Chapter Fifteen

XV

Present Day

          Silgan hurried into the apartment lobby, the fluorescent nightmare had dimmed considerably in response to the morning sun now creeping in through the many windows. Ms. Caldwell, Lauren, was still working the front desk. Smiling upon noticing Silgan, flirtatiously, Lauren asked “Rushing like that, Mr. Sheffield, might give a girl the wrong impression. You trying to avoid me, now?”

Silgan paused, returning her smile. Exaggerating indignation, he responded “Me? Never! You know you’re my favorite Lauren. I’m in a hurry for something related to work, and I need to meet an associate in about forty minutes.”

Blushing, Lauren lightly rubbed her bottom lip with her left thumb, responding “I hadn’t realized we were on a first name basis now, you know, there’s a lot of things you can do in forty minutes. I’m sure your friend wouldn’t mind if you were just a little late.”

Taken aback, Silgan stuttered “Any other day, Ms. Caldwell, but this could be a matter of life and death.”

Looking disappointed, Lauren said, “Well, I mean, you better move your pretty little ass if it’s really that important. Besides, you know where to find me.” She winked at Silgan before turning back to her ledger.

Relieved, Silgan said “Take care, Lauren.” as he turned towards the elevator room. Silgan walked past the first two, public, elevators, and swiped his RFID on the old management elevator. The elevators gate opened slowly and Silgan stepped in, turning to press the button that read “13”. As the elevator began its sluggish ascent, Silgan shuffled his feet, fretfully, back and forth. Okay, we need to clear out everything I can’t easily replace.

“That’s seventy percent of what’s there, dumbass.” The voice of an elderly women mocked.

Then we can booby trap the room, as a precaution.

Cackling, the women’s voice chimed “So you can piss off Haskell even more than you already have? Quite the headache he must have, pondering how to deal with his star extractors insubordination.” Silgan’s spine tingled with anxiety as his right hand started to tap his suit pants to the tune of staying alive. “I bet he’s already got a man waiting for you up there, no time to prepare now. See what you’ve done? You’ve fucked over all of us, all your friends, we, he guided and supported you when you needed a push to do the right thing.”

Does torturing an innocent woman qualify as the right thing? The elevator came to a halt and opened. Silgan walked out, turned right and headed towards the narrow hallway. At the intersection, he turned left, walked five more steps, and turned towards his tan colored door, marked “1304” in silver lettering. You do raise a good point though, I need to make sure no one’s waiting for me on the other side of the door. Silgan set his briefcase down, opening the side pocket opposite to where he had stored the tracker gun. He pulled out his customized 220 Sig Sauer. He slotted the chamber back, it was loaded. Turning the safety off, he leaned down to examine his doors deadbolt lock. It’s scratched up. Fuck. Expecting the worst, Silgan took out his key, slowly inserting it into the lock, Sig Sauer at his right side. Slowly he turned the lock, and heard a click. Leaving the key in the slot, he stood back, tensing his quadriceps and gluts, preparing a kick. With his left hand, he pulled the handle down, pushing forward slightly. His hands were perspiring, his breaths were shallow and fast. With a small grunt, he kicked the door open wide, quickly recovering his balance, and raising his pistil. Looking through the holo-sight he moved forward slowly. As he walked through the doors small frame, he could hear a quiet movement. It was coming from behind his bed.

“Hey, come out, I see you!” Silgan shouted, snarling. The rustling stopped, abruptly. Silgan felt light headed, as his vision became hazy. Realizing he’d forgotten to breath, he gasped for air, trying to keep his aim steady.

“Worthless!” the women’s voice mocked. “Can’t even aim a pistol without nearly passing out, you’re going to get all of us killed, Simon.”

Shut up!

Moving forward, Silgan bit his lip, he could hear a slight whimpering, a forlorn moaning. It reminded Silgan of the time he’d hit a deer, getting out of his car, only to find the deer dying, slowly. Moving quickly around the foot of his bed Silgan shouted “Hands up!” Silgan lowered his weapon, mouth parting, eyes widening, in horror.

