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Out of the Dark (Orphan X, #4) by Gregg Hurwitz Read Online (FREE)

Out of the Dark (Orphan X, #4) by Gregg Hurwitz

Read Out of the Dark (Orphan X, #4) by Gregg Hurwitz full novel online for free here.


Prologue: Perennial Rain

Evan is nineteen, fresh off the plane, trained up, mission-ready. And yet untested.

His first assignment as Orphan X.

He adjusts rapidly to this foreign place, a city with drizzly rain, imperious ministry buildings, and men who kiss on both cheeks.

His backstop is impeccable, endorsed by visas, a well-stamped passport, verifiable previous addresses, and phone numbers that ring to strategically placed responders. Jack, his handler and surrogate father, has built for him a suitably banal operational alias—enterprising young Ontarian, recently separated from his equally young wife, eager to shepherd his family’s home-siding business into territories unknown. He and Jack worked the identity, kneading it like dough, until Evan was aligned with it so thoroughly that he actually felt the sting of his domestic setback and the fire of ambition to expand into this brave new market. Evan has learned not to act but to live his cover. And he does his best to stash away the part of him that does not believe his alias until the point at which he will require it.

He moves frequently around this gray city to prevent degradation of cover. Now and then in the streets, he comes across others his age. They seem like creatures of a different species. They don backpacks and trickle in and out of hostels, drunkenly recounting school tales in foreign tongues. As always, he remains separate—from them and everyone else. The United States has no footprints in this country. There will be no rolling-car meetings, no physical contacts from an embassy. If he fails, he will expire in a cold prison, alone and forgotten, after decades of suffering. That is, if he’s not fortunate enough to be executed.

One night he is meditating on a threadbare blanket in a hotel seemingly as old as the country itself when the mustard yellow rotary phone on the nightstand gives off a piercing ring.

It is Jack. “May I speak to Frederick?” he says.

“There is no one here by that name,” Evan says, and hangs up.

Immediately he fires up his laptop and pirates Internet from the travel agency across the avenue. Logging in to a specified e-mail account, he checks the Drafts folder.

Sure enough, there’s an unsent message.

Two words: “Package waiting.” And an address near the outskirts of the city. Nothing more.

He types beneath: “Is it a weapon?”

Hits SAVE .

A moment later the draft updates: “You’re the weapon. Everything else is an implement.”

Even from across an ocean, Jack casts arcane pearls of wisdom—part koan, part war slogan, all pedagogy.

Evan logs off. Because they communicated within a saved message inside a single account, not a word has been transmitted over the Internet, where it could be detected or captured.

On his way out of the rented room, Evan freezes, hand wrapped around the wobbly doorknob. He has been tasked. Once he goes through that door, it is official. Seven years of training has brought him to this moment. His body is gripped by a comprehensive, bone-crushing fear. He doesn’t want to die. Doesn’t want to crack rocks and eat goulash in some labor camp for the rest of his days. Doesn’t want his last moments to be the pressure of a Tokarev nine-mil at the base of his skull and the taste of copper. The perennial rain streaks the window, a tap-tap-tapping on his nerves. He’s sweated through his shirt, and yet the tinny doorknob remains cool beneath his palm.