Hacker – Chapter Thirty-One


Chapter Thirty-One

Sunday: March 25, 2029

Bo typed in the passcode for the alarm and tapped a key on the side to finalize the setup. “Everything… should be done,” he said quietly, turning around to face Calvin Smythe. Once upon a time, Calvin had kidnapped Kathy with the intention to kill her. He’d led Dallas and Jamal on a wild goose chase before simply leaving the detective in a cabin in Mexico.

And now Bo was standing in his house, installing a security system to make sure no one would break in and kill him.

Funny how the world turns, Bo thought dryly.

Calvin cocked his head to the side, his gloved hands wrapped around a coffee mug at his chest. “That’s it?”

“Should be. Now you’ll be able to see video feed of the house on your phone and you’ll get a text anytime someone comes onto your yard or near the house,” Bo said.

“You’re awesome. Thank you.”

“Mm.” Bo cleared his throat. “No problem,” he added with a short nod.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Mister Austen. I’m not that person anymore.”

“I’m not worried about that. I’m more dangerous than you are, Calvin,” Bo said.

Calvin lifted his shoulders. “Very true. Most people are.” He looked down at his coffee. “So… how’s your family?”

“I didn’t really come here to discuss the state of my family, Calvin,” Bo said.

“Oof. Okay.” Calvin chuckled, offering a nod as he lifted his head. “I’m just trying to be polite, Mister Austen. You’re a very intriguing man.” He waved a hand between them. “We’re a lot a like, you and me. We both had terrible childhoods. I’m only interested because I want to know how you turned your life around to where it is now.”

Bo shoved his hand uncomfortably into his pockets. “Do you ever wake up in the morning and find that you’re unable to get out of bed? Do you ever get so trapped inside your own head that you can’t think straight and you forget how to breathe?” he asked. Calvin shook his head. “There’s your problem. Your childhood led to anger issues. Mine let to insecurities and depression. Mine led to a fear and hatred of self. Yours led to a deep, burning anger.”

“Fair enough,” Calvin said quietly.

Bo cleared his throat. “Even now, after you stopped killing and let go of that anger… You still can’t touch people?”

“Oh, God, no.”

“Not even Wayne? He says you’re his closest friend.”

Calvin shook his head. “I still wear gloves around him. He’s great at grabbing my arm all the damn time, though. Burns like a motherfucker and never leaves a single mark,” he explained.

“Have you ever tried a therapist? Psychologist?”

“Nah. See, as a former serial killer, letting some quack into my head seems like a bad idea rather than a brilliant one,” Calvin said.

Bo nodded once. “Right.” He reached back and pulled open the front door. “Well, Calvin, it’s never too late to find the one person who doesn’t burn you with their touch, quack or not.

Calvin snorted, but a soft, thankful smile crossed his face. “Thanks, Austen.”

“Of course.” Bo stepped outside and lifted a hand. “Stay safe, Calvin. Wayne needs you around.”

“I will. Thank you. Again.”

“My pleasure.”

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