The fact that she was not beautiful had evaded the mans attention completely. She had long locks of red curly hair, and the bluest eyes he had ever seen, but despite this her mouth was, in reality, too large, her nose was crooked, and her jaw line had a rather masculine touch to it.
And yet she oozed sexuality. In every conceivable way, the man knew that he wouldn`t be going home alone tonight. She was a sure thing, and the sly smile she wore, the way she constantly touched the exposed part of her cleavage lightly with her fingertips, and the way her tongue gently brushed her lips – all told that she knew it as well as he did.
The restaurant itself was nothing fancy, large front windows, French food, and an average selection of wines. He was eating steak. Not the best he`d ever had, but he wasn`t here for the food tonight, and if it had been the very finest Aberdeen Angus steak, it probably would have tasted the same to him that night – his appetites were elsewhere. The woman ate a simple salad, though to be fair that was only prodded around her plate, and she seemed to get more enjoyment out of the wine (a bottle of Chianti) and the basket of bread she had requested.
Finally he put down his cutlery. "Shall we go?" He asked, convinced it was merely a matter of time before she came with him anyway, but impatient now to move towards the final act of the evening.
"I`d like that," she replied, her voice deep and husky.
The man who hadn`t noticed that the woman he was dining with was not beautiful, the man who would never realise she was not beautiful, raised his hand for the bill. The first bullet took him low – a gut shot. It came at the same time as a small chink announced it`s arrival through the front plate glass window. The sound of the bullet itself arrived half a second later, indicating to anyone with the knowledge that the shot had been taken from well over 500 meters. But no one there knew this - no one cared.
It was nothing more than bad luck that the woman sat directly behind the man was killed instantly as her lower spine was literally removed with the force of such a high calibre high velocity round striking her. Her husband who sat opposite her was in mid conversation with her when all of a sudden the lights went out of her eyes forever.
The second round came just over a second later. It struck the man higher in the chest this time, and though the first shot had effectively turned the mans guts inside out and would have proved fatal anyway, the second saved him minutes of agony and killed him before his brain had fully registered the impact of the first bullet.
The fact that two patrons had just had their lives extinguished in such a violent fashion quickly registered on the remaining customers. Fearing a psychopathic killer was taking pot shots at them through the window, many of the panicked, screaming and fighting their way to the rear of the restaurant. Concerned solely with personal survival, not a single customer noticed that amidst the fear and confusion, two other customers calmly and efficiently left the building.
Detective Burke was perplexed. He paced the interview room, drawing deeply on a cigarette – his first in over two years. "This is unbelievable," he muttered. "May I ask why you didn`t come forward before now?"
It was two days since the shooting. The police had less than nothing to go on and the papers, as always, were having a field day at their expense.
The man sat calmly in the rigid plastic chair, his hands paced lightly on the cheap desk in front of him. "Whilst celebrating my seventh wedding anniversary, my wife had her fucking spine blown out in front of me. I think 48 hours to grieve is not asking too much. Besides which, I haven`t got much to give you – just an opinion, a hunch."
"I`ve been given only the briefest details of you background Mr Bailey…."
"That`s all you`ll be getting too!"
Burke nodded and sat down. "I thought that might be the case. So, tell me again."
"She was in on it, the woman. It was a hit, professional and as personal as you can get. If I had been sat where my wife was, if we had been sitting somewhere else even, she would be alive now, and I wouldn`t be here now talking to you."
Burke nodded again. He took a deep draw on the cigarette, looked at it as though noticing it for the first time, and stubbed it out. "That`s it?"
"What more do you want?"
"Description of the woman?"
Bailey nodded. "I know the routine. Age, build, clothes, distinguishing marks…. I can go through it with an artist."
Burke pulled a face. "I`m going to have to do some digging, find out if there is anything that might support your theory. It`s not exactly a common occurrence nowadays."
"Maybe it was a one off, something very personal. But if it`s a team, a hit squad, there will be others – there probably has been already. You know where I am. I`d like to be kept informed if that`s OK."
"You know what bothers me the most Mr Bailey?"
Bailey didn`t know. He simply stared at the policeman.
"I`m worried about what you are going to do!"
"I`ll make you a deal. You keep me informed, and I`ll do the same. That sound fair?"
"No Mr Bailey. I`m the policeman. Your proposal sounds dangerously like a threat to me, and I don`t think that`s wise – I don`t think it`s fair!"
The man rose slowly, and though his voice was controlled, there was anger and the sense of a frightening violence within him.
