Someone looking out a train window 

She gazed out the window of Amtrak train as it rattled through the cold afternoon. In an hour they would be at Pen Station in Manhattan. The skyscrapers of Boston had given way to industrial, residential and finally, to rural country side.

The passenger in 24A saw none of it. Their mind was firmly fixed on the task ahead of them.

The passenger in 24A was a Kate Collins, not her real name. She’d left the Army after 10 years, working with a covert arm of the US Military, that specialised in counter terrorism.  Kate retired and took a desk job, working in an office. Boring, didn’t begin to describe it. She missed the challenges, the faraway places and the excitement.

Then her life changed. A man, calling himself Blackhawk contacted her, offering money, a lot of money, to perform a task. That was eight years ago. Now she was on another mission for Blackhawk. 

Kate Collins, was an assassin. She was the consummate professional. In her late-30s with appearances that constantly changed. She travelled the globe performing jobs, for which she was handsomely rewarded.

Kate worked for a shadowy organisation, whose name she didn’t know. Who undertook the riskiest of tasks, from assassinations to overthrowing the governments of small nations, for a fee. The organisation, operated in a virtual world. Computers and IPhones were how they did business.

Her method of contact, had always been the same. She’d receive an email, telling her an envelope had been left in her mail box an hour earlier. Knowing she had only four hours to accept or reject the offer, before the email address would disappear, and the offer withdrawn. Retrieving the envelope, returned to her townhouse, pouring herself more coffee.

The envelope contained a printed sheet of A4 paper, on which a name had been written, Dr Victor Komozov. A hotel and room number, Four Seasons, 57 East 57th Street New York, Suite 27A and dates, 26th to the 30th. In a sperate envelope, a Visa card in the name of Helen Lawson. Along with an address in Miami Florida. Kate knew from experience that both the card and the address would stand scrutiny, if challenged. And lastly, a small colured photograph of a man in a light grey suit. Kate studied the picture. Firing up her laptop, she goggled Victor Komozov. Komozov was a Russian National that the Soviet Union were claiming had made a major breakthrough in the battle against Covid19. A discovery that would change the global perspective of the treatment of the disease. He was coming to New York to meet with the WHO.

Kate smiled, saying aloud ‘well Victor, looks like you’re in someone’s way.’  

She knew the pharmaceutical business was a massive beast with many tentacles and a long reach. Her phone pinged, a text from a withheld number, two words, one million. She could feal the adrenalin surging. The excitement was back again. She replied to the email with a tick. Thirty minutes later $200,000 hit her off shore account.

Wearing a wig, glasses and carrying a walking stick, Helen Lawson checked into the Four Seasons, having made the booking and room selection online. After offering up the Visa card, limped across the crowded lobby to the elevators, heading for her room on the 26th floor. The floor above contained the Hotel’s luxury suites. Victor Komozov was in 27A.

Once in her room, she opened her laptop and began hacking into the hotel’s data base. Within three minutes she had information relating to the guest in suite 27A. The room cost was to billed to the WHO. She saw there was a special request for a bottle of Swarovski Crystal Vodka, valued at $6900. here was also a dinner organised for the following evening for six persons in a private dining room.  

Our Victor has expensive tastes, she thought. Her mind began processing the information.

The following morning, she took a position in the lobby where she could see the elevators. At 8.30am three men exited an elevator. Victor Komozov appeared small compared to the other two. Clearly bodyguards. They left the hotel in a waiting limousine with heavily tinted windows, disappearing into the cold morning on 57th Street.

The Ty bar at the Four Seasons was busy. Sipping her gin and tonic, pretending to peruse the newspaper she watched the group at the far end of the bar. Komozov, and five others. She had no idea who they were. All were well dressed and looked officious. At 8, a waiter approached and spoke to Komozov. They finished their drinks and left the bar.

She entered the 27th floor, head down and baseball cap in place with her tote bag over one shoulder. She swiped the electronic key card that had been in an envelope, with Helen Lawson on it, left at reception that morning. Blackhawk had much influence.  

The door opened. She found the mini bar and the bottle of special vodka. Removing the vanity case from the bag opened its concealed base and removed the hyperaemic needle. Carefully removing the seal, inserted the ultra-fine needle through the secondary seal, injecting the clear liquid. Carefully re-sealing the bottle, Kate exited.  

After checking out online, she sat in the lobby and watched, Police and men in suites as they came and went from the elevators. Outside, in the hotel forecourt, large, black unmarked cars with flashing red and blue lights and an ambulance crowded the hotel’s entrance.   

Limping from the hotel, Helen Lawson made her way up 57th Street to Madison Avenue, before turning south. A block down a vacant building was under renovation. In an alley way she saw a skip. Depositing the wig, glasses and walking stick with all the other rubble continued her journey to Pen station.  

The rail service to Boston was packed. Opening her tablet, Kate called up CNN news, 

Putting on her headphones. A reporter, rugged against the cold was pointing to the Four Seasons hotel behind her, commenting, ‘police and hotel officials will not comment on reports there has been a death in one of the hotel’s luxury suites overnight’

Tomorrow, the balance of the one million would be hers.

She gazed out the window of Amtrak train as it rattled through the cold afternoon. 

October 20, 2022 23:00

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Loni Clarke
08:32 Apr 30, 2023

It’s one that had me divided between for or against the main character…. Good read though.


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Eliza Troy
13:50 Oct 27, 2022

Great story, Bill. I love how it was a fictional assassin story but felt as if it could have happened in real life. For more of a hook, you could open with Kate getting her assignment and pepper her backstory throughout.


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