The girl sat outside the coffee shop, sipping from a cup. She seemed relaxed, resting casually in her chair, leaning back, one arm laying across her stomach, the other up and holding her cup. One foot sat on the ground, its leg supporting her other leg, which was crossed over it, its own foot gently and slowly bouncing. Her eyes glazed over the morning traffic. One might take her for any other coffee drinker, enjoying a drink peacefully in the morning traffic, but on closer inspection, one would notice that the peace in her eyes was not one of calm, but resignation. Her lips were not set in neutral but had a slight hardness and downturn that matched the subtle resignation in her eyes.
A man in a dark coat walked out of the parking garage across the street and began to walk towards her. He only paused to wait for the signal to cross at the crosswalk. His pace was calm and untroubled, but his eyes were set, only leaving the girl to glace around up at the sky. His hands were buried deep in his pockets, hiding his white knuckled fists from the others on the street.
If the girl had noticed him, she didn't let on. She continued to watch the morning traffic with glazed resigned eyes. A breeze comes by, ruffling her hair. Her resting hand comes up to tuck it back behind her ears.
The man reaches her table and stands at her side. She continues to sip her coffee.
"Lovely morning," the man comments.
The girl once more remains silent.
The man walks to the opposite side of the table and sits in the empty chair, blocking her view of the street. It takes a second, but her eyes focus on him.She finally straightens up, setting her coffee down on the table, resting her arms on the table around it, intertwining her fingers. She studies him for a minute, then tilts her head to the left. "What took you so long?"
The man crosses his arms. "Why did you lie?"
"I didn't lie."
"You had nothing to do with the events that transpired in half the locations you tipped us off to."
The girl is silent for a second before she exhales a small chuckle, closing her eyes and smiling. "Is that right?"
"What I can't figure out is why?"
She opens her eyes again, but she doesn’t say anything. So the man presses on.
"Hong Kong, April 2000. You weren't there. At the time you were in London. The kills were too close together on the timeline for you to have done both. Los Angeles, December 2001. Completely different M.O. You expect me to believe that someone as precise as you just decided to change everything about how you operate for one instance then go back to normal? Britain, July 2002. You were playing mental patient in Georgia at the time. Shall I continue?" The man challenges, leaning forward and raising an eyebrow.
The girl nods. "Fair enough. How many am I going to be charged with?"
The man watches her for a second before replying. "Thirty-three."
"Capital punishment, I presume?"
"Surprisingly not. They want to put you in maximum lock up and see what they can get out of you.”
The girl frowns slightly, looking down at the table. "And if I say no?"
"There's at least three agencies that have good chances of getting custody of you. They want to see if they can actually reach those above you."
The girl continues to study the table. She slowly lifts her head to the sky. "And if I were to tell you I'm armed?"
"That wasn't the deal."
She lowers her head to look at the man. "How long before your men pick me off, hm? Once I draw? Or will I actually have to take someone out first?"
The man shakes his head, looking at her incredulously. "Why? You purposely point us all the way to you, lie to us about just how many incidents you were involved in, and arrange a white flag meeting to turn yourself in, only to go down in a blaze of bullets?"
Her silence answers him for her. His eyes widen in sudden realization, then soften in sadness. "You never intended to leave here alive."
His sad eyes look into her resigned eyes. "The minute you took my case, I knew you'd be my out."
"Turn yourself in,” he urges her. “Help us bring Them down. Then you're out and free from Them."
The girl shakes her head. "It doesn't work that way. If I walk out of here with you, it's only a matter of time before I'll be gone for good."
"We can protect you from Them."
"You can't protect me from what you don't know is even there."
"Fine. If death is the only out, why didn't you just end it yourself."
"They're always watching. It's the only way to make sure they'd never get me again; they'd stop me before I got the chance. Taking a body from federal custody? It's too much effort, even for Them." Her eyes suddenly focus back out and she smiles. "Clever. Take away my targets." The girl leans back in her chair, crossing her arms.
The man doesn't bother looking behind him to see that the street has been emptied. "You've only got one, and frankly I'm only here because I was the only one willing to get shot."
"I know." Her eyes refocus on the man across from her. The same resignation from before is in them. She smiles again, but with no resignation- with a peaceful happiness. "But you don't have to worry. I'm unarmed."
"Then why the bluff?"
"Same as you. To stall."
"Stall? For what?"
The girl reaches into her coat and pulls out folded papers. "Your friends will want these. They aren't much, but it will take out those who I never could and if they play it right, maybe the organization itself."
The man takes the papers from her and open them. Names, dates, and locations fill the pages. "You really like to be vague, don't you?" The man asks, looking back at her. "Now, why are you stalling?"
Her eyes have gone back to that glazed look. A drop of blood trickles from her nose and down her chin. She doesn't react.
The man stands up, pulling out a handkerchief. "Here," he says, holding it out.
She smiles. Her head is pointed at him, but her eyes keep their glazed look. More blood trickles from her nose. "Do you know why they call me 'Cleo'?"
"Take this. Please." He shakes the handkerchief for emphasis.
She reaches out, but her hand is nowhere near his. She sits back with a cough. He watches her in confusion. "Not that it would do much good anyways."
The odd drops from her nose becomes a slow, but steady stream.
She suddenly turns, bending over the arm of her chair, retching. The man moves around the table towards her but stops in shock at the small pool of blood on the ground.
"It was short for the name They gave to me. Cleopatra. At first I was strong willed, independent, willing to do anything for the mission." She retches again. "It seemed fitting for me to go out as she did."
The girl starts laughing. When she does her head comes far enough up for the man to see that blood is now also trickling from her eyes.
"You poisoned yourself." The man says.
Her laughter is broken by a hacking fit. The man can hear sirens in the distance. She looks towards them.
"They won't make it." She looks towards the man. "I have a favor to ask of you." Her glazed eyes look right over his shoulder. "Burn my body. There's one name on that list with nothing to do with Them. Make sure she gets this." The girl draws a sliver chain with an emerald four-leaf clover pendant from her pocket. "She should have it back. It didn't do me much good in the end." She smiles as the man take it from her hand.
The girl falls over the arm of her chair retching once more.
This time, no comment follows it. She doesn't laugh either. She merely remains there, hung over the arm of her chair.
The man doesn't have to reach out to feel for a pulse. He just knows. She's gone.
Cleopatra. Trapped by fate. Chose death over imprisonment.
He holds up the pendant and it sparkles in the light.
No good in the end.
He can see his men moving towards him. The ambulance turns down the street.
She was right. It's too late.
He looks at her again. Draped over the arm of her chair.
Cleopatra, the mighty, once more brought to her end by her own hands to escape her fate.
She was right. It seemed fitting.