My name was Odette St. James the first twenty-two years of my life.
I’ve had several names since then. But Odette St. James is the name that haunts me.
I’m not here tonight because I want to be. I’ve been given no choice.
The woman I am now, Jordan Levin, she would never be here, committed to do what I am about to do.
I’m here to kidnap a man. Odette has been ‘hired’, ordered, to kidnap a man.
It’s a beautiful summer night. Jordan would likely be on her deck with a glass of wine enjoying the warm breeze.
I grit my teeth. Annoyed by the decisions other people have made that put me in this position.
I nod at the man next to me and we both pull black masks over our faces. We move silently to the back of the building. I met my ‘partner’ for tonight only a few days ago. I’m the security expert, he’s the muscle. I take my tools out of a slim backpack and quickly disable the alarm. Wordlessly we enter. Our target should be on the fourth floor apartment, asleep in a bedroom along the south wall.
It doesn’t take me long to disable the second security system on his floor. We draw our guns and enter.
I sense movement to our left.
“Don’t,” my partner warns. “You won’t make it.”
Maybe because he realizes there are two of us, our target does as he’s told and stops moving.
“Good. Sit down. Slowly.” He gestures to the desk chair nearby. Our target is also known by more than one name. I know him as Kingston Rupp, or King. I think this is his real name, I think I know the real man, but I can’t really be sure.
I hope I’m right or I probably won’t survive the next twenty-four hours.
But I’m furious enough with all these other assholes to give him the benefit of the doubt.
King is sitting, deceptively relaxed, as ordered in his desk chair. “What do you want?”
My partner answers with one word. “Information.”
“Who sent you?”
“We’ll ask the questions. Secure him,” he orders me.
I step forward, pulling several zip cords from my belt. I hold two out to King, telling him in French to tie his legs to the chair. He’s never heard me speak my native language and I’m hoping it will prevent him from recognizing my voice too soon. When he has done so I hand him another and order him to secure his wrist. “Use your teeth,” I say softly. He begins to do as I asked, cursing when I strike him across the face. “Your left hand.”
He eyes me warily, realizing I know he’s left handed, taking that advantage away from him. He completes his task and I glance at my partner making sure he has me covered before moving in to fasten his final limb, tightening all the others.
I let my partner take the lead now, stepping back into the shadows.
“Where have you been?” he beings the interrogation.
“That depends. Who’s asking?”
Tucking his gun into the small of his back he shakes his head, feigning disappointment in King’s answer. Suddenly he stoops, punching King in the stomach. I hear the air leave his body and he hunches over struggling to bring more oxygen into his lungs.
I school myself to show no reaction. Violence isn’t new to Odette but I prefer a fair fight.
“You’ve been missing for months. What have you been up to?”
King gives another flippant answer and receives another hit. Eventually my partner tires of the game, but not until King is spitting blood, his eye swollen.
“Sorry, my friend. We need you to come with us.” He backs away giving me room. “Do it.”
I open another box from my bag, this one holding a syringe. I fill it with a knock out agent from a bottle in the same box.
King can barely hold his head up as I approach. I know better than to assume he’s as helpless as he appears. I kneel next to him. I find the location on his neck I plan to inject him. I hesitate for just a minute waiting for his eyes to meet mine.
Then plunge the needle into his flesh.
I hear my partner move behind me as he taunts King, “You’ll start to fill a little groggy. Nothing to worry about.”
Using his chair to push off and give me added leverage, I turn quickly, my right leg flashing out in a wide arc and striking my now EX-partners hand, knocking his gun loose. He recovers quickly and blocks my next kick before I can cause any damage. But I move smoothly and use his counter attack for momentum punching him square in the chest.
Odette’s skills come back to me easily. It’s been years since I’ve needed them but I never stopped training. The heel of my right palm strikes his nose with a satisfying crack. My left slices through the air and strikes the side of his neck. He grunts and slumps to his knees. I grab his hair with both hands, pulling his head down as I raise my knee. And he collapses, unconscious.
I use two additional cords to secure his hands and feet. Then using a second syringe, inject him with the same drug we used on King.
I slide a knife out of my back pocket, slicing King’s restraints. His head is lolling from side to side, his eyes unfocused.
“Don’t go to sleep yet, big guy. I need your help getting out of here.”
“Who – who are you?”
I don’t answer, instead wrapping one arm around his waist and hitch my shoulder under his, grunting as I try to lift him. He staggers to his feet, using me as a crutch.
“There’s a car under your building. We need to get to it and we don’t have much time. Are you able?”
He grunts, enough of a response for me. I move.
“We’ll take the service elevator, but you need to stay alert.” King is struggling to maintain consciousness, his breathing is rough and he uses both me and the wall to stay upright and propel us forward.
“You couldn’t have knocked him out before drugging me?” His words are labored and deliberate.
“I needed to be sure you’d cooperate.”
We stumble inside the service elevator at the back of the building and I push the button for the underground garage.
He’s having trouble focusing at this point, propped in the corner. “Who are you?”
Again I ignore the question. Service elevators are agonizingly slow and I slap King twice yelling his name as I try to keep him alert. Finally the doors slide open and I help him move forward. He leans against the car I planted days ago as I open the back seat before helping him get settled inside.
“The drugs will wear off soon, okay? Don’t fight them anymore.”
“Who are you?” he mumbles again.
I pull the mask off, my hair falling loose around my face.
“Sara?” He tries to reach out but ultimately succumbs to the drug and passes out.
Sara was the name I used when he knew me.