Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three
On an ordinary night the kayak sliding silently through the water would have been all but invisible. The kayak had been painted a matte black. The paddler inside it wore a full body wet suit with a hood. His face was covered with dark makeup. Even the paddle was black. The man inside paddled strongly but carefully; careful to make no more noise than absolutely necessary to propel the craft across the water. On this night the deliberate stealth was aided by a moonless night, planned, and a slow but steady rain, a fortuitous accident.
The kayak and its pilot was nothing more than a faint shadow moving across the water. Even the careful sounds of the paddles were drowned out by the rain hitting the surface of the water. The wind across the water blew tiny waves just high enough to hide the ripples the kayak made as it passed silently alone. This trip had been long planned with each detail carefully analyzed.
There were guards along the shore of the island in the middle of the lake but they were more interested in finding shelter from the rain than watching the dark surface of the lake. They rationalized their search for comfort by believing their reputation was enough to keep even the most determined invader away. No one would dare attack this island. Any invaders would have to come in such force that they would be unable to hide their approach if they game across the surface of the water. Radar would detect any airborne arrivals. And if all else failed the guards were confident in their training, their experience and their weapons. No one would get past them.
The man in the kayak paused two hundred yards off the shore of the island. Carefully he adjusted the night vision goggles to scan the shore line. The same rain that hid him also hid the shore and the guards from him. But he had advantages. The infrared of his goggles helped him pick out the guards by their body heat. The water absorbed by his wet suit muted his own heat signature. As he spotted the first guard he said a silent prayer of thanks, not for the first time, for the weather. As far as he could tell the guard was not wearing night vision of his own. Suddenly there was a flash of light from the guard. The night vision gear instantly adjusted to compensate. The night vision was much better than that available off the shelf from surplus catalogs.
This was another break for the invader. The guard had lit a match to light a cigarette. A foolish mistake. Not a mistake that a trained professional should be making. The guard would need several minutes for his natural night vision to recover. That would not be enough time for the kayaker to neutralize the guard of course. He was still too far away to take advantage of the temporary loss of night vision. But it would mean that his approach was that much less likely to be seen. The smell of the cigarette smoke would make it easier for the kayaker to find the guard though. That would same him time later. The kayaker knew not to take things for granted though. One careless error did not erase the fact that the guard was a trained killer.
The kayaker continued to scan the shore. He’d navigated using a GPS system and should be near a sheltered bend in the shore line. But time and weather tended to change shorelines and he needed to make sure what he needed was there. There it was a small projection into the water with bushes that over hung the water. He was relieved to see that things looked as good close up as they have through the powerful telescope he had used to survey the island over the past several weeks.
He paused for another minute until he saw the guard walk in the other direction. The rain had picked up and the guard was no doubt looking for more protection for himself and his cigarette. Then he picked up his paddle and slowly and carefully started his kayak moving toward the shore. He approached his hiding spot and carefully got out of the kayak. The water was just the right depth, waist high, to let him keep low but so deep that he had to struggle to move. He pushed the kayak up under the overhanging bushes and opened the front hatch. Inside the storage area was his equipment except for His combat knife that was already strapped to his leg.
He removed his personal flotation device and replaced it with a combat vest from a waterproof back under the hatch. The vest already carried 240 round of ammunition for his machine gun in 30 round magazines. The weapon came next. It was a suppressed Heckler and Koch MP5. This was the same model favored by the US Navy SEALS for their covert missions. Sturdy and reliable the addition of the suppressor made it a weapon of quick and quiet death. Reliable as it was the kayaker was not one to arrive without a backup. An H&K SOCOM pistol was the next item removed from the hatch. It was wrapped in the ballistic canvas belt and holster. The belt was tossed over the shoulder and would be put on once on shore. Spare magazines for this weapon were also secreted on the combat vest.
The kayaker pushed the kayak further under the bushes and tied it up carefully. The knots would not let go on their own but could be loosened quickly should that be necessary. Only after a final check did the kayaker leave the boat and climb up on shore. The combat holster with its pistol was quickly strapped on and a careful survey was made of the area. As expected the kayak was invisible from the shore line. At least at night is was. All bets were off once daylight arrived. But this job would be finished before then or the kayaker would be dead. That was a certainty.
