”shoot.” Jeffrey Hall dropped his pencil. He was trying to apply for another job away from the Centre, Just in case his plans fell through again. If they didn’t, he’d be set with Long Island iced teas for life on a nice beach somewhere.
He was supposed to meet his contact tonight, but something else caught his eye. There was someone familiar outside his front window. He knew he should know him. Where did he know him from? The man disappeared from the window. He opened the front door to look out. That wasn’t the guy he was supposed to contact, was it?
Then, he didn’t know what happened after that. He woke up, in a chair, and apparently tied up. “Crap.”
“You don’t know the half of it,” the man from outside said.
Then. Jeffrey knew who it had been. The Pretender. Uh oh.
Jarod had one concern way back when Miss Parker was taken by the Triumvirate. To get her out. He normally took longer to get a job done, but he didn’t want to wait and the perfect cover had come along. Jeffrey Hall. Lyle was sending him to the Triumvirate to learn some facts because he was ‘disposable’. Unfortunately, since Jarod had moved his papers right along with his own pretending skills to get him down there quicker to use his identity, Jarod had inadvertently messed up.
After dealing with the facts of the scrolls, Jarod had to keep his mind opened, and he followed what his mother said. From the time Miss Parker was pregnant ’til Onyssius wouldn’t sync with Little Angel. He started from the beginning and worked his way through, until he found him. “Jeffrey. Hall.”
“Dang. Okay. You want something?” Jeffrey asked him.
Oh yes. Jarod wanted something alright. “I used your identity to rescue Miss Parker down in Africa. You knew that, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, but that didn’t have anything to do with me,” he said, “and the Centre is gone now, I’ve got no place to work.”
“Not really,” Jarod said. “You were just such a big disappointment overall, they left you all alone in Delaware while it moved to Louisiana. A small pawn. Seemingly so useless.” And yet. “What did you get access to?”
“Hm?” He was trying to play dumb.
That would never work on Jarod. “I got you overseas, into the Triumvirate, with access to more data information than someone in your position could have ever gotten.”
“No, not like that,” Jeffrey said. “Really. It’s not like a had a huge, big plan. I just took an earlier flight, showed up and they had on their computers all the access points I’d gotten over there.”
“With my help. You used my genius to get into sensitive areas of the Triumvirate!” Jarod yelled at him. He pushed him in the chair and moved up closer. “Normally, I’m a nice guy. A real nice guy for how the Centre has always treated me. But there are some things that you don’t push on, and you couldn’t have nailed it more on the head. Now.” He pushed him again. “What did you do?” He pushed him again. “What did you do?!”
“Okay, okay!” Jeffrey said. “Well, I found a connection. For some reason, it’s like the Centre forgot to fix that little glitch. Sometimes, they forget little guys I guess? Anyhow, uh, then I gave them some stuff. Some contact people, they wanted a briefcase from like a specific room. In and out, it was easy.” He gestured to the other side of the couch. “I’m waiting for it to be taken still.”
Jarod moved away long enough to get to the briefcase. He opened it. There were unidentified vials inside of it. “What is it?”
“Really powerful stuff,” Jeffrey said. “It’s like one of those big time things that could be opened and take down like a state. You know, like in the movies?”
Jarod was annoyed by his lack of knowledge, but he understood what he was saying. It was a dangerous airborn virus, similar to the one he had to stop when he saved Broots’ life. “There’s something in the sky that needed stopped.” That was it. It may have been the most anti-climactic work he’d ever performed.
But the terrorist who would get it, probably would have let it go, and it would have been an unstoppable monster that would kill everyone on Earth.
All because of Jeffrey Hall.
Anti-climactic wasn’t a problem for Jarod at all. He closed the briefcase. No one would ever get their hands on it now. He could almost say that it was a decent ending to a decent case. Done and solved. Life saved. Except for one thing.
Miss Parker and his children were still dying, and the scrolls made it sound like they died first. It also said his rage would bring down the destruction of the cause. That would be the Triumvirate. Simply holding onto a briefcase of it wasn’t going to bring down the whole Triumvirate. Something’s missing. “Is that everything?” Jarod asked him.
“Yeah,” Jeffrey Hall said. “I mean. It would have just taken down like a state, right?”
“No, I doubt it worked like that,” Jarod said. “I think it could have run rampant and destroyed the entire world.”
“Shit,” Jeffrey said. “You mean like in Twelve Monkeys? That’s not real, right? It couldn’t go that far.”
Yeah. There was more he was hiding. “Is there more stuff?”
