​Monsters Under Our Beds

The Hollow Man Series    |     The Hollow Man Series, International Espionage

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An evening rain pounded the black streets of London. Dense fog clung to the air, casting a thin, milky glow that rested above the building gables. Mist hooded the street lamps, leaving a line of gray crop circles along the street below. A lone figure pushed against the wind and the relentless downpour before turning out of sight. Little did the city know that a storm of a different kind was about to descend upon it.

In an inconspicuous apartment on the eastside, a man sat in silence, his cold brown eyes fixed on a set of documents spread under a flickering desk light. Maps, newspaper clippings, and photographs adorned two walls, forming a macabre collage of chaos. But it all made sense to him. He tapped a finger on one document and glanced up to recheck a thought on an image just above the desk.

The phone buzzed over the cadence of the tapping on the windows. It was the call he had been expecting for two weeks. He reached for the receiver without taking his eyes from his work and listened to the message. His face betrayed no emotion.

"Begin the first phase tonight," the voice said.

It was time. He was ready. The months of planning were finally done. He had perfected endless onsite walkthroughs and had tweaked the plan with every potential live breach to expectations. He would not fail.

The man rose from his seat, his lean figure casting a long silhouette against the dimly lit room. As the rain beat down harder, it surprised him that it had been raining at all. When had it started? He had not practiced the scenario in wet weather, but no matter. With less people on the streets, the plan would go smoother.

His military training kicked in as he intently strode toward a steel cabinet in the corner. He dialed the combination to the safe lock. The doors swung open with a hiss. Inside, an array of weapons, explosives and detonators, and rolls of wire gleamed in the soft light. The man selected a Heckler & Koch 9×19mm, 18-round semi auto VP70 from the rack. He checked the ammunition load, pocketed two additional clips and holstered the pistol with practiced ease. Next, he lifted a leather bag from the floor of the cabinet, inspected the prepacked contents, and dropped it by the door.

This was not the first time the man had embarked on such a mission. Blurred deception shrouded his past, disorienting even the few friends he could count. He had honed his skills in the shadows, becoming a master of stealth and manipulation. He had left his mark on cities around the world, always one step ahead of those who sought to catch him.

But tonight was the most critical assignment of his career. The plan he had meticulously crafted was not just about wreaking havoc; it was about sending a message. A message that would strike unimaginable terror into the souls of those who believed they were safe. A message that would expose the vulnerability of a city that thought it had seen it all.

He pulled on a long military coat to conceal the weapon. With one last glance at the room, the man closed the door behind him. A gust of wind yanked the door handle to the street from his hand as he stepped outside. The foul weather soaked his coat, changing the color from dark gray to black. He blended into the night; his presence was now swallowed by darkness. The city slept, oblivious to the storm that was brewing, unaware that a single man was ready to unleash chaos on an unsuspecting world.