Three months to the day since Suren’s husband left for work and never returned, she stared at the computer screen in their home office. It was the same day two whitecoats met with their commanding General in order to discuss her husband’s technology. Technology the military acquired by ordering his murder, although he developed it for them. For them.
None of it made any sense to her. None of it made any sense the day Jin didn’t return after work, and it didn’t make any sense three months later. The only explanation of what happened to Jin was on their computer, and it wasn’t much of an explanation at all.
The monitor displayed the computer’s desktop, which contained two folders she positioned in the middle of the screen. One folder was titled “VEIL” and the other, “FEED.” As she did every day since Jin’s disappearance—which became a reality Suren was forced to investigate herself—she opened the folder titled “FEED” and double-clicked the recording she cropped and saved as “11-21.”
The video opened and Suren watched a man step inside the elevator. He was tall, muscular, and white. He had short, dark hair and was dressed in jeans, black tennis shoes, and a black coat. She watched him press the button for the 14th floor, insert a key into the panel, and enter the numbers 0-9-0-3-1-2-0-4—a combination of her and Jin’s birthdays. He then exited when he reached his destination, which appeared to be the 13th floor. Suren observed every frame and soaked in every pixelated detail until the man exited the elevator and the doors closed behind him.
Only once had she played the second recording, which she saved as “JIN.” In it, she saw Jin approach and enter the same elevator, perform the same strange procedure, and exit on what also seemed to be the 13th floor. She checked with the hospital and city records; both indicated there was no 13th floor in that building. She tried to show the recordings to anyone who would look at them, in order to prove not only the existence of the 13th floor but also the apparent murder of her husband. No one cared enough to listen. Besides, she must be crazy to believe in some top-secret floor in a widely regarded hospital.
She moved the mouse from the first recording to the third, which she saved as “MURDERER.” The cursor momentarily hovered over the second recording. The images of what was contained in the second video, what she witnessed happen to her Jin, flashed in her memory each time she moved the cursor from the first to the third recording. Each time, the images were as disturbingly clear as the day she first saw them. She didn’t need to see it again. She couldn’t see it again. Her only job was to keep the evidence safe.
She moved the cursor the rest of the way over and double-clicked on the third video. In that recording, she witnessed the white male enter the other elevator from the 13th floor, approximately three hours after Jin was murdered. The initial elevator was shut down while the hospital and police investigated and cleaned up the remains of her husband, which splattered inside when he was shot.
Suren watched the man ride the elevator to the lobby. The bastard who shot her husband rocked back and forth on his feet and appeared careless and unbothered. She watched the doors open at the lobby and saw him walk out of the elevator. Suren watched until she couldn’t see one more pixel of him in the frame. She restarted the recording and watched him enter the elevator again and again and again. She studied his face with the same burning intensity as she did the day before and the day before that and the day before that.
Every night, after she investigated Jin’s death all day and obsessively scrutinized those video clips all evening, Suren chose one of the notebooks that contained the daily morning greetings she and Jin exchanged. Each night, Suren would choose a different notebook. She had several dozen to choose from and to keep her busy. She would read it and memorize every one of Jin’s tender notes, until she eventually fell asleep with the book on her chest.
That night was different.
Three months to the day, Suren had enough.
If she couldn’t get justice, she would settle for vengeance.
Three months after Jin’s life was ripped from him—and from her—Suren Tsay picked up her purse and took out her cellphone.
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