The Assassin's Bullet By C.S. Michaels

The crosshairs of my rifle’s scope were lined up square on the man’s head.

He was oblivious to the fact that in just a few short moments his life was going to end. The good news for him, if one chose to look at it as good news, was that he was going to die quickly. There would be no long, painful death. That may not make him feel better if he knew he was going to die, but it made me feel better.
The Assassin's Bullet
The Assassin's Bullet By C.S. Michaels

My target was in his apartment, sitting in his office, looking at his laptop. He was behind his desk and facing the wall with his back to the window, exposing a perfect head shot to me. The shot I was lining up was about two hundred yards away, which normally wouldn’t be a problem for me. I had made that shot thousands of times, albeit never at a human being.

However, in this case, once I fired the shot, the bullet was going to have to travel through the window and that was a risk. You never knew what glass could do to the trajectory of the bullet so I was going to have to be ready to fire a second shot if needed. Firing a second shot was a worst-case scenario, but I needed to be prepared just in case it was required.

I didn’t want to fire a second shot because that would increase the risk of getting caught. Not only would I have to take the time to line up the second shot and fire the rifle again, but I would have to eject the first shell. That meant additional time looking for the shell when I was ready to leave because I couldn’t risk that it would be found by the cops. Not that it really mattered if it was found because I knew it wouldn’t lead them to me. I had made sure that I wore gloves when I loaded the shells into the rifle, but I still didn’t want to leave any evidence behind, proving that I was here.

In addition to that, if I had to take a second shot then that meant my first shot wasn’t accurate. If I wounded him or missed him, he would have the chance to get away before I could get another shot off. With all that going through my head I still felt comfortable with my shot.

I had practiced many hours of firing a shot, ejecting the shell and then firing another shot accurately. I had even bought a window and put it in front of a target just to see what it would do to the bullet when I fired. It hadn’t affected it too much so I felt relatively comfortable that my shot would be true. However, all my practice shots had always been at paper targets that weren’t going to try to move after the first shot was fired so that was easy compared to this situation.

I knew I could get a second shot off before he made it to the door in his office, but if he dropped to the floor immediately after the first shot and crawled to a spot in the room where I didn’t have a good view of him then I may not have a chance to get the second shot off. Even if I did take a second shot before he had a chance to hide, I would have to rush the shot which meant I may miss him.

If he could manage to get to a spot in the room where I couldn’t see him then he could call for help if he had his cell phone or he could wait for help. If he called for help they would send people scouring the area and they may find me. That meant that if I missed him and couldn’t get another shot off then I was going to leave the area immediately without finishing the job.

Even if he didn’t call for help, I wouldn’t be able to stay where I was. He could just wait me out, knowing I would have to eventually leave. That would force me to try to finish the job somewhere else, but he would then be watchful, making it much more difficult. I had to succeed with this attempt because it was the best attempt I was going to get.

Those were all the things that were going through my head at the moment since this was going to be my first kill. Well, let me rephrase that statement. This was going to be my first kill for money. I had killed before, but that was for personal reasons, which those people deserved, by the way. This was the first time I was killing someone as part of a job and I needed to ensure that I didn’t make a mistake.

I was hoping that if I was successful then this would lead to other jobs in the future. That probably makes me sound like some kind of monster, but I’m actually one of the good guys, as unlikely as that sounds. I’m sure most people would disagree with that statement, but in my opinion, I’m one of the good guys and I’m just trying to do what’s right. I’m sure I would have difficulty convincing the public of that, but I wasn’t going to concern myself with what other people might think.

I should probably explain how I became an assassin and why I think I’m one of the good guys. My name is Cameron Blake and this path I’m following started about a year and a half ago when my parents and sister were brutally murdered in their house in Kansas City during the middle of the night.

As one can imagine, it was quite a shock to me when the police came to the door to tell me my family had been killed. At first, I couldn’t even comprehend what they were telling me. It was like some bad dream and I kept expecting to wake up. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a dream. It had actually happened and I was living a nightmare.

They were the only family I had and there was a cop sitting in my living room on a Sunday morning, telling me everyone I loved was dead. Sure, I had a few other relatives, but we weren’t close. The only family members I was close to were now dead and I didn’t know how to react to that.

The cops told me three men had broken in to my family’s house to rob the place after waiting until everyone had gone to bed. After they had broken in, they started taking everything they could get their hands on, which wasn’t much because my parents lived modestly.

At some point during the robbery, one or more of the men went upstairs and brutally murdered my parents and my sister while they slept. The cops couldn’t explain why they had done that because it wasn’t like my family went downstairs and caught them in the act of robbing them. They were sound asleep and hadn’t even known what was happening. The men had purposely and deliberately gone upstairs with the sole purpose of killing them.

The men were eventually caught and brought up on murder charges, not only for the murder of my family, but the murder of another couple which happened a week after my family was killed. Eventually, it went to court and I had been optimistic they would be convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Unfortunately, the evidence the prosecutors were counting on to convict the three of them didn’t work out the way it was supposed to so the three of them were found not guilty. To say I was pissed would be a huge understatement. I just couldn’t believe those three killers were able to go free and for a while it haunted me every day, forcing me to become a borderline alcoholic.

Eventually, my best friend Jonathon Riley suggested that I take the law into my own hands. At first, I couldn’t believe he had suggested such a thing because I never thought I could do something like that. I had shrugged it off, not wanting to risk going to prison the rest of my life. As much as I would have liked to make them pay for what they had done, I certainly didn’t want to go to prison.

However, there were some events that took place shortly thereafter that changed my mind. I won’t go into those details, but suffice it to say, it was significant and I decided something needed to be done.

After I got my vengeance, I felt good, knowing that I prevented those monsters from killing other people. I thought I would feel remorse, but I felt nothing for them, knowing they deserved everything they got. Feeling satisfied that we had done something good, Jon and I decided to kill people that we determined were a menace to society so they couldn’t hurt anyone again.

Some people would say that it wasn’t up to me to determine who was good and who was bad or who should live and who should die. I’m sure they would add that it’s not my responsibility to be judge, jury and executioner. They would probably be right, but I didn’t care.

I knew one thing and that’s that I didn’t want anyone to ever go through what I had gone through. I’ll never forget how I felt when I heard my family had been murdered. It turned my life upside down. The feelings of sadness turned into feelings of anger when the men were found innocent because that meant there was going to be no justice for what happened to my family.

If only the law would have done its job and the men would have been found guilty, I would have gone back to my regular life and I wouldn’t be sitting here, prepared to kill a man. However, that didn’t happen and it would be an event that would change my life forever.

To this day, I still don’t understand how those men were set free. It was so unfair and I couldn’t live with that outcome. Something needed to be done and if the justice system wasn’t going to do anything about it then I would take matters into my own hands. Once that happened, I figured I would take justice into my own hands for other people that were still free and not paying for their crimes. That’s how I justified it to myself. Whether a jury would understand my decision to kill people, I had no idea.

It didn’t matter because I was never arrested for the murders. Of course, the police came and talked to me, knowing I had a motive to see those people killed, but they couldn’t prove anything. They watched me for a few days, but the deed was done so there was nothing they were going to get from me.

Those events set in motion a journey where I am now a hired assassin. Jon and I figured horrible people like the men that killed my parents deserved to die and we were going to do everything we could to make it happen. We also figured that if we were going to kill people, we might as well get paid to do it so that’s why I’m here, ready to fire my rifle at the man in front of me.

I pushed those thoughts out of my head as I brought my mind back to the present and prepared to squeeze the trigger.

