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Monday, December 16, 2013

The Black Ring: Chapter 3, Part 16

“Yeah, we did.” Bryson could feel the anger ebbing away, but he didn’t want to let it go. He wanted to tell Ian that he thought back to those days too and that he wished they could go back to the best days of their lives. The gravity of the situation didn’t allow him to do so though. If Ian was indeed a CIA agent then the situation was graver than he had thought.
They reached the parking lot and Bryson could finally see Ian’s face clearer and he was surprised by what he saw. The bruises and scars came through much clearer with the artificial light of the parking lights shining on his face. Bryson began to feel a little bad about how he had treated Ian a few minutes ago.
Ian pulled out a little disc that looked like a mini version of the floppy discs that were used for old computers; this particular disc was about the size of a cartridge you’d stick in a Nintendo DS. That’s actually what Bryson thought it was when he first took it from Ian. In answer to his quizzical look Ian said, “I don’t have a badge or anything I can flash, we don’t work like that.”
“Then what the hell is this?” Bryson asked.
“This is why I asked you out here. I work for a black ops department of the CIA and I’ve been mistaken for being a double agent. That disc I just gave you is the only thing that can clear me, and it has some valuable information about other double agents working within the CIA.”
“Why are you giving it to me?”
“Not everyone that’s working for this anti-American organization within the CIA is on that disk, so I don’t know who I can trust within the CIA. I’ve got both the CIA and these double agents after me and I need some place safe to keep it until I can find an outlet within the CIA to vet it for me. I figured, well, I hoped that you were still someone I could trust.”
“Should you have told me any of that? I mean, if someone were to find out that we talked could I get away with plausible deniability?”
Ian laughed, not a pleasurable laugh but a cold laugh that Bryson could tell stemmed from his own naiveté. “Plausible deniability? You’ve been watching too many movies! That’s why I asked you to pick some place we’d be alone. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t putting you in anymore danger than I had to, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not in danger. If they CIA finds you, you’ll probably just end up hidden away somewhere so you can’t divulge any secrets you’ve learned. If a double agent finds you though, whether you know anything or not you’ll probably end up dead.”
Bryson could feel his blood beginning to boil again. “Why bring it to me? I don’t want to be marked for death! You fucked up my life once, did you really need to do it again? Why didn’t you just take it to Julie? Last I saw you two were pretty close.”
“That wasn’t what it looked like. Besides I couldn’t go to Julie even if I wanted to, she’s dead.”
Bryson felt like a ton of bricks had been dropped on his head causing his mind to draw a blank. Any anger he had for Ian vanished from his mind, and all thought of that day ten years ago drifted off into the night. He may have held a grudge all this time but he never wished any harm on either of them. As if trying to find his breath, Bryson finally drew enough composure to ask, “Wh… what happened?”
Ian looked down for a moment before looking Bryson in the eye and replying, “I killed her.”
Bryson felt himself falter a little bit. Was he even standing up straight anymore? He felt as if he had been kicked in the gut. His high school flame, the girl he still considered the love of his life, the girl who made him a man, had been killed by his best friend. He didn’t know how to respond or what to say next. He never had to come up with the words.

“Get down!” Ian shouted as he pushed Bryson down to the ground. Bryson could hear the bullet whiz past his ear as he fell.

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