The next part was tricky. It wasn’t possible to determine where the trails were from either aerial surveillance or shore based scanning with a telescope so assumptions, risky and potentially deadly assumptions, had to be made. The first of these was that the guards would have to have clear trails to make their rounds of the island’s shore. And the trails would have to be very close to the shore.
That assumption turned out to be correct. The guard trail was visible only steps from where the kayaker had come ashore. It was dangerous to walk the trail but even more so to walk anywhere else. There might be booby traps. Even if there were not traps the noise of pushing ones way through the brush could not be risked. The kayaker started off in the direction of the guard he had observed from the water.
Slowly and carefully he walked keeping his ears as well as his eyes at the ready.
The nose though was the organ that found the guard first though. The smoke from the guard’s cigarette trailed him like bread crumbs left behind by a lost child. The rain wasn’t quite hard enough to wash it out of the otherwise clean air. The kayaker froze at the first sniff to look and listen. He could not see or hear the guard. He hoped the guard couldn’t see him either. Movement is how the eye first catches anything and clearly the guard was not moving. It was risky for the kayaker to move but he couldn’t stay where he was either. He was exposed along the path. So slowly he started moving again carefully putting his feet down gently.
The smell of the smoke was stronger now. In fact is was the movement of the smoke though the rain that led the kayaker’s eye to the guard’s hiding place. Normally the kayaker would prefer to circle around the guard and come at him from behind. The combat knife on his leg had tasted blood before and would again. But that was too great a risk this time. The guard was leaning up against a thick evergreen tree. Branches had been cut away to create a sort of natural booth against the tree. The guard was surrounded by thick branches. The only way in was up the front. Obviously the guard had prepared this spot as protection from rain and sun. The kayaker dared not shoot through the branches as the bullets might be deflected. But he dared not expose himself to the front of the pseudo guard shack. He needed a diversion.
Looking around the kayaker found a rock. The guard would not be drawn out by a rock tossed in away from him. He was too well trained for that. Something like that would put him more on alert and make him more careful. Something else was called for. The kayaker threw the rock right into the needle covered branches.
The guard burst out of the tree. “Jack what …” he started before a bullet from the MP5 hit him between the eyes. Suspecting another guard of horseplay was his worst and last mistake. The kayaker lay where he was for several long seconds waiting to see if the dull thud from the MP5 had been heard. It hadn’t been. He crawled to the guard. As he suspected the guard was wearing body armor. A shot to the body would have started a gun battle that the kayaker could not afford. He’d been right to attempt the head shot. Even at this range it was a risky shot with the short barreled MP5 but he was a marksman and he’d had no other option.
If the guards were following their normal routine there wouldn’t be another guard between this one and the path to the main house. But events had already shown that the guards were off their routine somewhat because of the weather. The kayaker took no chances and worked his way carefully along the path. The path opened in to a glen. Along one side of the glen was a boat storage area with stacked canoes and kayaks and a couple of small sail boats. Across the glen was a boat house that no doubt held the islands motor boats. Between the small boat storage and the boathouse was a tiny beach.
The kayaker would have posted a guard there because it was an ideal boat landing spot. The security chief here was obviously on the same wavelength and then some. Here were the boats landed and the path to the main house began there were two guards. They were talking and looking at each other when they should have been silent and looking in different directions. This new lapse of good security made the kayaker stop and think about the situation. Was this going on because the guards knew they could not bee seen from the main house? Were they really this careless? Was he missing sight of an other guard? Or was this some sort of a trap? Did they know, how would they know, that he was coming?
Using the boats along the outside of the glen as cover the kayaker made his way to as close to the top of the glen as he could get without exposing himself. There he spotted the third guard. This guard was much more alert. His eyes were closely scanning the water past the beach. Fortunately for the kayaker no one was scanning the woods or the boat area. Everyone was assuming someone else was watching. Assumptions kill was one of the kayaker’s mottos.
Three guards were going to be difficult. He could not afford to give them any time. The guard in the woods had had a radio. This meant two things. One was that the guards reported in regularly and two they could call for help easily. The first item meant that someone would probably notice that one guard was not reporting in. The clock was ticking and the kayaker had to move fast. The second item meant that if the guards had any warning at all backup would arrive quickly.
