What’s in a Surname?

He wiped the sweat on his forehead with his leather – enclosed hand and placed it back on the trigger. His eyes flickered. Thoughts running faster than his heartbeats.

“Anything?” he asked dryly.

“No,” answered the man next to him. Max, was his name. Maximilian actually, Maximilian Hurst. Everybody called him Max, not because they liked it, but because he despised Maximilian. For some reason he never spoke of. He was the eyes, squatting by the guy with the sniper rifle, his right eye squinting into the scope, occasionally monitoring the wind speed and direction.

The man on the gun took a swig of water from a bottle to his right. A couple more sips and it would be empty, although they didn’t expect to stay much longer.

“Travis, what’s up with you?” Max inquired.

“Huh? Nothing. I’m fine.”

Max had noticed his ‘partner’ had been sweating much more than himself and had been having much more water too. Max’s bottle was still half full.

“Just make sure you’re in the game when it matters. We ain’t got much time here.” Max could see Travis was shifty and nervous, had been that way all morning. He looked at him once again and then quickly looked back into the scope.

Four minutes later, Max perked up. “He’s here,” he announced. Travis quickly positioned himself correctly, looked into the scope and placed his finger ever so lightly on the trigger. “Second bench from that big tree on the left,” Max directed. “Yeah, yeah I got him.” Travis assured.

“Have you?”

A pause.

“Yeah.”

“Be cool, now. Dude’s gonna be here for ten minutes at least,” Max tried to calm Travis’s nerves a bit.

The sweating intensified. “Wind?” he asked. “10 k’s towards the west,” Max informed. Travis adjusted his rifle accordingly.

Seen through the scope, a certain gentleman by the name Gerry Barton sat on a bench by the river. It was an early summer morning and nobody was in sight yet. The music of an ice-cream cart could be heard in the distance. The vendor had been bribed to stay away from this area for an hour. Suddenly a child came running from the other end, clearly running towards Gerry.

“Who the hell is that?” asked Max as the kid got closer to Gerry.

“Some kid.”

“Yeah, well, I can see that. Who the hell is he, Travis?” Max was clearly mad.

“Its his grandson. David. 8 years old.”

“He isn’t supposed to be here.”

“Yeah, no shit Max! Look, I went over everything, everybody. Trust me. I know he isn’t supposed to be here. I kept checking on everybody up until we left the room an hour back.”

“You know, if you’re lying, I could shoot you right here.”

The kid was now sitting in Gerry’s lap. The two were smiling and chatting away, oblivious to the two eyes looking at them through scopes that had seen lots of bad things. David was blocking almost all of Gerry’s torso from the view of the two men and aiming for the head was risky too.

“Take the shot, Travis. We can’t know how much longer he’s going to stay here,” Max said.

“There is no shot, Max!”

“You see his head? Because I sure as hell do.”

“There’s an 8 year old kid in his lap that’s moving about too much. I can’t do it!”

“Take the goddamn shot Travis, while you still have one, or I’m gonna have to take it for you. And you don’t want it to get to that.”

Travis swore under his breath and adjusted something in his left pant pocket, before looking back into the scope. He switched off the safety with shaking fingers. His hands shook relentlessly. “What are you waiting for?!” Max said.

Travis moved his rifle ever so slightly to the right, steadied himself and pressed the trigger. The bullet whizzed by David, scraped some t-shirt and skin off Gerry’s left shoulder and went right through the bench behind. Travis turned the safety back on. David and Gerry were both very understandably dazed and the ice-cream guy could be seen running towards them, worried, but the two of them got to their feet quickly and started running.

“What the…,” before Max could complete his sentence, Travis had let go of the rifle, pulled out a knife from his left side and swung it in Max’s direction. It landed in his right arm and rendered it unusable.

“You fucking asshole!” Max exclaimed as he scrambled to his feet and punched out at Travis with his weaker left arm. Travis easily dodged it and then took another swing of his knife at Max, which was aimed at his chest but could only tear a piece out of his t-shirt. Max reached for the holster on his right but before he could take the gun out, Travis kicked his hand away and snatched the gun from its holster and in one swift motion, put the knife back, turned off the safety on the smaller gun and pointed it at Max.

“Why the fuck are you doing this Travis? You really want to go down this road?”

“Yeah, I don’t care.” Travis was sweating profusely.

“You look nervous, Travis,” Max taunted him.

“You know I’m going to have to kill you now, Max.”

“Either way, you’re dead too. Our people will find you. One way or another. Today or tomorrow. And off you pop,” Max had a weird concoction of anger, passion and loyalty in his eyes.

“You don’t know anything about me, Max. You never have.” Travis put on a camo-coloured cap on his head, with the initials, T.B. printed on one side.

“Yeah, you know what, it doesn’t matter because our people do. They know what you look like, they know your name, they know you, Travis. Speaking of, what does that ‘B’ stand for? ‘Travis .B.’?”

“Barton,” Travis replied grimly. Max’s eyes widened.

A bullet shot resounded in the area and Maximilian Hurst’s body fell to the floor with a soft thud. Travis Barton looked around, gathered his equipment, put the shell of the bullet he had just fired in his bag, looked around again and walked away.

The Incidental Phone Call

His phone rang noisily through the quiet apartment. Sunlight streamed through the windows. He’d been too dazed last night to remember drawing the curtains. He grunted as he kicked the covers off. His phone rang noisily.

“Get your ass out of bed.”

“Did you call me just to say that? Besides, I’m not even in bed anymore.”

“Nice try, big guy. I called to say you’ve got work to do and you’d better get down here as fast as you can ’cause I’ve got you twenty minutes with that lady at the hot-shot law firm downtown.”

