Chapter 13: Enemy of the state
Richter hid underneath a tree across from the high school. He could see Agent Wilcox had been fortifying his impromptu surroundings. All entrances were guarded with at least one soldier, most with two. The cover of darkness and lack of activities at the school gave them unfettered access to the facility. He admired the quickness with which Wilcox was able to recover from ambush from the previous night.
He stripped down to just an undershirt and the military standard camouflage pants. He pulled out the rest of the uniform from his backpack and slipped into it. He put the rest of his clothes into the backpack, also a military standard issue. He zipped it up and stood up beneath the tree and took it all in one more time. Based on the shape of the building, he could see there was some large room with a high ceiling, he figured that is where they’d have what he had come for and what his clients were paying him to squander.
He put his pistol in the holster on his military toolbelt. He trained his eyes on the west side of the school where there was a door guarded by a lone soldier, shaded by an old oak tree. He decided that would be his entrance.
He walked through the parking lot like he was supposed to be there and came out from behind a Hummer and frightened the young soldier momentarily.
“I didn’t see you there!”
“Relax, private.” Richter said to him, stripping away as much of his accent as he could.
“I don’t know that I ever will again,” the young soldier said, “not after what we saw last night. I swear—”
Before the soldier could finish his train of thought, Richter had a knife in his heart and a hand over his mouth suppressing his screams for help. He wrestled the soldier to the ground and waited until there was confirmation he had drained all of the soldier’s life before dragging him behind the oak tree. He entered the door and held onto it until he could hear it had latched. He didn’t want it slamming and sending an echo down the halls of the school.
He could see a wealth of light coming from a wall of glass and he wasn’t sure what to expect, but he could see moving shadows on the wall adjacent to it. He didn’t want to take on so many soldiers so early; otherwise he’d struggle to get what he came for. He stepped up to the windows and looked inside. It was the cafeteria, all lit up. There were bodies in body bags, others not yet packaged. He also saw people laying on tables, struggling and writhing in pain, clearly overtaken with some ailment. There was one man who began to struggle with a doctor in a lab coat who was trying to administer a drug to him from a needle. That’s when Richter noticed all the people were tied down to the cafeteria tables. Across the neck, arms, hands, waist, thighs, and shins. They didn’t want the patients getting loose. Richter had seen some weird, and even inhumane sights in his days, but even this was a bit strange by American standards. He might expect something like this in the middle east, but to witness the Americans strapping their own citizens in and forcing them to stay put—sometimes even until they died in pain—was well beyond what he’d seen them accomplish. It was depraved even by his standards, and his standards were lower than most.
He spotted Wilcox walking with an older man he didn’t recognize, someone in civilian’s clothes, a suit. The man seemed to be boasting based on his posture and facial expressions. Even without hearing him speak and at the distance between them, Richter could tell he didn’t like the man. He noted that Wilcox was barely even noticing the man’s presence as he looked over the chaotic and bloody site in the cafeteria. He watched as the doctor finally achieved success with the needle. The patient choked and gagged, kicked and screamed. He thrashed harder than most men. So much so the soldiers stepped back in fright. They all watched the patient thrash and thrash until he coughed up blood and died.
Wilcox turned around and spoke to the older man finally. The older man looked around confused and offered a response that Wilcox clearly didn’t want to hear. He gestured to a few soldiers who stepped forward and gunned down the older man point blank.
From the floor, the older man yelled, “I’m mayor of this city! You hear me! You need me! You don’t know this city like I know this city! I’ve lived here my whole damned life! I am this city!”
The soldiers gave him six more shots. The mayor was dead.
Richter smirked to himself, because the cover up was afoot. Wilcox was tying up loose ends. That meant he didn’t have much time. They were likely waiting on an escort of some kind to arrive before heading down the road once more. He figured they must be nearby, if he was already snuffing out loose ends. Richter had to move quickly. He remembered that hummer outside, it would have to do, if he could fit the dang thing inside.
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