May 18, 2012 1037 hours
“Hey, anything new?” Kowalski asked Skipper as he walked over to him. Skipper was on the canapé on his laptop.
“Not much, except we seem to be getting a new neighbor. Goes par ‘Elizabeth Shields’. I don’t trust her.”
“Why? toi haven’t even met her yet.”
“Because…she just moved to Manhattan and the last resident to that apartment moved out yesterday. This morning, here she is.”
“Skipper…you always jump to conclusions. Have toi ever even heard of this ‘Elizabeth Shields’?”
“No…but…” Skipper went deep in thought.
“It’s just…she just somehow looks familiar…” He had her profil up on the laptop, and was carefully examining her picture.
“You’re just paranoid Skipper.”
“What’s all this then?” Private asked entering the living room.
“Someone’s moving into the vacant apartment suivant door and Skipper’s paranoid.”
“Oh Skipper’s always paranoid.”
“Hey! I’m right here!”
(Kowalski) “Oh come now Skipper, can’t toi just give her a chance till toi get to know her?”
(Private) “Don’t toi think toi can be a little too paranoid sometimes Skipper?”
“That’s just what Manfredi and Johnson a dit back in ‘Nam. Who knew toi could be attacked par Indians in the jungle?”
“Whatever Skipper. But I still think we should give her a chance.” Kowalski a dit turning and going into the kitchen, where Rico was chopping up sushi while practicing his couteau tricks. He tossed one couteau in the air and caught it behind his back while chopping up sushi with his other hand at the same time.
“You know if toi cut your finger off one of these days don’t come cryin’ to me.” Kowalski told him grabbing a soda from the fridge. Rico gave him a look, then slammed his fist on the side of the cutting board, propelling seven knives into the air. Rico then started juggling them, catching them in front and behind himself, not even looking at his hands. As his finale, he caught six of the knives, three in each hand, and the seventh in his teeth.
“Showoff…” Kowalski muttered leaving the cuisine sipping the soda.
I finally arrived at the apartment. I unlocked the door with the key I was donné at the check-in desk, and brought my suitcases into the large room. I had no idea what was in the suitcases, which worried me. I was told not to open them until I arrived at the apartment. What was worse, I was told someone would be watching me…and I had no idea who ou where he was. I entered a small room and set the suitcases on the bed.
I opened the thinnest one. Inside I found a laptop, some headphones, and my files. In the pocket inside the lid, there was an envelope. I took it and opened it, emptying the contents into my hand. They were pictures. They had the names written on the back. The first one a dit ‘Skipper’. I looked at the suivant one: ‘Kowalski’. The third: ‘Rico’. And the fourth: ‘Private’. But there was also one more. My cœur, coeur seemed to stop, my breath catching in my throat…my eyes widening at the sight of my son.
Ryan…he was on the canapé that I woke up in…but that wasn’t what ticked me off. Hans was sitting suivant to him, his left arm around him, holding his shoulders. I could see the fear in Ryan’s eyes. Tears welled in my eyes. I looked on the back. It was Ryan’s handwriting. ‘HELP’ was written in capital letters. My hand closed tightly around the photo, balling it up. Anger welled up inside me…like a volcan about to erupt…no…EXPLODE. If Hans were here right now I don’t know if I’d be able to keep my hands from cutting off his air supply. If it wouldn’t of put Ryan’s life at stake…I would’ve karate chopped his sorry cul, ass halfway to China. If there’s anyone I feel like shoving this dagger into…it’s him. No one touches my son.
I put the photos back into the suitcase and open the case that looks plus like a duffle bag. Just clothes and an extra pair of shoes. Do I even want to know how he knows what size I wear now? After I put my clothes into drawers, I go out on the terrace for some fresh air. I lean against the railing, putting my face in my hands. I could feel myself on the verge of crying, but I held back. I couldn’t cry here. I had to be strong. If they get the slightest notion that I’m up to something who knows if I’ll ever get the job done. I haven’t even thought about what would happen if they figured me out. I picked my face up and crossed my arms, still leaning against the railing.
What if I fail? What will happen to Ryan? I couldn’t ours the thought of losing him. I looked up at the sky. Wherever he is…my only hope is that he’s okay. Unharmed. I felt something then…something I’d never felt before…something deep in my heart. I couldn’t quite describe it. It wasn’t a tight feeling…nor was it a soft ou loose feeling…or empty… I don’t know what I’m feeling right now ou why. All I knew is that whatever I had to do to save my son…I was gonna do it.
I heard something to my left, I turned…and there stood Private in the flesh. He looks a little bit different from his picture…or maybe that’s just me. “Um…I’m sorry to bother you…I’m Private…your neighbor. Is everything alright then? toi looked kind of deep in thought.” He spoke with a British accent. I haven’t heard an accent like that in eight years. I forced a smile. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little tired. Long drive here, ya know?” What else was I supposed to say? Hi. I’m Elizabeth Shields. I came all the way here to kill your friend to save my son so I feel a little down. Yeah…that sounds like a good idea.
“Yeah…I’ve had those long drives’ before. So where are toi from? That is if toi don’t mind my asking.” He leaned against the railing suivant to me, looking at me waiting for an answer. I remember the files I looked through on the drive here. “New Jersey. I came looking for work. I just applied at the le dîner, salle à manger downstairs. I figured I could make a few bucks while I’m looking.”
“That’s nice. So what do toi do?” What is this? Twenty questions? Kids… “I’m an architect.” At least I didn’t have to lie about that. I actually was an architect before…well toi know.
“Wow! That’s amazing! toi must get paid an awful lot!”
“Yes, I suppose I do.” I a dit fake smiling. I wasn’t mad at the kid for asking so many questions…he doesn’t know anything about my needing to shove a dagger through his friends’ heart. So it’s not like he knows he’s killing me right now.
“Cool! Well…I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I’d better get back in to my friends. I’ll see toi around then?” plus than toi think if I can get to Kowalski. “Yeah. Sure.” I continued wearing that fake smile till he entered his apartment. I then turned and re-entered mine.
(No one’s POV)
“Hey guys!” Private a dit as he walked happily up to Skipper. “Guess what?”
“I don’t do guessing games.” Skipper a dit nonchalantly.
“Fine. I just met our new neighbor!”
“You did WHAT!?” Skipper exclaimed.
“What? I saw her out on the terrace and went to say hello! There’s nothing wrong with that!”
“Private…you know you’re not supposed to just go talking to complete strangers unsupervised.”
“And what do toi think she would’ve done to me?”
“Anything’s possible Private. What did toi two talk about?”
“Nothing much. I told her we were the neighbors and…um…she told me she’s looking for a position in architecture. That’s about it.”
“Well Private…next time don’t go talking to strangers without one of us. Understood?”
“Yeah…understood. But she seemed really nice though.”
“Yeah, your key word is there. ‘Seem’. Remember everything isn’t always as it seems.”
“Yes sir.” Private a dit sitting on the couch. Kowalski sat suivant to him.
“So what’d she look like?”
“She has brown hair in a bun style…green eyes…and is just shorter than toi par about four ou five inches. She’s really nice Kowalski. I think we all might become good Friends if she plans on staying for a while.”
“Yeah…maybe. Just be careful. toi never know who some people really are.”