Shattered: Lost Faith
by Toni Walker
by Toni Walker
"Where am I?"
The words were barely audible but the man sitting in the chair next to her seemed to be waiting to hear them. He rushed to her side, tripping in the process. When he recovered his balance, he didn't touch her. He didn't seem to have it in him to touch her. He merely came closer.
"Thank you!" Nigel uttered the words to the heavens and then stared back down at Faith. "You gave us quite a scare. I had no idea the drugs they gave you were so potent."
The man was definitely British. He had the accent and the bumblesome manner. It was only then she noticed the monk's robe he was wearing. The man seemed uncomfortable in it making her think he wasn't really a man of God.
She took in more than the dress of the man. She'd been trained to look for subtle nuances her entire life. Both of her brothers were operatives for the ultra secret covert agency known as the Legacy.
Her eyes moved from the man to her surroundings. The room was dark. Shadows painted frightening shapes on the walls making Faith Fairchild feel like she was five years old again. She had bad memories of being five. Memories she didn't talk about with anyone, not even her best friend, Bobby.
Faith searched her memory. Why was she here? Her last memory was meeting with a rogue Black Council operative seeking intel about his previous employer's upper echelon of agents. After that, nothing.
She already had a three year gap in her memory. She didn't need any more memory lapses.
"When I saw you the other day at the cafe I could barely believe my eyes. Everyone thought you were dead after the Bulgarian mission. Now here you were looking as far removed from Faith Fairchild as anyone could be. You definitely weren't yourself."
He reached for the sleeve of her gown as if proving to himself that she was really lying before him. Nigel sat beside Faith. He knew losing three years would be hard on anyone.
"What do you mean, I wasn't me?" Faith decided to subtly question this British man and then when she had the chance, she would run for her life. Her head throbbed and a pain criss-crossed her chest. Her entire body felt as if it had been thrown around like a rag doll.
The man continued speaking even as she tried to tune him out to develop a plan of escape. But talking seemed to comfort him more than silence.
"I saw you in Athens. I was on my lunch break from the American Embassy and you came strutting past me and sat down with Cameron Cash. He's a known operative for the Black Council who's gone rogue." The tone of Nigel's voice rose and his excitement in telling the story caused his speech to quicken.
"I barely recognized you. You had this awful black and green hair hanging to your waist. Your body was encased in skin tight black leather. Then you boldly kissed that maniac as if he was your prom date and you were looking to get lucky."
Faith didn't falter in her assessment of him. He might have been talking a mile a minute now but Nigel was a born listener.
"What did you find out from listening to us?"
He seemed surprised by her question.
"Wha...? You were quite a distance from where I was seated. It's not like I was prepared for surveillance. Cash called you Shiloh. He had to suspect who you were given his past history with both your brothers. I was concerned for your safety."
"Anything else?" she snapped, noticing a ball point pen lying not a foot away from where she was lying.
"No, nothing. He did mention something about a next job, but didn't elaborate on it."
She didn't know who this crazy Brit was or why he had brought her here, but she knew she had to escape. Faith jumped off the bed grabbing the pen from the night stand. Her quick action had Nigel edging backward and tripping over his own feet. She took the opportunity and shoved him against the wall aiming the ballpoint at his jugular vein.
He was shocked. She could tell. Didn't he think a woman could take care of herself?
"I don't know who the hell you are but you are compromising an ongoing Knights Foundation operation."
Faith's eyes gleamed with a dangerous intent. The fear in his eyes made it known that he knew she wouldn't hesitate to use any weapon at her disposal. The pen inched toward his throat.
"Why are you holding me against my will?"
Nigel's eyes grew round. "Against your ... We're helping you. Julian Black tried to brainwash you!"
"I'm not buying it. Start talking or you're a dead man."
He stared at the pen and then back to Faith.
"After that day at the cafe, Gray started following you. He knew first hand what atrocities the Legacy put their operatives through. He's suspected a link's existed between them and the Black Council for years. He thought you'd been brainwashed and given a prototype AI (Artificial Intelligence) that would cause you to bend to the will of the BC. You would do their bidding and then experience a memory gap, sometimes as long as a month or more. You'd wake up in familiar surroundings not realizing what crimes you had committed in the past months."
Faith knew she couldn't let on what she knew about the brainwashing.
"You're crazier than I thought." She held the pen at his jugular and motioned toward the doorway. "Which way leads out? Don't test me because I will use this thing."
"Left. But it's a maze of corridors out there. You may never find your way out."
"I'll take my chances."
She knew he could be right, but this job was filled with risks. Her fist impacted with his face. She didn't have time to deal with the likes of him. She had a mission to attend to. Freelancers need not apply.
Faith shook out her hand as she ran down the long stretch of hallway looking for an exit. Her hand hurt like hell. That punch had connected with his jawbone. As she stared up at the cathedral ceiling she knew the reason the man was wearing a robe. This place was a church.
"Sick bastard," she muttered.
She had to find a way out and back to Bobby. He was her solid ground. He could help her. She'd hear the truth, whatever that was, straight from him.
Finally, after what seemed hours, she found her goal. Light shone through the front door like a beacon of hope. As she stepped out into the light she realized she'd never left Athens. Shielding her eyes from the sun, she stumbled down the cobblestone street looking for a phone. It didn't take long to find one. In a manner of minutes she was dialing the only man in the world she could trust.
"Do you believe in God?" she asked as a familiar voice picked up the extension. He audibly gasped at the sound of her voice.
"I don't know about God," he said. "But I believe everyone needs some kind of faith."
The code phrase was intact. He hadn't been compromised.
"I need an extraction point."
"Where are you?" She could hear him typing away at his keyboard.
"Looks like Athens."
He paused for a moment before adding, "Find a club called Crave. I'll meet you there."
"I'll have to confiscate a helicopter. Maybe an hour?"
Bobby's voice was uneven but hopeful. It was the dose of strength she needed.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
"I will be when you get here."