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Brain(3)

By´╝ÜCandace Blevins



I had no doubt he could and would follow through on the threat, but I could also sense enough humanity in him to see he truly hoped he didn’t have to. I sighed, shrugged, and asked, “And if I don’t know enough about the people who paid me?”

He shook his head. “You learned from your mistake with the Russians. You don’t do shit anymore unless you know the score.”

True, but I wasn’t going to agree with him. “What do you have to offer?”

“A way to stop being on the run. You may not be able to keep the name Destiny, but I can fix it so you can have a normal life, if you want it.”

“How?” If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“Someone close to your age with the same hair color and similar body type has a terminal disease and will die in the next couple of months. For a price, she’ll agree to be in a supposed snow skiing accident while working on her bucket list, and her face will slam into the fictional tree. While in a podunk hospital in the middle of nowhere, a doctor will pronounce her miraculously cured. However, her face will be messed up and will require cosmetic surgery. I know a plastic surgeon who’ll alter your face so you’ll no longer hit as the old you on the facial recognition software, and get you close enough to her look to be plausible, since she’ll have needed surgery to fix the damage. The girl will die, we’ll take care of having her cremated without the paperwork, and you’ll take over her identity.”

“What’s her name?”

He shook his head. “No, you get no further information about her. I can help you find a new life, or I can hurt you. Those are my bargaining chips. I’d offer money, but you’re loaded and I have no intention of offering enough to sway you.”

“How do you know how much money I do or don’t have?”

He shrugged. “Don’t know how much you have, but your rates start at ten grand and go up from there. Plus, you’re good enough to transfer money from bank to bank, whether it’s yours or not, if you want. Also, you don’t seem to be hurting for funds as you move around. You alternate between skeazy hotels when you’re dressed like shit, and nice hotels when you aren’t. If you need a wig or a change of clothes, you stop and buy them, and you give worn clothes to the homeless instead of washing them and wearing them again.”

I weighed my options, deciding whether to give him anything at all. The things I’d deduced might mean I didn’t walk out of here alive, but… if used properly, could possibly be levied as a bargaining chip.

“You haven’t worn your colors while you’ve been after me,” I told him, “but you built the firewalls for the RTMC chapters in Atlanta and Chattanooga. They aren’t built to Wulff’s signature specs, but close enough I’m sure it’s you. I looked through the data I downloaded, and there’s a member in Chattanooga called Brain. Just a guess, but I’d say that’s you.”

He looked at me a few seconds, pulled a phone from his pocket, called someone, and said, “Yeah, use the key card I gave you, in the third elevator from the left. It’ll bring you to the penthouse. Low-key, and no names. Keep your mouth shut when you get up here, no matter what she says.”

My stomach sank when I realized there were two of them. I have a small saw hidden in my ring, and could’ve used it to cut through the zip-ties if they’d given me ten minutes alone. With two people, though, the odds of that happening had just dropped to practically zero. One person would need to leave for food, eventually, but two… shit.

“I know your motorcycle isn’t here,” he said, eyeing me as if he were analyzing my state of mind. “Is there anything you need to take with you, besides the backpack?”

I looked at him without answering, as I realized the ramifications. They were going to take me somewhere else, which meant I needed to escape now, while I still had a snowball’s chance.

“Answer me, doll. If you need anything besides the backpack, I need to know before my associate arrives.”

I saw the pen injector, realized he was about to knock me out, and kicked up with my feet in a last ditch effort.

The asshole easily caught my feet, as if I were a small child, and smiled. “I like your spunk.”

I tried to move out of the way as he aimed the injector at my arm, but then yelped as the needle went in. “Damn you!” I practically shouted.

He put the lid back on the pen, put it in his pocket, and looked sad as he said, “I know, and I’m sorry. It could take up to five minutes to completely knock you out. I’ll ask again, do you need anything besides the backpack?”

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