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BOOK: Nobody Dies For Free
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Monroe struggled to his
feet, grabbed Khan’s collar with one hand and twisted the doorknob
with the other. The door opened and Monroe shoved Khan into the
next room. Inside was a table above which hung the huge Magnetic
Resonance Imaging unit. Monroe ran at Khan, pushed him onto that
table, and landed on top of him, holding him down. He wrapped one
hand around Khan’s throat, squeezing hard. Khan fought back, trying
to go for Monroe’s eyes. Monroe turned his head to avoid Khan’s
nails. With his free hand, he reached out and made contact with the
panel of controls for the MRI machine. He hit every switch at once,
trying to cover all his bases. Overhead, a loud humming sound

Garrett,” Monroe grunted as
they struggled, “you still have that implant in your brain, don’t
you? I’d bet all the money I’ve ever seen that it’s got some metal
in it.”

As those words left Monroe’s
lips, Garrett Khan began to scream as if all the pain in the
universe had suddenly started to burn him from the inside out. He
stopped trying to scratch Monroe, stopped trying to fight at all,
and clutched his head with both hands, screaming like a banshee on
the rack. He convulsed, he twitched, blood trickled from his nose,
and there was a terrible popping sound as the huge magnet overhead
sucked the small metallic chip out of Garrett Khan’s brain and
straight out the back of his head, spraying the wall of the room
with blood and bone and gray matter. After the pop, Khan did not
move again.

Monroe rolled off the table,
got up, ran out of the room. He went back to the security center,
limping and panting and groaning, nearly exhausted and with blood
still seeping from the long, narrow wound on his forearm. In the
room of television screens, he picked up the telephone he recalled
seeing on his previous visit.

Most people today, Monroe
had observed, do not bother to memorize telephone numbers. With
cell phone contact lists, people simply dial names now, not
bothering with the digits. But to a man in the intelligence field,
memorization is everything and can mean the difference between
success and failure, life and death. It was easy for Monroe to
recall the number he had used to call Mr. Nine before he had lost
his phone to the water of Fenway’s indoor pool. Now he called that
number on this phone.

Monroe, I’ve been trying to
reach you,” Mr. Nine answered. “Status report, now!”

Khan is dead, sir,” Monroe
rasped. “You can send in the damn FBI now…and the police…and
everybody else. Five body bags should do it…and an ambulance with
room for two. I have to go now, sir. I have a lady waiting for



Chapter 19: What
Time Remains



Two weeks had passed and
Monroe’s bruises had faded away. The wound on his arm was almost
unnoticeable now and he predicted that not even a scar would remain
after a month. He had spent most of his time since Fenway Park in
his apartment, seeing nobody and only talking with Mr. Nine a
handful of times.

The press had been kept in
the dark about the night in the stadium. Mr. Nine had made sure
that no news of the deaths of Garrett Khan and his men had leaked
out. As far as the rest of the world knew, nothing out of the
ordinary had happened there at all.

Winter Willows would spend
several weeks in the hospital. Her shattered nose required
reconstructive surgery, which was discreetly paid for by the United
States government. The FBI visited her and she agreed, after some
convincing and some comments that could have been construed as
threats, to accept their offer of a new start with a new name in a
place she had never been before and where no one knew her. Monroe
was glad when Mr. Nine informed him of Winter’s




It was snowing lightly on
the evening when Monroe decided he felt strong enough, in both the
physical and emotional ways, to do something he had begun to feel
more and more that he had to do. He made himself presentable first,
taking a long, hot shower, shaving closely and thoroughly, and
putting on his sharpest black suit. Then he stared at the walls of
his apartment for a very long time, measuring and visualizing and
estimating. Finally, he chose a spot. He took a hammer and pounded
a nail into the wall. He dug a box out of the closet, one he had
been avoiding since moving in. He took out his favorite photograph
of Genevieve, a black and white image where her hair waved in the
wind and her eyes twinkled and her entire expression reminded him
of why he had fallen in love with her in the first

He hung the picture on the
selected spot on the wall and stood back to admire it. It seemed to
Monroe that Genevieve, from wherever she had gone, smiled down at
him by way of that photograph. In his mind he could almost hear her

It’s all right, Rick. I’ve
been avenged. Let me rest. Now go enjoy your life before you get
too old to use the time you have left to you. And be careful out
there, my love.”

Monroe smiled back at her,
and he turned away.




He had just changed out of
the suit and was about to sit down with a book for an hour before
heading to bed when the doorbell rang. He glanced at the clock. It
was just past nine and he was not expecting anybody. He wondered if
it had anything to do with Mr. Nine; perhaps a new assignment. But
he suspected his supervisor would give him another week at least to
make sure he was fully recovered before sending him off on another

He went to the door, opened
it, and smiled in surprise when he found Angela MacIntyre standing
there smiling back. “Well hello,” he said.

She looked gorgeous, Monroe
thought: dressed casually in jeans and a North Face jacket, her
hair pulled back in a ponytail, minimal makeup, and, most
noticeably, her arm no longer in a sling.

I’m sorry to just show up
like this, Rick,” she said, “but somebody called me right after I
left the rehab place and moved back into my apartment. They said
they worked with you and they gave me your address, said you had a
tough time since last time I saw you and that you could use a
little company. Is it okay that I came here tonight?”

Of course it is,” Monroe
said. He meant it. “Come in, Angela. How do you feel?”

She walked in, hugged him,
then stepped back and raised her hand in the air between them. “I
feel fine.” She smiled, wiggling her fingers. “Most of the feeling
is back and I can do almost everything with this arm again. So I’m
mostly back to normal and looking for a new job.”

That’s great,” Monroe said.
“Sit down and I’ll get you a drink.”




Three drinks each and an
hour of small talk later, Angela had migrated from a chair to the
couch, where she now sat with her head on Monroe’s shoulder. Her
sneakers were empty on the floor and her legs were tucked under her
as Monroe’s arm covered her shoulders.

Nice place you have here,”
Angela said.

Thanks,” Monroe replied.
“Do you want to see the rest of it?”

We’ll get there
eventually,” Angela said. “It’s the next logical step after

She turned to him and kissed
him. He kissed back and after a minute of it carefully placed his
hands under her body, one behind her back and one behind her knees,
lifted her up and carried her in the direction of the

Ready for that tour, Miss

As ready as I’ll ever be,

By the time Angela Macintyre
was gently put down on the bed, she had demonstrated the extent of
her recovery by nimbly unbuttoning her carrier’s pants in transit.
Richard Monroe saw that as a sign that it was going to be a
delightful evening.






Aaron Smith is the author
of thirty published stories in genres including mystery, horror,
science fiction, and fantasy. His work includes stories featuring
Sherlock Holmes, Allan Quatermain, and many of his own creations.
His novels include
Season of Madness
. He is currently working on a sequel to
Dies for Free
. Information about Smith’s work can be found on
his blog at



You have just finished




By Aaron Smith



Edited by Percival

Editor in Chief, Pro Se
Productions-Tommy Hancock

Submissions Editor-Barry

Director of Corporate
Operations-Morgan Minor

Publisher & Pro Se Productions,
LLC-Chief Executive Officer-Fuller Bumpers


Cover Art by Ariane

Book Design, Layout, and Additional
Graphics by Sean E. Ali

E-book Design by Russ


Visit the Pro Se Press website at
more New Pulp novels and short story collections


Pro Se Productions, LLC

133 1/2 Broad Street

Batesville, AR, 72501


[email protected]


BOOK: Nobody Dies For Free
4.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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