Read Fatal Online

Authors: Arno Joubert

Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Military, #Spies & Politics, #Assassinations, #Conspiracies, #Terrorism, #Romance, #Romantic Suspense, #Thrillers, #Pulp, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense, #Alexa : Book 1: Fatal

Fatal

BOOK: Fatal
4.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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CONTENTS

Chapter One

The Dive

Suspicion

Neil Allen

Perreira Nightmare

Accountant

Callahan

Angelique

Polana

Neil Skypes Alexis

Chapter Two

Recruit

Perreira at Gravestone

The Plan

Discharge

Rogue Program

News

Intel

Wallet

Plans

Filipino

Chapter Three

Money Missing

SMS

Gather Intel

Intel

The Package

Sharkie

Accountant

Backup

Laiveaux listens

Metcalfe assigns resources

Poachers

Bruce and Poachers

Chapter Four

Spy

Slaughter

Roebuck

Order Attack

Roebuck Suspicious

Metcalfe

Poachers on the Prowl

Alexa receives Intel

Alexa visits Callahan

Alexa and Callahan

The Date

Chapter Five

Berate

The Beating

First Call

Father

Gordon's Bay

The Talk

Capture

Discuss

Recce the Mansion

Metcalfe swings

Neil gets caught

Chapter Six

Capture

Escape

Confrontation

Betrayal

Consignment

Latorre takes call

He knows

Locked Up

Monitor

Enter the Dragon's Den

Torture

Escape

Chapter Seven

Escape

Trapped

Rescue

Father

Metcalfe Captured

Neil shoots

Newspaper

Ladies meet Metcalfe

Ending

Perreira

Keep your enemies close

Beach

Let's Talk

Acknowledgments

Preview

CHAPTER ONE

Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Neil Allen followed two white-tipped reef sharks when the dive computer on his wrist sounded two sharp beeps to remind him he had been submerged for an hour. He glanced down at his dive cylinder's pressure gauge. He was still fine on one hundred twenty bar.
 

He loved diving the clear waters of Phi-Phi, a marine reserve off the mainland of Phuket. He calculated he had another fifty-five minutes of dive time left as long as he didn't average any deeper than forty feet.
 

Neil led the dive. The stunning French girl who was a member of his dive party swam to him and signaled she was on fifty bar, ten to fifteen minutes away from empty. He couldn’t remember her name, Alice or Alexis or something. That was quick.
 

At the pre-dive meeting, the French girl's partner had told Neil he did not feel comfortable in performing the compulsory fifteen feet decompression stop without help, and he did not want to endanger his partner in any way. The entire party of eight divers had agreed they would deco together if someone was low on air. He remembered her mentioning this was her first dive after qualifying a week before. Poor girl, she was probably sucking air like a bilge pump.

Neil sighed and regretfully bade farewell to the sharks disappearing into the distance.
 
He rounded up his group and wound up the rope leading to the dive beacon on the surface. He gave it a couple of tugs to notify his skipper on the boat they were on their way to the surface and the area above them should be kept clear. He glanced at his dive watch.
 

They were ascending from thirty-six feet. The group stopped at fifteen feet and hung around peering into the depths below them—a wonderland of black-and-yellow-striped angelfish, lacy red coral, and giant clams. A sea turtle laboriously made its way to the surface for a gulp of air, and a stingray glided gracefully past them a couple of feet away. Neil heard the incessant growl of a motorboat speeding through the water above his head and the faint crackle of coral below.
 

The water was so clear Neil could imagine he was floating in space. His dive computer beeped every ten seconds, counting down to their final ascent. Six beeps to the minute, thirty beeps to go.

Neil counted to sixteen beeps and then someone tugged urgently at his fin. The French girl was pointing wildly at her pressure gauge, panic in her eyes. He grabbed her gauge; she was below ten bar. He could see her sucking hard, bubbles streaming from her mouthpiece. He tapped the display, and it moved lower to five bar. He put his thumb and index finger together and flashed the OK sign, grabbed his spare mouthpiece from a buckle on his buoyancy control jacket, and gestured to her to remove hers so she could use his spare.
 

She vigorously shook her head, eyes wide, too scared to risk removing the life-giving device from her mouth. This was a natural reaction Neil had witnessed countless times before. A massive psychological barrier to overcome. Neil grabbed the girl by the straps on the front of her BC, pointed two fingers at her eyes, and pointed back at his eyes.
“Look at me.”

She blinked and nodded. He lifted his spare mouthpiece in front of her face with his free hand and pressed the button on the diaphragm. A stream of bubbles exploded from the mouthpiece. He made the OK sign.
“See? It’s working.”

She tried to grab the mouthpiece from his hand as she struggled. She bucked and thrashed about, knocking his diving mask from his head. He bit hard onto his mouthpiece, barely stopping her from ripping it out.

This one was losing it. His dive mask floated to the bottom of the reef. The saltwater stung his eyes and blurred his vision.

He held on to the front straps of her BC and gave her a hard shake. Twice. His fist thumped into her chest bone.

She calmed down. Fighting him was futile.

He pointed his fingers at his eyes again, twice, urgently.
“Look at me, dammit.”

