Friday 1st August
I was standing at the graveside of the department’s most recently deceased operative. As a unit, we hadn’t existed long, but we had an unbelievable rate of attrition. I looked up across the cemetery, and something caught my eye.
A woman dressed in black was standing not far away at a grave, but I had a feeling I’d seen her before. I was convinced that she’d been the same mourner who had stood nearby when I’d attended the funerals of two other colleagues. One had been buried two weeks before, and one a month earlier.
If I hadn’t thought to look at her again, I would have missed the next episode in the performance. The woman nodded at the gravestone to her front, lifted her veil with both hands, and then raised her right hand to her face. I could see that she was wearing black gloves, but I thought she had something in her hand. She looked across the fifty yards distance at our small group.
She wasn’t wiping her eyes, she had taken pictures of my companions and me with her phone.
I lost concentration for a moment as the minister a few feet away raised his voice. I glanced up. The woman in black was definitely the same one as previously. It wasn’t merely her walk, but her posture both when walking and standing still. She was … elegant. As she walked away, she didn’t take a final long look at the grave she’d attended, which most people would do. She did glance over her shoulder towards us.
The graveside send-off was still underway so it would have been disrespectful for me to leave. I looked across the assortment of headstones a couple of times—the woman went along the gravel path which ran beside a drystone wall. The path near the wall led to the rear of the cemetery, and I had never been there. I wasn’t sure if there were an exit. What I did know was that the woodland on the other side of the wall was dense—hardly a space showed between the trees.
I crossed myself when the casket was lowered into place, and our small group of mourners had each thrown a token handful of dirt, causing a rippling effect. Carl had been a good guy—at least in my opinion. Of course, so too had Barney and Jack, both gone so recently. A sequence of fatalities the likes of which our small department had suffered could not be a coincidence.
“Are you coming for a couple of drinks to send him off, Mark?”
“No, Ian, I’ll catch up with you guys later,” I said. “I have something I have to check out.”
* * *
In my line of work, it shouldn’t have troubled me, but running in a cemetery seemed wrong. After the funeral, when the other mourners went for a drink, I headed to the drystone wall and the gravel path. Before reaching the path, I paused to look at the gravestone where the woman in black had been standing.
“Holy shit.” I read the details of the deceased. After a glance back at my associates who were all leaving the place, I set off along the path where the woman had gone.
By the time I’d covered one hundred yards and descended down the hill, it occurred to me that I was already out of sight of the main burial ground. I’d arrived in an area which only had those old gravestones with engraving that a person might find hard to decipher. This was the oldest and least maintained part of the place. There would be no witnesses to what might happen next.
I stepped away from the pathway to look farther along the wall, and sure enough, there was a wooden gate about fifty yards away. The woman had been wearing high heels—how the hell did she get so far so quickly and then disappear? I walked on until I reached the gate and pushed—no movement. I tried again—the gate was stuck fast.
“What the f—” I looked in disbelief at the padlock and chain on the sturdy old wooden structure. The padlock looked like something from before time began, and the chain was more rust than metal, but both looked as if they hadn’t been disturbed in a long time.
On the other side, in the grass, I could see a series of holes where high heels had sunk. “How?”
A glance over both shoulders assured me I was alone. I unbuttoned my jacket and climbed over carefully. Before my feet touched the ground, the darkness of the dense woodland was apparent. How could I have climbed a gate and stepped from a bright sunny day and a few paces later find myself in a scene from a horror movie?
I had only walked about twenty paces when it occurred to me that I should have seen more of the telltale signs of stiletto heels—but no. When I heard the chain rattling behind me, I pressed my back against a large tree, drew my automatic, quickly pulled back on the breech slide and stepped out. Nothing.
Simultaneously something hard touched the nape of my neck, and a blade was held against my throat. I froze—compromised.
“Well done,” a woman’s voice whispered. “Killing you for reacting would be regrettable.”
I swallowed hard and felt the cold wafer of steel caress my throat—no room for error. “Who are you?”
“That’s not important right now—what is important is that you move your right arm forward very slowly and let your weapon fall to the ground.”
She was holding all the cards. I followed the instructions and maintained the pose with both arms away from my body. Acceptance of the passive role might save my life. “If not your identity, can you tell me why I’m a breath away from having my throat cut?”
“I want to ask you a few questions, and I had to know there would be no knee-jerk reactions or heroics.”
