Entry of the Diary: Day 1
They call me by "Ghost". Simply because I go to my destination, wreak havoc and disappear before anyone knows I have been there. By the time they achieve they have been victimized; I am already on an aeroplane heading to my next assignment. I work for KGB. They taught me to speak English and the ways of Americans so I will fit in and go undetected. They learned to me how to behave, how to react, all things, which Americans say, and do. My accent? It is not so bad now, but still, it is there, always giving me away when I become emotional. It is no matter. Americans, they love accent or anything still that they consider exotic. They are fools. I laugh at them. I will laugh at them when I have completed my assignment. I have been assigned to work with their upper substance, the Colonel Steve Austin. He too is a fool and I will destroy him and bring him down before my assignment is finished but first, I must trick him. I must make him to believe that he can entrust to me. He must feel comfortable around me, like he can let down his guard around me and he must feel like he can entrust to me his life. I will make him feel all these things and more. Before I am through with the Colonel Steve Austin, I will have his mind, his body, his soul, and lastly, I will have also, his life. I will play the game of American. I will go to my assignment, a short term enterprise by my colleagues, the KGB and the Americans. The Americans, they think we want what they want. They think we will be their allies. I laugh at them. We will use them for our own increase and after this, we will destroy them. The mighty Colonel Steve Austin. I have heard of him. I have learned many things about him and all these things I know about him will help me to bring him down. I will use my entire force against him, my power, my skill, my methods which I have learned from KGB. I will use my body, my looks. People say I am beautiful. This is a thing the Americans like and this is the thing I will use against him. I will facilitate my way into the heart of Colonel Steve Austin and after this, I will break him. I will carry out my mission successfully as I always have done in the past and after this, I will disappear like a ghost in the night. I will not make them search long for the body of the Colonel Steve Austin. I will leave it where they can find it easily, as soon as I am out of their country of course. I will deposit my royalties from KGB into my bank account just like I have done always in the past and then perhaps, a vacation. Yes, I think a long vacation is in order. But that is looking ahead of the matter. First I have a plane to catch tomorrow. A plane that is destined for America in Washington. There, I will meet with the head of OSI, Oscar Goldman and with the great Colonel Steve Austin and then, I will set my plan in motion.
Entry of the Diary: Day 2
My flight arrived five o’clock p.m. American time. Head of OSI, Oscar Goldman is there waiting for me in Airport Dulles with a limousine car. He went to me and stretched out his hand to me.
“Akhanatova,” I have told him with a smile. I have accepted his hand in greeting and have given it a firm shake. Americans like a firm handshake I am told.
“I’m sorry. Madam Akhanatova.”
“It’s Ms. And please, call me Anna.”
“Thank you, Anna.”
Americans, they are so very polite. They make me laugh. His eyes try not to see me as a woman but I can feel them on me. I have seen this look before in the eyes of many men and I know what it means. Men are so easily influenced by outside appearance and I laugh to myself because it is a game to me. He wants me but he is afraid to tell me this. The laughter leaves me because I know he wants me and I know he will never have me.
“How was your flight?” He has a warm smile but his eyes, they are alert always.
“Long and boring.”
He chuckles out of politeness, not out of humour. He takes me over to the limousine car and sees me in.
He is a handsome man. Very tall and, dis-tin-guish, I think is the word? He has dark piercing eyes and I like him right away but I am immediately put on my guard against him. I know his kind very well. He is the type of man who will appear to be very charming and very disarming and all the while, he is reading me. Watching me like the hawk and listening to my every word. I have destroyed many men such as he, men much more powerful than he and I will destroy him as well. He plays a game with me. He thinks still that he will observe me and listen to me and then he will catch me in his trap. He may be older than I but he is not so wise as I. I have played this game many times before and I am an expert at it. He does not realize even now that I have already set for him a trap even before I have arrived in America and that he has already stepped into my trap the second he let me set foot on American soil. I like this man, this Oscar Goldman, but he is no match for me. He is no more than a pawn to me. A pawn which I will use to get to the one I really want: the Colonel Steve Austin.
He takes me to a hotel of luxury. I have been told Americans are cheap so I am impressed by this.
“I like my living arrangements very much.”
“I’m glad to hear it. We spared no expense in making you comfortable.”
He escorts me through my quarters and tells me to make myself at home.
“Tell me Mr. Goldman, do you treat all KGB agents so well?” I can not help but to tease him.
“Only the good ones.”
I laugh because this time his laughter is genuine and not compulsory.
“I was told the Colonel Steve Austin would be here to greet me as well?”
“I’m afraid his previous assignment lasted longer than we expected but he’ll be flying in late tonight. You’ll get a chance to meet him first thing in the morning.”
