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.
Maury drops in for a search
I moved to the doorway and switched off the light, sending the room back into inky darkness. Not good for the eyes, going bright light to instant dark. We stood together behind the door as it opened inwards, Jan ready with her gun.
The door opened slowly, at the same time letting light in from the corridor, making it easier to see.
Opened fully, the visitor tentatively stepped into the room, and once the shape moved past the door, I slammed it shut and Jan lunged with the gun.
I was not sure what result she was expecting but the person fought back, and as they turned to wrench the gun out of her hand, I let loose a punch, aiming for the head, and as hard as I could. I head a cracking sound followed by a thump as the body hit the ground.
When I turned the light back on, there were two surprises. The first, that I’d managed to knock someone out, and the second, Maury was back for a second look.
It didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to be unconscious for very long. Jan had some twine in her room, I wasn’t going to ask why, and she tied his hands and legs together, trussed almost like a turkey.
We left him on the floor when he’d fallen. Unconscious, he was too heavy to move, or lift.
“Is this man Severin, Maury or Nobbin?” she asked. She’d saved the questions until after he’d been neutralized, and we’d taken his gun off him. Also, a knife. She’d also look through his pockets to see if he carried any identification. He didn’t, and I wouldn’t expect to find anything. At the moment I was the same, and since I threw the phone’s sim card, I was now completely anonymous.
“Maury,” I said.
“The attack dog?”
“Not able to attack us at the moment, but yes. I wonder why he came back?”
“We should ask him,” she said, “when he wakes up.”
We were sitting in the chairs, turned around to face Maury lying on the ground. He had wriggled, and realizing he was tied up, tried harder to escape the bonds, and then relaxed when he realized he couldn’t.
His eyes turned to us, and it felt like a death stare.
“This is a mistake,” he said. “untie these ropes and I might make an exception for you.
“Why are you here?” I asked him.
“That’s none of your business.”
“But it is mine. This is my flat, and you’re trespassing,” Jan said.
He switched his death gaze to her.
“I’m not here to cause trouble.”
“Then why are you here?”
“To ask you if your next-door neighbor left anything here with you to collect at a later date.”
No doubt with a menacing attitude, which would end in violence because Maury was not the sort to take no for an answer.
“Most people would knock on the door, and politely wait until it was answered.”
“I was told there would be no one at home.”
“And it couldn’t wait until I returned? I’m sorry, but you have broken into my flat and I’m going to call the police.”
He looked at me.
“That’s not a good idea. Tell her, Jackson.”
“I don’t work for you, or Severin, anymore. In fact, when I went back into the office, I got dragged aside and interrogated. No one seems to know who you and Severin are.”
“That’s because our operation was on a need to know basis. How do you think our business works? Not by telling everyone what you’re doing. Now untie me, and I’ll be on my way.”
“No,” Jan said. “Not until you tell us exactly who you are and who you work for, and why you deemed it necessary to murder O’Connell.”
Maury looked at me again, and there was no mistaking the anger.
“You do understand what the Official Secrets Act means, don’t you Jackson?”
“More or less. But it depends on who it is you speak to whether that’s relevant or not.”
Back to Jan.
“Who are you, then?”
“As you keep pulling out of your hat, it’s on a need to know basis, and, of course, we just tell everyone what we’re doing either. But one thing I’m sure of, we do not go around killing agents. As far as I can tell, O’Connell was working for an agency, possibly yours but I don’t think so, and in the course of his investigation, he came across some valuable information. Information, I’m told, you want. What is it and why?”
“Are you serious?”
He shifted his glare back to me.
“Seriously Jackson, who is this person?”
“Someone, I fear, who is going to cause you a great deal of grief if you don’t answer her questions.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t have to tall you or anyone else the nature of my business.”
I saw her shake her head. “I take it, that’s a no.” She shrugged and pulled out her phone and dialed a number. “Always the hard way with you people.”
“Sir,” she said when the call was answered. “I’ve got a character named Maury tied up in my flat. Breaking and entering for starters. Yes, I’ll be here.”
She put the phone back in her bag. “They’ll be here in ten minutes.”
All we had to do was hope that Maury didn’t have a backup.
© Charles Heath 2020