The suppressed MP5 was quiet but not so quiet that the other guards would not hear it if he used it to take out one of the guards. There was no time to move aim from either the chatting group of two or the alert guard on the stairs. The kayaker assessed the distance and decided that they would not be able to hear his shots from the house. The guards were carrying M-16s and they were not suppressed. If any of them got off a single shot it would be as good as a radio call.
There was a large flowery bush a few yards from the stairs were the third guard was sitting. He apparently didn’t mind the rain. The kayaker measured the distance to see if he could get around it and to the guard without being seen. It was possible perhaps.
The two chatters had moved over to the stacked canoes and were standing under one of the canoes. This might be an opportunity. A stand of bushes, lilacs the kayaker’s memory told him, hid the chatters from their more professional compatriot. This might give him some time. Slowly the kayaker worked his way back around to the side of the boat area. Yes, he could get close to them. Slowly he worked his way around the canoes and kayaks the soft sand making his foot falls silent as death. He worked his way to the rack the guards were standing under. Finally there was only a kayak, a long sleek ocean kayak, between him and the human obstacles to his plan. He was crouching low to keep out of their line of sight. The two men had their heads together and talked in low voices. Even a few feet away he could not make out what they were saying.
With a quick movement the kayaker stepped under the kayak and stood up rapidly. The faces of the guards went pale and they stepped apart reaching for their weapons. The kayakers lightning fast hands grabbed each guard by the combat vest and pulled them quickly together again. The guards head banged together with a satisfying crack. This wasn’t the movies though. The guards did not fall to the ground unconscious. They were however quite stunned. They staggered apart struggling to get their wits about them. A pair of fast chops to the throat did render each man unconscious though. The combat knife guaranteed that they would not get up again. Ever.
Quiet the struggle had been but silent it had not. The third guard called out once. “What are you guys doing over there?” When there was no answer he came to investigate. This one was a complete professional and nowhere near as lax as the other guards by any stretch of the imagination. The kayaker heard the sound of the M-16’s bolt shooting forward and knew that this guard was ready. He pulled the two dead guards under a canoe and out of sight. If the third guard saw them he would call for help before he investigated and that could not be allowed.
Silently the kayaker climbed to the top of one of the racks and slid along a boat above the guard’s line of sight. “Louis?” the guard whispered. “Jose?” he added. The guard was very alert but he was focused to closely on what was in front of him. In this case what he needed to worry about was above him rather than in front of him. The guard walked along the boat where the kayaker was hiding and paused. He turned to look to the side. The kayaker slid off the boat onto the guard. He’d timed it perfectly and his body weight stripped the gun from the guard’s hands. At close range a well placed blow pushed the guard’s nose into his brain killing him before he hit the ground. His body joined those of his chatty friends under a large canoe. Phase one was finished. Now it got difficult.
Unlike the beach area which was dimly lit with light aimed at the water, the path to the main house was excessively lit. The last guard had been sitting on a set of stairs made up of Belgium paving blocks. At either side of each stair was a light illuminating the stair. At the top of the stairs the path was paved with bright red bricks. Low lamps lined the path shining their light only downwards onto the brick. But those were not the only lights. Spot lights mounted along the roof illuminated the area on either side of the path. Flood lights behind bushes lit up the house itself. The kayaker couldn’t help but thing the house and yard would be less well lit by the sun itself. The bright light was both a handicap and a gift though. The bright lights made for equally dark shadows. The first problem would be finding enough shadows to get to and into the house.
The great man, that was how he thought of himself, sat in his study alone. Life was good. The study was paneled in expensive mahogany imported from South America. It was modeled after the ornate men’s studies of the early 20th century but updated with modern details. And if he’d been willing to admit that this study was not quite as ornate as those great rooms of the past he would have claimed that was because he preferred simplicity. That wasn’t strictly true of course. The man reveled in complicated deals and relationships. But in the 21st century the craftsmen of the last century, when they could be found were not practical for this house. The great man had more money than he could spend but patience was something he found to be in short supply. He was not about to wait years for this house. So the study was lacking in some details. He missed the details not so much because he could appreciate them but because if they had been there they would have impressed others. Impressing others was a key part of his life. Not a part that he would admit to of course but it ruled him none the less.
