ASSIGNED TO KILL HIM; UNABLE TO RESIST HIM.
A dark conspiracy begins this gripping novel as a powerful computer virus is uploaded to the GRID, the hub of the world's electronic communications networks, virtually decimating communication across the globe. As the race begins to combat the powerful forces that conspired to bring human civilization to a standstill, Aristotle discovers a secret link to his past in the form of Byron Appleyard, who has been assigned to assassinate him. Falling for the enemy was not supposed to happen.
I still remember the day the world ended. The newspapers said the same thing. It’s remarkable how many times you hear something before it becomes completely indistinguishable from the truth. ‘The New England town of Tetra, New Hampshire and the Southern California city of Winchester Falls have been decimated due to a viral outbreak of an unidentified protean compound by a clandestine Thanatos terrorist cell known only as ‘The Agency’.’
I had come to Tetra in search of a man named Aristotle Lauder who may have been connected to the Winchester incident. It turns out I was wrong. Having been betrayed by the only man I thought I could trust, I managed to escape the horror.
No one could have imagined the series of events that would follow that horrible night.
Isa Delcarmen walked out of the helicopter cabin into the dark stormy night, the cold air whipping at her narrow cheekbones. Behind her, Matthew Christopher was silent as he removed the seat-belt choked around his slim waist. It was almost dark here. The city below was bustling under an ocean of neon advertisements and shimmering street lights. Sports cars raced through the winding streets, their shrill honking only a quiet gasp all the way atop the towering skyscraper.
Three armed guards flanked them as the two visitors walked to the white door near the edge of the helipad. One of them shook Isa's cool hand. She noticed he was shivering. It had been raining all day here, she heard the chopper pilot mumble. The scientists in front of them nervously typed in a code on a silver keypad to the right of the metallic door. A light on the panel turned green and the group was let inside, one at a time, as the door made an electronic whirring noise. Isa held her breath as the armed guard walked in front of her down the steps inside.
Matthew was silent behind her. His intense gaze peered around the bright white sterile walls of the corridor. He paid attention to everything, noting every detail, every crevice, and every scratch in the otherwise immaculate wall. He had on his fancy brand of aftershave--one that Isa had enjoyed for the duration of the flight despite its arguable toxicity and the even more dubious intention behind it. The smell had filled the tiny helicopter cabin. The morose man had been quiet though for almost the entire flight, which made her anxious. His variable unpredictability was a liability, and nothing could go wrong now. Nothing at all.
Aristotle was sitting erect in a chair as Byron walked in not five minutes after him. It was dark in the room. Byron didn't make any noise. He watched Aristotle carefully. His feet were still on the hardwood floor beneath him. Dust gently blew across the creaking floorboards as he walked inside.
"Did you know me before?" Aristotle asked.
Byron was silent.
Aristotle continued in a wavering, drunk voice, "You knew who I was. I’ve seen you before. I’ve dreamed about you. You’ve been followin’ me around." Aristotle spoke as he was putting the pieces together. His eyes flashed excitedly. "You knew I was one of them, one of the Thanatos. You are too." There were empty whiskey bottles at his feet. He walked over and leaned in to kiss Byron. Byron pushed him away. He clenched his fist, blinking rapidly. In the furor enveloping him, Aristotle could barely hear Byron’s intensifying, anxious breath. His chest rose and fell with great intensity as Aristotle walked over to him, fists clenched, teeth gritted. His eyes flashed and he smiled with abandon.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Aristotle," Byron murmured quietly.
"You're-you're a liar. You've known who I was since last year. You've been following me, stalking me!" Aristotle shouted. He stood up and walked towards Byron in the dark. The floorboards creaked below him. Dust kicked up below him. Byron's features were illuminated by the new angle of the light. They were different somehow, twisted by some unseen malign presence in the room. "You did this to me," Aristotle barked as he grabbed Byron’s face. His eyes were glowing. They were yellow like a reptile’s.
Aristotle stood over him and sneered at him. There was an uncomfortable silence in the room. "Why am I like this? Why is this happening to me?"
"What?" Byron asked weakly.
"Becoming this! Becoming this--this thing!" he roared.