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 prioritizing.
But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.
Chasing leads, maybe
Was it too late to admit that I was way in over my head?
Of course, it should not come as a surprise that Jan would know of his alter ego if she was the friend she said she was. Her name was on that scrap of paper with part of the address, and I should have guessed.
Again, my lack of knowledge and training was letting me down.
Now it seemed I had both Severin and Maury, Nobbin and Josephine, and Jan all working against me.
He had more enemies that I did, which begged the question, what the hell was he in to? What could he possibly have found that was so damaging?
Perhaps I’d find that out if or when I found the missing USB drive.
In the meantime, I had to get back to the hotel before Jan did and try and keep a straight face.
But just as I started to put the seat belt on, another figure was walking from the road towards the front door. A man, tall, with a purposeful stride.
The light was still on so I would get to see who it was once he reached the door. Then I saw the front door open, and Jan standing in it. A second later I saw the face, just as he passed through the doorway and the door shut.
She had lied. So, why was it making me so angry?
I should have realized the whole Maury thing was a setup. She hadn’t called her office, she had called Severin, and he can’t have been far away to get there in the time he had.
So, why didn’t he drag me off?
Easy. So I would see the need to keep working with Jan, and in doing so, when I found the USB I’d tell her, and the next minute I’d get whacked over the head, and lose it.
I was being played like a finely tuned fiddle.
But at least I knew about the car and had removed any evidence and the letters that were left on the ground inside the door. It was something, and she would not find anything to help her, even if she knew he had a car. It meant I was one step ahead of her.
After thanking a last look at the block, I left. Better to find somewhere else to stay, just for tonight, and then go back to the hotel in Charing Cross and see if she returned.
I found a small hotel just off Bromley Road, a short distance down Avondale Road. Out of the way and unassuming, with car parking that couldn’t be seen from the main road. The late hour raised an eyebrow, but I used the excuse of getting in late from the airport. After all, it was 02:30 in the morning and I was surprised there was anyone available on the front counter.
He gave me a room tucked away in a corner where there was only one entrance, and I could see anyone coming. I wasn’t expecting anything, but just in case I had checked the car for a tracker.
None that I could find.
I needed sleep, but lying there staring at the ceiling, I replayed the arrival of Jan at the flat, followed by Severin. It was a reminder that I should not believe or trust anyone.
It reminded me of the words of one of the instructors who said, one morning, quite abruptly, that we were about to become the loneliest people in the world. If we trusted anyone, even if they were from our own side, it could mean one thing and one thing only. Death.
We could not and should not trust anyone.
We should not believe a word of anything anyone tells us.
We should not recruit anyone from outside the service because unless they could be fully vetted, they could be your undoing.
We could not have friends, and certainly no romantic interests otherwise they would be used as leverage against us.
It was the worse hour lecture we’d been given, and the instructor had told us he had left the best till last. It was time to decide whether we wanted to go on or bail. Several had.
I didn’t think, then, it would be a problem.
Now, I was beginning to think otherwise.
© Charles Heath 2020