“How could you listen that ? It is even impossible to know if these voices are from man or woman.”
As Henri enters in the room, the voice of a counter tenor singing « cum dederit » fills the air. Colin sits in an armchair seems looking outside the landscape through the window. But in real his mind is elsewhere. Coming back to the reality, he asks :
“Don’t you like angel voice ?”
“Men with voices of soprano, it is not normal.”
Colin smiles in listening that. He knows how much his friend is not at ease with the mixing of gender. Henri is the kind of men who thinks straight, eat straight, sleep straight and has straight sex. He knows this one doesn’t approve his preference for men and doesn’t hide his opinion about this question. But by respect for Colin who saved his life more than once, he tolerates and closes his eyes on his sexual life. He knows very well it was one among other reasons which pushed Henri to let Jared go.
“Some news ?”
Henri sighs with irritation.
“No. This fucking boy is like an eel. Each time, I think I will catch him, he escapes. I follow the track of the statuettes but this didn’t give any result. He just sold them to a receiver for a good price. And disappear after that. I have recovered them, by the way.”
“He learns in a hard way to survive… So he is really gifted, if he succeeds to escape you until now.” — Teases Colin.
In listening Henri grumbles, Colin laughs.
“You only gave me this mission to punish me, didn’t you ?”
“I really want to find Jared, Henri. But I don’t like you interfere in my private life.”
“Yes, you’re right I don’t have to do that. Except when your private life is linked with your business. You take risks. And I have to cover your back.”
“Fine ! It seems you need help. Maybe from Adrian himself. Our infiltrated man can certainly give us some useful informations. We’ll see ! So contact him !”
“Ok boss !”
After Henri leaves, Colin returns to his contemplation of the garden. He asks where is Jared and he hopes this one has no problem. When Colin saved Jared on this bridge it was not the first time he had seen him. When he started to keep under surveillance the Adrian’s business, he has discovered that under the cover of apparent legal activities, Adrian has some acquaintances with the Russian mafia. His illegal activities include weapons traffic, drugs and prostitution.
Adrian had take part in the conflict in Kosovo, selling arms to the Serbs. These weapons came from the arsenals that were sacked after the fall of the Albanian government in 1997. After the conflict, searched, he decided to join the Hungary the time to make himself forgotten for a while. It was at this period he took his first contact with Russian mafia.
Colin remembers so well the time he met Adrian. It was long time before his illegal activity and before the Kosovo. At this period, Colin was not the businessman he has become. No. At this time he was mercenary.
Some years before, somewhere in Africa.
Colin has been recruited with a part of his men to complete a group of mercenaries under the order of a man called Adrian. Their mission were to train the future officers in the army of the Government in place and to fill some mission of protection. They have under their order a little troop of soldiers too. A mission straightforward. At least, it was what he thought. There was some months which had passed when their African adventure took a path totally different.
Some days ago, crossing the village neighbor with some of my men, they had to suffer some shootings. During this moment, the shots aimed at a little house where a woman and his baby were inside, both crying in fear. Without thinking, he head towards the house to help mother and child to escape. When the danger had passed, he remembered the eyes of the young mother. So intense, so grateful. No word was necessary. He just nodded in sign of goodbye and leaved.
“Always playing the knight, saving widow and orphan.”
A man teased him. The man who talked was a tall man with blond hair and brown eyes. He called Peter and was Colin’s lover.
“One day or another this will cause your doom. Be more prudent. I don’t like when you act like that.”
“Don’t be so worried Peter ! I don’t want to die but I couldn’t let this woman and the child be killed by the rebels.”
Rebels in this part of the world are a real problem. When Europeans came and colonized Africa, they share this one without taking in count the ethnic groups. Obliging rival ethnic groups to cohabit. Creating tension. A lot of the conflicts the world copes actually in Africa result of this colonization’s politic. Following that, Africa became a paradise for mercenaries.
“I know you and understand, but sometimes… “
Colin smiled. He knew the worry of his lover.
“I promise you to be prudent. This is the last mission. With the money we’ll win with this one, we could start a new business. More legal than this one. And by the way, things changes in this job and I don’t like that.”
