Episode 10: Cloak of Darkness
by Sabrina Carol
by Sabrina Carol
|Franklin Fairchild and Kaye Corday in Ten Little Spies.|
Unable to take anymore of the pain, she shoved the considerable white pill into her mouth, and eagerly gulped a cup of water behind it. She rested her head against the cushioned back of the armchair, a sigh escaping her lips for the relief soon to come. Inside a matter of minutes the throbbing ache began to subside giving in to a drug induced stupor. Her heavy lidded eyes fluttered closed, and her right arm fell to the wayside. She felt the Styrofoam cup slipping from her fingers, but was helpless to stop it as it splattered onto the floor.
Kaye Corday ran a hand across her dampened forehead. She was so pale and perspired as though she had a fever. Using her thumb, she carefully smoothed a sweated blonde curl from beneath her chin. "This is what I look like dying," she whispered to her reflection. Only it wasn't really her. It was her twin sister, Alison, who was fighting for her life.
Witnessing the one she shared her entire existence with laying in such a tragic state yielded a softness in Kaye she'd thought long dead. Alison looked sweet and fragile like a child. It seemed unimaginable that her sister could harm anyone.
"And yet you did," Kaye quietly spoke to her. "Once again your foolishness has hurt innocent people--- and this time you, as well." She leaned down beside the hospital bed, and held Alison's frail hand between her own. "Poor Jared, he never had a chance. You just had to have him--- even if it meant stealing my life. Alison, why do you have to be so selfish?"
Evidently realizing she was touching someone less desirable, Kaye pulled away, letting Alison's hand flop to the bed. She stood up as tall as her 5'3 frame would allow. Her green-yellow eyes traveled the length of the intravenous tube injected in Alison's arm to the I.V. bag.
Kaye deliberately twisted the tube around one finger. "You won't be needing this where you're going," she said matter-of-factly and tore it from her sister's flesh. A pool of blood quickly gathered at the open wound. Never the one to leave things unkempt, Kaye wiped it away with the bed sheet.
"It's time we be on our way," she announced. Not wasting another minute, she removed the breathing tubes from Alison's nostrils.
"Kaye," the surprising voice came from out of nowhere. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Her eyes popped open, round and wide like saucers. Still believing she was in her sister's hospital room, Kaye gazed in confusion at the man standing over her. "What - what did you say?" she questioned groggily.
Franklin Fairchild hovered above her like an omnipresent. "I said what the hell do you think you're doing," he answered gruffly. "Didn't I warn you to never to sleep on the job?"
Her head starting to clear, Kaye took a calming breath when she realized it was only Franklin and not Dare as expected.
"You're one of my finer agents," Franklin was saying, as he rounded his desk and sat down. "If I wanted sloppy work, Alison would be sitting here instead."
Kaye forced herself to sit up straight. She wasn't sure how long she'd been out of it, but she felt like a ton of bricks. "I think the pain killers Mortez assigned me has an unfortunate down effect," she uttered lazily.
"I'll make sure the good doctor changes your prescription." Franklin said. He was not at all the physically intimidating man one would expect the head of the Legacy to be. He was actually quite grandfatherly in appearance, but anyone within the organization knew otherwise. FF was the heart and soul of the Legacy. Without him they were nothing.
Kaye shifted her left foot and accidentally crushed the fallen Styrofoam cup beneath it. "Sorry about the mess," she apologized vaguely recalling having dropped it.
Franklin waived her off. "Leave it," he ordered. "We have important things to discuss."
She did as she were told and sat back in the chair. "Everything went as planned," she said automatically. "Alison and Jared have been removed and detained elsewhere. They are no longer a problem."
"Nice touch with the elevator by the way." Franklin commented grimly.
Kaye paused as she thought of the bullet ridden elevator. "There was a slight delay with getting in and out. Jared awakened, forcing me to use the sleep aid. Otherwise, everything went smoothly."