She nodded. He held the spare mouthpiece in his free hand and lifted one finger in a counting gesture.
“One.”
Stuck up another finger.
“Two.”
On the count of three, she took a deep breath, removed the mouthpiece from her mouth, and popped in his spare, breathing deeply. She visibly relaxed. He made the OK sign again, and she did the same. “All OK.”

He turned her around and checked the couplings on her equipment. Octo, BC inflator, gauge couplings—all OK. He turned her back. Air was pilfering from somewhere. He could see the bubbles rushing from her BC jacket and escaping through a cavity between her jacket and chest. No time to worry about that now.

Neil looked at the LCD on his dive watch. The numbers were blurry and distorted, but he could make them out. The entire incident had lasted forty-five seconds. They had another minute and a half left for the deco stop.
 

Neil glanced around at the other divers. They had formed a semi-circle around him and the French girl and were all signaling OK to him and the girl, patting them on their shoulders and backs.
 

The dive computer emitted a fifteen-second-long beep, and they completed the ascent without a hitch.

 

On their way back to Phi Phi harbor, Neil secured the French girl's buoyancy control jacket to a storage bay on the speedboat. He examined the jacket carefully and noticed a neat slit at the bottom, on the front inside of the jacket. A clean and deliberate knife cut.
 

Alexa removed her equipment from the boat and dumped it in her diving bag. It was gone. She scratched around in the bag and sauntered back to the boat.
 

Neil Allen was watching attentively. “Everything OK?”
 

She nodded and looked around, scanning the inside of the boat.
 

He asked again, “You missing something?”

She couldn't place his accent. A Texan drawl with a slight Eastern European twang—Polish, maybe?

“Nope. All good,” she said and glanced at him. “Thanks for the help down there. I owe you one.”

Neil looked as Bruce had described him. Above-average height, powerfully built. He didn't have the lanky, sinewy physique of a swimmer. His stomach was flat, and he had muscled arms and legs. He was obviously still keeping to his rigorous marine training regime. He was strong; the welt on her breastbone testified to that. His hair was shaven short, and he had two-day-old stubble on his face. His eyes bore the lines of someone who had seen it all.
 

Allen was still studying her intently. He had intelligent blue eyes. Not the eyes of a killer. Inquisitive. Gentle. She wondered if Bruce had been right about him. Could he become a cold-blooded assassin?

She ambled back to the umbrella pitched on the beach. His eyes burnt into her back, suspicious, yet interested. She removed every piece of equipment and repacked them. Fins, octo, regulator. Not here.
 

Alexa tapped her lips with her finger, trying to remember where she could have lost it. “Shit.”

She scribbled her hotel number on a piece of paper and jogged back to Neil. “I’ll be staying over here. If you find out what happened, please let me know.”
 

He nodded.

“Call me even if you don’t find anything,” she said with a seductive smile.

He nodded but didn’t smile, his eyes squinting against the bright morning sun.

She had never received such a muted reaction to an open invitation before. Alexa hauled the dive bag onto her shoulder, turned around, and waved at Neil. He nodded. She headed towards the harbor.
 

Sergeant Neil Allen had handled himself perfectly down there. And she had a speedboat to catch.
 

 

Maputo, Mozambique

Pereirra rubbed his eyes and lifted his head from the drenched pillow. He had had the recurring nightmare,
again
. He grumbled, wishing there were pills he could take to get rid of the damn dreams.

He was a boy, still healthy, jogging down Samora Machel drive in Maputo, his dad by his side. Cars and bikes blared and hooted friendly greetings. Everyone knew the man and the boy. They had become local celebrities; it was a week before his dad’s title-belt fight.

Suddenly people ran from a building, screaming, their heads ducked low. And then the ground shook and glass exploded from the building with a deafening roar. He went down in a heap; it felt like someone punched him in the stomach. He tried to stand but couldn’t. He looked down and the lower half his leg was gone. His arm was bleeding, severed at the wrist.

He struggled to roll his father onto his back and then sucked in his breath. Where the man’s face once had been was a hollowed-out cavity, like some thief had come and snatched his identity. Like he had become a ghost, a phantom of his former self.

Perreira shivered. It was only a dream. Realistic, but still…

He switched on the light on the nightstand and lifted his arm to glance at his wristwatch. Only a wrinkled stump where his hand used to be. Old habits die hard. Turned his head towards the clock radio on the nightstand. It said 4:15 am. The dull throbbing in his lower leg was a constant companion, like the dreams, a daily alarm clock which dutifully woke him every morning.

He rolled his shoulders and massaged his neck. He still felt the adrenaline pulsing through his veins from the previous night's exertion. He lifted his right hand and held it in front of him. It trembled but was still steady enough.

He rolled onto his side and propped himself up. Leaning down, he fumbled around for his prosthesis, then he took a lined sock and some ointment out from a drawer in the nightstand.
 
He rubbed some ointment onto the stub of his left leg. He could still feel his toes. He wiggled them. The muscles moved in his thigh. Would the eerie sensation ever stop? He fitted the prosthesis to the stump and pushed himself off the bed.

He fished around blindly for the pack of Marlboros next to the clock radio, found it and lit one. Inhaled deeply and blew smoke through his nose. Squashed it into the ashtray and coughed.
 

BOOK: Fatal
4.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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