Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chapter 26

Storms in Seattle are unlike anything you’ve ever seen unless you have actually been to the Emerald City. The wind blows, the sky falls, and the ocean devours the coastline like a rabid beast. Such it was on this day as I walked around the inner complex of Veritas Incorporated. I could go anywhere on the property; just not past the gates. I could even walk along the beach if I wanted. I guess Raiden didn’t worry about me swimming away. Can’t say he needed to; I hate swimming. I prefer to watch the fury of the ocean more than I like getting swallowed by it. This is what I was doing on this day, watching the waves. I enjoyed the violence of the sea; somehow the chaos made me feel at home. I almost didn’t notice the rain.

I heard someone calling my name, but I paid it no attention. If they wanted me than they could come to me. The footsteps drew closer at a brisk pace. The person was taller than average, judging by the length of stride. More than likely it would be Raiden. He knew where to find me if I wasn’t inside. He slowed his pace, coming up beside me.

“Think you could have picked a spot with some cover from the rain?” He asked.

“Then people would think their company was actually welcome. What do you want?”

“Now, Jared. Let’s not be hostile. How are you feeling today?”

“What are you, blind? I’m standing alone in the middle of a storm by an ocean that would just as soon swallow the world as pay me any mind. In other words, I am feeling peachy.”

“I know you hate this, but you need it. You need to slow down, Jared. Get your mind back in control. I need you in the game. I need you in control. This is the best thing for you right now.”

“Tell that to my niece in Chicago. The one that you are supposedly trying to help. The one that started wilting last night.”

“What? How did you hear that? That’s news to me…” Raiden looked genuinely concerned.

“I watched the news.”

“Really? I wouldn’t think that Trystix would let that kind of thing leak to the media.”

“He wouldn’t. He fired her personal doctor yesterday, and the good doctor decided to spill some secrets. Apparently, Trystix also has the fever. He’s had it for months. But he doesn’t show any symptoms, nor does he let it slow him down. The doctor thinks he might have something in his genetics that keeps it from progressing. The doctor also thinks Trystix was close to some sort of cure, but was angry the doctor couldn’t save Lena. He said he just ran out of time.”

“And so staring at the sea makes you feel better?”

“Doesn’t make me feel worse.”

“I’m sorry, my friend.” He sounded completely honest.

“I don’t need your sympathy.” I was starting to get irritated with this conversation.

“I know, but still I give it willingly. I can’t imagine how that feels; to lose your sister and your niece so close together.”

“Lena’s not dead yet.”

“It won’t be long. If she’s wilting, the fever will take her soon. You should be glad she won’t suffer much longer.”

I flinched at the thought, as if I’d been stabbed in the heart. I turned and looked Raiden in the eyes.
“Is there a reason you came out here? Or did you just really feel the need to piss me off?”

“She’s dying, Jared. You should accept it. It is her fate; nothing can change it. I’m sorry, but that is the reality of it.”

“Thanks. I appreciate the reality check. You’re a dick.” I'd officially had enough from Raiden.

I turned to walk away, only to have Raiden grab my shoulder and stop me. His grip was firm, authoritative. But at the same time, it was sympathetic. He looked into my eyes for a moment, sadness written on his face. I could see the wheels turning in his head; he did have another motivation for braving the storm. His nearly perfect face showed lines of worry and concern, and yet he still looked youthful and ambitious. I wondered for a moment what those ambitions had to do with me.

“Jared, I’m not trying to be cold. I feel for you. My heart bleeds for you. But you mustn’t let this cloud your thoughts. If you let your emotions rule your mind, you will never have your vengeance. Your justice. Use this pain as an accelerant to your ambition. The time is drawing near. I trust you will be ready when you are called upon?” Man, Raiden was irritating today...

“And what, exactly, do you have in mind for me to do? Play this waiting game for another month?”

“No, my friend." He said. "Not a month. Another week, perhaps.”

“ A week. Fine. And I still don’t get to know what it is you have in mind?”

“You’ll know when the time is right. Trust me. It will be worth your patience.”

With that statement, Raiden turned and started walking back to the complex. He had a swagger about him these days. Had I not wanted to strangle him for what he’d said about my niece, I may have been impressed with his resolve. He had a plan. One he felt was worth keeping to himself. One he continually was testing me for. One that he was proud of. He had hinted time and time again that I would have my vengeance, but only when the time was right. He was testing my patience, and he knew how much I hated waiting. Perhaps this was part of his game; making sure I was patient enough not to go rogue again. I wasn’t planning on it, but then again, I hadn’t planned on it the first time.

Raiden always seemed to know what he was doing, and he probably knew how pissed off he was making me. He knew the buttons to push to irritate me, but he only did it when he had reason. Lena was dying; there wasn’t anything either of us could do about it. Trystix having the fever didn’t surprise me much; I’d already guessed at that. But having to watch that little girl wither away could take him faster than his own sickness. He would be emotional, irrational even. Perhaps that was Raiden’s game; to wait for Trystix to make a stupid, illogical decision fueled by his grief. Then he could capitalize on it. It was a good plan. It was callous and inhuman, but it was solid. Raiden was truly made of stone.

I looked out over the heaving waves. The storm in the real world was nothing compared to the storm in my soul. I shivered a little; standing in the rain could make one get a little cold. But I would have to be a lot more cold than this if I wanted my vengeance. I had fill my veins with ice, otherwise I would be nothing but a fugitive. I steadied my thoughts, strengthened my resolve. I would be ready. I would be prepared. Raiden wanted me to be a weapon, not an animal. It was then that I decided that I would be both. But I wouldn’t bare my teeth until the right moment. And when that moment came, there would be no one that could stop me. Raiden wasn’t the only one with a mind for this game.

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