“I shall look forward to meeting the Colonel.”
“And I’m sure he’s looking forward to meeting you too, Anna.”
He walks over to the door, indicating that it is time for his departure. “This is my number at the OSI. Call me if you need anything, day or night.”
“Thank you, Mr. Goldman. I will.”
There is a slight hesitation as he opens my door and stands there and I know he wants more, but protocol dictates he remain a gentleman in my presence.
He sighs and tells me goodnight and I lock the door behind him.
He is a kind man. It almost breaks my heart to have to destroy him. Almost.
I enter my bedroom, the master bedroom, Oscar Goldman has called it, and I pick up a black, leather attaché case and prop it up on my bed. I open it and retrieve surveillance and detection equipment. It does not take me long to find the bugs that my “good friends” from OSI have planted in my living quarters and I laugh silently to myself at their incompetence. I leave the bugs in place and put my equipment away as I ready myself for bed.
My last thought before I close my eyes is of the Colonel Steve Austin, and how I will take him down.
Entry of the Diary: Day 3
The limousine car arrives promptly to my residence at six o’clock a.m. and escorts me to OSI Headquarters. I am taken up to Oscar Goldman’s office and he greets me with a warm smile.
“Good morning Anna. Please come in.”
“Mr. Goldman, Dobroe utro.” He looks at me in confusion.
“It simply means “good morning,” I say to him.
“Do-broe u-tro.” I enunciate each syllable for him.
“That’s it. Soon you will speak in Russian as well as I.”
“Not a chance.” He laughs and takes me over and presents me to his secretary. The name plate before her reads “Peggy Callahan” and she eyes me suspiciously. This is a strange American tradition to have KGB Agents presented to secretaries of great men. I find it unusual but not at all unpleasant. Peggy Callahan does not trust me, not because I am KGB but because I am a woman. This makes me laugh but it also makes me sad.
“Callahan, this is Anna…Akna…Ahkan……No, don’t tell me, I’ll get it.” Mr. Goldman raises his hand to silence my offer of help and I smile at him as he struggles with my name.
The help does not come from me, but from a voice behind us. We all turn to find the Colonel Steve Austin leaning against the doorway of what I must assume is Mr. Goldman’s private office. I have seen many pictures of the Colonel Steve Austin, the black and white grainy variety and they have not done this man any justice. He is a very handsome man and my eyes find him very pleasing to look at. He is tall, not so tall as Mr. Goldman but tall nevertheless. He has brown hair, blue eyes and he possesses the body of an athlete. He pushes away from the door frame and comes to me with a smile. He stretches his hand out to me and I accept it in mine, giving it a firm shake and I purposely hold on to it a little too long as I look up at him.
“It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Colonel Austin.”
“The pleasure’s all mine, Ms. Akhanatova.”
Neither of us has released the other’s hand yet and Mr. Goldman informs Peggy Callahan that we are not to be disturbed.
She defers to him and he closes the door of his office behind us.
“Thanks Oscar. How was your flight Ms. Akhanatova?”
“You have mastered my name quite beautifully Colonel Austin. I must commend you.” My humour is not lost on him and I see a smile in his blue eyes.
“Well if you and I are going to be partners, I figure the least I can do is learn how to pronounce your name right.”
He looks over at Mr. Goldman who clears his throat loudly and hands us coffee as he quickly moves behind his desk.
My eyes meet Colonel Austin’s as we take the chairs in front of Mr. Goldman’s desk and we both bite back laughter.
“My flight was quite long and quite boring.”
“It gets that way after a while.”
“Only if you are a passenger. It must be more exciting to actually fly an aeroplane yourself, no?”
“Perhaps you will show me someday?”
“I’d love to.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, now wait a minute here. Let’s just stick to the assignment at hand before you two start running off and flying planes together. I want you to look at these documents. Go over them carefully and let me know if you have any questions.”
My flight lessons have been pre-empted as Mr. Goldman hands Colonel Austin and I identical manila folders.
“I have a few things I need to see Rudy about. That’ll give you two some time to read over everything in those folders and decide how you want to proceed. Help yourselves to more coffee.”
“Thank you, Mr. Goldman.”
“My pleasure Ms….Anna.” He leaves and closes the door behind him.
“Maybe we could sit over there?”
The Colonel has suggested a small sofa which seats two. I find his suggestion pleasing and I leave my chair to sit on the small sofa. The Colonel sits beside me and right away, I can feel the heat from his body as he sits in close proximity to me. I find this pleasing as well.
“Rudy? Was he referring to Dr. Rudolph Wells?”
“Yes he was.”
“He is here?”
“Yes, his lab is downstairs.”