“You have my word—I understand you could have finished me already, so I’ll play by your rules.” I kept my arms stretched, fingers extended. “If I move my feet apart you’ll be assured that I can’t retaliate.”
“Good drills—go on, but slowly.”
I moved my feet apart, conscious of the razor-sharp knife threatening my windpipe. I was also wary, because ‘Good drills’ wasn’t a phrase used by regular people.
“When I take the knife away, I want you to turn away from me slowly and hug the tree.” The woman paused. “Just in case you think it’s a bluff, the item behind your neck is the business-end of a Walther 9mm.”
“Okay, I can do tree-hugging.”
That was how I met Tina—using her strange but effective technique of gun and knife.
* * *
Tuesday 4th August
Covert operation is a profession fraught with danger. When three personnel are mysteriously killed in a short space of time, the focus tends to turn inwards, both to the remaining individuals for theories and for the survival of the team. For the next seventy-two hours after the most recent funeral, I had a lot of looking inwards to do.
I drove from Leicester to the market town of Loughborough for my next meeting with Tina. When I arrived in the town centre, I employed the usual counter-surveillance measures. I went into large shops with more than one level, and on one occasion, I took a taxi for a ten-minute journey to drop me only a few streets away. I found the most difficulty in trying to find a place which allowed me to observe without being seen. When satisfied that I hadn’t acquired a tail, I made my way to the rendezvous.
I was five yards away from the place when my mobile buzzed—an unknown number.
“Hello.” I was giving nothing away.
“No more taxi rides needed.” Tina’s voice. “From your present location, turn left into the narrow pedestrian precinct, walk fifty yards and mine is a latte.”
I glanced at the phone in disbelief before I surveyed the large numbers of people walking around nearby. A smile played over my lips as I set off, prepared to buy the coffees. I had to admit that this woman was good. No; she was excellent.
“Hi,” I said as Tina slid into the booth and nodded for me to move around.
She slid along with her back to the wall so that she could watch the entrance. Tina was wearing a smart jacket, a blouse and a skirt which made her look normal … a grey character among so many other people.
“Thank you.” She lifted her latte and sipped. “I’ll cut to the chase. I believe that two more of your team are being set up to die, and you are one of them.”
“I’m not going to insult your intelligence by asking how you know about the people I work with, because you obviously have a good source.”
Tina gave a slow nod. “That’s good. I’d like you to think back two months to an operation in which you took part in Belgium.”
She would register the recognition in my eyes even if I tried to shield my reaction. “Okay, I’ve taken part in operations in Europe, and Belgium was one of the places.” When she raised an eyebrow expecting more, I delivered. “An arms shipment for the Ministry of Defence comes to mind.”
“I accept that it’s in your nature and you’ve been trained not to offer up information. If it will help you to accept that I am well-versed in that particular mission, there were five of you involved. Your team were the covert escort for a container lorry which left from the arms factory, Fabrique Nationale.”
I nodded and listened.
“The container was loaded with ten tons of heroin, lined up for export to the UK.”
I shook my head, but Tina nodded slowly and continued.
“The top of every crate was layered with weapons or ammunition. The armament on the top layer, plus the designated number of items were sufficient to disguise the real cargo and its value. The weight of each crate was measured. It would be the same as the weight of the number of weapons or ammunition listed on the outside.”
“You’re sure … there were ten tons—”
She nodded again. “You had one person in an unmarked car to the front, one in the cab of the truck with the driver and two people in a car at the rear. On the motorway, the truck followed the lead car into a large roadside services area on the way to the docks at Zeebrugge.”
I nodded. She had good intel on the mission. “Yes. I was in the rear car, and when we stopped in the massive car park, I was confused. The briefing was to ensure the container didn’t make any stops until it reached the port.”
“Okay, what happened in the services area?”
“The Belgian truck driver went to the cafe. Barney who’d been the escort in the truck, got out, but he stood around and waited beside the vehicle.”
“It was a massive shipment so somebody must have voiced their concerns to your leader about stopping before reaching the port.”
“Yes, I did. I could see where Charles had parked so I left Jack with our car and walked in between the lines of parked container lorries to get close to the boss’s car. He met me between a couple of trucks, and after a brief discussion, he said he’d received a call from the top brass that we had to make a brief stop. He said that there was new intelligence about a possible hijack of the cargo. To make the stop look natural, he’d nodded for the Belgian driver to go and have a brew.”
