Authors: James P. Sumner
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Heist, #Vigilante Justice, #Spies & Politics, #Assassinations, #Conspiracies, #Espionage, #Political, #Terrorism, #Thriller, #Thrillers, #Pulp
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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Published by Kindle Press, Seattle, 2016
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The world’s gone to shit, and all I did was stand there and watch. Do you have any idea what that feels like? To believe you could’ve done more to stop something bad from happening, but didn’t? It’s the worst feeling there is, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
That was almost a fortnight ago, and since then I’ve been doing the whole
thing—walking the earth, on my own, thinking about shit. Oh, and looking over my shoulder every two minutes because my paranoia’s working overtime on account of the biggest intelligence agency in the world wanting me dead.
I put my hand to the collar of my shirt and reach inside to touch the flash drive I have around my neck, checking for the billionth time it’s still there. It contains all the evidence GlobaTech managed to obtain from the NSA’s and CIA’s servers, and serves as proof that the CIA doctored intelligence reports to frame both GlobaTech and me—implicating us in the terrorist attack.
And the best part is, not only were the terrorists actually being used by the CIA to orchestrate the devastating attack, but when you follow the trail of information and money, it all leads back to one man.
, if you want to be fancy. And yes, if you recognize the name, it’s because it’s the same Charles Cunningham currently sitting in the Oval Office of the White House. I’m still not 100 percent clear why he wanted to blow up half the world, but don’t worry—I intend asking the sonofabitch before I kill him.
He’s got the whole world fooled into believing he’s everyone’s savior, but secretly, he still has control of the Cerberus satellite, which he told everyone he had personally decommissioned because of a “vulnerability” that allowed it to be hacked by the bad guys and used to launch all the nukes that caused this shitstorm.
He’s still holding us all to ransom, and everyone thinks he’s the goddamn hero.
I have had some good news, however. And God knows I’ve been due some. GlobaTech has been able to get its hands on some documents that prove Cunningham is behind all this. Ryan Schultz, my favorite ex-secretary of defense, is running things over there at the moment, and the lucky bastard has Josh by his side. My former partner in crime is doing the heavy lifting for GlobaTech, in terms of its logistics and resources. His most recent pet project was to put together an elite unit that can help me in my fight against Cunningham.
Apparently, some engineer who worked on Cerberus unknowingly had classified paperwork that detailed the requests to add in the hidden extras that allowed 4/17 to happen. And the president put his signature on them. This is great, because now we can prove he knew about the so-called vulnerability inside the satellite all along, which immediately brings into question the speech he gave twenty-four hours after the attack, publicly claiming ignorance of it all. And if people starting questioning
, they’re more likely to pay attention to the evidence around my neck.
Then, slowly but surely, the walls will come tumbling down.
The president knows I have this information, but my threat of releasing any of it to the media should, in theory, stop them from trying to kill me. I just need to stay alive long enough to take out Cunningham and undo whatever plans he’s put in motion. I know I can’t exactly
detonate a nuke, but at least I can stop him from doing anything else.
Well, that’s the plan, anyway. But things like this take time. And patience. And diplomacy. None of which I’ve had the good fortune to be blessed with.
I know I’m probably the last person qualified to raise an argument on morality, but Cunningham’s a piece of shit, through and through. He painted me as the enemy. He was the one behind hurting the people I care about. And he masterminded the largest terrorist attack in history.
There are two Berettas at my back, right now, that have something they want to say to him about all that.
But, as I’m sure you can appreciate, this isn’t exactly a standard hit. He’s the president. He’s so well protected, he’s the metaphor people use when they’re describing something that’s incredibly well protected. And with Josh working his way up the corporate ladder at GlobaTech, he’s too visible to risk being seen helping me. He can’t afford to be linked in any way to what’s about to happen.
I’m on my own. And without his expertise and guidance, I’m literally free to do this however the hell I want.
What could possibly go wrong…?
I’ve had to drop off the grid, as they say, while I put together a plan. Being at the top of the CIA’s hit list isn’t nearly as glamourous as it sounds, and the last thing I need at the moment is those assholes breathing down my neck every five minutes. So that means minimal contact with Josh, and absolutely no contact with Tori.
I really miss her.