"I watched my wife die. She was killed Burke, because she sat behind some asshole who was targeted to be killed. No that doesn`t sound fair to me, because it isn`t fucking fair. Now you go and do your digging, and you check to see if I`m right. Because if I find I am right, and you`ve done nothing about it – well then you really can start worrying about what I`m going to do about it."
With that the man left the room. The interview had been terminated, and for the first time since he joined the police force, Burke realised he had met someone who`s authority and personality stood head and shoulders above his own. He watched Bailey quietly close the door, and knew that that man could be a very, very dangerous man to piss off.
Five days later, six people gathered in the briefing room. The session was intended to be more of a discussion than a briefing, but Burke realised that all eyes were on one man. And that man wasn`t him.
For himself Bailey knew that all the faces watching him were either wary or hostile. They knew nothing of him, and resented his presence. This was their ground – he was simply a stranger, and intruder.
"Right then," Burke began. "We all know why we`re here. So lets start to go over what we know. Unfortunately, it isn`t a lot, so I`m hoping that between us we`ll be able to come up with some more theories, some more lines of enquiry." All eyes were still on Bailey, and for second Burke found himself lost for words. But then an amazing thing happened. As if arranged, Bailey began to speak, and almost instantly he seemed to assume command over the entire room.
"You people may be wondering why I`m here. Well I`ll tell you." He nodded towards the lone female PC in the room as he continued. "Now I believe in equal rights, so if you`re not man enough to take the c the facts as they are then you can sue me latter. I am here because of nothing more than sheer bad luck. You may or may not know that my wife was an unfortunate victim at the last shooting. Now while that in itself gives me no more right to be present here today than other member of Joe public, I may be able to offer some specialist expertise." He could see that he had yet to impress a single officer present, so he launched into a speech designed as much to shock as to impress.
"My name is sergeant major Jon Bailey. I am a warrant officer in the 22nd regiment, Special Air Service. I have served with the regiment for fifteen years, and I can assure you I have spent more time hiding in bushes with mud on my face, stinking of my own shit, piss and sweat, whilst watching some asshole terrorist go about normal everyday life, than you have spent nights out on the town. I fought in the Gulf war behind enemy lines; I evaded capture, did not get the shit kicked out of me, and hence did not write any best-selling books. I have fought wars in places in Africa that you wont even have heard of, and have trained soldiers from foreign armies varying from Israeli to Australian. I am cross-trained in explosives, telecommunications, and am a qualified field medic. I also speak excellent German, passable Chinese and can get by in Arabic. Are there any questions?"
The open hostility had turned to awe. Even Burke was suitably impressed. The WPC spoke up first. "That`s very impressive Mr Bailey. But what can you do for us in this instance?"
"Ah, I forgot to tell you," he said with a dramatic pause. "I also run the sniper training program for the SAS."
Without waiting for any further questions, Bailey continued as if the brief belonged entirely to him.
"Now what was said earlier isn`t exactly true. I believe we have plenty to go on, and if we toss it around in here a bit we`ll be able to dig up some more. So let`s go over what we`ve got. Your inspector here," he indicated Burke, "Has spent a week looking at other possible cases. We have almost twenty that could be attributed to our team."
"Team?" This by Bob Childs, Burkes ever-present sidekick.
"Yes, team, Bob." Said Burke. "Jon here believes the man and the woman are a team."
"As in ‘couple’?" asked the WPC.
"I think that`s a dangerous assumption to make," Bailey added carefully.
"Because the two relationships, business partners and intimate friends, attach different loyalties. The latter is far less stable on the whole, and is unpredictable. Business partners on the other hand, have set loyalties and always know their place. It`s more professional, and even if the two are sleeping together, the professional side will prevail outside of the bedroom every time. It`s best to think of the two as nothing more than work-mates."
Baileys audience seemed impressed by this, and there followed a moments quiet before someone asked what made Burke think that the other killing were connected, especially as only two of them had been by sniper fire.
"Good question," Bailey picked up immediately. "It`s true that whilst the two shootings are almost certainly connected, not all of the others may be. The reason they have been singled out is due to the other supporting evidence. Firstly there seems no motive for the attack. All victims were male, unattached, with no apparent grudges held against them. To a degree they were almost loners.
"Secondly, and just as importantly, there was the professionalism. Three killings by rifle fire, eight by close quarter assassination by handgun, an amazing and another eight, amazingly, by a single stab wound."
