Saturday 16 February 2013
‘I know you’re in there . . . we just need to talk.’
It was a completely unexpected voice that permeated the door of the safe house. Who the fuck knows we’re here? In his mind, Nicholas Kent ran through his journey from ground zero at Blackwood Research Facility Five to his current location. He’d been careful, varied his route adding in all manner of twists and turns, winding his way through the streets of the suburbs, and no one had followed him. But had Sheri been as careful? God he hoped so.
‘I’m not going away until you let me in . . . Frank.’
Frank? Frank? He wrenched open the door and found Eden Gross, investigative journalist extraordinaire, leaning casually against the doorjamb.
‘What the fuck are you doing here? How did you find me?’ He didn’t wait for a response, but grabbed her by the arm and pulled her indoors, quickly glancing around outside before shutting and securing the door with a number of deadbolts and locks intended to keep the world and its inhabitants outside.
‘It’s nice to see you too, Nick,’ came her smarmy reply.
‘How did you find me?’ he tried again, squeezing her arms tightly as he spoke. She pulled away in pain.
‘You lay a hand on me again, Dr. Kent, and I’ll hand you to Blackwood on a platter.’
‘Then answer my question. This is supposed to be a safe house. No one from the company knows about it. By coming here, you’ve endangered the life of my wife . . . and myself.’
She wandered through the hallway and into the living room.
‘That’s where you’re wrong. You are the only one who endangered your lives. I had nothing to do with that. You choose to work for Terence Blackwood long before I even met you. And finding you was simple. I’m exceptional at what I do, so how could I not know where to find you?’
Sheri emerged cautiously from the bedroom and caught her husband’s eye.
‘I told you to stay in there no matter what,’ he snapped.
‘You said no one would be able to find us, Nick. If she was able to find us then so will people from your work.’ She hugged the emergency backpacks for comfort. Nick brushed past Eden and embraced his wife.
‘Calm down, Sheri,’ he softened his voice, ‘we’re leaving now so it doesn’t matter. None of it does.’
Ever the tactless and insensitive journalist, Eden went on the attack.
‘The young boy that I was telling you about when you phoned, Vincenzo Lucciano . . . I’m going to see his parents today. I’d like you to come with me.’
‘Not a chance,’ Nick replied without hesitation in an attempt to cut her off before she agitated Sheri any further. But it was too late.
‘What about Vinnie?’ Sheri pulled away from him and looked sternly at Eden.
‘He’s dead,’ the journalist replied coldly.
‘How? Was it because of Nick’s work?’
Eden saw her chance to manipulate Kent into assisting her to bring down the Blackwood empire.
‘I’m not sure what your husband did at Facility Five, but I do know that the boy died as a result of contracting something from contaminated debris that fell from the sky as a result of the explosions. I think it’s fair to say that Blackwood Research and Development killed him, don’t you Dr. Kent?’
Nick, stuck in the middle of two women discussing a dead child, knew he was in a no win situation. He couldn’t placate one of them without pissing off the other, only one of whom he knew well enough to understand the repercussions of her irritation.
‘You’re the one telling the story,’ he replied.
‘Oh Nick, you have to go with her to see Anna and Carlo. You can’t let them suffer alone. I’ll be fine here until you get back.’
‘No way am I putting our lives at risk for her,’ he pointed at the journalist and threw her a looked designed to kill. Eden Gross just smiled, knowing she had the great Dr. Nicholas Kent by the balls. Her instinct and talent for reading people had come in handy, as it tended to do with any confrontational situation. Kent would do whatever his wife wanted because he needed to keep her alive and happy. Sheri Kent was a wonderful bargaining tool for Eden.
‘Nick, you have to go with her. You’ve never been a company man. You told me that you took the job with Blackwood because you wanted to change the world for the better. We both knew it was completely idealistic, a beautiful dream. Well, now you do have a chance to change the world, maybe not the whole world, but the world of a one family.’
That’s right, Eden thought and her smile broadened, you’ve got him on his knees, stick the knife in and send him to me.
He wasn’t aware that Sheri had put the backpacks down until she took his face in her hands. His blindness to what was occurring within his immediate environment scared him: if he’d been that blind to Sheri putting the bags down, what had he missed at work?
‘Nick, you always do what’s right. You’re a man of integrity. Don’t let whatever is happening at Blackwood change that. Do what’s right here.’
Score! Eden had to stop herself from screaming out in glee. Kent was about to submit to the will of his wife, she could feel it.
‘If I do this, you need to go now. I want you out of here and on the road. You’re right. If she found us then Blackwood’s goons can too and I want you to be safe.’
* * * * *
Sheri Kent left the safe house half an hour before Nicholas and Eden left for the Lucciano residence. His insistence that she be on the move before he and Eden went anywhere near the dead boy’s family was a non-negotiable point, and Sheri couldn’t deny that whilst she was nothing short of terrified of leaving without him, she felt remarkably safer moving in the opposite direction to the Blackwood mess. He had promised that they would meet up as soon as he could get away, but the look in his eyes when after she kissed him goodbye told her otherwise.
He would speak with the Luccianos, give them the information that they’d need to undertake whatever they needed to do in order to get justice for their boy, and then Nicholas Kent would make his last stand against Blackwood Research and Development and its charismatic namesake, Terence Blackwood.
‘We’re going to die today, you know that, don’t you?’
Eden Gross did not respond to Nick’s question. She did not plan on letting Blackwood take any more lives, but if that’s what it took to get the world’s attention focussed on the corruption of the corporation and the man, then she thought that she might just be prepared to go to such lengths.
. . . To be continued . . .