The Bone Bridge- Chapter 14
(My internet connection has been wonky all day and I could barely get into my template here on blogger much less access email, comments or anything else. So I'm just going to post Chapter 14 right here while I can and hope that I can later get into the template for the Bone Bridge's dedicated blog to post it there. As always, comments, complaints, suggestions, whatever, are always welcome and appreciated. Since there was about a four and a half month layoff between the last chapter and this one, you might want to reread Chapter 13 at the other blog in order to get back up to speed.)
“OK, Adam, same rules apply. This better not wind up on your Facebook page. No one would believe you, anyway.”
“Sis, gimme some credit, OK?”
“Anyway, I’m fresh out of training and I get assigned to just my second case. You ever hear about Soviet experiments in the paranormal?”
“Sure. I watched every documentary about the paranormal that I could find the first time I got out of the hospital.”
“OK. So my second assignment involves safeguarding this Russian who was seeking asylum. She was a very highly-prized asset of the Soviets and their psychotronics division…”
“You’ll find out soon enough. Don’t interrupt.”
“So she comes here ostensibly attached to a Russian delegation for a chess match taking place in New York City. But they’re not there for chess. Somehow, she slips her handlers and reaches the State Department requesting asylum. Pretty soon, Justice gets involved then, finally, the CIA.
“Now, the CIA’s position on paranormal research isn’t just an official one. They really underestimate the advances that were made by the Soviets in that field. So they handed it off to us. That’s what we do.”
“Wait a minute. You’ve only been working for the government for a few years. Didn’t the USSR, like, collapse about 20 years ago?”
“Yes but that doesn’t mean the Russians didn’t continue their research in these parascientific disciplines. It continued straight through during Gorbachev, then Yeltsin all the way down to Putin. And this woman was part of the proof why. They weren’t about to throw away all those results and discoveries when they could still be used to tip the balance of world power.
“So this woman, whose first name was Galina, approached us, asking for political asylum. She’s all freaked out about some project the Russians were working on, something having to do with remote assassinations.”
“Remote assassinations? You mean like snipers?”
“Well, no, not exactly. This woman, and our agency tested her, had the ability to affect organic matter from a great distance. All she needed was a picture and little else and by using remote viewing, she was able to home in on that person no matter where on the planet they were.
“Then she would go to work on them. We still don’t completely understand how she was able to do it or what she used to key on these people. Even she didn’t pretend to understand it. All she knew was that she could do it and how to do it. Back when she was a teenager, they placed a frog in front of her. It was tied down so it couldn’t move. They had an EKG hooked up to it so they could monitor its heartbeat. Without touching it, she concentrated on it and was able to actually slow down or speed up its heart rate. Eventually, she stopped the frog’s heart entirely. We actually saw the file footage after the Soviet Union fell and read copies of the notes that were taken.
“So she was trained to do this to people at greater and greater distances until finally they honed and somehow amplified her abilities to the point where she could actually kill someone from thousands of miles away. It required a hell of a lot of effort. It would take her hours just to track the person down. The further away they were, the more time and effort it took. Then, when she got a lock on them, she would have to rest for about half a day.”
“Suppose the person started moving again while she was resting?”
“Didn’t matter. She had a lock on them, just like a laser-guided missile locks on a moving target. She just developed some connection to them that only she could break. Anyway, she’d done a couple of remote assassinations for the Russians until she realized she couldn’t do it anymore. That was the reason they attached her to that Russian delegation. They wanted to get her in the head of the Russian dissident who was the reigning world chess champion. Remember Vasiliy Tochilkin, the Russian expatriot?”
“Uh, sounds familiar.”
“He was the guy they wanted to lose. If she killed him by bursting a blood vessel, so much the better. For political reasons, they didn’t want him beating the Russian champion. But she slipped away before the first match.”
“So we vetted her, tested her, took down all the information she knew about the Russians’ psychtronic research. She was the real deal, Adam. We brought in federal prisoners and had her tested on them and she could do to them everything she claimed she could.”
“You used human guinea pigs??”
“Adam, they were violent prisoners with no chance of rehabilitation. This was their one shot to do something positive for society.”
“Did she kill any of them?”
“No. That would’ve defeated the purpose of her defecting. But she fucked up their heart beats something fierce. Some of the inmates were complaining of PVCs or irregular heart rates months after the experiments.”
“So where do you come in?”
“My job… My job was to guard her physically, and to look for signs that someone else with her abilities couldn’t reach her psychically. As far as Galina and our agency knew, there was no one who came close to having her abilities. Still, we kept a close eye on her. Or we thought she did.”
Elle sighed and looked down at her interlocked fingers.
“Someone did reach her. On my watch. Just because she was a prized asset in their psychic research and development program doesn’t mean she was privy to classified information involving other subjects any more than a lab rat knows what’s going on in the next cage. They had someone who was at least as deadly as she was.
“She…collapsed one day while we were testing her in what we thought was a safe lab. Galina was dead before she fell out of the chair. The autopsy revealed that her heart literally exploded or came undone. The ME said he’d never seen anything like it before. She died right in front of me, Adam.
“To Oliver’s credit, he didn’t blame me. He couldn’t. After all, I’m what the adepts at the agency call a gentile. How ironic is that?”
“That’s what they call those of us who don’t have paranormal abilities like telekinesis, psychic, or psychotronic powers.
“So, that was how my second assignment ended up. She’s still the only one I ever lost and while I don’t blame myself for Galina’s death, there’s still this… stubborn sense of responsibility that I can’t shake, as if I should’ve or could’ve done more.”
“Sis, you couldn’t do more.”
“I know that, Adam. But that woman died literally on my watch. It was all so… sudden.”
“So she was killed by another remote assassin?”
“Well, that’s what we thought at first. But then when we reviewed the security tape we realized that things weren’t adding up. First, when a subject is the victim of a remote assassination, there are warning signs. It doesn’t happen all at once. The subject will complain of headaches, being distracted, chest pains, whatever. With Galina, there was none of that. But she didn’t have a simple heart attack. Her heart literally exploded from inside. That just doesn’t happen in real life, Adam.”
“What did kill her?”
“We still don’t know. But she managed to get out one word: Jodl.”
“After some research, we realized that there was a Nazi doctor named Heinrich Jodl who did experiments in vivisectioning during WW II.”
“Wait a minute. Isn’t that like carving up people while they’re still alive?”
“Exactly. But Jodl committed suicide when the Russians liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945.”
“Well, here’s the kicker. A guy we’ve been tracking for about two years now, some East German prick named Hans Dietrich, former secret policemen, went to Buchenwald a few years ago on a ghost safari, paid for by the unified German government. There’d been reports that Jodl was still haunting the place and actually hurting tourists. After Dietrich did his thing, there were no more Jodl sightings. That was the year before Galina defected.”
“So you thing this Yodel guy did this to the Russian chick?”
“Can’t tell you. How can you prove something like that? But if that is the case, it’s pretty frightening on a couple of levels.”
“Yeah. It means you have an East German Commie who’s using ghosts to kill people for whatever Commies may be left in Russia.”
“Exactly. And that’s why we’re so interested in what happened at the Ritz Carlton in Boston on Halloween night. Several of the victims died the same way Galina did.”