I’m back home and this story has been sitting on a back burner for a few months, waiting for some more to be written.
The trouble is, there are also other stories to write, and I’m not very good at prioritising.
But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.
A body and a whole bunch of questions.
A full minute passed, with only one car passing, the rest of the time there was a strange sort of silence.
The man on the ground didn’t move. Whoever shot him had shot to kill. I took the few steps to stand beside him and could see the hole and the bloodstain of the wound. Shot in the heart, instant death.
Usually, if it was a sniper, it was a head shot. Less chance of missing a vital organ and leaving the target alive.
Odd too that it was just before he told me where some ‘evidence’ was located. And who the hell was this Alfred Nobbin?
I heard a car turn into the alley and come towards me. Halfway, it stopped, the engine switched off, and the doors opened.
Two men. Maury, my handler, and Severin, the instructor. Neither was carrying a gun, so neither had shot him. That meant someone else was still in play.
I said, “I had him, but someone shot him.”
Stating the obvious, Maury’s expression told me.
“You’re not dead.”
“Perhaps I wasn’t a target.”
“Today. Did he say who he was?”
No hesitation or they’ll think I’m lying, which I am. I was not sure why, but was it because I detected a note of sincerity in the target’s tone?
“Checked for identification yet?”
“Just about to.” I knelt down and went through his pockets. Nothing. I told Maury that.
“Pity.” He hadn’t moved from where he stopped. Severin had been looking back up the alley, no doubt looking for where the bullet came from.
Had he reached the same conclusion I had, a balcony on the third floor of the left-hand building? The shooter would be long gone by now.
A white van pulled into the lane and pulled up behind Maury’s car. The cleaners.
It raided questions. How did Maury know we’d be here, and that the target would be shot dead? Or had he assumed I’d all but kill him in revenge for what had happened to the others.
What had happened to the others?
“The rest of the team,” I asked.
“Two dead, one critical. One safe. Let’s go. We need to have a debriefing.”
I took a last look at the body, the joined Maury and Severin in the car. I had questions of my own.
“A bad day’s work,” Severin muttered, as he drove off.
“But conclusive proof we have a traitor, the last thing we need right now.”
I was surprised they were discussing high-level matters that I considered above my pay grade. And, I had to say, it worried me.
© Charles Heath 2019