Memory is a Fragile Thing, Part 2

TREBZON

The breeze is welcome, salted like caramel should be, and the sounds of Trebzon are absorbed into the walls of this hotel room. I lay back on the bed and let the perspiration pool on my forehead and
cool me. My fingers reach out and touch the twin Sigs on the nightstand. Suddenly, I’m furious.

I jolt upright, stand, and rush to the curtains. I rip them from the wall, and quickly I begin tearing at them, ripping them, shredding them with my hands, leaving strips of white muslin gathering into puddles on the floor.

I devolve into sobbing.

And it passes. I retreat back to the bed and reach out once more to my pistols. They are but bits of metal. Eventually, I realize they will return once again to the Earth.

In the corner of the room, the hinged box beckons.

###

“In his room.”

“So the procedure worked.”

“9 out of 10 times.”

“I don’t like those odds, Rafe.”

“You don’t have to. If he fails, he dies.”

“And we start over.”

###

I open the box, which is of recent design, metal, heavy, and find inside yellowing leafs of paper inscribed with Cyrrilic, which isn't concerning. I place the paper on the bed next to me and continue to dig through the box. There is a manila folder, unopened, several stacks of euro, and a Beretta 9 mm.

The folder contains photos of Dimitri Vaslov. I don't know him, but I passed over his name on the papers, which I reach for and scan.

Dimitri,

You'll find your payment here. Two weeks. Sevastopol.

-H

###

“1 minute 33.68.01.”

“Outstanding.”

“I had Dr Weimar complete the same puzzle.”

“Result?”

“5 minutes 54.97.18.”

“So we’re confident he’ll succeed.”

“Of course.”

“Do we know where he is?”

“The fact that we don’t means he’s succeeding.”

###

8 minutes 16 seconds later and my duffle bag is packed, my pistols strapped to my back, and my coat on. I leave $16 American on my nightstand and exit to the street. It’s 0240. There is a group of teenagers gathered around a shop’s “Closed” neon light. They watch me as I stride to the boat with the single bell. I cannot have witnesses.

I step onto the boat, turn around, and fire four shots.

In three hours, I’ll arrive south of Sevastopol.

-JR Simmang

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