Chapter 2

The man in my scope was in his mid-forties with small circular glasses. He had a small head and was starting to go bald but kept what remained of his black hair cut short. Although he was sitting down and I couldn’t see the rest of him, I knew he was five feet nine and had a small pot belly that was normal for someone his age. I knew this because I had been following him for the last few weeks, trying to determine where my best shot would be.

We had done a lot of research on him so I knew everything about him. I knew he had a wife and daughter. I knew he would be working from home at this time of day, just like he did every day. His wife would be at the salon right now like she was every week. The daughter was at school now so there was no chance that she would be home when I took the shot.

In fact, there wasn’t anyone else that would be in the home. The maid wouldn’t come until the afternoon so either she or the wife would get home first, meaning the daughter wouldn’t be the one that discovered her father. I may be a killer, but I wasn’t going to put his daughter through the emotional grief of seeing her father dead.

She probably didn’t even know the extent of her father’s illegal activities so it was going to be hard on her to lose him, but it would be even worse if she were the one that found him. I knew it wasn’t good to put a wife through it either, but this had to be done and someone had to find his body. I certainly preferred that to be the wife rather than the daughter, especially since I figured his wife knew exactly what kind of work he was in.

Because I have been watching their activity, I knew she would be the one to discover the body, I also knew I had a few hours before that would happen, giving me plenty of time to make my escape. I purposely set it up so I would be here at this time and the killing would happen now.

I was in a precarious position, high atop a building, so if someone saw the body and called for help before I had a chance to get down to the street, it would greatly increase the chances of me getting caught. Since I knew I had two hours before the body was discovered, it would make escaping the area much easier.

Knowing I was just minutes from killing the man, there was no guilt inside of me and that was because of who this man was. According to the bio that Jon had gotten me, this man was responsible for a lot of killings, not to mention a host of other illegal activities.

His name was Enrique Ramirez. He was the son of Jorge Ramirez who was a drug lord in Miami. Apparently, the father dominated the drug market in Miami and had decided to expand his operation in the New York City area, where I was now. According to the information I had read, he had been a person of interest and investigated, but there was never enough evidence to bring charges against him. He had done a great job of insulating himself from all the illegal activities, including ordering the hits on several of his competitors, both in Miami and New York.

Enrique, the son, was the number two man in his father’s drug operation. From all accounts, Enrique was as ruthless as his father. Although he may not have killed the people himself, there were rumors that he had several people killed over the years. One article we found showed that the FBI had investigated him for over a year before finally bringing charges on him. The father paid for the best lawyers that money could buy, but it seemed likely he would still go to prison.

Miraculously, the jury found him not guilty on all charges and he walked away free, sending the public into an uproar. There were rumors that the jurors had been bribed or threatened so they would find him not guilty, but it had never been proven. After reading about him going free, it brought back all the memories of the murderers that killed my family, which is why I felt no guilt about doing what I was doing.

When Jon and I discussed this operation, we decided to make it look like a rival drug lord ordered the hit. Since the father had been suspected of ordering hits on his competitors, we figured it would be plausible to believe that his competitors would order a hit on him. Given the fact that someone was paying me to carry out the killing, I assumed it had to be from a rival so we might as well make it look that way.

That’s why I was shooting from two hundred yards away. I didn’t know exactly how hits were carried out, but I figured shooting someone sniper-style would fit into that category. Not only did I think this would make it look like a professional hit, which it was, but I liked the idea of doing it from this far away. I didn’t want to try to break into his apartment to kill him. It would be much more difficult to do and I knew there was a bigger risk of being seen or leaving evidence at the scene.

The other reason I liked the idea of shooting him from here was that I figured it would be much easier for me to get away than if I tried to kill him from inside his apartment. Also, it would have been difficult to attempt to sneak into his apartment to commit the murder, mainly because he had guards posted outside his door. They may even be in the apartment with him, but I didn’t think so. During all my surveillance, it seemed that the guards waited outside, but even if they were inside the apartment with him, it wouldn’t matter. If they were in the apartment, they would be standing guard by the door so there was no way they would hear the shot.

Taking my eye off the man, I checked the surrounding area, making sure nobody was looking at me. It was a Wednesday afternoon in New York City so there were some people on the streets, but it wasn’t too crowded. The streets were never empty in New York City, no matter the time of day, so this was going to be about as good as I could get during the day time.

Since I was on top of the building, nobody should be able to see me as I tried to remain hidden behind the ledge. I only had the rifle and my head above the ledge so I was relatively hidden. Most people don’t walk down a street looking up so I wasn’t too concerned about being seen or heard. The bigger risk was from people seeing me from the windows of other buildings, which was why I picked this one. It was taller than most of the buildings in the area so nobody would be above me.

I had a black high-powered sniper rifle with a sixteen-inch barrel and an adjustable buttstock, allowing the rifle to have a maximum length of 36 inches. The adjustable buttstock could fold in, which allowed me to conceal it in a backpack. The rifle was equipped with a sixteen-ounce sound suppressor so nobody would be able to hear my shot. Not only was the sound suppressor needed so it wouldn’t give away my location, it also helped reduce recoil, allowing me to confirm the first hit and take a second shot quickly if needed. The rifle came with a ten-round magazine as well as one in the chamber, although if I needed that many rounds then I was in a lot of trouble.

The rifle had a bipod attached to the front of the rifle which I currently had resting on the ledge of the building, making it much easier to shoot with precision. The total weight was a little over eleven pounds when it was empty. I was able to purchase it through an unlicensed gun dealer so there was no record of me buying it. The retail price was fifty-five hundred dollars. I liked the rifle a lot and had been practicing with it for a little over a year, knowing if I was going to kill horrible people, this was going to be the way to do it.

I had grown up hunting with my parents, often going to Colorado to hunt deer and elk. I used to use a .30-06 and a .243 so I had a lot of experience with rifles. As a result, I was accurate to begin with but I knew if I was going to go into this line of work I would need to be even more accurate, so I practiced relentlessly.

We had found an empty field several miles from the Kansas City area where I was able to practice my shooting. I couldn’t go to a shooting range because the sniper rifle would stand out and draw a lot of attention, so we had found a deserted area that allowed me to practice in peace.

Getting my mind back on the task at hand, I focused on the target. I took a couple of deep breaths, trying to slow my heart rate. My heart was racing and I tried to steady myself, but that was easier said than done. This was my first time doing something like this and I quickly realized it was much different than shooting at targets. It was also much different than the other men I killed because this time I had no personal attachment. Last time, I had so much rage building inside of me for what they did to my family there wasn’t any kind of nervousness. This time, I had never met this person so I was killing a stranger, although knowing he was a terrible person made me feel less guilty about it.

I think I was more nervous about getting caught than I was about doing the actual killing. The last time I did this, I made sure that I had set up the perfect murder, or what I thought was the perfect murder. In this case, the police were going to know exactly where the shot came from. The only reason I felt safe was that they had no reason to suspect me. There was no link to me and the victim so there was no reason for them to suspect me. Of course, I knew the police were very good so I had to make sure I didn’t leave any evidence behind that could lead to me.

I also needed to make sure this hit was successful. Jon and I had already received half the payment for this job and we would receive the other half when he was confirmed dead. I already had one hundred thousand dollars which was my cut in an unnamed bank account in the Cayman Islands. As soon as this was done, I would get another hundred grand.

Pushing the thoughts of money out of my mind, I moved the scope up and down the street one last time, just to make sure nothing looked suspicious. I didn’t see anything, not that I expected to, so I determined I had a green light. I had been preparing for this for the last four weeks so I felt very comfortable with the plan. I moved the scope back to Enrique and settled the crosshairs on the back of his head and took one more deep breath.

I slowly squeezed the trigger.

