He pushed it open. The white door fell back slowly, and he still hesitated for a moment. The high ceilinged front hall look empty, though the ostentatious chandelier was on, shining on the hardwood floors.
Then he strode right in and slammed the door behind.
He walked down the hallway towards the great room. When he walked in, the kitchen lights were off, but down two steps into the living room, one lamp was on. The curtains over the big French doors were closed. The room was mostly unfurnished, Elijah had been working in selling the place. But sitting on the leather couch he saw a man. The back was towards him, so all Elijah saw in the dim was the back of the man’s grey head.
Elijah stood still for a moment, waiting for the man to say something, stand up, turn around. But he didn’t. Elijah dropped his backpack on the ground, purposefully loud, and walked over to the pantry, wondering if had left any food over there.
Elijah didn’t turn any lights on. He left it dark, dark like the woods were outside. He opened the fridge and found that he had left some deli meat and ice tea, nothing else. He took a few slices of the meat and thumped the bottle of tea down on the counter, while staring across the room at the back of the man’s head.
“Are you hungry?” he asked, a bit tauntingly. He popped the bottle off the iced tea. There was still no movement or answer from the man. The silence unnerved Elijah more than his presence.
He took a swig of the tea and stuffed the deli meat in his mouth.
“Well, I’m leaving,” he said. “Nice seeing you.”
He picked up his bag and slung it back over his shoulder. He walked down the hallway towards the door. He heard the couch creak as the man stood up.
Elijah went to open the door. He had his hand on the knob.
“I wouldn’t open that door,” the man said. Elijah didn’t turn around to see his face. He opened the door. A gun clicked.
Elijah didn’t move for a moment. He could see the open night before him. He could get out, but he might get shot first.
He closed the door. Then he immediately turned around.
The man who faced him was holding a gun, and his hair was grey. He was around Elijah’s own height, maybe a bit shorter. He was older, but he was lean, and didn’t look worn down. He wore a simple button up shirt with slacks. Too dressed up, Elijah thought.
He lowered the gun once Elijah turned around.
“Well, won’t you come back inside?” the man asked. He started walking back down the hall. Elijah fidgeted for a moment, and then followed.
“So,” he started. He dropped he back pack down again. “Did Adrian know you were here?”
He watched as the man walked back over to the couch. He didn’t sit down though. He went to the middle of the room and stood there, back faced to Elijah. He folded his arms.
“She just did what she was told,” the man answered.
“And who was she told by, you?”
The man looked back over his shoulder.
“I’m not officially supposed to be here,” he said.
“Yeah, well, I don’t think my plane was officially supposed to be shot down, either.” Elijah walked up and slumped down on the couch and crossed his legs. It was still his house, and he wasn’t going to act like it wasn’t.
“So why are you here, then?” he asked. “To warn me? Kidnap me?”
“Do you think you can always escape us like you did in the jungle?”
“Why are you after me?” Elijah knew why, but he wanted to hear it from them. Whoever them really was.
“We’re not after you,” the man answered. He faced towards him now. “We’re after the Raptor.”
“You already a few vials of my blood, what else do you need?”
The man took a few steps back and sat down on a dark wood coffee table. It looked even darker in the scarce light.
“You know you weren’t very thorough in clearing out your basement,” he said. “We found traces of lab equipment. What was it for? We found empty blood vials in the dumpster.”
Elijah made a face.
“I study biochemistry,” he shrugged.
“So who’s blood was in those vials?”
“I think you can guess.”
The man stood up. He walked over to the back door, and drew aside some of the drapes. Elijah watched him carefully, especially the hand with the gun.
“You see, we got into this house the moment you set off for India. Finding all the lab equipment, we started drawing up theories. You’re studying yourself, you’re experimenting, or perhaps you created the Raptor. We were intending to find that out when we captured you in Chad. But looking over your files I’m inclined to believe the first theory.”
“That I’m what?”
“That you’re studying yourself.”
And he was right, but Elijah wasn’t going to tell him so.
“So what are you trying to say? That you’re in my side? Is that why you’re not supposed to be here?”
“I can give you a chance, if you’re willing to take it.”