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H&K: Path of Knowledge

Book 1 of the H&K Series: Chapter 21

By Shawn David KelleyPublished 5 months ago 31 min read
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Chapter 21

Katharine and Tess were surprised when Moore pulled up in front of Katharine and Hank’s home. Sanchez opened the passenger door and climbed out of the SUV, followed by the chase SUV. The unit secured the house before motioning for Katharine, Tess, and the children to come inside the house.

“Why are we at my house?” Katharine asked.

“You don’t know about your basement?” Sanchez asked. “Before we go in, understand that your home is covered with cameras and listening devices by someone trying to keep an eye on what goes on in your house. So, watch what you say.”

“What about my basement?”

“Come with me,” Sanchez said as he led the way into the basement.

Once in the basement, Sanchez moved the filing cabinet out from under the stairs. He reached up and pushed the button to open the stairway door to the safe room below the basement.

“Did you know this was down here?” Tess asked.

“Hell no, I didn’t,” Katharine said. “Hank must have had it built while I was away or something.”

“I understand that you know the code,” Sanchez stated as he opened the security panel.

Katharine stepped up to the panel, thought for a second, and input her and Hank’s wedding day. “Invalid code,” a voice came from the panel. Katharine inputted her birthday. “Invalid code.” Katharine inputted the day they met. “Access granted.” The outer door swung open, revealing the inner time lock door. Katharine inputted her birth date, and the door slid open.

As the time lock door slid open, Shamus appeared from the corner with his M4 carbine at the ready.

“Stand down, Shamus. This is Katharine O’Reilly, Tess Roy, and her children. They are here to join Ms. Mitchell and her children,” Sanchez told the task force guard.

“I know,” Shamus replied.

“Shamus,” Tess greeted. “I thought you would be with Bob.

“I would be, but Marquis detailed me to guard Ms. Mitchell and her family. But I’m glad you’re here now,” Shamus told his sister-in-law.

“Lock us in,” Katharine told Sanchez. “We’ll be safe here, but my husband may not be once I see him. The bunker may have been a good idea, but I’ll get the house in the divorce, bunker and all.”

“We’ll be back when everything is taken care of,” Sanchez said as the time lock door slid into place. Then the outer door slid into place. The unit filed out of the house and into their vehicles.

“Now we wait,” Katharine said. Once the bunker doors were closed and locked, all monitoring and listening devices in the house were safely blocked out.

“Glad to see that you are okay,” Karen greeted Katharine and Tess. Karen elaborated on what happened after the task force detail had picked them up and how the task force was ambushed. Karen explained that she and Shamus had subdued the traitor on the task force team and how they had been brought here at Hank’s request.

“So, Hank is involved with all this?” Katharine asked.

“I’m not sure exactly, other than Bob Roy requested his assistance on communication and internet security. Someone hacked into the task force servers. Hank was supposed to be helping track the hackers.” Karen was making most of what she was saying up as she went, but it sounded plausible if the task force wanted to keep Hank’s true position secret.

“Incredible. I know Hank does some highly classified security work, but I didn’t know he was involved with Homeland Security,” Katharine replied.

“It’s a new relationship as far as I heard. I didn’t know that he was an employee of the corporation Michael is the CEO of,” Karen told her.

“ETI Communications Security Unlimited? That’s the corporation Michael is the CEO of?” Katharine was dumbfounded.

“Yeah. I didn’t know until Michael called me asking if I knew Hank. I explained that we had all met at the fundraiser years ago. I asked him why he was asking. Michael said that Homeland Security had specifically requested Hank to consult on a highly classified international internet issue. I know Michael only saw dollar signs, so he tasked Hank to Homeland Security,” Karen told her.

“That’s why Bob had said Hank was consulting the task force.”

Director Bob Roy paced in front of the wall monitor. The task force had made some significant discoveries thanks to Sarasin’s team. Tess, his kids, and Katharine were safe and in a bunker. The task force’s families were in safe places. Three terrorist groups were taken down in response to the attack on the three task force families. Fifteen terrorists were either dead or in custody. Marquis had rooted out four members of the task force who were feeding information to outside individuals.

“Director, we have an issue,” Marquis said as she walked up beside Bob.

“Another issue?” Bob asked.