Chapter 3

Through my scope, I saw a big red mess hit the wall in front of my target. Then his head fell forward as it crashed onto the laptop that he had been working on just seconds before. Although I didn’t need to worry about firing another shot, I ejected the shell then moved the bolt so it loaded the next round. Immediately, I realized I had done that automatically even though I had told myself not to eject the shell unless I was going to have to fire another shot. I didn’t want to take the risk of losing the shell so I made a mental note to look for the shell before I left.

I kept the scope on him and watched him for thirty seconds just to make sure he was dead. I didn’t have much doubt based on the amount of blood that was on the wall, but I kept the scope on him just in case he started to move.

Moving the scope to his back, I watched to see if there was any movement, indicating he was breathing. Keeping the crosshairs there for thirty seconds, I didn’t see any movement, proving he was no longer alive. If he wasn’t dead then he was a mighty good actor.

Satisfied he was dead I moved my scope up and down the street to see if anyone was panicking. There hadn’t been a sound as the suppressor did what it was supposed to but I was more concerned with the window making a noise as the bullet passed through it.

The bullet left a hole in the office window, but I didn’t think it made much of a sound. At least if it did make any noise, it would have been too quick for anyone to figure out what it was or where it came from. I know I hadn’t heard any sounds so I was relatively sure nobody else had either.

Knowing I couldn’t stay here any longer, I set the rifle down and picked up the empty shell. After scooting away from the edge of the building so I could get out of sight, I knew I needed to get packed up and leave quickly. I took the sound suppressor off first then I folded in the buttstock. The great thing about the rifle I had was that once I had that done it could easily fit into my backpack. It was much less conspicuous to walk around with a backpack then it was with something larger like a guitar case.

Once I had the rifle in my backpack, I stood up and took my gloves off. I made sure that I never touched my rifle or the shells with my bare hands. I couldn’t take the chance of leaving fingerprints on it.

With my gloves off, I took my coveralls off then wrapped the rifle in them, careful not to touch the rifle. The coveralls had been important because I knew I was going to be sitting on the roof and I hadn’t wanted to get my clothes dirty. In addition to that, if anyone were to see me on the rooftop I figured someone wearing coveralls would be less suspicious because they would think I was some kind of maintenance man.

I was wearing what was considered business casual which consisted of black slacks with a solid blue buttoned down, long sleeve shirt. I had black shoes on, but they were covered with shoe booties currently. I would take those off when I got into the stairwell. Once those were off, I knew this ensemble was going to help me blend in with the business crowd that was not only in this building but also on the streets.

I had contemplated wearing a suit and tie but as Jon and I discussed it we determined it probably wasn’t a good idea. I would stand out because most men in white collar jobs didn’t wear suits anymore. Certainly, there were exceptions. Vice Presidents and Presidents of large companies often wore suits, but the way I looked and the backpack I was carrying made it so I didn’t look like an executive. I would appear to be an average office worker walking the streets like so many other people.

That was why I chose to wear business casual. Having worked in the business world before starting this new career, I knew everyone wore exactly what I was wearing and they always carried their laptops in the same kind of backpack I was carrying. I figured this was a great way to camouflage myself.

Once everything was in my backpack, I put my gloves back on then slung the backpack over my shoulder and headed to the stairs where I had entered the rooftop. Picking up the motion detector that I had set in front of the door, I placed it in my backpack. The motion detector was used as a warning system, just in case someone came through the door. I had the receiver with me so if anyone would have come through the door then an alarm would have been set off, giving me ample time to break down the rifle and hide it before I was seen.

There was another motion detector that I had placed one flight of stairs down, in the stairwell, for redundancy purposes. I had also placed a wedge in front of the door to slow someone from entering the roof. The wedge wouldn’t stop them, but it would slow them down while they had to push the door open, adding to the time it took for them to get onto the roof, ensuring I had plenty of time to get everything put into the backpack.

Placing the motion detector and the wedge in the backpack, I opened the door and looked down the stairs. Not seeing anyone, I headed down the first flight of stairs, picking up the second motion detector. Putting that in the backpack, I took off my gloves then took the stairs all the way down to the lobby. Even though I was wearing a wig and a mustache I didn’t want to take the chance of being caught on camera in the elevator so I had chosen to take the stairs. I didn’t know if they had a camera in the elevator but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. It seemed like there were cameras everywhere these days so I was going to go with the assumption they had cameras in the elevators and in the lobby.

Once I was on the bottom floor and in front of the door, I covered my hand with my sleeve and opened the door, making sure I didn’t leave any prints. Coming out of the stairs, I entered the lobby of the office building. Since this building housed offices for many different companies there wasn’t a guard desk that required me to sign in. That was something that had worried me when I first started scouting out potential buildings to take the shot. Most office buildings have a guard desk and you’re required to show identification to sign it. Although I could have used false identification, I preferred not to do that.

Luckily, I found this building and didn’t have to worry about a guard desk or signing in. If it’s a building that has multiple businesses in it there usually isn’t any guard desk. Most of the time there is a directory on the wall that tells you where each office is located. In other cases, there might be an information desk with someone behind it, but that’s usually the extent of it. They don’t usually require anyone to sign in and that was the case for this building.

Entering the lobby, nobody paid any attention to me. It’s not unusual for people to use the stairs especially if their office is on the second or third floor. Most of the time, it’s faster to take the stairs for one or two levels rather than wait for the elevator.

As a result, nobody seemed to notice me as I entered the lobby and headed for the doors. I walked out of the building, timing it so as soon as someone walked through the door I could slip out before the door shut, ensuring that I didn’t have to touch it so I kept my prints off the door.

Once I was out outside, I turned right and started casually walking down the street. I had taken the subway here and I would take it back to where I had parked my car. However, I didn’t want to take the subway close by. Instead, I wanted to walk several miles before I entered the subway station.

Once again, I figured there were cameras at the entrances of the subway and probably even in the stations. I was sure the authorities would check all the cameras in the nearest stations so I figured if I walked six to eight miles away they wouldn’t check those. They would only check the nearest stations, probably not having the time or man power to check more than that.

Thankfully, the streets weren’t too crowded so I could make good time. At a brisk pace, I figured I could cover six miles in less than two hours. That should allow me to be on the subway by the time the body was discovered. By the time the cops were called into investigate and arrived on scene, I knew I would be twenty miles away so even if they cordoned off the area, it wouldn’t do them any good.

At the next street, I took a right and walked in that direction. I didn’t have a particular station in mind. Rather I wanted to continue walking in a random manner until I came to a station that I felt was far enough away.

About two hours later and probably seven miles away, I entered a station and walked down the stairs. I looked at my watch and calculated that Enrique’s wife was probably just getting home and finding her husband’s dead body lying on his desk. I wasn’t sure if she would call the cops immediately or if she would first tell the men that acted as their guards. If she was worried the cops would find something about his line of work or if there was something incriminating in the apartment then she would have to take the time to get that squared away. Eventually, I knew she would call the cops because she would have to unless they tried to cover up the murder.

Assuming it took five to ten minutes to get everything in order she would then call the cops but it would take them five or six minutes to get there. By the time they started searching the area, I will already have boarded one of the subway trains and would be long gone.

I had already gotten the tokens I needed, so I paid and walked over to the platform then waited for the next train. Luckily, I only had to wait a few minutes and the next train came. After the passengers unloaded, I stepped onto the train and took it to a station several miles away.

After I got off that train, I rode another, finally making it to the part of the city where I had left my car. I got off the train, walked across the platform and up the stairs to the street. Heading east, I walked another mile and a half until I reached a parking garage.

Making my way to my rental car, I got my driving gloves on, hopped in and started the car. I wanted to be careful not to leave any prints, especially since my prints were on file because of my time in the Air Force many years ago.

