Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 November 2018
‘I’m not going anywhere, Catherine.’ Hugh was adamant. He wasn’t the run away and hide sort. Never had been. He had always stayed to fight whatever battles were thrown at him.
‘You have to. Ford is relentless. He won’t stop until you’re dead. I can’t be worrying about you while I’m trying to put him down.’
‘You won’t need to worry about me. I’m the one who trained you. Remember? You need me to help you.’ Hugh stood his ground, sure he would wear her down.
‘There’ll be no more discussion about this. I’m staying. We’ll get our families out of the way, find a secure place to dig in, and we’ll wait for him. Make him come to us. We’ll use that time to plan.’
There would be no convincing Hugh otherwise, so Catherine begrudgingly conceded.
‘Fine. But we get everyone else away from us today. No waiting around.’
‘Agreed,’ Hugh replied. ‘You head to yours and I’ll go to mine. Divide and conquer is my thinking.’
Catherine was still unconvinced that Hugh remaining by her side was a good idea, but once he had made up his mind about something, there was no swaying him. Resigned to his decision to stay, Catherine nodded.
‘Divide and conquer,’ she replied.
* * * * *
People bustled around him but Warner Ford took little notice. He needed supplies; enough to tide him over for at least three or four weeks. There was no way Hugh Routledge and his family would be easy targets, not with Catherine on their side.
Despite his need for supplies, Warner hated shopping, hated supermarkets, hated anywhere people gathered in large numbers. Most of the other hunters he knew loved those overcrowded places, where they could hide amongst the ordinary people, become invisible, but not Warner. He preferred open spaces, clean shots, fewer witnesses to his deeds.
Refocussing on his task rather than the burgeoning crowd around him, he tried to blend in going from aisle to aisle to collect his supplies. Training had taught him to buy everyday items instead of highly specialised ones. There were enough everyday household items that could be combined together to make anything he needed. From garrottes to explosives, all you really needed were the right components. It calmed him to think of all the weapons he could construct with the items he was placing into his trolley.
Once out of the bustle of the supermarket and back at his car, Warner loaded the grocery bags into the boot. Engrossed in ensuring every bag was in the perfect place, one of the multitude of ways his OCD showed itself, he failed to notice Barnaby Williams approach his car until the older man was practically standing on him.
‘Fuck, Williams,’ Warner jumped back from the vehicle ready to take on his boss. ‘Can’t half tell you’re an old spook, creeping up on me like that. You’re lucky not to have got yourself killed.’
Barnaby laughed. ‘You’re not good enough to kill me, Warner. You’re good, but not that good. Catherine on the other hand . . .’
‘Yes, she was always your favourite, wasn’t she?’ Warner snapped back.
‘Not my favourite, Warner. I don’t play favourites. She’s the best.’
Warner sneered at Barnaby’s reply. Catherine Carlisle was the bane of his existence in the industry. Always one upping him, always getting the best jobs, making the most money, the most kills, the most efficient. Not once had she been in trouble or needed Barnaby’s help on an egress. She was the golden-haired child in the company.
‘You play favourites, Barnaby. Don’t pretend. I know you better than you know yourself . . . father.’
It was Barnaby’s turn to sneer. He’d never publicly acknowledged Warner’s existence as his son. It was difficult enough to acknowledge his existence as an elite hunter.
‘Watch your tongue,’ Barnaby replied.
With all the grocery bags now in the car, Warner lowered the boot.
‘What do you want, dad?’
Barnaby glared at Warner with a look of disgust. ‘I came to tell you to get on with things. We have intelligence that Catherine’s got the families on the move. Stop arsing about and kill them all. Including Catherine.’
. . . To be continued . . .