“That list of names from the senator’s computer on human trafficking and child sex trade ring had two names that would explain the secretary’s attitude toward the task force,” Marquis stated as she handed Bob the list with the two names highlighted.

“The secretary’s brother?” Bob asked. Marquis nodded. “The US attorney general? Is this for real?”

“It’s been verified. Justice Department sources say that all investigations into the human trafficking and child sex trade ring are to be left to local authorities. Local authorities are being told that the Justice Department or Homeland Security will handle the investigation,” Marquis told Bob.

“Federal agencies are being told to stand down while local authorities are being told that the federal agencies will handle it.

Someone is stonewalling the investigation. We have to walk a fine line here. Work the investigation from our end by the terrorist cells and human trafficking to get more terrorists into the country. I’ll alert Sarasin’s unit to come from the human trafficking and child sex trade side. We may be able to squeeze them from both ends,” Bob said.

Bob pulled out his burner phone and called Sarasin.

“Sarasin.”

“How’s the honeymoon?”

“We haven’t gotten to the hotel yet. Contact Sanchez until we get back in two weeks,” Sarasin said as she terminated the connection.

“Sanchez, huh?” Bob said into the phone as he pulled Sanchez’s number in the contact list.

“Sanchez.”

“Sarasin directed me to contact you. Here’s the deal.” Bob went into the details of what was happening. Bob explained that the secretary of Homeland Security and the US attorney general were involved in a major coverup of the human trafficking and child sex trade ring. Bob outlined his plan and operation from the task force end.

“We need to follow the money. Find out where the money is going and close the account out. I will get some people on it,” Sanchez told Bob. “Let’s get together in twenty-four hours.”

“Sounds like a good idea,” Bob said as the connection was terminated.

“Tabby, Moore. I need you two to hack a few bank accounts that we got from the senator’s computer. We need to find the accounts the money is flowing into and see if we can divert as much away as we can before they shut us down. We need to make these assholes come after us. I have a feeling a certain sheik is connected, but we need to drain as much as we can. The rest of us can’t do much until you two can get that done, understand?” Sanchez said into his throat mic.

“Understood,” they both replied.

“We’re diverting to delta site,” Sanchez said, referring to Dan’s safe house and his state-of-the-art computer and server setup. “The caretaker will be able to assist as well.”

Two hours later, Tabby, Moore, and Dan were in his study, hacking away at the senator’s accounts and all that connected to it in any way. They worked into the night and the next morning. Finally, Moore found a thread to pull. Incredibly, the string led straight to the sheik. Another thread appeared that pointed to the secretary of Homeland Security, the US attorney general, three US senators, four state senators, and two federal judges.

“Gotcha,” the three echoed, bringing Sanchez to life. “What?” Sanchez asked.

“Here’s your string. We’re going after the accounts now,” Moore said.

“The rest of the unit will split up and go after the two main connections,” Sanchez said. “I’ll connect with Director Roy and let him know what’s happening.”

Katharine looked around the safe room and shook her head. Hank had built a bunker under the basement, but why? The safe room had a kitchen area, food storage, living area, bathroom, and two bedrooms. The two bedrooms took up half of the safe room, being ten feet square. The living area had storage closets against the wall. One of the storage closets had numerous weapons and ammunition in it. How well did she truly know Hank?

Tess sat in the living area with her two children and Karen’s three. Shamus sat at the kitchen table. Karen had gone into one of the bedrooms that had two sets of bunk beds and was putting sheets and blankets on the two that they had not been using. Katharine stepped into the room with Karen. Katharine closed the door behind her.

“We need to talk,” Katharine said as she approached Karen.

“Before you ask, I had no idea about this place. Hank had us brought here by Shamus,” Karen began, defending herself before Katharine could ask the question on her mind.

“Then why did he send you here?” Katharine accusatorially asked.

“I’m not sure. If I had to guess, Hank probably figured that Homeland Security couldn’t protect any of us, but down here, we could be locked in and protected. Shamus said he overheard Hank being told that you and Tess were kidnapped. So naturally, Hank volunteered to act as bait to draw this guy Wright out in the open. A CIA agent and he were to play it up that you two were finished and they were leaving the country together. I know Hank loves you, but honestly, I don’t know what he’s into or what’s going on other than they are trying to draw this guy out in the open,” Karen said, trying to convince Katharine of Hank’s pure intentions without revealing that she knew more.