I drove the car to the gate of the parking garage, used a pre-paid debit card to pay the fee then headed north out of the city. Turning on the radio, I listened to see if my actions had made the news yet. Sure enough, there was a report of a killing in the part of town where I was. They didn’t have much information and said the police were still investigating and there would be more information later. As I listened to the report, I pictured cop cars along the street and cops bustling about, both on the street and in the apartment.

Turning the radio to some country music, I continued making my way to my destination. Traffic in New York City was horrible, no matter what time of day, so it took me several hours before I could get out of the city then took the Interstate to the city where I had rented the car.

I dropped the car off at the rental agency, getting my bill for one day of rental then walked another two miles to where my car was parked and got in. Before driving away, I got the phone out of my backpack that I had purchased a few weeks ago.

Some people called them throwaways, while others called them burner phones. Regardless of the term, the phone had a certain number of prepaid minutes and most importantly, it was untraceable. I would be able to use the phone as needed then discard it when this job was complete and nobody would be able to trace it back to me.

Jon also had purchased a burner phone so we had programmed each other’s temporary number into the phones so we could communicate without using our cell phones. This was just another layer of security that we followed, knowing you could never be too careful.

Turning the phone on, I waited while it booted up, which only took about twenty seconds. Once the phone was up, I found his number and sent him a one word text: Done. That would be enough to let him know that I had accomplished the mission. He would now be able to start the process to get the rest of our money paid to us.

Singing along to one of my favorite country songs, I drove another thirty miles until I got to the campground where I had parked my motorhome. Entering the campground, I took a right and slowly made my way to the spot where my motorhome was parked, looking forward to getting inside and relaxing.

As I pulled next to my motorhome, I grabbed my backpack, got out of the car and walked over to the motorhome. This was my home away from home and I was glad to be back after the day I had. It had been a long day and I needed a beer.

I unlocked the door, opened it and walked inside. Setting my backpack down on the table, I made my way to the fridge, ready for a beer or two. Grabbing a bottle of beer, I twisted the cap and took a long pull from the bottle, savoring the taste of the domestic beer.

“How was your day?” the voice from the bedroom said.

Chapter 4

As I stood there in front of the fridge, a brown-haired beauty walked out of the back bedroom, making her way to me and giving me a big kiss. Her name was Jaden and we had recently gotten married. She was five years younger than my thirty-four years and she had dark brown hair that was slightly curled and went just below the shoulders. She was tall and thin, thanks to an active lifestyle of running and jazzercise.

Jade and I had met over a year and a half ago under the worst possible circumstances. The three men accused of murdering my family were also accused of murdering her parents. We actually met at the court house when we were there for their arraignment. It was a strange place to meet someone and start dating, but somehow, we were both drawn to each other. I don’t know if it was our shared grief or what it was, but we started spending a lot of time together, eventually getting serious. One day I asked her to marry me and shortly thereafter we were married.

As hard as this is to believe, she was the one that helped push me into becoming an assassin. Since she had been so devastated by her parent’s murder, she wanted to make sure the murderers were killed so they couldn’t kill again. That way nobody else would have to go through what she did.

I was shocked when she first suggested it. At first, I thought she wanted me to do the dirty work by myself, but she actually wanted to be a part of it. In fact, she insisted that she was part of the planning and execution of the plan. After initially resisting, I finally agreed and we decided to take matters into our own hands. It was nice that we were both on the same page in that regard, although I really didn’t like that she was involved because I would hate it if anything happened to her.

As soon as we finished kissing, she stepped back, eager to hear how my day went. She was aware of what I was out there doing and she was interested to hear how it went so she stood there waiting for me to give her the details.

We were standing in a forty-three-foot motorhome that I had recently purchased. It was black and gray on the outside and had four slide outs that really opened the inside. With two slide outs on each side of the motorhome, including opposing slide outs for the living room and kitchen, it made the inside feel huge.

My motorhome was a Class A motorhome which I always referred to as the bus style of motorhome and not the kind that had the truck chassis with the bed above it. Our motorhome had a couch that faced a flat screen TV and a gas fireplace in the living room that led into the kitchen, consisting of an “L” shaped counter as well as a table that seats four people comfortably. Walking through the kitchen, the hallway led to the bathroom on the left and then straight back was the master bedroom.

The bedroom had built in cabinets where a TV was hidden and had plenty of room for clothes. There was even a queen bed in the back bedroom, giving us a lot of room to sleep. Queen beds in RVs weren’t the same size as a queen bed in a house. It is five inches smaller, but it was still nice having it in our motorhome.

If one were to look at the bedroom they would think that it looked like any other bedroom in an RV. However, this bedroom had something that no other bedroom had. In the bottom of the clothes cabinet I had a false bottom built in. When opening the cabinet, you would never know the bottom was false no matter how long you looked at it. With clothes hanging in the closet part of the cabinet and our shoes lining the bottom of the cabinet, there was no way anyone would think there was something unusual about the cabinet.

Even if someone did suspect that it was a false bottom they couldn’t open it. There was no latch and no way to get your fingers underneath to pull it open. That was thanks to a security measure I had built in just to make sure nobody could open it. I had it rigged to the control panel that was located next to the kitchen. On the control panel, right next to where it said, ‘Kitchen Lights’ there was another button labeled ‘Kitchen Lights #2’.

That button had to be turned on before the false bottom could be opened. Once that button was pressed then I could easily open the bottom to the cabinet by applying pressure to it which then popped it open. It was important that I had that secret compartment because that was where all my assassin-related things were located.

“So how did it go today?” Jade asked.

“It went as well as expected,” I answered as I held up a beer bottle.

Nodding her head, indicating she wanted a beer, I reached in the fridge and grabbed another bottle. Twisting the cap off, I handed her the beer then took the cap off and threw it away before taking a big drink from my own beer.

“So, nobody saw you?” Jade asked.

“I don’t think so. I was able to get away and it didn’t appear that anyone noticed me leaving.”

“How do you feel?” Jade asked, probably wondering if I was filled with guilt.

As I mentioned, this was the first assassination so we weren’t sure if it would bother me or not. I had told her it wasn’t that big of a deal and that I would be fine, but I’m sure she worried if that was true or not.

“I feel fine,” I replied.

“Are you sorry you did it?”

“No,” I answered firmly. “From everything we had read, it appeared he was an extremely dangerous man that had a hand in a lot of killings, not to mention all the drugs he supplied to people. I’m sure several of those drugs made it into a lot of kids’ hands. I’m glad we took him off the streets.”

“I’m glad you feel that way.”

“How about you?” I asked. “Do you feel bad about what we did?”

“Not at all,” Jade replied. “All I did was go for a run then take a nap. I don’t feel guilty at all.”

We laughed at her joke then I took a drink of my beer, savoring the taste. After wiping off my lips with my sleeve, I set the bottle down on the table and grabbed my backpack. Turning the switch on for the false bottom, I walked over to the cabinet and swung open the doors. Bending down, I took my shoes out of the cabinet and placed them on the floor next to me.

Next, I pressed down on the front of the false bottom and held it for five seconds until a click sounded. Once I heard the click, I was able to open the bottom up. Inside were some passports, driver’s licenses, money, handguns and other items that I didn’t want anyone to find.

I took the coveralls out of my backpack, folding them up and placing them inside the secret compartment. Next, I took the box that held my disassembled rifle and placed it inside as well. Grabbing my fake ID out of my pocket I put that next to the rifle. Taking my disguise off, I placed it with the other disguises and then added the backpack to it.

