It was evening already when he reached the final destination. It seemed that Eddington street was not a very populous place and it was easy to find 71/C. The house was situated at one of the remotest places along the road, marking the far end of the road itself. It was a two-storied building, seemingly pretty old but decently maintained. As the house was situated at a corner, it could not be viewed easily, which made the house a decent place for hiding. The few neighboring houses seemed either empty or lights out and the scarcity of street lights made the place enough desolated. Grieg hid behind the long shadow of a building and kept waiting for the clock to strike twelve.
He waited and waited. The bustling noise of traffic from distance became fainter and fainter. It was deafening silence. Suddenly he saw a shadow moving. It was approaching towards the house. Grieg kept watching. The shadow stopped in front of the door, tried to find something from his pocket, probably the key. From the faint light coming from distance, the shadow seemed somewhat familiar to him, but he couldn’t be sure. Then the shadow disappeared inside.
Grieg came out of his hiding and stealthily approached the house. The door was locked from inside. He took out the key he got from the briefcase and entered quietly – like a cat approaching with it’s velvet paws to grab it’s prey. No sound was heard inside – just a dim ray of light seemed to be coming from a room, presumably the master bedroom. Grieg climbed up the wooden staircase, removing his boots to avoid noise. The door seemed to be left ajar. Peeking inside, Grieg saw a tall man sitting on a couch with some papers in hand. He couldn’t see the man’s face as he was facing backwards. Grieg pushed the door to go inside and just then the man spoke from his couch – “Welcome Sergei. So we meet again.”
Grieg was so stunned that he just dropped the gun. He knew this voice. It was his unknown employer sitting in front of him!! But how did he know this?! Grieg was sure he wiped out every traces of his previous life before he came in here. But this name “Sergei”?? The man spoke again – “Take a seat Sergei. You don’t recognize me, do you? Now you will.”. Grieg walked up like a robot and sat down on a couch in front of the mystery man. Once he saw the face, everything came back in his mind like a flash.
“Nikolai !! You are alive !!”.
“Yes I am Sergei – and it seems you are not very happy to see me.”
“Why have you come back? Why did you played with me like this? You are trying to make me a criminal again. Why?”
“I am not trying to make you a criminal – you ARE a criminal Sergei. Just one thing I had to do, just like old times, offer you an amount you can’t refuse. And I succeeded !! I achieved what all I wanted. Now, I guess you know why I tempted you to be here tonight.”
Grieg knew he was in a trap. The arrival of Nikolai unraveled a dirty, notorious past life he had once – which he thought he buried long ago. Sergei, originally from Mexico, was Grieg’s parental name, though he lost both his parents in a car crash in Mexico. At a very young age Sergei was thrown into the rough, illegal world of drug trafficking – for earning the money to stay alive. Nikolai happened to be one of his partner and worked as a messenger. Sergei happened to be a quick learner and became a master handler withing a few years. He with his three partners Nikolai, Jose and Antonio formed a gang to deal with big drug dealers and collecting ransoms from the clients. This gang was a terror to all and was known as “Black Gang” in police records and all of them were most wanted. But for 20 years, nobody could even touch them.
One day, while collecting payment from a drug dealer, a heated argument broke out regarding payment and in a fit of rage, Sergei shot him in head from point blank range. After that accident, all of them decided to rob the dealer’s house and flee away forever. It was decided the looted booty would be kept by Nikolai and afterwards, four of them would be dividing it. But when they fled from Mexico, none of them could find Nikolai. He vanished. Jose and Antonio parted ways and went under cover. Sergei got himself a new identity, became Grieg and started afresh.
“You found Jose and Antonio, right?”
“Yes I did. In fact, you set the killer traps for Jose a day before. Remember?”, Nikolai gave an evil smile.
“Joey.. It was Jose?? YOU ******* !!! After taking all the money you have come back now to kill all of us you dirty ******* ? You think you can escape this? I left a goodbye note at home. I don’t return and you will be hunted down by the police.”
“I worked with you Sergei. You always told, “Never leave a trace”. That’s exactly what I am doing now Sergei. I am sorry. I have a family too. But you know, you need to clear your path always so that no thorn is left to make you bleed – even by mistake.”
Saying this, Nikolai took out Grieg’s Beretta, put a silencer and said in a cold voice, “You know Sergei, relax. It will look like a suicide only. Believe me, I am a professional.” Grieg jumped upon Nikolai with full force to resist him. Nikolai tried to throw him off and in this scuffle, the gun was fired clumsily and a 9mm. bullet pierced Grieg’s right lung. As Grieg staggered back, Nikolai put another bullet aiming the heart. Grieg collapsed on his knees knowing it was the end. He heard the footsteps of Nikolai, descending the stairs hurriedly and suddenly a fierce explosion rocked the whole house.
Grieg was laughing for the last time. He knew his plan worked. Sensing danger, he had set a booby trap under one of the stairs – which Nikolai missed in his hurry. All Grieg tried to think was of Jane and Alan at the last moments of his life and finally everything went dark before his eyes as his heart stopped beating.
**************** The End ****************