Alvares Hulo gripped his wife’s hand. This wasn’t where he wanted his son born. His work office was cursed, he was certain. Silently, he prayed that the curse would not rest on his little boy. As he knelt beside his wife, he looked her in the eye. “How are you feeling, Vanessia?”
“Sunshine and blueberries, love,” she answered dryly. “I want to strangle you for inflicting this on me.”
“Dear, you’re the one who damn near raped me.” He chuckled, satisfied that her humor was intact. The doctor finally arrived, and from there, Alvares was promptly banished from the room to wait outside. He sat against the pinstriped wall, propped up only by the strength of his outstretched legs. He crossed his arms and thought about a few work problems while he waited.
He lacked anyone he could leave in charge during paternity leave. This was especially bad, because another terrorist organization was gaining power, and had already begun making moves to gain more. They even began infiltrating various organizations– even Al’s own agency wasn’t safe, ever since the death of the vice president and his secretary, who both died of what he was sure were not the natural causes listed on the reports.
If the pattern continued, and he lost more people, he could be sure it was a new hire. Otherwise, it was someone who was there a while. He couldn’t just wait to find out who died next. He had limited people. Finally, he decided he would limit his agency to menial labor for a time. They were non-essentials who, although best at what they did, were not entirely needed, and privately funded.
At some point, he dozed off and woke to silence. It took only a moment for him to dash inside his office. The doctor was covering his wife in a sheet and holding the quiet baby. “What happened?” Alvares murmured.
The doctor looked up. “The bleeding was too much. She had me close your door after you left, sir. The infant will be fine– he’s resting. He tired himself out with screaming earlier.”
“A little boy, sir.”
Alvares reached out for the little one as he stared at the covered body of his life. For several moments, he forgot they knew the gender, thanks to the beauty of ultrasounds. “She knew this would happen.” His voice caught on the last syllable, and he swallowed. He took a deep breath. “Let me see him.”
The doctor stood and handed the infant over to his father.
The leader of the agency stared down at the tiny, wrinkled thing, and began to laugh. “So, this is a new baby.” Tears slid down his cheeks. “He’s an ugly little thing.” He leaned down and slowly, timidly kissed his son’s head. “Did she name him?”
“I suppose I should, then. His name is Valerio Alexandro Hulo.” He paused and looked at the covered body of his wife. Something felt off. “Wait. The medical team should be here.”
“Where are they?” The hairs on the back of his neck rose, and his expression became grim. He walked to the loudspeaker button. “Medical team prime, report immediately.”
There were several long moments of silence before the speaker on the desk buzzed to life. “Sir.” The voice was faint and shaky. “All dead. I’m last. Dying. Assassins. Ku Ton. Tattoo on-” His voice cut off.
“I told you we had to kill them quickly.” The voice was tauntingly familiar. “Let’s go.”
Alvares began to tremble. He pressed two private call buttons. “Kill anyone that leaves the alpha med team’s quarters, unless it’s Nita. Nita is to be brought to me immediately if she is alive.”
“Yes, sir.” the response was prompt, and Alvares hugged his infant tightly, then looked at the doctor. “Take Valerio and hide with him in that closet.” He pointed.
The doctor nodded and approached. He took Valerio gently and hurried to the closet. Somehow, Alvares felt uneasy about anyone else touching his son, but it couldn’t be helped. He remained in his seat, and the door opened. “We found her and two others, sir. The others were killed as ordered. They wore the med prime uniforms, sir.” The captain of their squad saluted, and Alvares rose and walked over to the restrained Nita.
“Strip her completely. Don’t bother being nice about it. She likely helped kill my wife and child.” His gaze was cold as they stripped Nita. “Don’t beat her, you idiots.” Alvares walked to Nita and looked her over. He refused to speak to her, or to meet her stubborn gaze. “Turn her.” When she turned on her own, he gave no remark. Finally, he noticed something. There was something underneath her hair. Slowly, he lifted it and saw a tattoo. “What is this?” The man’s voice was like ice.
“It’s just a butterfly, in memory of my grandmother.”
“The one that hasn’t died yet, or the one you hated?”
The woman became silent.
“You have betrayed not only me, but the trust and love of my Vanessia, and you murdered my unborn child.”
Nita began to tremble. “Murdered? I was told they’d be fine-” Her voice caught.
“They aren’t. My wife died giving birth to a baby that died not long after her. She gave her life for the child, and you murdered him.”
The woman began to cry.
“Tell me everything, and I might put you in the witness protection program instead of telling everyone here and letting them deal with you as they please.”
Between her sobs, she began to speak. “I’ll talk. I’ll tell you everything.” She began to gasp between sobs. “Vanessia…” She hugged herself and dropped to her knees.
“Before that, I want you to look at what you’ve done. Come, look at Vanessia. I won’t allow you to look at my son, though. You don’t deserve that honor.” He walked to the body of his wife and gently pulled the sheet down. She looked peaceful. He mouthed an apology to her as he motioned for Nita to be brought forward. Two guards carried her by the arms to Vanessia, and she began to wail as she edged forward and reached out to touch Vanessia. “This is what happens, Nita, when you slaughter my personal medical staff.” He looked up at the guards. “Take her to cell 4-A in the Banana block.”
As the guards dragged the sobbing, nude woman away, Alvares dropped beside his wife and cradled her head in his lap. Once the room was empty, he spoke again. “Doctor, bring him out now. I will have nobody but you aware that my baby boy survived.” He frowned. “Nobody. Let them think they succeeded for now.”