It’s another cold wintery evening, I’m out here in the park with no internet and just my phone. And I now know what the real definition of shrinkage is.
People have all kinds of weird hobbies; it is almost imperative that you have some or the other hobby. Me? I love to watch.
I watch movies, series, documentaries, and people. Especially people. Somehow I have the right knack in this aspect. Maybe it’s genetic; my parents have always been keen observers. It is almost creepy at times but who cares. I will now proceed to extrapolate a story based on uneducated guesses and featuring a guy who was walking 15 ft ahead of me. He went away when I reached the park. Bear with me.
John Doe was a twitchy man that evening. He walked fast, perhaps trying to keep pace with his heartbeat. Which was fast. His hands kept opening and closing as if trying to grasp at invisible tits. At one point he took out his phone and unlocked it and locked it and put it back in; like he was at home and it was his fridge. Home. The very word seemed alien to him; surely there was a place in the world where he could attain peace? No, there wasn’t. John tightened his coat and took a left after he’d crossed the park. Everywhere around him, silhouettes shifted against the shadows.
She’d been right. Always, unerringly right. If there was a god, he’d be wrong, but not her. Never once had she lied to him. He was a different story altogether. Even after their marriage, he’d kept his second life, this life, secret from her. Jane.
government circles of the more clandestine nature, people like John are known as sleepers. These sleepers are deep cover agents conditioned from the very start to infiltrate and, as needed, destroy target communities/groups. His wife, Jane, had no idea her jolly and voracious husband was one of these. She died with that lie.
On her deathbed, John took one look at his wife, the same face he’d seen for seventeen months, and yet that day he saw it and he went crazy.
He had made the most common mistake all agents make. As his wife inhaled one last time, as her eyes searched for his eyes, it struck him that he’d fallen in love. As she ceased to live, his love for her came alive as never before. He cried for seven hours that night.
Then he went to work. She’d been mugged not far from here. He pulled schematics and talked to the locals. He poured his heart into it. And then today he’d found her. A girl named Donna had been missing from the usual mugger meetings that exact night. He was headed towards her lurker spot.
John knew he was about to commit something that his superiors had never heard of, let even approved. He didn’t care. In any case, they probably didn’t even know what he was doing. His handler, a strict, loyal man named Nathan, worked at the local supermart as the head manager. It was the perfect cover. But he was a long way from here.
John reached the cul de sac and cautiously stepped in. His brain displayed the mugshot of Donna clear as crystal. An eye for an eye. His hand reached for his combat knife and stayed there; he could have it out in a jiffy if he wanted. Then he saw her.
She was Donna, there was no doubt about it. Her face was exactly as shown in the picture. The only difference here was that her throat was partially torn open and her head was turned the wrong way around. He knew he wouldn’t find a pulse.
“You cannot stray from the cause and hope we don’t notice, my friend.” A high-pitched voice said.
John’s grip on the knife tightened. “Nathan”, he said.
“John”, Nathan said. “This was a bad idea.”
“She was my wife.”
“She was a means to an end.”
“What now?”, said John. His knife waited in his hand, poised.
“Good night, John.” Nathan zipped into focus from John’s right, and there was a sudden pain in the middle of John’s eyes, and then he died.
Nathan put the one-handed crossbow away and called his superiors. Everything would be taken care of. Then he went home and slept soundly.