So, I really am not a simple financial strategist for the Company I worked for (I guess that much is clear now). Make no mistake, I am great at creating and interpreting highly complicated financial models, but that was just a mere 10% of my job description. The other 90% had in it terms like: delicate intelligence gathering, threat elimination, breaking the human mind, sophisticated weaponry, human anatomy, interrogation tactics and others that have been engraved into my soul over the years.
We are not the Army. Neither are we the Police, the Navy, Air Force or any other publicly know Intelligence agency. They all came to us when they had a problem, and that said a lot. Recruitment was done with the highest level of discretion. Misfits like me with potential were profiled and targeted with such scary accuracy. Zero recruitment errors. We were all willing to matter or die trying, and a good number did the later. The whole setup reminded me of the movie ‘the Bourne Identity’ only it wasn’t a movie, it was real. Very real.
As real as the men downstairs.
I walked across to the other flat on the floor and opened it with a key I had in my pocket. No one actually stayed here because the flat was mine. As was one of the two on the floor below. The other three belonged to my work colleague, Silas. We obviously loved our privacy and didn’t see the need for any neighbors sticking their nose into our business.
Unfortunately for the men downstairs, Silas was in. If they were really unfortunate, he would come out from behind his steel entrance door and be in a bad mood. Silas was the most damaged individual I had met in my life, and that was saying something because I had ,et more than my fair share. I can’t even begin to go into what he had gone through in life while growing up, but he was damaged. Permanently. He was also the most cheerful person I knew, always had a smile on his face and was quick to joke about a serious situation. However, he could kill a man faster than he could smile and THAT was saying something.
The other apartment was empty save for a long table, two chairs and a large steel cupboard, behind which I stashed some tools of my trade. I was soon out and made my way downstairs. I had given up on trying to suppress the rage.
As I got to the first-floor landing, Silas’ steel door opened and he stepped out, staring at me silently, gun already aimed at my forehead. Mine was equally up, ready to shoot at his bullet and change its trajectory away from my direction – that is assuming he shot first and asked questions later.
He smiled. I smiled. This was really the worst-case scenario for the men downstairs who by now were trying to break into one of the apartments below – this, was the biggest error on their path. Silas’ apartment.
“Ronden?” Silas asked.
“Ronden.” I acknowledged with a sigh.
With that one code word, he told me he was dealing with the situation and I should cover. I didn’t push, I knew better than to come between Silas and his justice for the intrusion. I couldn’t even bother about my anger anymore… they were breaking into Silas’ flat. It was beyond personal for him.
And I wasn’t going to mess with Silas. Nobody messes with Silas.
Silas briskly turned away from me and walked down the stairs. I followed after a brief pause. Now on the ground floor, I sat at the base of the stairs and pretty much watched Silas take down ten men. The only thing I was useful for was flipping a pen knife into the kneecap of one of the men attempting to run out of the house. I did this while biting my nails with my free hand.
Two minutes later he casually walked over to me, and also sat down at the base of the stairs. He then started laughing.
“These guys. Rather unfortunate they ended up HERE of all places. Hahaha.”
“Yeah, I guess.” I didn’t find it funny.
“Called clean up yet?”
“Yeah, they’re five minutes out.”
A man of few words, he stood up and stretched. As he headed upstairs, he asked. “Why were they looking for you anyway?”
I looked up. “Bunch of them raped my sister outside. Did some damage.”
“And they came for payback! Haha. Idiots”.
I stood and walked up with him.
“That same sister right?”
I nodded. Nothing needed to be said. He knew me well enough to know that I’ll kill anyone for my only sister. He didn’t know her or what she looked like, but he knew her well enough to know what I was capable of doing for her.
“Okay, will stop by in the morning with breakfast. Hope you don’t mind.”
I smiled. Silas making a genuine attempt to reach out was progress.
“Sure. Good night.”
I quickly bounded up the stairs and quietly went into the apartment to meet Anita on the sofa, shock in her eyes.
The scents had worked faster than I anticipated.
“Are you okay?”
“Traumatized but will survive. Not sure which got to me more, them or you”
“it’s a long story.”
She shrugged, looking even smaller in my shirt. “It doesn’t look like I’m leaving here anytime tonight anyway.” She then noticed the shirt.
“Wait. Did you bathe and dress me up?”
I wasn’t sure if she was teasing or embarrassed, but I told her the truth anyway.
“Yes. Closed my eyes the entire time so don’t worry.”
She laughed then. A tired laugh. She patted the sofa, “Onii san, the story. How did my pink brother become James Bond?”
“James Bond wishes!”
So talk we did, into the wee hours of the morning. I disclosed as much as I could to her and from the size of her eyes, this little information I presented was a lot for her. When I saw she could take in no more, I turned the tables and asked about her. She told me about her work, social life, the parents and all. As to why she was looking for me, she said someone tried to kill her two days earlier. From everything she said, she escaped with a stroke of luck. A lot of luck actually.
Why? She didn’t know.
Who? She saw the face but had never seen him before.
What game have you been involved in? None.
I knew she wasn’t telling the whole truth, but at that point I didn’t care. She was tired and her emotions finally gave in as the shock that previously numbed them wore off. I held her as she sobbed herself to sleep. She would be fine now. Onii san was here.
It was already bright when she woke up. I had slept on the soft rug, gotten up early and was sipping on coffee while staring outside. Nobody would even know that anything happened there.
“The coffee smells great.” She walked over and took my cup out of my hands and began to sip the black liquid.
I smiled. It was amazing how it seemed like nothing had changed all these years. We still had a lot to talk about. Just then, there was a soft knock on the door. Silas.
I assured her with my eyes and walked over to open the door. Silas had a carryon full of food (from the smell of it) and a very warm smile on his face. He was happy.
I stepped back, shutting the door behind him as he walked into the room.
“Sis, this is my colleague Sil…” I was saying when I heard the mug break.
I quickly turned, alert.
The blood had drained from her face and she was pointing.
“it’s him. It’s him. He tr-tr-tried to kill me.”
I spun to face Silas. The warm smile was gone.