After that meeting a week or so ago at GlobaTech’s headquarters, I said my goodbyes and disappeared. Even Josh doesn’t know where I am. I’ve communicated with him once since then, and that was just so he could tell me about the new information he’s uncovered.
Sheriff Raynor took Tori back to Devil’s Spring, and I asked her to get The Ferryman back up and running for me while I was gone. She has all the money she needs to do it, and she practically ran the place anyway, so it shouldn’t be much of a stretch for her. Plus, it’ll keep her occupied, so she doesn’t drive herself crazy thinking about me and what I’m doing.
She was sad when I left, and I tried to comfort her by saying it would all be okay, and I’d be back before she knew it.
I hate lying to her.
I’m about to kill the president of the United States. The leader of the free world. That isn’t the kind of job you come back from. I know it. Josh knows it. Hell, I reckon even
knows it, deep down. But my words of comfort were what she needed to hear, and I left her safe in the knowledge we wouldn’t be apart for long, which was what I wanted.
As for me, I’ve worked my way slowly across the country, and I’m currently basking in the somewhat uncharacteristic heat of Bangor, Maine. Apart from my Berettas and my necklace of evidence, I have only my shoulder bag with me, which contains my favorite leather jacket, some ammo, and a burner phone.
I’ve headed to Maine because even
know going after the president on my own is stupid. Usually, Josh and I would take on anyone and everyone together, without hesitation. But Josh isn’t here. Not this time. And this contract is big. It’ll be my magnum opus. I guess it could also be my swan song. If working with Josh all these years has taught me one thing, it’s not to let pride get in the way of a good kill.
So I’m here, looking for help.
As time passes, you get to know the people in your line of work. Josh has an entire network of facilitators, all of whom manage the contracts for at least one person like me. But while he knows the guys
the guys with guns, I know a few of the guys with guns. I don’t mean to sound elitist, but I’ve made a point over the years to establish and maintain, at the very least, a courteous relationship with a few assassins who, either by my own reckoning or their justified reputation, I figure will be around for a while. I’m not the only one who thinks I’m the best of the best. I guess you could say my little black book contains the best of the rest.
One guy in particular lives here in Bangor, and last I heard he was working exclusively for a local mob boss. Like me, this guy would probably be classed as an old-timer. In our line of work, you get that title one of two ways—by being good or by being smart. You rarely get both. Look at me. I’m not smart—that’s what Josh was for. This guy’s a decent professional, but has purposefully kept himself low-key, small time. He’s never really had his skills tested, so he’s never had cause to evolve or hone his craft.
But… the guy is smart. He’s never taken risks, he’s never splashed any cash, and, where possible, he’s opted for exclusivity, which gives him security and protection.
No, I don’t expect this guy to help me. But I reckon he’s a good place to start if I want to find someone who will.
I’m walking down Broadway. It’s pushing seventy degrees, despite the noticeable wind. The sun’s navigating the gaps between the scattered clouds overhead. I’m comfortable without my jacket. I picked up some clothes from a discount store back in Indiana somewhere. I know I could probably buy the entire store, but I’m living off the cash in my pocket, and I survived off a limited budget for years.
I’m wearing a red and blue flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up to just above my elbows, and a couple of buttons unfastened at the top. It’s not what I would normally wear, but when you’re on the run, you don’t exactly want to look like you normally do.
My hair’s grown a little, too. I have more beard than stubble at the moment, which is irritating the shit out of me, and my hair’s thicker on top. I walk past a furniture store and happen to glance in the window and catch my reflection. I’m unrecognizable, even to myself.
And now I have “Streets of Philadelphia”
by Bruce Springsteen in my head…
The last known address of the guy I’m here to see is a restaurant he used to work at between contracts. Now he works for the local mob, I don’t know if he’ll still be here, but it’s the only starting point I have.
After a few minutes, I see the place across the street. The parking lot out front looks pretty empty. I cross over and head for the main entrance, push the door open, and step inside.
It’s a Chinese bar and restaurant. The interior looks like someone has watched a bunch of movies set in China and assumed that’s what their culture looks like, so tried to copy it here. There’s a large sculpture of a red and gold dragon in front of me and detailed lanterns hanging overhead to conceal the actual light fixtures. The entrance is on the left of the building, and the interior stretches away both in front of me and to the right, with the dining area in the former and the bar in the latter.