The Falcon & the Viper

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Chapter 75

The last day of the US president’s state visit was in full swing, with crowds lining the streets that Donald Trump would take on his way to the Guildhall, formerly London’s old town hall. Steeped in tradition, the eight hundred year old building was now home to the City of London Corporation. Inside the Gothic grandeur of the Great Hall, preparations for the banquet hosted by the Lord Mayor of London for the American president were underway.

Trump was in talks with Carol Dowding for most of the morning at Downing Street, and would soon join his cavalcade waiting outside and drive with the prime minister the short distance to the Guildhall. Security agents and police officers patrolling and mingling with the crowds along the route were ready to deal with any terrorist threats. The security operation would centre on the wide square in front of the Guildhall, where the heads of state would exit their cars and walk between the crowd barriers across the square to the Great Hall’s entrance. If an attack would be made, the security chiefs thought this would be the place.

Charlie and the team made good time and arrived in the streets of the capital. During the trip, James had argued with him about calling in the security services, but Charlie reminded James that even his boss had said that no one could be trusted. James had reluctantly agreed. Before long, they pulled up outside Lord Westcliffe’s house in Great Smith Street. James removed his standard issue Walther P99 revolver from its holster and checked it was loaded. Both the brothers brushed aside Samantha’s protests about not coming with them, and insisted she stay put and keep a good lookout to warn them of any danger.

Charlie and James got out of the car and walked to the front door of the imposing house. Ringing the bell, a sour faced individual dressed in a crumpled suit opened the door.

‘Is Lord Westcliffe in?’ asked James.

‘Depends who wants to know.’ came the surly reply.

Charlie, with emotions stretched to breaking point from almost losing James, exploded and started to elbow his way past. Caught off guard, the sour-faced man managed to throw a punch, which Charlie countered with a bone crunching punch flattening the thug’s nose, knocking him unconscious to the floor. Charlie stepped over him and walked into the hall as James quickly evaluated the scene and saw another thug at the top of the grand staircase going for his gun. In a flash, he drew out his revolver and fired two well-aimed shots. The man cried out as the bullets hit home and tumbled down the stairs. James covered him with his gun as he lay writhing on the floor in agony, a dark stain of blood spreading out over the white tiled floor. Charlie stooped and picked up the man’s fallen weapon.

‘We’ve stirred up a right bloody hornet’s nest here, Jimbo!’ cautioned Charlie.

‘Too bloody right, Bro. Are you sure you know how to use that thing?’

‘Can’t be much different from the one I practised with in the RAF.’

‘Just be careful you don’t shoot yourself or me by mistake, Charlie.’

‘Funny! C’mon, let’s check if there’s anyone else around and whether we can find this Westcliffe character.’

They began carefully checking the rooms in the rest of the house. In one bedroom upstairs, they found Lord Thomas Westcliffe cowering behind some clothes inside a large walk-in dressing room, shaking with fear. Charlie motioned for him to come out with the barrel of his gun, while James stood in the doorway, covering his brother and the entrance to the room.

‘What do you want? You won’t find any money to steal!’ blubbered Westcliffe.

‘Shut the fuck up and sit down in that chair.’ snarled Charlie.

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