“How did you react to that information?”
“I insisted that it didn’t sound right. I reminded Charles about his promise that we’d have support from the Belgian authorities if anything was highlighted. He said the support team was otherwise engaged.”
“Didn’t that sound a bit suspect to you?”
“Yes, and I suggested I went into the cafe to check up on the driver. Charles said we should just observe and when the driver came out of the cafe to continue, we’d keep both of our cars behind the truck.”
“What was his reasoning if you had one in front and one behind so far?”
“He said that the threat had changed and he wanted us to amend our tactics.”
“Right, so you went back to your car to observe the truck where Barney was waiting for the driver?”
“Yes, but I was still suspicious of a late instruction with such a valuable cargo of weapons.”
“Okay, so what happened when the truck driver left the cafe?”
“The driver was in overalls, and it looked like the same guy as he came out of the cafe. He walked across to the truck, and when he looked around, I recognised him. It’s one of those things I spot easily. I can recognise somebody in dim lighting just by their posture when they’re on the move.”
“If it wasn’t the original truck driver who was it?”
“He had a false beard and a shoulder-length wig, but it was Ian, the guy who stood next to me at the funeral a couple of days ago.”
“Didn’t the man with you recognise Ian?”
“Jack, no. He accepted the general appearance of the man he thought was the Belgian.”
“What happened next?”
“I watched closely. Barney had been travelling in the front of the truck, and up close. He’d have recognised Ian as he approached, even if he was disguised to look like the driver.”
“Did you get the impression that Barney recognised Ian?”
“Barney said something and then held his hands out palm upwards, you know like asking what the hell was going on. Anyway, Barney couldn’t have been happy with the reply because he walked away towards the boss’s car. He paused, turned and said something to Ian.”
“Right, so at this point, you and Jack were still at your car a distance away, Barney was walking towards Charles, your boss, and Ian, dressed as the driver, was stood beside the truck?”
“Yes for about two minutes. Barney was in conversation at the car with Charles, so I asked Jack to pay a quick visit to the transport cafe to see if he could see our driver. I just said that I thought there was a lookalike being used and Jack ran off to do as I asked.”
“Why didn’t you go yourself if you were so sure?”
“Jack was fluent in French, so he’d be more benefit in a place like that. Anyway, while he was away, that’s when Ian jumped into the cab of the truck and set off alone.”
“What did Charles and Barney do when that happened?”
“Charles held up an open hand to signal that I should follow in five minutes, which was fortunate because I was waiting for Jack to return.”
“Okay, so Ian headed off with the truck and was quickly followed by Charles and Barney?”
“Yes, and it was a few minutes before my partner came running back. He said he was walking through the cafeteria to the toilets when a guy came out shouting about a dead bloke lying in there. Jack went along and confirmed it was our original driver, and then he had to act calmly to get out of the building without causing a fuss.”
“How long was it before you and Jack were on the motorway chasing after the other car and the truck?”
“It couldn’t have been more than five or six minutes, and I was doing about a hundred miles per hour just to get within tailing distance. It was a plain white container with no logos or names, so it would be easy to spot. After a few minutes at high speed, we realised he had left the services area and took the first exit.”
“How long was it before contact was made with Charles or Barney?”
“I was driving so it made sense for Jack to make the call and he tried to reach Barney, knowing that Charles would be driving. For five minutes, there was nothing, and then we got a call from Charles to say something terrible had happened. He gave us map coordinates and said we should hurry.”
“Did Jack tell you what was said on the phone, or did you hear it?”
“I heard the whole conversation because Jack had his phone on speaker for my benefit.” I paused as I recalled arriving at the scene. “We’d reached a a road junction in the middle of nowhere, and there were nothing but fields around us. Charles’ car was nosedived into a ditch and on fire. He was a few metres away in the bushes trying to stop the bleeding from a wounded arm.”
“Where was Barney at this point?”
“Charles said that Barney was in the front of the car with two bullets in him and the windscreen had a multitude of holes in it. He couldn’t afford the authorities to find the body or the car intact. From what Charles told us, they’d been tailing the truck at a safe distance until it suddenly stopped. Charles said he stopped about fifty metres behind the truck. He said both the truck and the car were fired on from the left side with automatic weapons. The truck was taken, complete with Ian still at the wheel.”
