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On Her Majesty’s Bloody Service

By Iain Purdie All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Action

Chapter 1

Now, I’m not a gambling man. Never have been, never will be. But I know my odds and when I have two men coming towards me with knives, I tend to think those odds are more like evens. Two of them just make it a challenge, the knives add to the fun. Especially when they don’t know I’m carrying a gun.

OK, so I’m guessing not many of you could really put yourselves in this position. It’s not one that most people will find themselves in from day to day, but then most people aren’t me. I’m pretty damn special if I do say so myself. It’s even in my job title: Special Agent.

Special Agent John Cord, to be precise. At your service. Well, Secret Service anyway. Serving, protecting and “kicking ass” as my American cohorts would have it. Which is just what I did to the two rent-a-thugs coming at me with cheap flick knives.

I wasn’t going to waste Her Majesty’s taxpayers’ money on bullets for these neanderthals. Cocky and self-assured, they made the mistake of coming at me one at a time. Not that I couldn’t have handled that, but it made it easier without damaging my favourite Armani.

As the first took a swipe – left to right, knife pointed upwards from his fist like the rank amateur he obviously was – I blocked with my right arm and jabbed him swiftly in the throat with the extended fingers of my left. In/out, small crunching sound and some gurgles. He dropped, his eyes rolling into his head, the knife clattering off the tiled floor as I stepped around him and delivered a swift uppercut to his companion who hadn’t even begun to raise his blade.

I think I actually made his feet leave the floor before his head cracked off the wall behind him and he slumped down to join his friend, by now almost completely still.

Whilst my good friends in the U.S. Army declare that they never leave a man behind, I have a similar creed – never leave a live enemy behind. With this in mind, I grasped the second man firmly by the jaw and shoulder and twisted hard. With a dry snap, his neck broke and I made sure I wasn’t going to have some oik sneaking up on me while I got on with the job at hand.

Ah, but wait. I’ve yet to explain why I find myself in a gents’ bathroom (for such is where this little scuffle occurred), with two corpses and an annoying crease in my suit. I should bring you up to speed.

Unbeknownst to most, and that’s how it should be – this is the Secret Service after all – the United Kingdom is under constant threat from many sources. Mad individuals, large organisations, religious fundamentalists, criminals… you name it.

My job is to keep you safe from these things, and more.

Right now, I’m tracking down one man in particular – Vincent Hynes. He’s rich, well-connected, handsome and very, very dangerous. Thankfully, I get to work outside of the usual boundaries of law and order, as long as I get results.

And I get results.

After some research we tracked him to a very nice hotel in the south of London. In fact, he owns it. It’s right on the river front, brags of its 5-star status and helps fund a criminal network guilty of supplying arms to genocidal killers on three continents.

By “research”, of course I mean “torture”. But as I said, I get to work outside of the silly rules that by which others are encumbered. Unfortunately, so do people like my target. And I think that’s why I ended up being accosted by two thugs as I washed my hands in the men’s room between cocktails at the bar. One of ours had obviously been made to give up my identity, and who knows what else.

That made things a little trickier. Thankfully I enjoy a good challenge, and at least I knew where I stood.

Now, there were bound to be more people outside expecting Tweedledum and Tweedledee to walk out calm as you like. I prefer to know what I’m facing before I face it so I decided on a more cautious approach and looked for an alternative exit.

As with most bathrooms there was only one door, but there were also several windows. Two opened wide enough for me to be able to pass through without marking my suit and onto a ledge outside. I was only one floor up, but out of sight enough not to be noticed by any passers-by.

Off to my left was another set of windows, probably the ladies’. To my right the wall ended and went around a corner. Probably my best bet, getting me further from the gent’s entrance and also less likely to cause as much of a stir as dropping into a cubicle populated by a woman with her knickers around her ankles.

Then the wall seemed to explode beside my head.

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