Chapter 1: Checkmate - Chapter V

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 296

Chapter V

Present Day
Central Park
New York City

SSA James Metz stood behind yellow police tape with his colleague SSA Maya Azarov. His strong fingers were entwined behind his head. He wore no ring, and there wasn't any definite tan line. It'd been quite a long time. His eyes were squinting as he stared directly at the man who sat at the stone chess table, hands laying upon his knees in such a relaxed manor. If he had a pot of tea, he'd be sipping a cup as we speak.
"He has no limits." He muttered under his breath. "He feels nothing for nobody, completely devoid of any human emotion. For him to think like we do, to live with the ideology that we do is pointless. Just pointless."
"James we need the locations of those victims."
"I know. But it's a game. It's just a game to him, he doesn't care about the outcome."
"Do you think you can beat him?"
James didn't reply.
"Do we have agents on standby?"
"Derren and Jason are flying out from Virginia as we speak."
"Right." James cut the conversation off as he moved forward and pulled the yellow tape up, walking under it and heading back silently over toward the chess table. His jaw was stiff as he quietly sat down, his eyes scanning the playfully smug glare of his opponent.

"What d'ya say James? Care for a game?" Isaac spoke quietly but with purpose. The pieces were all set straight on their squares and James allowed his eyes to connect with Isaac's.
He had studied him for the most part of his entire career, and here they were playing games in Central Park. It seemed unreal, but he didn't have a choice.

"Do you think you're walking away from this?" He asked quietly, leaning back in his chair. Isaac smiled.
"I have no delusions about the outcome of this James, but judging what you know of me I do believe you can respect me enough to indulge in a game of chess."
"Respect? I have no respect for your Isaac. You have killed sixty-seven people. The number runs through my mind covered in barbed-wire. It wasn't pleasant.

"A mutual respect of opponents, James. And sixty-seven? Wow, has it really been that many?" Isaac spoke quietly, that smug smile still plastered all over his guilty, void face. The sickening lack of care of the number of lives he'd taken unnerved James. He shifted in his seat, then sitting back.
"No tricks?" James asked finally as his gaze scanned that of his opponent's.
"No tricks." Isaac smiled, sitting forward slight. James slowly sat up, staring him down before he moved a hand to a pawn and shifted it forward, starting the game.


* * *

Present Day
455 West Street
New York City

Dolores Highmore was a lady deeply into her eighties. She had emigrated to America with her Parent's in the thirties and had been living on the same street her entire life. She walked at a slow, aged pace. A walking stick helping her along, she made her way to a chair in the living room of her town house. She picked up her remote, lifting it and flicking through the channels, scanning game shows and mid-morning chat shows. She placed the remote upon her side table as the jingle of game show tunes chimed from her television. This was quickly drowned out, however, as a firm knock at the door startled her. Dolores collected herself, then slowly eased herself from her seat with the aid of her walking stick, then moved toward the door, opening it only slightly as she peered out. A young beautiful professional woman stood there with a courteous smile, holding open an I.D badge. The name said Maya Azarov. The picture was her and the blue large stamp FBI was written rather clearly across the face of the card.
"Mrs. Highmore?"
"Yes?" Dolores' voice came in a soft croak as the presence of the FBI suddenly thrust into her world concerned her.
"Hello there Mrs. Highmore, I am SSA Maya Azarov, I'm with the BAU department of the FBI, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?" The woman's voice was husk and smooth, but her accent certainly wasn't local.
"Oh. No no, of course." Maya smiled and nodded.
"Do you know much about your neighbour Isaac Doherty, Mrs. Highmore?"
"Please, call me Dolores. And, well no not really. He is a quiet man, I never hear much from him. Occasionally I will hear him hammering away or drilling, you know, just DIY build-it things. Is there something the matter?" The woman opened the door a little more, her aged frail body leaning against her stick.
"Oh no, nothing wrong Mrs. Highmore, we're just looking into some information on Mr. Doherty that's all. Does Isaac have many visitors?"
"Well, now that you mention it, I did hear a noise one night a couple of weeks ago, you know. I couldn't believe it, it was very late. I looked out of my window and there was a very beautiful young lady knocking on his door. He let her in and I didn't hear anything after that. She must have left early as she never left after I had woken."
"Oh, can you describe this girl at all Dolores?" Maya smiled as she took out a small black notepad, pulling the cap with her soft lips, then flipping the pen and pushing it onto the back, tapping the ballpoint against the paper.
"Oh well.. let's see now.. Um, she had brown hair. You know, quite long, past her shoulders. She had a pair of glasses on and a bag over her shoulder. I think she was wearing a pink cardigan." The lady's hand was hovering before her as her fingers were forced into an arthritic point. Maya smiled and nodded to her elder.
"That's fantastic, thank you Dolores. I think that's all I'll need from you." Maya nodded to the woman again, knowing she'd be better off inside.
"Oh, okay. Make sure you get them hooligans!" The lady wandered back inside, closing the door behind her. Maya glanced at her notebook just as a tinted black SUV pulled onto the street. She smiled as she walked toward it as SSA Derren Salt and SSA Jason Thatch climbed out.
"It's about time." Maya teased with a smile, pulling on a pair of shades to protect her gaze from the sun. The men stood before her, grinning to her jab.
"It's good to see you Maya. Where's Metz?" Maya's face softened as a frown touched her lips.
"Where do you think? Sitting with Doherty in Central Park."
"You're kidding" Salt chimed in, is strong jaw twitching slightly as he frowned at the beautiful woman.
"Wish I was. Isaac is taunting us. He's making James play chess. A win for a location of supposed victim."
"Can James beat him?" Jason questioned her. He knew James was a very cunning and intelligent individual, but he also knew there was a reason he hadn't been caught in twenty years.
"I don't know. James dodged the question when I asked. We better get back there, he's gonna need all the help he can get."
The three moved back to the SUV as they climbed in. Derren glanced back at Maya who climbed into the back-seat, the car's engine turning over.
"Is there any news on the explosive Maya? Do we know what it is?"
"Nope. Isaac's being vague on it. It's not visible. We seen the pressure trigger, we see the wires, but whatever it is, it's strapped under the seat in a black box. Could be everything. Could be nothing. But we can't risk treating it as a fake threat. The man is ex-military so the chances of him knowing how to fashion a devastating IED is rather likely."
"He's ex-military?" Jason chimed in as he drove through the busy streets of New York City, heading back toward the park. This was obviously news to him.
"Yep, US Army, two tours."
"Any signs of PTSD?"
"None that he's displaying right now."
"What about family?" Derren asked, looking back at the woman as they turned onto the park, driving across the grass and pulling up next to a few other trucks from the NYPD.
"He has none. His line dies with him. As far as we can tell, this guy hasn't had a relationship in twenty years. He can't feel love like we can, the chemicals simply aren't releasing. Endorphins, serotonin. There's no emotion there. And this is the most dangerous personality trait because he's very unpredictable. Real bomb. Fake bomb. Either way, he's got James on the ropes and I hope for his sake he plays chess like he profiles."

