Protégé, Part I

The hotel lobby began to spin in front of Paul’s eyes. A throbbing sensation coursed through his temples. Sitting on the sofa opposite him, von Shiff watched the effect of the poison on his adversary with an expressionless face. He showed neither anger nor victory nor curiosity nor pity, just a cold stare. He did not move as Paul fell forward out of his chair, wretching.

Paul, get out of there now!” Carla’s voice crackled through his earpiece. “We’re coming to get you, start walking.

Paul got unsteadily to his feet and headed for the door. Von Shiff did not follow, just watched him go. Paul stumbled out of the hotel lobby onto a rainy street, and clutched the nearest lamppost for support. The rain drummed on the top of his head and began to soak through his clothes.

Muddy thoughts formed about the tone of Carla’s voice. He had trained her for nearly five years. He had put her through hell and brought her back, but it all came down to this – whether she could hold her nerve when his life was on the line. His life was in her hands, now. He hoped he had picked well.

We’re three minutes away, Paul. No, go around, Eric, jump the pavement, it’s clear. I can’t see where he is, I can’t see him.

Paul furrowed his brow against the rain that bombarded his forehead, distracting him from his train of thought. He began to walk up the street, vision blurring, unable to find balance.

To be continued…

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