Assignment completed, Ian glanced down at his coat, noticing a few questionable stains even black couldn’t hide. Sighing, he stepped into the adjacent bathroom for a quick wash. He was cleaning off the excess blood splatter when he heard the door open. He stopped and listened as a curious voice called out, “Hello?”
Ian reached for his handgun, quiet as he slid it into his hand. He edged forward, waiting for his visitor to discover Mr. Mallory was no longer among the living. Ian didn’t have long to wait.
“Jesus Christ,” the visitor swore, taking several steps backward where Ian waited in the shadows. Once he was close enough, Ian pressed the gun’s muzzle into the back of his head, stopping him in his tracks.
“Don’t move,” he ordered. Even in the darkened room, Ian knew he looked familiar. “Turn around.”
Slowly, the man turned toward him, shaking. Ian didn’t miss the shock of recognition when he saw who held him at gunpoint.
“Yeah, I remember you too. This is unfortunate,” Ian remarked and meant it. He didn’t relish putting a bullet right between those pretty eyes, but he’d seen his face. Not once. But twice now. And, unfortunately, he’d have to die for it.
“Wait,” the young doctor urged, his hands in the air. “You don’t have to shoot me.”
No crying. No begging. A statement. The doctor even met Ian’s eye when he said it. Ian couldn’t help but admire this guy’s guts. A shame he had to kill him, but he didn’t have a choice. His finger twitched on the trigger.
“I’m afraid I do,” Ian answered, glancing at his name tag. “Dr. Adam Morrow,” he whispered under his breath, the name hitting like a sucker punch to the gut. “Your name is Adam Morrow?”
“Yeah, that’s my — why?”
Ian wasn’t listening, rendered speechless as he studied the man. Pieces were clicking together in a hail of memories, memories he fought for years to keep hidden. Now they came rising to the surface one by one, swifter than he could recall them. All tied to the image of a child’s face. A child whose cheerful grin and name, Adam Morrow, had haunted him for the last fourteen years.
Ian snapped into the present. He charged forth, seizing him by the arm. Adam tried to shake him off as he propelled him toward the windows. Meager light from outside street lamps was enough to spy the lingering traces of that boy. One whose existence itself had been a terrible mystery he’d never wanted to delve too deep into, terrified of the answer awaiting him on the other side.
“Look at me!” he ordered, pressing the muzzle under Adam’s chin.
Adam hesitated but didn’t have much say so with a gun buried in his throat. One glance and the truth slammed into Ian like a bolt of lightning. A sweeping recognition. His eyes told him the entire story in an instant. They were remarkable, dark green, and flecked with gold, memorable —her eyes. There was no way he’d be able to kill him. Not now. The implications of his discovery growing as they sized up the other, each of them unsure what to do next.
“Who the hell are you?” Adam asked, low and shaky.
“Who the hell are you?” Ian countered.