My name is John Ryder, although everyone who knows me calls me Ryder. I work for an organization that makes it its business to deal with the scum of the scum. We're not assassins. We're people who go undercover to gather information. Mark Blaine was my partner, and the only man I ever loved. We had plans for our life, until he was tortured and killed by a drug dealer and his henchmen.
When that happened, I broke all ties with the organization, and did what I do best. I went deep undercover. Now, I'm out for revenge. One by one, I will do to Mark's killers what they did to him until everyone one of them is dead.
I will be successful, or die in the process. There are no other alternatives.
At the moment, Foster had no reason to believe I was in the wind, but I wasn't taking any chances. Being paranoid was part of what had kept me alive so far. It had worked for Mark, too, until he'd said or done something -- God only knows what -- that had set off Danny Graves' radar, and ended with his being tortured before the sons-of-bitches killed him.
I spent a few minutes deciding on my route to return to the city I'd left less than forty-eight hours previously. Next, I sent a heavily encrypted email to a man who could provide me with a car, no questions asked, for a sizable outlay of funds. The cost was no problem. Mark and I had set up an off-shore account which, thanks to what the organization paid us, now held well-over a fifty thousand dollars. It might have been a good deal less if Mark hadn't insisted we save for a rainy day. Now, that day was here.
While I waited for my man to reply, I set up two new identities. I wouldn't make the documents they required myself. I'd leave that to my trusty forger -- a guy the organization knew nothing about. When I had the information for my new aliases the way I wanted, I emailed an encrypted copy to him, letting him know I needed them by noon tomorrow, and was willing to pay well for the rush job. Then, I erased the information from the laptop.
Eventually, the stress of the past two days caught up with me. Not physically, but emotionally. I couldn't stop thinking about the man who had meant everything to me. I'm not normally an emotional guy. Never have been. I'm stoic to the core, doing what has to be done to help rid the world of bastards who shouldn't have been born to begin with. Only with Mark had I felt safe enough to let down my walls and be, well human I suppose, with all that entailed.
I wish I'd told him I loved him long before the moment he was dying. I was only now truly realizing in some deep part of my heart and soul that he was gone. It hurt. More than I ever thought anything could. He had been my other half, just as I'd been his, although neither of us ever said as much. We were men. Tough men who, when necessary, got down and dirty to eliminate the scum who preyed on the innocents. Men like us don't have emotions, or so they say. It wasn't true. We have them, we just can't show them -- not even to the person we love, except on rare occasions.
Resting my head in my hands, I let the tears I didn't know I had in me flow. I didn't cry or sob, like I knew most people would. It was tears, nothing more. It seemed to go on forever as I let out the pain of his loss. When I eventually regained a modicum of control, I went into the bathroom, washed my face, and stared into the mirror. My eyes were red, no big surprise, and I looked as if I was getting off a three-day bender, but I felt better. Not a lot, but at least I was able to return to what I had to do before I disappeared into the ether, off the organizations' radar, how ever I wanted to look at it. Taking a long, deep breath, I went back into the room, sat down in front of the laptop, and set to work.