Chapter 1

Bojack was sitting behind the wheel of the car, and Noman was in the passenger seat with his shotgun. It was a short stubby shotgun for such a big guy and we had all given him shit about it as was our duty. He had just shrugged and made it vanish under his shirt, shutting us up instantly. Now though, it was resting by his leg, down and out of sight. Noman himself had the seat down and was leaning back, also staying out of view from the casual glance. That left Bojack to keep a lookout. He was doing that with his usual calm efficiency, not even seeming to be waiting for anything. Meanwhile, I was three stories up in the building with the murder weapon.

I had rebuilt and modified it myself. A .22 caliber bolt-action rifle was the base. The stock was the first to go, replaced with a collapsible one that reduced the length. The barrel had been removed and replaced with a long silencer. A folding bipod and a set of precision optics were added, along with the strangest part of the gun. Sticking out of the side was a small cage to catch the ejected brass. It was this weapon that was resting on a table five feet from the window overlooking the city street, and I was the man sitting in a chair holding it steady on the doorway of the club 55 yards away.

The ammo was special as well. Being subsonic hollowpoints, they didn't have a lot of power, but they were quiet. Not many people would hear me firing, and those that did would not recognize what the sound was. Least of all Delacroix's bodyguards, who would be roughly 165 feet away. They hadn't appeared yet, but it was only a matter of minutes. I glanced at the watch strapped to my wrist. He almost always spent the same amount of time inside the clubs. Routine would be the death of Delacroix, careful as he was.

He didn't go to the same club twice in a row, or hell, even twice in the same week. He took varied routes, changed cars, and went at different times. Following him wasn't easy. So instead we started waiting at the clubs. It took a month before the patterns appeared. After that, it was just a matter of waiting at the club he visited the most often. That wasn't the routine though. He probably wasn't even aware of it. Even his entrance varied. A car would pull up, and a bunch of hard-faced men in casual clothes would pile out. Sometimes Delacroix was with them, other times he was in a car behind them. Either way, he'd step out and vanish into the club, surrounded by a wall of muscle.

The club's door opened. I exhaled slightly, then held my breath. A laughing couple exited, and I began to breath again. The door closed, only to open again immediately. I recognized the man that stepped though. One of Delacroix's bodyguards. My heart jumped. This was it. I heard a clicking noise in my head as Bojack popped the radio button in the car below. The open transmitter also caught the sounds of Noman stirring before Bojack released the radio button, and I turned my focus to the scene in my scope. A scene that I had seen play out at least a dozen times before. Delacroix's routine.

First, a couple bodyguards exited the club. They swept the area with trained and practiced eyes, looking for loiters, people in cars, silhouettes on the roofs, and large vans from cleaning companies. They split off and vanished from my view as they checked the parking lot. I wasn't concerned about them. Our car was too far away from the club to be worth noting, and there was no chance of spotting me from that distance and angle. I was still focusing on the doorway through my scope as my earpiece hissed to life. Bojack spoke. "Meathead is giving the all-clear."

My view of the doorway was fairly narrow, so I couldn't see exactly what was happening below. I didn't need to though. I saw the next few bodyguards step out, and I knew the large SUV Delacroix was using today would have started traveling. Sure enough, it pulled up as Delacroix exited through the well-worn door to the club and did the exact same thing he had done every single time I watched him before. He stopped just in front of the club's door to light his cigarette with his custom-engraved lighter. I shot him in the left eye. Delacroix's eye exploded and he dropped like a puppet with cut strings. I followed him down as he fell forwards, the top of his head pointed toward me, and worked the bolt. On the ground there had been no sound other than the smack of impact and Delacroix's body hitting the ground. We had tested it, the three of us. Bojack had been standing less than five feet away from the target, and Noman was a room over from me. Bojack didn't flinch as the bullet tore into the target. He just lifted his radio and told me what it sounded like, which wasn't anything like a gunshot. Noman said much the same when he came through the door to the next room.

The smarter bodyguards started moving as I put another round into the top of Delacroix's skull. His head barely moved. The bodyguards didn't know what happened, but the sight of their boss collapsing was all they needed to know. A crowd of men with guns surrounding the body was the last sight I saw through my scope. I jumped up from my chair and began breaking down the rifle as Bojack spoke. "Party's started. Get going."

I unlocked the scope and placed it into a hard-shell case. Collapsing the stock of the rifle, I slid it into a similar case, and closed both. They went into a sports bag, and that went over my back. There was no other evidence in the room and as I hurried out, I couldn't resist one last glance out the window. The pool of blood beneath Delacroix was obvious.

The door was locked with a rubber wedge jammed under the sill. I bent over and tugged it out, then pulled the door open. A glance down the halls showed nothing out of the ordinary, and I stepped out of the room. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out my phone and punched a button. The message that was sent out had been ready ever since I had entered the building. The stairway was nearby, the door cracked open slightly. I stuck a hand in my coat pocket as I made for the stairwell. The bottom of the pocket had been cut out and my hand rested lightly on the handle of my other gun. The bodyguards were probably just figuring out the cause of Delacroix's death and even though there were too many suspicious buildings around, it was better to be safe. We had timed the escape down the stairs, and if someone left the club at a flat-out run they could reach the front of the building right about as I exited through the side.

I took the stairs quickly, but not at a run. The bag with the rifle was heavy, and the stairs were slippery in spots. I checked the time again. The stairwell was empty of both people and cameras, and even though the walls were thick I could not hear any sounds of alarm. Reaching the door to the first floor, I pressed the button on my earpiece. "Ready," I said, and almost heard Bojack's nod of acknowledgment. I reached the ground floor. The stairwell's door opened into another hallway, and I checked it as well. Empty. A quick hustle over to another door with a glowing "EXIT" sign led to the outside.

The car was just pulling up as I stepped outside into the pleasantly warm sun. Bojack was reaching down, and the trunk popped open as the car slowed. Noman was sitting up now, and he reached over his seat to open the back door to the car as I lowered the sports bag into the trunk. Closing it firmly, I hurried to the open door, scrambling into the backseat. Bojack watched in the rearview mirror until he was sure I had buckled in. "Come on man, let's go," Noman urged. "I know they can't see us here, but if they saw us move it could get ugly."Bojack shrugged. "They didn't." Seeing I was buckled, he smoothly pulled out, heading away from the club. I leaned back in the seat, not relaxing just yet. The only thing left was to wait for the call. I looked down at the cellphone in my hand.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Fiction / Violent /