Portal – Chapter 77

Dagger, in shadow form, was perched high above the celebration near an unsuspecting Metro sniper. As the call from Cloak came, he quietly slipped down the side of the building. His mass nearly zero, he floated easily down the twelve stories to the ground below. As he touched the concrete sidewalk hidden in the shadows of the western sun, he reformed and tapped his daggers. He knew Cloak was following someone, a cop or JTF agent, and they were going to kill him.

Military Park was fenced off from the mundanes milling around looking for handouts with JTF agents patrolling the perimeter. Dagger studied and waited for the guards to move away before crossing the street adjacent to the park on the west side. A large tree protruded just inside the fence, casting a long shadow eastwards across the fence. Dagger morphed again into his shadow form and crawled under the fence, invisible against his natural backdrop. Once inside the park, he waited for a group of mundane teenagers, more aware of their cell phones than their physical surroundings, to reform and make his way to the rendezvous point.

Out of habit, Judge Ronald Thompson stopped at the door of the restroom and looked inside before entering. After several decades as an Indianapolis police officer and judge, he learned to be cautious. He tagged too many dead bodies and presided over too many cases where the victim believed he was safe. With Jury at the podium, no one was around the restroom but some JTF guards on patrol.

After a pause at the door, Ronald knew there were no assassins waiting to ambush him inside. The bathroom was quite clean, the Director sparing no expense to put on a good show for the civilians after the debacles in Missouri and Kansas. This would help the people forget their troubles for a short time.

As Ronald moved to the urinal, the sound of the restroom door opening startled him. He twisted his neck to see an old man coming in. The man appeared to be looking around the restroom, looking at each stall as he passed by. He noticed the judge looking at him and smiled.

“Can’t be too careful in these places,” he said cautiously. “Too many bad elements in this city like to hide in here and prey on us old-timers.”

Ronald nodded. When not holding celebrations, Military Park was a popular destination for local residents. It was one of the few large open spaces left in the city and next to the canal. Ronald remembered walking his wife along the canal many nights as he courted her back in the 60s. At that time, there were very few Enhanced and most were on the West Coast.

“That’s for sure,” Ronald responded. “I used to walk these streets as a cop. Just us in here.”

The old man relaxed and walked to the urinal next to Ronald.

Ronald turned his head to face the wall again. “Saving the world and listening to speeches about it is a young man’s game,” he said without looking at the man. “We old folk need to enjoy the little things like a quiet bathroom.” Ronald could hear the other man laugh.

“I just came for the entertainment,” Cloak said amused. Finally, Judge Thompson was going to pay for his crimes against the Enhanced.

As Ronald chatted with the old man, he did not notice a black shape slip in through the vent in the wall. The shadow crawled along the wall, slipping inside one of the stalls.

Wait for my signal, brother.

Quickly moving to the sink, Cloak turned on the water for a few moments before turning it back off.

“It was nice talking with you. Enjoy the rest of the celebration,” Cloak said waving to Ronald as he walked up to use the sink.

Now! Strike quickly.

The shadow reformed quickly in the stall. When Dagger could feel himself solid again, he quickly pulled his daggers. Like the spy the Director sent, they would slice quickly through this mundane’s neck.

Cloak moved to hold the door shut and prevent anyone from walking in on the murder. As his hand reached out, a powered arm pushed the door open. The strength of the push was far greater than any mundane could muster. Playing his role, Cloak fell to the ground.

Brother, hide!

As Dagger opened the stall door, he heard the mental shout from Cloak. The commotion at the door turned Ronald’s attention there as Dagger morphed back into his shadow form and dropped flat against the ground.

Two armored JTF agents walked in.

“I’m so sorry. Are you ok?” the first agent asked as he bent over and extended a hand. Cloak feigned indignation for his fall but allowed the agent to help him to his feet.

“You idiots, why don’t you watch where you are going?” Cloak yelled in his angry old man voice.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think anyone was in here,” the agent apologized again. He looked up to see a large black man approach him. He knew the man. Every agent in the JTF knew Judge Ronald Thompson.

“You need to be more careful, son,” Ronald said. “Security checks are not the most exciting thing in the world but you are not out in the field fighting Enhanced. Only old mundanes in here.”

“Yes, Judge Thompson. We’ll be more careful,” the agent said backing out of the restroom.

“You okay, old-timer?” Ronald asked the other man.

“Yes, yes. I need to get back to my family before they think I got lost. I hope to meet you again, sometime,” Cloak said smiling at Ronald.

Ronald nodded. “Me too.”

“Get out of my way!” Cloak shouted angrily at the armored agents as he exited the restroom.

Ronald narrowed his eyes and looked at the empty stalls behind him.

“Do svidaniya,” he muttered quietly.