The Bad Guy Wins in This One - Chapter Eight (Kevin)

Kevin Knight watched the blond boy in front of him. Larry Mulheim lay still in his bed, as if asleep, and perhaps it would have been more merciful for him if he was. But Kevin’s associate needed him at least semi-conscious for the next bit.

Kevin watched quietly as Larry began to move. He shouldn’t be able to, given the paralyzing agent that Kevin had injected him with. But Reacher could bypass such issues as he took control of his victims’ bodies. A paralytic just meant Larry couldn’t fight him, which would potentially frustrate the more delicate parts of the operation.

Larry got up and shuffled over to his desk, upon which sat the pen and paper Kevin had supplied. He picked it up and began writing. Kevin knew it would be in Larry’s handwriting, but the words were ones Reacher was reading off of a script written for him.

Larry’s suicide note would talk about the deaths of his relatives. It would provide just enough detail that someone paying attention might figure out his abilities and culpability in the death of Milo. Certainly there were already enough clues for his own organization to put the pieces together. But then again, they knew more about Larry than the poor kid probably knew about himself.

If they cared to investigate further, they might come across deleted files on Larry’s computer that Kevin had put there. With varying levels of encryption and varying thoroughness of deletion it would be difficult for anyone who wasn’t looking very hard to see the story. But those who might be looking hard enough should believe it if they did.

They would see a tragic romance gone horribly wrong, corroborated on varying social network servers thanks to the IT department of those Kevin worked for. A romance between a poor boy in Storm Valley and a wealthy young girl in the suburbs of Sunlight City that started online and ended tragically when the beautiful Isabella Rhinefield spurned Larry for another man. Normally that would be the end of it, but there was nothing normal about Larry Mulheim. In a fit of rage, the acne covered but gifted young man flew to Sunlight City and blasted his former beloved with a lightning bolt from ten miles in the sky.

Sadly Isabella Rhinefield was also gifted, though not even she was aware of that fact. When she was struck by the lightning, her body released enough energy to destroy everything between her and her attacker. Larry would have been consumed as well if he had not flown away in time. The millions of people in the surrounding ten miles were not so fortunate.

Of course Larry had never met the beautiful Isabella Rhinefield, in real life or online. But the electronic trail Kevin’s team left should convince even the most thorough investigator that they had an intense emotional relationship. Most of this trail was laid in placed even before the mission to destroy Sunlight City had been carried out.

It was truly a tricky thing, leaving just enough evidence that good investigation would lead to the conclusion Larry was responsible for the tragedy in Sunlight City without leaving enough evidence to draw attention to the fact that it wasn’t just an atypical lightning strike if no one looked carefully enough to realize that. With any luck, investigators would ultimately conclude that Isabella’s ability may have drawn the lightning strike rather than just reacting to it. Kevin’s employers didn’t believe in luck though, and thus the clean-up operation had commenced.

But no one had anticipated the interference of Larry’s coked up cousin and the resulting fall-out required modification and postponement of tying up Larry’s loose end. They would finally get to be rid of Larry tonight and Kevin was pleased. He’d been assigned to keep an eye on Larry until they could deal with him and baby-sitting duty was not something he much enjoyed. He found Momo also grew impatient, and it was not always easy to keep the animal calm during the hours of sitting around and watching they had to do.

He wondered again if he should retire now that his bank accounts were flush with tens of millions. But Gravitas decided to get out of the game and Kevin wanted to wait and see if his benefits package would include a bullet to the back of the head. His organization was very adamant that members could leave any time they wished to, so long as it was between operations and not in the middle of a mission. They had many former members act as promoters to tell possible recruits of their lavish lifestyles in a retirement that involved living to a ripe old age. Or would, given the organization wasn’t that old.

Kevin wanted to live to a ripe old age and he knew that in his line of work it could be hard to find an employer that supported such a goal. Given the nature of his abilities, it could certainly be hard for them to stop him if he wanted to disappear. But it would be nice not to have to watch his back quite as closely as he was accustomed to while on assignment. Still, he was cautious by nature and knew the promoters could be hired pawns. He didn’t think so, given some even acted as mentors, helping to train the newbies so they didn’t get killed on their first mission.

Those who helped train were the right age to be retired agents, and they certainly knew their stuff. But what if the ‘retired agents’ were actually still active higher ups in disguise, flaunting the wealth their subordinates had earned them? Regardless, Kevin had a good relationship with Gravitas and figured it would be good to stay and touch to see if he needed to be concerned about his future.

And whether he really wanted to admit it or not, he wasn’t ready to quit. Baby-sitting was boring, but his regular role of assassination often excited him more than the mundane hobbies he would no doubt fill up his time with should he decide to do something with his new fortune like go buy a private island to relax on.

The scribbling stopped, silence interrupting Kevin’s contemplations quicker than any sound could. Kevin got out the rope and handed it to Larry. Reacher used Larry’s hands to take the rope. He got up onto the chair and looped it around the ceiling fan, which Kevin had already made certain was strong enough to hold Larry’s body-weight.

Kevin found it somewhat unsettling to watch Reacher work, knowing he could potentially do the same thing to Kevin. But he also found it fascinating. Larry put the noose around his neck. A second later he kicked the chair out from under him and fell. At first he didn’t move, but then struggled briefly against the rope before stopping.

It was horrible to watch, but if Kevin got the dosing right for the paralytic he gave him then Larry didn’t experience any pain. To him the sound of the rain would merely fade into a nothingness from which he wouldn’t return. Reacher had done all the thrashing for authenticity in case of an autopsy. Kevin knew that in Larry’s condition he could have just stepped off and stayed still as a statue until dead.

He gave Momo a little pat on the head for a job well done, staying relatively still on his shoulder and keeping his eyes open all evening. It’d probably helped that he’d given a very tiny dose of the same compound he injected Larry with, but he was still proud of his little partner. He would reward the little fur ball with many tasty treats when they got home.

Time to go. It won’t do to wait around until his mother gets home. Kevin triple checked that everything that needed doing was done and nothing of his was being left behind. He looked at Larry through Momo’s eyes one last time. Really is a shame. If he’d spent a little more time practicing with his powers and a lot less time using drugs, he really could have been something. Maybe we would have tried to hire him instead of hanging him up.

Kevin had a little sympathy for the dead child, whose poor background wasn’t really so far different from the pint-sized blind black boy from the Dark Plains of Dirkland who grew up to be a world class assassin. Kevin slipped out into the rain, raising his umbrella. It wasn’t ideal weather for his abilities, but the rain gave its own sort of cloak as he faded into the night. Still, if someone were watching carefully enough when the lightning flashed, they just might swear they saw raindrops bouncing off thin air as if hitting an invisible umbrella.