Mystery Science Fiction spy invisibility


By Shane Halbach · Mar 4, 2019
5,431 words · 20-minute reading time

Car with Golden and Yellow bokeh

Photo by Arisa Chattasa via Unsplash.

From the author: When a criminal suspect is murdered by an invisible assassin, who better to get to the bottom of it than an invisible secret agent?

Rachel stood in the corner of the dirty room that served as a defacto bedroom for the two men who occupied the apartment. She had been in more or less the same spot for almost 48 hours.
Fareed Nadir was talking rapidly in Arabic into a disposable cell phone. Rachel didn’t speak Arabic, but she didn’t need to. Fareed was planning something. Something big and bad.
Rachel glanced toward the front door for the millionth time. Fareed’s brother Hassan would come back eventually. When he did, if she was standing in exactly the right place, she might have a chance to slip out the door before she was noticed.
She began to edge silently toward the door. There were no rugs to muffle her footsteps. The apartment was only inhabited in the technical sense of the word. There was no furniture, not even beds. Only clothes, an old stove and refrigerator, and some dirty blankets for sleeping. It was a temporary location, a staging area, and it could be completely emptied in minutes if need be.
Before Rachel had even crossed the room, Hassan entered through the front door, closing and locking it behind him. Rachel returned to the corner. She’d missed her chance, but there’d be others. She wasn’t worried. (Can I even feel worried anymore? If I’ve lost that, then what else have I lost?)
Hassan walked to the bedroom, and his brother acknowledged him with a nod before returning to his conversation. He removed a handgun from the waistband of his khakis and set it carefully on the floor before kicking his loafers into the corner of the room. He turned back around and froze in place.
His handgun rose from the floor seemingly of its own accord and hovered at chest level, pointing at him.
He had time to shout and put his arm up before the gun fired twice into his chest, throwing him backwards into the wall. He slid down to the floor, his eyes wide, leaving a long, dark smear of blood.
Rachel dropped to the floor like a lead weight. Stray bullets had a habit of going where you least expected them. (How is this possible? Am I imagining this? Am I doing this?) She curled up in a ball, trying to make herself as tiny as possible.
The gun turned and fired again, catching Fareed twice in the back before he even had time to turn around.
Rachel opened her mouth, trying to pop her ears. She watched the gun hover at the back of Fareed’s head, delivering one final deathblow before moving on and doing the same to Hassan. Finally, the gun dropped to the floor in between the two bodies, as lifeless as they were.
Rachel held her breath, not daring to move a muscle. After a few seconds, the lock on the front door turned and the door opened and shut. Rachel’s breath came out in a whoosh as she sat up and leaned back against the wall.
She’d never been happier to be invisible in her entire life.

It had been almost twenty years since Rachel had last been seen. She was over forty now (what would my face look like? Would I recognize myself?), but she could still remember the cold ceramic on her bare back, the smell of charred flesh, the feeling of power and disorientation as her consciousness leapt from her body like a falcon soaring on the thermals generated by the enormous dynamos buried under C-building. The only thing she could no longer remember about the last day of her life was the sense of purpose she had felt as she climbed in the A-tube. She could only remember remembering it, like a story someone told her about someone else.
She had stood in a room with nineteen other lost souls, wearing street clothes for the last time. (What did it feel like to wear clothes? Oh God, I can’t remember. Why do I even need to remember?) They had sat through a final presentation that none of them had really paid attention to, and when the lights snapped on she hadn’t been the only one to jump.
There had been a graduation ceremony immediately after, even though there was nobody to attend besides the members of Class One. They sat in their folding chairs and Major Spanner gave a speech. Afterwards they had raised their right hands together and said the oath.
“I, Rachel Neelam, do swear to protect these United States and their people from any and all who would do them harm. I freely give my life in this. I protect those who don’t know I exist. I am everywhere and nowhere. I am the watcher. I am the Unseen.”
There had even been champagne afterward, which Rachel had dutifully sipped in a vain attempt to drown the butterflies in her stomach. They had been led away one by one, and never seen again by anybody.
Hanging around waiting for doors to be opened was a skill Rachel had honed to perfection. There were many factors involved: the height and weight of the person opening the door, the speed at which the door closed, even loose fitting clothing or accessories like purses, which must not be bumped. Rachel had been doing it so long that it operated more as a gut feeling than a conscious decision. She could pick her mark with a single glance.