“I can only imagine how angry he is,” Katharine said, resigned to the thought Hank was going after Wright with a vengeance. “I’ve seen him angry only a couple of times. It was scary. Afterward, he told me I hadn’t seen him angry, that he was only pissed at that time. I can tell you, if he were only pissed both those times, I would hate to see him angry.”

“So, are we good?” Karen asked. “A lot of things have happened, and I don’t want to lose our friendship over misunderstandings or jealousy.”

With that, Katharine leaned forward and hugged Karen. Their eyes lit up as they both leaned into each other, wrapping their arms around and holding each other tight. The children’s laughter brought them out of their embrace. They laughed together.

“We haven’t hugged like that in quite some time,” Karen laughed.

“Haven’t had a reason.”

Karen began to say something when the door opened. Michael Jr. stood in the doorway.

“Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?” Michael Jr. asked.

“Well, shall we go see what Hank has for us to eat?” Katharine said as she walked out of the room as the others followed.

*****

Hank smiled as he and Sarasin stepped off the elevator. They were heading to the same room they had stayed in on their first mission together in Paris. As they walked, Hank began to get a bad feeling. Something didn’t feel right. As Sarasin swiped the room door key card, Hank grabbed her arm, pulling her away from the door, around him, and to the right side of the door. Hank pushed her against the wall as he drew his HK45 he had retrieved from the shipping container the locals had taken off the plane for them.

“Easy there, Hank,” a familiar feminine voice came from within the room. Hank froze with his finger on the trigger.

“Let’s go in. I think a reunion is in order,” Sarasin said as she walked around him into the room.

Hank followed Sarasin into the room. Hank’s face went red with fury as he saw the two standing off to the side of the room. Sarasin walked up to the two and shook their hands. Hank closed the door. “It’s good to see you,” Simmons said, walking toward Hank.

Holcomb stood against the wall. He had a prosthesis where his left forearm and hand had once been. There was a long gash scar across his throat.

“Hold on,” Hank said, taking a step backward. “Where the hell have you two been?”

“The night at the villa, I caught sight of a couple of guys approaching Holcomb from his blind spot. Then Duncan’s message came across the radio. One guy grabbed Holcomb from behind and slashed his throat with a knife, but Holcomb was able to get his left arm up. You can see it cost Holcomb his left forearm and he can’t speak now. I almost lost him, but I was able to get him to a local doctor. The doctor saved his life but couldn’t save his voice or arm. We’ve been lying low ever since. We didn’t know whom to trust and who else in the unit was in on it with Wright since he couldn’t have pulled it off without someone else. He wasn’t always alone,” Simmons said.

“Lowell,” Sarasin said.

“Lowell? Are you sure?”

“Positive. I know it sounds impossible.”

“It couldn’t have been Lowell, we were…” Simmons began.

“You and he were together?” Hank asked.

“Yes. He told me he wanted to leave the unit and get married. He told me that he had a way of making a lot of quick money and then we could disappear,” Simmons said. “Oh damn, now I understand. He was trying to recruit me and that’s why I wasn’t targeted that night. Damn that bastard.”

Holcomb came forward and put his good hand on Simmons’ shoulder. She looked at him as he smiled, shaking his head. Simmons started to cry as Holcomb wrapped his arms around her.

“We have Lowell on ice.”

“There’s more,” Simmons began. “I had a baby.”

“Lowell’s?” Hank asked.

“Holcomb’s,” Simmons said, wrapping her arms around him and squeezing. Simmons kissed Holcomb.

“Ah, how old?” Sarasin asked.

“Just over a year. His name is Kristopher,” Simmons said. “How’s your little guy? All grown up I bet.” Simmons turned to Sarasin.

“Your little guy?” Hank asked, looking at Sarasin. “What more don’t I know?”

“Simmons, you always talked too much.”

“I was just asking. It’s been so long since we’ve been together. So, you didn’t tell him? After all this time?” Simmons turned to Hank.

“Tell me what, Adaline?” Hank asked.

“I found out that I was pregnant before the villa mission. That’s the main reason I married Byrd. Wright found out and flipped out on me just before the mission,” Sarasin said, sitting down on the bed.