“This is the same Ian who was at the graveyard with you a few days ago?”
“Yes, we found him in the middle of the road with head injuries.”
“But nothing life-threatening?”
“No,” I said. “It sounds as if you’re as sceptical as I am about the ambush and hijack.”
“Did you raise questions at the time?”
“I raised questions at the time and since. I pointed out for example, that a proper ambush doesn’t leave survivors, and a hijack crew usually has its own driver.”
“How were your queries met?”
“Jack agreed with me, but Charles said he survived because he played dead. Ian reckoned he survived because he leapt from the truck at a road junction and got into a field full of crops. He said the hijackers drove off with the truck escorted by their car. They didn’t try to search for him.”
“Did you find the truck?”
“No, and we did drive ahead to look for it for two hours.”
“Surely it had a tracking device fitted somewhere?”
“It did, but it was deactivated at some point after the hijack—not only did they know it was fitted, they must have known where.”
“You remember the whole thing clearly, I see. You’ll remember who else was in your team.”
“Yes. We buried Kev just the other day. It was Kev’s funeral I was attending when I saw you—” I could see her nodding as the realisation hit me. “He was the third operative we’ve lost in a short time, and the other two had been involved in that Belgian mission.”
“Where was Kev on the Belgian job?”
“He was waiting on the UK side to team up with the driver in the truck. It was then supposed to go straight to a military barracks in north London.”
“How did he die?”
“About ten days ago he had an accident at home. He was doing some kind of repair and took a hit from a live cable. He was rushed to a hospital, and within twenty-four hours he had a massive heart attack, and we lost him.”
“Do you know what Kev was before he joined covert operations?”
“No idea, and he never discussed what he did previously.”
“Kev was an electrical engineer, Mark. The chances of him being caught out with a safety issue doing electrical work are pretty low. Was he in a ward at the hospital?”
“No, Charles … the boss, insisted that he got the best treatment and organised a private room.”
Tina nodded. “Let’s go back to the Belgian fiasco. How did the car catch fire with Barney inside but Charles had escaped?”
“As I said, it was Charles who torched and suggested abandoning the car with Barney inside. It took a couple of weeks, but at the insistence of somebody higher up the chain than Charles, a few diplomatic strings were pulled. Barney’s remains were shipped back to the UK for burial.” I lifted my coffee but put it down again. “A couple of weeks ago we lost Jack in a road accident.”
“Remind me, which part did Jack play in the Belgian operation?”
“He was in the rear escort car with me.”
“What did Jack do before he joined your team?”
“He was with the Metropolitan Special Protection unit. I think he mainly did … driving duties.” I squinted at Tina.
“Let me guess. It was your boss, Charles, who told you about the accident report?”
I nodded. “Those of us still in the team questioned how a driver like Jack could have crashed. Charles said that Jack’s car crashed because of a mechanical defect.”
“But you didn’t see the report or the wreckage?”
“No. Jack’s car had gone off a cliff edge when he was on a solo … surveillance operation.”
“Who would have briefed him and known his whereabouts?”
Tina nodded. “Which brings us back to you and the final members of that team.”
“The only ones left are Ian and me, plus Charles, of course.”
“The team was put together as a short-term trial, and there are now only three of you. Has Charles said what is to happen regarding replacement people for those lost?”
“No, all he’s told Ian and me is that we have to lie low. He believes a rogue agent is trying to wipe out the entire team.”
“If you ask me, whoever it is, looks to be doing a damn good job.”
“Yes, I’d agree.” I nodded. She seemed to know a lot about the team.
“Surely, Charles has confided in you two regarding any theories he has about the killer?”
I sipped my coffee and met her gaze, thinking that I didn’t have much to lose. She’d spared my life, and arranged to meet me in this public place. Apart from anything else, she knew more about the Belgian mission than I did, and I had taken part in it.
“Mark, I can tell by your expression that you’re undecided about what to tell me. I’m assuming that you have been given the name of a suspect.”
“That’s the name Charles gave us. He said that a hostile operative with the codename Shadow was responsible for the annihilation of our team.”
“Well, I suppose Shadow sounds creepy enough. Have you any intel on this character?”
“Nothing yet. Charles has told both Ian and me to keep a low profile for the next week. We’re not reporting to the agency, and we’ve not to meet up. We’re not to get together, with Charles or anyone we know from our original departments.”
“What were you both in previously?”
