The Hawkhurst Gambit

church - dymchurch

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.”

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The Most Dangerous Predator

chicago

Chicago skyline – stock footage

Mikiko heard and smelled them coming. The contact wasn’t with them but she’d been told they would arrive about now. When the door was kicked open and half a dozen heavily armed agents burst into the room, Sienna jumped halfway off of Fleming just as his hand emerged from the underside of a chair holding a Glock 26. He’d already been rapidly reaching for the weapon before the agents abruptly entered but to Mikiko, he might as well be moving in slow motion.

Sienna was on her hands and knees staring at the door, the agents behind her were still running in, and Timothy Fleming was now swinging his arm up from under the chair in the process of attempting to aim at Mikiko.

She moved her arms slightly and fired. Although his head and chest were now exposed, Mikiko avoided those targets. She could have permanently crippled Fleming by firing into his shoulder joint, but instead shot his right deltoid. At nearly point-blank range, the impact was astonishing, sending searing waves of pain through his arm, neck, and chest. He immediately released the Glock and reflexively shielded his wound with his left hand. She could have crippled him for life or even killed him. Why mercy? For Sienna’s sake or her own?

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First Flight

 

Salerno

© Pacific Press/LightRocket/LightRocket via Getty Images – The bodies of 26 young migrants arrive at the Italian port town of Salerno on Sunday (5 November 2017).

The Present – Salerno, Italy

The young Japanese woman looked as if she were just another curious spectator in the crowd watching the corpses being offloaded from the vessel sent to retrieve them from the Mediterranean Sea. Mikiko Jahn felt the tears welling up behind her eyes and almost overwhelming grief and anger like a weight in the center of her chest before the neural circuitry in her brain suppressed those feelings and replaced them with an impassive calm.

Well, it was mostly impassive. The residual emotions she experienced moments before remained, but they were well contained. How had she come to this?

Two Weeks Ago – The Project – An Unknown Location in Japan

“He’s called the ‘Shadow Man’ for the simple reason that his true identity is not known. What is known about him is that he is a British national and one of the leaders of a cartel that siphons refugees, mostly young women and children attempting to reach Europe from Libya, from sanctuary into sexual slavery. We estimate that as many as twenty to thirty percent of these victims are currently in the UK with the rest distributed in Europe, Russia, and Asia.”

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Murder at 900 North Michigan

 

900 N Michigan

© Marie Gail Stratford

Mikiko left her room at the Four Seasons reluctantly ready to kill the assassin-for-hire called Sandman. MI6 learned his condo was on the 29th floor.

Her contact arranged the Glock. She’d never met Sandman, but she knew his victim’s scent from last month’s encounter. Mikiko barely survived a nuclear accident six years ago and was now reconstructed using revolutionary techniques. Her sense of smell was that of a wolf’s.

Sandman was amusing himself with the girl. There. Mikiko could hear sounds of pain and passion just the other side of the door. “Just another murder in Chicago,” she told herself.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to write a story no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

Once again I’m leveraging a pre-existing character and situation, in this case, my synthetic woman Mikiko Jahn whose latest published adventure can be found HERE.

When I saw the address in Chicago, I looked it up and indeed found that the “Bloomingdale’s” building contains the Four Seasons Hotel on floors 30-46 and condos on floors 21-29. It wouldn’t be much trouble for Mikiko to get from the 30th to the 29th floor to seek out her target and her synthetic body has enhanced senses including a sense of smell that can recognize a particular odor for up to about 3 kilometers. Her hearing is goes into the 80 kHz range, so listening through the door is child’s play.

Oh, 100 words is pretty limiting and if I’d had more “real estate,” I would have explained the child sex trafficking angle of the story. There’s another tale of Mikiko’s that covers her stalking these predators in much more detail. Today’s wee bit of flash fiction occurs immediately after that one (which I’m still writing).

To see some of the events that led Mikiko up to this point, read First Flight.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com. Given the number of entries already present, it seems I’m getting off to a pretty late start.