Sins of Defilement Christine stumbled away from the grisly scene in sheer horror and shock, knocking over a vase. It was long past midnight; and an eerie silence hung in the air.
"This couldn't be," she muttered, shaking her head as if she was trying to wake up from a nightmare.
"No, no!" She shrieked. Then repeated it in mutters.
Her boyfriend's bloody body lay on the marble floor; a knife buried deep in his chest. A patch of crimson tainted his shirt. His face was a twisted mask of fear. James was murdered - in his own home.
Christine fell to her knees, trying to digest the fact that an amiable teenager could be murdered. She took in several deep breaths, trying to steady herself.
"Why am I here in the first place?" she asked herself.
Then she remembered. It was the call! James had called in the dead of night, saying he had a surprise for her, in fact, a shocking one - when she opened the door to a grisly sight of James's dead body.
She crawled towards the phone, since she had no energy to walk. She picked up the phone - only to find it dead. The phone line was cut. Gasping for breath, Christine raced out of the opened door. She had to get help - although leaving James's dead body in the house gave her an uneasy feeling. To add to the ominousness of the night, there were no streetlights. Her head pounded as she tore through the darkness, depending on the moonlight for directions.
I have to get help, she thought.
James's house was at the far end of the street - and the nearest building, which was a 24-hour fast-food restaurant, was about a mile away.
She saw a light in the distance, close to the streetlight next to the building. The dim glow from the streetlight flooded the building. Christine's heart pounded with relief. She fumbled in her pockets for change, gasping, as she stopped at the payphone outside the restaurant. Her heart was still pounding when she finished reporting the whole incident to the police coherently.
The images of James's dead body flashed through her mind. The blood, the knife - and the whole scene of murder flashed through her mind.
Pain, almost physical, stabbed Christine's heart; hot tears streamed down her face.
Detective Tommy Carroll, stepped out of one of the three police cruisers that had stopped in front of James's mansion. In the other cruisers, uniformed officers and a very shaken Christine whom they picked up at the restaurant,stepped out.
Christine hung back when the officers went in, not wanting to see the horrible sight again. After what seemed like eternity, Detective Tommy emerged. He walked slowly towards her, his face grim. His watch reflected light off the darkness.
"He is, uh, dead," the elderly officer said gently. "Do you know how we could contact his parents or any relatives of his?" "His parents are away on business," as she wiped tears away before continuing, "He has - had - no relatives." Then she started to cry.
"Shawn here will escort you back home," he gestured towards a tall man. "You get a good sleep and tomorrow when you are in a better shape, I'll ask you a few questions." Christine did not say anything, but let Shawn put her into a police cruiser; Shawn took her back home.
Christine could not sleep - after the terrible incident that had happen a few hours ago. Her mother had been unsuccessful in trying to comfort her. Tears started streaming down her face again when she went to the police station, to get some answers as well as to give some answers. The fresh air calmed her as she made her way to the police station.
When she reached there, she was directed to Detective Tommy's office. It was a small office with a desk and a bookshelf, all cluttered with files. Only some metal chairs were empty. His hair was neatly combed but his shirt was ruffled. On one hand, he wore the watch Christine saw when they were at the scene of crime. The detective gestured for her to sit but she remained standing.
"Why did my boyfriend die?" She demanded with a hint of mixed feelings - anger and sorrow - in her voice although she already knew the answer.
"After a phone call to his parents and a thorough search, we discovered that a number of valuables are missing. So we had ruled this as murder with counts of burglary. This questioning is only routine." Detective Tommy went on to ask Christine about James's job, personality, habits and friends. At the end of the morning, she was sniffing when she walked out of the police station.
"Tell me if there is anything you would like me to know, but I doubt it," As Christine walked down the sidewalk, she thought of what the detective had said. He had told her the valuables stolen were the antique vases, paintings and some electrical appliances.
Something is missing, she thought. She then knew what - all the items belonged to the living room, which means that the murder was intentional! Ten minutes later, she walked out of the police station once again, this time even more troubled. The detective had rejected her idea of intentional murder.
It was natural of the experienced detective to reject her idea - it was just a hunch, whereas the evidence backed up the murder and burglary. Nevertheless, she decided to investigate.
