74

Old State Castle

The Black Wolf looked at the screen on the phone he had just answered. Instead of numbers, the call displayed as a series of D’s, something he’d never seen before.

Obviously an encryption.

The voice had been American. And it had asked for Zen.

Zen.

The word was familiar in a strange way. Of course he knew the word and what it meant, but there was something else. The association with a person…

Zen.

A memory nagged at him from behind the wall that closed off the present from the past.

Zen.

The man in the wheelchair.

“One of the prisoners claims to need the bathroom,” said Blue over the radio.

“Too bad.”

“The minister is late,” said Gray from out in the hall. “Has there been a problem?”

“His plane has landed,” said the Black Wolf. “We must have patience.”

He felt himself shaking. His energy running down. He reached into his pocket for another vial of the drug. It was his last. Ordinarily he would save it for the end of the mission, to carry him through, but he suddenly felt cold.

He broke off the top and drank.

* * *

Zen pounded on the door.

“Hey, I gotta go!” he said.

“Shut up in there or I will shoot you,” said the man outside.

“I don’t think they’re going to play,” said Lynch. “We need a new idea.”

“The idea is fine — we just have to push it further.” Zen turned to the girl. “You know what to do, right?”

She nodded.

“You’re not scared?”

“Scared, yes,” she said. “But we do it.”

Zen wheeled himself closer to the door.

“Hey!” he yelled. “Tell your boss out in the cafeteria there that Zen Stockard wants to talk to him. Major Stockard. Tell him we used to work together.”

“What are you yelling about?”

“Zen Stockard. Tell Black that Zen Stockard wants to speak with him.”

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