She studied the top of his head and selected the exact point of entry. It was to be the motor cortex just behind the frontal lobe. It would affect immediate paralysis of basic movements and the brain stem would cease to stimulate the lung muscles. His life would expire within ninety seconds.
He was grunting as he continued his savage thrusts into her and growled, “Do you like being fucked hard you whore.”
Her legs were wrapped tightly around him and her arms were behind his back. She reached for the underside of her right forearm and with her left thumbnail picked at the flesh coloured plastic skin. She peeled back one inch and grasped the thickest part of the tapered tungsten steel spike. She withdrew it easily.
It was of no importance which way his head was tilting as both her hands were equally efficient, but as he was leaning slightly to her left she kept the spike in her left hand.
He raised his head and snarled, “Take all I got you slut,” and spat into her face.
His spittle landed just above her mouth but her concentration was not effected. She put her right hand behind his neck and pulled his head towards her. Her thumb was behind the thickened base of the spike and she raised her arm. Her stomach muscles tensed and she stabbed downwards. There was a cracking sound as the spike pierced his skull exactly at her point of aim.
His body jerked spasmodically for nineteen seconds and she held his head tightly to her until his movements had ceased. She reached into her mouth and removed the wad of soft silicon that she had been concealing and wrapped it around the spike close to his skull.
She reached for a tissue and wiped his saliva from her face while she waited for the full seven minutes of average bleeding time to expire. There was no need to check her watch because her mental clock was just as accurate. When exactly four hundred and twenty seconds had elapsed she carefully withdrew the spike, at the same time pressing the silicon into the hole to stop any seepage.
The girl removed the excess silicon from around the puncture hole and folded it into the tissue that she used to clean the spike. She tidied his hair and slid the spike back into the pocket under her forearm and pressed the self-sealing skin into place.
Only then did she roll him off her and on to his back. His eyes were open but she closed them and then effortlessly lifted him higher so that his head was on the pillow. She dressed quickly and took a cheroot from the box on the bedside table. She lit it and placed it between the fingers of his hand and then folded his arm across his chest.
Once again she checked, but she already knew that there would be no trace of her remaining in the room. The transparent micro-thin pads on her fingers tips would leave no prints on the wine glass or in the bathroom.
She tapped on the door and the guard opened it. He looked over her shoulder at the man lying on the bed who had his eyes closed but was smoking a cigar. He quietly closed the door as he let her out.
The guard was heavily built and had an acrid smell of body odour. He was unshaven and his teeth were brown as he grinned at her. He reached behind and squeezed her buttocks as he sneered, “Did he give you a good fucking then?”
She stepped away from him and giggled. She said, “You look like you would be good too.” As she walked to the top of the stairs she looked back at him and wriggled her bottom provocatively.
The downstairs guard looked up as the tall blonde hooker descended the stairs. He had searched her when she arrived and she had been clean. He opened the front door and gestured to the waiting taxi. She gave him a brief smile as she passed through the door and it closed behind her.
She settled into the back seat of the cab as it pulled away and lifted up the seat beside her. The case within the hollow space contained a complete set of clothes and she changed quickly. Her blonde wig was swapped for a mousy one and she altered her face makeup. She pulled on thick stockings and exchanged her stiletto shoes for brogues.
Only when she had stowed the case back inside the seat did the driver speak. “Your passport is in the pocket in front of you and your flight goes in two hours. You fly to Paris where you will pick up the connection. We’ll be at the airport in fifteen.” She remained silent.
As he pulled up in the departure lane she stepped out. She was no longer a brassy prostitute but a plain middle aged woman.
The morning was grey and drizzly as the girl walked along Lombard Street and turned into the bank entrance. The door at the far end of the hall was marked ‘Staff only’ and the lock clicked open when she swiped her card. The corridor was quiet as she made her way to the private lift and pressed the button to descend. When the lift opened she walked the few paces to the heavy oak door and pressed her right palm against the scanner. She waited the few seconds for the camera to blink green and pushed the door open.
The woman sitting behind the desk looked as drab as her office. She was in her middle thirties and was wearing a plain dark blue dress. Her hair was dragged behind in a bun. She was gazing at a computer screen and without looking up she said, “Madam said you can go right in.”
The girl said, “Good morning Miss Davies, I hope you are well.”
Without taking her eyes from the screen the women replied, “Good Morning Bella, I am well thank you. She is waiting and as usual you are late.” The girl smiled and walked to the other door.
The room she entered was equally cheerless and panelled in dark oak. The neon strip lighting cast a depressing glow on the brown carpet that had an indistinct pattern. Air conditioning hissed softly but failed to remove the lingering musty smell. There were framed pictures of yachts on the walls and the room was without windows.
The woman sitting behind the desk was in her fifties. She was wearing a black suit and her grey hair was cut short in masculine style with a parting. She wore no makeup.
Her desk contained a computer screen and a few files neatly stacked. Extending the full width and height of the wall behind her was a bookcase filled to capacity. There was a single straight backed chair in front of the desk.
The woman looked up and asked, “Why are you always late Bella?”
The girl sat in the chair and crossed one leg over the other. The woman stared at her as if hoping for a reply but when one was not forthcoming she sighed and looked back at her screen.
She said, “Your assignment was satisfactorily completed and I am about to close the file. I am told that there was some doubt about the exact method of despatch. It is entirely up to you how you proceed but do you wish to add any notes?”
“In that case the file will be closed.”
The woman tapped on her keyboard and then leaned back in her chair. She placed the tips of her fingers together as if praying and put them to her lips. She stared at the girl for a few seconds before she said, “There is another assignment and I have been deliberating who would best deal with it. It’s a tricky one and I’ve decided to give it you as I believe your unique talents make you the most suitable.”
The girl spoke softly, “Or perhaps the most expendable?”
“No Bella that certainly isn’t true. We have a great deal of time and money invested in you and the last thing I want to do is waste it. You are unique in many ways.” She lifted the top file and passed it across the desk.
The girl opened it and turned the few pages. When she had turned the last page she closed the file and handed it back.
The woman placed it carefully back on the pile and said, “Describe him.”
The girl replied in a monotone, “Age thirty eight, one hundred and seventy five centimetres, one hundred kilograms, black receding hair. Two bullet scars; one in the left upper chest and the other in the right shoulder. Served two terms of imprisonment; the first for three years when aged eighteen for wounding with a knife and then five years aged twenty seven for violent assault in which the victim died. The murder charge was dropped when the witnesses disappeared. Known as the Bull….”
The woman held up her hand to stop the flow. She smiled for the first time. “I had no doubt that you would have stored every detail, it’s just that it never ceases to amaze me.”
She leaned back in her chair and with a serious expression said, “He is a very unpleasant man who has become a nuisance. As you will have seen, he describes himself as an exporter but his merchandise consists of the female population. Much of it is finding its way into other European countries including ours. He seems to have the local constabulary in his pocket which is why he continues to operate unhindered.
My associates and I decided some time ago that he should be deleted and the French sent their best man. Some of him was later deposited at their embassy gate labelled ‘return to sender’. So now it’s our turn.”