“How so !”
“See Adrian ! This man is not clear. And I am not sure the affair he has was really clean.”
“Yes, you‘re right. I don’t trust him either. And this Arslan, what a fucker !”
“Did he harass you again ?”
“Him ? Do you imagine I will let this asshole make my life a hell ?”
“I know but it is your fault. After all you are too beautiful.” — laughs Colin.
“I rather believe this man is unable to control himself and fuck all that moves.”
After this event, days run without other problem.
One day, Adrian called him in his office and explained that some V.I.P. of the African government will come to make some inspection. He wanted that Colin took the responsibility of this one and to verify trainers and troop will be ready.
“Yes sir. All will be ready. And I will give some order to reinforce the security of the camp, and assign some soldiers for that.”
“No. It is not necessary Colin. Keep all the men with you.”
“But what about the protection of the V.I.P. ? I mean, there is some tensions around even if the rebels has not attacked recently. If they learn about this visit, you could be sure they will take advantage of this moment to move into action.”
“Do you believe I am not aware of that ? I will take charge of the protection with my men. You have your order, haven’t you ? Go now.”
He remembered very well what he thought at this moment. And how Adrian’s decision worried him, how he found strange his attitude. Asking what he has in mind.
Since some days, he has remarked some kind of change and some agitation among Adrian’s men. He has no sympathy for the man. But a job is a job. And he needed this money. His dream was to build an agency specialized in security and protection for companies which search to establish themselves in foreign land. And his experience like mercenary will help him a lot. He has made a lot of contacts through all the missions he did until now. And he hoped later this will be useful for his business.
Among all the men Adrian had under his order, the one he hates the most is named Arslan. You can detest Adrian but you couldn’t deny his smartness and his self-control. Arslan was the total opposite, a wild beast. Some days after their arrival in the camp, he was accused of rape. Strangely the accusation disappeared as soon as Adrian had talked with the family of the victim. With money you can buy all in Africa even the silence. After this incident, Arslan continued to act like if nothing happened. Showing no remorse, and treating Africans around like if they were mere slaves. This man has no respect for human being. He was despising and arrogant. A real asshole. But dangerous. Really dangerous. He kills without state of mind. Like if it was a game. Nothing more, nothing less.
The day of the V.I.P.’s visit arrived. Adrian and Colin met and greeted the V.I.P., at this moment he realized, it was the President of the land who came in person. Colin looked with astonishment Adrian. “ Why doesn’t he say me this is the president himself who will come ? “ Colin felt there was something wrong. He looked around and he perceived a share of gaze between Adrian and Arslan who was aside. “ What do these two men plot ? “ Colin could feel the tangible tension. He decided to keep his eyes open.
The troop and officers were ready to be inspected. The président started a speech in front of his men. At some paces of the President, I looked around always searching a flaw in the security. I couldn’t help myself to remark the security put in place by Adrian and his men was really light. Discreetly, he made some sign to Peter. When this one is near him :
“Be on your guard and open your eyes and pass the word to our men. I don’t know what happened here. But I don’t like that.”
Peter had a total trust in Colin. If this one felt something was wrong you could be sure something was wrong. He nodded and leaved to give the instructions.
And the Hell was on Earth. In the same time, three explosion arrives : the shacks, the entrance of the camp and the stock of petrol. Smog everywhere. The world around them seems to fall apart. Noise of shootings in all direction. He grabbed the President and took him away. He asked Peter to follow them and started to run. He cried to Peter to cover their back. He looked back to him hoping he heard him.
At this moment, another explosion. He saw Peter blow up by the breathe and fall not so far. He heard a voice shouting his name. He realized suddenly it was him. All around was liked a slow-motion, He saw his body fall heavily on the ground. It couldn’t be true. No !
A shot near his head made him come back to the reality. He had the President to save. He asked him to follow him and they hid behind some wooden cases. His breath was speed and his head a mess. He had to find a way to save them. He couldn’t believe what happens. My God ! Peter ! No, it couldn’t be. He closed his eyes a short instant, feeling blank all of sudden. But he couldn’t let his emotion disturbed him in this instant.