“Da. Yes. I did not realize they worked in such close proximity to each other.”
“Well, they work on a lot of the same projects together and Oscar is the one funding Rudy’s research so it’s more practical to have their offices in the same building.”
“Yes. Practical. Dr. Wells…..do you think I can meet him some time?”
“Rudy? Sure. I guess so. How come?”
“I have always been fascinated with Dr. Wells’ work. He is a genius.”
The Colonel finds this humourous and I like the sound of his laughter.
“I’ll be sure to tell him you think so.”
I find that the Colonel has the most endearing wink.
“I shall tell him myself Colonel, when you introduce us.”
He looks at me with a smile. His eyebrow raises up as he stares at me, just the left one, and I am compelled to reach up and run my fingertip across it. He does not pull away from my touch and this pleases me. His eyes are captivating and the palest shade of blue I have ever seen. My fingertip lingers at the end of his eyebrow, just resting there and he does not remove my hand and neither do I. The look in his eyes, I have seen many times before. It is a predatory look, a look of hunger and lust but he makes no move to take me. I have never witnessed such self control before. It is obvious he wants me, but he will do nothing about it until I tell him it is alright to do so. He is an honorable man and it makes me sad to have to do away with him. There are not enough honorable men in the world. I remove my hand from his face and open my folder. His eyes have not left me and still I can feel the heat of his gaze upon me.
I remove a photograph from my folder and hold it up. “Ahh….La Maison de Lumière. Have you ever been there?”
His silence causes me to turn and look at him and I find he is still staring at me with the same question in his eyes. He wants my answer right away but he shall not have it. Not yet. “They say it is impossible to breech. How will we get inside?”
I lay down the photograph of La Maison de Lumiere in his lap and finally, he drags his gaze away from me and looks down at the photograph.
“No, I’ve never been there. But we’re working on breaking their code and once we do, that’ll give us access to the building.”
“And we just walk right in?”
“That place is like Fort Knox, you can’t get in without a code. The security system is too elaborate. One wrong move and we could trip any one of the dozen alarms they have installed there.”
“But we will be recognized, no?”
“Not if we go in at night when everything is closed down. From 1:00a.m. to 1:05a.m. the alarms are turned off in order to recharge the surge protector.”
“How do you know this?”
Again, his smile. “Let’s just say we paid a pretty penny to get that information.”
“Then we have only five minutes to get inside?”
“That should be plenty of time.”
“Now look, if you’re not up to this….”
“Of course I am…..up to this…..as you say. I just did not realize we would be working with such a small window of opportunity. And still, we must breech the sub level in order for me to have access to their computers and re-route them.”
“You let me worry about that.”
This time, it is my turn to smile. “You will use your bionics?”
I have shocked him with my knowledge of this.
“How did you know about that?”
“We too have paid a pretty penny for our information, Colonel Austin.”
I can see that I have made him uncomfortable. “I apologize, Colonel Austin. I should not have spoken of this.”
“No, it’s alright. I guess its better that you do know. It’ll make my job a lot easier once we get there.” He leaves me and pours himself another cup of coffee.
“May I have more please?” I rise and take my cup over to him. He refills my cup as he gazes down at me and I laugh as he overfills my cup, spilling coffee to the floor.
He grabs napkins and wipes up the spilled coffee.
“Oscar will have a cow when he sees this coffee stain on his carpet.”
“Oh. Does it make you uncomfortable, Colonel?”
“Do you ever regret it?”
“Look, I’d rather not talk about it if you don’t mind.” His voice to me is harsh and his eyes are angry.
“I’m sorry. I did not mean to pry.” I take my seat on the small sofa and pick up my manila folder.
He takes a deep breath and sits beside me and stares straight ahead. “I’m sorry, Ms. Akhanatova. It’s just that, I’m not used to talking about it to anyone except Oscar and Rudy.”
“I understand. Please forgive me.”
“It’s not your fault. I shouldn’t have snapped at you that way. I’m sorry.”
“Oh. Then I will forgive you.”
He looks at me and we laugh together. I like the sound of our laughter together. I shall treasure it always, long after I have done away with him.
“Now, where were we?” he asks. And he picks up his manila folder and we begin to study the details of our mission together.
Entry of the Diary: Day 4
I awake to the singing of birds outside my window. Sparrows maybe? I look over at a time clock which sits on a table beside my bed. The time reads 5:34am. I arise and shower and put on fresh clothing. I take the latchkey and lock the door as I let myself out of my quarters and walk through the hall to the cargo lift. I enter the cargo lift and it takes me downstairs to the servant's entrance. The park is four streets away from my hotel and I walk inside the park and purchase shelled nuts from a merchant. I walk over to the reservoir and sit on a bench. It does not take the many geese that are housed there long to realize that I have treats for them and they swim over to me as I began to feed them.