Inside HQ was a row of turnstiles with employees badging through to various offices and cubicles beyond. People put a lot of stock in turnstiles, but if you were invisible and quiet, you could usually just climb over the top or even take a less direct route over a desk or wall. She couldn’t pass through walls, but she found she never really needed to.
She rode the elevator up and down twice before a short woman in a pants suit got off on Rachel’s floor. Rachel could have pushed the button she needed when she was alone, but elevators often had cameras and you never knew who was watching. She would have done it if she had to, but she was not in a hurry. (Patience is a virtue. Was I patient before, or was that part of the package? Did I gain patience or lose impatience?)
Finally she walked down a hall, passing office doors on the left and purposeful looking business-people on the right, until she got to the one labeled, “Nicholas Denam, Deputy Director, Special Intelligence Unit.” The door was open, so Rachel entered without announcing herself. She looked around his office as a matter of principle, reading the top paper on a neat stack before seating herself in an empty chair.
She waited three minutes until he took a sip of his coffee.
“Good morning, Nick,” she said cheerfully, smiling as he almost fumbled his coffee into his lap. (Oh well, maybe next time.)
“What is wrong with you people?” he muttered as he stood and closed his door. He looked vaguely in Rachel’s direction.
“Who are you? Which one?”
“What’s that?”
She made an effort to strengthen her voice. “Rachel.”
“You all right, Rachel? You’re pretty small and echo-y today. Are you fading out on me?”
She frowned. (Is it still a frown if no one can see it? A tree in the woods.)
“I’m here,” she said firmly, trying to make it true. “All the way.”
“Good. Your country still needs you.”
Ah, the old touchstone, worn so smooth by so many retellings that the words had stopped meaning anything to Rachel a long time ago.
“What are you doing here? Did we have an appointment?”
It had probably been ten years since he had asked how she had gotten in unnoticed.
She answered, “One of the Unseen killed two people this morning. I thought you should know.”
Nick’s face went blank, all at once, like a door slamming shut. Only his eyes seemed alive. She had his attention.
“What are you talking about, Rachel? What did you hear?”
“This isn’t a rumor. I saw it with my own eyes.”
“Give me the whole story,” he said disbelief thick in his voice.
“Not much to tell. I was tailing Fareed Nadir. I was in his apartment. His brother Hassan came home with a tail of his own. Unseen. Two shots in Hassan’s chest, with Hassan’s own gun. Two in Fareed’s back. One more in each of their heads. Very professional.”
“Who was it? The rogue agent?”
“How should I know? I was hiding for my life.”
“You know all of them. All the ones that are left.”
(Precious few of us left. Precious few still managing to hold on. How much longer can I hold on?)
“None of us then.”
Nick leaned forward. “Speak up, you’re going soft around the edges again.”
“None of us would do it, and you know it.” She groped for words. “Something’s not right. We don’t...act. Just watch. It’s hard enough takes a certain amount of passion to kill someone. It’s too much.”
“Rachel, why were you tailing Fareed Nadir?”
“What do you mean? I was told...”
Rachel stopped. Her mind raced. She had gotten a call, like normal. Hadn’t the tip come from Nick’s office? Who had it come from?”
“I was doing what I was supposed to do,” she said instead. They were terrorists. They were planning something big.”
“Well, they’re not planning anything anymore, so that’s alright at least.”
Rachel was incredulous. Her voice was truly in focus for the first time.
“Are you kidding me? Our only leads are dead and we don’t know shit! What’s their organization, who’s involved? Who are their connections? Where is the hardware?”
“If the head is cut off, the body will wither and die.”
“The head was cut off before we could even see what the body looked like. Before we even knew it if was the head at all!”
“Look, don’t worry about it. I’ll handle it. What’s done is done. The important thing is to find out who the rogue agent is. You’ll just have to find a new terrorist to follow around.”
Rachel stood up from her chair, walked to the door and opened it. She wasn’t getting any answers, only more questions.
Talking to people was so rarely worth the effort.
After she opened the door, Rachel remained in Nick’s office, standing silently in the corner next to a large picture window with an excellent view of the city. She watched the people and cars below while she waited.
Nick fiddled with things on his desk and pretended to be busy while watching the room out of the corner of his eye. Periodically, he would freeze in place and listen as hard as he could. Sure enough, after less than ten minutes, Nick hurried to his door and closed it before picking up the phone on his desk.
People were always so sure they were alone when they couldn’t see anybody. Even Nick, who ought to know better. Rachel had a theory that it was something hardwired in the human brain. (Out of sight, out of mind; literally).
Nick’s call connected.