Franklin's eyes remained trained on her. Though he didn't say a word, Kaye knew he sensed her reluctance to further comment.
Finally, Franklin rapped his heavy fingers on his desk. "And nothing more happened?"
"Yes," Kaye answered slowly as she instinctively back-tracked to cover her steps. "I'm afraid I let my emotions get the better of me. Alison is more than my sister--- she is a large part of me. Ultimately, I chose to do what was best for the Legacy. She had become a security risk that needed to be handled. And so I did." This seem to please Franklin and she relaxed.
"That's what I treasure about you Kaye," he spoke as if a proud father. "You always make the right decisions. When the unexpected happens you wisely map out a new course of action." He took a swallow of his steaming coffee and cleared his throat. "So, nothing unexpected came up--- besides the elevator, of course."
Flashes of Dare went through Kaye's mind. She'd already betrayed him once to her sister, Dyan, and she was not willing to do it again. Oh, how she hated having to make him the object of deception, yet it needed to be done. But no matter how much Kaye tried to convince herself what she did was right her heart would not accept it. What did it buy her, but only a few moments of time? And now the minutes were ticking down like a time bomb ready to explode in her face.
"I'll take care of that soon to be ex-husband of mine."
There was no doubt in Kaye's mind Dyan meant every word of her threat. The only thing she could do was repair the damage she caused, Kaye thought as she glimpsed the speeding clock over Franklin's desk--- and fast.
Dare Ransom was halfway up the walk to his apartment when he spotted his wife sitting at the foot of the stairs. He had just spent the last hour in a local pub trying to delay the inevitable blowout they were sure to have. Not to his surprise, Dyan had been more than willing to wait alone in the dark for him to return home.
At one point in his life, coming home to find his wife tarrying with a book on the verandah was a welcomed sight. But the more happier times of their marriage had become distant memories. Now they were separated and a pending divorce was all they had to look forward to.
Recognizing, Dare's silhouette, Dyan stood up, but unlike times passed, she did not call out his name or meet him partway. If Dare hadn't comprehended their reality before, after the advancing evening, he now knew that it was over between them. Back at the hospital, Dyan's venomous account of what it meant to be Dare Ransom had torn the blinds from his eyes. There wasn't going to be a second chance for them.
Your sister-in-law, close friend, and deceitful backstabber is to blame for this.
"No," Dare muttered rebelliously to the voice in his head. "Kaye's lie simply exposed the truth."
Then perhaps you should send her a black rose and a thank-you note.
"Better yet, five knuckles to the jaw and demand to know what the hell she's gotten me into."
Growing angrier with each shifting thought, Dare forced Kaye from his mind. He would deal with her soon, but right now there was Dyan.
"Dare," Dyan acknowledged him apathetically. She had taken the care to change clothes since leaving the hospital. Her hair was pulled back into a severe ponytail. She fingered a small gift-wrapped package she was holding. "I guess you're surprised to see me here after the last unfortunate get-together." The barrette holding her brown mane reflected the dim beam from the porch light.
A thin smirk crossed Dare's lips when recalling the fever-pitched argument back at Dyan's. What a fool he had been. "Tell me, what devil do I owe this visit to?"
"It's nice to know that misplaced humor is still intact," she replied bitingly. "Look, I'm only here because something serious came up and we need to talk about it."
Dare sidestepped her as he mounted the stairs. "In that case, lets take Round 2 inside. I don't want to make a bad impression on my new neighbors--- yet."
Once inside, Dare regretted it. He wasn't exactly known as the most shipshape person. The minor grimace on Dyan's face spoke volumes. She toyed with a dingy shirt in a heap on the floor with the tip of her boot. "Still fighting proper hygiene, I see."
Dare purposely flung the leather jacket she had given him two Christmas' ago on the back of the sofa. "Good maid service is hard to find." He ushered himself over to the mini bar. "Care for a drink?" Dare asked, already pouring himself a glass of scotch.
