The Dragon Bridge in the snow in Ljubljana, Slovenia
He couldn’t stay long but it was nice to have a place to rest for a while. Of course, his name wasn’t Timothy Fleming here. Today, he was an American student spending a few months in the Slovenian capital. He had changed the color of his hair and grown a beard. He’d purchased a cane and became adept at walking with a limp (a motorcycle accident, he explained) to alter the manner of his gait. He spoke with what was referred to in the States as the “California non-accent,” since he was too easily identified either by his mid-western speech patterns or his mother’s South Eastern British accent.
Not being sure if the Agency had gained access to any of Hellspite’s “alternative” identifications including passports and driver’s licenses, he’d created a new identity for his current sojourn. The forgeries he was using would do for a short time while he accessed certain vendors on the dark web and purchased something more substantial. He’d still have to move around frequently to evade detection.
At first he blamed that bitch at the ale house in Dover but it was really his own arrogance that nearly got him pinched. He should have realized he was still close enough to Dymchurch and Romney that he could possibly be recognized by someone from the old days. He’d barely gotten away in time, though he had to abandon his original escape route and travel by other means.
“Not a fine day to enjoy the view, is it Alex?”
Image depicting a checkmate in chess
"I've got Mzimu."
A few days after Mikiko had last seen Timothy Fleming, he had sent her a text with his (untraceable) number so she could contact him when she had evidence the Organization’s leader was dead. Colins said it probably had been easy for him to pick up her cell’s number remotely as long as he was in close proximity, even from the phone issued to her by the Agency. It had likely happened when they spoke in the church.
"You have proof of his death?"
He was using a secure text app so even though Mikiko and Fleming could exchange messages, Colins, or rather his computing and electronics expert Danae Parker, couldn’t locate him. Colins told her that should be immaterial since they’d located the farmhouse on the Romney Marsh where he was holding Sienna Thomas over a week ago.
"I have Mzimu in person. Do you want to meet?"
“He’s got to be thinking this one over hard, Mikiko. It’s the sort of trap we’d set up for him. On the other hand, he did say if possible, he’d like to meet Mzimu face-to-face and finish the job personally.”
“But it is a trap, isn’t it, Geoffrey?”
St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Dymschurch as seen from the South.
“The lads play well together, Eileen.”
“Yes they do, Sean. I appreciate you taking us in while we’re in Dymchurch.”
“After all, what are family for?”
The two old friends sat in the Billingham living room by the fire as their two sons Timothy and Roger played with their collection of Pokemon cards at the kitchen table.
“You sure Suzanne doesn’t mind?”
“She’s not jealous if that’s what you’re thinking.” Sean picked up his glass of Port, sipped and then grimaced. “Got to speak to the Missus. This last bottle she brought home tastes like vinegar.”
“You do understand what I’m asking, Sean.”
“Aye. Richard must never find out though or it’ll mean both our lives.”
“He won’t find out if you hold up your end. I got a generous settlement from him and he doesn’t have to know about the rest. You’ll be well compensated as will your kin when the time comes.”
“You know it’s not the money, Eileen…”
“The families pay their way, we always have. I don’t expect you to take such risks, especially with your family at stake, all for love and loyalty.”
“I promise I’ll do my part. I see no trouble bringing Roger into the family business when the time comes.”
“Same with Timothy, Sean. Still, we have to be careful with the young ones. You don’t take the Hawkhurst oath without devoting your total allegiance to Mzimu.”
“Aye. T’would be death otherwise. When you leaving for Chicago then?”
“And you believed him.”
“Of course I believed him, Geoffrey. Yes, he could have been lying but I couldn’t take the chance.”
From the 1964 television show “Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow.”
“The character Hellspite only appeared in a 1963 television series based on the Russell Thorndike Doctor Syn novels. As you know, Thorndike created the fictional Christopher Syn and his alter ego, The Scarecrow in a book series he authored between 1915 and 1944, which was subsequently adapted for a 1937 movie and the aforementioned TV show.”
“Thank you Danae, but we already know this. How does it pertain to Fleming’s current location and where he is holding Sienna Thomas?”
Geoffrey Colins and Mikiko Jahn had arrived late last night and were currently running on determination and caffeine. This early morning meeting, jet lag, and the time change on top of lack of sleep had rendered Colins surly.
“Quite, but I need to relate the background so that my report will make more sense.”