“Is there more contacts, more of this in the Triumvirate you’re not telling me about?” Jarod looked at the briefcase. He inspected it longer and saw a second layer hiding beneath the first set. “Jeffrey.” Jarod’s voice was almost unrecognizable. “Where are the last vials?”
“Where are the last vials in the second set beneath this you didn’t bother telling me about?” Jarod was getting frustrated. Enough was enough. He needed to get it all taken care of, so he could focus on some kind of miracle for Miss Parker and his children.
“Well, I just needed to make sure that I was giving the right thing,” he said. “I mean, I worked from the Centre, I wasn’t a moron.”
Could have fooled Jarod. He’d have to find out how someone that moronic made it through so far. Then again. “Lyle’s lackey.” He typically liked them a little less mature. That way he could use them for his own purposes too.
“Anyhow, it looked like it was legit,” Jeffrey answered. “But, um, I was a little clumsy.”
Clumsy. Even Jarod had that down in his persona. “What. Happened.”
“Just a couple busted, but I was in the safety room,” Jeffrey said. “Took all the precautions, totally fine.”
A guy that was that clumsy, that ill-educated, Lyle’s lackey he was ready to sacrifice for information if need be, tampered with an airborne virus and believed everything was fine?
“No, it was safely taken care of.”
Everything was not fine. “It has been spreading through the air for months on end.” Since Miss Parker was found by him. Nine months. Everyone was inhaling something. With no one knowing, contamination would be worldwide.
Jarod took a minute for himself. Dead sea scrolls. Dangerous virus. Everything we ever did that was important was supposed to be in those scrolls. They couldn’t break. There were no coincidences. So, there must be a way to stop it. A way to figure out what it had been. The pieces. Mom said the pieces were there like a puzzle.
Argyle being there for Miss Parker, his father coming, but ultimately killed by the pie, proving something was wrong with Miss Parker.
Angel carrying angels, it had to be his children and Miss Parker’s genes together to create the twins who stopped syncing. To show something was wrong.
Miss Parker being kidnapped, Jarod taking Jeffrey Hall’s identity to new access extremes because he was preoccupied. Jeffrey Hall being so meager even the Centre hadn’t bothered to fix any glitches or take him along. Forgotten character.
Back at Jarod’s Safety Place
Miss Parker held each of her children’s hands, nestling them together in the same crib. Letting them share what little time they had. “I was ready,” she said to them. “I was made to be ready to give my life to anything. But.” She wiped her eyes. “I wasn’t ready for you to follow me.” She moved back and forth lightly. “You were supposed to stay with Jarod, if anything happened to me. He could keep you safe, I know it. Your daddy’s an absolute Genius, smartest man in the world.”
She heard a light knock on the door. Margaret showed her face. “Miss Parker.” She closed the door behind her. “Are you okay?”
“I’m dying, and so are my children,” Miss Parker. “Besides that, I’m fine, how are you?” She couldn’t even manage a slight smirk to it all. There was nothing, no blocking.
“I’m sorry,” Margaret said, “but there’s no way to-”
“The scrolls happen whether we want them to or not, I know,” Miss Parker grumped. “But the scrolls have never met Jarod’s resilience to save his family.”
“I. I knew I would love another man,” Margaret revealed. “I knew what would occur when it would happen. I rejected, and I tried to deny it,” she said. “I saw it. I saw the words about the ending of my first love being the start of a true love. Oh, I ignored it for so many years,” she admitted as she came closer. “I wanted to stay with Charles. I didn’t want to mess up. I wanted to find a way back. I wanted a way to prove that I didn’t have to follow the scrolls. I didn’t have to let him go.”
“Sydney,” Miss Parker said. “It’s obvious. It’s probably even obvious to Jarod, he just won’t let it affect him right now.”
“But we never even discussed it,” Margaret said. “Everything between us was never said. I’ve never touched him in any way more than a friend,” she admitted. “He couldn’t bear to ever mess with me, feeling so much guilt over Jarod already. Even for what we felt, we. We each tried. But. As much as I held on, and tried to ignore it. As much as he did. As much as we both do now?” She breathed softly. “I still lost and loved again at the exact same time. Even if we all left today, I’d know that was the truth.”
“Well, if that was supposed to be a mood elevator, it didn’t work,” Miss Parker said. “Try to escape and things get worse. I’m dying and so are the kids. How are they supposed to get worse?”
“If Jarod is right,” Margaret said. “If the world is in peril, serious peril, then he needs to focus on stopping it’s problems. But with you here, and him here, and both of you.” She closed her eyes. “Denying what you saw. It will waste precious time to save the rest of the world.”
