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Trigger Warning: This story may be harmful or triggering to some readers. Discretion is advised.
The sound of his opponents’ bodies colliding with the damp asphalt, one after another, echoed around us in the dark, narrow alleyway. He’s like a savage. Like he’s flipped a switch and someone else has taken over. I didn’t know how he’d found me, but here he was. The sight of their large utility knives glistening in the moonlight, splitting me open with fear as they slice around the stark, cool air in front of him. Each one yearning to plough into his skin, each swipe as greatly unsuccessful as the last. He paid no mind to their shows of strength as he used their movements against them. Three on one for minutes that ticked on like weeks. His skill out matched theirs, his tactical suit of no real use other than to protect his identity.
With a swift movement, he slammed two of them against the opposite walls of the alley, their lifeless bodies crumbling to the ground. The last one slips passed him and begins sprinting toward me, knife extended and ready to thrust forward. I crumple down to the ground as suddenly, he grabs the man by the back of his shirt, his face warping into that of snarling beast. In seconds, he takes them off their feet, swings them above his head, biceps firing, and slams them face-first into the ground.
Time stops, the bodies of my perpetrators still motionless. He’s barely broken a sweat, yet his breathing is laboured and he’s staring down at them like he isn’t finished. My throat squeaks in shock and he turns back to me, my body still shrunken in fear of the monster that has just emerged from him. His familiar green eyes return and his suit reverts away. His brows crease together and he looks, wide eyed, at me. Taking a single step toward me, afraid that he may frighten me away.
I want to say something, tell him that I’m not afraid, but instead I scream as one of the men lurches up and rams their weapon toward his now defenceless body.
• • • • 1 Month Earlier
“Miss Wallace?” The receptionist calls. Her voice drowning out the shouts of the protests outside of the building.
“Oh, uh-yes?” I reply, adjusting my glasses.
“Mr. Forrester will have someone greet you on the West elevator, over there.” She says, pointing a perfectly manicured finger to a white wall on the very other end of the building with black letters that read: ‘West Entrance: Floors 30-85’.
Come to think of it, the entire lobby of the GVRNMNT headquarters is white. And not an Eggshell White, not a Linen White, I’m talking so-white-it-hurts-your-eyes kind of white. White marble flooring, white walls, white furniture, white clothing. The only thing that stands out are the black letter details all over the place. Listing different departments, different offices, everything.
I stand and nervously readjust the strap of my messenger bag on my shoulder as she clicks her way back to the reception desk in her white stilettos. Looking down at my scuffed, dirty flats, cheap black pants and wrinkled white dress shirt, I begin to question my outfit choices, but shake it away as I head toward the elevator. It’s only until I’m up close that I notice the existence of other entries on the elevator wall. Not in black, but another shade of white, nearly impossible to make out against the wall.
Infirmary, Floor 86
Counselling, Floor 86
Training, Floors 86-88
Tactical Combat Department, Floors 90-92
Simulation Training, Floor 92
The loud ding of the elevator startles me as the doors separate to reveal a large man in a black suit and sunglasses. “Miss Wallace?” He asks, his deep voice bellowing from his chest. I nod and he makes room for me in the elevator. The inside is covered in glossy black and grey panels with several tiny numbered white buttons on the panel covering floors 30-92. We ride in silence until we reach the 92nd floor, at which time, the elevator stops, but the doors do not open. My escort suddenly approaches the panel and springs forth a small keychain with a white fob on it. He presses it against one of the panels and it instantly disappears to reveal second, hidden button panel with blank buttons. He presses the bottom of the three and the elevator begins it’s second ascent. It slows and the doors spring open to a bright, white hallway with a single black door at the end. My escort gestures for me to continue on alone as I step out and the doors close again.
I steady myself and take a step toward the door confidently, trying not to let the whole personal-escort-secret-button kind of thing psych me out.
Reaching the door, I pull the pieces of my long, blonde, wavy ponytail tighter and try to smooth out the wrinkles in my shirt before I knock.
“Come in!” Answers a cheerful, male voice. I turn the knob and enter a room that looks as though I’ve been transformed into a rainforest. There are large mossy branches stretching out around the room, tropical birds flapping and pruning themselves, lizards climbing the walls and a large fish tank in the left corner filled with large koi fish. I find myself so distracted, that I am completely unaware of the two people standing behind the ill-fitting, yet ordinary desk and chairs placed in the centre of the room.
One is the man I’m here to see, Mr. Forester, Head Coordinator of The SPCTER Program. The other is a member of that program; former US Marine, weapons specialist, and highly-recognized ladies man. SPCTER Agent #389, or otherwise known by his code name: Huntsman.
“Miss Wallace, I am so very glad to see you!” Forester says as he energetically shakes my hand, his beaming bright smile matching the building’s aesthetic. “Please, have a seat!”
I do my best not to make eye contact with the wildly gorgeous Agent Huntsman, who seems to have his sights set on me like I’m his next target. His extraordinarily muscular body is packed expertly into his tactical suit and doesn’t leave too much to the imagination. His broad chest and shoulders seemingly dwarf my tiny body and his chiseled, masked face is flattered by his short brown hair, fashionably brushed to the side. His eyes are a deep green, and they mirror his slight grin as he crosses his arms and leans against the far wall.
I take a seat in one of the chairs at his desk, and take my working tablet out of my bag to start recording, quickly growing irritated of the distraction the agent poses.
“Glen.” He asks.
“Glen.” I adjust. “I don’t intend to cause you any trouble, I don’t believe a security detail is necessary for this meeting–“
Glen thrusts his hands out apologetically. “Oh, goodness no. You needn’t worry about him. Just pretend he’s not here!”
I shake it off and read from my tablet. “Right, well, I was just hoping to ask you some questions about the rising hate protests against the city’s gifted citizens.”
I glance toward Mr. Forrester and find Agent 389 continuing to watch me.
“Also, what the board thinks about the upcoming elections…” I take another look, his eyes remain trained on me as irritation begins to boil in my stomach.
“And, if you plan to put forth any initiatives to diffuse the…” Eventually, I break and finally glance at the Agent and then back at Glen. “I’m sorry, is he going to stare at me the whole time?”
Glen only shrugs before he starts answering my questions. While he answers, I shoot Huntsman a glare, but it results in a bigger grin, this time with a playful wink, only further egging me on.
I continue to ask Mr. Forrester questions taking up the full span of about have an hour. After my questions, it seems Huntsman has become so enraptured in watching me that he seems to have even grown a couple inches closer to me. He doesn’t yet show any signs of a menacing motive, but his focus on me begins to lessen my grip on professionalism.
As I feel his eyes on me, I realize that he’s armed. His two signature tomahawks strapped to his back. They make me start to wonder what he might be like. Is he a good soldier? Is he cruel? Cold-blooded? Has he ever killed without thinking twice? Is he as bad a fighter as he is at flirting?
After the interview, I pack up, thank Glen and start to head toward the door. Wondering how I’m supposed to get back down to the lobby without the same magical key fob my escort possessed when Glen stops me.
“Oh, goodness, I almost forgot!” Glen calls. “389 will be happy to escort you downstairs!” Huntsman grins even harder, if that were possible, and steps toward me.
I jump, almost pretending I didn’t hear him. “Oh no, I’m sure I can find my way down just fine!”
“Nonsense!” He beams. “Please, I insist.”
I yield and wave a short goodbye before vanishing through the door, my armed 6’2″ lunatic of an escort close behind.
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