“We have a problem,” he said. “One of the Spooks was at Nadir’s apartment this morning. Saw the whole thing.”
He paused, listening. Rachel couldn’t hear what was being said on the other end.
“I have no idea what she was doing there. She said she was following up terrorist leads or something.”
“Of course not. I’ve deliberately kept them away from Nadir. But they do get information on their own sometimes too you know.”
“They’re not robots. They’re people, and they’re good at what they do.”
Nick banged his fist on the table, his voice getting heated.
“I don’t know, damn it! It was just dumb luck. What’s done is done. Now the question is, what do we do about it?”
“And how am I supposed to do that? I can’t even see her for Christ’s sake.”
“Alright, alright! I can handle this. I need a team. Your guys, the new ones. I’ll send her a new tip, give her an address. The team will get there first.”
Rachel staggered as if punched, barely recovering in time to avoid bumping into the blinds and giving herself away. Was Nick discussing her death?
“So what, it doesn’t matter. If that happens, she’ll run. Trust me on this, I know how they think. She’ll go to ground and then it’s just a waiting game. She’s old, almost gone. I just talked to her, she was barely there. In fact, I’m surprised she’s hung on this long, she’s Class One.”
“Give your guys a chance first. It’s always better to have a body. Get them together, I’ll send you the address in ten minutes.”
Nick slammed the phone into its cradle and strode purposefully to the door. Rachel staggered after him on wobbly legs.
As she followed Nick through the corridors and stairways of HQ, her mind raced.
One of the Unseen had been ordered to kill Fareed, probably by Nick. At least one other person knew about the order, and approved of it. That was bad.
Even worse, Nick had ordered her own death, just as casually. He was obviously willing to keep killing to hush up Fareed’s death. No, not Fareed’s death; the involvement of the Unseen in his murder.
But why had she received a call telling her to tail Fareed Nadir just before the hit took place? It didn’t make sense that Nick or his co-conspirator had called with the information. Could there be some counter-faction who didn’t approve of what Nick was up to? Who?
The call itself was pretty routine. The calls didn’t usually come from Nick himself and it was not unusual to hear an unfamiliar voice on the other end. In fact, Rachel was pretty certain it had been a familiar voice, one of the few regular anonymous dispatchers who had been around almost as long as she had.
There was also the question of who had actually performed the hit. She was one of only two remaining members of Class One, with four left from Class Two and only three left from Class Three, after which the program has been discontinued. The rest of the graduates had “moved on” or “faded away” depending on how religious one was. Losing fifty-one of your sixty graduates was too high of an attribution rate, even for spies.
The Unseen were solitary by nature, but there was a certain bond of shared experience among the only nine living invisible people in the world. Rachel knew them all reasonably well. She couldn’t imagine any of them obeying Nick’s order to kill Fareed.
It was a question of motivation; what kind of leverage could Nick have applied to overcome the soul-sucking apathy surrounding the Unseen? First off, none of them were killers. They had been selected for certain characteristics, carefully screened to be good at surveillance. Calm, patient, organized; the opposite of hot blooded. Second off, it was hard to bribe or threaten a person who didn’t need to eat, didn’t get hot or cold, had almost no material possessions, and who had abandoned any connection to what little friends and family they had decades ago. It was no wonder most of the Unseen just decided to...stop. (What do they have to live for? What do I have to live for?)
Rachel was so caught up in her thoughts that she almost walked right into Nick’s back when he stopped to flash his badge at the card reader positioned to the right of an unmarked door. The door looked identical to the other four doors Rachel could see in the hall.
Nick entered authoritatively, pushing the door wide, so it was no problem for Rachel to slip in after him. She had never been in this particular room before, but she recognized it immediately.
Intelligence hubs were always the same. Analysts sat in cubicles, hunching over computer screen showing grainy images or green waveforms of recorded audio. A low murmur of conversation filled the room, loud enough to be heard, but quiet enough to not disturb any number of phone calls. Against the wall were a series of offices and meeting rooms with maps, banks of phones, and doors that could be closed for private conversations. It was to one of these offices that Nick walked.
Rachel decided to abandon him. She had to get one step ahead of him and stay there. Her life depended on it.
Nick closed the office door behind him, cutting off any second-guessing.
It was possible that the tip to follow Fareed had originated from this room, but Rachel had no idea how to figure out whom it had come from. Stealing a computer password was a piece of cake when you could simply look over someone’s shoulder as they logged in. If the system wasn’t smart enough to recognize a duplicate logon, and if there was a record of the call, and if she could actually find it on the network...too many ifs.
