Surreptitious – Episode 9 |
By: Nidheesh Samant |


Somewhere in Turin, Italy. 2018.

Ice was eyeing the blood on his hands being washed away under the flow of water. His wash basin had undergone a paint-job and looked as if it had always been this shade of cerise rather than white. Ice turned off the tap and wiped his hands off on a similarly cerise towel. He exited the bathroom and entered the dimly lit room. The single incandescent bulb was not enough to illuminate all the contents of the room. However, Ice could clearly see what he was looking for. He picked up his small and thin dagger from the table and looked at it in the orange light. The blood had still not dried from it. Holding the dagger in hand he went near the bed. On the bed lay a body with its limbs tied to the four corners of the bed. There was a rag stuffed in the mouth of the man. The man’s body was riddled with small cuts and incisions. Ice stood next to him and removed the rag from his mouth.

“Well Hans, I must say you Jaeger folk are quite tough. You took two hours of this and all I know till now is that your name is Hans and how much you would like to kill me. I could continue with our little game, but I’m on the clock here. I need to finish up a lot of stuff. So, I need to speed things up. But, before that, I give you a chance to avoid what comes next. Go on, Hans. Tell me who handles Jaeger operations here and where to find that person. Tell me the name of the boss of Jaeger. I need information fast, Hans.”

Hans whispered something which Ice could not hear.

“You could be louder Hans. Your life depends on it.”

“I said, go to hell, agent.”

“Ah! But, you don’t seem to realize that we are already in hell – My hell.”

 Ice held the thin blade near Hans’ chest.

“Like I said Hans, scream all you like. No one can hear us here.”

Saying this, Ice pushed his blade inside Hans’ chest. The blade was not allowed to go in very deep by Ice. After he had let it go half an inch inside, he pulled it horizontally, producing a gash on the chest and drawing blood. Ice removed the blade and picked up a bottle of cheap rum lying on the table.

“I hate wasting good rum, but then again, this isn’t any good.”

Ice poured the rum on the fresh wound he had made on Hans. A loud scream Hans’ mouth as the rum burned his exposed flesh. Ice looked impassively as Hans writhed in pain.

“This was just a teaser of what is to come, Hans. Spill the beans or I spill more rum.”

Hans closed his mouth and clenched his jaw, signifying his answer to Ice.

“Very well, as you wish.”

Paolo was sitting in the hall outside the torture room, hearing the screams of Ice’s prisoner. He knew that outside the torture room, these screams were audible only to him. The safe-house was quite hidden and free from any prying eyes or ears. This was not the first time he had heard someone being tortured but unlike Ice he was not a trained agent. The screams disturbed him. He could feel the screaming echoing in his ears even after it had stopped. The silence continued for another fifteen minutes. Ice entered from the torture room and approached Paolo. He stood up from his chair. He could smell the stench on Ice. It smelled like a queer mixture of blood and rum.

“Signore, is it..done?”

“Yes Paolo, it is done. Our friend was quite stubborn. Very uncooperative.”

“But, you got the information you wanted from him?”

Paolo knew this was a stupid question because an agent like Ice would have never stopped the torture unless he got answers.

“Yes, Hans talked. He suddenly became chatty when the threat of a slice and burn reached his manhood. He had balls. I mean it quite literally. So, Paolo I need you to scout out a location for me.”

“Is this the location of the boss of Jaeger?”

“No, Paolo. Hans was a small fry. I’m sure he doesn’t know anything about the boss. However, this is the location of Valkyrie.”

“Valkyrie. Yes, you did show a keener interest in her photo. Is there a reason for that?”

Ice ignored Paolo’s question and passed a piece of paper to him. The amount of blood on the piece made it difficult for Paolo to read what was written on it.

“So, this is the location. I need you to scout it for me. Find out how many guards there are, their armament, all the works. I need the information within a couple of days. We need to strike before Valkyrie makes her next move. And Paolo, please stay out of their sight.”

“I will be careful. But wait. You said Hans was a small fry. Isn’t he still a small fry.”

“No, Paolo. I used the right tense. Hans was a small fry when he was alive. You know, I could not leave him alive.”

Paolo shuddered at the coldness in Ice’s voice. He was now beginning to feel fear. He knew he had no need to continue scouting for Ice. But, Ice did help get rid of the operatives following Paolo. Besides, Paolo did not have enough inside him to refuse Ice. He pocketed the paper and fetched his coat.

“Very well, Signore Ice. You shall hear from me soon. Addio! ”

“Goodbye, Paolo. “

Ice closed the main door behind Paolo and stepped inside the bathroom. Stepping into the bath tub, he turned on the overhead shower. As the warm water started running down his body, cleaning it, he began to scrub his body with soap.

Ice wondered if he could ever truly wash off the blood on him.

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