“I’m afraid that’s my fault,” Simmons said. “I told Lowell when he said he and I would go away together. I was worried what would happen to you and your baby once we left,” Simmons told Sarasin.

“It’s not your fault. You were you,” Sarasin told Simmons who sat down next to her. The two women embraced.

“Will someone explain what’s going on?” Hank asked.

“Before you joined the unit, Wright and I were somewhat involved as you know. That changed a few months before you joined the unit,” Sarasin told Hank. “When I met you the first time, I was impressed by how you put everything into helping your teammates. You probably don’t remember when we first met.”

“You came to the hospital in Germany after I was wounded,” Hank said.

“No, I was there when you went through SERE school,” Sarasin said.

“What? I don’t remember you there.” Hank said.

“You wouldn’t. I was observing the techniques the instructors were using. When they brought you and another soldier in to interrogate you both, I was watching. The interrogator and guards were physically beating the other soldier. Then against orders prohibiting SERE students from getting physical with the instructors or interrogators, you went to the soldier’s aid. That made me wonder what you would do if someone you didn’t know were interrogated physically, a female soldier even.”

“So, I set up a test for you. The cadre was told to take all the SERE candidates out, saying that a prisoner was being brought in for an actual interrogation. I dressed in a filthy, torn uniform and was brought in as an interrogation subject. You were the last one out and you were allowed to see me being dragged in with a bag over my head. The instructors were told to strike me and knock me to the floor as I passed, allowing the bag to come off my head. You attacked the SERE instructors at that moment. You were quite the madman at the time, shouting how no one should be treated like that. We had overlooked the fact that I was wearing US-issued combat boots and a fancy watch. There were no other women in the SERE course. You were yelling that you wouldn’t allow them to interrogate a female soldier without a female interrogator present. You sent several of them to the hospital that day and nearly ended up in federal prison because of it. When the investigation showed that the interrogators and guards were using physical torture on other SERE candidates, all charges were dropped. Of course, you didn’t know about the investigation. I was involved in the investigation since I was the subject of the interrogation. After that, I kept an eye on you. After you were wounded, I came to see you. The doctors said you didn’t remember firing on the sniper or after he was dead that you ordered the two soldiers with you to tend to Sergeant Grimes and Corporal Copeland even though you were wounded as well. I visited you in the hospital when I heard you had been wounded. I spoke to Captain D’Aras, which made me want you on the team even more. I had read your file and knew that you had been selected for a special unit but the unit was scrapped before it even got going. So, it seemed like fate that you were meant to be on my team. I didn’t realize my feelings went deeper than that though,” Sarasin said. “Wright had been a distraction from the missions. I knew it was only physical gratification, so I broke it off even. I had said that I could no longer have a relationship with a member of my unit. That changed when you came to the unit. I felt something that I had never felt before. I fell for you and fell hard,” Sarasin finished.

“Boy did she,” Simmons said laughing.

“Simmons, please.” Sarasin nudged Simmons. “I didn’t mean for my feelings for you to get out of hand, but on our first mission together here in Paris in this room, everything changed. Wright had all our rooms wired for security. I tried to delete the recordings before he reviewed the recordings, but I was too late. Wright acted as if it didn’t bother him, but obviously, it did. Things between him and me were over long before you arrived. I had strong feelings for you after getting to know you better in the hospital, but I couldn’t tell you or myself. Simmons knew and continued to nag, urging me to go for it, but I knew better. Simmons has always been a romantic. Then two months before the villa, you and I had to hide out in that cave to avoid the Al Qaeda patrols in Afghanistan for three days.”

“That was the last time we were alone together,” Hank said, stunned.

“Yes. When we were finally extracted, I thought I had come down with the flu or something. I went to the base hospital to make sure my condition wouldn’t jeopardize our mission. The tests came back that I was a month pregnant. I had already been cultivating a relationship with Byrd to get a pass to the villa since his army band unit was to perform at the villa. I knew Wright was already pissed that I was not interested in him even before you joined the unit. When he found out that I was pregnant, the only logical decision was to create a cover story involving Byrd. I let Wright think the baby was Byrd’s. Wright was too happy to believe that I had cheated on you with Byrd,” Sarasin said, looking up at Hank who was dumbfounded. “I wanted to tell you the truth about the pregnancy and why I married Byrd at dinner that night you never showed. I assumed that you had been told I was pregnant.”

