This story is now on the list to be finished so over the new few weeks, expect a new episode every few days.
The reason why new episodes have been sporadic, 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.
Things are about to get complicated…
I was straight back to the scenario where O’Connell was expendable after performing his role, and that Anna was cleaning up before leaving, or she had already gone.
O’Connell had no doubt told her about the Peasdale address, and the fact he’d told me, and she might have assumed that there would be a window of opportunity to get some belongings at her flat.
Would she be there?
I switched off the light, backtracked to the door, and then went back outside into the passage. Jennifer appeared beside me.
“O’Connell’s in there, dead. Shot in the head.”
I’m not sure how she came up with the designation, ‘Your Friend’, but after the shortened version of my time with Josephine, and the fact we had a hotel room together, could have inspired such a thought.
I went to her flat and listened at the door.
Nothing. There was no light showing under the door, so this could be a fruitless exercise. The same operation as before, Jennifer waited outside, and I would go in. It didn’t take as long to pick her lock. Practise.
I opened the door, the gun in hand, and went slowly into the room.
There was a glow from what might be a night light coming from the end of the passage where the bedroom was.
She was in, or she forgot to turn off the light.
It was also not so dark in this flat, with several pilot lights casting red, blue or green hues over the furniture and floor. It took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust.
“Drop the gun, Sam.”
Josephine, now just discernible across the room, a gun of her own aimed at me.
I shot her. Without hesitation.
She was taken utterly by surprise, dropping her own weapon and spinning sideways into the arm of the chair, lost balance and crashed down to the floor.
Jennifer was in the door and had it closed behind her, and switched on the light. We were both blinded for a second, enough time for Josephine to reach for her weapon which hadn’t fallen very far from her and for Jennifer to shoot her gun hand.
I remembered in that instant, that Jennifer scored the highest in gun training. She would be ‘deadly’ Maury had said.
“OK, enough, what the hell was that for?” Jo said, stretching out on the floor and holding the hand that Jennifer shot.
“You played me, Anna.”
“Operation necessity. I had to know what you were up to. O’Connell said you were going to be a problem.”
“Did you kill him?”
“Me? No. He was dead when I got here. We were here just to get our away bags. How did you guess?”
“Lucky. I was going to the other flat, but I figured it was too new for O’Connell to probably tell you. He may have been planning to double-cross you too. It seems the way of things in this op. Where are the USBs?”
“What makes you think I have them?”
“The fact you just said them, when all we knew for sure was there was only one. I assume you have one each for safety’s sake, and coming back here, one or other of you was going to pull a double cross.”
“Until someone else got another idea. Right now, you have a window of opportunity, Sam. A big payday, for the two of you.”
“Tempting, but no. I’m not in this for the money.”
“Then you’re a fool. No one does anything except line their own pockets. If you give the USBs to your chief, what do you think they’re going to do? O’Connell got five million, the person who gave him the money will get ten at the very least. They’re not interested in saving the world, Sam.”
She was probably right.
I looked at Jennifer. “Are you in this for the money, Jennifer?”
“I just want my old life back.”
“Then keep an eye on the door, we’ll be having visitors very soon. Anyone who comes through it using a key, disarm them. Don’t hesitate.”
Back to Anna. “Where are they? Bear in mind I have no qualms about shooting you until you do tell me, so make it easy on yourself, because the next thing I shoot at is your knees.”
A moment’s thought, and a shot into the wall that just missed her head, decided the matter.
“In the backpack pocket.”
She nodded her head in the direction of the backpack sitting on the kitchen bench.
I went over and in the third pocket I opened there were two USBs in a plastic bag.
“What are you going to do with them?”
“Destroy them. The world doesn’t need any more pandemics any time soon.” I went over to the microwave oven and put them in and set it running.
“You’re only delaying the inevitable.”
“We’ve got company,” Jennifer said.
“You know what to do.”
© Charles Heath 2020-2023