Little bird finally flew the coop
They’d lost her.
He didn’t want to call it in but he had no choice. She looked different, but it was her. She’d cut her hair and she wore a plain pair of jeans and t-shirt.
Before she’d been Trina but the woman he saw earlier was different. It made him nervous because she’d changed the pattern. He couldn’t predict what she was going to do next. He didn’t like that, especially considering who the target was. Liza had invented patterning. She’d created the rules, and now she was breaking them. Not good at all. She’d been playing them all along just like the Mastermind said.
He had to make a decision and fast.
This was a small town, she’d have to show up eventually, but she’d made them look like a couple of amateurs.
Two minutes was all she needed to disappear, and she’d gotten ten. Finding the vehicle was easy. They just followed the signal from the black box attached beneath the car but they were already too late.
They searched the store, but she was nowhere to be seen.
Once they’d regrouped and made it back to the car, he’d had no choice but to call it in. After all he was led so it was his responsibility.
“We have her vehicle in sight, but the subject is nowhere to be found.”
“So, our little bird finally flew the coop.”
“Yes, sir. We can stay with the vehicle sir, await her return.”
“No, return to your post and await my word,” the Mastermind said, then the line went dead.
Taking his black shades off, he stared at the phone. That was it?
He stuck the key in his ignition. Rage ignited within him. She’d made him look stupid, incompetent, worse because it was in front of Him. He hoped for her sake that he wasn’t the one that found him. In screwing him over, she screwed herself. With her recent behavior no one at Central would blame him if she ended up with a hole in her head, not even the Mastermind.
Mastermind laid his phone on his desk. He was disappointed but not surprised. He’d been expecting this. He was surprised it hadn’t happened sooner. The fact that the agents he assigned to Liza were still alive surprised him more.
His problem was her going completely silent on him. He believed there was a reason for everything a person did, but Liza had shut him out.
She’d broken patterns, and it had him worried. What was going through her head? He wasn’t sure and that concerned him. As long as he was left guessing it would end up forcing his hand, and he had a heavy hand. With her he would have to because there would be no second chances.
The agents losing her was expected considering who they were following, but the fact that they’d followed her for this long was concerning. Why had she allowed it? What changed? Why lose them now? What was she up to?
He’d given her the time she’d asked for and then she’d run from him.
She’d disappeared and then she’d surfaced in the last place he’d ever expected her to return to. He’d been so careful. He’d put so much work into making her into the woman she was and now it seemed she was doing everything she could to destroy that. It was like she was throwing everything he’d given her back in his face.
When she’d come to him a dirty scrap of a girl with a string of misfortune trailing behind her he’d cleaned her off and taught her everything he knew- well, almost everything.
Everything he’d thrown at her she’d taken in stride and not just survived but thrived. By the end of every test he’d created specifically for her she had always been the last one standing.
He’d pushed her harder than he’d pushed anyone else. So hard there were times he’d thought she wouldn’t recover. In fact, there were times he purposely tried to break her but it only made her stronger. She was special. She was the daughter he’d never had.
He would give her some time. She was his greatest creation. However, to let her go wasn’t an option either. He’d never let her go. She had to know that.
When he’d first learned of where she’d gone, he hoped it was a coincidence.
He’d stepped to the sidelines, but he was always aware of where she was. That is until she slipped off from under his radar. He saw that he’d given her too much freedom. That would change. Now that he’d found her, he wasn’t going to ever make the mistake of letting go of the reins again.
He wouldn’t have her picked up- not yet. He’d let her kick around the small town for a little while longer. Then right when she thought she was safe and he knew all she knew then he would remind her of her place.
By then he wouldn’t have to say anything. By then he would know what she was searching for, and just how to make sure she never got it- ever. She would be begging to return to him, and only then would he let her back into the fold.
She would be his again.
Until then he’d watch and wait in the wings. Waiting for her to realize where she really belonged was with him. She was Central, and always would be.
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Synchronicity means nothing if you can’t read the signs.
The ground was dry and solid beneath the blanket of dead leaves. It felt good to run. Liza covered several miles easily before she slowed down. The area was desolate but it was the reason she’d chosen it.
Once she left the paved roads behind, she wasn’t worried about being followed. The dense overgrowth hid her from view.