The women gazed intently at the girl before she spoke again. “Bella this will require all of your ingenuity and a considerable amount of luck to get close to him but somehow you always find a way. As usual, anything that you require will be made available to you and will await your arrival.
The girl remained silent.
When there was no reaction the woman said, “You can download the file and you have seven days to prepare yourself. Your contact will be this man.” She passed another file across the desk.
“He is Arnold Simpson and he occupies the position of English teacher at the local school where you will be his trainee. He is our eyes and ears in the area but don’t expect too much from him.”
The girl opened the file and looked at the photograph. She saw a studious looking man and read that he was a bachelor aged forty. She memorised the rest of his details and returned the file.
The woman placed her palms flat on the desk and sat up straight. “That will be all Bella unless you want to ask anything.”
The girl uncrossed her leg and stood up. She said, “There is nothing thank you Madam.”
The woman cast her eyes downwards and said quietly, “Goodbye Bella and good luck.”
The girl closed the door behind her as she returned to the outer office. She strolled to the desk and perched one buttock casually on it. Miss Davies had been staring intently at her screen with her fingers fluttering over the keyboard. As the girl sat down, her fingers stopped and she said icily. “Please get off my desk Bella.”
The girl remained sitting and asked, “Why don’t you ever look at me Miss Davies; do I frighten you?”
Miss Davies hesitated and then with an effort, dragged her eyes up to look at the girl fleetingly before she looked away again. She said, “You don’t frighten me, I just don’t like you.”
“Why do you dislike me?”
Miss Davies answered quietly “Because….” She paused as if searching for the correct words.
Bella smiled and finished the sentence for her. “….because of my profession?”
“No, I just don’t like you so now please get off my desk.”
The girl ignored her and said, “My I ask you a personal question Miss Davies?”
“Well I’ll ask it anyway. Tell me Miss Davies, have you ever sucked a man’s dick?”
Miss Davies stiffened and closed her eyes. She spat the words vehemently, “You disgusting filthy bitch, get out of my office.”
Bella leaned forward and whispered, “Or licked a woman’s cunt?”
The conversation was interrupted by Madam’s voice over the intercom. “I can hear everything you say and I’ve told you before, please don’t tease Miss Davies. Now leave her alone and go about your business.”
Bella patted Miss Davies on the head and was rewarded with an evasive convulsion that almost toppled her out of her chair. Bella stood up with a smile and quietly left the office.
Arnold Simpson waited at the arrivals barrier and tried to make himself conspicuous. He had no idea who he was looking for but had been told that he would be recognised. As people drifted by, he searched for individual females and his eyes were suddenly drawn to a young girl who was walking alone.
She had short dark hair and strolled confidently as she wheeled her case. There was something about her athletic poise and elfin features that was captivating. He watched her pass and then returned his gaze to the departing passengers.
The flood had now become a trickle and he was beginning to worry when he felt a light tap on his shoulder. He turned and found himself looking into the smiling face of the girl who had attracted his attention. Her eyes were large but were they black or dark blue or purple?
She held out her hand. “Hello Mister Simpson I’m Bella.”
He was never confident in the presence of females and he became aware that his heart was beating faster than usual. He stammered slightly as he shook her hand. “How do you do. I saw you pass by but you didn’t look at me.”
“I know, I just checked around to make sure that no one was watching you.”
He looked surprised. “I don’t think I would attract any interest, I’m just the local teacher. May I take your bag?”
She handed it to him and linked her arm in his. “It was just routine. Where are you parked?”
As they walked to the car park he felt awkward but also thrilled that he had such a beautiful young girl holding his arm.
The late afternoon was warm and humid and he said, “I’m afraid I don’t own a Rolls Royce and there is no air conditioning so I hope you won’t be too uncomfortable. It’s about a forty minute drive.”
As they turned onto the motorway, she reached up and twisted the handle of the sunroof. There was an immediate shower of particles as she slid it open and she exploded into laughter. He turned and saw that her face was covered with black speckles. He gasped, “Oh God I’m so sorry. I’ve never tried to open that before.” She was giggling with amusement and he laughed with her.
When they arrived at the apartment block he handed her a key and said, “I’ve rented one for you opposite mine. I’m afraid it’s rather basic and you have only a shower but you’re welcome to use my bath whenever you wish. Oh and a package was delivered for you by an anonymous courier. Do you want me to get it?”
“I’ll pick it up later thank you.”
She opened the door and gave the interior a cursory glance. “It’s fine; I’ve lived in worse places.”
He drank only occasionally but in the comfort of his own apartment he poured himself a small vodka because he felt he needed it. He had no idea why the Trove agency had sent her but it had to be important.
Tidiness had never been his strong suit but he had made a special effort to clean his apartment. After thirty minutes there was a light tap on his door. She had changed into a white cotton dress that was quite short and she looked even more enchanting. She said simply, “I’m hungry Mister Simpson.”
He motioned her to a chair and waited until she was seated before saying, “First of all, I would like you to call me Arnold or Arnie if you prefer it.”
“I prefer Arnold.”
“That’s fine. Secondly, I eat out a lot because I’m not a very good cook and fresh food is quite expensive here. When I do eat at home it’s mostly tinned stuff or out of packets. So I apologise for not feeding you but in any case, I don’t want you to become ill on your first day here.”
When she laughed it seemed as though the sun had burst into the room and he glowed with the pleasure it gave him just to look at her.
She said, “You would find it difficult to upset my stomach. I’ve eaten snakes, bats, toads and even rats. In fact I cook quite a good rat.”
He looked astounded. “Are you pulling my leg?”
She seemed hurt when she replied, “Why would I lie to you?”
He answered hastily, “Please, I’m not in any way doubting you. It is just that I am shocked to hear of such extraordinary cuisine.” He was surprised that she had been so offended. She seemed to have an almost childlike innocence.
He was relieved when she smiled and said, “I’ll look forward to cooking a meal for you but it will be conventional. Right now I’m starving so when are we going to eat?”
It was early evening as they walked out of the apartment complex and he was again apologetic, “We are going to my regular restaurant on the other side of the park. Well to be honest it’s really a café. Everything they serve is cooked that day and it’s very basic. It’s usually some goulash of indeterminate pedigree and occasionally it’s actually edible.”
It seemed so natural when she linked her arm with his as they strolled through the park. As they walked together, she pointed to trees and identified them and then became excited when she observed a bird that was supposed to be somewhere else in the world. He had no idea what she was talking about but he didn’t care; he was just enjoying the extreme pleasure of her company.
During the meal she never took her eyes from his face and he wondered if he would drown in them. She asked for a small carafe of wine and then identified the grape as being too close to the local sewerage and on the wrong side of the railway line. He laughed continually at her nonsense and enjoyed the evening more than any that he could remember.
It was dark when they left the café and he attempted to steer her home by a different route. She immediately observed, “This isn’t the way we came; why are we going back in this direction?”
He replied, “Bella, the park is a dangerous place at night. It’s a haven for junkies and vicious criminals. Even the police don’t venture in there. Trust me, I’ll get you home safely.”
She was insistent. “I want to go home through the park. I want to listen to the birds chattering in the trees and hear the rustle of the leaves.”