“No, I wasn’t told. All this time, you chose not to tell me?” Hank was pacing about the room. “Where is he? How is he? What’s his name?” Hank asked.

“His name was Adam, but he died a few months after he was born.” Sarasin was looking at her hands clasped together on her lap.

“Oh sweetheart, I’m sorry. I didn’t know,” Simmons said, hugging her.

Hank stopped pacing in front of Sarasin. His mind wouldn’t focus. Sarasin had given birth to their son whom he never knew. Then the baby died. Sarasin dealt with this all alone while he was off sulking that Sarasin had married someone else. To find out Sarasin had married Byrd for more reasons than just a cover made Hank feel confused as he tried to process everything he was being told. Hank knelt in front of Sarasin as Simmons moved to the side. Hank wrapped his arms around her as she cried.

“I am so sorry I wasn’t there for you,” Hank told her. “If I had known that you were pregnant—”

“I couldn’t risk anyone finding out after the fiasco at the villa. You had left, and the unit was gone. I told Byrd I was pregnant with his child, and he flipped. He didn’t want children. When Adam was born premature, I was alone. Byrd was gone on a tour with the army band. Adam died the day after I gave birth. Byrd told me he was happy my son had died. That was the end of even acting as if the cover marriage was anything but a sham. I focused everything I had on the job, putting a new unit together and the next mission,” Sarasin said, chocking her tears off. “But enough of this. We have a mission to complete.”

“Right,” Simmons said. “We’re back, and that’s our advantage. Wright doesn’t know we survived, which will be a big surprise for him.”

“Correct. We need you both to set up in your room and watch everything. I’m sure you have made your room a fortress, but trust no one outside Hank and me,” Sarasin said.

“We need a new safe word then,” Simmons said.

“Baby’s breathe,” Hank said, still wheeling from the knowledge that Sarasin had dealt with so much tragedy without him, giving birth and then losing their son. Baby’s breathe was the logical choice.

“You remembered,” Sarasin said as Hank held her tight.

“I’ve never forgotten,” Hank said, eyeing Sarasin with a suspicious look.

Simmons and Holcomb left the room, leaving Sarasin and Hank alone. Sarasin was preoccupied with the mission, going over several files and accessing her computer as she always did to keep her mind off anything that bothered her. Hank checked the rest of their equipment, checked the room for electronic devices, then made sure that the window would be an exit point if necessary. The night was approaching by the time he finished.

“I wish you could have held Adam,” Sarasin said without looking up from her laptop. “He looks just like your baby picture.”

“If I had known—”

“It was my fault. I should have told you that I was pregnant when I found out. The agency wasn’t too happy with me over the pregnancy. Just another reason I was disavowed. Agents don’t have children unless authorized,” Sarasin told him.

“Still—”

“Let’s not dwell on it. We have to keep our minds on the mission. Then we can see if there are any feelings left,” she added with a smile. “There will always be feelings, good and bad,” Hank told her.

“But I’m married now.”

“Thank you for at least admitting that you still have feelings.”

“After this is over, we go our separate ways,” Hank said.

“Agreed. But we have a problem, there’s only one bed,” Sarasin said, looking over her shoulder at the bed.

“It’s not like we haven’t shared a bed before.”

“That was before you were married, remember?” Sarasin grinned devilishly at him.

“We can handle it, as long as you stay on your side and I’ll stay on mine.”

“I’m not sure if I will be able to promise you that,” Sarasin said, stood, and walked into the bathroom. A moment later, Hank heard the shower.

*****

Director Roy was sitting at the head of the conference table with his command staff when an assistant came in with a cell phone.

“Sir, it’s someone named Sanchez. He asked to speak to you.” Bob took the phone.

“Yes?”

“You will be getting several calls in the tac room shortly. You might want your command staff with you,” Sanchez told Director Roy. With that, the connection was terminated.

“Sir, the President’s chief of staff and the deputy secretary of Homeland Security are requesting your presence in the tac room,” the assistant announced from behind him.

“All right, people, let’s all see what’s happening,” Director Roy announced to his command staff.

As the security door closed and sealed, the wall monitors came to life. The chief of staff was on one, the deputy secretary of Homeland Security was on one, and the assistant US attorney general was on another one.

