He stood for a few minutes, in the foyer. He had turned only one light on, and the rest of the penthouse was grey and shadowy. But everything was as he had left it. His boots by the door, the books and magazines strewn over the coffee table and couch, and the curtains drawn over the porch doors. Everything was waiting for him to return, two weeks from now. Now he walked in like a ghost. He was supposed to be after all.
He unzipped his hoodie and wandered over towards the porch, then he continued towards the kitchen. He still didn’t turn any lights on. But he stopped by the phone sitting on the counter.
One new message.
He pressed to listen to it.
Hi, it’s Adrian. His pulse skipped a beat. I know you’re not going to get this till you get back, but I wanted to tell you…we need to talk. You haven’t called me lately, and last week was our little anniversary. Ten years. Just call me. I hope you have a good time in India.
He grabbed the phone, then set it down again. What are you going to tell her?
“You shouldn’t call her,” someone said.
Elijah jumped and turned on the light.
There was a man seated at his table. Grey hair, a nice business suit, like someone Elijah should have been meeting with in India.
“Who are you?” Elijah asked. His hands were clenched into fists.
“My name is Stanford. I think I can help you,” the man answered.
“The Correlation is going to come back for you.”
“You work for them?”
Stanford hesitated. “Yes.”
“Then get out of here,” Elijah said.
“It’s not going to work out that way.”
Elijah rushed over to him and grabbed him back the shoulders. Stanford started to get up, but Elijah flexed talons out of his fingertips and threw him back down. Stanford didn’t move under the cold claws close to his neck.
“Listen,” Elijah said. “You tell your boss that we’re done. They have what they want. I’ve told them everything. They know everything. They got all the blood they want. And if they come back looking for me, they’re not going to find me. You understand? We’re done. No more killing people to get me. Cause if they do, they’re going to answer for it.”
Elijah paused for a moment.
“That won’t fly,” Stanford said.
“No irony please. It’s time to leave.” Elijah grabbed him by the coat and stood him up. Elijah started leading him out of the kitchen.
“They might be right about you,” Stanford said.
“Right about what?”
“That you’re dangerous and that you shouldn’t be free.”
Elijah stopped in front of the door. He turned around to face Stanford.
“That’s the plan, is it? Then tell me why you killed all those people.”
“Do you want to stop the killing? Then you have to trust me and let me solve this for you.”
Elijah opened the door and motioned him out. Stanford was silent for a moment and didn’t move.
“They put a tracking device in you,” Stanford said under his breath. Then he walked out. Elijah closed the door and pressed his hands against it, suddenly out of breath.
They know where I am. They’re going to know everything. He shuddered and gasped.
He stepped away from the door. He took a rushed shower, and afterwards inspected every inch of himself. But it wasn’t till he got dressed that he noticed a small scar on his neck. It had never been there before. That was where the tracking device was, in a place they knew would be too dangerous for him to touch. He viscously hit the mirror. It cracked. He ignored the pain in his arm and walked out.
He went to the porch and flung open the doors. He ran out and jumped up onto the railing. He was on the highest level, all the floors were below him. The air was warm and a strong breeze came hurling past. He spread out his arms in preparation to spread his wings. He didn’t.
No. I have to get it out. I will get it out.
He jumped down from the railing, back onto the porch. It was work for a surgeon, which he wasn’t. It was work for someone who wouldn’t tell, who wouldn’t question. He knew some physicians, but no one he could trust. He had never even been to the doctor’s or the hospital for that reason since he was a child.
You have only two friends, he told himself. I think it’s time to tell Adrian.