He took her arm firmly but she pulled away from him and said excitedly, “You go home your way and I’ll race you to see who get’s home first.” Before he could stop her she was running to the other side of the road.
When she reached the opposite side she stopped and twirled with her hands clasped high above her head. As she spun around, her dress rode higher and revealed her shapely legs and thighs. He watched her run to the park entrance and disappear into the darkness.
His feeling of panic was overwhelming and he ignored the horn blast from an irate motorist as he ran after her. At the park gate he stopped and peered into the gloom. There were lamps at fifty metre intervals along the main path and he saw her white dress suddenly appear in a cone of light. He shouted, “Bella come back,” but she just turned and waved to him.
He had no choice but to follow and he caught up with her quickly. When she heard his footsteps she stopped and waited. He was panting as he pleaded, “Bella I’m begging you, this is highly dangerous.”
She smilingly took his hand and said, “I’ll look after you and I won’t let the bogymen hurt you.” There was a flutter of wings above them and she exclaimed excitedly, “Look there’s an owl.”
His heart was pounding as they continued further into the park. There was a warm breeze and shadows from the trees danced in the light from the lamps. To one side he saw the flicker of a fire deep in the darkness and he wondered if they were being watched.
Bella seemed oblivious to his fear as she swung his hand and skipped along like a child. In the dim light ahead a fox crossed their path and she gasped with excitement, “I love forests and jungles at night, there is always so much going on.”
He tried to stare straight ahead but his eyes were continually drawn left and right as each shadowy shape seemed to be a menacing threat. They had passed halfway before his imaginary fear became reality.
Out of the darkness stepped a figure and he saw the glint of a knife. He spun around quickly but there was another man behind them. He felt an involuntary trickle of urine and his stomach lurched. It was the most frightened he had ever been and he prayed that it would be just a simple mugging. His throat was dry as he whispered, “Just do whatever they say.”
The man in front of them moved closer holding the knife at waist height. He said in English two words, “Your wallet.”
Arnold reached into his pocket and removed his wallet but as he offered it, Bella put out her hand to stop him. In the local language she said calmly, “Move out of the way, you’re spoiling our walk.”
The man snarled, “Shut up bitch,” and made a threatening gesture with the knife.
Arnold was not exactly sure what happened next. He thought he saw Bella move her right hand but when he looked again, both her arms were hanging loosely at her side.
He heard the knife clatter onto the path and the man dropped in a heap. She turned casually as the second man came at her and this time it was no empty gesture. He had his knife poised to bury it in her stomach.
Her foot lashed into the man’s genital area and as he clutched himself and lurched forward she jabbed upwards with the heel of her hand. His head snapped back and Arnold saw something leave his mouth.
As the man thudded onto his back, Arnold felt a wave of nausea. Blood was gushing from the man’s open mouth and he was missing a chunk of his tongue.
He realised suddenly that he was going to faint and staggered sideways to lean against a tree. Bella was instantly at his side to support him and said, “Just take a few deep breaths; you’ll be okay in a minute.”
He dropped to one knee with his head against the tree and sucked in a lungful of air. For the next few seconds he fought against passing out and slowly his head began to clear. He tried to stand but his legs were too weak. Bella knelt beside him with her cool hand on his brow and waited patiently.
Eventually he was able to rise and turned to look at the two muggers. He was relieved to see that they were both moving. The first one was on his knees and gasping for breath. The second one was crawling away into the darkness.
He took a few unsteady steps with Bella’s arm around his waist as she steered him carefully around the kneeling man. She stared anxiously into his face as they walked in silence along the remainder of the path until they reached the exit.
Once back in the brightly lit thoroughfare he relaxed and tried to gather his thoughts. He felt humiliated and ashamed and remained silent. When they arrived at the apartment block he left her standing in the corridor and shut his door behind him.
He slumped into a chair and put his head in his hands. He muttered, “You spineless cowardly wimp.” He decided never to endure the embarrassment of facing her again and groaned, “Oh God, why are you such a pathetic failure?”
Ten minutes went by before he heard the tap at his door. He ignored it until the third knock and then forced himself to his feet. When he opened it she stepped in and wrapped her arms around his waist with her head into his chest.
She whispered, “Oh Arnold I’m so sorry; I spoiled a lovely evening with my selfishness. Will you ever forgive me?”
He reached behind and unwrapped her arms. He said, “Sit down Bella I have to talk to you.”
She sat down obediently with a straight back and her hands folded on her knees. She stared at him with her lower lip protruding and her eyes were solemn and anxious. He felt an impulse to put his arms around her but then remembered that he was the one who was blameless.
He assumed a serious expression and said, “Bella let’s get a few things straight. First of all I’m an academic not a commando. I avoid violence, I don’t seek it. Tonight you gave me the most frightening and humiliating experience of my life and I can never look myself in the mirror again. You are obviously a Kung Fu expert or something while I can’t even beat an egg.”
She lowered her eyes and he wondered if she was going to cry.
He continued, “Now then; this is the important bit. Who are you and why are you here?”
She looked up and answered, “I will tell you I promise, but not now. Please, I just want you to forgive me because I will never do anything like that again.”
He leaned back with a sigh and said, “All right I forgive you, but only this once.”
She leapt from the chair and knelt at his feet. She said, “Thank you Arnold, I’ll be a good girl from now on I promise. It’s just that sometimes I can’t help doing the things I do. I’m impulsive and I forget that normal people are different.”
He looked puzzled, “Are you not normal then?”
She looked at him with a strange expression. “It’s a long story and please may we leave it for another night? Tomorrow I want to start my job as your new trainee and be normal.”
He lay in bed with a feeling of foreboding. His life was generally well ordered but that day his routine had been shattered. An angel had walked into his life but he wondered if she was really a she-devil.
He had difficulty in putting the evening’s horrors out of his mind before he finally drifted into sleep.
The following morning he knocked at her door and reeled back in surprise when she opened it. She was dressed in a plain dress that hung well below her knees and she wore brown stockings and flat shoes. But the biggest shock was her facial appearance .She had donned a brown wig and was wearing spectacles. She looked ten years older and bore no resemblance to the attractive girl from the previous evening.
He gasped, “What the hell have you done to yourself Bella? I hardly recognised you.”
She replied, “Am I not a school teacher? I can’t turn up for my first day looking like a tart. And incidentally my name is Rebecca Henderson or at least that’s what it says on my passport. But you can call me Miss Henderson.”
The day passed uneventfully at the school. He introduced her to the staff and pupils and although she had spoken the language fluently in the park, she now struggled haltingly with it.
On the way home she said quietly, “For the next few evenings I’ll be going out and I probably won’t be home until late. I don’t want you to worry; it’s just that I have things to do. I’ll be eating alone for a while but next week I’ll cook you that meal I promised. Is that okay with you?”
He nodded and replied, “Whatever you say. I know you can look after yourself and your business is none of my business.” She leaned sideways and kissed him softly on the cheek.
When he returned from his evening meal, he tapped on her door but there was no reply. Most evenings he would read or mark school papers and always watched the television newscasts. He had a music centre and would sometimes listen to his collection of classical music. That evening he retired early but was unable to sleep. He lay in the darkness and strained his ears for the sound of her returning and it was after one-thirty before he finally heard her door close.