Every step Liza took felt natural as her memory opened and allowed in a flood of memories.
Running through the fallen leaves there was nothing but the quiet of the forest to keep her company. She’d been there before. Each step was imprinted in her brain and it all came back like the first kiss of rain before a storm.
Dates and time were fuzzy, but she was getting closer to knowing everything. It didn’t always make sense but that was okay. Eventually the pieces would link up. She just needed a little more time.
The sound of birds chirping echoed through the woods. It was undeveloped land but there were signs that someone had been there before and recently.
Although it was isolated, Liza wasn’t fearful. If anything, she felt anxious to get to her destination. It was that same feeling she always got on a mission. The synchronicity was returning just like it always did. Every job had a flow she just had to find it. She didn’t know everything but when she needed something it would appear like magic.
When Liza came to a hill, she already knew it had a sharp drop off on the other side. Once she’d made it over, she scaled her way down to the red dirt trail of gravel and dry mud heading further west.
The path was large enough for a small vehicle to pass through, but no cars had been out here only a golf cart. The memory stopped Liza in her tracks. The only vehicle that had been through these woods was a golf cart she’d stolen months ago. She remembered because she used it to carry some supplies from the main road. With the memory her steps quickened.
Although she couldn’t see it, Liza knew the highway was about ten miles off to her right, but she also knew it wasn’t the best way to come in- not now since she had people following her.
In a slight clearing, Liza came upon a wall of moss and hanging vines. The moss ran up about six feet high intertwining with the dark leaves and vines hanging from three large trees in a circle. Liza reached through the damp foliage until she felt the solid structure beneath it.
Once she found the latch she pulled, and the door creaked open. Liza pushed her way into the through into the darkness into her safehouse.
Once in, Liza pulled the door shut enclosing herself in darkness. The flashlight was still in the groove in the wall just where she left it.
Turning it on I had enough light to see several kerosene lamps hanging from the ceiling. I lit one, but then remembered I could do better. Using the flashlight, I went to the back of the room.
Crouching down she felt for the switch on the generator she knew was there. As soon as she flipped the switch the interior of the camper lit up.
Exhaling, Liza took a few seconds taking it all in from ceiling to floor. It wasn’t very big but it served its purpose. There was a bed in the corner, a couple of coolers stacked next to it with a hot plate on top. There was a small table stacked high with books, papers and folders.
Next to it was a smaller table with a briefcase on it. In the corner several steel boxes stacked. Everything was neat and orderly just as she’d left it.
She remembered more and more with each passing second but something nagged that she was missing something. There was one last block and no matter how much she wanted to leap over it her feet remained stuck to the ground.
The walls were covered with trash bags to black out the windows. The only light came from a string of exposed light bulbs that were strung throughout the room.
The cooler was empty but there were several cans of beans and potted meat in the locker. There were also several jugs of water stacked along the back wall.
She didn’t have a lot of time before she had to get back to the Davenports, but she didn’t want to leave just yet. If she was going to find answers, it would be here. She just wondered if she’d be able to accept the answers I got.
Liza was foraging through the cabin when a noise outside stopped her. Immediately she turned the light switch off and the room instantly darkened.
Taking her flashlight, Liza inched across the room to the back once more certain of the lay out of the room. She touched the wall pressing her hand behind a plank of wood.
Moving it to the side she found the ladder. Propping it against the wall, she climbed it and pulled back a latch. Sliding the panel back sunlight immediately filtered in.
Pulling herself through the hole she’d made she climbed on the camper’s roof. Covered by hanging moss Liza slid on her stomach to the front of the camper. Pulling her gun from her waistband she looked down. She saw a couple of stray dogs sniffing around at the opening of the camper. She saw no one else. Liza took in the view of the perimeter preparing to climb down when spotted a tiny little black box with a lens no bigger than her thumb attached to the roof. It blended well within several hanging vines. Before she closed the hatch, she spotted three words carved on the white interior, and the last puzzle piece clicked into place.
All is well.
Climbing back into the camper, Liza knew what she needed. Watching the time, she searched a little longer then made her way through the woods back to the Walmart. She did some shopping, then collected her car. She would return, but she had all the information she needed for now. She knew her mission.