“Well? How did your first day go?”
The voice is from my contact, Sergey who has walked up behind me with the newspaper in his hands. He walks around and stands some distance from me, giving the impression that he is absorbed in his newspaper instead of questioning me for information. Sergey is an excellent Agent and very good at his work. He has been in America for years, working first in CIA and then in OSI. No one has ever suspected he is an undercover KGB Agent. He uses a different name in America, one that I shall not reveal here.
“I have come into contact with the Colonel Steve Austin.”
“We have gone over the plans to infiltrate La Maison de Lumiere.”
“And no one suspects you?”
I laugh at this. “Certainly they suspect me, Sergey. I am Russian after all, no? They have my living quarters bugged and they have an Agent, Russ, who follows me constantly.”
Sergey looks around nervously. “Did he follow you here?”
“No. I have slipped out through the cargo lift and out of the servant’s entrance. As far as he knows, I am still in my quarters.”
“Good. And what about Colonel Austin?”
“I will have no problem disposing of him. I am to meet with him at fifteen hundred hours this afternoon and we will finalize our plans. After that, Oscar Goldman will see to our flight into London that we may proceed with our plans.”
“How are you going to eliminate our friend?”
“The Luger you have given to me. I still have it. After the Colonel Austin and I have re-routed the computer in La Maison de Lumiere, we will fly back to Washington. I shall tell the Colonel that I would like to celebrate the success of our mission. I shall have him to pick me up and take me to the docks that you told me of. You were right, Sergey. It is very quiet and very dark down by the docks and it is the perfect place for an assassination. I have visited these docks and I know just where I will conceal the Colonel’s body. After that, I shall meet with Oscar Goldman and dispose of him as well.”
“Good. I’ll inform our friends in Moscow that everything is proceeding according to plan. I’ll also have them take care of this Agent, Russ.”
“No Sergey. This Agent, Russ, he is not to be harmed. If anything should happen to him, OSI will know that I have discovered him and they will start observing me even more closely than they already are. They will stop at nothing to bring me down if anything should happen to this agent, Russ. But there is one thing that I do want.”
“Oh? And what is that? Not that you’re in any position to do any bargaining.”
I smile at this remark but I do not reveal to my compatriot that I am very much in a position to bargain with KGB. He however, does not need to realize this.
“I want the doctor. Rudolph Wells. I want him brought to Moscow that he might work for us.”
“What? Are you insane? He’ll never work for us once he learns we have killed his friends.”
“You just get him to Moscow my friend, I will handle him from there.”
He looks at me and smiles appreciatively. “As you wish my love.”
I stand and start to walk away but he reaches out and takes my arm in his hand.
“I’ve missed you Minoushka.”
“Don’t Sergey. Please let me pass.” I am unable to look into his eyes. I have hurt him deeply in the past and my penance for this is the guilt that I carry around daily in my heart and mind. Sergey is in love with me. I know this to be true, but my heart will not allow me to love him in return. I have found and accepted that my heart is incapable of love. It is the one thing that I regret about myself but it is also the one thing that makes me so very good at my work. He releases me and I depart from his presence without ever looking back.
I stretch my back and roll my head on my neck, trying to work out the stiffness that has settled there. I look across Mr. Goldman’s office at the Colonel Austin to find him staring at me.
“You have been watching me, Colonel Austin.”
“I’m sorry. Does it bother you?”
I give this some thought and I answer him honestly. “No. I like it that you have been watching me.”
“You’re a very beautiful woman Ms. Akhanatova.”
I smile at him. “And you are a very handsome man Colonel Austin.”
“Call me Steve.”
“Then you must call me Anna. What time is it?”
He looks at his wrist watch. “After ten.”
“Ìîé Áîã! I did not realize it was so late. We have been at this for hours.”
“Are you tired?”
I think about it for a moment. “No. But I am hungry.”
He smiles at me and walks over to the telephone. His smile does something to my insides that I am not familiar with. It makes me uneasy but also, it makes me excited.
“I’ll order us something to eat. What would you like?
“Hmmm….Then you are thinking of making a night of this Colonel?”
“You are thinking of making a night of this, Steve?”
“If you have no objections. I thought we’d work straight through the night. I can’t think of a better way to spend the night than in the company of a beautiful woman.”
“Not flattery. Just honesty.”
“Thank you. In that case, I would like the……spaghetti and meatball.”
The Colonel laughs at this suggestion but he places a call and orders spaghetti and meatball for our dining pleasure.
He hangs up the telephone and comes over and sits beside me. My eyes never tire of looking at this man. I am not used to this.