His role with Trove was to report on a weekly basis or sooner if there were items of special interest. He had been told to watch particularly for anything concerning an Alek Dimitrov whom he knew by reputation to be the local crime boss. The method of communication was always by encrypted email. For his services, his account was credited with a small stipend which was a welcome addition to the meagre salary he received from the school.
On the second day of Bella’s visit he received an email that his software could not decipher. It was marked for Bella’s attention. He called her in and she stared briefly at the confusing jumble of characters. Then without comment she tapped a few keys and it vanished. He said, “Aren’t you going to decode it?”
She answered, “I will later.”
“But you just deleted it.”
She smiled and tapped the end of his nose with her forefinger. “Don’t worry yourself about it.”
As soon as she had left, he clicked on his recycle bin but the email was not there. He did a search and got the same result. It had vanished completely.
For the next few days her same routine continued. She would leave her apartment in the mid-evening and return home in the early hours. During their conversations to and from the school she made no attempt to disclose her activities and he did not pry.
A week after her arrival she announced, “Tomorrow I’m going to cook you that meal so we’ll do some shopping on the way home.”
The next afternoon she told him to drive to the local supermarket and wait in the car. She returned thirty minutes later with two laden shopping bags. She said loftily, “Drive on Simpson, the chef is waiting for the goodies.”
Back at the apartment she inspected his kitchen. “Jesus I’ve cooked in better field kitchens than this. Now these are the rules. If you come into the kitchen while I am cooking I will knee you in the balls, and if you take a peek when I go to change, I will know. Is that understood?”
He nodded obediently.
“Dinner will be ready on the dot of eight so I will expect you to be scrubbed up and looking presentable at that precise moment. Is that clear?”
He nodded again.
Just before seven-thirty she left the kitchen and paused at the apartment door. Silently she pointed her finger at him and then to the bathroom and he arose immediately.
He had two suits; one he wore every day and one he kept for best. He donned his best suit and a silk tie that his niece had given him for Christmas. He considered splashing on some aftershave but decided against it.
He had given her his spare key and at seven minutes before eight she let herself back in.
As she entered, his heart beat faster. She was wearing a sleek black cocktail dress cut well above her knees and with a plunging neckline. The sides of her tanned breasts were completely exposed and he knew that she was not wearing a bra. She had pendent earrings and a matching necklace that sparkled so brightly, he wondered if they were real diamonds.
She struck a classic pose and asked, “Do you like what you see?”
He had to swallow before he was able to answer. He said in a hushed voice, “I am gazing at the most wonderful vision it has ever been my joy to behold.”
She replied, “Good, so now sit down.” She turned off the main light leaving just two table lamps illuminating the room and then lit a solitary candle on the table.
He glanced surreptitiously at his watch as she served creamy oyster soup and it was six seconds before eight o’clock.
She poured a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to accompany the fish course and then uncorked a Durif Shiraz to go with the beef tenderloin. How she had managed to caramelise the crème brûlée was beyond his comprehension.
At the end of the meal he sat back and said, “Bella, I don’t want to go over the top but that was five star quality.”
She smiled delightedly and replied unashamedly, “I know.”
It was unquestionably the most delicious meal he had ever eaten and must have cost a fortune. He said, “I know it’s very rude of me to ask but how did you manage to afford all of that.”
She replied, “Trove never question my spending, it’s one of the perks of the job.”
He shrugged his shoulders and as he did so he belched. He put his hand over his mouth in dismay and said, “I do beg your pardon.”
She laughed and said, “I’ve eaten with people who consider it rude if you don’t belch after a meal. In fact I actually practiced the art. She took a deep breath and released a reverberating belch that made him snort with laughter and applaud. She said, “You go and relax while I clear up.”
He stood up unsteadily and tottered to an armchair. He said apologetically, “I think I’m a little bit drunk.”
Within a few minutes she had cleared the table and he heard dishes being stacked. He was relaxing in an armchair when she returned and knelt at his feet. He looked down and then quickly away again because the smooth sides of her full breasts were so exposed he could see between them to her navel.
She observed his reaction and murmured, “It’s all right; I don’t mind if you look at my breasts. That’s why I’m wearing this dress.”
He felt himself growing hot with embarrassment. He looked back into her face and said awkwardly, “I’m afraid I’m a bit of a fuddy duddy and not used to looking at breasts. In fact I’m not used to female company at all and certainly not someone as beautiful as you.”
Bella asked softly, “Shall we have sex now?”
For a second or two he thought he had misheard her. He stared at her in disbelief and his mouth sagged open as he gasped, “What did you say?”
“I asked you if we should have sex now. That is unless you want to wait for your dinner to go down.”
He gazed at her in shock and tried to think of something to say, but eventually he managed to gasp, “I can hardly believe my ears. Are you seriously asking me to make love to you? My dear young lady, I don’t think you realise who you are dealing with. I’ve only had sex twice in my life and I made a mess of both attempts. I’m a dyed in the wool bachelor and a very boring one at that.”
She reached up and put her hand to the side of his face. “No you are not. You’re a charming person and a gentleman. I like you very much and if you like someone it’s nice to have sex with them.”
He put his hand to his brow and closed his eyes. “Bella your candid approach to life is refreshing but it is also very disconcerting. Let us assess this situation. In the first place I must be close to twice your age and secondly, I don’t know if I’m even capable of sex any more.”
She asked innocently, “So you didn’t taste the Viagra in the oyster soup then?”
He jumped as if he had been stung and shrieked, “What?”
Bella laughed and said, “I’m just kidding so don’t have a heart attack. Anyway I’m going to make love to you and I promise that you won’t need Viagra. All you have to do is enjoy it.
She went to her bag and produced a disk which she inserted into his music centre. As she returned to him, music drifted softly into the room.
She reached down and said, “The first thing that comes off is your tie; and now your jacket.” She removed both and began to unbutton his shirt.
He grabbed both her hands and said beseechingly, “Please stop. You terrified me in the park and now you’re frightening me again. Don’t you understand; I’m no good at sex and I’ll only make a fool of myself. Are you doing this deliberately to humiliate me?”
She slid onto his lap and taking his face in her hands she said firmly, “Look into my eyes. You are under my spell and you will obey all of my commands. I am your mistress and you are my slave.”
He gazed into her eyes of unfathomable hue and her lips crept ever closer. Then he felt the warmth of her mouth closing over his and her breasts pressed against him. Her lips moved first gently and then firmly against his mouth while her fingers caressed his neck. Her tongue writhed against his and he tasted the sweetness of her. He was drowning in an ocean of honey and losing the desire to save himself.
She drew back an inch or two and fixed her eyes into his. She murmured to him softly, “Now are you going to be a good boy and do as you are told?” He nodded in helpless surrender.
She removed his shirt and said admiringly, “Mm, nice body.”
“I used to be a rower.”
When she had finally left him with just his underpants to cover his manhood, she rose to her feet and began to dance slowly to the music. She danced Asian style making provocative gestures with her arms and fingers.
Then she turned away and eased the straps of the dress from her shoulders. He found himself holding his breath as it slipped to the floor and she stepped out of it and turned to face him. But she had her arms crossed over her breasts and he felt a twinge of frustration.