Folders were handed round to all present, giving the very basic details of all the murders they were looking at.
"But this is such a wide area!" Someone said. "Southampton to Northampton by the looks of it. How can we be sure?"
"We`re not sure of all of them," Burke interjected, trying to reassert control. "But the third fact that a woman was seen in the presence of all the men before the killings, but was never seen again is another thing we have to consider."
"Sounds to me like we`ve got a psycho on our hands… or a pair of them." Said Childs.
"Dangerous again," replied Bailey. I would put money on the fact that the killer at least is no psychopath. He`s a professional, well trained, and very thorough. He may get a momentary kick out of seeing the target go down, but that`s just a perk of his job, it`s not the reason he does it – and there`s a big difference."
"No there isn`t!" The WPC was quite adamant about that. "He`s a fucking whacko!"
"Do you get any kick, no matter how small, of seeing a criminal go down, of seeing the judge send him away?"
"Too right!" She replied.
"Would you still do you job if you stopped getting paid?" The pause was enough. "It`s the same with him. I guarantee you. The girl on the other hand, I cannot vouch for. In the mob we have laser sighting devices, I`ve used them myself. Point them at the target, watch the bombs hit home. She seems to be his marker. It`s highly likely that the killer will never have seen the mark – er, victim – until the point he takes him out. There`s no need, not with her standing or sitting next to him."
"But why are they all so public?" Childs asked. "We`ve got night-clubs, restaurants, pubs – even a fucking bowling alley! Why don`t they wait until he`s outside or something?"
Burke and Bailey looked at each other. Burke shrugged. "It`s a good point," he conceded.
"Well if you want my thoughts, it`s something to do with time-frame. I think the mark has to be hit at a certain time. Maybe the price is higher, but this guy is so cool he`s willing to walk into a club, take a guy out with a single, and very expert I must say, knife thrust. Or walk into a bowling alley and blow him off his feet as he`s getting up to bowl. There could well be something there that we`re missing."
The WPC spoke up again. "So what do we do to stop them? How can we catch them?"
Burke replied before Bailey could speak. "The only way I can think of is to somehow get in contact with one of them, probably the woman, and take out a contract. Which means we need some bait. Bob, I want you –"
"No fucking way boss. I`m not here to get my ass blown off for anybody!"
"Bob, calm down."
"Sod you boss. That`s easy for you to say. You won’t be walking around wondering if you going to die any second!"
"Yes I will Bob. I want you to take the contract out on me!"
Bob Childs relaxed. "Okay," he said.
After that they broke for some drinks. Bailey was surprised to see the WPC make a beeline for him, and after a few minutes she had divulged that her name was Ann Mathews, and that she had never met any soldiers before, and was impressed that the first one she had talked to was a sergeant major in the SAS.
"Don`t let all the books and films fool you," he said. "It`s not as glamorous as people think." But he could tell she wouldn`t be dissuaded by what she already took to be fact, so he let her be.
Back in the briefing room, Burke continued. "Now remember people, if you have any snitches out there, they had better be really careful about how they go about asking questions. We don`t want this blown!"
He walked to a computer terminal, the display of which was rigged up to project its image onto a large white screen at the front of the briefing room.
"Jon has given our artists a description of the girl, and it`s a good one. That aside, finding her is still going to be a problem. We don`t know if these people advertise their services, or whether it`ll just be a case of word of mouth within the right circles. Anyway, here`s the woman we`re looking for." With a click, the photofit of a woman appeared on the screen. It was in black and white, and had that awkward appearance of unreality that these pictures always had – in some cases they looked totally inhuman, but as Burke had said, Baileys description had been good enough to make the impression at least look believable.
From the back of the room, Childs suddenly said, "Oh fuck!"
All eyes turned to him. His face was white, his mouth hung open slightly in a look of utter disbelief.
"What the hell is the matter Bob?"
Childs shook his head slowly, not wanting to believe. "I have a date with that woman in three days time!" he said.
They were kind enough not to take him to an interview room, but Childs was still surprised at the speed at which he had turned from being a nobody into the possible key to the solution. He found for the first time what it felt liked to be probed by question, to have his answers analysed. He realised that nobody believed him one hundred percent, and were always looking for hidden meanings in what he told them.
"I can`t believe it," he kept saying. "Someone is going to try to kill me. What am I going to do?"
"We wont let them get to you Bob," Burke was saying. "We know about them… we`re on to them. We can use it all against them now!"
"There does seem to be an important fact you`re all overlooking though!" Bailey again – always Bailey.