“Fifteen minutes? For what?” I say to him
“Before dinner arrives.”
Our eyes meet and we sit and stare at each other. I raise my hand and touch my fingers to his face. He is in need of a shave. I think Americans, they call it five o’clock shadow, no? Somehow it is very becoming on this man and it makes him appear even more attractive to me than he already is. Slowly, I move my fingers over to his lips. His eyes close and he kisses the tips of my fingers. My heart pounds and I cannot breathe and this frightens me. I remove my fingers from his lips and stand and walk away from him. He comes up behind me and places his hands on my shoulders. Neither one of us speaks, but he pulls me back against him and breathes deeply as he places a kiss on my hair. His mouth moves from my hair to my neck and my eyes drift close of their own volition as I feel his mouth on my neck. It is all too much for me and I know I must stop this but I do not know how. Never have I experienced the kind of feelings that I am experiencing right now, not even with Sergey. My legs feel weak and I lean heavily against him for support. His arms hold me close and I am grateful for this.
There is a knock at the door and I gasp and pull away from him. Blood rises to my face and guilt overwhelms me. What have I done! How could I have let down my guard so easily! I am a trained operative, skilled in the art of seduction and yet, it is I who has been seduced!
The Colonel returns from the door and places our dinner on Mr. Goldman’s desk. He prepares it as I stand there, dumbfounded.
He walks over to a cabinet which I assumed contained books and he opens it to reveal instead, an assortment of aged liquors and fine wines.
“Now, let’s see what ol’ Oscar has stashed away here.” He takes down a bottle of wine and two glasses and begins to fill them.
“You had better make mine a double,” I inform him from across the room.
He smiles knowingly and fills both of our glasses to the rim.
I approach him cautiously and with great trepidation and he pulls up a chair for me and seats me. He takes the chair across from me and raises his glass.
He looks at me across the desk and I find that his eyes are so deep, I should like to drown in them.
He gazes at me and says, “To partners and lasting friendships.”
I pick up my glass hastily and take a huge gulp of wine, almost choking on it. It is a very old French wine with a fine bouquet but these things are lost on me. All I can think of is removing myself from the Colonel Austin’s presence and completing my mission as quickly as possible. While I still can.
Entry of the Diary: Day 5
I leave the church unfulfilled as I always do and still, I continue to attend regularly in the hopes that some day, my soul will find what it is searching for. Irrespective of the fact which part of the world I am in, or what city or village I am in, I still learn the site of the church and always, I attend on the Sunday morning as usual.
After the service is complete, I depart this place of worship only to be stopped by the priest whose sermon I have just listened to.
He stretched out his hand to me and I accepted it. “Hello. I couldn’t help but notice you. You’re new here?”
“Da. Yes, Father.”
“I’m Father Dyer. Welcome.”
“It is a great honour to meet you Father Dyer. I am called Anna. Anna Akhanatova.”
“It’s a pleasure Anna. Have you been in Washington long?”
“No. Only a few days now.”
“Will you be staying long?”
“No, Father. I am here on business and once my business is complete, I shall be leaving.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. The church can use all the members it can get.”
“I am afraid I would not make a very good member, Father Dyer.”
“Oh? And why is that?”
“My life and my beliefs are contrary to the teachings of God.”
“Are you saying you don’t believe in God, my child?”
“No Father. I do believe in him. But things I have done in the past……and things I must do in the future will not allow him to accept me. I know this to be true Father, and I have accepted it.”
“God accepts everyone Anna. Just open your heart to him and he is there.”
“I am afraid that is the problem, Father Dyer.”
“What is, my child?”
“I have no heart to speak of.”
I turn and walk away from him before he can say anything more on the subject. My destiny has already been determined and I have spent my life preparing for it. I know that I shall not see God in this lifetime…..nor in the next one.
The concierge hands over to me a telegram as I enter the hotel. I unfold the telegram and a smile comes to my lips as I begin to read it:
I’ve been thinking about you all day. I enjoyed spending time with you last night and if you’re free this afternoon, I was wondering if you’d consider having lunch with me. I thought maybe we could go on a picnic together. I know just the spot for us and I know you’re going to like it just as much as I do. Don’t keep me waiting too long.
I fold the telegram and deposit it into my purse as I ride the lift up to the ninth floor where my quarters are located. I remove my latchkey and let myself into my quarters and I walk over to the telephone and call OSI where I know I will be greeted by the answering service there.
“OSI, this is the Operator speaking. May I help you?”
“Yes, this is Anna Akhanatova. I have a message for the Colonel Steve Austin.”