She turned away again and began to slide her black panties down below her hips and then allowed them to flutter to her ankles. She kicked them away and slowly revolved to face him.
She lowered her arms to her side and he sucked in his breath as he drank in the sheer magnificence of her body. He could see that she was muscular and yet her lines were feminine. She looked powerful but she moved with the grace of a gazelle. Her breasts were full and firm and perfectly proportioned for her stature. Her dark pubic hair had been left naturally in an unruly tangle.
He felt his penis hardening and quickly covered it with his hand. He stared at her in admiration and all he could say was, “Bella, there is no creature in the world more beautiful than you.”
She moved forward and knelt before him. She lifted his hand from his bulge and said, “What is it that you are hiding in here?” She pulled down the band of his underpants and he was fully erect. She looked up to him and said, “Well, well, you certainly are a man of surprises. Were you a pole-vaulter as well as a rower?”
He replied disconsolately, “There is no point in having a big one if you don’t know how to use it.”
She whispered, “Close your eyes because I’m going to take you to Paradise.”
He leaned back and held his breath as he felt her mouth close over his penis. She began to use her lips and tongue to tease him and the tantalising caresses forced groans from his lips. First she would gently suck the glans and then quickly slide all of it deep into her throat. Every time his orgasm became imminent, she anticipated it and gently squeezed the glans to stop him.
Suddenly she stood up and shuffled forward with her legs either side of his lap. She took his hand and placed it between her thighs and he felt the soft wetness of her. She leaned forward until her lips were brushing against his and whispered, “Now it is your turn tease me.”
He stroked her gently at first until he learned which caresses gave her pleasure. When he inserted his fingers into her, she kissed him passionately and when he touched the firm nodule of her clitoris he felt her legs tremble.
He concentrated on her clitoris, caressing it gently at first and then rubbing it increasingly faster while she responded with soft moans. Suddenly her fingers gouged into his back and she cried out as if in pain. He felt a warm splash on his upturned palm and her body stiffened. She seemed to stop breathing for a few seconds but then she exhaled with a long shuddering gasp.
Slowly she lowered herself to his lap and rested her forehead on his shoulder. He had no idea what to do next so he waited. When she lifted her head to look at him, her eyes were black and heavy lidded. She kissed him gently and murmured, “You have just taken me to paradise.”
He felt elated. Had he actually given her pleasure?
His penis was rigid when she lowered herself on to it. He felt her vagina muscles grip him and slowly twist left and then right and pull upwards. She lowered herself again and as she repeated the same dragging movement he felt as though he was being milked.
At her third attempt his orgasm exploded. His stomach tensed as the exquisite pain flooded his loins and he groaned aloud. He could feel himself spurting and she held him tightly to her.
Finally his orgasm was over and he rested his head against her bosom and slowly relaxed. When he could lift his head, she kissed his lips and whispered, “You are a very enjoyable lover Mister Simpson.”
He had never felt so proud. “Am I really or are you just saying that to make me feel good?”
“You made me come didn’t you; I didn’t fake it.”
She climbed from his lap and went into the bathroom while he rested in contentment. She returned to retrieve her panties and slipped them back on.
While she was dressing he took his clothes with him to the shower. When he returned she arose from her chair and slid her arms around his neck. As she kissed him, she pushed her pelvis into his and rubbed against his bulge. She murmured, “Look after that Arnold, I would like to make use of it again.”
After seeing her safely into her apartment, he leaned with his back against his closed door. He had just made love to a beautiful girl and given her an orgasm. His life was now complete.
After they returned from school the next day, Bella prepared herself. She opened the package that had preceded her arrival and studied the contents. She removed some jewellery and laid it on the bed.
Arnold was changing into casual clothes when he heard the knock at his door. The teacher had become Bella again and she walked to a chair. She sat down with a serious expression and his feeling of foreboding suddenly returned. He seated himself opposite and waited.
She spoke quietly. “I promised to tell you who I am and why I am here. I like you Arnold, do you like me?”
“Of course I do. You are the most delightful and exciting person I have ever known. Why do you ask?”
She paused before she replied, “Well you may not like me when I have finished my story.”
He could feel his heart quicken and he clenched his fists nervously.
She hesitated and then started, “My mother left when I was five. I think she was a prostitute and probably a drug addict. My father remained but I more or less looked after myself. Then his brother moved in and they both began to sexually abuse me. I didn’t go to school until I was eight and I took myself along to see what it was like. I couldn’t get on with the other kids because they all seemed stupid to me.
Most of my early education came from watching documentaries on television. Occasionally a welfare person would turn up but my father threatened to kill me if I said anything about the abuse.
Both of them continued to rape me and then it became more devious. They would force objects into my vagina and take photographs. My baby making equipment is now defunct.”
He could feel her pain and gasped, “You poor child.”
“When I looked in their computer, they were exchanging photos of me around the world. It stopped only when they both died.”
“Both of them? How did they die?”
She stared at him silently and he felt his buttocks clench.
She replied calmly, “I killed them. I buried a knife into both of them while they slept. It was on my ninth birthday.”
He closed his eyes and put his face into his hands. Mixed emotions of disgust, horror and sympathy churned through his mind. After a minute of silence he recovered his composure and looked back at her. He tried to sound casual as he asked, “What happened next?”
“I went to the police and told them what I had done and showed them the photos on the computer. They took me to a hospital and I didn’t see anyone except doctors and psychiatrists for weeks. They were actually very nice to me.
Then one day a woman came into my room and said she wanted to talk to me. She said I couldn’t go home and I would have to spend a long time in prison because of my crimes. But she said I could avoid all of that if I went with her to another place. I really didn’t care so I went with her.
I spent the next ten years with many people in many different places in the world. I was trained in martial arts and taught how to use weapons. I learned many cultures and my knowledge of the human anatomy is more extensive than most surgeons. I am now twenty-one years of age.
Of course the woman who collected me was from Trove. I know you send reports to them Arnold but do you know what the Trove agency really is?”
He shook his head slowly.
“It is an international organisation that makes its own rules. The name stands for ‘The Removal of Vermin Expedited’. It ignores laws and treaties and also human rights. It’s a corner-cutter and it doesn’t waste time or money. It was originally set up by international billionaires who were tired of their governments and police forces pussyfooting around. Governments know of its existence but they turn a blind eye. If a quick fix is needed, Trove will deal with it.
When I suggested that I wasn’t normal, I really meant it. While I was in the hospital they discovered that I have an IQ of one-ninety and total recall. I speak many languages and becoming fluent in another comes easily to me. I am able to scan one hundred thousand words in less than an hour and memorise every one.”
She looked at him solemnly and said, “I am an assassin Arnold and I’m the smartest killer on the planet.”
He stared at her with a blank and uncomprehending expression as his mind rejected her statement. She returned his gaze impassively and he felt an impulse to giggle foolishly. It was not possible. How could this beautiful young girl who had taken him to the stratosphere of ecstasy, murder people in cold blood?
He closed his eyes and shapeless horrors tumbled through his imagination. He wanted to ask so many questions but none that came to mind seemed appropriate. Eventually he whispered, “How many?”