The scotch he was drinking was the most expensive he could find. He told himself it made a difference and that he could appreciate the difference. What he didn’t realize was that his butler kept his bottled topped off with a much cheaper brand. The butler was thus able to supplement his own salary by skimming the household budget. This was not of course the only way the butler made extra money. The butler was well paid but such was the environment in the house that he felt that he too had to maximize his income.
The study was a command center for the great man’s international empire. The phone supported multiple lines. The fax in the corner received messages at all hours of the day and night. The computer, in theory at least, gave the great man access to data about the whole operation. Not that the great man had ever learned to use the computer. What was important was that it was there. His aides did the actual computer work. The computer brain interested the great man not at all. What interested him was the workings of his own brain. That and his great strength of will was what impressed him. The great man was very impressed with himself.
His staff was also impressed with the great man and his mind. Well, that wasn’t strictly true. They all pretended to be impressed when in fact their own huge egos led most of them to think the great man was not as smart as they were. But there is a difference between intelligence and knowledge. Even those on the staff who saw themselves as the great man’s superior in intelligence recognized that the great man know more than they did.
Only the great man knew all the people involved in the operation. Only the great man had the connections they needed. Only the great man could see and control the whole picture. Individual of his lieutenants knew bits and pieces. That knowledge gave them great power but not the power to take over. The great man was careful to keep a balance of power among his lieutenants. The ability to maintain that balancing act was probably his greatest skill. Without him and that skill his empire like that of Alexander the Great would fall apart. He knew that and the lieutenants who were as smart as they thought they were knew it as well. There were lieutenants who where not as smart as they thought they were. Those were the men the great man worried about. They were the reasons his island mansion had the impenetrable security he paid so much money to maintain.
Thinking of the security the great man reached for a button on his chair. A voice answered “Yes m’lord.” The great man styled himself the Lord of the Manor even though the house was even newer than his fortune. “George, get Jimmy in here will you.” “Yes, m’lord. At once.”
An English butler, well trained and proper, the great man thought. Expensive but no one knew how to be a servant like the English. The butler was actually Welsh but no one was going to tell the great man. He would likely not have known the difference anyway.
The head of security was knocking on the door to the study in minutes. He never slept when his boss was awake. The boss thought he never slept at all and that was a valuable illusion to maintain. An impartial and sufficiently knowledgeable observer would be able to see that much of what happened in the great mansion was more about illusion than reality.
“Enter” the great man called out. No one entered his presence without permission. He’d heard once that some men had secretaries or other aids that came and went from their bosses offices without so much as a knock on the door. Incredible he thought. No one had that sort of access to his office. Knowledge was power and he intended to control as much of that knowledge as possible. Controlling access was essential.
The man who entered was the stereotype of a security man. He was six one and two hindered pounds of solid muscle. His blond hair was cut in a military style buzz cut. The face was as clean shaven as if he’d just shaved. The great man wondered from time to time how George managed that look. There was a slight bulge under the security chief’s jacket but only an expert would have seen it. The jacket was custom tailored to hide the .45 in the shoulder holster. There was another pistol, a compact .380 in an ankle holster. Even without the firearms the man was a force to be reckoned with. George was a psychopath. He killed easily and without remorse. He didn’t enjoy killing. Killing just didn’t mean anything to him.
The great man wondered if he should be afraid of George. In fact sometimes he did worry about having such a dangerous animal around. But he reassured himself with the knowledge that people like George couldn’t make it in society on their own. There aren’t honest jobs for people like George. George should have been in prison a dozen times for things he’d done. But the great man protected him. He had people clean up after him. And he kept him from social situations that would have led to things that even the great man would not have been able to smooth over. And in return, George took care of things that a man with a conscience could not have done.
“You wanted to see me” George said without preamble. No subservient “yes m’lord” from this man. The great man knew better than to expect subservience and was not about to try to demand it.
“Yeah, George. How is security tonight?” It was the same question every night. George knew it was coming. In fact this question was an indication that the boss was about to call it a night. He couldn’t sleep unless he knew he was protected.
“Right as rain, boss” George said with his toneless voice. “In fact the rain makes it even better. It’s unlikely anyone would take to the water in this storm. And of course there is no visibility for anything from the air. I made rounds myself a half hour ago. All the sentries checked in by radio 10 minutes ago.”
