Mirrors • 01
The smell of vanilla and freshly printed money wafts through the hotel. Heavy on the opulence. The carpet pattern is as elaborate as Versailles. The walls flourished with gold trim.
A pair of black combat boots step off the elevator, soiling the atmosphere with their presence. Though the boot’s treads are whistle clean. Trent wouldn’t have anything less.
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He turns the corner to the mouth of a dark hallway. All the lights are off. No windows to guide his way. Trent hesitates there. The scar on his temple bows as he assesses. Now that doesn’t seem normal for all of these five stars. His hands flex around the strap of his carry-on and his years of training reactivate. He reaches for his service piece, prepared for an unseen enemy, but the holster is no longer there.
The unknowns of civilian life aren’t much different than the battlefield. Except enemies flow freely between the two now. He thought they’d stop when he hung up the fatigues but nope. Not Trent’s reality. He glances back at the warm glow cascading from the elevator lobby. Then back to the darkness.
In his mind, he imagines a beady-eyed man unscrewing the lights and hunkering in an alcove, weapon in hand. A stiff wire, perhaps. Depending on how prepared ol’ killer would be, it was convenient enough to pluck one from the piano bar downstairs. Trent could handle that. Whoever’s waiting for him. Armed with… He steps his foot out —
With the motion, a flash!
The hallway lights flicker on. The domino effect of motion sensor activation continues through the hallway to the dead end. The path before him glows with warmth and quiet. Not another soul in sight. He sighs in relief.
“Fuckin’ energy savers.”
The hypervigilance will die down with time, he reminds himself. Once he gets to Enemy Zero.
The lock to room 408 beeps and unlatches. Welcome home, Trent. Well, home for now. The door shuts behind him. With a tired groan, he drops his bag. As he searches for the light switch, something catches his eye: a silhouette lingers inside, backlit by the moonlight streaming through the curtains —
It creeps towards him.
To be continued…
Stay tuned for the next installment.
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