You Don't Know My Name(4)

By: Kristen Orlando

“Who sent you?” I hear her ask. The hitman says nothing, just grunts in pain. “Who sent you?” she says again, her voice rising. She digs the gun into his right temple. He slowly lifts his head off the garage floor and looks up at my mother. He says nothing as they stare into each other’s eyes. Just when I think he’s about to give up the puppeteer pulling his strings, he spits in her face. Air pulls from my lungs. My eyes widen as Mom raises the gun into the air. Dad’s hand tightens on my shoulders again. Halfway up, she stops. She glances up at the security camera, remembers I’m watching, and returns the barrel of the gun to his temple.

“You’re not even worth it,” she hisses. Aunt Sam and the other Black Angel watcher search his body for weapons as my mother holds him down, her knee in the center of his chest. A murderous tool kit of pistols, knives, ammunition, and ropes are taken out of his pockets and thrown to the ground.

The satellite phone rings again.

“They got him,” Dad says. I can hear Thomas on the other end. “No. No. We need him alive. Tell them to take him back to Langley. We need to find out what he knows. How he found us.”

I look back up at the security cameras. Mom is gone. Aunt Sam is tying the hitman up with zip ties. They yank him to his feet. His cracked skull is bleeding. Trickles of blood rush down his forehead, into his eyes, and across his cheeks. They hold him by both arms, guns pointed at his head. He doesn’t resist. He just hangs his head. He probably knows what will happen next. They grip his arms tight, walk him outside to their SUV, throw him inside, and are gone.

“Thomas, I can’t believe this happened again. Intelligence thinks they’ve been watching us for almost a month. I don’t understand how he got inside this house. You’ve got to put us somewhere safer. My family could have died tonight.” Dad’s voice surges. He closes his eyes and shakes his head. “No, I’ll be there in the morning. I want to talk to him myself. We’re all coming, so don’t send protection. See you in a few hours.”

“What do you mean we’re all coming?” I ask as he hangs up the phone.

“We’ve got to go to DC tonight,” he answers, his fingers quickly punching in the code. The steel beams unlock and the door opens. “Grab your go-bag. We’re not coming back here.”

I stand frozen in the panic room. We’re not coming back? No. Not again. I watch him, dazed, as he walks away from me. I force my body to chase after him into the weapons room. “What? Why?”

“They know where we are,” he answers sternly without turning around.

“But I just started the school year and I actually like the girls in my class and I have a precalculus test on Monday and…” I babble. Words are just tumbling out of my mouth. I’m not even sure what I’m saying.

“Reagan, this is not negotiable.” He turns around and shouts in my face. I stop in my tracks and close my open mouth, surprised by his anger. He raises his arm, pointing toward the panic room. “Were we even in the same room? Did you not just see what happened? If he hadn’t tripped the alarms on the property, we’d be dead right now. We’re not safe in Philadelphia anymore. He’s just one assassin. If they know where we are, they’ll send twenty more before morning. I’m not going to stay here and watch my family die. We have to leave. Tonight!”

I hold on to the air in my chest until my lungs burn. Philadelphia was just starting to feel like home. And there they go again, ripping me away from my friends and my school and the life I was building here. The worst part is, I’ll never get to say good-bye. No farewell party. No note. No explanation. I’ll just disappear. Like all the times before.

I’m so sick of this. We’ve moved so many times, I’m losing count. Seven times? Eight times? I was just starting to feel a sense of normalcy here but saying those words out loud will just piss Dad off. I’ll be reminded that I’m not normal. That I have a gift. That I was born to do this. It’s a phrase I’ve heard so many times, I’ve memorized my parents’ inflection and the way they always emphasize the word born. I was born to be one of them. A Black Angel.