The great man took a sip of his drink. There was just ice left in the glass when he put it down.
“I miss the girl George.” The man sighed. “I may have to find a new one.” George wondered where this was going to go. “I understand” he replied. This was not a conversation George wanted to have. Not that he felt any remorse about removing the girl. George didn’t ever feel remorse. The great man had ordered her removed and he’d removed her. He was a little sorry that the girl’s body had turned up a week later. That wasn’t supposed to happen. The sea was supposed to hold that body for ever. Someone had messed up. George wasn’t sure who but if he found out they would not mess up again.
“Maybe I could have persuaded her to stay.” The great man said as he looked out the window into the dark rainy night. “Maybe I should have tried a little harder.” The great man had been drinking too much and he tended to become maudlin after drinking.
“Call it a night sir. You’ll feel better in the morning.” The security chief sighed. The great man downed the rest so his drink and peered into the darkness again. “Perhaps you’re right George. Maybe we should go into the city tomorrow. Find us some bad women.” He laughed. Not a happy laugh but at least it was a step in the right direction the security chief thought.
“A trip to the city might be just the thing. See a little action. Make a little party. Pick up some women. It would be a good change.” The security chief didn’t like the island. He was an animal of the city. Even though the security was easier on the island the boredom was a bit much to take. The security chief preferred activity and yes even risk to quiet and safety.
“Yeah,” the great man admitted. “I think it is time to get back to the city. We’ll leave in the morning. And I think I will call it a night.” The great man slowly lifted himself off his chair. “Good night George.” The great man waved a dismissal as he walked unsteadily to the door. He paused at the door and turned back to his security chief “you’ll handle the arrangements.” It was a statement and not a question. “Of course sir. Have a good night.” The great man disappeared into the hallway.
George had some work to do before he could call it a night.
First he called the apartment in the city. The multimillion dollar, multi-floor apartment had once been owned by a famous movie star. The apartment had its own staff of course. The caretaker answered the phone on the fourth ring. He was an old man who retired for the night early and slept soundly. “Henry, the boss is coming out to the city tomorrow. Make sure everything is ready.”
“Of course George. What time should I expect you?” Henry asked. George could tell by his voice that he hoped it would be late. If it was late he could call the rest of the staff in the morning and get back to sleep.
“No idea Henry. The boss just said ‘first thing in the morning’ and that could mean almost anything. Probably we won’t get there before 10 though.” “I understand George. Everything will be ready.”
George could have told Henry it wouldn’t be before noon but he liked making other people uncomfortable. The boss would not likely be up before 9 perhaps not until 10 the way he had been drinking. It would take him at least another hour to get himself ready for the drive. So noon was the earliest they could reach the apartment.
Next George called the chauffeur on the mainland. The chauffeur wasn’t asleep. From the sounds in the background he wasn’t alone either. George knew that if it hadn’t been the direct line from the island ringing the chauffeur would probably not have picked it up. One didn’t ignore calls from the island if one wanted to stay working for the great man. And the chauffeur, George knew, wanted to stay working for the great man.
“Yes George” the chauffeur answered smartly. George often wondered what Pete would do if sometime someone else called him from the island. But that was not likely to happen anytime soon.
“Pete, the boss is going to the city in the morning. Make sure the car is gassed up, cleaned up and ready to go.” “Sure thing George. About what time?” “Hard to say Pete. Better to be safe and have it ready by 9 just in case he gets up and wants to move first thing.” “Sure George. See you in the morning.”
George debated whether of not he should call the boat house. Probably not necessary he decided. The man in charge of the boats was an early raiser who was always up at dawn. The boats were always ready to go at a moments notice. That was just the nature of the boat man. Plus of course the great man might have to leave the island in a hurry. There was a car on shore always ready for an emergency departure as well. But the limo was not that car or he wouldn’t have had to call the chauffeur.
That should take care of things he thought. Time for bed himself. He checked his watch. He’d talked to the guards only a short while ago. He didn’t like to call them constantly. On a night like tonight it wouldn’t do to remind them that he was inside in the warm dry and they were out in the cold and wet. So he started off to his own room.