"No thanks," she answered disapprovingly. "And quite frankly you look like you've had more than your share."
Ignoring his wife's concern, Dare took a large swill of the drink and savored the malted barley on his bitter tongue. He waited for the liquor to burn down the back of his throat, giving him the extra kick to handle the hurling accusations coming his way.
Dare gestured to the brown leather sofa. "You're allowed to sit, you know," he commented, while settling into the comfortable cushion. Dyan sat across from him.
"I'm sure you know what happened to Alison," she said with a sigh.
A vivid memory of a stricken Alison in the hospital passed quickly through Dare's mind. Rattled by guilt he took a sip of his drink and shifted uneasily. "I feel terrible about what happened to Alli," he spoke sincerely. Instinctively, Dare reached out and took Dyan's hand in his. He expected her to pull away, but she didn't. "I can't say I know all that you're going through right now, and I won't pretend to. But if there is one thing I know, the LEG will get to the bottom of this. Alison will be all right."
It was then Dyan pulled away. "I don't have as much faith in Franklin Fairchild's Legacy as you," she said quite bitterly. "I've spent most of my life trying to protect my sisters, still my best efforts were never enough. There is always something --- and the Legacy is a big part of that something."
"Dyan---," Dare tried interrupting.
She held up the palm of her hand. "Let me finish," she said intently. "You and I have been through a lot--- and are still going through a lot. But never did I believe I would have to protect my sisters from you."
Dare knew it was coming, yet the weight of her words hit him like a ton of bricks square in the chest. The angry tears in her eyes cut at him like a blade to the heart.
"You kidnapped Jared Quinn, and you used Kaye to do it," she accused him. Dyan rolled her eyes and stood up. She wiped a fallen tear from her cheek. "Don't give me that broken-up look either. You can't even deny doing it."
"No, I can't," Dare deadpanned. His trembling hands belied his true feelings as he was forced to sit down his scotch. "How did you find out?"
"Kaye told me the truth."
A lazy grin crossed Dare's ruggedly handsome face. "Dear Kaye she could never lie to you."
Dyan shook her head in disbelieve. "I don't know you anymore. I don't think I ever did."
It was all Dare could do to prevent himself from laughing at the hilarity of the situation. "And you said we could never agree on anything," he remarked instead.
Dyan snatched up her pursed. "Fair warning, Dare. Stay away from Kaye and Alison, or I will make your life hell." Just before she left she tossed the package she was holding into his lap. "That's for you." A few moments later the front door opened and banged shut. She was gone.
"And the rest, as they say, is history," he murmured and drowned the rest of his scotch. Dare fingered the gift box before tearing away the gold foil in an angry fit. He removed the cover and carelessly tossed it to the floor. "What the ," Dare muttered eyeing the crimson candle. He picked it up and the heavy scent of roses invaded his nostrils. Almost intuitively, Dare looked at the bottom of the candle. A capital Z was etched into the base.
A streak of hot jealousy ran through his veins when he recalled Adrian Zeller at the hospital with his wife. "I'll be damned," he uttered furiously, getting the message loud and clear. He gripped the candle with both hands. Soon the grip became a strangle hold and his body convulsed with angry trembles. In matter of seconds his fury gave way to an unstoppable wave of pain welling up inside of him.
Tears spilled from Dare's brown eyes, and he found himself embarrassed and ashamed all at once.
Listen to yourself, sniveling like a baby, the voice in his head mocked.
"Shut-up," he hissed.
You have the nerve to wonder why she's gone. The sight of the real you would sicken anybody.
"I said shut-up."
You're not even worth the air you breath.
The candle collided against the wall with such ferocity it broke into several pieces and scattered the floor. Dare's chest rose and fell in heavy succession. He grabbed the bottle of scotch from the mini-bar on his way out to the balcony. Dare took several gulps and leaned forward onto the blue arm-rail. He eyed the night sky in weary contempt. If only he could fly away. . .
