Dream Shard(3)By: Mary Wine
“And now he is dead, along with Stephen Fredricks, and security has been tightened around all the merchandise you desire.” Aurick Dresner spoke with a hint of arrogance that he felt was well earned. “If you want a proven psychic, you will have to pay the price. I do not have bargain sales. The merchandise I deal with is the rarest of the rare.”
“I want the merchandise.”
“The female tracker with the emerald eyes is no longer obtainable under your stipulations,” Dresner informed his prospective client. “The failed attempt to secure her has resulted in a change in her circumstance that will make it impossible to make it appear as though she went rogue. Now that she has a son, there will be no way to cut her cleanly from her unit.”
“She was the best.”
“At tracking, I agree.” Dresner touched one of the large flat screens in front of him. Several surveillance photos appeared. “However, many of her comrades are very talented as well. Devon Ross has an impressive record in tracking and he is a class-one empath too. No family. No regular bed partners.”
“I want him free and clear. Presumed dead would be best.”
Dresner turned a stylus over several times between his fingers. “That is possible, but the man will arrive with a hostile attitude.”
“That is acceptable.”
Dresner used the stylus to tap on one of the photos and enlarge it. He leaned forward to study the image. “Transfer the first payment. Stage one will commence once payment has been received.”
He killed the line without waiting for a reply. Conversation didn’t interest him unless it was productive. He was a businessman, not a psychologist. He reached for an intercom button.
“Kappel, my office.”
Beyond the dark glass of his office, there were several other enclosed cubicles. His team members rarely saw one another, by design. Their clients paid for exclusivity, which was best achieved by leaving no trails back to the core organization they worked for. Kappel would choose his team from men training in different locations and none of them would know each other. There was a short rap on the door. Dresner pressed a small button to disconnect the locking system.
“I have a hunt for you.”
Kappel grinned, showing off the four gold-crowned teeth in the front of his mouth. His right cheek was marked with dark scars from shrapnel and there was a tattoo of a skull on the back of his neck. He was a massive man, one who had done military duty so he might kill legally. He hadn’t been in the service for the honor. He’d been there to enjoy hunting other men. The perfect sort of employee for Dresner because retirement didn’t suit him well. Kappel had an appetite for blood and money.
Dresner handed him a small computer tablet.
“Select your team and plan your hunt. The prey is exclusive and must be delivered alive.”
Kappel’s grin faded.
“As far as his companions go, so long as you achieve the client’s requested circumstances, I don’t care how big a mess you make.”
Kappel turned to leave.
“Be sure you take notice of the targets I have noted as being of future use. They are not to be harmed in the process of your operation.”
It had better be.
Dresner didn’t bother to repeat himself. The door closed with a quiet click and he leaned forward to look at the photos he had of Devon Ross. Psychic tracker and empath. Thirty-four years old, expert shot, martial artist and worth a fortune on the black market.
He was Dresner’s next piece of merchandise.
The water would be freezing.
Kalin ordered herself to stop making excuses. The morning sky was turning pink with hints of gold. Birds were calling to one another as they began to search for food. The Sierra Nevada Mountains hadn’t seen snow for a solid month now. Her breath wasn’t even white when she exhaled, so it wasn’t that cold.
It was going to be freezing.
She scoffed at herself as she continued to climb the thin trail that led from her grandparents’ cabin to the waterfall she’d once enjoyed so much. In the summer, in the afternoon and when she was still young enough to think cold mountain water was fun.
She stopped, memories flooding her. Only these were dark ones and she dug into the rocky path. The sound of rushing water teased her ears with the promise of restoration.