“Oh, Hello Ms. Akhanatova. The Colonel is not in today but you can reach him at home. His number is 727-"
“I have the Colonel's number Operator. I prefer to leave the message with you instead.”
“Oh? Very well, Ms. Akhanatova. What is your message please?”
“Thank you Operator. Please inform the Colonel that I will not be free to meet him for lunch today.”
“Yes ma’am. Will there be anything else?”
“No Operator. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome Ms. Akhanatova.”
I disconnect the extension and remove my shoes as I walk through my quarters. A coward? Perhaps. But if I were to converse with the Colonel independently, I would not be able to tell him no. I would find myself in his company this afternoon and yes, possibly even in his arms, and being in the arms of the Colonel Steve Austin is the last place that I should find myself if I intend to carry out my mission. I have realized now that I can not seduce this man, for he is the one who has seduced me and I must therefore, change my tactics. We leave for our mission in six days and I shall avoid him until then, dealing with him only through Oscar Goldman or the answering service. I shall stay focused on my work and keep my head clear and I will not allow myself to be persuaded from my mission by the image of a man who occupies my mind day and night. I must remain strong and follow through as I have always done in the past. I shall not fail in my mission. In six days, the Colonel Steve Austin will die.
Entry of the Diary: Day 6
Oscar Goldman walks into the cafe and looks around. His eyes make contact with mine and he smiles and approaches the table where I am seated.
“Dobro utro, Anna.”
I am very pleased that he has chosen to remember this greeting and I smile as I say to him, “Dobro utro, Mr. Goldman. Please sit down.”
He takes the seat across from mine and waves a finger at the waitress who hurries over to serve him. The nametag pinned to her uniform reads: Sally, and Mr. Goldman orders coffee, black, from her. We both observe her departure and then he turns and looks at me. I can see by the way he gazes at me that he is hopeful this meeting will not be business related. I regret that I must disappoint him.
“What is this all about Anna? Why have you asked to meet with me this morning?”
“Oscar. I want to thank you for agreeing to see me this morning. I have asked you here for selfish reasons of my own.”
“Oh? And what might those reasons be?”
Our conversation is briefly interrupted while Sally places a cup of black coffee on the table in front of Mr. Goldman. I wait until she is out of hearing range and then I say to him, “Is there any way that you can move the date of the mission up?”
He leans forward on the table and stares at me. “Why would you want to move the date of the mission up, Anna?”
“I have told you sir, Oscar, my reasons are selfish and I can not divulge them at this time.”
Mr. Goldman picks up his cup and sips from it. “I’m afraid that’s impossible Anna. Everything’s been arranged according to certain specifications and to move the date of the mission up or back would jeopardize all the work we’ve done thus far. We have to proceed as scheduled or all of our careful planning will have been for nothing.”
There is a silence between us as I gaze down into my coffee and Mr. Goldman reaches out and places his hand on top of mine.
“Can you talk about it?”
“No, Mr. Goldman. I am sorry.”
“Is there anything else that I can do for you, Anna?”
“No. Thank you, Mr. Goldman.”
He smiles at me and asks, “Why is it so hard for you to call me Oscar?”
I return his smile. “Is it that important to you?”
His blush tells me that it is.
“All right then. I shall call you Oscar. When is our next briefing?”
“Tomorrow morning. 9:00 a.m.”
“It is imperative that I attend this briefing?”
He chuckles but there is no humour in it. “I would think the word “imperative” may be a bit too strong, but it is requested that you attend.”
“Both Colonel Austin and I know our assignments. Unless there is a significant change in our assignment Oscar, I would rather not attend any more briefings on the matter. I would prefer to meet with you confidentially from this moment on if you need to update me further on this assignment.”
“Is there anything personal you’d like to tell me Anna?”
“Yes. Off the record.”
“No, Oscar. Everything I have discussed with you here today is in reference to business, including my desire to meet with you confidentially from now on.”
This does not sit well with him. Mr. Goldman is not a man who likes to be dictated to and this change of plans I have brought forth to him does not please him, nor does my implication that my dealings with him are to be professional only.
His eyes narrow and his jaw clenches. “Does this have something to do with your so called selfish reasons as well?”
“Not something, Oscar. Everything.”
He considers this for a moment and then he says, “All right Anna. We’ll do things your way, for now. But if I do send for you, know that it is imperative and that I expect to see you in my office when you are summoned.”
“If you send for me Oscar, I will be there, but not until then.”
Suddenly, he has lost his taste for the coffee and for my company as well, I suspect. He stands and excuses himself, placing money on the table to pay for his coffee and for my breakfast.
“Thank you, but that is not necessary Oscar.”
“Consider it one of the perks of working for OSI. Good morning Anna.”