"Kaye?" Franklin's commanding voice intruded into her private thoughts.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?" she asked promptly.
Franklin opened his mouth to speak, but stopped. Instead, he removed a picture from a manila folder occupying his desk. He slid the color glossy across the black lacquer top to her. Kaye leaned back in her chair as she studied the photograph. It wasn't long before Kaye recognized the man she was staring at, and found herself unpleasantly surprised.
"That man is Adrian Zeller," Franklin spoke her thoughts aloud. "He is the son of a former militant who once tried to destroy the Legacy. Now his father is no longer of any concern. But what knowledge the young Zeller may have acquired from his father is."
Kaye tore her hazel eyes from the picture. "Knowledge of what sort?"
Franklin rubbed at the stubble darkening his chin. "Any form of propaganda that may support the underground rebels his father helped conceive. I want this man put away just like the beast who spawned him."
Kaye was surprised by the malice filling Franklin's voice. "But sir," she said, carefully choosing her words. "This man may be the son of a former nemesis, but I doubt if he's a gun toting gorilla in private. He's renowned across the globe for his candles. Dyan even works for his downtown store."
"Which makes you the perfect candidate for the job," Franklin nodded, not perturbed by her skepticism. "You're close to the situation. You can easily get inside and get me what I need."
"But what if there isn't anything to get?"
If Franklin was put off by her reluctance he didn't show it. He leaned forward on his elbows and folded his hands. He looked at her with solemn eyes. "We've been having a lot of conversations about candles lately. Wonderfully scented candles that burn deadly poison." Franklin reached into his desk and removed a compact translucent container from the top desk drawer. He pushed the item of interest towards her. "This came from the lab."
Kaye examined the partially melted wax. She noticed the slightest engrave of what looked to once be a N or even possibly a Z.
"The toxicology report revealed heavy traces of hydrogen cyanide," Franklin continued. "It was in both the candles Jared and Rudy received."
"Hydrogen Cyanide?" Kaye questioned. "If that was released from the candle wouldn't that have caused an explosive reaction when mixed with air?"
Franklin answered with a nod. "Luckily the candle wax subdued the compound reaction; nonetheless, it was still strong enough to kill Rudy and almost Alison and Jared." Franklin stopped when he saw the shocked expression on Kaye's face. "My apologies, I forgot you didn't know about Rudy."
Kaye gazed at the picture of Adrian Zeller with hardened eyes. "Apparently, there are a lot of things I don't know."
"Now do you understand why it's important to find out everything possible about Adrian Zeller?"
Even with all her boss and mentor had laid out before her, Kaye couldn't silence the nagging doubts in her head. "But why would he be so bold as to use candles from his own company?"
Franklin raked his fingers through his salt and pepper hair. "His father, uncle, and cousin were bold in their stance. It's a Zeller trait." He stood up, stretched and handed Kaye the manila folder on his desk. "You'll find all the information you need in there."
Kaye accepted the file and replaced Adrian's picture inside. "I should be going," was all she said and started for the door.
"Be sure to get a good night's sleep," Franklin called after her. "And remember this is between you and me only."
She nodded in agreement.
Exiting the office, Kaye closed the door with a firm click. "I'm afraid sleep and Adrian Zeller will have to wait," she mused to herself. She thought of Dare. "Right now I have more important things to do."
Franklin Fairchild restlessly paced his living room floor. He was tired, but couldn't sleep. The day had been long, leaving him to wonder if it would ever end; and, yet, at present he was anxious for the sun to rise again.
He took pause at the panoramic view. Twinkling lights danced across the city, making for the most breathtaking scene. Franklin pressed his right palm to the glass. From his eyes he seemed to grasp the world in his hand. The Legacy had given him infinite power; so much so, it dared to consume him.
A slow chill shivered through Franklin's bones. The moment of self doubt was passing, but still slit into his flesh like an icicle, leaving a painful reminder of his own immortality.