James's mansion was just a short walk from Christine's apartment. Seeing the police tape removed, she concluded that the police had decided to close the case. She also could see movement in the house - James's parents had returned. She rang the doorbell. James's mother greeted her. Her eyes were red from crying.
"Come on in," she said softly.
After a short chat, Christine obtained permission to go into James's room. Methodically, she searched for clues that may link to his unnatural death. Finally, her work paid off - she discovered a chest with a false bottom. Removing the board, she found a small notebook. Barely masking her excitement, she flipped over the cover.
The first page was a bunch of numbers and letters. Each code had a sequence. The next page was filled with initials and something written next to each of them.
The first was 'T. C. - real?' and then followed by others. Quickly scanning through the page, Christine realized James was an agent of some kind and T. C. might actually be Tommy Carroll. That would explain why he wanted to close the case so fast. Perhaps he was the murderer! But what she did not understand was the 'real?' part.
Feeling baffled and lost, she decided to go to the police - not Detective Tommy - and maybe they would help her.
She quickly thanked James's parents and got out of the mansion. On her way back, she remembered the night when she ran down the deserted road. She remembered the darkness and the pain. But there was something else that she remembered. When she first saw light, it was a little far from the streetlight. Tommy Carroll's watch flashed in Christine's mind. There is no doubt about it anymore, she thought angrily. He murdered James and then investigates the case.
Christine quickened her pace, as the day became gradually darker. Abruptly, she stopped. She had heard something to her right. She glanced at where she thought the source of the noise was - nothing.
It's my imagination.
Then she heard it again, but this time a gunshot followed. The bullet barely missed her, slamming into a tree behind her. She dived into a nearby ditch. Christine wait ed until there was no more gunshots before she popped her head out. But she did not take any more chances after that. Guided by the fading sunlight, she crawled her way to town in the shallow ditch.
Suddenly out of nowhere, a hand pulled her into the shadows. She screamed but it came out muffled. Then another hand came down and knocked her out.
Christine woke up to find herself bound to a chair and gagged. A single light bulb lit the small room. A door in at the back creaked opened.
"So you have woke up," a voice said. She instantly recognized it "" Tommy Carroll..
But she did not recognize the face in front of her. It was face of a young man with alert eyes - not heavyset like that of the elderly detective. And the man had jet-black hair whereas Tommy was bald. The young man looked about twenty-plus and familiar to Christine.
"Who are you?" she tried to ask. With the piece of cloth in her mouth, it was difficult to talk.
The man with Tommy's voice removed the cloth in her mouth.
"I'll refresh your memory, my code name is Todd," he said jauntily, circling Christine. "And your code name is Cara." He paused, "Do you remember now?" Without waiting for Christine's response, he continued, "We are agents sent to investigate James, or Colby as they called him." "Agents?" All the while Christine had been trying to make sense out of what Todd had said. So far, only what was written in the second page of the codebook make sense. "I'm Cara?" "Yes," was the reply, "We had plastic surgery on you and implanted memory of the real Christine into you, using the latest technology we stole from scientists in the States," he seemed almost pleased when he said that.
"What agents are we?" she asked again.
"The Vipers," Todd stared at Christine as if she was crazy.
"And James?" Geraldine bit her lips to stop herself from crying.
"That we were not told. We are supposed to do what the Leader asked us to do - no question. Our mission was to find out what this boy-agent knew about his organization and then kill him. Which you did." "What?" Christine was appalled. "I-I killed him?" Now the tears she was holding ran down her cheeks. She was the one who killed the person she loved - or thought she loved.
The Viper did not notice her reaction. "I think they had implanted Christine's inquisitiveness into you as well. Not to waste our time, I'll tell you everything you would like to know." He adjusted his watch. "Firstly, I was sent to keep you in line, at the same time, stop the police from knowing much. I brought you here in such a way, because I needed to give you the medication. And for your information, Christine is somewhere in our base in Tahiti." "If you were my friend, why did you shoot me?" Cara asked, still not believing that she was an agent. "Relax, I was only fooling around, no big deal right?" He smiled innocently. "We're going back to our base to report to our main headquarters later, so we'll have to wait until the medication has taken effect on you." Minutes passed, and then hours, but Cara (or Christine) felt nothing.
