CHRONICLES OF MICHAEL: DENIABLE ASSET

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CHAPTER TEN

*MICHAEL VARRO*

I think I might’ve worn a groove in the floor as I pace my office, contemplating my actions. At the mats, I savored watching Shy after our training session. She sat with her back to me, unaware I was watching her. It’s the only time I can really look at her without her knowing I’m doing so. She’s come a long way, but there’s still one more test she must pass before she’s done with her training. As I thought, her time with the FBI proved useful. She hasn’t needed much training in weapons, or hand to hand combat.

My stomach knots at the thought of putting her through this next test, but it isn’t just protocol. It’s necessary. I could hear the hurt in her voice when she replied after I cut her off. I can’t have her mind wandering in a direction that isn’t good for either of us. Better her feelings get hurt than her life ending. After leaving her on the mat, I waited for her to go to logistics before heading to see Godfrey. I take a deep breath, replaying the moment in my head.

***

“Michael,” Godfrey greeted me as I walked up to his station.

“You have what I asked for?”

He walked away, heading to the back where he houses his inventory. He came back, handing me a cherry wood box, finished in a high gloss lacquer. Inside the box was covered in soft red velvet. Nestled inside the velvet was a Bersa .380. The small gun is polished nickel with a checkered black polymer handle. It’s perfect. Godfrey loaded the gun with a seven-bullet magazine, leaving one in the chamber. Next to the Bersa was the extra mag, also loaded to capacity with seven additional bullets. All in all, she has fifteen bullets to work with, along with what she’s learned from me in hand to hand combat. Satisfied with the contents of the box, I closed it.

“Do you think she’ll make it?” Godfrey asked.

“We’ll see soon enough.”

Grabbing the box from the counter, I walked away.

***

It’s extremely hard to stay detached, and not only for me. A lot of people here have become enamored with her, Godfrey being at the top of the list. I’m not the only one who sees something special in her. Was it worth it to bring her here? If she dies tonight what will I do with the guilt I’ll carry for the rest of my life? I was selfish bringing her here, and I know it. To think of her dying tonight has me overwhelmed, flooding me with a sickening feeling, and I conclude that it isn’t an option. I don’t care what I have to do, that isn’t going to happen, rules be damned.

I wasted a few hours in my office on the computer, but the time is drawing near. I start to stand as the door to my office opens, and in walks the General. I sit back down as he enters, looking at him as he takes the vacant seat across from me.

“Is she ready?”

“I believe she is.”

“I saw her in the training room today. I have to say, I’m impressed with her form. You’ve trained her well.”

That has me narrowing my eyes in suspicion. Any kind of praise coming from the General, I don’t trust for a second. He never compliments anyone. If you’re here you better damn well do your job, and you better do it with precision.

“Time will tell,” I reply.

The General stands, heading for the door.

“General,” I call after him. He stops, looking over his shoulder.

“I’ll be bringing her back.”

The corners of his mouth curl up in a mock smile as he walks out the door. He’s up to something, and I will figure out what it is. Shy was never meant to be here. I hope I haven’t condemned her to death. I feel--what I can only describe as uncomfortable--for having deceived her, but above all else she mustn’t suspect foul play. It’s haunting me; the way her eyes lit up, like a kid’s on Christmas morning, when I told her training was over. I wish I could take credit for how excited she was, except I know from personal experience the more likely reason is, she thinks she’s done. I’m sure leaving these walls doesn’t hurt, either. She’s been stuck in this building for eighteen long months. I remember all too well how stir crazy it can make you. Fuck it, part of me believes she’s happy to be going out with me as well. I wait roughly five minutes to pass after the General leaves before I grab my suit hanging behind the door. As I reach for it, I take another deep breath.

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