“Maybe I just end up in Jarod Angels’ heaven of The Centre. That’s how I was taught it,” Miss Parker said. “Then, the kids will survive and only I have to die.”
“Oh, Miss Parker.” Margaret touched the children’s fingers. She wiped a single tear away. “I’ve lost a lot more in this life than I ever gained. But even now, I still have more tears.” She touched Miss Parker’s hand too. “We shouldn’t assume what it said is real. But.”
“It’s pretty dang clear,” Miss Parker said. “We die, and Jarod gets angry enough somehow that he finds a way to destroy all. There’s no mistaking those words. I’m not getting taken to Jarod Angel. There’s no second pair of children between me and the Devil, and their won’t be more with Jarod Angel.” She took a deep breath. “I need to get out for a bit.”
She scooped her children up.
“Miss Parker, do you want me to come?” Margaret asked.
“I don’t want anybody to come,” Miss Parker admitted. “I just. I don’t even want Jarod to see it. If I knew when it would happen, I would just go. This is just. Painful. Painful losing them, but I’ll follow with them. Jarod won’t.” She tried to wipe her eyes and her nose was getting out of control. “Oh, I’m a mess.”
“No one could blame you,” Margaret said. “Go get your fresh air, Miss Parker.”
Miss Parker took the children outside for a little while. She sat on the back porch. Jarod had called Kyle briefly about some idiot letting a virus off that probably couldn’t contain it. Made the most sense. The Devil wasn’t just going to come down and start throwing lightning bolts with Jarod catching one and throwing it back. Although, if it did, it’d be better. Anything would be better.
She looked outward, lifting her family to check out the back. One reason Jarod chose it probably was because of the beautiful garden in the back. She tried to find peace of mind within it. It was hard knowing when it would hit. When they would all go. Even Jarod leaving was something he didn’t want to do, but Miss Parker really didn’t want him around when it happened either. “This will wreck my Genius Boy forever.” She touched one of the leaves in the garden. “If only this was the Garden of Eden.” Before Adam and Eve screwed it all up. She laughed for a second, thinking about the association. Dead Sea Scrolls. “Should have just left ya all alone. Would have been a lot better not knowing.”
Eve. “Jarod.” He was too good for her. And even if she was in the garden? She wouldn’t be Eve. She’d always felt like she should be the snake, tempting them with the apple. She walked slowly through it. Jarod needed an Eve. As much as it hurt now, to think about it. She wouldn’t be there. “Back to bouncy red curls.” Yeah. He deserved that.
She’d never be the type to settle down. She’d follow him forever with his exciting life. No wife, no kids. After all this, she knew he’d never want that. Zoe was his future. Funny. Not as beautiful as her, but a decent substitute. Someone, she was someone who could hold his heart in a way she never could. But that didn’t matter. She wouldn’t be there to see it.
Then, the leaves caught fire? No, there was something a degree away. She went out toward it. The light was gone now, but? “Angelo?”
Angelo looked terrible in the back of a car. Miss Parker moved over toward him. She couldn’t touch him she was holding her children. “Angelo, are you okay?” She looked at his arm. “Oh my god.”
“Yes, it’s terrible.”
Miss Parker turned around and saw Raines.
“Lackey.” Raines gestured to his arm. “He’s been injected more times than I can count, but it gets worse. Get in.” He gestured to the car.
“Are you kidding?” Miss Parker questioned.
“I don’t have time for second decisions,” Raines said. “Do you want help or not?”
“Help?” He knew?
“Those children, you and me,” Raines said to her. “They will have the blood of The Centre pounding through them. After Jarod does his part, The Centre will thrive stronger than ever. Especially with Pretender children. Let’s go get the cure.”
But. “It’s what dad had,” Miss Parker said.
“They were always perfecting it for the angels,” Raines said to her. “Now get it or just die out here. Either way, from what I know of the scrolls, you’re about to have a playdate with heaven. Choose your way.”
Miss Parker looked back at the property, then back at Raines. “I can’t break the scrolls. Even Margaret tried.”
“No,” he said. “Your father will take care of you until this scroll business is over. Afterwards, your mind will be wiped, but you’ll know there was a tragic ‘accident’ that caused it. You’ll keep your children. You keep living, and just Jarod thinks your dead.”
Miss Parker took a long, deep breath. It was risky. Jarod’s children would be taken away, and it might take a long time for him to find them. They might even be older and changed too much for him to return them back to the normal children they once were. Raines could also be lying about a cure, somehow keeping them for ransom to Jarod.
But Raines wasn’t at the top anymore, that was clear. And the chance. The chance that she could save her children? Death or deceive. She got into the car.
