You Don't Know My Name(3)

By: Kristen Orlando

My mouth drops but before I can say another word, Dad picks up the phone and pushes a few buttons. Before the voice on the other end even says hello, Dad is yelling. “He’s at the basement door, Thomas—how the hell does he know about that? Only someone on the inside could possibly know that type of high-security detail.” A voice says something on the other end of the phone. “Well, you better figure out how he got that intel and then you put the bastard who gave it to him behind bars for life, you understand me?”

Dad slams down the phone before Thomas can answer.

Mom turns around and holds out her palm. “Reagan, give me your gun.” Her eyes are sharp and every muscle in her face is tight. I’ve watched my parents shoot and practice Krav Maga, jujitsu, and Muay Thai for years. But I’ve never actually seen them use their skills. I lean down and slowly pick my favorite pistol off the floor. I place the gun in her open hand.

“Please be careful,” I say, the words barely escaping my tight throat. She leans in and kisses me on my cheek.

“I’ll be fine,” she says, giving me a small smile. As she turns and reaches for the door, a million pins prick my skin and I can’t feel my hands or my feet or my legs. I drop my head as she punches in the six-digit code. The steel beams unlock and I look up to capture what I’m afraid could be my final image of her.

I’ve been doing that my entire life. Before they go off on missions, I try to take in every piece of them. The way my dad’s strong hands curve around his favorite coffee cup. The way my mom carefully brushes stray pieces of her blond hair out of her eyes. The feeling she leaves on my cheek when she kisses me or the tightness of Dad’s hugs. I freeze that moment, hold it tight and file it away. But this time, she’s already gone.

Dad slams the panic room door and punches in the code again. The steel beams lock back into place. I watch the security cameras as Mom walks across the martial arts room, then slips out the escape route in the corner of the shooting range, softly closing the metal door behind her. Dad picks up the satellite phone and punches in another number. I hear a female voice pick up on the other side.

“Sam, stand by,” Dad barks. “Elizabeth is on her way out. She’s on her own so watch her back.”

He slams down the phone without waiting for a reply. I look up at him. His jaw is clenched. He’s trying to look calm, but his wide, wild eyes give him away. He’s almost as panicked as I am. He frantically searches the security cameras for my mother. I look back at the screens in time to see Mom slip out the secret side door of the house and run to meet the Black Angels standing in our driveway, my gun glistening in her hand.

Dad and I watch in deafening silence as the hitman pulls and pulls on the steel doors. He flips open the keypad, typing in numbers with his middle finger. I lower my head for a moment and beg. Please, God, please don’t let him have the right number. I look back up and search the security cameras for Mom. She’s gone inside the house while the other Black Angels creep to the side garage door near the backyard. My heart is beating so loud, it’s the only thing I hear as I watch Mom reach the mudroom, pull her gun up to her chest, and pause at the garage door. My body starts to tingle again as I watch the team outside rip open the side door and point their guns straight at the hitman’s head.

“Get down on the ground,” a deep voice calls out on the security camera. The hitman turns around, points his weapon at the two Black Angel watchers, and fires. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Aunt Sam dives behind one of our SUVs as the hitman reaches in his pocket to reload. But before he can shove the magazine into his pistol, Mom has snuck out the garage door and is sprinting up behind him.

“Mom,” I scream and step toward the security cameras. Dad pulls at my shoulders as Mom grabs the hitman’s arm and slams it into her knee, knocking the gun and ammunition out of his hand. Dad’s grip tightens as she tucks her leg beneath his. I know that move. Mom taught me that move. Using all her strength, she flips him flat on his back. I hear the crack of his skull on the cold, hard cement and his breath knock from his chest. He desperately gasps for new air as Mom pushes the barrel of my gun into his forehead.