88/666

88 666

“It seems strange to have to lie,
About a world so bright.
And tell instead a made-up story,
From the world of night.”

[Genesis \\ Keep It Dark]

88/666

He always enjoyed this stretch of Highway 79. The mountains here reminded him of the High Sierra, especially the jagged spires beyond Mammoth Lakes, yet for some reason the air here felt cleaner, more pure than California, while even the villages here seemed like something out of a distant, though somehow more comforting past. He leaned back in the limousine’s plush rear seat and rolled down the window, letting gales of crisp Andean air wash over his jet-lagged body, and he closed his eyes and sighed. 

He felt the Mercedes slowing and barely opened his eyes; he could make out the first rustic chalets of the Colonia Suiza just ahead and he asked the driver to stop at his favorite little bistro — as he usually did after so long a trip.

“I’m sorry, sir,” the driver replied. “I’ve been instructed no stops allowed today. I’m to take you directly to the Eagle’s Lair.”

Ted Sorensen nodded and closed his eyes again. ‘They’ll probably kill me,’ he thought — yet he really didn’t care one way or another. Not now. Everything was coming together nicely, on time and under budget. Beyond that…nothing else really mattered.

+++++

Moloch was waiting for him. Moloch was always, or so it seemed, waiting for him.

“We lost her again,” Moloch sighed as they met, and Sorensen nodded.

“Where was she this time?”

“British Columbia. North of Vancouver. And she had help…sophisticated help.”

“Such as?”

“Air support. Planted assets designed to throw us off.”

“So…military — or an intelligence service?”

“More than likely both, so yes,” Moloch grumbled.

“So, you underestimated Taggart. Again.”

“I’m not so sure this was his operation.”

“Oh? Who do you…?”

“I’m not sure yet. What happened in California? I’ve heard it did not go well…”

“That’s a long story, and I’d only like to tell it once.”

The Chancellor’s secretary summoned them, asked them to follow him to the conference room off of the Chancellor’s suite, and Sorensen stood and followed Moloch through several layers of security to the distant room. The Chancellor and his advisors were waiting, and they did not appear to be in a good mood.

And the first thing Sorensen noted was the absence of a chair for either Moloch or himself. ‘So, we are to be made an example of,” he sighed. ‘What else does he have in store for us?’

So the two men entered the conference room and just stood there, waiting, for the Chancellor turned away from them and picked up a telephone and talked for about ten minutes, angry one minute then laughing hysterically the next. Sorensen shifted weight from one leg to the other while trying not to appear too put out, but this callous reception was simply unwarranted…even it they had failed.

Then the Chancellor hung up the phone and turned to Moloch.

“We have gone over your report. Anything to add?”

“There are no new leads at this point, sir.”

“Very well. You may leave us.”

Moloch turned to leave, and whatever moral support Sorensen might have hoped for evaporated. The Chancellor remained silent until the door closed behind Moloch. Then:

“What happened?”

“I’m still not sure, sir. We assumed the boy was guarded only by the ex cop, Harry Callahan, but that appears to have not been the case.”

“You are saying he too had outside help? By any chance do you know who?”

Sorensen shook his head. “No sir, and we have no leads. As far as we can ascertain at this point, the boy is no longer on site — yet despite having assets in the area watching every possible egress route, we did not see him, or Callahan, leave.”

“You are sure they are gone?”

“Yessir, and there is an additional element we weren’t counting on.”

 “And that is?”

“We literally destroyed the man’s home, yet a half hour later one of our drones photographed the area and there’s no visible damage — anywhere. Even our assets on the ground disappeared, and the area looks completely untouched, like nothing there ever happened.”

“So, it’s true. The boy can manipulate time.”

“So it would appear.”

“You have a different assessment?”

“I think it’s possible Callahan may have similar capabilities.”

“You knew him, did you not? As a child, I mean?”

“Yessir. But if he did have such abilities they were unknown to me.”

“You were friends at one point, were you not?”

“Not really a friend, sir. At one point I considered him something more like a big brother.”

The Chancellor’s left eyebrow arched. “Indeed. And you were willing to kill him?”

“He’s simply an obstacle now, sir.”

“Unless he has knowledge we need, you mean?”

“Of course.”

“Then perhaps we may need to focus our attentions on this Harry Callahan for a while?”

“Possibly. But first I’d say we need to determine who’s assisting him, and what their capabilities really are.”

“When I was a boy, Ted, I hunted with my father. We used dogs, of course. We used them to flush our prey, to scare them from the safety of their place of hiding. Perhaps you could do the same, no? Perhaps you could find a few of Herr Callahan’s oldest friends…and perhaps do something terrible to them?

© 2016-22 adrian leverkühn | abw | and as always, thanks for stopping by for a look around the memory warehouse…image: Lucifer, by Franz Stuck.

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