I shut the bottom and heard the click then replaced all our shoes to make sure I covered it up sufficiently. Walking back to the control panel, I switched it to the off position. It probably seems like overkill to have so many precautions in place, but I had no desire to spend the rest of my life in prison. I had always read or heard about people getting arrested for murder because of some small detail so I tried to make sure I thought of everything. In my mind, there were no small details. Every detail was a huge risk so I needed to make sure I eliminated, or minimized, them as much as possible.

The only risk we had, and it wasn’t much of one, was that we had our motorhome here, not to mention my car. If anyone looked into it, we would just say we were in New York visiting. They couldn’t prove any more than that. To minimize the risk even more, we paid with cash or pre-paid debit cards for everything, including the camp site. I figured it would be very difficult to prove we were here unless they had video evidence somewhere.

I went back to the bedroom, changed into some shorts and a t-shirt then looked at myself in the mirror. I was six feet two and weighed in at two hundred and twenty pounds. I wouldn’t say I was loaded with muscles, but I was active in sports so I didn’t have a lot of fat on my frame. My hair was dark brown which was messed up because of the black wig I had on.

Deciding that I might as well not even bother trying to comb my hair I went back into the living room and sat on the couch to enjoy my beer. My burner phone was sitting next to me and I heard it buzz which struck me as odd because I wasn’t expecting Jon to call me.

Looking at the phone, I saw that it was indeed Jon and he had texted me, asking if I was there. The plan had been for me to text when the job was done and then we would go silent until we saw him when we got back home so I was a little curious why he would be texting me.

I texted back saying I was here and then a second later, he texted me saying we had another job which confused me because the original plan was to do one hit then I was going to get back to Kansas City.

“That’s strange,” I said as I looked at the text then took a drink of my beer.

“What is it?” Jade asked.

“Jon says we have another job.”

“How can we have another job? You just finished this one.”

“I don’t know, but I’m not thrilled with it,” I replied. “I just want to get back home and relax.”

I texted back to Jon: That wasn’t the plan.

After a second: I know. Check your email.

Sighing, I got my iPad out and logged into my email account that we only used for this purpose. My code name was CJ and his was JT and we made sure we only used those names when we were discussing the killing business. We even had a code that we used so we could encrypt messages, allowing only Jon and I to understand it. It consisted solely of numbers and the code changed daily.

Logging in, I saw I only had one email and it was from JT. Since today was Wednesday, the magic number was three in our code. If the email had been sent on Monday, the magic number would be one since we based the number on the day of the week, from one to seven.

We would have to decode messages by using a certain book and we made sure that we had a different book for each day of the week. Although it wouldn’t be a big deal if we left the books lying around, I didn’t want to take any chances so I kept the books in the secret compartment. Just in case the police did search our motorhome, I didn’t want them to find the books. It was just another layer of security that made me sleep a little better.

Now that I had the magic number, I repeated the process to open the secret compartment and grabbed a book that we had already agreed would be the source of our emails on Wednesdays. We had one book for each day of the week. There was one page in the book that we had designated as the page we would use to help us decode the message. That page number was determined by the day of the month so we didn’t have to worry about that being in the email. We figured that would make it extremely difficult for anyone to figure out which page of which book was the source of our encrypted messages. Since it changed every day of the week and month, we hoped it was unbreakable.

When we sent emails to each other that were of a sensitive nature, we used rows of numbers across the page. Each number told me which word to look at and then I used the three from Wednesday to tell me to look at the third letter of that word. If I ran across a zero in the row of numbers, then I knew it was time for a new word to start. For example, I may see the following numbers: 7 18 21 4 0.

Since our magic number was three, I would look at the third letter of the seventh word from the page of the book then I would look at the third letter of the eighteenth word, the third letter of the twenty-first word and the third letter of the fourth word. The zero would tell me that was the end of that word then I would have my word from the four letters that I had just decoded. We would continue that throughout the email.

It was painstakingly slow, but it served its purpose. The hardest part was when we needed a letter that wasn’t on the page. If that was the case then we would have to use another word that did have letters on that page. The other option was to signal to go to another page. If we were doing that then we would use the page number and put two ones in front of it. For example, 11324 would tell the person to go to page three hundred and twenty-four and then use that page for the rest of the message.

We knew our system probably wasn’t perfect, but we figured it would be awfully difficult to decode. First, someone would have to know our email accounts to know how we were sending the messages. Secondly, even if someone got a hold of the email they would have no way to decode it without the book. If they found the books in my motorhome or Jon’s house they would still have to figure out which page of which book was the source for our translation. They also wouldn’t know which letter of the words on that page made up our message. We figured the method we had developed was awfully secure.

“Are you going to read the message?” Jade asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied after I had sat back down with the book next to me. I didn’t open the book. Instead, I just sat back and enjoyed my beer, not in any hurry to read what Jon had sent me. I figured it could wait until later.

“Just read it,” Jade said.

“I really just want to relax.”

“I understand, but you should see what he has to say,” Jade responded.

“I don’t know if I want to do another job. We’ve been working on this job for three weeks and I was looking forward to completing it.”

“I know, but Jon wouldn’t have sent the message if he didn’t think it was important to do this job too,” Jade pointed out.

“Fine,” I said with a sigh.

I stood up and went over to one of the drawers, grabbing a pen and a notepad then sat back down at the table. I ripped a piece of paper out of a notebook and placed it on the table so I could write the letters down. There was no way I was leaving the paper in the notebook while I wrote because it would leave an indentation in the piece of paper underneath it. Cops could then extract what had been written and it could prove that I had written down a name which didn’t necessarily prove that I killed someone, but it would certainly indicate I was involved.

It was just one more thing that Jon and I had devised. We hoped none of the security measures we created would ever be needed, but we figured at some point we might make a mistake so it was best to have those measures in place to help prevent any charges from sticking to us.

Once I wrote all the numbers down, I flipped to the appropriate page in the book and started looking up the words and determining which letters I needed to write down. It took several minutes of going back and forth between numbers and letters, but I finally had the email written out.

Since the messages took a while to write and decode, we tried to keep them as short as possible. Looking at the notebook, it basically had the city and the name of the intended target so I knew who Jon wanted me to kill and where he would be.

“What does it say?” Jade asked as she saw me staring at the piece of paper.”

“It’s the name of the next person we need to kill,” I replied.

“Who is it?”

“Just a second,” I answered as I looked at the piece of paper as if I had written it down wrong.

Standing up, I walked over to the kitchen, grabbed a lighter and went to the bathroom. Lighting the piece of paper, I held it in my hands while it started burning. When most of the paper was burning and I couldn’t hold it anymore, I put it in the toilet then pressed down on the foot lever that flushed the toilet and watched it burn as it disappeared. As soon as it was gone, I flushed the toilet for another few seconds, removing any evidence of the burning paper.

Shaking my head, I couldn’t believe he wanted me to kill someone else so soon after I just finished killing this guy. I also couldn’t believe who he wanted me to kill. I had never planned on doing a second job when I first came out here and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take it on or not.

We had planned the first killing for several weeks before we even came to New York, trying to come up with the best plan possible. Once we got out here I spent three weeks watching the target, making sure we had done our due diligence before I did anything. I was making sure we had all the information we needed to ensure that nobody would know that I was involved with the killing.

Now Jon wanted me to kill another person and I didn’t have the time to spend on the reconnaissance that was required. Actually, that wasn’t quite true. I did have the time because I didn’t have a job to go back to, but I just didn’t know if I wanted to spend the time doing it.

“What is it?” Jade asked.

“Hold on a second,” I replied. “I need to send Jon a text to make sure he’s serious about this.”

Going back to the table, I grabbed my phone and texted Jon: You’re kidding me?

He texted back: No.