“I’m trying Simon, my arms, I can’t move them.” Wailed Hadley, with deep crosses cut into her wrists. Her skin wasn’t right, it was cracked, a dark, hallowed, green. She’s not real, Simon, she’s dead…you buried her. Taking a deep breath, Silgan stepped back from Hadley. Hadley’s eyes grew fearful as Silgan backed away. “Please… Simon don’t leave me here, it hurts baby, it hurts so much worse than when I did it. I’m so sorry, help me Simon!”

Tears welling, Silgan responded “I…I can’t help you. I failed you, I’m sorry Hads. I miss you every day.” Silgan turned to his cabinet, grabbing a small duffle at the foot of his bed. He walked to the cabinet, set the Sig Sauer on the cabinets counter, and zipped open the duffle, throwing it back onto his small bed. Opening the cabinet, Silgan suddenly felt overwhelmed. There must be two-hundred separate ingredients here, how the fuck do I decide which ones to bring? Christ, I have room for fifteen or so, if I’m lucky. Silgan could hear the terrible moaning as he reached for a case of empty dart-syringes. Ignoring Hadley, he put the pack into his bag, eyes darting across the chemicals individual labels.

Silgan froze, as the woman’s voice returned “You’re going to let her die, again? You coward. And for what? So you can turn tail and run?”

You’re right, I am a coward. But why are you showing me this, I know I can’t save her. But I can save that poor girl, Nessa, and that’s what I’m going to do.

Suddenly determined, Silgan focused. The wails ceased as Silgan realized the chemicals he needed. Quickly, he grabbed a fast acting spasmodic, a cyanide potassium solution, and three cryo-contained vial of , or mustard gas. He packed each vial in a rubber stabilized mold, before setting them next to the darts. I only have one more pressure resistant mold, I need to pick carefully. A moment later, Silgan grabbed two clear, unlabeled solutions, quickly packing them into the mold. Next, he reached for two small vials of adrenaline, a small tub of batrachotoxin–he’d scraped it off the backs of poison dart frogs himself–and a cryo-vile, containing VX. He’d have to be careful not to be caught with the VX if he traveled, as the UN classified it as a weapon of mass destruction. The worlds stockpiles had been destroyed twenty-five years ago, but it was relatively easy to synthesize. It was essentially a liquid nerve agent that could easily be reacted into a gas.

Silgan packed the rest of the vials into the rubber chassis, and set it carefully into the duffle. Finally, Silgan ran to his chemical work bench and retrieved three gas masks, as well as a few extra filters. He packed these into the side pockets of the duffle, carefully mounting the valuable bag over his shoulder.

Turning to the cabinet, Silgan picked up his Sig Sauer and turned the safety on before holstering it into the specially stitched pocket in his suit coat, hidden by his left lapel. Just the pills now. Moving to the kitchen drawer, Silgan wiped some of the lingering dirt off his white dress shirt. Silgan opened the small drawer before rummaging for his painkillers. He removed the oxycodone, Vicodin HCL, Secobarbitol, and Compro, before setting them on the counter. He unsaddled his duffle, and set it on the counter. He stashed the Vicodin and oxy in the duffle’s left pockets. Those are less conducive to performance than the Compro. Silgan opened the Compro, took two pills, then closed it, before stashing it next to the Vicodin. As Silgan opened the Secobaritol, his shaking hands jerked unexpectedly, causing him to spill the pills on the floor. Shit, my nerves are frayed. Silgan fell to his knees, gathering the pills back into their container.

Pausing suddenly, Silgan focused on a small black circle on the bottom of the counter. It can’t be, was someone in here after all? Moving closer to the black smudge, Silgan realized it was a small transmitting mic. I’ve been bugged. Silgan finished picking the pills up, and put them next to his painkillers in the duffle. He left one out, and dry swallowed it. “Eh, Silgan everything alright in here?” asked a voice Silgan couldn’t place.

Turning, Silgan saw his neighbor, Herald Minum, looming ominously in the door way. “I’m good Herald, did I make too much noise or something?” asked Silgan, ambivalently.

