Rippner lay in the hospital bed and his eyes flickered. He was aware of the IV piercing the delicate skin on the inside of his elbow. He was alone in a private room. Watching from under his eyelids, he saw a policeman passing the space outside his room whom he could see clearly through a space in the curtain surrounding his bed. He felt as if a steamroller had given him a good going over. His throat and the wound on his leg had been bandaged up and when he surveyed the shot wound on his chest. Stitches had been placed. He grunted angrily. The bitch had really done a number on him. He watched the policeman and surveyed his surroundings. He needed to leave, if he allowed himself to be arrested then the men who had until recently been his bosses would find some way to get to him and he didn't particularly want to end up shot in the back of the head execution style. He popped out the IV and dropped it on the floor. He stepped onto the floor, his legs weak after lack of use during the last few weeks. He glanced out of the window. He appeared to be on the ground floor. Good, it made his plan easier. He waited for the guard outside his room to turn away before leaving the bed and dropping to the floor. Catching hold of the heart monitor plug, he tore it out before racing to the other side of the room. As he suspected, the guard was through the door as soon as he heard the beeping. Rippner was ready for him. He spun his leg around to trip the guard up as he closed the door behind him. Quickly, he delivered a blow with perfect accuracy that would put him out for several hours.
A few minutes later he was walking out of the hospital, in a disguise that nobody would stop. He stepped out into the sunlight, ready to disappear for good this time.
She walked from the hotel, relishing her freedom. She hadn't thought about Rippner in over three month. It was a good day. He was gone and couldn't terroriser her or her family any longer. For a long time, her father had made her check in every other day or so and still called if she left it any longer than a week. She had left her car in the hotel car park and on impulse had set off on foot. She would take the monorail. She needed to remind herself of her independence.
Sliding the key into the door to her apartment, she sighed. It was good to be home. She was barely into the flat when she found herself seized. A hand covered her mouth, while another seized her wrists. He kicked the door closed as she let her handbag drop to the floor.
"Miss me?" A chill ran through her blood. Rippner. "Fortunately for you I need you alive." Hearing this, she jerked her wrists down, spun around and kicked him. He fell back into the wall. She lunged across the room towards teh telephone. "Stop." She froze as she heard the click of the safety being taken off a handgun. "You see I can't kill you but you don't need to be able to walk." She turned to see him holding a police issue firearm. She raised her hands, swallowing loudly.
"I thought you were dead."
"Didn't take. Now get over there." He gestured toward the bed. He rolled his eyes at her look. "If that was what I wanted, don't you think that I would have taken it already."
"What do you want?"
He gave a short harsh laugh.
"It was just one small job, one phone call. And someone decides to be a hero and now I'm running for my life. You remember the nice people I work for? They do not appreciate failures."
"And what is this to me?"
"Well I figure this will be the last place they look for me."
"What on earth would make you think that I would help you?"
The phone rang. Lisa moved toward it out of habit.
"It could be my dad and if I don't answer he will most likely call the police." Rippner strode across the room and lifted the receiver.
"Hi Lisa, I'm just calling to see if your ok... Lisa." Rippner covered the receiver.
"There was another reason I came to you. From what I've managed to glean from old sources, Lisa Reisart is the name just below mine on the hit list, if you get what I mean." He laid the gun on the floor much to her surprise. "Yes that could be a lie. I'm giving you a choice." He held out the receiver. Narrowing her eyes warily, she took it.
"Lisa are you there?" She took a deep breath.
"Lisa are you ok?" Looking up at him, she saw that he had an odd look in his eyes, something she couldn't make out.
"I'm fine. I was in the shower."
"Are you sure?"
"Yup, I'm great. Never better. I have to go actually. Bye. Love you." She forced a smile into her voice before replacing the receiver. She returned her gaze to Rippner. "I'm listening."