t know.”

His smug attitude made me thankful I didn’t need him any longer. I tolerated only because I sat in his living room.

“It still amazes me you were ever promoted.” I slowly turned my head to face him. The anger I saw made my lips curl in a twisted way. “You only now figured out that I didn’t know who’s behind this? Coming to you for help didn’t tip you off?”

“You’re an asshole.”

I caught myself before I fired back an equally juvenile insult. “Did you want to engage in name calling? Because if you did, I’ll disconnect your voice box permanently so I don’t need to hear you speak again.”

“Why did you come to me?” Had I read his mind I doubt I could have seen more hate for me that I heard in his voice.

“Do you really want to know?” The truth wasn’t something I was proud of, but I’d had no problems telling him.

“No, I asked because I like to hear myself speak.”

“That I can believe.” I turned back to my phone, thinking I might text Ryan again.

“Fucker, of course I want to know.”

The nastiness in his voice pushed me over the edge. In one fluid motion, too fast for him to follow, I stood up, shoved my phone in my pocket, and lunged toward him. Before he could react, I had my hand around his throat and pinned him against the wall. Sometimes you don’t want the answer to a question.

“You are a tiresome flea on the ass of life that no one seems able to kill.” My fingers tightened–seemly of their own accord–around his neck. I might have snapped it had my phone not vibrated. Only Ryan had the ability to text me. His image forced its way to the forefront of my thoughts and I relaxed my grip enough that Barrington would keep breathing. “I came to you because it doesn’t bother me that I’m using you. If this goes badly and you get hurt or die, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass. And instead of seeking vengeance on your behalf, I’d find your killer just to thank them.”

He looked like a man who knew he’d push too far. If I cared more, I’d have read his thoughts, but his cesspool of a mind left me feeling dirty. It pained me that in order to free Griffin, I had to pay his price.

He tried to pry my fingers off his neck, but I refused to let him move them even a faction of an inch. When he persisted in his attempt, I squeezed a bit harder. Only after he stopped trying did I let go; a subtle reminder that he lived because I chose not to kill him.

Instinctively Barrington rubbed his neck once my hand moved away. “Don’t forget, we have a deal. If we free Griffin, you owe me.”

I could easily have decided not to pay his ‘fee.’ The downside almost didn’t exist. Almost. I’d spent the last forty years living by a set of morals that said, if you break the rules, you have to pay. My psyche wouldn’t allow for me to ignore our bargain. “I don’t owe you anything, but I will do as I promised.”

After that I hoped I’d never see the man again. The sound of a car approaching put me on alert. Since agent Caldor left, her support team had the block sealed off. My ‘guest’ had arrived.

“We’re about to have company.” I turned my back on the snake; a part of me hoped he’d try to kill me. He’d fail, but then I’d be able to end his existence with a clear conscience.

Still dreaming of the ‘right’ to kill Barrington, I froze when I heard the footsteps approach.

“What the fuck?” I didn’t wait for a knock to act. Nearly pulling the door off its hinges, I confront my ‘guest.’

“Griffin? What’s going on?”

“Good to see you again, too, Gar.”

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