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Liborio Fragale

Joe stood out on the grassy lot at the back of the old house. The boss bent down to examine the cell window. The scratch-marks were clear in the mid-morning light. “This was premeditated.” He straightened up and turned to the man next to him. “Who searched this girl?”

Emmett looked over his shoulder. “Kev. He didn’t find anything on her.”

Joe nodded. “Well, those are knife marks. And I know the other girl wasn’t armed.”

Emmett nodded and vanished. Joe headed over to the fence, and stopped next to Vinnie. “This where they got through?”

Vinnie nodded. “The wire was cut. We think it happened when the guards were holed up on the other side of the compound.”

Joe thought for a moment. “We need to break the encryption on the Black File Archives. It supposedly contains the names and addresses of every ninja in the area. Possibly the country.”

Vinnie pulled out his cell phone and made a call while Joe examined the fence further. He could see the tracks leading in and out of the inner perimeter, tracking them beyond the fence. “How did they breach the fence?”

Vinnie put his cell away and turned to face his boss. “Security team followed the tracks on the other side of the compound. Confirm two people. But they left nothing behind. Not even shell casings.”

Joe nodded. The strategy was clear, and it infuriated him that these people had breeched the most secure estate in the south of Maine. He turned as Jordan appeared next to him. “We need to change the entire security protocol. This cannot happen again.”

Jordan didn’t react. “We found something.”

The boss stopped next to Jordan, and looked at the old oak tree that stood on the edge of the road. The mark carved into the bark was clear. A stylised dragon, with a flourish on the tail. And Joe recognised it instantly. The mark of the ninja. This could mean only one thing; the ninjas had targeted him.

Joe turned to Vinnie, the scowl deep in his face. “Man the troops. We track, and we take them down for good.”

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