I texted: When?

His response: ASAP.

I sat back and took a big drink of my beer, downing the rest of it. “I’m going to need another beer,” I said

Chapter 5

Agent Clint Dover and Agent Sean Laramie walked into the apartment that belonged to Enrique Rodriguez. Dover had been with the FBI for nine years and Laramie seven years. Sporting short black hair, Dover had brown eyes and a big nose set in a square face. He had on a black suit with a gray shirt and black and white tie on his five feet ten inch two-hundred-pound body.

Agent Laramie was two inches taller and ten pounds heavier, but had the same short haircut, although his hair was a light brown color. His nose was crooked from a fight when he was younger and he had blue eyes set in an oblong face. His suit looked like Dover’s but Laramie’s was blue with a white shirt.

As they entered the apartment, a New York City police officer quickly made his way over, stopping them. “Can I help you?” he asked curtly.

The cop’s name badge indicated his name was Harrison and his blue uniform was a tad tight on his muscular frame. Dover and Laramie flashed their badges. “We’re with the FBI,” Dover said.

The cop looked at the badges for a second then looked down the hall. The look in his eyes told Dover he wasn’t happy they were there. That was the same reaction they always got when they encountered the local police officers. In Dover’s time at the FBI, he had realized that all government agencies were territorial and didn’t like it if another agency intruded in their jurisdiction.

“Detective, do you want to come out here for a second!” the cop yelled.

“What is it?” the detective yelled from another room.

“You have company.”

While waiting for the detective to show up, the two agents started looking at the apartment. They were standing in a hallway that opened into a massive living room that had a couch, a love seat and two chairs, all of which were high end. There wasn’t a TV anywhere in the room, at least not one that could be seen by the detectives. On their left was the dining room with a dark maple table with eight high back chairs around it. There was a door on the other end that Dover assumed led to the kitchen. On their right was another hallway that he assumed would lead to the bedrooms.

Walking up to the two agents, the detective eyed them closely. There was another man in the hallway, looking at something when the detective caught his eye and motioned for him to join. The man stopped what he was doing and fell in line with the detective.

“Who the hell are you guys?” the detective asked, obviously not happy with the intruders, although he had a good idea exactly who they were.

They showed their badges. “Agents Dover and Laramie,” Dover said. “We’re with the FBI. Are you guys the detectives in charge?”

“I’m Detective Tyson and this is Detective Hansen,” he answered.

Tyson was the older of the two and was wearing a rumpled suit that looked to be several years old. He had a bit of a beer belly and a bulbous nose indicating he liked his alcohol. He was a squat man that had seen a once trim physique turn into flab from years of eating unhealthy foods and not exercising. Starting to go bald ten years earlier, he combed what was left over the top of his head, unsuccessfully hiding his bald spot. He was in his mid-fifties and had been working as a detective for two decades.

His partner, Hansen, was a decade younger, but he took care of himself. He was four inches taller than Tyson but weighed the same. The difference was that he didn’t have much fat on his body. He had jet black hair with brown eyes and a small scar that ran across the right side of his chin.

“What is the FBI doing here?” Hansen asked. “The last time I checked, a murder in New York City isn’t the FBI’s concern.”

“It is now,” Dover responded.

Dover knew local cops hated when the FBI showed up and he didn’t blame them because he would be pissed if another agency started stepping all over his investigation. However, there was nothing he could do about it. The FBI needed to be involved in this and it really didn’t matter if the two detectives had a problem with it.

“I don’t need this shit,” Tyson replied. “This is a homicide that took place in New York City. You have no jurisdiction here.”

“In this case we do.”


“It’s on a need to know basis,” Dover said, trying not to sound like an ass, although he knew people hated it when he used that line.

“Well, I need to know.”

“Not in this case.”


“Listen Detective, I don’t want any trouble,” Dover stated, trying to sound unthreatening.

Dover really didn’t want to take the case away from the detectives, despite what they thought. There were just some aspects of the killing that the FBI was interested in and they needed a chance to investigate it, but the detective was so defensive, Dover wasn’t sure how to convince him that they weren’t there to steal the case away from them.

“Leave and you won’t find any trouble,” Tyson responded, not about to take any crap from an FBI agent.

“I’m trying to be nice, but you’re making it awfully difficult for that to happen,” Dover commented. “Your boss has been made aware of the situation so if you want to call him then be my guest.”

Tyson stood there, contemplating what he should do. He knew the agent was most likely telling the truth and he didn’t want to start up some shit storm by calling his boss. However, what if the agent was lying about it and just wanted to look at the crime scene for some reason? He would feel stupid for allowing that to happen without checking it out first.

Dover could see the Detective considering it, so Dover said, “As I mentioned, we don’t want to interfere with what you’re doing. All we want to do is look at the scene, but if you won’t allow us to do that, I can have my boss call your boss and we can take this case away from you guys.”

Tyson knew the agent probably wasn’t bluffing and knew they actually could take it away from him. He had seen that happen in the past and he didn’t want that happening again so he was trying to choose his words quickly.”

Before he could answer, Dover continued, “Listen Detective, I don’t want to take over your investigation because I have no intention of leading the investigation. We want you guys to handle that. As you said, this is your jurisdiction and you should lead the investigation. We only need ten minutes to look around.”

“Then what do you want?”

“We just need to perform our own investigation separate from your investigation,” Dover explained.


“I can’t discuss that. However, I will tell you the victim is a person of interest in another ongoing investigation, which is the reason why we’re here.”

“What is that reason?” Hansen asked.

“I can’t tell you that,” Dover replied, getting fed up that the detective wasn’t getting it through his thick head.

“If it’s something that could aid in our investigation then I need to know what it is,” Tyson replied.

“It won’t help your investigation at all. You can trust me on that.”

“No offense, but I don’t trust anyone. I demand to know what your interest in this case is.”

“Unfortunately, I can’t –,” Dover started to say before he was interrupted.

“Let me guess. It’s on a need to know basis and you can’t say.”

“That’s correct.”

“Damn it,” spat the detective, giving up. “This shit pisses me off. I get tired of the FBI thinking they can do whatever the hell they want.”

The agents didn’t say anything as they let him rant, however Tyson knew there wasn’t anything he could do about it. He just wanted to air out his grievances even though it wouldn’t change anything.

“Alright, you can investigate it, but don’t screw anything up,” Tyson said.

“I can assure you that we won’t.”

“If you do find anything interesting, let us know about it,” Tyson instructed.

“We will if it pertains to your case,” Dover replied, although he knew he wouldn’t. “Can you show us where the body is?”

Dover tried to use a calm voice, hoping they were done arguing because he hoped the detectives would understand and not get too mad that they were here to do a job just like the detectives were. However, if they didn’t understand it then it really didn’t matter to Dover. They were here to investigate the murder and not make friends with the detectives.

“What do you want to look at?” the Detective asked.

“We would just like to see the scene then we’ll be out of your way and you can go back to doing what you need to do,” Dover answered.

“Follow me,” the detective instructed, clearly not happy with the situation.

“Thanks Detective.”

“Make sure you don’t screw up my crime scene,” Hansen ordered.

“We won’t.”

As the detective turned to walk down the hallway, Dover and Laramie followed. They approached the first door on the left and the detective stood aside and motioned for them to enter.

“He’s in there.”

“Thanks,” Laramie said, the only word he had spoken so far.

Chapter 6

The agents started looking around the small office. The nice Mahogany desk was stained with blood as the head of Rodriguez lay there. He was lying on the side of his face so the agents could see the front and back of his head. The front of his head had a huge hole where the bullet had exited and the wall was covered with blood. It was easy to see he most likely died before his head hit the desk.

