Barry Adams, hastily punching a number onto his cell while dashing to his car, stumbled and almost fell down the stairs. He threw himself into the car, shaking like a leaf, and then took a few deep breaths to calm himself down. Why doesn’t De Villiers answer his bloody phone?
‘Where are you?’ he thundered when De Villiers finally answered.
‘I'm here, Captain.’
‘Well, while you were all cosy and comfortable, I have been doing your job,’ Barry smirked down the phone. ‘I found him for you. He is in a blue VW in the parking lot at the Sinoville Centre. This is very sensitive, De Villiers, I do not want any loose ends. Just go in and clean up.’ Barry signed off. He slumped in the seat of his car, all of a sudden dead tired. That was the most difficult order he’d ever given. If only there’d been another option. Why did I ever allow things to get this far?
In his mind's eye he visualised himself: young, idealistic and ambitious, set on eradicating all crime, on saving the world. He had aspired to be the perfect policeman; nothing was going to make him waver . . .
Then he crossed paths with Mervyn Hilton.
He vividly recalled when it had all started, it was five years ago. His first visit to the Hiltons was related to a handbag snatch case and he had gone to their house to get an affidavit from Mrs Hilton. It was not a serious case, as a matter of fact it was dropped as nothing of real value had been lost. The family did, though, make quite a big deal out of his excellent service and he was invited to a braai on the farm, which led to more socialising with them. It eventually developed into a friendship.
Mervyn Hilton applied his influence to ensure Barry would be the one to investigate all their issues, with his rewards gradually getting better and bigger. Barry did not, at the outset, grasp what was happening; by then promotions were coming quicker and, before he realised what he had got into, he was accustomed to the good life of luxury hunting and fishing trips. At first, he was unaware that his presence on these trips provided Mervyn Hilton with a safe passport for trafficking drugs and, by the time he became aware, he was implicated too deeply with the only way out, evidently, being to spend some time in prison. Increasingly, the perks of his current lifestyle started to outweigh any alternative. Now he was firmly caught in the web, with the power to ensure the Hiltons immunity while their nefarious business grew and expanded. The demands made on him were ever increasing.
The world of drug lords was a harsh world. This was not the first time he had ordered someone to be ‘taken care of’. Previously, the victims were criminals, which had made the call somewhat easier. This was different . . .
The ringing of the cellphone still clutched in his hand brought him back to the present. He dreaded the news he expected to receive and took some time before he mustered the courage to take the call.
‘What do you mean “he’s gone”?’
‘He was not in the car, sir.’
‘What do you mean? What are you guys doing? Must I come out and do it myself? No wonder the country is in the state it is. How does one man disappear from under the noses of the whole force? Can you do nothing properly? If you had not been on the spot, I would've gone there myself.’
Although upset, he felt a glimmer of hope. Perhaps Jenny got away with him. He knew well that that most likely meant the end of his own way of life. Perhaps it will be a relief . . . a way out. He was almost too scared to ask the question.
‘So, tell me what happened?’
‘We went to the parking lot and found the car, as you said. In the dark we noticed someone sitting inside and fired some shots, but it was not him.’
‘Only the woman. She got killed in the strike.’
Although he had expected it, the news still shocked Barry and he had to muster all his nerve to continue . . .
‘Well go find him. You have screwed around long enough, I want him and I want him now.’
‘We will find him, sir, he cannot be far. The dog unit is on its way, we are tracking his cellphone. We've notified the estate security where he lives to be on the lookout for him and, as a precaution, I will also send someone to monitor his house.’
Barry thought of going to the scene, but he no longer had the stomach for it. He got out of the car and went back inside, feeling like an old man with no zest, no purpose in life. He slumped down on the couch in the living room.
It was not supposed to be like this . . .
It had all been so thoroughly planned and orchestrated; it was going to be so simple. When the Hiltons had decided on the project, they went to great lengths to identify the perfect candidate for it. A young and ambitious developer who would deliver a quality product. Someone not too experienced, someone who would not ask too many questions and who would accept direction from them. With Anthony and Jane as a package, they thought they had found the ideal fit.
Barry had become friends with Jenny to gain her trust. She would, unknowingly, be their source of inside information and, should she detect any signs of suspicion from Anthony, they could address the matter. It had worked perfectly. In only a few more weeks it would all have been over. This could've worked out so differently. It’s a hard fact that sometimes in this business there's just too much at stake to leave a trail.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish