Chapter no 93

Quantum Radio

Still face down, his head turned to the side, Kato watched as his counterpart rose off of him. The man stared down at Kato, hate in his eyes, and a grin forming on his lips.

With each passing second, feeling was returning to Kato’s body, as if the blow had sent a shock down his spinal cord that was fading.

The man studied Kato’s face, and his eyes went wide. Without the wig, he could see that Kato was a near mirror image of him. He swallowed, and the smile vanished. “What are you?”

The door that led to Nora’s adjoining room swung open, and Ty stepped in. He glanced at Kato, who was struggling to get up off the bed, then at his counterpart. The man reached for the sidearm at his hip.

Ty did something that surprised Kato: he jumped at the Sicherheitsdienst officer, colliding just as the man’s fingers touched the gun. The man having one hand preoccupied with reaching for the gun gave Ty just enough advantage to overpower him. They collapsed onto the wood floor with a loud crash, but that was the end of Ty’s assault.

Kato’s counterpart moved his hand off the gun, giving up on drawing it. He rolled easily on top of Ty and was raising a fist to strike when Kato sprung from the bed. Seeing his teammate—and friend—about to be pulverized had unlocked a deep reservoir of strength.

He took his counterpart from the side, wrapping an arm around his neck, his legs clamping around the man’s abdomen, his other arm holding his counterpart’s left arm. On the floor, he held tight, like a crab trying to squeeze the life out of its prey.

The man writhed and choked, but Kato held on. His counterpart punched behind him with his free hand, the blows landing on Kato’s side. The first two hurt. The third almost made him lose his grip. The fourth shook him loose, but Kato held on, feeling his grip slipping away.

The man was strong.

From a seated position, his counterpart leaned forward and arced backward, trying to bash Kato’s head into the hardwood floor.

Kato leaned his head forward to avoid the impact and tightened his arm around the man’s neck, bringing a gurgling sound from him.

His counterpart drew his arm up to do another backward punch, but Ty caught the man’s arm and pinned it to his chest, above where Kato’s legs were wrapped around him. Ty leaned in, putting both his hands on the arm and applying all his weight. It was enough to stop him—even Kato’s counterpart couldn’t push through the force.

Kato squeezed harder on his neck, tightened his legs, and held the man’s other arm.

He was weakening.

His breathing was ragged.

Kato heard footsteps at the door that led to Nora’s room. He looked over to see Maria and Nora in the doorway, staring, aghast.

Kato held tight, feeling the life flowing out of his counterpart. It was sickening—the act and the feeling. But he held on. He had no choice.

Ty was panting hard, still holding the man’s arm. He looked up at Kato, silently asking, Are we really going to do this?

Kato gritted his teeth and squeezed tighter, until his counterpart wasn’t moving anymore. When he released his lifeless body, Kato felt an emptiness he had never known. Sitting on the floor, with the man that was him in another life lying in his lap, he sensed a dark feeling flowing into him. It wasn’t fully remorse. Or rage. Or fear. It was a cloud of something new, an utterly disorienting, oppressive sense of darkness.

The room was quiet. Everyone was still. Then, a knock at the door broke the silence.

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