Seventeen names were on the paper, each name typed in black ink and beside each name was their address, place of employment, job title, and family members.
Everything an assassin needed to plot a plan to excise the target, or to provide options should the mission go bad.
For an average assassin, this was a treasure trove of information, but I found it excessive.
“I do not target family members,” was another of my rules. If the target had done something to get on a client’s bad side, I had no problem ending them. But that’s where I drew the line. Too much attention got drawn on the client and his hire when things got personal.
I’d plot for every eventuality, plot a back-up plan, and then execute my mission. In and out, no muss-no fuss.
Of the names on the list, I chose Harry Boatswain.
My first priority though was to get Janice settled. After meeting with Sanderson and our return home, I had shown her around my small cabin, and told her to use the second guestroom.
I whipped up an ice pack and handed it to her. She applied gingerly to her face and leaned back against the pillows. Under the bed was a heating pad, and I plugged it in and pushed it under her lower back and ribs.
Janice groaned and closed her eyes. I turned off the lights and shut the door. She would need time to heal from her injuries, and I needed to pick a target.
First though, I needed to report in.
I waited until Janice was snoring softly before I walked into my room. Underneath the desk was a trapdoor that led into the tunnels that ran under my house. My office was down one-third of the tunnel. A small circular mirror sat on the desk, along with a shortwave radio, a laptop, and a laser printer.
Judging from what was in the office, one would assume I used the shortwave to contact my superiors. They were wrong. I tapped the base of the mirror, and a figure wearing a dark robe appeared.
The Voiceless did not speak. I explained what had occurred, detailed my meeting with General Sanderson and Colonel Brander. The figure nodded and the mirror clicked off.
I followed the tunnel out and came out above the river that ran below my cabin. Then, I walked seven miles in the opposite direction, then returned to my cabin.
You could never be too careful these days.
After taking the long way home, I checked on Janice. She still snored, so I let her rest. It would take a day or two for me to hear from The Voiceless. Or so I thought.
I did some digging into Harry Boatswain. He was a former soldier and had earned many awards during his time in the military. He retired, and then became an arms dealer. Both he and Sanderson served together, with Sanderson the higher ranking.
Some opined that Boatswain was part of the dirty money that kept Sanderson in power. Others said he retired so that he and Sanderson could carry out a private war on those who dared cross Sanderson.
Whatever the case, Sanderson wanted Boatswain gone. Boatswain was a good place to start.
The next morning, I woke to find Janice cooking breakfast and an unopened package on the counter.
“That was on the porch. Do you like scrambled eggs?”
“I do my own cooking. Thanks though.”
“You think I’m trying to kill you.”
“No. I think I do my own cooking. Don’t bring anymore packages in the house.”
I took the package into my room and opened it. Inside was a black card with white lettering. It read: Do the mission. Add Sanderson and Brander to the list.
Inside the box was a thin veil that covered the card, besides that there was nothing else in it. I tore the box in shreds, put the card in my drawer, and threw my trash away.
Janice sat at the counter eating her breakfast. She cut her eyes to me, and watched me cook bacon, eggs, and a small piece of toast.
“Why did you save me?”
I salted my food, pulled up a chair to the counter and sat across from Janice.
“Eat your food. I don’t like to waste it.”
We ate in silence. While we ate, I looked at Janice’s bruised cheeks. The bruising had turned a yellowish purple. I pointed at her bruise and said, “you need to keep ice on that. It’s gonna hurt.”
“Okay,” said Janice.
Eating seemed to pain her, and I ate the remaining piece of my toast. “Give me your plate,” I said, extending my hand toward it. She shook her head no.
“I’ll eat it. You don’t like to waste food.”
“You look like you are in pain. Give me the plate.”
She pushed it to me. I wrapped it with saran wrap and put it in the fridge.
“If you get hungry you know where it is.”
She nodded her head but said nothing. I put on a light coat that would conceal my sidearm and KA-BAR fighting knife. Janice still sat at the counter, so I walked back in front of her.
“Let me explain something to you, Janice. I freed you last night. If you decide to run away from here, I’m not coming for you. Sanderson will kill you. Brander will kill you. Just like they killed your sister. You understand.”
“Okay. I have things to do, so I’ll see you later.”
Then, I walked out to my vehicle and drove into town. Prior to the end of the 21st Century, back when the world was still divided into countries, nation-states, continents, etc. America decided to lift all laws and established a citizen-enforced system of justice.
The politicians of the day modeled it based on a sense of family punishment utilized in more primal cultures. No formal military was used. War became a private industry and professional mercenaries fought for whomever had the most money.
Assassins, such as I, worked for the government and did the work that others refused to do, or in certain cases, when diplomacy failed.
Until The Voiceless retired us. Sure, we got called back into action from time to time, but it went undiscovered by the ‘government.’
Boatswain Enterprises, sat in the center of town on the edge of the main town square. People swarmed the area night or day. I chose a bench and sat down across from it.
I pulled out a book titled, Introductory Applied Physics and opened it. A middle-aged woman with a plump face and wild hair looked at me, while she smoked her cigarette.
“Are you a scientist, or an aspiring one?”
“Of a sort,” I responded.
“What does that mean?”
“It means that I sometimes use science in my job.”
“Ah. Well, your text is a bit outdated.”
“Yeah. Well, the old ways are sometimes better.”
She finished her smoke and walked away. From where I sat, I had an unhindered view of the door and front desk. I watched as the plump woman walked into the building and sat behind the front desk.
The day passed swiftly. At noon, Harry Boatswain walked out and got into an armored limo. Half an hour later, he returned.
While he was away, I walked into a hotel across from Boatswain Enterprises, climbed into an elevator, and rode it to the top floor of the hotel.
From there I got a good look of the surrounding area. It’s where I saw Harry Boatswain return.
I went home and considered what I had seen. Janice had cooked her dinner and was eating it, while watching some show about singers from the 21st Century.
“There were many talented people in the last century,” said Janice, spooning a piece of pork cutlet into her mouth. I nodded. “I would’ve made you dinner, but you don’t trust me.”
For dinner, I made a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato. Then, I sat down next to her and watched her program.
The textbook fell out, and Janice picked it up. She looked at it and opened it to where I had a bookmarker set. Then, she sniffed it.
“Mmm, I love that old book smell.”
“Do you read?”
“Of course. Jade had a library in her house. Did you know that?”
“When Brander and Sanderson found out what she was doing, they took me. Then, Sanderson sent Brander to kill her.”
I finished my sandwich and took my plate, plus Janice’s, into the kitchen. I washed them and put them away.
Then, I went into my room and shut my door. I could hear Janice sobbing in the living room, as I stretched out on my bed.