“I was MI5, and Ian was MI6.”
“Did you know that the men who hijacked the truck are also dead?”
I nodded. “I know that the day after we got back to the UK there was a burnt-out wreck found in a wood in Belgium.” I shook my head slowly. “It was a car containing four bodies. This is becoming a high body count. How do you know about them?”
“It’s my job.”
“I’ve felt compelled to trust you because you could have killed me at the cemetery. Now I’ve told you all I know, is there anything you can tell me about what happens next?”
“I need you to continue trusting me, Mark. I’ll be in touch within forty-eight hours, and in the meantime, if you hear from Charles or Ian, don’t respond. Don’t leave here for five minutes after I’ve gone.”
I moved around the bench seat in the booth just in time to see her leave. I waited for five minutes before I left.
* * *
Wednesday 5th August
A text came from Tina late in the afternoon.
‘THE OLD BUNKER. TMRW. TIME TBC.’
As soon as I read the message, I imagined the location. It was a ruin in the middle of dense woodland and challenging to reach because there was no beaten path. I recalled the first time I’d seen it I’d been impressed by those who would have used the place. In 1943, there was already a network of resistance fighters in locations around the country. All of them were regular citizens who’d been trained in the use of explosives and weapons. The fervent hope was that the Nazis wouldn’t make it to our shores, but if they did, they’d be hen-pecked by a nationwide resistance movement.
The Old Bunker as it was called had been discovered with weapons, ammunition and explosives all secured within. Instead of being emptied after the war, it had sat there in the woodland until found by accident. The theory was that the two or three people who knew about it must have been killed in a bombing raid. Their secret stash was never removed—until it had been reported in 1965.
It was a fitting location for a secret meeting, but I wondered why Tina would want to meet in such a place. I’d be there because I wanted to know what this strange woman knew about the person who’d murdered my colleagues. I had less than twenty-four hours to make any preparations. I grabbed my automatic and a map before setting off.
The woodland in which the bunker was situated was massive and offered a choice of five small car parking areas, spread well apart around the perimeter of the forestry. I drove past the first three and parked in the fourth small parking area. I left sufficient space for another two cars to park.
Following thirty minutes of slow and steady progress, I got to within twenty metres of the war-time relic. Even at such a close distance, it was hard to make out the remnants of the building. It was overgrown to the point that it looked as if it was created from greenery. Half of the roof had collapsed and, of course, there had never been any windows. A few bricks were missing here and there where nature had insisted on breaking through. The door was long gone, and the wooden frame was giving up the fight, eaten away and rotting.
I looked inside at a space which would probably take no more than eight people standing. A few parts of the inner walls had given up the effort, and large clumps of greenery were flourishing. Some looked as if they’d been planted on tiny shelves at various heights. Hardly a patch of the old wall could be seen.
I left the ruin and spent twenty minutes looking around the area for a good hiding place for my gun. When I was happy with my preparations, I went via the same route I’d used to get in. Tina gave the impression that she knew all there was to know and she’d used me to confirm a few things, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
* * *
Thursday 6th August
When it got to half past six in the evening, I thought I’d be getting a text from Tina to cancel the meeting, and then a possible reason struck me. I fixed myself a coffee and waited. My theory was confirmed when I saw the time on the text.
’ 20.00. ALONE. UNARMED.’
As I grabbed my jacket, I was glad I’d dealt with my preparations on the previous night. It would take me at least forty-five minutes to reach the nearest parking space to my approach route. If traffic was kind to me, I’d be able to get around and park where I’d parked on the night before. At least that way I’d have some idea where I was going on the way in.
Five metres from the ruin where it was denser, I slowed and tried to see if Tina was already there. I could just make out the darker shape of the ruin and walked forward. I reminded myself not to underestimate the woman, and I thought back to the woodland next to the cemetery.
“Stop there, Mark.” Tina had spoken quietly but clearly from nearby, but I couldn’t see her.
I stopped near the misshapen old doorway, slowly raised my hands in surrender and waited.
“Very slowly with forefingers and thumbs open your jacket and let it fall off.”
I did as I was told and let my jacket land on the heavy undergrowth.
The calm voice continued, “Now with your hands held high again, perform a slow three-sixty turn for me.”
I raised my hands and complied, taking tiny steps as I started to turn through a complete circle. When I was facing away from her, and towards the doorway, I held back a gasp when I saw Ian and the boss, Charles, both standing inside the old ruin—hands held high. I realised that I wasn’t the only one who’d been having private meetings with this deadly efficient woman.
