Authors: Aaron Fisher
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Crime, #Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Thriller, #Thrillers
© 2009 Aaron Fisher
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photography, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission, in writing from the author.
The events and characters depicted in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidenta
10.48 (Local Time)
Two Days Ago
Antalya. Anatolia. Turkey.
United Turkish Bank, Konyaalti
Sam Thomas rolled his eyes and turned up the volume on his iPod. Even with the loud bass resonating in his ears, he could still imagine his dad’s ensuing rant.
Sam was tall and skinny, his T-shirt clung tight to his skin but his jeans were much too big for him and hung half way round his backside, held up only by a studded belt. He pushed away his long, black hair from his eyes and looked sideways at his father.
John Thomas was hunched as far over the cashier’s counter as he could before his red face hit the bars. He was in his mid forties and his hair was balding on top. The Turkish sun had attacked the unprotected cranium almost as soon as they had landed yesterday and now, from a distance, it looked like he was wearing a bright red Kippah, along with his flamboyant shirt and Bermuda trunks with sandals. His arms were wind milling at his sides and his mouth opening and closing so fast it seemed to blur.
Laura, Sam’s mother and John’s wife, held her second son’s hand as she waited patiently at her husband’s side. Her long, pale blonde hair was down for the first time in months and she wore a light blue summer dress.
Stephen was only four years old. The late addition to the family. Clad in his favourite superhero T-shirt and shorts he held his mother’s hand tightly, but struggled to pull her with him in the opposite direction. Laura checked her watch and smiled when she noticed Sam looking.
Sam didn’t smile back. He playfully winked at his little brother and slowly moved away from the rest of his family, distancing himself from the scene his father was causing.
It had been John’s choice of holiday destination that had brought them all there. He had chatted away for a good fifteen minutes about the picturesque views, stunning weather and the fine dining to be had in Turkey. Laura had nodded, her smile growing wider with each of John’s flattering sentences. Finally, Sam had put his hand up and asked his father whether his decision to go to Turkey this year had anything to do with the threat of separatist bomb attacks driving holiday prices there down?
Parents are so cheap
As his father continued to argue with the Turkish bank cashier about how many traveller’s cheques he had given him, Sam looked forward to the day when he moved away from home.
he’d be setting off for university.
Sam moved to the large glass window and looked out across the main strip to the beach behind and the glistening sea. He was sure he wouldn’t miss his family. He couldn’t wait to get away from them. He felt sorry for his little brother. Stephen had all the torment ahead of him, just as Sam was finally ending.
Sam turned suddenly as the sound of his father’s voice grew louder, drowning out even the deafening music pounding out of Sam’s headphones.
Two security guards were wrestling with John as he withered and kicked and shouted at them to let him go. Laura had already broken into tears. Stephen, finally breaking free of his preoccupied and slightly hysterical mother’s grasp had quickly made for a nearby flower pot and was busy filling his mouth with the brightly-coloured stones. Everyone was staring.
Sam turned away again and thudded his head against the glass. “God, just kill me now,” he begged.
As if answering his prayers, the bank was suddenly filled by a flash of blinding white light as a bomb planted the night before detonated and the resulting explosion devastated the building, killing all inside.
05.24 BST (British Summer Time)
Cardiff. Wales. Great Britain.
Tremorfa Industrial Estate, Cardiff Bay
Dawn was breaking. The once dark and starry sky began to turn blue and its scattered lights gradually disappeared as the sun slowly rose in the distance. The sun was now a murky, almost dirty yellow that streaked the nearby clouds with a deep, blood red.
Paul Russell tried to focus. He didn’t like his mind wandering, but recently it was just so unavoidably easy to let his concentration slip. It wasn’t even like he needed anything to trigger it. Although, the veins of scarlet in the air and the rhythmic lapping of the sea beneath him, had its part in helping to send him on his way back to those places, and those times. It would take only a slight lapse in thought and Paul could swear that in time with the waves he could hear the faint, far-away whispers of gunfire, echoing in the distance.
Paul felt the new presence of his brother by his side. He resisted looking at him straight away, cautious that some trace of preoccupation might linger on his face. He stared out at the channel a little longer, pretending that he had just been admiring the view. When he was finally confident that he had regained his composure without notice, Paul turned to face his brother with a small smile.
Richard Russell leant against the metal railings, turning his back to the dawn view. Instead he studied Paul’s face.
Paul couldn’t help feel irritated by his brother’s penetrating expression. “I’m fine,” he said, sternly.
“I need you to be,” Richard replied.
“You got me into this, remember?”
Richard nodded, quickly turning round to admire the view. “I remember.”