“Director Roy, it has come to our attention that some very grave political and criminal activities have been occurring within our administration and judiciary system,” the chief of staff was saying. “There have been numerous resignations within the past few hours along with numerous arrests that either preceded or followed the resignations. I want you to be assured that your task force has the administration’s full cooperation and backing.”

“As the chief of staff was saying, Director Roy, there have been numerous resignations. I am, as of a few minutes ago, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security,” Former Deputy Secretary Dana Morgan stated from her monitor. Morgan was a forty-nine-year-old, tall, thin African American woman standing six feet two inches tall with long hair reaching past the middle of her back and wearing glasses. She looked all the part of an attorney, but her eyes were those of a bird of prey.

“I also want to assure you, Director Roy, that the attorney general’s office is behind you. We have already taken into custody over a dozen elected officials, staff members, and two cabinet members. Of course, this is all classified, and is not to leave this conference call. But rest assured that in the months to come, more indictments will be handed down,” Acting Attorney General Preston Marks stated.

Marks was a fifty-six-year-old man of Puerto Rican, German, and Scottish descent. Marks came from a family of career politicians and judiciary appointees. Bob knew the shakeup was affecting him gravely.

“Thank you all,” Bob began. “I can’t help but wonder what occurred to have such a drastic change in respect to this task force as well as myself,” Director Roy was pushing and he knew it.

“Dammit, Roy, you know exactly what’s happening. If the public learns the details, we will have mass rioting and paranoia on our hands. This cannot be allowed to become a publicized issue. Therefore, the administration is requesting that you contain the fallout. Take whatever means necessary to bring these conditions under control, and you will be guaranteed a higher appointment,” the chief of staff stated.

“With all due respect, sir, you can rest assured that this task force will do their jobs and do them well. We will continue to protect the rights, liberties, and safety of our citizens. We will also cooperate with any and all agencies and departments, local, state, and federal to accomplish our mission. As for a higher appointment, I am only seeking justice and retribution for the citizens of our great nation and any and all peoples who have been wrongly affected by this oversight by present and past administrations,” Director Roy stated.

“As you should.” Another wall monitor came to life as the President appeared on the screen. “Director Roy, continue doing your job as you and your task force have been doing.”

All the monitors went dark at the same time.

“Let’s get back to work, people,” Director Roy called as he led them from the tac room.

“Very PC Director,” Marquis stated.

“When in Rome, you play the Roman citizen.” Director Roy replied.

*****

The children were all in bed, sound asleep. Tess was lying with Shannon who was scared and needed her mother nearby. Shamus was sleeping on the couch in the living area. Karen carried baby Julia into the other bedroom, which had only one full-size bed. Katharine followed her in and closed the door.

“Well, it seems we have to share a room.” Karen laughed.

“Just like New York City.” Katharine joined in laughing.

“What do you think Hank is doing at this very moment?” Karen asked, trying not to reveal that she knew more about Hank than did his wife.

“He’s probably surrounded by a dozen Homeland Security and CIA agents, waiting for this crazy traitor that’s after him,” Katharine said as she walked toward the bed.

Karen had made up a makeshift bassinet next to the bed for baby Julia. As Karen laid baby Julia into the bassinet, she could hear Katharine rustling behind her. Karen turned to find Katharine lying on the bed with a quizzical look on her face. Karen crawled into the bed facing Katharine.

“What do you think of Hank?” Katharine asked Karen.

“He’s everything you have told me about him and a lot more.” Karen giggled a little.

“But what do you think of him?” Katharine.

“He’s a good man. He loves you. He’ll do anything for those he cares for,” Karen whispered as her voice caught in her throat.

“What do you know about him that I don’t?” Katharine asked.

“What do you mean?” Karen asked in a husky voice.

“You know what I mean. I’ve seen it in your eyes, and I would see it now if I wasn’t busy,” Katharine said as she faced her friend.

“There are some things best left unsaid.”

“Tell me,” Katharine demanded. “How long have we known each other? You’ve never lied to me.”

“Hank is a complicated man.”

“And I am a complicated woman,” Katharine replied. “Let me tell you what I know.” Katharine pulled away from Karen, bringing a sigh of regret from Karen.