I observe him as he turns and leaves the cafe. He is frustrated because still, his feelings for me are strong and yet, he does not understand me. Men do not like complicated women regardless of how attractive they find them. I stand and leave the cafe. I take my time returning to my quarters, walking slowly through the streets of Washington and when I finally arrive at my quarters, another telegram awaits me from the Colonel Austin.
He wishes to meet me for lunch again this day and again, I call the answering service and have them inform the Colonel that I am not available. I am hopeful that Oscar will not summon me to his office before we leave for our mission in five days.Only five days more. Certainly I can avoid the Colonel for five days. After that, I shall be on an aeroplane to a destination I have not yet determined.
The telephone rings as it has been ringing all day and once again, I disregard it. I stretch and reach for the large glass of red wine I have allowed myself to partake of. For the last two hours, I have been re-reading over the details of the mission again and I am wondering when the meal I have ordered will finally arrive. The doorbell rings and as if in league with the delivery man, my stomach growls. I carry my glass of wine over to the door and unlock and open it.
“Colonel! Steve! What are you doing here?”
“Hello Anna. May I come in?”
“Or is this a bad time?”
“A Bad time? No. I just. I was not……expecting you.”
“Well I thought about calling first but I didn’t know if you’d answer the phone or not, considering I haven’t been able to reach you for the last two days.”
I silently curse the blood which is rushing to my face, informing the Colonel of my deep embarrassment.
“Is there something wrong, Anna?”
The softness of his voice and the tenderness in his eyes are my undoing.
“No Colonel….Steve. There is nothing wrong. Er….come in….please.”
I close the door behind him, take a deep breath, a large drink from my glass and then I turn to face him.
“What are you doing here, Steve?”
“Well I was hoping to get some information from you Anna.”
“Oh? What kind of information?”
“I was hoping you’d tell me why you’ve been avoiding me these last two days.”
“Avoiding you? I don’t know what you mean.”
I walk away and keep my back to him.
He walks up behind me. He stands close to me but he does not touch me.
“We both know that that’s not true Anna. Now if something’s wrong, I think we should work it out now, before we go out on this mission in five days.”
“There is nothing to work out Steve. Please, you must believe this.”
“Then why haven’t you answered my calls or the telegrams I sent you?”
“I did answer them Steve. I left word with the answering service.”
He takes my arm in his hand and turns me to face him, but I do not look at him. I cannot look at him.
“Why are you doing this Anna?”
“Doing what Steve?”
“Pretending you don’t care when I know you do.”
“You are wrong Steve.”
“Then make me believe that. Tell me what I saw in your eyes when you looked at me the other day was a lie. Tell me what I felt in your touch was just my imagination.”
I try to walk away from him but he holds me firmly.
“Don’t do this Steve. Please.”
He pulls me closer to him. I refuse to look up into his eyes. My heart is pounding and suddenly my mouth is very dry and I cannot swallow. What is happening to me? Why is it so hard for me to breathe? Why do my legs no longer wish to support me? My mind and my body have always been such a well tuned machine, working in perfect conjunction with each other and now, they fight against each other, leaving me in a state of total chaos. With my mind, I can reason. I can see clearly the dangers and consequences of becoming involved with the Colonel Steve Austin. But with my body, there is no reasoning, no magical words I can use to keep it from crying out for this man. I have been well trained in the art of mind over matter and I have prided myself always on my mastery of it but at this moment, there is no mind to speak of, no matter to master. There is only Steve and my body wants him, desperately. So while my mind tells me no, do not do this thing, my body cries yes! I shall have him! And when Steve leans in close and places a soft kiss to my lips, I am lost and my mind is silenced as my body becomes the master of my emotions. The door bell rings. No doubt it is the delivery man with the meal I have ordered but I disregard him as I take Steve’s hand and lead him into my bedroom. Right now, I have another kind of hunger I must satisfy.
Entry of the Diary: Finale
I often think back on my mission with the Colonel Steve Austin. I remember it not for its success but for the impact it had on me as an agent and as a woman. Observing the Colonel in action is something special and truly a sight to behold. His bionics are remarkable and must be considered one of medical science’s greatest achievements. To have witnessed the Colonel in action at La Mason de Lumiere was indeed a great pleasure and still, my heart pounds whenever I think of it. The Colonel was flawless as he accessed the sub level, that I might re-route the computer system of the complex and then to watch him take on and defeat the armed security guards posted on duty was exhilarating. An ally of ours, Dr. Hanson has created for us many robots which we employ in our line of work but they are nothing more than inferior prototypes when compared with the Colonel Austin. Dr. Rudolph Wells is a genius among men and sadly, my dream to have him come over to us has never come to fruition. I often wonder what other great accomplishments this gifted man has mastered.
