This story is by Chris Le Roy and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
Sitting on the edge of his bed, staring into the night lights of the East Village, New York through a floor-to-ceiling glass paneled wall in the Bowery Hotel, NCIS Agent John Rathbone raises his glass of scotch, “To my career!” While New Yorkers are making their way home for the night, Agent Rathbone is now contemplating his future.
Forced into retirement by an ice cold killer.
Earlier in the week, Agent Rathbone was on protection duty for 6-year-old Josie Lenox, the daughter of a highly decorated intelligence officer and Commander of the Syrian Drone Group for the US Navy, Commander Lenox. His week was thrown into disarray when ISIS Matriarch, the White Widow, carried out a devastating attack on the Black SUV he was driving while taking Josie to school.
Josie was killed when an ISIS hit team cornered their vehicle in a one-way street and the White Widow, standing in front of the vehicle, detonated an IED killing Josie who was sitting in the back seat whilst only slightly injuring the Agent Rathbone.
Commander Lenox’s daughter became a target of the White Widow after he ordered a drone strike on the White Widow’s Syrian compound. Bad intelligence claimed she and her ISIS husband would be there. Instead, the White Widow’s son Joe Dixon and his nanny lost their life in the strike.
Agent Rathbone leans forward to pick up the scotch bottle lying on the ground.
His phone rings. It lights up with the words, “PRIVATE NUMBER.”
In a hoarse voice, he answers, “Hello.”
“Agent Rathbone, what a pity. I thought I had seen the last of you.”
He stops, stares through the window, looking at a young mom walking her daughter across the road.
“Well you were wrong; but I guess that’s nothing new,” the agent retorts.
Taunting him, the voice shoots back, “What’s it like to be retired?”
“What do you want?” he responds.
“Well first off, you need to stop drinking that scotch. When we meet I want you on your game.”
“White Widow?” the agent drops his glass.
“Hahahaha. Very Good. Agent Rathbone? Agent Rathbone, what are you doing?” asking sarcastically, as he slowly moves into the shadow of the room away from the window.
The White Widow quips,“If I wanted to kill you now,you’d already be dead. I want what is rightfully mine.”
Agent Rathbone reaches into his pocket and activates the second phone. He texts to a private number, “911!”
“What’s that?” he replies.
A shiver goes down his spine. “Why would I want to meet you?”
In a calm, cold voice, “Your Granddaughter, Alexi.”
“BITCH! Don’t you touch her? She has nothing to do with this,” he yells down the phone.
“One hour. You should know it well,” the White Widow pauses, “You were there today. New York Marble Cemetery, Lenox Family Crypt.”
The scene of the funeral today. The last resting place of his protectee, Josie Lenox. He ponders how ironical this all is and what lies in wait for him. He picks up his Glock off the side table and holsters it under his jacket. He pulls out the second mobile and texts, “911 Lenox Crypt… Now!”
John looks over at the bedside clock, taking a moment to look at the photo of
his 6-year-old granddaughter before hastily leaving his hotel room to make the 3 block walk.
Breathing heavily Agent Rathbone arrives at the black gates of the New York Marble Cemetery. He walks along the concrete path, moving past one marble grave to another ‘til he arrives at the Lennox Crypt. He touches the plaque for young Josie.
“Agent Rathbone!” He spins around to see a woman dressed in a black burqa standing in front of him.
“You’re not the White Widow”, he replied. “Where is she?”
“Haha. Very Good, no she’s not!” booms from a speaker on the martyr. “Not everything is as it seems.”
“You’re absolutely right. Why send this child to do your work?” he questions. “Why not face me?”
“This is easier,” she retorts. “How does it feel to realize that you can’t protect your women? You let that poor child die in your arms. She suffered because of her father’s tyranny and now he suffers ‘cause of your incompetence”
“Nah, he’s okay with it,” John said with glee. “He still loves cuddling her and putting her to bed. He’s disappointed we buried a prosthetic dummy in the crypt.” With a simple pause, as he lets the White Widow digest this revelation, he yells, “Lights!”
The martyr looks around in fear not sure what to do.
The cemetery is flooded by light from the low hovering NYPD chopper.
Standing at the entrance of the cemetery is Commander Lenox and Josie lit from behind by 4 NYPD police cars.
“Josie’s doing very well as you can see.” The White Widow interrupts John mid-sentence, “What the?” she pauses. “Kill him now!”
The Martyr holds up her hand, trigger in place and yells, “Allahu Akbar!”
Agent Rathbone pulls the Glock from his holster; fires a single shot. The matyr drops like a sack of potatoes and fails to execute her suicide vest. He runs over to secure the bomb.
As he kneels, his phone rings in his left jacket pocket. He pulls it out. The screen says, “PRIVATE NUMBER.”
Raising it to his ear, the ominous silence is broken by four simple words, “The Game’s Not Over.”
Through the phone the Agent hears the click of the trigger, he looks up.
From the roof’s edge, 8 stories up, in the dark of night, a muzzle flash. Agent Rathbone freezes, he hears the whizz of the bullet. Thud. The cracking of the bullet shatters Agent Rathbone’s scull.
His body slumps to the ground as NCIS agents, NYPD police and paramedics tear through the gates of the cemetery to his aid. He lies there motionless, dying. His mobile clutched in his hand, as he hears the last words, “GAME OVER.”