For those who missed the previous parts, catch them here.
He sipped his drink slowly. He loved the sweet taste of bourbon, savoring each and every drop on his tongue. He could feel the warmth as the liquid made its way down his throat. It made him feel good; made him feel at ease.
Paul Raymond appreciated the finer things in life. It wasn’t so always; he was a self-made man. He was a billionaire, and owner of one of the world’s biggest group of companies. He was the sixth richest man in the world, but it didn’t mean a thing. Nothing else mattered.
He wanted them to pay. Pay for his lost childhood. Pay for ripping his world apart. Pay for tarnishing their family image permanently. Pay for his parent’s deaths.
Raymond was born Paul Harold Walker, son of ex-Colonel and branded terrorist, Preston Walker. He was ten when his father was arrested for treason and crimes against humanity. Walker was charged, stripped of all rank and honors, sentenced and executed all too quickly. He remembered seeing his father one last time in prison, and he could not forget Walker’s last words to him. “Avenge me son”, he had said, right before he was chained and taken to be executed. He hadn’t thought much of it then; he was too young to remember most of it. But not young enough to understand the pain and ridicule his mother had to suffer. They lived in anonymity, away from society’s eye. She died soon after, forcing him to live on the streets.
He grew up with a bunch of kids at a foster home. When he was fifteen, he had a visit from a man he hadn’t seen before. The man introduced himself as a friend of his father. He had a picture as proof; both of them younger, serving together in the army. The man told him stories of how great his father was, and how he could never have betrayed his country. The man said that his father had been set up by someone higher up; his father was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. The bureaucracy had framed him to cover their asses, and Walker was made the scapegoat in all this. Raymond could see his father’s face again; his father’s hands reaching out to his young self, asking for vengeance. He could feel the anger boiling within him, his face seething white-hot with rage. The seed of revenge was planted in his young heart, and he vowed he would stop at nothing.
He grew calmer as the years progressed. He took odd jobs during the day and studied hard at night. He took up psychology; he was fascinated with the human mind. And amazed as to how easy it was to manipulate it. He had adopted his mother’s last name; he did not want his original name to be an obstacle lest someone would recognize him. He made his entry into the corporate sector, quit a few years later to found his own company. Thirty years had passed since, and he had grown into what he was today.
But he had not lost sight of what he had to do. He had no want for money or material comforts. All he wanted now was to see them burn. He didn’t know who “them” was anymore, but he did not care. The system was his enemy; he wouldn’t rest until he had taken it down.
He had plotted and planned each of his moves carefully. He started by locating a small terrorist outfit that needed the money for their cause, and funded them via a shell company founded under a fictitious name. In doing so he bought their friendship, and with time, their loyalty. The group went on with the agenda laid out carefully by him; to bomb key US government buildings around the world, murder dignitaries and US ambassadors to other countries, create panic and hatred against the US government. His long-term plan was simple, bring down the system, and pin it on the unsuspecting terrorist outfit that would be clueless as to what happened. And his next move; which would be his final move; would be all that was needed to achieve his goal.
Klaus walked into the room. Klaus was Raymond’s body-guard and head of security, you could say his right hand. It was Klaus’ job to find the right person for each job Raymond had chalked out.
Raymond did not like the expression on Klaus’ face, it meant that he was carrying bad news. Klaus knew that his boss would not be pleased.
“I have bad news”, Klaus whispered.
“I figured. Your face says everything. Go on”, Raymond sipped at his drink.
“The woman escaped, and she has the device”, Klaus murmured, unsure of how his boss would take it.
“Really? One woman against an army of mercenaries?”, Raymond sighed, awaiting an explanation.
“It’s complicated. She had help”, Klaus replied.
“Help? From whom? The CIA?”, Raymond asked, his gaze transfixed on Klaus. Klaus felt uncomfortable.
“We don’t know. From the looks of it, it was one man”, Klaus hung his head in shame.
“You are incompetent, all of you”, Raymond spat with disgust, “it was one simple job against one defenseless woman. How could you screw it up?”
“This man seemed extraordinary. We fired at him, yet he kept coming, as if he was absorbing our bullets. He took down five of our men single-handedly; we decided to live to fight another day”, Klaus reported, trying to keep his breath steady.
“Find both of them and kill them. And get me the device. Do not come back unless you have it”, Raymond warned him.
“Understood”, Klaus accepted the orders. He let himself out of the room.
Raymond was disappointed at hearing the news, but felt invigorated. This man Klaus spoke about was going to be a challenge. A variable in the mix. He loved challenges. He made another drink and played hide-and-seek with his taste buds, enjoying the sweet, warm liquid.
He knew he couldn’t undo the past. But he would make up for it. By rewriting the future.
To be continued…