“President, our sole way to escape this hell is to take a vehicle and to flee as soon as possible. Do you see on the other side the area where the vehicles are ? This way to go there is exposed but we have no other choice unfortunately. Do you feel able to do it ?”
“As you said we have no choice.”
“Yes, I will cover you when you cross. Be as fast as possible.”
“Before to be President I was soldier. I think I have some rest. By the way I don’t know how this will finish but…” — in holding out his hand — “thank you !”
Colin shakes his hands.
“It’s my job.”
“Yes ! But it is my life you try to safe.”
“When you will arrive on the other side, choose a car and launches the motor, as soon as I come, we go. Ready ?”
The man ran crossing the area and arrived near the vehicles without problem, following soon by Colin. The motor of a jeep ran. Colin jumped inside and they started as soon as. Colin had just the time to see a light just a moment before the jeep was blow up by a rocket. Under the force of the impact the jeep returned, ejecting the two men outside. Before to lost conscious, he saw Adrian coldly fired in the head of the President.
” Why didn’t he execute me as well ? ” This question turned in my head since all these years. Maybe looking at my wounds he had estimated that I have no chance to survive. But I survived.
When he became conscious. The silence around me. Near me the President corpse. The sun and the smell of blood. He tried to move. An unbearable pain in his back. He breathed to control the pain. He didn’t feel his legs. Little by little he crawled and progressed. His move was slow and painful but the determination was still higher. He needed to be near him. If he had to die he wanted to be near him.
After what it seems to him hours, he is with him. My God ! His body ! This body that he loved so much was destroyed. In the explosion, he had lost an arm and a leg. Strangely, his face was stayed untouched. He seemed to sleep peacefully. Lying by his side, he stroked tenderly his cheek. he kissed his lips so cold already.
“Sleep my love ! Don’t worry I stay with you. I will not forsake you. We will stay together forever. I am going to sleep now babe. I am so tired. Come in my arms love. Yes like this. It is time to sleep. It is time…”
Light and shadow. Shouts and laughs of children. He felt soft hands on him. He opened his eyes. A face. A woman. The one he saved with her child. She rubbed his skin with a wet cloth. “Where is he ? Where is Peter ?” The light belittled.
Some weeks later. New york.
Colin lying on the hospital bed, looked outside. His back had healed very well, and soon he will have the full use of his legs. After weeks and weeks of retraining, he will be able to walk again. Yes. And soon, he will be able to take his revenge. He had made the promise on Peter’s corpse.
Adrian betrayed them, hiding his true intention. Cause of him Peter was dead, but also all his men he brought with him for this mission. He will not be satisfied until he will make Adrian to pay the price.
Return to the present.
Yes, he remembered. The pain of the body has passed since a long time. But memories stay so painful. He keep always in his wallet a portrait of Peter. Each time he fells discouragement or tiredness, he just has to look at him to find the force to continue. Like now.
“I know Peter. I know what you would say. That I let my heart lead my brain. But I am sure if you were there you would help him. He too has suffered a lot cause of Adrian. I couldn’t save you. So permit me to save him.”
When he investigated about Adrian and discovered his prostitute’s ring, he started to run the streets at night. Searching a clue or anything which could help him against Adrian. And it was like that he saw him. He appeared one night, so uneasy. Jeered by the other male sluts. One night he see Arslan came for him. He understood that the young man works for Adrian too.
He wanted to use him for his services but after that he realized it was not possible. Since all this years, Adrian didn’t know he was alive. And he wanted to stay for the moment invisible. Even if he couldn’t pay for his services, he has the need to see him. Almost each night, he verifies the young man is well. But all change the night of the bridge.
To have him so close. To hold him in his arms. To see him so defenseless and fragile. He wanted to have him near him forever. And in learning his stories, this feeling begun more stronger. He had to save him.
The face smiling on the photo gives him the impression he approves.
“Yes Peter. I know you approve. It is time to act.”