Deadly justice, p.14
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       Deadly Justice, p.14

           Darrell Case
 

  Sean Waller eased back letting the soft folds of the recliner envelope him. It was one of the few luxuries he allowed himself. He could easily afford at least a high-end McMansion, yet he lived in a small bungalow. As the President's personal hit man, he had no desire to draw attention to himself.

  The sweet strains of Beethoven Fifth Symphony washed over him. He twirled his glass as he sipped the chilled wine.

  He replayed the symphony’s last movement. For years he had outsmarted bodyguards, military, and government officials. Time after time, he had escaped death by inches. He enjoyed the killing. However, playing cat and mouse, games was dangerous.

  The odds were against him. Eventually, his time would run out.

  For the moment, at least he feared no reprisal. Law enforcement was actually on his side. They assisted him in his missions. The added bonus was that he was making more on these days for a single hit than he had in five years with the CIA. Another year and he could retire in the Bahamas or on the Riviera. A few more hits and he would hang it up. His luck was bound to run out.

  The world of the assassin was becoming hazardous. Tiny cameras could be hidden anywhere. A mark might be wearing a spy pen. A piece of jewelry could be a transmitter. Each day new technologies drew the noose tighter around his neck. He loved squeezing the trigger, the surprised looks on their faces as the bullet entered, that second they stared death in the face.

  No matter what their station in life-- dictator or house-wife-- they never thought it would happen to them. He laughed and the sound of his amusement flowed with the music. Card was a moron. Waller wished he’d attached a camera to the scope that day. Maybe he could have but no, not then. He’d just have to rely on his memory. Through that he could see Card mouthing off to the deputy on his left. The first bullet sure wiped the smirk off the punk murderer's face.

  It tore off his right ear. He shrieked and tried to raise his hand to it but the deputy grabbed him by wrist and jerked his arm back down. Bullet number two broke his left arm two inches above the elbow. Card's mouth gaped in a silent scream, tears flowed down his face. The deputy let go of him and backed out of the line of fire. Exploding in pain, Card gyrated in a crazy man’s dance. His right hand cupped his ear, his left arm dangled like wet spaghetti. The third shot mangled the bone in his right arm. The fourth and fifth blew out his knees. Waller waited a total of 10 seconds then fired straight through Card’s head. He sent the child killer to hell where he belonged.

  Sean enjoyed the relaxed manner in which he made his kills. In his past assignments, the standing order was to make the death appear to be by natural cause or suicide. Leave the scene undetected.

  Make them suffer was the new directive. So taking his time he ‘d shoot off ears, noses, fingers--all within seconds. When the killing shot came, they were ready for it. Some of them were begged for death to end the pain. He was death. If there was time, he would delay a moment or two, long enough for them to suffer, to know death was coming.

  He picked up the Dallas paper, and reread the article. He smiled. He’d been dubbed The Killer Cop by the media. Some said he was short, some tall, fat, skinny, muscular. How would they know? All they saw was the concrete steps of the Butte County Courthouse. Next time he wouldn't be a cop. He might just be one of them. He laughed. The sound echoed throughout the small house.

  Later, after a vigorous run and a long hot shower, he powered up the computer. He clicked the AOL icon, drumming his fingers on the desk.

  “Welcome, you've got mail.” He moved the mouse to `Redman Writer.' “Manuscript is ready to download.” Quickly he read the coded message. 'Package under trash can at 5th and Jefferson. 9 PM. He activated the scrubber and, deleted the email. He opened his Cancun bank’s website and checked his account. Another 50,000. He sighed. Just over 900,000. Maybe he should raise his fee. Yet 50,000 for a hit wasn’t bad. Not bad at all. If Robbins continued ordering kills, by the time he left office Sean would be a multimillionaire.

  He spent the afternoon editing a manuscript by a new mystery writer from Pennsylvania. He was becoming quite good at it.

  At 8:55, he pulled into the lot of Milton's Coffee Shop. Maneuvering through the shadows, he slipped unseen into the alley.

  From the darkness, he watched the attorney general back up to the trash can. Keaton Wallace slipped a plastic - coated packet under the container. He straightened up, looked both ways and hurried down the deserted street. As he approached the alley, he peered nervously into its murky depths. Seeing nothing, he rushed down the passageway. He passed within two feet of Sean, who thought of reaching out and touching him on the back. Sean grinned. With Keaton’s heart condition, he’d probably died on the spot.