While she was thinking, she began aimlessly circulating throughout the room.
A woman with tight black curls was arguing quietly and fiercely on the phone with someone who apparently owed her child support. A thin man in a superman tee shirt and thick glasses nervously flipped back and forth between PowerPoint and a furtive game of Solitaire. Two well-dressed older gentlemen argued the relative merits of spell caster classes in a video game.
Rachel absorbed these things without even thinking about it. She had long ago stopped feeling self-conscious about eavesdropping. She allowed the sights and sounds to flow over her, bathing herself in the information stream.
Rachel heard the murmur of another voice floating over the cubical wall and she walked around the end of the row. As she got nearer to the voice, something prickled at her consciousness. The voice was familiar.
Quickly, she followed the sound to a cubicle and peeked in. A man she had never seen before was giving information about a surveillance target over the phone.
He was tall with dark skin; Indian maybe, or Mexican. He was dressed in khakis and a polo shirt. By habit, Rachel registered in quick succession a wedding ring, a picture of a girl of about three, and a coffee mug that said “Washington Polytechnic” on the side.
Without a doubt, it was the voice that had given her the tip about Fareed.
Rachel was contemplating what to do next when she heard footsteps coming down the aisle. It was Nick. (Too late, too late! He already knows!)
She stepped out of the way to let Nick into the cube and then stepped in again as close behind him as she dared. She didn’t think Nick would do anything to the man here at the office, but her hand hovered over the coffee mug, just in case.
Nick waited respectfully until the man hung up the phone and turned around.
“Amol, can you send a message for me?”
“Sure boss, what’s up?”
Nick held out a post-it note.
“Get a hold of Rachel Neelam. Give her this address and tell her to get over there right away. Oh, and make sure to tell her to be careful.”
“Sure Nick, no problem.”
A line of ice went down Rachel’s spine. She’d known Nick for almost fifteen years. There hadn’t even been a hitch in his voice. He was one cold bastard.
Rachel darted out of the way as Nick left, returning to his conference room at the end of the row. She listened numbly as Amol left her a message, unwittingly telling her to report to her own death. Had he known what he was doing when he tipped her off, or was he just passing on a message like he was now? Rachel needed to know, and needed to know now.
This was going to require an approach that was a little more hands on that she was used to.
Amol walked down the stairs to parking sub-level B. He was almost to the door when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He flinched, and whirled around quickly, but no one was there. His eyes were wide and flicked from corner to corner nervously.
“Hello?” he called in a quivering voice.
“Amol,” said Rachel softly. “Please don’t panic. I’m Unseen.”
If anything, Amol looked more frightened.
“Who are you? What do you want?”
He put his back to the wall and held his hands out in front of himself defensively.
“It’s Rachel. You called me, told me to watch Fareed Nadir. I need to know who told you to call me.”
Amol’s relief was immediate.
“Alhamdulillah! I thought you were...hey, you’re pretty clear.”
Rachel glanced down at herself, confused.
“For how old you are. You sound almost normal, like a regular person. I would have sworn you were new.”
“Amol, I need to know who gave you the message to trail Fareed. I know it wasn’t Nick.”
Amol took an excited step forward.
“I knew you were the right person to call! But wait, you should be following Mr. Nadir.”
“The Nadirs are dead.”
“I knew it! I knew it. Were you too late?”
“Too late for what? What the hell is going on?”
“We can’t talk here. It might not be safe.”
“Amol, listen. I’m in danger. You might be in danger. I need to know why.”
“They restarted the program.”
“What? Who did? Why?”
“All the way up. Aaron Davidson, the CIO. They’ve already graduated a new Class. But Rachel, listen, it’s not reconnaissance. It’s an ops division.”
“But it’s a death sentence.”
“Listen, we can’t talk here. I can explain everything I know when we get somewhere safe.”
He turned and opened the door to the parking garage, holding it for her.
“How do you know all this?”
“I’m an analyst. It’s my job to see the shape of something based on hints and whispers. Define the outline of something invisible with rumors and innuendos.” He looked smug. “You’re not the only one who has been working in intelligence for the past twenty years.”
He hit the button on his key fob and the lights on a grey sedan blinked in response. There was a car seat in the back.
Amol opened the door and got inside, but Rachel hesitated. It had been a long time since she had ridden in a car. All of her instincts told her not to be confined in such a small space. On top of that, she felt surprisingly self-conscious about affecting the physical world in front of someone. It was like letting Amol see her naked. (No one can ever see me naked again. Is that good or bad?)