Childs snorted. "Someone is trying to kill me! I could get shot, stabbed or God knows what in three days time. What the fuck is more important than that? What else is there that matters?"
"You`re right. You`ve been targeted. Someone is going to try and kill you. But why? Who`s is it that wants you dead Bob?"
And that was when it clicked. A small gasp escaped him, and he put his head in his hands. "Oh no," he said quietly.
For his part, Childs was scared to divulge any information at first. It was not that he had done anything particularly wrong – but it was private. He hadn`t held any information back either. If he had had closer contact with the individual cases, he might have known, maybe, what was going on. Would things be different then? Would he have come forward to speak? Who knew? They could only work with the way things had panned out, and by the end of the day they had pieced it all together.
It had been a singles party. Childs didn`t wish to go into too much detail about where his invite had originated, but it was through the Internet, that much they gathered. It transpired that the party was held at a couple`s house, big and luxurious. They obviously got their kicks from hosting such events, and though Childs stressed that they themselves did not get involved in any of the goings on which quickly occurred, they were keen voyeurs none the less.
Childs had got the impression that everyone invited was there for the first time. None of the guests knew each other, nor seemed to have met the hosts before. Only first names had been used, and even those were infrequent – chat was not generally what they had turned up for. Would he recognise any of the faces of the victims and be able to identify them as guests at the party? He doubted it. Though clearly embarrassed by this unexpected intrusion into his private life, Childs had to admit that it was only the women he`d paid any attention to.
"So what happened Bob? What went so wrong that you think one of the people present has started to eliminate the other male guests?"
"Well I`m guessing now you understand, but I think the host, Tess, was raped. It was an all night party you understand, but at some point during the night I think someone slipped some sort of substance into the hosts drinks."
"Drug rape?" Asked Burke. "But why? At a party where there is as much sex available as you could want, why rape anyone?"
Childs shrugged. "Maybe the guy wanted the one thing, the one person who wasn`t available. I don`t know. All I do know is that early o`clock, the guy, Andrew, starts ranting and raving and kicks everyone out. He seemed a little out of it, so I just thought he was coming down off something, hung over even."
"When really he was just pissed that his wife had been raped in his own house – whilst he was there! Could be enough to make him decide to bump them all off – who knows? The real question is, how are we going to handle it from here?"
"Well I`ll Tel you something," Bailey said. "Our killer is good. He`s very good. You start getting all "American" and swarming people around this restaurant that Bob`s supposed to be going to, and he`ll smell a rat straight away. If it`s OK with you, I`d like to go and check it out, see if I can work out his most likely plan of action."
Childs nodded. It made sense. Bailey didn`t look like a policeman if anyone was watching, and he knew better that any of them what he might be looking for.
"But it has cleared a nagging little problem up for me," Bailey said. "We were wondering why the victims had to be killed so publicly. I think our party hosts are there, every time."
"Holy shit!" Exclaimed Childs. "He could be right."
"There`s no other reason to keep risking so much. This sniping is one thing, but the close quarter assassinations are just too dangerous unless there is no other way, or there is a specific requirement for them. I think every killing has to be witnessed. Your party hosts were pretty cut up about this incident – and now they are paying to watch you all die!"
He dressed casually in jeans, sweatshirt and trainers – the sort of "uniform" he`d worn enough time on the streets in Ireland to know that you genuinely can blend in. He strolled down the street at a carefree pace, stopping to look in several shop windows, even forcing himself to go into some of the shops too, ever mindful that he could well be being watched himself.
But all the time he was recording, analysing, trying to work out how the killer would make this hit. At the restaurant itself he stopped to look through the window, pretending to judge the place as if wondering whether to dine there at some later stage. There were naturally several tables laid out as window seats, and he knew that one of them would certainly have been booked for Childs in two night`s time. Taking a step back, he now changed his focus to look at the reflection in the restaurant window, rather than turning to survey the buildings that faced it. Inwardly he grimaced. The fact was that there was certainly a place to get a shot from – the problem was that there were too many possibilities. An hotel opposite the restaurant gave no fewer than nine bay windows, three on each of three floors, all of which could be used by a man as good as the guy they were hunting.
So, think, he told himself. All of the rooms offered an angle of downward elevation to the target. A downward shot is far more difficult than an upward one, and he was pretty certain the shooter would choose to minimise the angle as much as possible. So say that take the top floor out of the equation. Down to six rooms now.
