I’m back home and this story has been sitting on the 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
“Silly question, what were you doing in the hotel with this ‘operative’?”
Yes, it sounded odd the moment I said it, and, if it was the other way around, I’d be thinking the same.
“We joined forces, thinking we were in danger, at the time, not knowing that she was working with Dobbin. I discovered that later, by chance. She doesn’t know I know.”
“And she’ll be waiting at the hotel?”
“Dobbin wants the USB. She believes we’re collaborating, after telling me she works for MI5, on a different mission involving O’Connell. She had apparently been undercover as a fellow resident at the block where O’Connell had a flat, and a cat. The cat, of course, had no idea his owner was a secret agent. The flat was sparsely furnished and didn’t look lived in, so it may have been a safe house.”
“Wheels within wheels.”
“That’s the nature of the job. Lies, lies, and more lies, nothing is as it seems, and trust no one.”
“Including me, but keep an open mind, and try not to shoot me. I’m as all at sea as you are. And, just to be clear, I’m not sure I believe Quigley that the information is lost. People like him, and especially his contact, if he was a journalist, tend to have two copies, just in case. And the explosion might have killed the messenger, but not the information. Lesson number one, anything is possible, nothing is impossible, and the truth, it really is stranger than fiction.”
A half-hour later I’d parked the car in a parking lot near Charing Cross station. The plan, if it could be called that, was for me to go back to the room, and for Jennifer to remain in the foyer, and wait. If anything went wrong she was to leave and wait for a call. For all intents and purposes, no one knew of her, except perhaps for Severin and Maury, but I wasn’t expecting them to be lurking in the hotel foyer, waiting for me.
As for Dobbin, that was a different story. It would depend on how impatient he was in getting information on the whereabouts of the USB, and whether he trusted Jan to find out.
I’d soon find out.
The elevator had three others in it, all of who had disembarked floors below mine. As the last stepped out and the doors closed, it allayed fears of being attacked before I reached the room.
As the doors closed behind me, the silence of the hallway was working on my nerves, until a few steps towards my room I could hear the hissing of an air conditioning intake, and suddenly the starting up of a vacuum cleaner back in the direction I’d just come.
A cleaner or….
Remember the training for going into confined spaces…
The room was at the end of the passage, a corner room, with two exits after exiting the front door. I thought about knocking, but, it was my room too, so I used the key and went in.
Lying tied up on the bed was a very dead Maury, three shots to the heart.
And, over the sound of my heart beating very loudly, I could hear the sound of people out in the corridor, followed by pounding on the door.
A second or two after that the door crashed open and six men came into the room, brandishing weapons and shouting for me to get on the floor and show my hands or I would be shot,”
© Charles Heath 2020-2021