The man from the kayak checked the house with a practiced eye. There was a top notch and very expensive security system installed. Opening a window or a door was going to set off the alarm. The alarm could be by-passed but not quickly and not easily. The man thought about how easy it appeared in the movies. In the movies a cat burglar by-passed security systems with things like chewing gum and pieces of foil. It wasn’t that easy in real life. And then he caught a break.
There was a cellar hatch that was not as secure as it should have been. The alarm had already been broken there. It looked like water running on it from the roof had corroded the connections. The alarm would not go off if this door was opened. The door was locked though.
To some people the locked hatch would be a showstopper but this was no ordinary man. Quickly he searched the immediate area and found a three foot branch blown down by the storm. His knife returned to action and stripped the branch to the basics. There was a notch at one end which would be very helpful.
Carefully the hatch was lifted at the center. The stick was slid in through the small opening. He felt carefully and found the bolt holding the door locked. Carefully and slowly so as not to make any extra sounds he pushed the bolt out of place.
The stick was discarded in the shadows and the hatch door was carefully opened. Now is when he would find out if he had read the condition of that alarm correctly. No sounds were raised inside the house. The man climbed into the hatchway and slowly lowered the door behind him. Lock the door again or leave it unlocked? Leaving it unlocked might save him valuable time if he had to leave this way in a hurry. On the other hand there might be a guard he’d missed who might check the door. Finally he decided that it was better not to allow someone to discover he was there or worse still follow him into the house and he locked the door.
Inside the hatchway he turned on a tiny LED flashlight. There was another door into the cellar. He scanned the edges of the door but found no sign of an alarm here. The door was bolted on the inside but it was a simple matter to open that with his knife. And then he was inside the cellar.
This section of the cellar was obviously for use only by the maintenance staff. There were tools and other items everywhere. The tiny flashlight cut through the dark as the intruder looked for access into the main part of the house. There it was in the corner. A small door out of the maintenance area. This door locked from this side. The door was tight and no light escaped into the work area. The intruder turned off his light and slowly opened the door. It was dark on the other side. He stepped into the dark and once again turned on the flashlight. This was a game room of sorts. There was a pool table in the middle of the room. There were piles of magazines on a coffee table. Sports magazines and girly magazines. This was probably where the staff spent their leisure time the intruder determined.
The stairway upstairs was around the corner behind a well stocked, albeit with inexpensive booze, wet bar. Slowly and carefully he climbed the stairs ever alert for a loose stair. The door at the top of the stairs did let light though. That was where the biggest risk of the night would come. He’d been able to scout the grounds using various aerial means but the inside of the house was terra incognito. The plans were filed with the appropriate authorities of course but he had been warned that the real layout of the building did not match the official record. He would go on his gut and his knowledge of the building’s owner to try to find him.
He stopped at the top of the stairs and listened carefully. He couldn’t hear anything or anyone moving. The lack of sound proved nothing. If this house followed form much of it would be carpeted with thick wall to wall carpet. Cautiously he opened the door and peeked around into the corridor. No one in sight. After stepping into the hallway the intruder quietly closed the door without turning away from the inside of the house. Total alertness was the watchword.
He’d come into the house near the kitchen. This kitchen was dark. The intruder walked carefully away from the kitchen assuming that the main entranceway would be in the other direction. It was. Like many of the mansions in the area this one had an oversized entry way. The kitchen and a large dining room was on one side of the entrance way. The private areas of the house would be on the other side.
The intruder stayed close to the wall of the entrance room. Far to the side he saw the ornate staircase to the upper floor. The self-styled great man would have his rooms up there. The downstairs would be for staff.
He took a deep breath before starting his assent up the staircase. He would be vulnerable on the staircase as there was no way to hide. No way to get out of the way if anyone saw him. His pistol was out in front of him in a two-handed hold. The staircase was marble. No carpeting here but also no chance for a loose board to give him away. He wouldn’t want to fall down the stairs though.
Every couple of steps the intruder paused to listen. He heard steps at one stop and paused to determine which way the steps were traveling. Away from him he decided but he paused another few seconds to make sure. Soon he saw the flash of a light going on and then the light disappeared with the sound of a door closing. Someone going to bed or someone visiting a bathroom? Different options in either case.