But as the hotel wasn`t directly opposite, it was possible that the far two windows would offer an angle that would be too oblique. Not an impossible shot by any means, just a slightly more difficult. If it were he making the shot, he would chose any of the remaining four rooms, the two in the middle, or the two closest to the target. He would open the bay windows a fraction, lay on a table possibly, prone, and far back in the room. One, maybe two shots, pack up, and be away before the first sirens could even be heard. His escape route would no doubt be well planned, but that was of little consequence or interest to Bailey – they needed to stop the man before he made the shot.
This was going to be tricky, he admitted. Very, very tricky.
Burke didn`t like it. He didn`t like it one bit. He felt out of his depth, and out of control. He desperately wanted to call in some extra help, but Bailey was convincing him he was as professional, far more so even, than any of the people Burke could call. If they tried to trap the shooter in the room, he was convinced that the guy would know long before hand. He either wouldn`t show at all, or he`d simply vanish seconds before the trap was sprung.
"The sniper relies very strongly on his sixth sense. He will spot anything, anything at all out of the ordinary, and unless you actually catch him making the shot (if you catch him at all) what have you got?"
"So you think your way is the only way?
"I`m convinced of it."
Burke nodded grimly. "What about Bob? Are you convinced too that he`ll be safe? Would you stake your life on it?"
"Bob will be fine," he said. "Nothing can go wrong." And then he thought, "you lying bastard, Bailey."
Patience was the real key. With it the sniper needed a truly extraordinary level of self-discipline, hundreds, if not thousands of hours of practice in the arts of shooting and of fieldcraft, and a high pain threshold. After that, it was gift you were either born with or you weren`t. A sniper can be trained – the best ones find it all comes easily.
Right now Bailey belly down on the flat roof of the restaurant, concealed from view by the low wall that ran round the edge of the building. He had been there almost twenty-four hours now, having stealthily climbed up the night before, and slowly edged his way to the front of the building.
During the long hot day that he remained there, he had painstakingly scrapped away at the mortar securing two separate bricks in place. It had taken several hours to do this, but he was in no hurry – when that job was finished there was nothing to do but sit and wait.
Now the bricks had been completely removed. That job had been done with painstaking slowness too, just in case his target was keeping a watchful eye out. There could be no sudden movements. They would never get another chance like this.
When the bricks had been removed, Bailey received his reward – an unimpeded view of the hotel across the street. It was instantly apparent that his slow work had in fact, been very necessary, and he cursed the cleaver bastard he was trying to catch. Across the way he now saw that no fewer than three out of the four bay windows he had considered viable shooting positions were slightly ajar. It could well be a coincidence, but Bailey strongly believed that the sniper had hired all three rooms. It was possible that he had done this either to give himself the best possible choice of positions to shoot from, maybe because he hadn`t risked a recce, or that he`d done it to act as a sort of decoy in case he was being watched. Bailey didn`t know the answer to that one. It was just another problem that he would have to face before the night was out.
Childs was sat at the bar when she entered. He was trying his very best to appear calm, and was fighting the strong temptation both to look around and see if the party hosts Tess and Andrew were present, and to shoot back several large whiskeys.
She smiled as she walked up to him – once again, all come on, a sure thing. Childs wondered for an instant if the whole thing wasn`t just a big mistake.
"Would you like a drink?" He asked.
She smiled at him, but rubbed her stomach lightly. "I`m hungry. Would you mind if we just went to our table and ordered straight away? We can share a bottle of wine at the table."
Without waiting for a reply, she smiled sweetly and turned as if to walk to the tables at the front of the restaurant.
"Oh, I hope you don`t mind," Childs said. "I get a little agoraphobic, so I got us a quiet table towards the back."
When she turned, he could see something had changed in her face. The smile was different, there was a coldness in her eyes. But then it was gone, vanished into the warmth of another sexy smile. "No, I don`t mind."
But Bob knew then. He knew this was no mistake. This was for real, and he was grateful he had removed the immediate danger by changing the tables.
Now the advantage is all ours, he thought.
Bailey wondered if Childs had the slightest idea of how much danger he was in now. The idea to change tables had of course been completely necessary, but the thing that Bailey had kept to himself, was the fact that they were now in unknown territory. The killer was a brave and resourceful man. It was highly feasible he would adapt his plan now, seeing that the original shot was out of the question, and that he would go for a close quarter assassination. This presented a major problem, in that no one had a clue what he might look like. Getting their man after had a killed Childs was simply not an option, and to apprehend him on the way into the restaurant would simply result in an unlawful possession’s prosecution. Plus there was also the chance they would pounce on the wrong man, and their quarry would flee.