“Not long ago, I believed my husband was an ordinary IT guy who worked with internet security. Then all this started with Jim Martin and Samantha Craig. My ordinary husband starts acting more protective than usual when someone tries to burn down my cousin’s house. My ordinary husband is out for a walk at the time. He catches the arsonists in the act, but for some odd reason, these tough arsonists run away. Then we go to dinner and my loving husband is more attentive to the people in the restaurant and bar than he is to me. We go out onto the veranda and I notice a dark spot-on Hank’s right elbow. We get back to my cousin’s house and stay the night, but Hank doesn’t come to bed. I text you and we meet, but Hank says he has to go to the office. As I’m leaving the house, I get a good look at his elbow. It’s dried blood. I remember as we were leaving the restaurant and bar, the staff was carrying a guy out unconscious with a busted nose and blood on his face.

“On my way to your place, I got curious and pulled over. I looked in his suitcase, and guess what I found? Nothing but clean clothes. Hank is not that tidy. Then I find a tag, like the ones clothes inspectors put in clothes to show that they are ready to be sold. The underwear in the suitcase had tape on them as if it had just come out of the package. I then notice that the luggage isn’t the luggage I bought him for Christmas. His had a scuff mark on it when I slammed the hatch of the SUV on it. The luggage in the SUV had no scuff.

“Then my ordinary husband, who has become all protective and alert, has to leave on a business trip a few days after all this shit begins as if it’s just another day at the office, something my ordinary husband would never normally do. He returns after everything seems to have calmed down without an explanation of why he had to leave to begin with.

“Then all hell breaks loose again and we are picked up by a Homeland Security detail who has taken notice of the situation. But where is my ordinary husband? He’s nowhere to be found. It seems that my ordinary husband has already been picked up by another Homeland Security detail to act as a consultant for the same task force that Bob is the director of. However, did the detail that picked Hank up, pick up Bob who is on the task force and a leader of that task force? No, they leave him behind. Bob wasn’t picked up at the same time. Why?

“I started remembering all these little odd things involving my ordinary husband. Like once, he came home from Atlanta with a deep cut on his left wrist. When I asked him about it, he said he didn’t know how it happened. Another time, he came home from Houston with bruises on his forearms and ribs. He told me that a server rack had fallen on him. Other little things kept me wondering about my ordinary husband. I remembered a year ago when he came home from Chicago and I found a receipt for a vegan restaurant. I never said anything to him, but it was strange, to say the least, because he hates vegan food.

“Then I remembered your family room. The cleaners did a good job except there was a blood smear on the hallway baseboard near the door. I started asking myself why this guy Wright was after my ordinary husband. Why is my ordinary internet security consultant husband carrying a different HK45 pistol than the one I got him on our first wedding anniversary, the same ordinary husband who has refused to go to the gun range for years? I know it’s not the same HK because it’s sitting under his pillow on our bed upstairs. Now I am in a bunker below my basement that I had no idea was here. How’s that for a story?” Katharine paused, looking at her friend who was looking extraordinarily shocked and flabbergasted.

“You know more than you’re telling me, so spill it. What is my husband up to?” Katharine demand.

“I promised I wouldn’t tell,” Karen whispered.

“Spill it,” Katharine said.

“Okay. But you have to have an open mind, okay?” Katharine nodded. “From what I have gathered, Hank was part of a special anti-terrorist unit while in the army.”

For an hour, Karen spilled the beans on everything that she had seen or been part of while with Hank. Katharine sat, dumbfounded, staring off into space.

“Hank does work for Michael’s corporation as an internet security specialist consultant though,” Karen concluded.

“You’re telling me Hank is some kind of spy or something?”

“I don’t know really. I don’t think so,” Karen defended Hank.

“You said that he killed quite a few people since all this began. How could you not think so?” Katharine replied.

“He only did that in self-defense or to protect someone else.”

“Then, who is this Sarasin person anyway? And how does she know Hank? And why is she the lead CIA agent working with Bob and his Task Force?” Katharine demanded.

“You’ll just have to ask Hank when you see him.”

“That I will. That I will.” Katharine said, contemplating how well she knew her ordinary husband.

AdventureMysterySeries
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About the Creator

Shawn David Kelley

Prior Service, saw the Berlin Wall dismantled and the aftermath of the Gulf War/ Desert Storm/ Desert Shield. He has drawn upon his unique views of life and science fiction to bring together an alternate reality of excitement.

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