Best to be at the top of the stairs just in case he decided. Slowly up another three steps and pause and listen. Bathroom sounds. This probably meant that who ever it was would be going away from the stairs when they were finished. That was good. But of course it would have been better if everyone had been asleep.
The intruder climbed to the top of the stairs and looked down the corridor. The bathroom, given away by light escaping under the doorway was near at hand. Clearly the person in there would have to go the other way when they left. But he couldn’t take any chances. The toilet had just flushed. The next sound would be the water in the sink as the occupant washed his hands.
The intruder took a deep breath and then took a second one. He started towards the door when suddenly it opened. How doesn’t wash his hands he wondered in surprise. Quickly he upped his preparedness. A man stepped out from the bathroom and looked directly at him. The intruder found himself looking into cold dead eyes. The head of security he knew in a flash. Life or death. His life or the security chief’s life. His life or the life of the man who’d just stepped into the corridor.
Both men reacted quickly. There was no time wasting “who are you and what are you doing here?” from the security chief. An unknown face was an unwelcome face. An intruder was a threat and threats were to be dealt with immediately. Not just shot first and ask questions later. Just shoot first and clean up later. George went for the gun in his shoulder holster. But the intruder’s gun was already out. It was already pointed in the right direction before George even got his hand around the grip of his .45.
The suppressed pistol barked once and a bloody hole appeared in the security chief’s forehead. The .45 in the security chief’s hand fell to the ground and skidded across the floor. If you are going to kill someone the intruder believed, you killed them. Talk was for the movies.
Time was short now. The noise might very well attract attention. It might not awaken a sound sleeper but if someone was awake they would be very likely to have heard the shot.
The great man was not a heavy sleeper. A worrier, the great man never slept deeply. The slightest unusual sound would wake him up. A gun shot was an unusual sound. He reached under his pillow for the ever present .44 magnum revolver. The great man required a great gun. The fact that he wasn’t a marksman didn’t matter to him. He figured that shear power would make up for any lack of skill.
Quickly he opened the cylinder to make sure the gun was fully loaded. Nothing had changed since he’d checked it before going to bed. It was ready and so was he. No one came into his house uninvited and lived to tell the tale. Just to be sure he hit the panic button that set off the alarm in the guard shack and in his security chief’s room. Unfortunately for the great man there was no one in either place to hear the alarm.
The massive revolver felt heavy in his hand. The weight of it gave him confidence. The great man walked boldly across the floor to the door to his room. He pulled the door open widely and stepped into the corridor. There was no one in sight. The sound had come from the staff side of the floor and he headed off in that direction.
The further he went the more cautious he became. He didn’t hear the sounds of his security detail. That alarmed him. Well he’d show them he could handle things. And besides it was probably nothing. Probably it was something falling off a shelf somewhere. He’d probably find something broken on the floor. Yeah that’s probably all it was. But still someone should have answered his ring. He’d have to yell at George in the morning. No, he’d wake George up now and give him what for.
He crossed the balcony over the entrance way and paused to look down. Nothing moving down there. He turned the corner to the staff wing and saw a body on the ground. “What?” he exclaimed. Self assured as he was he was also smart enough to know this was a sign that he was over his head.
He backed up only to hear a noise behind him. He grabbed his revolver firmly on both hands. Slowly he started to turn.
“Put the gun down” the intruder said. “I know that voice” the great man said. “You’re her friend. You wouldn’t shoot an innocent man in the back now would you?” The great man’s confidence returned. The intruder was a “good guy” and good guys were weak. “I might” the intruder replied. “I just might.”
The great man lowered but did not drop his gun. “What do you want?” he asked as he slowly continued his turn. “I came to kill you.” The intruder whispered. “Is that a fact” the great man laughed. “Then how come I’m not dead yet.”
“Yet would be the key word there. I want you to see this coming.” The great man finished his turn to find a pistol aimed at his head. “You’ll never do it. You’re weak and afraid.” The pistol barked once. The great man didn’t even have time to register shock before the jacketed hollow point hit him between the eyes. As he fell to the floor the intruder whispered “on the other hand you could be wrong.” He bent over the dead man to check for a pulse. There was none. “That’s for Louise you nasty piece of work.”
The intruder walked away, a tear rolling down his cheek.
Copyright Alfred C Thompson II 2007