Steve and I left London immediately after the success of our mission and when we arrived at the Airport Dulles, Oscar Goldman was there awaiting us. We briefed him on the details of the mission and subsequently, he insisted that we return to our residences for some much needed rest. Steve was in full agreement with this, but as per my earlier instructions, I asked Steve if we could go out and celebrate instead. He readily agreed to this and he came for me at my quarters two hours later. I knew that this would be my final meeting with Steve and I took every advantage of it, taking him into my bedroom and enjoying his body one last time before carrying out my final assignment. We went to dinner and afterwards, I asked Steve if we could take a walk down by the docks. The hour was late and the docks were dark and deserted. Steve took my hand in his and we walked slowly along the docks, talking and enjoying each other’s company. I stopped him along the railing, at a spot of my choosing on a previous visit and we turned and looked out at the dark water splashing softly among the pilings. Steve looked off into the distance and I removed the Luger from my hand bag as he turned away from me. I lifted the Luger, placing the barrel of the gun just inches away from his head. I realized that I was not breathing and that my heart was pounding as my hand began to tremble uncontrollably. I moaned in agony as I quickly tossed the Luger into the dark water and Steve turned and looked at me just as my eyes rolled back in my head and my legs gave out beneath me. He caught me in his arms before I hit the ground.
I awoke in a stark white room and realized I had been hospitalized. I turned my head and Steve was sitting next to my bed observing me intensely as he caressed my hand. He smiled at me and breathed a heavy sigh of relief over my recovery.
“What happened? Why am I here?”
This confuses me. I am a strong person and have never given in to bouts of fainting spells before.
“I do not understand.”
“Doc says you’ve been overwrought lately. He wants you to take it easy and spend the next few days in bed resting.”
The events on the docks rushed back to my mind and guilt consumed me as I felt the blood rushing to my face. My only response to this information was to nod as I did not trust my voice. I could not look at him. I almost killed him. Almost killed this wonderful man who has offered me only kindness and friendship. What kind of monster must I be to have done this thing? The voice inside my head answers this question for me: Not a monster….a Ghost….
I realize suddenly that I have failed in my mission and I have let down my comrades. My name, a name to be feared and respected will now be looked upon in disgrace. This once fearless hunter will now become the hunted as no doubt, KGB will have to exact its own measure of revenge against me for having failed them. Yes, they will come for me, maybe not today or tomorrow, but they will come and I will be awaiting them. I will use against them all that they have taught me and when it is time for me to strike out against them, I will show them no mercy.
“How you feeling? Up to something to eat?”
“No. Thank you, Steve. I am very tired. I wish only to rest right now.”
Again, his smile and he squeezed my hand as he leaned over and placed his lips to mine.
“Get some rest. I’m gonna go grab a shower and a fresh change of clothes and I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
He gazed down at me and then he turned to leave, stopping briefly at the door to look at me once more before he departs. Quickly I rise from the bed and dress, slipping easily down the corridors of the hospital and out an exit door, disappearing softly into the night before anyone realizes I am gone.
I open the door and walk out onto my back porch. My home is up in the hills, not too isolated, just enough to afford me the privacy I yearn for. There are times when I look back on the life I have led. I have often wondered about the people I have met and the people whose lives I have touched both for better and for worse. I think of Steve every day and wonder how he is. I wonder if he thinks of me, if he misses me as much as I miss him or if he has moved on with his life. Leaving him is the only thing in my life that I truly regret and still, were it not for the life I have led, I would have stayed and tried to make a new life with Steve. He is a good man, an honorable man and I am proud to have known him.
I look across the yard and laugh as my two year old son, Nikolai pursues a small puppy around the yard, giggling and stumbling about in his exuberance. He is a beautiful boy, brown hair and blue eyes, like his father. He is the spitting image of his father and it warms my heart to look at him every day and see Steve in his image.
It is my dearest wish that someday, I shall be able to tell Steve about his son and that they should come together and get to know and love each other as a father and son should, but alas, I know that this can never be. It is with great regret that I sigh and thank God for having placed Steve in my life for even this brief period of time. For he has given to me a life of peace, a beautiful son, and the greatest gift one person can bestow upon another, he has given me the gift of love and I am told that a Ghost does not have the capacity to love. If this is true, then I no longer have to fear what I might see when I look into the mirror. Thanks to the Colonel Steve Austin, I can now open my heart and allow myself to love and to be loved and I can now consider myself a woman with compassion and with feelings instead of the heartless phantom that I had become. The Ghost will wreak havoc no more and has gone quietly into the night, never to return again.
To be continued in
The Wolf Is Loose