Paul hated that. He knew that despite being identical twins, he and Richard were still clearly two completely different men.
They both shared the same sharp, dark hair, which seemed to be streaked with both deep brown and ebony. They shared the same big, brown eyes but now whilst Richard’s remained wide, observant and inquisitive, Paul’s had become deepened and shadowed. Paul didn’t sleep much anymore and when he did it wasn’t for long. Lines had started to develop around his face that sharpened his features and made him look older than his brother.
Richard’s build was more classically athletic. His body was built and maintained at the gym. Paul’s shoulders were broader, and his clothes hung straight down from his frame. There was something of a concealed, raw power about him.
Yet despite the obvious distinctions, every now and then, Paul would spot a mannerism in his brother which suddenly made him frustratingly aware of himself. If it was that easy to spot this concealed sentiment in his brother, it meant that he himself wasn’t as good as remaining visibly indifferent as he would have liked.
Paul straightened up and moved a few steps away from the edge. He’d had enough at looking out across the river Severn. Not that he was that much more interested in looking at the empty industrial estate.
“This is business, okay?” Richard reminded him. “That’s all. Keep thinking that and you’ll be fine.”
“I am fine,” Paul repeated, doing his best to kerb his frustration. He was twenty-six years old and still his brother was nagging him. If only it had been him that had come eight minutes earlier, then he wouldn’t have the repeated annoyance of being nursed by his ‘big’ brother.
Before Richard had the chance to say anything else, the sound of an approaching vehicle, alerted both of them. Richard pulled up his sleeve to check his watch. He nodded to Paul. It was time. This could be them.
Paul brushed his black, leather jacket slightly to one side and checked the chamber of the Beretta that was tucked into his jeans. He didn’t like it being there. Besides the obvious concern about the safety somehow being knocked off and through some freak accident he explosively castrated himself, Paul was used to carrying his weapon in a pistol holster. He had been taught to find a place that was comfortable, and stick to it. After years of drawing from the same place, Paul couldn’t shake the worry that if the situation came for him to take action, he would fumble, or worse still miss completely and it would cost both him and his brother their lives.
The noise of the engine was getting louder now, and it had become distinctive from that of a light car. This could definitely be them.
Richard rejoined Paul’s side. He thought about saying something to his brother. But he didn’t know what he could say to help. Instead, he began intentionally raising his defences and concreted on strengthening his own composure, hoping that his brother would do the same.
In front of them were several rows of steel, congregated warehouses. Each row was back to back with another and in front of each of them was a wide stretch of tarmac. These were used as parking spaces when the buildings were in use. It was in one of these concrete stretches that the two brothers were standing as they waited for the source of the noise to appear.
The rows were like dashed lines with a gap big enough for two vehicles to fit through between every couple or so units. About three blocks down a white van appeared. It carried on along the same path for a few moments, causing the slightest of hesitant doubts to pass across Richard’s mind, before it turned right and headed in their direction. It was neither fast nor slow in its approach and as it neared, it veered slightly left diagonally, before turning right again to pull up alongside them.
Waiting, Paul could already feel the muscles in his right arm tighten, ready to draw down. He had enough faith that if they needed to, his muscles would react without him even having to consciously tell them. He just hoped that they would remember to reach a little lower and further to the left than they were accustomed to.
After what seemed like an eternity to Paul, but what was in reality just a few seconds, the door on the side of the white van slid open.
A young man hopped out. He was a few years younger than them. His head was shaven and his features were angular and gaunt. His eyes were small and cold, and a thin but prominent, vertical scar ran down from the tip of his forehead, skipped his left eye and appeared again on the top of his cheekbone. He wore a light, grey top with the hood down around his shoulders and dark jeans. His trainers were new, white and immaculate. They stuck out in contrast to the rest of his grimy outfit like a sore thumb.
The man looked at Richard first with a bit of a sneer and then at Paul. He lingered on Paul for longer, as if he found something in his face he didn’t like.
“Giacometti?” Richard piped in, hoping to head off any situation between this man and his brother before it had the chance to arise.
“No.” Reluctantly, the man turned back to Richard, “He couldn’t make it. Sent me instead.”
“And who might you be?”
“Dean.” He seemed a little irritated, as if somehow he expected Richard to already know his name. His eyes moved back to Paul.
Paul’s face remained as stone.
“Okay, Dean. Now what?” Richard asked.
Dean nodded to the van, “Get in. I’ll take you to him.”
Richard’s cheekbones twitched. Slowly, he smiled. “Fine.”
Paul suddenly felt his insides lunge.
What the hell is he doing!?
