Joined: 29 Jun 2012
|Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:02 pm Post subject: Winter, part eight
|The Hardware Store, and a dying Winter
(WINTER! Where have you been!)
The voice rang out in Belarusian.
(I was shot, injured. Surely, you heard, Ivan.)
Winter replied, submissive, realizing at any moment she could be recalled and interrogated. Interrogation was not usually something one came back from. Especially not one of her kind. Winter would use her training against her country, making up a story about passing out, about forcing someone to tend to her, where she killed them later to explain away her time with Dave. And they would torture her anyway... To try to detect a crack in her words. Cutting her, forcing her head underwater. Beating her, whipping her. Breaking her. But she would endure it. The memory of this gruff human still burning deep in her heart as she closed her eyes and continued to speak.
(Yes, we know all about it. That doesn't explain where you have been... That doesn't matter. Do you have the information?)
(Yes, I have the requested information.) Softly, submissive.
(Good, Winter, take it to house number five. House number five. Do you copy?)
(Good, You have done a fine job. Your next mission will be easy. They will tend to your wounds in house number five. Be well.)
(Thank you, Ivan.) All business. Like a machine.
Winter hung up the payphone, which had a secret fiber optic encoded tap directly to the Belarus consulate in the United States. Winter winced as she felt the wound fight her movement when she forgot it was there. She felt the warm blood begin to pool on her back, Winter donning her thick coat, which would prevent it from being seen at least for the time being.
Safe house number Five was deep in New York. It was actually a place that sold gardening tools, and was so overpriced nobody ever really shopped there. Deep in it's cellar lied a sophisticated communications network, linked directly with Belarus. Winter took a cab, using her supplied expense cards to pay for the hundred mile trip.
When she arrived there, she was feeling quite weak. She had left a pool of blood in the back seat of the cab, something she realized was probably the cleanest thing back there, according to her nose.
“Do... You have a transfer shovel, five pound, four foot handle?” Winter said as the man behind the counter looked past her for anyone else who might be in the tiny shop, then when he was satisfied, said: “Come with me.” He led Winter into a back room where she nearly passed out, an infection setting in from the poorly tended wound- a result, she knew, of leaving Dave's care.
“Please... I can't go much further...” Winter pleaded with the man who turned around, an enraged look in his eyes as he grabbed her muzzle tightly, the man spitting at her as he spoke: “You will do what you're told!” He shouted, then pointed down a set of stairs as winter submitted, her ears going flat against her head, her eyes going soft, all of the will draining from out of them, her head nodding as her eyes closed in agony.
“Go!” the man said, pushing Winter, who winced as his hand pushed her wound. Winter almost fell down the stairs as she began to cough, small red droplets of blood collecting on the end of her white muzzle.
Winter turned her head and nodded softly to the man- she did not want him to think she was being disrespectful.
The man disappeared through the hidden door, which unlocked the main door, the gardening tools thick with a dust that was never wiped off, only adding to the unattractiveness of the store. Yet... The rent and utilities were faithfully paid, every month. And raised rent was never protested. Ever.
Winter made her way down the stairs, almost stumbling, her hand tightly grasping the rail as she almost fell forward, the forward momentum of nearly falling seeming like it carried with it the darkness of losing consciousness, but Winter called up on the training she had had, which had often brought her so close to death. Winter always thought they were just being cruel to her- but now that she felt so cold, so tired, she knew- it was keeping her alive.
The basement was warm with solid state telecommunications equipment, their exhaust fans blowing the heat in the room, nobody in there wearing more than a tshirt, though it was January outside. Winter staggered down the remaining steps and walked up to Mr. Popov- she never knew his first name and doubted anyone else did, either.
“Sir, I..” Winter began to say when he held up a finger, his eyes glued to a screen. “Sir...” Winter said softly, risking recall, which would mean the end of her career- and her life.
Winter's eyes went soft, hoping that the pain in them, the desperate pleading that was warm in her eyes would reach Mr. Popov, but she hoped in vain. Winter collapsed, the tip of her muzzle smacking into the top of the backrest of the chair Mr. Popov sat in, the angry, fat man, reaching behind him trying to slap her as she fell, Mr. Popov thinking she was trying to play a joke on him.
“Huh!” Mr. Popov said, kneeling down next to the collapsed Naakaanee, motioning for some men to help him pick her up, the blood dripping from her jacket onto the cold, uncured cement. Several men locked eyes on the white female Naakaanee, but overcoming their nervousness to grab her arms and legs, carrying her heavy frame to another room, a room with no windows.
Winter awoke to see men with masks shining lights in her eyes, her body too weak to fight back, her mind too confused and tired to care. They were speaking her language, which was a comfort to her. But as she lapsed back into unconsciousness, she heard one ask if they had Naakaanee blood of her type. Then she heard someone say (“No.”) And then she passed out.