Smiling his easy smile, Herald stepped forward and said “Nah mate, I mean I heard you talking to someone, you sounded upset.” Herald leaned forward examining the room, looking back and forth. “Musta been on the phone though, it don’t seem like nobodies here right now, besides me that is.” Herald chuckled at his joke. Herald wore a dirty T-shirt with torn jeans. He was probably in his early fifties, though his voice was clearly smoke damaged and made him sound much older. While his facial structure was handsome, his meth cracked skin was not. His eyes were jaundiced, his nose was the kind of red that only twenty years of binge drinking could lend.

“Yeah, I was fighting with my brother, a financial matter.” Lied Silgan.

Laughing loudly, Herald responded “You know, Hadley is a weird name for a brother if you ask me. But my parents weren’t too creative either. Coming up with Gerald than Herald, I mean who rhymes their kids name?” He must have been the one who planted the bugs.

Face hardening, Silgan asked “Herald, I don’t suppose you know anything about who might have tampered with my lock there, do you?”

Herald tensed, responding “Eh, what you tryna say, bud? Man ought to be careful about accusing a co-worker of something like that.” That face, no way in hell it wasn’t him.

Silgan’s muscles tensed, anticipating a fight, as he said “You know, it’s the funniest thing, I just found a small microphone glued to the bottom of my counter, right before you walked in, Harold.”

Harold sighed, relaxing, and said “You got me Silgan!” raising his arms above his head in mock exclamation. “It’s not like I did it for fun though, order came from Haskell himself, just a few hours ago. He wanted me to keep an eye on you.” Harold paused, smiling cruelly he continued “So imagine my surprise when I hear you, one of our most skilled laborers, over my lil radio talking to your dead wife. I don’t suppose Haskell would be happy to hear you’ve lost your fucking mind, eh bud?” Harold laughed as Silgan blushed, looking down. “Don’t feel bad, bud, you know I kinda miss that girl I got pinched for assaulting. Sometimes I talk to her too, mostly when I got a whore up here who’s willing to act though, you know.” Haskell already suspects me, it’s now or never.

“I’m going to give you one chance to get out of my way, Harold.” Silgan said, flatly, meeting Harold’s eyes. Harold looked amused, and took a step forward.

Looming closer, Harold said “A’ight coach, what you gonna do? Cry to your bitch an’ tell her ol’ Harold’s given you a tough time?” Harold shoved Silgan, hard. Laughing as Silgan stumbled, Harold followed up with a wide right hook which landed squarely on Silgan’s left cheek. Silgan fell to the floor, head hitting the floor with a crack. He shouldn’t have done that. Silgan reached for his concealed Sig Sauer, clicking the safety off with his right thumb. “That all you got big man? You all take, bud, can’t even take a punch.” Rolling onto his back Silgan aimed the Sig Sauer’s holo-sights at Harolds face. “Oh shit! What the fuck man, it was just a tussle.” Harold raised his hands, continuing “What? You gonna shoot me with that thing, unsilenced? Whole buildings gonna hear it mate.”

Silgan pushed himself back to his feet, keeping the firearm trained on Harold. Quietly, Silgan said “I’m crazy, remember? How about you apologize for calling my wife a bitch, scum.” Harold stayed silent, smiling slightly. Moving forward, Silgan grabbed Harold’s dirty T-shirt and shoved him up against the wall. “Say, you’re, sorry.” Silgan set the guns point to Harold’s left jaw.

“Man she musta had a vice grip on your tiny balls, I’d never let a bitch–BANG!” Harolds eyes shot wide in surprise as the lower half of his face was torn off by the Sig Sauer’s blast. His broken jaw dangled from what remained of its right hinge. Harold slowly slid down the wall, letting out a hideous, gurgling screech. Silgan stepped away, letting Harold fall. Harold’s tongue waggled back and forth wildly, finally coming to rest near his throat as he fell to his left. Blood quickly pooled. Silgan felt sick. What did I just do?

                Well I can’t say I approve, but at least you’re showing some initiative now. Cackled the women’s voice.

 

Next Chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/chapter-sixteen/

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