None of us spoke, and I continued my pirouette until I faced Tina again. Her choice of weapon on this occasion I noted was a Browning 9mm, more powerful than the Walther PPK she’d had at our first meeting.
“Now, pick up your jacket and join the other two inside,” Tina said.
I squatted slowly and grabbed my jacket. As I stepped towards the door, I tripped and landed on all fours, my hands and arms deep among the tangled greenery near the doorway.
“Get up slowly,” Tina said. “Don’t be in such a hurry. Go inside and stand between the other two.”
I got up and slowly pulled on my jacket before stepping through the doorway, but I still didn’t speak to the other two guys. I took my place and turned, like them, to face outwards with my hands raised.
“This is where it becomes interesting.” Tina stepped forward so that she was two paces from the doorway. “One of you is a murdering traitor.”
I turned to look at Charles and then Ian, and both looked at me and then each other.
There was a low buzzing from inside Tina’s black leather jacket.
“Damn it,” she muttered and glanced down as she reached into a pocket to lift out her phone.
Ian pushed both Charles and me aside and dived at the rotting brickwork of the inner wall. I was still trying to disentangle myself from Charles when I saw Ian retrieve a gun from within the mass of foliage in the brickwork. He turned and fired twice at Tina when he landed on the floor.
Tina calmly slipped her mobile phone into her jacket pocket, shook her head slowly and took aim at Ian. She fired once, hitting him in the abdomen.
“Fuck—” Ian rolled onto his back, clutching the wound with one hand and grimacing while he fired at Tina again and again.
I remained seated on the floor beside Charles, both of us looking from Ian to Tina, but neither of us making an effort to move.
“They’re blanks, Ian, or should I call you Ivan?” Tina said. “You can groan as much as you like, but you won’t be out here long enough to die. I think when these people get your wound sorted they’ll have a few questions for you.” She turned to me. “If he starts to look comfortable, you could put another hole in him with your Walther, Mark.”
I gave her a blank look.
“The one you hid in the undergrowth last night.” She grinned. “You picked it up when you tripped earlier with your jacket. Unlike Ian’s gun, I didn’t exchange your ammunition for duds. Yours is okay too, Charles, but out of reach. That’s why I told you and Ian where to stand when you arrived. I needed you both on the opposite sides of this little place to where you’d hidden your guns.”
Charles shook his head. “How long were you here yesterday if you managed to see all three of us turning up at different times?”
“I was here all night. Now, Charles, from the beginning of the Belgian operation were you taking instructions from the man who was truly running your new department?”
“Yes, I was told when we were set up that I’d never meet the man who set up our missions.”
“Ian is the man with the muffled voice who’s been instructing you. He had you shoot Barney by telling you that he was the person who’d killed your other operatives. It was Ian who killed the Belgian driver in the toilets at the roadside stop. Ian also suggested that the three of you shouldn’t meet for two weeks after Carl’s funeral.”
Charles nodded. “He was going to set us up during the two weeks while we were keeping a low profile?”
“Yes, and having seen how he operates, I imagine he would have contacted you separately. He’d have sent you to meet each other, probably saying that you’d meet the traitor.”
I said, “He would use one of us to kill the other and then he could finish the job.”
“Precisely, Mark. Anyway, you’ve lost some good people. If any good has come of this, we’ve now uncovered a double-agent. He has infiltrated one too many departments and killed one too many agents.”
“What about the shipment?” Charles said.
She kicked Ian. “This slime ball had it parked in the cargo area of Oostende docks. Last night it was retrieved and is now being searched by a specialised forensic unit in Brussels.”
I said, “I don’t suppose Tina is your real name, and you’re going to tell us who you work for?”
The dark-haired beauty smiled and slowly shook her head. She lifted out her phone, pressed a key and held the device up to her ear. She waited for a response and then said, “Shadow—job done. Old Bunker.” She slipped her phone away, and then holstered her automatic inside her jacket under her left arm. “A team with a van will be here in the next ten minutes to help you with that.” She nodded towards the groaning traitor. “Goodnight, gentlemen.” Ten seconds later, the sound of undergrowth being moved aside faded. Apart from the hole in Ian’s gut, nobody would have known the woman had been there.
Selected from Shadow: and other stories