Invasion of Justice (Shadows of Justice)

By: Regan Black

Shadows of Justice, Book Two

with a bonus short story: Dream Works


For Inge.

All my thanks for dreaming in color, for titles and names, for always listening to the process. Your boundless faith in God, unwavering support, and keen fashion sense

have carried me through. You rock!

Chapter One

Our greatest battles are that with our own minds. -- Jameson Frank

He forced the lock with a custom security card General Hawthorne would envy–under different circumstances. Pride swelled as the new idea formed. He'd make sure to see admiration in the General's eyes before this night was over.

Each silent step brought him closer to the target. He felt his pulse quicken and paused until he'd harnessed the adrenaline. This was his proving ground and there was no room for error.

At the lab, he swiped the card again and then offered his eye, the modified one, for verification. He tucked the card away and paused to enjoy the soft hiss of the opening door, etching every moment into his memory.

A man only got one first.

He noticed the target's hunched shoulders, glasses pushed high on the forehead, eyes hovering over the microscope. Those cells in the dish were deadly, but not in the way the genetic engineers intended.

He slowed his breathing for the final approach. Damn, he could practically see the black death-cloud. His lips curled. He could almost smell the blood. His fingers twitched in anticipation of the slick, sticky feel.

He struck the nerve center on the target's neck, sending him to the floor in a heap, leaving the priceless cells in their dish. Pulling a miniature hypodermic from his pocket, he drew the substance from the dish and injected it into the target. He pressed his fingers to the jugular and waited, counting the prescribed ten pulse beats.

Then, with reverence born of training, he unwrapped the sacred blade and began the fun part. A man should enjoy his work, after all.

Indianapolis, IN 2096

She came awake in a rush, her hands fisted and slippery.

"Lights," she rasped, terrified what light would reveal. She gasped–her first deep breath in how long? Her hands glistened with sweat, not blood. It had been so real.

Too real.

She scrambled to sit up, bracing herself against the cool scrollwork of the mahogany headboard. It wasn't the first time she'd been in the mind of evil and she knew what would follow.

Looking at the phone, a retro 1900's antique landline connected to her modern cell card, she waited.

And waited.

Long enough to wonder if it had only been a dream. She scrubbed at her face and decided the link had been too strong, too nasty to have been a mere nightmare. She gripped the heavy, old-fashioned telephone and searched the shadows of her room for an intruder, ready to strike.

The clunky contraption burst out ringing and she dropped it on the bed.

"Petra Neiman," she managed when she got the receiver to her ear.

"I've got a tangled mess for you," the caller stated.

That she knew. As if ritual evisceration could be anything less. She wanted the who and where of it.

The nameless voice that made these calls obliged. "Kincaid wants you in Chicago immediately. A dead Jane Doe is likely connected to a solid lead on two recent kidnappings."

She almost corrected him. It was a murder, high profile, with no secondary crime, in a seaside genetics lab. She'd smelled the humid tang of saltwater on the assassin's clothes.

The revelation startled her. Not even she maintained a sense of smell during a dream.

"Ms. Neiman? Are you there?"

"Yes. How long until the car arrives?"

"Thirty minutes."

"I'll call my assistant."

"Special Agent Kincaid insists you come alone."

Special Agent Kincaid could get a hobby that didn't contradict her needs. "Then I'll need a videographer."

"He says whatever you need will be on site."

"Fine. I'll be ready." There was no point beheading the messenger. She dropped the receiver back into the cradle and stared at the ceiling.

Yes, she'd be ready; knowing she was only marking time until the call from the coast came in.

The flight into Chicago was uneventful, but Petra's senses were nearly overwhelmed upon landing. Almost as soon as the wheels settled, she felt a heavy darkness pressing in on her. She had to disagree with her assistant's opinion; having "evil radar" was not the ultimate asset.

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