A Cliff Surface
When Miss Parker arrived to where they stopped, she didn’t like what she had seen. “What’s going on, why are we up here?”
“Jarod needs to think you committed suicide with the children,” Raines said, “otherwise he’ll never leave us alone.”
“Wait.” Miss Parker shook her head. “You know that’s not what I mean, what the hell is that?!” She pointed to the woman who looked like her, coming toward her.
“The Angel.” The woman that looked like Miss Parker. “I feel honored to help save the Angel. I need your clothes.”
It’s so cruel. It’s so damn cruel. After the fact, after the scroll was completed, Miss Parker knew Jarod would find her. He’d find something wrong with the scene and come after them again. Understand she was trying to save them. But. If he comes. If I ever remember. Let him have them. Because she couldn’t. She couldn’t.
She was dressed in the other woman’s clothes. She even had babies, almost the same age. Twins. A perfect rendition of her. “So what are we doing, pictures? A suicide note?” she asked Raines.
“No, Angel. No, none of that for you. No risk.” The look-a-like looked almost deranged. She picked up the babies and rocked them. “For the scrolls. For heaven. For the Angel.” She bowed and backed away. “I was honored to sacrifice myself.”
What? Before she could even do anything, Miss Parker watched her jump off the cliff. “What the hell?!”
“Adama’s handy work I stole,” Raines said to her. “They had her prepped. Stealing the children was easy, hang on there.” Raines pulled a gun on them, knowing she was ready to fight. “You’re holding my legacy still in your arms. I can still shoot you, and have them. Moral dilemma’s aside, she wanted to sacrifice for the Angel.”
“You stole those children and killed them from my family line!” Miss Parker yelled at him. “You dirty sack of-”
“I told you it would take extreme measure to pull this off on the phone,” Raines insisted.
“How else did I know-”
Miss Parker felt nothing as she watched Raines fall from a bullet in the back of the head. She looked at who shot him.
“There you are.” Jarod Angel smiled at Angelo at the car. “Oh good, he’s fine.” He gestured to Angelo. “Did you know they were going to tan the devil’s tattoos and sew it on his arm? Then they planned on doing that with me.” He scoffed. “Terrible idea of what the scriptures said I imagine. Anyhow, Angel?” He gestured to the car. “I am here to cure-”
“Oh thank god! Literally!” She yelled at him.
“Ah.” He nodded. “Amazing, after all the times you rejected me, it’s true. The time you were with the devil, he broke you and now you are ready to come into my willing arms in Heaven.”
“Your willing arms better have a cure,” Miss Parker warned him.
“Not on me, but I know how to get to it, Sweetheart,” he said sweetly. “It will take some time. We will get there, together.”
Miss Parker put on her sweetest smile back for him. “Even after all the time I rejected you, look how you are trying to help lift me back up? Thank you so much, Jarod Angel. I thank you. My children thank you.” After this loser cures us I can get back to Jarod. She looked out toward the cliff though. That was a bitter pill for Jarod to swallow though. “The phone call Raines was mentioning in the end? You found us and used someone as me, didn’t you?”
“Oh. Let’s just say I found your old voice actor in the old phone calls from the Triumvirate,” Jarod Angel said. “I could have used a woman in your family line, but they wouldn’t say what I needed them to. She’s easy, a quick pay and she’s fine.”
Oh, that bitch. “Sweetheart?” Miss Parker came closer. “Do you still know where she is? I’d like to personally meet her. Face to face.” So I can kick her ass.
“Yes, Honey. It has been a terrible journey,” Jarod Angel agreed. “I can help get our lovely angels into the car as we leave Heaven if you like?”
“Yes,” he said. “This is Heaven, a type of Lover’s Lane area. Which means we really should move quickly. Someone is bound to come soon.”
“You know what?” That. Just. Fine, whatever. Heaven meant nothing but a kissing place for teens, I don’t care anymore! Miss Parker went over to his side of the car. She gave him Little Angel for a second. “Hurt her and I’ll kill you.”
“Of course, Dear. I’d never hurt our angels.”
Not your angels. Still, he was prepared with child seats in the back. She placed in Onyssius in one, and grabbed Little Angel, placing her in the other. “Don’t touch my children unless I say so.”
“Of course, Dear.” Jarod Angel moved to the front door to open it, but Miss Parker stopped him. She opened it for herself. “I forgot how beautifully feisty you are.” Hearing someone coming though, he quickly moved into the driver’s seat and buckled up. “Let’s go before someone catches us up here.”
With that, he drove off.