Richard started towards the van, apparently oblivious to his brother’s disapproval. He sat down inside the van and looked at his brother. Paul didn’t move.
“Come on, get in!” Dean snarled.
“Paul,” Richard said, firmly.
Dean turned to Richard and nodded his head back towards Paul, “Does he talk?”
“When I’ve got something to say.” Paul brushed past Dean on the other side, and hopped in the van with his brother. It hadn’t been enough to push him, Paul wasn’t stupid enough to start unnecessary trouble over some egotistical ghetto prick eyeballing him. But there was no way he was going to squeeze past, just to avoid knocking him. Sitting beside him in the transporter van now, Paul could already feel Richard’s disapproving eyes on him.
Paul looked out, facing the river once more, and ignored him again. He was disturbed by the situation Richard had just walked them into. This wasn’t what they had planned. It wasn’t like his brother to be so reckless. Paul was the twin usually credited with that failure. Paul was beginning to wonder if Richard was losing sight of the immediate dangers they were facing by being so dead set on achieving their goal. It was a mistake that he had been lectured on so many times it made his head ache just thinking about it, and now he was seeing those exact same mistakes being made by the very same person who had lectured him on them. As Dean slid the door closed and the last traces of daylight were slammed shut outside, Paul couldn’t help but feel that he was already becoming inescapably trapped.
M.I.T. (Murder Investigation Taskforce), Cardiff Branch
A means to an end. That’s how Tony Horton justified his position at the Cardiff Murder Investigation Taskforce. As tedious as it was, it was a necessary point on his rise through the ranks to the occupation he actually wanted. That’s what he kept telling himself anyway. As Tony marched down the white-tiled corridors to his workstation he knew one thing for sure: “Fax Monkey”, was definitely not the job title he wanted for the rest of his life.
Tony was a tall man, athletic and physically fit. He spent all his spare time either revising protocols and running over paperwork or exercising. To Tony his physical appearance was just as important as his mental capacity and he took great pride in both.
He had fair hair, which he kept short and brushed pointed and straight. Professionalism was everything, and first impressions were always going to be the most potent. He wore a smart blue and grey suit that matched his pale eyes. Tony also wore a pair of straight-framed glasses; much to his own annoyance. It was one physical imperfection that he could do little about. He couldn’t wear contact lenses because they made his eyes itch and burn, and he didn’t trust anyone enough to let them near his primary senses with a laser.
Everybody dies eventually. If you’re lucky, you get around eighty odd years of relatively good tenure before you expire, and it all comes to an end. At just twenty-three, Tony was already very worried that he was not climbing up the professional ladder quite as fast as he had planned.
The Cardiff M.I.T. branch was very much still in its infancy, as was the department as a whole. Whilst it principally dealt only with homicides, M.I.T. was one of a cluster of new department agencies that had been founded in the new wave of government legislation reforms a couple of years ago. As a result of the increased threat to the United Kingdom by international terrorism, the British government had decided to adopt a similar approach as America to the structure of its authorities.
The Murder Investigation Taskforce had been established to deal with major homicide cases, particularly those which were seen to be initially unsolvable or high profile. It had in part been formed from the pre-existing Metropolitan Murder Investigation Teams. However the new M.I.T. was not, unlike its predecessor, limited just to London, but extended to a branch in virtually every major city in the country, and strictly speaking, its colleagues were not actually police officers; they were government agents.
Tony had once wondered what place a murder investigation agency had amongst the various new intelligence and anti-terrorism departments. But then he quickly remembered that at the time of the reforms, the government had been getting a lot of bad press about its negligence to handle the nation’s increasing crime level and threats on its own streets, whilst it waged several continuing wars of peace across the world.
He didn’t like the idea of working for a department that had been put in purpose, purely to please the little people, but Tony couldn’t fault the government’s tactics. It was a spin he himself might have come up with.
Being the baby of the group, the M.I.T. was always screaming out for more financial support and backing; which of course, it was duly refused. This also frustrated Tony. How could he ever get anywhere when he was stuck in a department that itself was stuck in the lowest ranks of everyone’s priority. But then, every so often, something would come up that would be so much bigger than just a standard high profile murder, and with it, Tony thought to himself, would come the chance for him to shine.
After waiting for yet another drone to clear his path, Tony pushed through the double doors to his team’s bullpen room and realised that the briefing had already began without him.
His superior, and head of the department, Andrew Colgan said not a disapproving word as Tony dumped his folders on his desk and quickly joined his colleagues around the large, oval table in the centre of the bottom end of the room, but Tony knew his late arrival had been acknowledged and noted none the less.