Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8 December 2018
He hadn’t expected the job to be easy, but Warner Ford certainly hadn’t expected it to be as challenging as it was proving to be. Catherine had not proved to be the stationary target he’d hoped. Both she and Hugh had run when he’d expected them to stand their ground. They’d moved their families and had run away in an attempt to prolong their lives.
‘Not the great executioner that everyone thinks you are, are you Catherine?’ He settled down onto the sofa to await the return of his targets. Sooner or later they’d come back.
The photographs on the walls told a life story that was in complete contrast to what Catherine Carlisle was actually capable of. It told of a husband who had a nine to five job rather than a hired killer. It told of a wife who was a caring homemaker and not a more efficient assassin than her husband. The photographs reflected a normal, everyday, ordinary couple. Warner sneered at the people looking at him from the photographs. He wanted nothing more than to see Catherine dead. The death of the husband was an added extra.
Initially he’d thought an extravagant death would suit Catherine. She was, after all, the best of the best and she deserved a warrior’s death. But the longer he sat on the sofa waiting for them to return, the more he reconsidered.
‘Simple. Direct. That’s how she should go. Nothing fancy. Fancy’s where mistakes are made. Just shoot her and then him.’ With the plan set in his mind, Warner relaxed a little. The sunlight filtering through the blinds was comforting; not a feeling Warner was accustomed to if it didn’t involve weaponry. He found himself beginning to doze, looked at his watch and decided to allow himself a few hours of sleep.
* * * * *
‘Are you sure you want to do this first?’ Hugh asked her. Catherine considered his question.
‘It’s not ideal, I know that.’
‘But you’re absolutely sure that you want to deal with Williams first?’
‘With Barnaby out of the way, there’ll be no one to give orders after we finish with Warner. Call me crazy but I like the idea that by taking out Barnaby first, we’ll be just that little bit safer.’
Hugh tried to rationalise the new plan Catherine had come up with but it made little sense given what they’d originally agreed upon.
‘Do you want to know what I think?’ he asked.
‘Not particularly but I suspect you’re going to tell me anyway.’
He had given up being offended by anything Catherine said years ago. ‘Our first plan was a better idea. Leave him subtle clues, draw him away from anything familiar, take him down on neutral ground. Going after Barnaby Williams is not a good idea. It’s a stupid idea. We’re giving Ford the advantage of time.’
Catherine stood silent. Perhaps they were giving Ford time to prepare but it wasn’t like he was going to go away before completing the job.
‘Hugh,’ she calmly said, ‘this is the right thing to do. By killing Barnaby first there won’t be anyone else around to give the order to eliminate us. We sort him and then we go after Warner. Trust me on this. Please.’
* * * * *
Barnaby hated motel rooms. His penchant was for five-star hotels, room service and expensive wine lists. These little dives littered across the world were the bane of his travelling existence. Thankfully, he only spent a few days each year in those squalid dens.
‘Disgusting,’ he said as he examined the room. The overhead light coloured everything in the room with an insipid yellow tone. Barnaby threw the door closed behind him and wandered through to the bathroom. The pungent smell of bleach stung his nostrils.
‘Great,’ he groaned. ‘Just perfect.’ He ran his finger across the top of the hand basin and looked at the residue on the tip of his right index finger. ‘Fucking filthy.’
He wiped his finger on the folded towel sitting on the edge of the bath and cringed. There was no way he was going to stay in this rat hole. Williams turned on his heel and walked back to the door. He looked at his watch. All things being equal, Warner should have eliminated Catherine and Hugh by now. A smug smile stretched across his lips. Ford had done his bidding, eliminated the threat to Williams’ position, and put the Company back on even footing. More importantly, Ford was easier to control than Catherine Carlisle so there would be little fallout from the job.
Williams intended to leave the motel and head back down the freeway to one of the seven five-star hotels he’d passed on his way to this current dive. He tossed the room key on the tall boy and opened the door. Williams was met with a sight he’d certainly not expected.
‘Hello, Barnaby,’ Catherine scorned. ‘Better step back inside, I think. You wouldn’t want us to think you were being inhospitable, would you?’
Williams slunk backwards into the fetid room. Catherine and Hugh followed him in.
‘Best you sit down, Barnaby. My wife isn’t in the most pleasant of moods at the moment. She’s ever so pissed off with you, in fact.’
‘You don’t scare me. Either of you,’ Williams said.
‘The tone of your voice and the sweat on your brow say something different, Barnaby.’ Catherine shoved him towards the bathroom. ‘Lock the door, Hugh. We don’t need any interruptions.’
Hugh quietly closed and bolted the door then joined Catherine and Williams in the tiny, bleached scented bathroom.
. . . To be continued . . .