“Whoa, whoa, slow down there. My head’s all fuzzy.” It was very fuzzy and it had really bad timing.

“Well, that’s usually the case when I have to call to wake you up at nine thirty on New Year’s morning. I’ll bet your pants are hanging from the ceiling fan and you’re looking at them right now.”

“That was a one time thing, Frank,” he said, staring at the mess that his room was.

Continue reading “The Incidental Phone Call”

The Traitor: Chapter Five

The Traitor

This is Chapter Five in the Traitor Series. Haven’t read Chapter Four yet? Check it out by clicking here. Reading The Traitor for the first time? Start from the beginning here.

Enjoy Chapter Five!


 

Puerto Rico, about a week ago…

The man cut the last link of chain and then pushed the links at the border of the hole a little apart to make the hole as big as it could possibly be. He did so very slowly and made almost no noise. The grounds were completely silent, apart from the deep grumbles of the engines of a couple of army jeeps in the distance. His forehead and neck glistened with sweat. He kept wiping it off with his glove-enclosed hand and as a result the glove was dripping wet by now. He kept blinking rapidly, partly because of the insects in the air but mostly out of nervousness.

He clutched his long rifle in both his hands as he stealthily walked through the chain and pushed his back to a large shipping container just as a mechanic came into view after fixing a circuit board near the large water tank in the south-east corner of the grounds.

The man with the gun signaled to the rest of his small army and they started jogging over to the container in the same way he had. All of their rifles glimmered in the light given off by the tall, powerful lamp a dozen containers away.

The mechanic got onto a bike and rode off, and almost immediately, the small platoon resumed their muted jog until they came to a huge building with multiple floors and lots of white tent-like structures around it. The building had two tall chimneys at the far end which were coughing up white smoke. The grounds were also for the most part covered in a foggy cover of white smoke. The troop squatted behind two small, deserted cabins and looked at their leader, who signaled them to look at the door of the structure, one that pointed right at them. When they looked at it closely, they found that it was latched and the only way the occupants were coming out, was from a door on the opposite side of the building. He then pointed at a big tent on the other side of this big building; its lights were out. The leader counted down from three to one and then the whole platoon began sprinting to the tent in a linear formation and the last soldier looked out for any surprises from the back.

As the troop sprinted to their next shield from the control building, Mr. Jacobsen settled down in his seat on the third floor of the control building, a seat that had a clear view, through the window in front of him, of the entire north-eastern part of the facility. He had a long look out the window, then one at his computer screen and then had a long sip from the cup of coffee that sat on his desk. Suddenly his eyes drifted to a part of the screen that housed the feeds from the nine security cameras on the borders of the premises, a part that was flashing yellow. He clicked on it and he realised it was flashing because the feeds from cameras four and five were blacked.

A checkup by a security guard would reveal that the cameras had been shot and ten seconds after that the alarm would go off and red lights would flash in all rooms in the facility and gunfire would erupt near a white dome-like structure near the control building. Fourteen minutes and thirty seven seconds later, the armed soldiers that guarded the facility would have shot all the members of the brigade and the Squadron Commander would be forced to come out, hands above his head, and be taken into custody by the soldiers. A call would then be made to the CIA Headquarters by a female official, obviously shaken up, saying: “This… this is the Puerto Rico Nuclear Facility. We’ve had an attack.”

Continue reading “The Traitor: Chapter Five”

The Traitor: Chapter Four

The Traitor

This is Chapter Four in ‘The Traitor Series’. Haven’t read Chapter Three? Want to refresh your memory? Click here to go read it again!


 

Marco Poole flicked the cigarette butt out of the window of his dark blue Subaru Forester XT which was hurtling towards Houston on I-10. He picked up the black Houston Rockets cap that was frying on the dashboard from the heat and he tossed it into the backseat. A man sat distractedly in the passenger seat beside him. He kept fidgeting with the sunglasses in his hands, repeatedly opening and closing the temples. His eyes would drift to the rear-view mirror every now and again and they would thoroughly scan the road behind before settling on the road in front again. Occasionally he took a sip or two from the water bottle in the bottle stand in the door.
“Are you sure they don’t see us?” He finally asked Marco Poole, with a tinge of concern in his voice.

Continue reading “The Traitor: Chapter Four”

The Traitor: Chapter Three

The Traitor

This is Chapter Three in ‘The Traitor Series’. Haven’t read Chapter Two? Forgot what happened? Read it again by clicking here!


 

As Cross and Ellis approached the Intelligence Room, a man approached the two. He donned a similar suit as Cross’s and only differed in the choice of tie.

“Michael Weiss, sir,” he introduced himself holding out his right hand to the SAC. The SAC shook his hand and walked into the room. Cross and Weiss followed him.

“Jacob Cross,” Cross introduced himself to Weiss. They shook hands and Weiss gently nodded his head in respect.

The trio was getting to a huge desk in the middle of the room. The desk looked like it was made of premium quality wood, though it didn’t look like one of those ancient pieces. It was roughly a square and easily four feet on both sides. There were two telephones in the middle of the table and four large television screens hung from the ceiling directly above the table. The screens were at ninety degree angles to one another and therefore allowed people from every corner of the room to see what was being shown without having to come over to one screen. Cross noticed there was a medium sized pen stand in the middle of the table with pens and pencils of all sorts. Other than the telephones and the pen stand, the table was relatively empty, with a few sheets of paper stacked in four arguably neat piles. The table had two seats on each side for a total of eight occupants. Cross noticed the grey carpeting on the floor and it reminded him of those corporate offices and law firms with authoritative surnames on their calling cards, slickly dressed individuals shuffling busily in their corridors, having the least amount of concern for the carpets their firm had probably spent thousands of dollars on.

Continue reading “The Traitor: Chapter Three”