So Bailey had kept things to himself. He was hopeful (but nothing more than that) that the sniper would simply decide that patience would still win. He couldn`t get the man whilst he ate, but he still had to leave the restaurant at some point. He`d go for the shot then.
In the mean time, Bailey had been hoping to scope the others position for a sure sign he was there, ready to take the shot. That possible position had now become three though. His rifle sight allowed only one of each of the possible possitions to be viewed at a time. And if the sniper was half as good as Bailey believed him to be, he might not make any moves at all, but rather sit and wait, rifle at the ready, for the next hour or two. It was likely that he had done such a thing many times before – he was a hunter, and hunting took patience.
In the restaurant, Childs was half way through his main course.
He meal was finished – it was time to play out the final act. Childs held his hand up for the bill, and the couple sat opposite noticed out of the corner of their eyes. The woman, one WPC Ann Mathews spoke matter-of-factly to her companion.
"They`re about to leave any time now Bailey. Time to do your stuff!"
On the roof, Bailey heard the statement clearly in his earpiece. He had a moment of panic. Where is the bastard? I can`t see him yet!
With no choice left open to him, he pulled away from the rifle sight, and gave himself a view of all three rooms. Which one? Was he even there? Where was he.
It was the tiniest of things – maybe it wasn`t even anything at all above a hunch - but Bailey cold have sworn he saw movement. Slowly bringing the rifle back up to bear, he focused on the middle window. And there it was, the sight picture he had been looking for, the picture he had probably already seen, but not fully recognised. The guy was back in the room, and looked to be prone on a table of some kind. It was dark, but as Bailey looked, he could just begin to make out the shape of the snipers body against the dark. What had alerted him? He didn`t know. Maybe it was just a shifting of shadows, an unnatural movement of one shadow within another. Whatever, it didn`t matter now – he had his quarry.
He didn`t even know he was doing it, but already half the tension of the trigger had been taken up. The distance was perhaps eighty, maybe even as much as ninety meters. There would be no drop in round to account for at such a short range, and Bailey bisected the mans head clearly with the crosshairs within the scope. He could see him so clearly now? Why had he not noticed before?
"They`re getting their coats Bailey!"
In a second it came to him. DECOY! His brain screamed. The hallway light had emitted just enough light beneath the doorway to illuminate the target – but it was a false target. The real sniper would never make such a mistake!
He knew then that the sniper had out-whited him. He`d gone for the elevation after all! The bricks he had removed did not give him the opportunity to elevate his rifle high enough, and with no other choice available, Bailey broke every rule in the book and raised himself above the small wall that was covering him. His sight fell almost naturally onto the middle top floor bay window – and there it was! Nothing much, but he could swear that it was the regular tubular shape of a barrel. He could see nothing beyond it, but there was no time now.
"Do something Bailey!" The WPC was almost screaming in his ear.
And at that precise second the trigger broke. He couldn`t even remember taking up the slack, but for an instant he lost the sight picture, and a small ball of death left his rifle at 1800 feet per second.
There was not much to see when he got there. The left side of the snipers head had been vaporised, and Bailey guessed he had taken him just under the left eye. He had simply had to guess that the guy would be right handed. If he had been wrong, there was a high possibility that Childs would now be dead. It was a fact he kept to himself.
The room itself was like an abattoir. The smell of blood was thick in the air, and death was a palpable thing.
"The governor is going to suggest we could have taken him alive Jon!"
Bailey shrugged. "Maybe you could. But only at the expense of one of your men. There really was no other way."
Within seconds of his shot being heard, police had swarmed both the restaurant and the hotel. Tess and Andrew, the party organisers and victims (possibly) of an horrific ordeal in their own house, were now being questioned. The redhead was under arrest.
"Well you did a hell of a job Jon, I have to admit it."
Bailey merely nodded at the inspector. He had been hoping that revenge would have felt a little better than this. Instead it simply felt like all the other killings had be required to do – dirty and somehow pointless.
But now of course, now that he had seen his target, (or what was left of him) it felt even worse. He wondered when he had known. Maybe from the beginning if he was honest. Maybe. But he knew now the real work would have to begin. Lots of paperwork, lots of denial. All evidence would have to be destroyed – because it would be an enormous embarrassment to certain people if it ever got out that the sniper had once been one of Baileys finest pupils.