“None of them deserved to live.”
He opened his eyes as the obvious question came to him. “Why are you here now?”
Her answer shocked him. “Are you crazy? The man is a monster, a sadistic killer. A dismembered body found outside the French embassy was well known to be one of his doings. No one could possibly get near him. Even the police are on his payroll.”
“I’m aware of all that. I need to ask you a question and I want an honest answer. Do you like your job Arnold?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Not very much. It has no future and I’m not over the moon about this country anyway.”
“Where would you rather be?”
He smiled. “I’ve often thought that I would like to retire to France or Italy or somewhere like that. You know, laze in the sun and drink their wine. Sadly I don’t have any money and I don’t own anything of value, so that’s out.”
“How about Switzerland?”
“Yes, that’s a nice clean country with civilised people. I went there for a short holiday once. Why are you asking me all this?”
“There is a reason. I have friends in Switzerland and I own some property there. There is very little restriction on EU citizens taking up their residency. I own property in lots of places.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Are you very wealthy?”
“Yes I am. I told you that I’m a clever girl and hacking into computers is child’s play to me. I’ve taken some from here and some from there and it mounts up.”
It was one shocking admission after another. “So you’re a thief as well as a killer.”
“I take only from people who have no right to it in the first place. The sort who don’t report the loss when they discover that it’s missing.”
He looked puzzled. “I thought Trove had a hold on you. If you’re self-sufficient, why do you go on doing what you do?”
“I’m addicted to the danger and I’ve convinced myself that I’m providing the world with a beneficial service. How long would it take you to pack a bag and find your passport?”
He was mystified but he answered, “About ten minutes. Is it likely to become necessary?”
“I’m afraid so. Unfortunately they know I’m living here. It was unavoidable because I couldn’t show them that I knew I was being followed.”
Arnold could feel panic rising. “Who followed you? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Dimitrov’s men. I’ve been working privately as a hooker in the Central Park Hotel. Dimitrov owns the prostitution around here and I’ve been deliberately trespassing. They will probably pick me up tonight.”
He was now thoroughly frightened. “What will they do to you and how do I come into it?”
She seemed quite calm as she replied, “They may rough me up but they won’t kill me because they’ll want to use me. An attractive English hooker is a valuable asset. It’s the only way I can get close to him.
If I am successful it will be like killing the queen in a nest of ants; they will all run around in confusion. But then they will come looking for me and if I’m not here, they will ask you where I am. They won’t ask nicely and even if you can’t tell them what they want to know it will make no difference because they will kill you anyway.”
He put his face in his hands. “God almighty, one week ago my life was normal and now it’s gone crazy and I’m going to be murdered.”
She knelt in front of him and rested her hands on his knees. She commanded, “Look at me Arnold.” He lowered his hands and his face was contorted with fear. “You are not going to die because I am very fond of you and I won’t let anyone hurt you.”
She reached for her bag and took out an envelope. “In here is more than enough money to get you on a flight to Zurich. When you get there, you ring the number that I’ve written and someone will come and collect you. You will live in one of my places and I’ve opened a bank account with sufficient funds for you to survive comfortably.”
His hands were trembling as he stared blankly at the envelope. “Why are you doing this for me?”
“Because I like you. I may never go to heaven but I’m not all bad.”
She hesitated and then said, “There is another reason and I wasn’t going to tell you. I will if you promise not to get too upset.”
He collapsed back in the chair and looked at the ceiling. “It can’t get any worse so go ahead and I promise not to cry.”
“That e-mail I received; it was about you. You’ve become surplus to requirements.”
His eyes widened slowly and he whispered hoarsely, “What does that mean?”
“It means that I’m to clean up before I leave here. That includes your computer, your papers and you. Trove doesn’t like leaving a trail and if I don’t do it, they’ll send somebody else. That’s why I’m shipping you to Switzerland.”
It was too much for him and he slumped forward in the chair as his life force drained away. He was looking at the floor when he whispered, “So the bastards are going to kill me?”
Bella reached out and rested her hands gently on his. She said softly, “You have no idea what the sort of people you’ve been working for. They have only one purpose and that is to rid the world of evil beings they consider detrimental to society. Peripheral casualties are unfortunate but sometimes unavoidable as long as the bottom line shows a satisfactory result.”
He looked up slowly and his eyes were dull. He had passed beyond the fear barrier and was in a state of subdued shock. He said without emotion, “What happens now?”
“I’ll be leaving at my normal time this evening but if I’m not back before two in the morning, you call a taxi and hightail it to the airport. Get on a flight to Zurich and if you can’t do that, get on one that goes anywhere until you can. Do you understand?”
He nodded. “You said earlier, ‘If I’m successful’.”
She smiled but not with her eyes. “One day my luck will run out.” She kissed him lightly. “Now snap out of it and get packed. I’m going now and I’ll see you later, I hope.”
He gazed numbly at the closed door and then hauled himself to his feet and stumbled into the bedroom.
The cocktail barman looked up as the blonde English hooker approached the bar. Her dress was dark green with thin shoulder straps and it revealed most of her full tanned breasts. A long gold rope with a smaller loop at the bottom snuggled between her cleavage. Long tubular earrings dangled from her lobes and a gold lamé purse hung from her shoulder. She was wearing black stiletto heeled shoes with a single strap around each ankle.
She slid onto a stool and he poured her a martini from the pitcher. She pushed a one hundred note across the bar and he tucked it away without offering any change.
As she sipped from her glass, he looked around the room. It was a quiet evening with little prospect of trade for her. It was none of his business that she was operating privately. He had made his phone call and that put him in the clear.
Twenty minutes passed before the man entered through the revolving doors. He sat on the stool next to her and she smiled at him. He said something quietly and she motioned upwards with her eyes. The man said something else and she shook her head. He reached into his pocket and the barman glimpsed a wad of money. She shrugged her shoulders and they left together.
Bella leaned back in the car and prepared herself. The man next to her had asked her to go to his place and spend the night and as the offered amount had been sufficient, she had agreed. He was now ignoring her and was clearly just a messenger. The driver had not even turned his head when they both climbed in.
She asked, “Is it far? I’ll need to be taken back in the morning.”
He replied, “It will be arranged.”
She estimated that the journey had been just short of six kilometres when they drove along the high wall and stopped at the heavy iron gates. The wall was topped with iron spikes that curved outwards. The driver reached through the window and pressed the control button and a floodlight illuminated the car. The driver spoke briefly to the intercom and the gates opened slowly.
As they turned into the driveway, they passed a figure standing with a firearm slung across his chest. She recognised it as an XM8 lightweight assault rifle with a shortened barrel. She asked nervously, “What is this place, where are we?” She received no reply.
The car pulled up outside the huge mansion and the man opened his door and said, “Get out.”
She cowered in the back seat until he opened her door and dragged her out. She fell onto her knees and pleaded, “What’s going on? Why are you treating me like this?” All the lower windows that she could see were barred.
He hauled her roughly to her feet and she squealed in pain. As she was dragged through the heavy wooden front door she noticed it had power locks. The man took her purse and glanced briefly into the contents before handing it back to her.