Walking over to the window, Dover saw the bullet size hole in the glass and looked at the other buildings across the street. Laramie walked up next to him and looked out the window as well, both trying to imagine where the shooter had been.

“Which building do you think he was shot from?” Laramie asked.

“I don’t think it was the one right in front of us,” Dover replied pointing across the street. “The building is too low so he wouldn’t have had a good shot at the victim. I think it was the one past that building because it’s higher which would have given the shooter a better shot.”

“Do you think he was on the roof?”

“Yeah, the roof is only two floors higher than this level so it wouldn’t have been too difficult of a shot.”

The detective walked up to them, still mad at having to let the agents look around his crime scene. “Why are you so interested in this guy?”

Without turning around, Dover decided he would let the detective know since he had finally started to calm down. He had intentionally not said anything to Tyson or Hansen while he was upset. He always liked to calm people down then he didn’t mind sharing the information, within reason of course.

“We had the victim under surveillance,” Dover commented.

The detective grunted. “You had people on the street watching him?”

“In a way,” Dover responded.

“What do you mean?”

“Let’s just say we’ve been keeping tabs on him, but we weren’t watching his every move.”

“Did they see the murder?” Hansen asked, finally getting into the conversation.

“No,” Dover answered. “They were down on the street at the time. They had been following him, seeing where he went and who he met with.”

“Did they even know the murder happened?” Tyson asked.

“No,” Dover replied. “They were waiting for him to leave the building so they weren’t watching the inside of his apartment.”

“So, they didn’t see the murder happen and they didn’t see a murderer leave?”


“Too bad.”

“Yeah,” replied Dover as he turned to face the Detective.

“Why were your people watching him?”

“His father is a crime lord down in Miami. They’ve expanded their operation to include New York City. We’ve been trying to figure out how they bring the drugs up here so we’ve been watching the son.”

“Why isn’t the DEA involved?” Tyson asked, referring to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

“They’re involved.”

“Then why are you here?”

“The father and son are also suspected of killing several people, or having someone kill several people,” Dover answered. “That’s why we’re involved, but we are working with the DEA as well.”

“I assume you didn’t have enough evidence on the son since you were still watching him.”

“That’s correct,” Dover replied then returned to the murder investigation. “Have you learned anything so far about the murder?”

The Detective shook his head no. “The Medical Examiner hasn’t been here yet.”

“Well I don’t think it takes a Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death. One high powered bullet killed him.”

“Yeah, I think that’s obvious.”

Dover walked over to the wall behind the victim, bending down to look at the wall. After several seconds, he could see where the bullet was lodged into the wall. The crime scene team would have no problem getting that out, but he was doubtful they would find anything useful on the slug.

“Was anyone here when it happened?” Dover asked, standing up and looking at Detective Tyson.

“We questioned the wife and she said there was nobody here at the time of the murder,” the detective replied. “Well, except the two guards.”

“What two guards?” Dover asked, although he already knew about them. He wanted to draw out as much information from the detective as he could.

“Apparently, he was worried someone would kill him, rightfully so as it turned out, and he had two men that guarded him around the clock.”

“Where were they at the time of the murder?” Dover asked, but he already knew where they would have been.

Their surveillance had yielded that information; however, he was wondering where they were when the shooting happened and if they saw or heard anything that might be useful to them.

“They were both out in the hallway, making sure nobody entered the apartment,” Tyson replied.

“Have you talked to them?”


“What did they say?”

“Not much. They were both standing outside of the apartment and never heard a thing. The wife came home and a few minutes later they heard her scream so they came rushing inside and found the body.”

“Do you have any idea how long he’s been dead?” Dover asked.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have an exact time of death. We know it was after the wife left because she told us that she had said goodbye to him. We have a window of approximately four hours. I don’t even think the Medical Examiner will get the time of death more specific than that.

“Have you talked to the residents of this building?” Dover asked.

“We’ve already talked to a few,” Tyson answered. “Nobody heard a thing.”

“I’m not surprised,” Dover responded. “I’m sure our guy used a silencer. There’s no way he would fire a rifle in the middle of the city without one.”

“That’s a great shot,” Hansen said as he looked out the window, peering at the building where Dover suspected the killer had shot from.


“Was this set up by a rival?” Tyson asked.

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Dover replied. “His father is a man with a lot of enemies and it is believed that he has ordered hits on a lot of people, including several of his competitors. I wouldn’t be surprised if another drug lord decided it was time for him to go.”

“Why kill the son and not the dad?”

“Who knows? Maybe it was some kind of revenge killing for something the dad did.”

“That makes sense. If this was a professional job, it’s going to make finding him difficult.”

“Detective, go ahead and collect all the evidence you can and then send me the report, please,” Dover said as he handed him his business card. He added the word please at the end hoping to lighten the tension.

“Okay, but if you guys have any more information I would appreciate it if you would send it to me,” Tyson replied, trying to be just as courteous.

“We will.”


With that, Dover and Laramie walked out of the office, down the hallway and out of the apartment. Making their way across the street, they had to walk to the intersection then follow the road to the building behind the one they just left. Walking inside, they took the elevator to the top floor then looked for the stairwell. Finding that, they took the stairs up to the rooftop.

Carefully walking along the rooftop, they made their way to the edge of the building and looked across at the building where the victim had been shot. They were too far away to get a perfect view of the office where the man was shot, but Dover knew that if someone had a scope they would have had a perfect view of him.

“This would have been a great place to take the shot,” Laramie said. “There would be nobody around.”

“Not only that, but this building is higher than all the others so it would have been difficult for anyone in the other buildings to see him, especially if he was hunched down, peering over the ledge.”

Walking along the edge of the building, something caught Dover’s eye and he squatted to get a better look. “Do you see something?” Laramie asked.

“I think this is where he shot from,” Dover said as he pointed to the ground. “You can see where it looks like someone has been here.”

“I don’t see anything.”

Taking out his pen, Dover pointed to a spot by the ledge. “Doesn’t that look like part of a shoe print right there,” he said as he pointed to an area that had a little dirt.”

“It’s hard to tell. I don’t see any tread.”

“He could have worn something to cover the tread so we couldn’t identify the type of shoe.”

“I suppose so. Even if it is a shoeprint it could have been there for a while.”

“It just rained four days ago. That print was made since then.”

“There’s no way to get a casting of it,” Laramie pointed out. Although there was no indication of tread, if they could have gotten a casting of it, the lab could have given them an estimate of weight, based on the impression. “There’s not enough there.”

“You’re right, but we can still get some measurements which will give us an indication of how tall he is.”

“As long as that wasn’t made by some maintenance man,” Laramie stated.

“I think that’s our guy’s shoe print. Let’s keep looking to see if we can find anything.”

They spent the next thirty minutes looking around the roof trying to find any evidence, no matter how small. Unfortunately for them the killer didn’t leave anything behind. Dover and Laramie certainly didn’t expect to find a shell with the killer’s prints on it, but they had hoped they would find something, proving that he had been up there.

Finally, as the sun was starting to set in the west, Dover looked at Laramie. “We might as well go. There’s nothing up here.”

“Okay. Do you want to send the crime scene techs up here?”

“Yeah, it won’t hurt, but I really don’t think they’ll find anything.”

“As soon as we get downstairs, I’ll call them,” Laramie commented. “We’ll need to hurry before the cops get their techs up here.”

“They’re probably already on their way.”

“In that case, do you still want our techs up here?” Laramie asked.

“No, we’ll just let the cops handle the scene up here,” Dover answered after thinking about it for a few seconds. “They won’t find anything anyway.”

“How do you think he left?”

“You mean what kind of transportation he took when he left the building?”