All the while, Todd was typing on a laptop computer on a makeshift table. Cara figured that he was sending messages back to the base.
If I were a cold-blooded killer, I would have to stop myself while I am still human, Cara decided.
"What are we going to do when we get back to the base?" Cara asked, stalling for time while she worked on the ropes.
An agent might have tied the ropes, but it was already loose when the agent replied.
"Await for further instructions," Todd said curtly, without looking at Cara. It was fortunate that he did not because she was already on her feet.
As Cara made her way to the door, which was opposite the table, Todd's voice stopped her. "What did you take me for, a lousy kidnapper?" His voice was thick with sarcasm. "I have a surveillance camera placed around here, and the door is securely locked. Only a bomb or a key can open the door. Why else would you think I tied you so loosely?" Cara let out a frustrated sigh, then pounded uselessly on the metal door. Then she noticed something outside a small window beside the door.
Dawn had arrived beautifully. The sky was clear, and the sun bounced pink light off a few clouds scuttling by. But Cara was not admiring the sunrise she had not seen for years. She was focusing on a shape moving through the weeds. It was a man. Her eyes widened when she saw who he was - James, or Colby, as the Viper called him, was moving slowly and gingerly towards the shack. His jaws were clenched tight. The figure was almost well hidden behind the tall weeds and bushes; and he was also wearing a camouflage suit. On his hand was a huge rifle.
James, catching sight of Cara standing behind the window, signaled for her to be silent.
Is this another clone of Colby or did he manage to survive somehow? Cara had many questions, but no answers. She stole a glance at Todd, who was still typing away. What is Colby going to do? Suddenly a powerful blast backed by a thunderous explosion blew the door apart. Jumping out of his seat, Todd reached into his holster instinctively. A savage-looking Colby charged into the shack dramatically, glaring at Todd with murderous eyes. He flashed Cara a quick smile, then turned his attention back to Todd. Cara stared at the both of them, wide-eyed. Todd was quivering like a jammed machine, his face pale.
Does he know I'm a Viper? Cara thought. Does he know that I am not the real Christine? "How did you -," then he seemed to know. "We can work out a deal right?" Todd pleaded, voice hoarse. He held the gun in front of him protectively.
"You tried to kill me, then you want to work out a deal? No way!" Colby now looked liked a madman.
With a raging yell, he fired off shots. Todd screamed; his legs giving way. He went down, his eyes wide in shock. Blood gushed out from his lifeless body. Cara breathed in hard; she had just witnessed a murder.
"Why?" She gasped. "What? How?" "Calm down," Colby said soothingly, "let me explain. First of all, I wasn't killed. It was an agent of the Force. The Force had me cloned when a mystery in the Viper's midst tipped us off that I was to be killed. The clone sacrificed himself, but he was not killed by you." He paused to look at Cara. "But you were the mystery." "Me?" All these were too much for Cara, or Christine, or who ever she was to take. "First I'm Care the Viper, now what?" "You are Cara," Colby assured her.
"Then what about the Christine character?" "They made that up," the agent told her, guiding her out of the shack gently. "They figured if you have forgotten your identity, they may as well make you one of them. And they must have gave you something to make you forget your identity." As they made their way through the weeds, Cara saw a black van parked on the dirt road.
Colby continued, "We gave you a bug before you became a mystery, so we can keep listening to your conversations with the Vipers. I was doing that just now." With a quick move, Colby removed something from Cara's wristwatch. He grinned.
Suddenly, a strange feeling overcame Cara. Memories began to flood her. How she became an agent of the Force, how she became a mystery, then memories of her past. The drug must have worn off.
Cara went on to ask about the drug the Viper said they had given her.
"Oh, that," Colby said, smiling as he boarded the back of van with Cara preceding him. "We swapped the drug with a placebo when he was not looking." He slammed the door shut. He exchanged a nod with the driver.
He looked at Cara sadly. "Sorry Cara, but we have our orders." "What?" Then a feeling of dread flooded her heart - she remembered how the Force had worked.
Although the Force is a secret agency created to wipe out terrorists, they often sacrifice innocents, or even their own agent to capture or trick terrorists.
The gun reappeared on Colby's hand. He pointed it at Cara.
"Sorry, Cara. Sorry."