  He waited for five minutes after the attorney general vanished. Stepping to the can, he lifted it and in one swift motion retrieved the packet and stuck it under his coat. Any passerby would think he’d just tossed some unwanted item. He walked casually back to the coffee shop. Hanging back in the darkness, he watched a young couple walk across the parking lot. The man opened the passenger door of an old Toyota. The woman settled into the seat, smiling up at him. He smiled back. The Shadow felt a twinge in his heart. There would no wife or children for him.

  Back at home, he entered his windowless study and switched on his single desk lamp. He opened the envelope. Spreading the contents on the reading table, he studied Peter Rule's photo. Early in his career, he’d learned to never be fooled by a handsome or beautiful face. The person who appeared to be the most demure could be the most dangerous.

  After memorizing some information from the news clips, he ran everything through the shredder. Gathering up handfuls of the shredded paper, he ran them through again. After repeating the operation three times, he was satisfied. He put the scraps into a plastic grocery bag and set it aside. He would drop it in a dumpster on his way out of D.C.

 

  In the bedroom, he opened the walk-in closet. Pushing the clothes aside he inserted a key into a lock hidden in the paneling. The wall slid open revealing a small room. He entered and opened a dresser drawer. He took out two wigs, a blonde one that any woman would be happy to own and another that resembled road kill. A small alcove yielded a green silk dress with matching heels and purse. The purse contained makeup specifically selected for his skin tone. He opened a bag and pulled out a dirty t-shirt, grimy jeans with both knees out and sandals. From another compartment, he grabbed a small bottle of cheap wine and slipped it into his pocket.

  Three blocks from his home, he approached a garage. He had he rented it three years ago under the name Kemper. The nondescript Taurus parked inside wasn’t a vehicle Hollywood would choose for a secret agent.

  While watching a James Bond movie some time ago, he had chuckled to himself. Striding into dangerous situations. The man introduced himself by his real name at cocktail parties. Cozying up to beautiful women. He comes through with barely a hair out of place. In the real world, Bond would be dead within 24 hours.

  By contrast, Sean lived a solitary life, revealing his true self only when necessary. On assignments, he would sometimes chang his appearance several times in a single hour.

  As far as his neighbors knew, he edited manuscripts for several successful authors. He protected the writer's privacy, never exposing their identity. He received a small percentage of the sales of every novel he edited.

  At the behest of the authors he traveled frequently in order to hand deliver the manuscripts. After consulting with an author, he would return home to work on the revisions. His neighbors would be dumbstruck if they found out he was an assassin.

  A hundred feet from the garage, he stood in the shadows his breathing shallow, his eyes sweeping the area.


  Scanning the garage, he looked for any signs of disturbance. A mouse peeked through a small crack in the bottom of the door. It hesitated then darted across the walk and disappear in a flowerbed.

  “Bad move,” Sean murmured under his breath. The little creature hadn’t seen the cat crouched down in the geraniums. It thought all was safe until the last second of its life. So much like the ones, he killed. They never knew death was coming.

  After several minutes, he approached the garage. As the cat dined, he stopped to listen one more time. Satisfied, he unlocked the door and stepped inside. For several more moments he stood in the dark listening for any foreign sound. Two years ago, he discovered that a street person had broken into the garage. The man hadn't taken anything he was just looking for a place to get out of the rain so he had jimmied the lock on the door. Sean searched the garage found a box of ragged smelly clothing under the workbench. Using his resources he traced the man to the rail yard. Disguised in a dirty wig faded jeans and a shirt with the sleeves ripped out. Sean hid in the dark corner of the boxcar. He made up his mind to spend the entire night if necessary.

  As it turned out, the hobo climbed into the rail car less than an hour later. As Waller emerged from the shadows, the old man ran at him screaming, “Get out of my house!” The knife sliced open the hobo's throat, severing his vocal cords. Silently he crumpled to the littered floor. Watching him die, the Shadow grinned at the surprised expression on the old man’s face. Sean walked out of the rail yard leaving no trace he’d ever been there.

  He kept the late model Taurus in good condition repair. Changing the oil regularly and doing all the minor repairs himself. He kept the car out of sight as much as possible. Every time he returned from a run, he filled the tank. To and from jobs he obeyed the rules of the road, driving a few miles under the limit, so as to not to draw attention to himself.

  He schooled himself not to panic when he saw patrol cars coming behind him with lights flashing and sirens blaring. If stopped, he could produce a false ID and registration. Just once when disguised as an elderly man , he was stopped for a nonworking taillight.

  The officer almost apologized for pulling him over. He told the Shadow to have the light repaired and let him go.

  Sean left the city and headed south. He liked night driving, there were fewer vehicles on the road, less chance of detection. Adrenalin was pounding through his veins. He could almost smell the fear of his latest victim.

 

  Chapter 10

 
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