Dover gave that some thought, trying to picture everything in his mind and how he would commit the murder then what his escape would be if it was him. Thinking through that, he had a few ideas.

“I don’t think he drove because he could get caught in traffic. That would also eliminate using a cab. I bet he wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible so he probably walked to the nearest terminal and rode the subway. That would be the easiest way to get out of here.”

“That’s what I would have done,” Laramie remarked. “So, what do you want to do next?”

“Let’s start checking all the cameras in a twelve-block radius,” Dover said as they made their way back to the stairwell. “Let’s find out who our mystery man is.”

Chapter 7

A thousand miles away, Jorge Ramirez was storming around his mansion, knocking over lamps and furniture. His body guards stood out of his way as the man was destroying everything in his sight. He was furious and took out his frustrations on the furniture, breaking everything that was close to him.

His daughter-in-law had called him to tell him that his son was dead. Having found the body, she was distraught and crying hysterically as she talked to him. Trying to get information out of her proved useless so he told her to get a hotel room and he would call her later.

Quite frankly, he didn’t want to listen to a woman crying hysterically, not even when it was for his son. He had other things to take care of, like finding out who could do something like this.

Jorge continued pacing around the living room, thinking about Enrique. His son had been handling the operation in New York and Jorge thought his son was relatively safe up there, away from his Florida rivals. Jorge had assigned six body guards to watch his son, his daughter-in-law and his granddaughter, thinking that should be plenty.

Picking up a chair, he heaved it against the wall, causing his phone to fall out of his hands, crashing onto the floor. Trying to calm himself Jorge looked at the phone then picked it up and was glad it hadn’t been destroyed because he had someone to call.

He dialed a number and called his man in New York City. The man’s name was Antonio and he was the lead bodyguard that had been assigned to protect his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Antonio picked up on the first ring, not wanting to keep the boss waiting. Jorge was surprised the bodyguard picked up so quickly because he knew the man would be afraid to talk to him.

“Yes boss,” the man said as his voice cracked.

“What the hell happened?” Jorge roared.

“I’m sorry boss,” the man said then tried to say something else but Jorge cut him off.

“I don’t give a shit that you’re sorry!” Jorge yelled. “I want to know what happened.”

“Someone shot your son through the window while he was working at his desk.”

“How the hell could that happen?”

“We think he shot from one of the buildings across the street.”

“Where were you and the other guards?” Jorge demanded to know.

“Two of us were with your daughter-in-law, two were with your granddaughter and two were with your son,” Antonio answered.

“Who was supposed to be guarding my son?”

Antonio was afraid to answer, but he knew he had no choice but to tell the truth. “Jose and I were in charge of guarding your son.”

“You were in the apartment with him?”

“No, we weren’t.”

“Why weren’t you in the office with him?” Jorge demanded to know.

“He told us to leave him alone,” Antonio answered. “He had business to take care of and didn’t want us in there with him. That was normal. He never wanted us in his office with him.”

“Where were you?”

“We were both standing outside the apartment door, making sure to guard the front door as he instructed,” Antonio explained.

Jorge knew they were only doing what they were told. His son would want privacy when he worked so he knew the men weren’t to blame. Even if they would have been standing in the office with his son, the shooter would have still killed him. They didn’t have enough people to stand guard and watch all the buildings. He would have never expected someone to shoot his son from across the street. That’s not how things worked in his business. They would ambush a car or something along those lines, making sure to take the person captive then they would make them suffer. Nobody used a sniper.

“Did you guys hear anything?” Jorge asked.

“No. We didn’t know anything was wrong until your daughter-in-law came home from shopping and went into the office to check on him. She started screaming and I went running into the apartment and then into his office, where I found him.”

“And he was dead when you saw him?” Jorge asked, even though he knew the answer.

“Yes,” Antonio answered then was about to add that he had been shot through the back of the head and most likely died instantly. Realizing Jorge probably didn’t want to know those details, Antonio didn’t add anything else.

“Where is everyone right now?”

“Your daughter-in-law is with the police. They have been questioning her since the murder.”

“Did they question you guys as well?”


“What did you tell them?”

“We didn’t tell them much. We only told them we had been hired to protect him,” Antonio responded. “They asked a lot more questions, but we didn’t give them much in the way of answers.”

“Do they know who did it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Find out!” Jorge screamed.

“Yes sir.”

Jorge paced around the living room, trying to comprehend what had happened. It had to be one of his rivals, he thought to himself. Nobody else would have the guts to do something like this nor would they have a reason to do something like this. Killing his son wouldn’t stop the flow of drugs to New York City so that meant that whoever did this did it solely for revenge. Unfortunately for Jorge, that meant it could have been any number of people.

Not saying anything to Antonio, he continued thinking about which of his rivals it could be since they would want revenge for the killings Jorge had ordered. He didn’t think it was someone in New York. It had to be someone from Miami and he thought he knew who it was.

“Are you still there?” Antonio asked his boss.

“Yes, I’m thinking.”

There was one rival that stood out because they had waged war against each other in the past. Jorge had taken out several of the people that were close to the leader so he assumed this was their way of getting even with him. He would find out then he would kill everyone involved.

“I want you to get my daughter-in-law and granddaughter out of there as soon as possible. Put them on the jet first thing in the morning and fly them down here.”

“I think the police are going to want to talk to her some more.”

“I don’t care what the police want!” Jorge yelled. “I want them here where I can protect them.”

“Yes sir.”

“Once they’re here, I’m going to send Diego up there to take over. I want you to meet him at the airport when he arrives.”

“Yes sir.”

“I also want you to find out who killed my son,” Jorge instructed.

“The police won’t tell us.”

“You can bribe someone to tell you. I want to know who killed my son because I’m going to torture him until he’s begging me to kill him. Once he starts begging then I’m going to torture him even more just to make him suffer. Once I’m done with him, I’m going to torture his family. When I’m done, there will be nothing left of him or his family.”

“Yes sir.”

Jorge hung up the phone and paced around the room some more. He looked at his bodyguard. “Tell Diego I want to see him right away,” Jorge ordered.

“I will call him.”

The bodyguard walked out of the room and made a call with his cell phone. A few minutes later, he walked back into the room. “Diego will be here in ten minutes.”


Diego was his number three man, right behind his son Enrique. He was a good man and was trustworthy so he would send him up to New York to take over for Enrique. Jorge would leave the six bodyguards up there and they could all watch over Diego, making sure nothing happened to him. Since they wouldn’t have three people to protect, he hoped they would do a better job of protecting Diego.

They would need to be more careful, but he figured Diego would be safe since he wasn’t related to Jorge, but he didn’t know for sure. If someone was truly after revenge then Diego may be in danger as well because somehow, Jorge didn’t think this was over so he had a suspicion that the murderer was going to try to kill Diego as well.

If that was the case then he was going to need to do everything he could to prevent it. He would instruct Diego to limit where he went and who he interacted with. He would also instruct him to keep all the curtains closed so the shooter couldn’t get a clean shot of him like he did his son.

All of that should help prevent Diego from being targeted, but Enrique knew there would still be opportunities for the killer which may not be a bad thing. He suddenly had an idea to try to figure out who killed his son. He would send his last remaining son up to New York as well, undercover of course, to see if he could find out who killed Enrique.

Jorge had three sons. The first son, Juan, was already dead. He died in Mexico five years ago at the hands of one of his rivals. Once Jorge found out who had killed Juan, he had the murdering scum buried in the ground up to his neck. After letting him suffer in the brutal Mexican heat for two days, Jorge released fire ants all around him. They made quick work of the man. In fact, Jorge had wanted the man to suffer even longer but he died quickly, albeit painfully.

* * *


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