Continued from Agent Hulo.
Interrogating Nita was difficult for Alvares. At one point, she had been his betrothed until circumstances pulled them apart. Alvares walked from the cell and pulled the latex gloves from his hands, then removed the rubber full-body coat. Her fear and her remorse were so great, he’d not needed them at all. She told him everything, almost before he was able to get a secretary in to take notes– a secretary inspected and free of the Ku Ton tattoo.
He closed his eyes thoughtfully. The tattoos were only behind the ear, hidden under hair. In the event of baldness, they were smaller, but they were in the same location. He sighed as he pondered the names she gave him of known Ku Tons within in his agency. Alvares felt absolutely certain there were more, but with the new knowledge of how to identify them, he was less worried.
Despite the information about the tattoos, he remained unconvinced that it was an easy way to find every Ku Ton spy. He took the interview papers from the secretary and looked at her. “Keep all of the information you learned secret. In fact, forget you heard it.” The woman saluted, and he walked away, certain of her ability to do as ordered.
His pace was a speedy clip, and he arrived at his office quickly. His wife was removed, and the bloody rug was gone from sight. He glanced at the spot on the floor she’d been, and scowled. “Vanessia. I’ll protect him.” His mood darkened as he looked at the list of known murderers. How he wanted to execute them! Instead, he made two lists. One, a list of people who would be watched, and the other, a list of people who would be watched only by the security cameras.
As he finished the list, he rose and set it aside, then locked the door and walked into the attached back room, where he slept now, with his son. He looked at the toys scattered about, and the doctor, who was feeding the little one. “How is Valerio?” He approached the bed the infant slept on. “Does he have enough of everything?”
The doctor looked up and smiled. “He’s doing fine, sir. Valerio needs a bed of his own, though. A crib with high sides, for when he grows older.” He paused. “Also, if you can manage it, find a source of fresh breast milk. He needs those antibodies.”
Alvares blinked. “Breast milk?” He frowned. That would prove difficult. “I’ll see what I can do.” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Anything else?”
“No, sir. He’s doing rather well, and he’ll probably wake from his nap shortly. Do you want to hold him?” The doctor glanced up from his continued work.
“Of course I do.” He walked to the bed and sat beside it, on a chair specifically for that purpose. He folded his legs and rested one elbow on a knee while he watched the wrinkled little creature his wife died to bring into the world. The boy was starting to fill out, but remained wrinkled. Little Valerio looked like he was made out of a naked cat and a fat, wrinkly puppy.
Alvares laughed at the idea that his son looked like either of them, and the infant woke and began to squirm. His unopened eyes scrunched tightly, and he began to cry. Thankful for sound-proofing, Alvares picked his son up and accepted a bottle from the old doctor.
Years passed, and Alvares began to feel safe. His son was six years old, and his homeschool education progressed as fast as the boy could go. His father moved him to a safe house, to live with his aunt and uncle, and the boy had no idea his father was the leader of the Specialized Internal Bureau of Defense, nor that his mother died because of any strangely-named terrorist group. He grew up normal, if secluded, and despite the increasingly rare visits from his father, the two remained close.
Little Valerio had no idea how much trouble his father went through to visit him. He had no idea that his father was anything but ordinary, until the two were playing catch together in the front yard on a bright sunny day.
Alvares threw the ball, and Valerio missed it. The boy dashed to get it, and returned to see his father down on one knee. “Go inside.” he whispered as loudly as he dared. The terror in his father’s eyes moved the boy more quickly than anything, and he ran inside. “Aunt Mia! Uncle Sal!” The boy threw the screen door open, and as he dashed through the inner door, he slammed it shut.
Outside, the boy’s father looked around, then slowly rose and stepped toward the road. He pulled his gun from its hidden holster and looked around, then began to back towards the house. Each step was agony, and he began to tremble. With what energy he had left, he stripped off his coat, emptied his pockets into it, and threw it inside.
A drive-by shooting in the suburbs, with a silencer. He was positive that the shot to his kidney was intentional, if ill-aimed for the usual assassin. Then again, to a man who lost one kidney during Mardi Gras as a teen, it would do the trick well enough. He just hoped his boy didn’t see the blood.
The SIBD boss paused and swallowed his saliva. What if the shot wasn’t even aimed at him? His shaking became more intense. The blood loss was a problem. He gritted his teeth and forced himself to breathe slowly as he watched the street, gun trained on it as he waited for cars to pass. Finally, just as Sal arrived, he collapsed.
“Alvares! Hang in, man!” Sal, huge, ugly Sal, held a sawed off shot gun, ready to fight. His horrible Mexican mustache and his beady eyes gave him the appearance of a sexual predator, but at the moment, Alvares saw only an angel in the man he selected to raise his boy in his absence.
Inside, Mia gripped Alvares’ coat and gripped Valerio by the wrist. “This way.” she urged as she dragged him into a closet with her and fumbled around the back until she found something. The elevator went down, and Valerio held tightly to Sal’s wife.
“Where are we going, Aunt Mia?”
“You’re going to go to the place your father works, Vallie.” Her tone was hushed, as though she thought someone might listen in through several layers of steel, concrete, and insulation.