Finally, she opened the door and got in the car, buckling her seatbelt firmly.
Amol backed out and then drove to the exit. He held his badge up to the card reader and the little arm rose. Amol put his turn signal on.
“Amol, is there any way they could figure out that you were the one who tipped me off?”
“Information is always there, if you’re looking in the right place. But I think we’re safe. Hypothetically, if someone knew exactly when you were tipped off, they could run a search through all the calls. But they’d need a pretty tight window; otherwise it would just be too much data to go through.”
“Nick knows when I was tipped off, or at least has a pretty good guess.”
Amol sat for a second, letting that sink in before turning out onto the street.
“I think we better not go to my house. Better safe than sorry.”
Rachel heard the roar of an engine to her left and turned to look. A black SUV accelerated into the driver’s side door of Amol’s car.
Rachel hung weightless in that forever moment before time resumed with a crash. The sound of the impact was tremendous, and even though it must have only taken a second, it seemed to go on and on in Rachel’s ears.
The car spun sideways, pressing her against her seat belt. Amol’s window shattered, spraying glass into the cabin, and his airbag deployed with a smell like gunfire.
Rachel’s head slammed into the doorframe and she lost consciousness.
The light hurt Rachel’s eyes and she put a hand to her head, steadying herself. Amol hung limply by his seatbelt, nestled in the deflated pillow of his airbag. She couldn’t see his face, but he wasn’t moving.
Rachel undid her seatbelt and leaned over to shake his shoulder. Just as her fingers brushed his shirt, his door was jerked open.
A man Rachel didn’t recognize leaned in. He was white, with a strong, clean-shaven jaw and wavy hair brushed to one side. Inexplicably, he wore a pair of black leather gloves. Out of reflex, Rachel flinched away from him and stayed quiet.
The man roughly checked Amol’s neck for a pulse. Amol groaned and shifted a little, not quite regaining consciousness. The man in gloves carefully took hold of Amol’s chin with his left hand, set his right hand against the top of Amol’s head, and twisted violently.
Before she could think, Rachel lunged across the front seat and grabbed at the man. Her invisible nails opened a long gash along one cheek, seemingly by magic. The man jerked away, surprised. He ducked out of the car and out of Rachel’s reach.
Snarling in rage, she kicked open her door, but the man was already jumping into the black SUV. It was so damaged from the crash that Rachel wasn’t sure if it would be able to drive.
The engine roared to life and Rachel started to run. The tires squealed and Rachel dove for the car, grasping at the door handle. She missed and stumbled, her fingers scrabbling over the side of the car as it pulled away. She was left panting in the street as the SUV squealed around the corner and out of sight.
Only then did she think to go back and check on Amol. His neck was warm under her fingers, but there was no pulse.
Rachel thought of the picture of the little girl on Amol’s desk. Forgetting all of her carefully honed instincts collected over years of being invisible, Rachel stood in the center of the road and howled at a cloudless sky.
Aaron Davidson’s house was dark. Rachel had been watching it long enough that the crickets had become accustomed to her presence and once again filled the night with their song.
The Chief Intelligence Officer was apparently doing well for himself. The enormous house stood gleaming and flawless, its manicured lawn an island in the surrounding forest.
It had taken Rachel hours to navigate the network of busses, waiting for passengers to follow on circumspect, less busy routes. Finally, she had walked the last two miles out of town to the secluded mansion.
She crossed into the yard and approached the house. There may have been security cameras, but they would register nothing. The best thing to do would be to wait until morning when somebody left the house, but Rachel wasn’t feeling patient for a change. She wanted in tonight.
After a quick circuit of the house, Rachel found what she wanted: the gentle night breeze shifted the curtains on a half-open window. Rachel stood on the back of a stone garden frog and used a jagged stick to punch through the screen. Slowly, she ripped a jagged hole and lifted the window the rest of the way, before landing awkwardly in an enormous bathroom. There was even a helpful night light.
Rachel stepped into the hall and began walking the house. She passed an alarm system control panel mounted in the hallway, armed, for all the good it was doing. Rachel made a mental note not to open any external doors. She hadn’t set off any motion detectors, so they most likely had been disabled by somebody in the house, at least for the ground floor.
Eventually, Rachel found herself in a combination kitchen and dining room, the granite countertops and stainless steel appliances gleaming in the light of the moon streaming in an enormous picture window. Rachel rifled through a stack of papers and checked a few drawers, more out of force of habit than anything else. There was nothing interesting.