She was left trembling and weeping in the entrance hall while the driver stood by her. There were two doors to the left and another one short of the wide staircase to the right. Another door was at the centre far end. She noted the two cameras facing in opposite directions but high up and out of reach. There was a seated jacketless man with his back to the staircase reading a paper. He had a pistol in a shoulder holster but he was too far away for her to identify it.
Each door had a glass section above it and through the second one on the left she could see bright lights shining. From inside the room she could hear a female sobbing and then a gurgling scream. The seated man continued to read his paper. It required little imagination to guess what was going on in there.
The man who had been with her in the car had climbed the stairs immediately they arrived. He now appeared at the top and beckoned. The driver pushed her towards the stairs and said, “Up.”
She stumbled to the staircase and began to climb slowly. When she reached the top he gripped her arm and dragged her to a door. Another man with a holstered pistol was lounging further along the wall.
The door was opened and she was thrust through it. The room she entered was the annex to a bedroom with doors that led out to a balcony. There were no security cameras. She stood sobbing pitifully in front of the occupant.
Alek Dimitrov was seated at a small table in the centre of the room and eating from a bowl. He shovelled food into his mouth as he stared at her without blinking. He appeared to be unarmed. He put down his spoon and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and pushed the table to one side as he stood up.
The short sleeved shirt that he was wearing was unbuttoned to the waist and his body was matted with thick black hair. His belly was straining the band of his trousers. He growled, “Come here.”
She stepped cautiously towards him and whimpered, “Who are you and why have I been brought here? I haven’t done anything wrong.”
She took seventy five percent of his swinging slap and fell backwards to the floor. He looked down at her and snarled, “Nobody sells their cunt around here without my say-so; and especially not a fucking foreigner. Get up and strip.”
She climbed shakily to her feet and pulled her dress up over her head. She stepped out of her panties and removed her shoes. As he returned to his chair and sat down, she could see from his expression that he was impressed. She pleaded, “Please don’t hurt me. I’ll be nice to you and do whatever you want.”
He reached and picked up a half smoked cigar. He lit it but kept it in his mouth. That was bad and something that she had not anticipated.
He blew a cloud of smoke out of the corner of his mouth and growled, “You’re a good looking bitch. Can you do anything special?”
She answered, “I used to be a dancer before I started working for myself.”
She was going to get only one opportunity and it had to be timed perfectly. The cigar was a hindrance but she had to take a chance. She began to dance with erotic movements in front of him and he sat and watched her.
She moved to his left side as if she was going to encircle him and slipped her right hand into the lower loop of her gold rope. He turned his head to his right where he expected her to reappear and then removed the cigar from his mouth and spat.
It had to be now. With her right hand through the smaller of the two loops she lifted the entire rope over her head with her left hand and dropped it over his. The short tube between the two loops concealed a slip knot and as she braced her left hand against the back of his head and pulled, the larger loop snapped tight around his neck. The gold lacquered rope was four stranded steel wire with a tensile strength of one thousand pounds.
His first reaction was to clutch at his throat and try to stand up but she tipped his chair back. With his throat constricted he was unable to make a sound and his legs flailed helplessly. He tried to reach behind but she avoided his hands.
With an effort he rolled sideways to the floor but she kept behind him. He put his hands down and struggled to his knees but she kicked hard into his kidney area. He collapsed flat and she stood on his back and continued to pull. Gradually his struggles weakened until finally he became motionless.
It had taken exactly one hundred and three seconds.
The rope was so deeply imbedded she had difficulty in removing it but she managed to extricate it and wiped it clean on his shirt. She left him face down on the floor.
She put the rope back around her neck and walked naked to the door. She opened it a few centimetres and peered out. The man with the holstered pistol was fifteen paces along the corridor and smoking a cigarette as he lounged against a wall. She opened the door and stepped out. As he looked up she beckoned to him and said, “He wants you.”
He looked surprised and straightened up quickly. He dropped the cigarette to the floor and stamped it into the carpet. As he strode towards her, she backed two paces into the room so that his view of the body was obscured and stiffened the fingers of her right hand. He stepped into the room and as he looked left and right, she moved to one side and stabbed her fingers into his throat.
Her stiffened fingers could punch a hole through three millimetre hardboard and the effect on him was lethal. His larynx was crushed and his vocal chords became paralysed. His windpipe constricted to block the air passage to his lungs and his heart went into shock. He stood erect with bulging eyes for three seconds and then his legs gave way. She stepped quickly behind him with her arms around his chest and lowered him to the ground.
After closing the door she stepped over his body to pick up her dress and put it back on. She climbed into her panties and retrieved her shoes and then twisted the heels. They snapped cleanly to leave flat rubber soles. She put them on and tightened the straps around her ankles. Finally she removed her tubular earrings and put them in her bag with the gold rope.
The weapon was next and she received a surprise. It was a Chinese type sixty-seven silenced pistol with a nine round magazine. A curious choice for a gangster but it was probably used for discreet executions. She raised her eyes heavenwards and whispered, “Thank you.”
She left the room and walked quietly to the stair rail and leaned over. The man was still reading the paper and the pistol sneezed discreetly as she shot him through the top of his head.
She descended the stairs quickly and walked towards the main entrance just as the door opened where the bright lights had been. A man holding a video camera stepped into the hall and gazed uncomprehendingly at the guard slumped in his chair with blood pumping from his skull.
He turned to her and stared blankly at the pistol. She squeezed the trigger and a black hole appeared neatly between his eyes. She caught the camera before it could clatter to the floor as he fell backwards.
She stepped quickly into the room and looked around. There was nothing she could do for the female body on the bed but the naked man wiping blood from his body jerked forward as she shot him through the back of his head.
It was becoming untidy and she needed to regain control. She had unavoidably spent two rounds but there were six still remaining. She made for the main entrance again just as a vehicle pulled up outside; so she turned and sprinted back up the stairs.
On the landing, the man who had accompanied her in the car was walking to Dimitrov’s room. He looked at her in surprise and the pistol sneezed again.
Back in the room she tried the French doors but they were locked so she took a pace backwards and kicked into them with the sole of her foot. The wood splintered and she stepped onto the balcony. She was to one side of the house with a six metre drop to the ground. She put the pistol into her purse and placed the strap around her neck. She relaxed her body as she hung from the rail and then let go.
She rolled neatly as she landed on grass and rose to her feet to take her bearings. There was shouting coming from the main entrance and her work in the hallway was clearly the reason for it.
The land extending around the house had plenty of trees for cover and only the driveway to the main gate was lit. Then she heard the thudding of solenoids as floodlights around the house illuminated the surrounding area.
She looked up and there were three lamps on her side. Glass tinkled to the ground as she extinguished each one with a single shot. The land in front of her was now in darkness and she crouched low as she sprinted for the cover of the trees.
There were two rounds left in the magazine and she knew she would need to use at least one of them. Five men were running along the main driveway and all carried drawn weapons. They were shouting to the guard with the XM8 and waving him towards the dark area where she had to be.
He set off across the lawn but stopped thirty metres short of her position and levelled his weapon. The advantage was with her because she could see him but he could not see her. He sprayed only one short burst before she dropped him with a shot to the centre chest.
