Chapter 2 of Sleeper Cell
The rain fell down like sheets, blanketing the ground, drowning the storm drains. He ignored it. His only focus was getting home and protecting the files he’d smuggled out of the office in an interior pocket of his false bottom briefcase from the torrents. They didn’t often trifle with members of his department but one could never be too careful. As he dashed up the steps that led to his condo, he punched in the security access code and greeted the attendant at the desk. Outside the barely audible hum of a near by vehicle stilled.
He took the steps two at a time, an attempt to make up for the working he was planning on skipping. Four flights later, he huffed as he entered his dimly lit condo. The tapioca colored walls were filled with photos of his children and a few select shots of his late wife. Plush couches and complimenting throws comfortably filling the room hid a thin layer of dust. As was his custom after checking all the locks and windows, he made his way to the mantle and kiss the portrait in the center. He missed his wife. Missed hearing her take on things. They talked about everything, shared everything, she was the only person with whom he discussed all his work and latest projects. Not even their children knew what he did for a living.
Looking at the other frames that fanned out forming a slight V, he looked at each of their faces, the faces of his grandchildren. They were all foolish. Silly little faces staring back at him. He wished he could love them more but he didn’t. His wife’s passing two years prior had become the perfect excuse for his absence from their lives. They thought him grieving and he was. However, he couldn’t stand to look at them. They were a poor showing of the brilliance that had been his wife and his own intellectual prowess.
Of their five children the only two that had shown promise were his first born daughter Susan and his second son, Ignatius. He chuckled softly to himself, with name like that he had no choice but to be great or live forever knowing he was constantly failing to live up to his name.
In his own way, he’d loved all of his children but they just weren’t special…not like #75. His eyes began to glow as he thought of him. He had begun to think of #75 as another son. They talked often and had a kind of banter, as much as one can have with a doctor anyway. #75 was his greatest achievement. He’d just begun working with #75 when his wife began failing. His glowing eyes dimmed as he thought of her illness. How it had stolen her brilliant mind, robbed her of her bounce, her youthful shine, her salt-n-pepper hair too quickly turned white. Before he could even make headway with something that could help her, her organs gave up on her. His hand clenched into a fist as he thought of her last days…No! Enough of this! Clearing his mind he blew another kiss to the mantle and walked into the second bedroom which served as his office.
Stationed in a the opposing building in the living room he quietly observed his quarry’s movements. He’d be at his desk for hours, he hadn’t moved for a drink, or stretch his legs, not even a bathroom break. He admired the man’s dedication. At midnight the subject began to stir. He turned off the lights in the makeshift office and went back into the living room. Why don’t people invest in curtains? For the life of him he didn’t understand how people were so comfortable exposed as they were to the world but hey, it made his job easier. Crouching into position he took a deep breath and slowly released it as he prepared to fire.
October 18, 2016
Everything is going to plan. #75 is responding well to the new serum I’ve administered. I don’t want him to feel like a robot or some unfeeling…entity. He’s not that. He so much more than that. He’ll be my greatest achievement. He, like Pinocchio, will be a real boy! His results are already improving ahead of his “peers”. The Director stopped by yesterday to ask about any new developments. I replied with all the satisfactory information someone with his pay is allowed to know. He doesn’t know that there are things even he doesn’t know. Ha. That’s government for you. I’ve stopped with my video log. I noticed some of the entries were a little askew. Only a little, only a fastidious person would notice that the timing module is little off in the logging times. Its as if someone’s logging in every time I begin an entry. Can’t have that now can we? Of course not! This is just for you and me…not even my beloved protege Celia can know all the details. She’s an agent. While I don’t doubt her loyalty to me, I know how hard it can be when forced to choose between your life and the life of another. Her work truly has become her life, how could I compromise that for her when I know exactly what I would do to protect this project? I used to record videos daily, especially after our daily sessions but as those have become fewer, so have these videos. Plus, like I said earlier, someone’s been snooping. I’ll stash this note in with the others. I know when the time is right I’ll give them to you…and if..if I cannot you’ll know where to find the others.
You can’t imagine how thrilling it is to watch you progress. Stay safe, stay alert.
Taking the letter he began folding it and placed it in his pocket as he left the office. He went back into the living room and gazed at the photo of his wife. He could almost feel the eyes gazing back at him. Suddenly feeling cold he went into his bedroom and put on his robe. Standing at the in front of the terrace doors he thought of the emails he’d just sent out to each of his children, Celia, and #75. He couldn’t explain why but he felt like he should so he did. His message to #75 was brief. He told him to continue with his assignment and he’d be in touch as to when they were to meet again.With his children, he’d been more candid than he normally allowed, warm even. They’d probably think he was returning to his old self, perhaps he was. Either way he found it odd.
He poured himself some brandy from the sniffer on the dresser, another odd thing but he was feeling odd tonight. As he drank he gazed out at the night. The rain had slowed to a drizzle, he wasn’t looking forward to the commute tomorrow. He was beginning to feel sleepy but he couldn’t bring himself to go to bed. He kept looking out as if there was something he needed to see. Lost in his thoughts he didn’t hear the glass crumble, barely heard as the second shot quick on the heels of the first broke the remaining glass before embedding itself neatly in his skull, scrambling the brain he’d often been so proud of. His last thoughts before his brain forever stilled were of his wife and #75.