The grandfather clock echoed hauntingly from the entrance hall. A sigh escaped Franklin's lips. In a matter of hours one of his best operatives would be reported dead. It was a hard sacrifice, but it had to be done to further his intentions.
Franklin massaged his forehead and sighed again. "Kaye, if you had followed my instructions, Dare Ransom wouldn't need to die."
His jaws clinched tight at the thought of Kaye's mistake. There was nothing he despised more than disobedience from his agents. With the blink of an eye they could be eradicated.
A thin smile crossed Franklin's lips. He had molded Kaye to be exactly what he wanted. She was special.
His smile hardened.
And so was Ethan
"For now, Kaye you will stay but only for now."
"Dare?" Kaye called out standing in the open doorway of the apartment.
Kaye fingered the fractured doorframe. Upon arrival she had found Dare's front door half open. Quietly stepping inside, Kaye studied the locks. Everything was normal. There were no signs of forced entry, or even a suggestion that the door had been locked in the first place.
Kaye frowned at the splintered wood. "Odd, very odd," she murmured, cautiously closing the door behind her.
A part of Kaye wanted to panic. What if something terrible had happened to Dare? As an operative for the Legacy, she lived with the knowledge that anything could happen to her. Danger came with the job. The agents lives were always at risk by outside forces--- thoughts of Jared and Alison plagued her ---and sometimes inside forces too.
Kaye forced herself to remain calm. Entering the living room, everything seemed normal at a quick glance. Dare's leather jacket was draped across the back of the sofa. A near empty glass of liquor sat on the table. Kaye curiously picked a piece of torn wrapping paper; it looked to be nothing. Crumbling it, she tossed it back to the floor.
Her probing eyes froze at the fireplace wall. A tightness seized her chest. A scarlet stain blotted the cream wall. Kaye took a calming breath and inched towards it. With closer inspection she knew it wasn't blood. Her head hung in relief and she saw the broken candle pieces.
"Oh no," she whispered, picking up one of the fragmented wax. Thankfully the candle hadn't been lit, leaving Kaye to wonder the growing mystery in Dare's apartment.
A abrupt noise caught her ear.
Glass shattering. The balcony.
Kaye shoved the piece of wax into her jacket pocket. She intended to have it examined at the LEG lab as soon as possible. With stealth movement she neared the balcony. The closer she came to the open door the better she could hear someone fumbling about.
Kaye concealed herself behind the door, and stole a glance around the corner. Her heart nearly collapsed. It was only Dare; but, her relief was short-lived. Time seemingly slowed as she watched him raise the gun, aim, and enclose the trigger with his finger.
"No!" her scream tore into the night.
There was a flash of light and Dare felt his body thrown backwards. A startling pain exploded in his skull. He saw a thousand stars in the midnight sky. They looked so close and he reached out to touch one. A feeling of peace came over him. Was this death?
"Dare," she beckoned for him.
She came to him like an angel of mercy cloaked in darkness. He felt the warmth of her hand on his cheek.
"Oh Dare, my love,"
Her lips softly pressed against his own. A fallen tear salted his tongue. He knew she would come.
"Dyan," he heard himself say.
Her mouth emblazoned a trail from his chin, to his neck, and found the bare spot on his chest. With one hand he grasped at her dark mane and happily stroked his fingers through her hair.
The kiss deepened. Kaye felt her mind drifting between ecstasy and madness. He had called her by her sister's name. It was Dyan he saw and not her. A burning fury erupted in her, but she did not stop, instead growing hungrier with each taste of his lips his skin.
A gratifying smile crossed Kaye's face. He dreamed of Dyan, but it was her body that brought him the long-awaited pleasure he sought.
Kaye slipped her shirt over her head. Dare uttered Dyan's name again. This time the pleasure was all Kaye's.
"Of course, my love," she breathed leaning in for another kiss. "However you desire me"
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