* * *

"Oh this is enticing!" Isaac sighed happily as he moved forward, slipping a knight forward and swiping another of James' pieces. James didn't even blink, he swooped forward and slid a bishop up to join an onslaught with his knight already waiting in position.
"Check." He said quietly, his chin resting upon his hand. He looked up to Isaac who's face had changed into that of a bitter man. He moved his king a single step to the side as James slipped a rook down the line but out of harms way. Isaac played a move in an attempt to move in on his knight, though James' next move had his rook press flat to his opponent's side of the board.
"Checkmate." Everything was there. His king had been found cowering in the Master's quarters, hiding under a bed. How sad. His king was trapped by his knight and bishop, his rook giving it absolutely no place to go.
"No. That's not right. You fooled me." Isaac's voice deepened as his pale, ageing hands gripped a hold of the stone table.
"Fooled you? Isaac, you set the table. You invited me to play. I beat you, fair and square."
"I suppose you're right James, I apologize for getting upset. Fair is fair."
James' eyes narrowed slightly as his eyes focused in on Isaac's. Was he going to live up to his end of the deal?
"11637 Farmhouse Drive, Eden, Maryland. There is a lady in the basement. Free her from her torment, won't you?"
James' hand shot up to his earpiece, pressing it in as he spoke quietly.
"You copy that?"
"Copy." Maya, Derren and Jason were already on their way to the airfield back to the jet. The team worked with military precision.
James smiled to Isaac, though something unsettled him. It was rather easy to get the location, though his eyes beamed with sincerity.
"No tricks, Isaac." James warned as he looked across to his failed opponent.
"No tricks, James. You have my word. After all.. what are we, if we cannot be men of our word?"
James stared at him with boiled resentment. He let out a breath as he watched his hand move to begin correcting all of the pieces once again.
"Chess is one of the oldest games in the world. Did you know that Mr. Metz?" Isaac questioned him quietly as he erected the pieces one by one.
"Sixth century India." James answered him with a knowledgable nod.
"Makes you think doesn't it. I wonder how many defining games have been played throughout history. Empires fallen all through a game of chess. Rather poetic isn't it?" Isaac smiled. James did not.
"Excuse me, won't you?" James said quietly, standing and turning from his seat as he walked away slowly.
"But of course Mr. Metz. Return shortly, won't you." Isaac teased with a smug smile. There was just something so eerily terrifying about the man that unnerved James more than he thought it would, but it wasn't something that could make him lose focus. He headed toward the outer section of the tape, lifting it up and making his way to a black SUV, pulling open the car door and climbing in. He released a sigh before he placed his head back against the headrest, pulling the visor down and looking into the small mirror at his own reflection.
Twenty years. Twenty years he's been better than me. How am I supposed to compete with somebody who considers themselves to be a mentor to my intellect. It's perverse. He's killed so many people. Sixty-seven people. Think about that. Sixty-seven people. And he sits there with that smug fucking smile on his face. It sickens me.
James' cold eyes peered right at himself in the visor mirror. He exhaled slowly, then closed his eyes as his hands gripped the steering wheel, his mind wandering as he took a moment to himself.

Submitted: November 02, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Steve Brindley. All rights reserved.


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