Author : S.R. Dantzler
“Hey Yates!” Dorian turned to see who called him. The thin blue laser of a retinal scanner flashed over his eyes.
“You have been served.” The young courier handed Dorian an official-looking envelope and turned away, disappearing down the busy street.
He pried the seal and read the document. “F#%$ me. It’s an official notice of a thirty day hunt on my life,” he said to his comrade.
“I’ve never been hunted. I filed for a hunt on that Bastard that ran over Karen, but when it came down to it, I was no killer, even if it were just. You don’t know the guy on the petition?” asked Arlen.
“No. The timing couldn’t be worse. Leading…” He bit his tongue. Dorian knew Arlen was still bitter about him accepting the job as director of the Homo erectus project. After all it was Arlen’s research that drew the grant money. He glanced at Arlen who looked ahead, expressionless. After a few blocks of silence, Arlen spoke.
“I can cover for you awhile, until this blows over. You lay low.”
Dorian didn’t sleep much those next few weeks. He paced his living room, obsessively checking the chamber of his 9mm Grach which was never out of reach. Jittery with caffeine and fear, he checked the bolts on the doors every time he passed and stayed clear of the windows, although they all had a sheet of steel welded over them.
What he could not figure out was who the hell this Ferdinan Metz was, and what motive he might have for ending his life. Dorian had no enemies that he was aware of.
It didn’t make sense. He was going out of his mind trying to figure it out. And he would have, were it not for Arlen who came over each night after work. He found solace in their conversations. It was his daily dose of normality. As he heard the knock on the door, he was relieved to have found it again.
Dorian unbolted the door, letting Arlen in then closed it and bolted it back quickly.
“Good to see you comrade.” Dorian went to the kitchen and grabbed the calendar off the refrigerator. He brought it to the living room to show it to Arlen. The calendar had twenty nine carefully drawn X’s. Just one more to go.
“Just a few more hours and this will all be over with. We made a lot of progress today. The gene sequence is complete.”
Dorian feigned a smile. The news did little to cheer him. The turned and walked to the door to check the bolt again.
“I do have some good news. I found out who this Metz fellow is.”
Excited, Dorian turned to see Arlen holding a pistol at his head.
“It cost me a good deal to buy the new identity.” Arlen had a twisted grin. “The project…My project is getting along fine without you, Dorian.” His eyes were dead cold.
“Arlen, Why? I never meant to take anything from you.”
Arlen cocked the hammer with his thumb. Dorian thrust forward, batting the gun upward and knocked Arlen on his back, then lunged for his pistol on the table. A bullet ripped into his back, beneath his shoulder. He grabbed the Grach from the table, turned, and fired, hitting Arlen in the chest. He fell to the floor.
Arlen lay still. Dorian struggled to his knees. Taking the red marker he carefully drew the last X on the calendar at the table and reached for the phone.