She heard the sound of footsteps approaching and retreated quickly behind the table. She had thought everyone would be sleeping by now, so she hadn’t been particularly quiet. (Stupid!)
Aaron Davidson entered the kitchen. He wore only a white undershirt, a pair of plaid shorts, and black socks pulled up his calf. He looked surprised not to see anybody; maybe he had expected his wife.
As soon as she saw him, Rachel felt her rage kindle to a bonfire. Amol was dead, and his daughter would never see her father again. This man was at least somewhat responsible.
She reached out and snagged a porcelain statue of a cardinal off a curio cabinet in the corner, hurling it with all of her might at the confused expression on Mr. Davidson’s face. She missed by two inches and the statue shattered against the dark cherry cabinets.
Davidson flinched away from the sudden explosion of sound and shards of porcelain. He dove behind the counter as she sent a glass vase his way, trailing sunflowers and water behind it.
“Murderer!” she hissed as she stalked toward him.
His head peeked over the top of the counter, but he saw nothing of course. He grabbed a knife out of the block and dived back to safety.
“Traitor,” she growled as she rounded the edge of the counter.
He heard her and cried out, slashing the air in front of him to ribbons with his knife. He wasn’t anywhere near her.
The room went completely silent; Davidson’s heavy breathing was the only noise. He was just cautiously stepping out from behind the counter, his knife probing in front of him, when she came back.
She brought the fire poker from the set in the living room down hard on his outstretched arm and the knife clattered into the corner. Davidson threw himself away from the floating fire poker, landing hard on his butt. He clutched his arm to his chest.
“What do you want?” he moaned. “Who are you?”
She dropped the poker.
“You know who I am.”
“Rachel Neelam,” he said quietly.
She kicked him in the ribs.
“You don’t get to say my name.”
He made no move to stand, just sat on the expensive tile and looked at nothing.
“You sent men to kill me. I gave everything for my country. I gave my life! And you sent men to kill me.”
“That was a mistake.”
“You’re damn right it was!” she screamed and punched him in the face. It was only the third time she had voluntarily put her hand on another person in twenty years. It hurt like hell.
Davidson looked like he was going to cry.
“It was a mistake! We should have told you, or at least waited until you were all gone. We knew you wouldn’t understand. But don’t you see? We couldn’t wait, we couldn’t sit on the technology. Not when we had the power to save lives!”
“Save lives? How many more people did you condemn to fade away?”
“It’s always been a game of numbers. I have to balance the lives of...”
She cut him off. “We were saving lives. Within the system.”
“It’s a bad system, you know that. It’s too slow, nobody wants to act. People are more concerned with avoiding blame than actually being successful.”
“Do they even know?”
“Every one of them. I swear it. This time they’re soldiers, ready to die. That was our mistake with you. It wasn’t fair to ask so much from...”
“You fools!” she raged. “You don’t know the first thing about it! Soldiers are all wrong. They’ll burn out too fast, they’ll be lucky to last the year. We could have told you. Why didn’t you ask us?”
Davidson gave a wry chuckle. “We were worried how you would react.”
Rachel was quiet for a moment. Then she stepped around Davidson and picked up the fallen knife. She crouched behind him and pressed the knife to his throat. She whispered in his ear.
“And what about Amol?”
His body was rigid with fear. She could feel him trembling against her.
“Please. I don’t know who that is. Please.” He was crying now. “Everything I did, I did for the country. I thought I was doing the right thing.”
Rachel pressed the knife until a dark trickle of blood welled out of the dimpled skin. No matter how good his intentions had been, he had ruthlessly order the murder of citizens. A country wasn’t worth protecting if it was run by people like him.
With a cry of rage, she threw the knife against the wall. She stood, and Davidson slumped to the floor, weeping.
She had come to a decision.
“I can do worse than kill you. I can haunt you. Every move you make, every order you sign. Every time you go to the bathroom or have sex with your wife, I’ll be standing over your shoulder, watching. I am everywhere and nowhere. I am the watcher. I am the Unseen.”
She stood, tall and complete. Her voice was strong and unwavering. She was totally, 100%, completely there, filled up with purpose for maybe the first time in her life.
“And God help you if I don’t like what I see.”

This story originally appeared in "Agents & Spies" from Flame Tree Press.

Shane Halbach

Shane Halbach writes whatever he feels like: humorous science fiction, fantasy, magical realism when it strikes his fancy, even a touch of horror

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