Daniel was back in the cafe, awaiting Red’s arrival.
She was late.
This had begun to worry Daniel a little, as Red had never been late to any of their meetings before and with the information he had been passed today, he couldn’t help but wonder whether the two were related.
He nursed one cup of tea, then another and still she didn’t arrive.
“Tick tock tick tock. Come on Red, where are you?” he said as the third cup of tea was delivered.
“You waiting for someone love or do you wanna order now?” The comely waitress said to him through a cloud of cigarette smoke.
Daniel sighed and flicked a piece of cigarette ash onto the floor. “I’ll have the usual please Mavis, my friend seems to be very late.”
Mavis nodded and wandered back to the kitchen, dropping little piles of ash the whole way. Daniel had never seen the kitchen and to be honest, was quite pleased he hadn’t, he probably would have to find somewhere else to eat if he did.
His food arrived a short while later, he ate and was getting up to pay, when in through the curtained front door burst Red.
The response Daniel had received from his boss, was exactly what Daniel had expected to happen. A cold stony silence, followed, after some awkward staring, by a terse “Get out.” Daniel wasn’t scared, because he knew that he knew the truth and he knew that his boss knew, that he knew the truth and that truth would get out, if anything were to happen to Daniel. All Daniel had to do now, was wait and that was something that Daniel could do.
Daniel was raised from his mild revelry by a ringing telephone. Daniel hated the telephone, it was a modern plastic thing with buttons and a horrible electronic ringer. He had much preferred his old phone, but progress was progress. He picked up the receiver and held it to his ear.
“Switch on scrambler.” The voice said at the other end.
Daniel switched the microswitch on the side of the phone that engaged the scrambler circuit.
“Good.” Daniel recognised the voice of the CIA London station chief and his heart leapt into his mouth.
“We need you to bring forward the day of action, the target’s behaviour has changed. We think he may have found something out.”
Charles was stood, as one does at the funeral of one’s wife, at the front of the church, looking upon a sea of people. Some that he half recognised, half that he somewhat recognised and none that he really wanted to see now. However as the husband of the dead wife, tradition, if nothing else, dictated that he must say some words and this is why Charles was stood at the front of the church.
“Judy and I, although meeting later in my life, had a joyous, loving, relationship and were gifted with our son, the wonderful Daniel. To have her so cruelly snatched away from me, in such awful circumstances, is something I would not wish on even my most dire enemy and I urge all of you, to go home today and make sure your loved ones know how you truly feel, as I never had the chance to do this with dear Judy.” Charles nodded once and stepped down from the lectern, which was soon filled by the presence of the vicar.
Charles’ speech had been somewhat from the heart, but in truth it had been written by his sister, who was far better at these things.
Charles woke up. For a brief moment he thought it was Sunday morning, then he quickly remembered the terrifying descent to the ground and that this definitely was not Sunday morning. He tried to open his eyes, becoming aware of the familiar metallic taste of blood in his mouth. Only one eye seemed to open, he moved a hand up to his face and was met with the warm glue of blood. He blinked a few times and slowly the vision came back, as the blood that had pooled cleared from his eyelid.
“Christ, I knew to not trust these bloody things.” He said to no one, whilst scrabbling around for his harness release.
He hadn’t thought this action through however and as soon as the clip was released, he was deposited roughly on to the ground, on his head. He was shortly followed by his cousin, who fell out of the plane several feet behind him, their eyes meeting as they lay on the cold ground.
A few moments later, the surviving pilot appeared on the ground next to Charles.
“Well I guess this means we are walking.” Said Charles gingerly standing up.
“Welcome back Charles, nice of you to return finally.”
“Hello Katherine, yes it is indeed nice to return. May I introduce you to Miss Alexa Alberforce. Alexa, meet my sister Kath.”
“Well it is mighty nice to meet you Kath. Charles has told me all about you.”
“Yes I am quite sure he has, all complimentary I am sure? So what are you doing here Miss Alberforce? Come to see the English weather?”
“Alexa will be staying with us for a while Kath. We met on the liner on the way over to New York, she showed me the city and I am going to return the favour.”
“And where will Miss Alber, apologies, Alexa be staying Charles? I have seen the staff getting one of the guest bedrooms ready.”
Charles could see the glint in Kath’s eye, she knew exactly what she was doing. She didn’t however know how fierce Alexa could be and before he could answer, the two had faced off.
“I will be staying with Charles in his bedroom, the same as he has been staying with me in mine.” Alexa quipped.
“Well I am sure Cook will be absolutely fine with that, won’t she Charles?”
“Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock Charles old chap, come on, must think of a plan soon.” Charles was talking to himself, sat in the dark, in a chair by a fire, that had gone out many hours ago. He was thumbing the well worn locket of his first wife that he wore for good luck and had put away the best part of half a bottle of scotch.
Tomorrow was the funeral for his second wife and unless something happened during the day, the trail of the man who was seemingly bent on revenge had gone cold. To all intents and purposes the man was dead. There were no traces of him other than the notes Charles had received and Charles most definitely was at a loss of what to do next.
This made Charles incredibly angry. He’d built a career out of knowing what to do next and now here he was, alone, having lost two wives, on the verge of being an old man, with a young son that he had no idea how to raise and an enemy that he couldn’t see, let alone begin to fight.
“Well, when you can’t fight, may as well sleep.”