She needed his gun and had no choice but to break cover. Crouching low, she sprinted to the body of the guard as all five men starting firing together. She felt a stinging sensation in her upper right arm as she flung herself behind the guard’s body.
The men were fifty metres away but clearly illuminated in the floodlights as she raised the rifle. There was no point in wasting ammunition so she nudged the lever up to semi-automatic and put one round in each of the two men on the right. As they both went down, the other three scattered and she flicked the lever down to fully automatic. She fired two bursts and another man went down before the magazine was empty.
As she turned and ran back to the trees she saw other men gathering outside the house. In the cover of darkness she was aware of a tingling in her right arm. She felt gently with the fingers of her left hand and the outside of the deltoid had been nicked. It was nothing serious but it could marginally reduce her efficiency.
The floodlighting fell short of the exterior wall and she ran along the side of it until she found a tree with branches that extended close to the top. She hauled herself up into the tree and looked towards the top of the wall. There was a sturdy branch protruding towards it and she walked sure footed as far as her weight would allow.
Although it was dark, she calculated that it was just over three metres and using the branch as a spring board she launched herself at it. She grabbed a spike with her left hand and then pulled herself up. The spikes all curved outwards to deter entry but they presented no problem for someone trying to get out. She slid over the spikes and dropped down to a grassy bank.
Her mental clock told her that it was twenty minutes after midnight as the gates opened and a car turned onto the road with screeching tyres. That was bad but not unexpected.
She ducked down as it passed and then jogged along the road as she waited for suitable transport to arrive. Traffic was sparse and only two lorries lumbered past during the next ten minutes. Then she saw the lights of an approaching car and stepped onto the road.
The male driver picked up the blonde girl in his headlights and she appeared to be in some distress. He braked and she walked to his window and opened the door. The gun in her hand looked very real as she said politely, “I’m very sorry about this but I need to borrow your car. Please get out.”
He stepped out of the car and she pulled off her blonde wig and handed it to him with, “Here’s a souvenir for you.”
As she slid behind the wheel and placed the selector into drive, she became aware that her deltoid was beginning to stiffen. The owner stood back as his Mercedes left rubber smoking on the road.
Arnold sat slumped in the chair and his mind was numb with dread. He had never imagined that the last hours of his life would be so terrifying. The two men stood silently either side of the door and were listening. The guns in their hands hung loosely by their sides.
When he had heard the tap at his door he had assumed it was Bella and opened it readily.
Long minutes dragged by in silence. Suddenly the sound of window glass breaking came from the bathroom. Both men looked sharply at each other and moved quickly across the room. One took up a position by the bathroom door and the other crouched behind a chair. Both their pistols were levelled in readiness. Arnold also stared at the bathroom door and tense seconds passed in silence.
The apartment door crashed open and Bella hurtled into the room crouching low. The gun in her right hand spat fire and her left arm straightened as if throwing dice. The man behind the chair clutched at his face and screamed.
Arnold looked at the man by the bathroom door and he was sliding down the wall but leaving a shiny red trail from the back of his head.
He turned in bewilderment to the man behind the chair who was writhing on his back with something protruding from his right eye. Bella was standing over him and Arnold heard the sickening sound of bones crunching as she lifted her foot and stamped hard onto his chest.
And then there was silence.
Bella dropped to her haunches in front of him and asked, “Are you okay my darling?”
He was unable to answer and got quickly to his feet with his hand over his mouth. He made it to the bathroom and knelt with his head over the toilet. Bella followed and began to rinse a cloth in readiness. When he was able to stand, she carefully wiped his face clean.
She led him back into the room with her hand covering his eyes and straight into the bedroom. She sat him on the bed and said, “You’re not intending to use the kitchen again are you?”
He shook his head.
Back in the room, she switched on the computer and then dragged the bodies into the kitchen. She returned to the bathroom and examined her arm in the mirror. It was nothing more than a burn so she washed it and covered it with a plaster from the cabinet.
She returned to the computer and tapped a few keys. The screen went black and then an hour glass appeared.
Arnold was sitting on the bed when she walked back into the bedroom. She said, “I hope your computer contained nothing sentimental that you wanted to keep because it has just self-destructed. Are you packed?”
He nodded and enquired, “Dimitrov?”
“He has been deleted.”
He pointed to his eye. “What was that in the….?
She opened her purse and took out one of her long tubular earrings. She unscrewed a cap and withdrew a ten centimetre steel spike. She said, “I had only one round remaining.” He winced and turned his head away.
On the way to the airport he said, “Nice car.”
She answered, “A gentleman kindly let me borrow it.”
When they had passed through security Arnold began to relax. The four hours passed slowly until his flight but finally the queue formed and she hugged him close and kissed him. Her dark eyes held his as she whispered, “I’ll come and visit you soon and we can try some positions I learned in India.”
She waved back to him as he disappeared along the corridor.
The morning was grey and drizzly as the young woman walked along Lombard Street. She passed under some low scaffolding and a workman stopped his task to watch her as she turned into the bank entrance. The door at the far end of the hall was marked ‘Staff only’ and the lock clicked open when she swiped her card. The corridor was quiet as she made her way to the private lift and pressed the button. When the lift opened at the lower basement level she walked the few paces to the heavy oak door and pressed her right palm against the scanner. She waited the few seconds for the camera to blink green and pushed the door open.
Miss Davies was wearing the same blue dress and without taking her eyes from her screen she said, “You’re late but Madam said go right in.”
Bella passed by without comment and entered the other room. She sat down and crossed one leg over the other.
Madam stared at her impassively and then said, “You have accomplished your task and I am satisfied. However it was rather untidy. Was it absolutely necessary to exterminate most of the male population?”
She received no answer.
Madam folded her hands and said, “Now let’s get to the important bit. What have you done with Mister Simpson?”
“He has moved.”
“You have defied my specific instructions and that is a serious offence. Bella, you are not completely irreplaceable.”
Bella uncrossed her leg and leaned forward. “Now let me tell you something Madam. I do my job because I am also keen to rid the world of evil bastards. But I don’t kill innocent beings who pose absolutely no threat to the organisation. Furthermore, if you ever send anyone after me, I will return them to you in pieces.”
Madam listened without a trace of expression.
Bella continued, “And one more thing; I’ve taken out some insurance. I have many friends around the world who are sympathetic to the cause and I am in contact with them regularly. If they were to stop hearing from me, they would assume that I had passed away in unexplained circumstances. Their computers would immediately begin to broadcast information about Trove; every name, every agent and every benefactor. Criminal organisations around the world will be most interested. So Madam, I suggest you say a prayer for me every day.”
Madam remained rigidly upright. “Have you finished?”
Bella leaned back in the chair and crossed her leg again. “I just want us to understand each other. Do you have another job for me?”
“Not at the moment so that will be all thank you. I will be in touch.”
As Bella got to the door, Madam said quietly, “Please cross the road carefully.”
As she walked back into the outer office she paused at the desk. Miss Davies immediately put her hands over her ears and said, “I’m not listening.” Bella smiled and left the office.
The workman looked down again as the young woman passed under him. As she walked away she wriggled her bottom and he laughed and called after her, “Yeah, nice one.”