I did not Like Maxim. He was a tall, thin man with a shaven head, and looked a bit like a snake to me. His personality reflected his looks. After driving for a very long time through Ukraine, I had to get to this asshole who was trying to blackmail me. He even held Victoria in a different room while we spoke. I couldn’t hear her but I knew she was probably crying uncontrollably. He didn’t seem to care whatever I told him.
“This is business between you and me. I do not see the need for children’s ears in this matter.” He said.
“She is mute, come on, she wouldn’t even let me sleep if she is still awake, just let her come here and we can talk about our business.”
“Nemaye! There is nothing to talk about Jordan. We want you to do this job and then you could have anything you need for you and the girl.”
He was asking me to go on a mission into Russia to assassinate some General from the Russian army.
“I just fled from there. The Bratva, KGB, Interpol and who knows else is probably looking for me. There must be a shitload of bounty hunters tracking me down as we speak, just to get their hands on a load of cash. And now you want me to go back into the wolf’s lair, and without any payment?” I was getting aggravated.
“Tochno. Exactly. Once the job is finished you can have new ID’s and leave the country. I could very well hand you over myself right now. I think that is payment enough!”
“So I don’t have a choice...”
“No, we’ll give you all the information you need. In three days time you must be ready with a list of all the tools necessary. We’ll keep the girl until then.”
“No, you let her go right now, and I’ll do the job. She doesn’t trust anyone but me. So you want a killer, fine, I’ll be your killer, but she stays with me, or else just hand me over to the Russians right away. I don’t care anymore!” I may have sounded a bit louder than intended, but had to get the point across to him.
“Dobre. We have a room at the hotel prepared for you. Here is the file. Three days Jordan, and then I want a plan!” He wasn’t kidding.
He handed me a red folder, opened a door in the hallway, and told the guard to let the girl go. She ran right to where I was standing, and grabbed onto me. She was sobbing seriously. On this job I couldn’t afford to have her around with me. What was I to do with her?
A car took us to the hotel. We got handed the keys to a small room with two single beds. There was a desk and a bathroom with shower. Apart from that the room was empty. I was pissed. I fled from danger and now had to throw myself right into it again. My arm wasn’t completely healed yet but I had taken out the stitches this morning from my shoulder and side. I went out that night with Victoria for a meal in town, wondering how to break the story to her. Maxim had men following me to make sure I didn’t run away. Back at the hotel I thought the quicker the easier. I sat the girl down on her bed, facing me.
“Listen little one, I have to tell you something...”
She looked at me with a faint smile and wide open eyes.
“I have to go back to Russia for some work.”
Her eyes went wide, but she nodded.
“You cannot go with me. You have to stay here with colonel Maxim until I get back.”
All of a sudden, her eyes filled with tears. She shook her head.
“I will tell the colonel to find your parents, and then you can go back to live with them. I will make sure they never sell you again.”
Now she was crying hard. She grabbed my hands and pulled at them, shaking her head. The message was clear, she didn’t want to go back to her family, and she didn’t want me to leave her alone. What could I do?
“I cannot take you with me, and I cannot take care of you. You have to go back to your family. You are in danger if you stay with me.”
She kept crying. I was already frustrated but now I was getting worked up over her tears.
“Listen! That is just the way it is!” I had raised my voice a bit to make her understand. “You cannot stay with me. In two days I will leave and the army will take care of you until they find your parents.”
She let go of me, lay down, her back turned on me and cried herself to sleep. I felt horrible. Losing her trust like that and raising my voice at a girl that went through hell. I didn’t know if her parents were still alive or if they would even take her back. If they sold her off once for such a small price, they wouldn’t hesitate to do so again. I fell asleep with these thoughts haunting my mind.
You know that feeling, when someone is watching you and you can feel their gaze penetrating into your soul? Awakened by this feeling, I awoke with a startle. Victoria was standing by the foot of my bed staring at me. She was completely naked and through the dim light from the moon outside I could see her shivering. Her eyes were swollen from tears. She came toward me, the moonlight casting shadows on the far wall as it fell over her naked little body. I understood. After all she’s been through, she was willing to offer herself to me so I wouldn’t let her go. This broke my heart. Tears filled my eyes. I got up and took my shirt from the chair beside the bed. I gently draped it over her shoulders and pulled her into a bear hug. “Ok little one, I won’t let you go. We’ll get through this somehow. You never have to do that with anybody again, ok?” Holding onto me, her nails digging into my bare skin, she cried loudly. We fell asleep together on my bed, her little body shaking with her sobs. I had to get out of this place.
The next day a plan formed in my mind. I had gone through the red file a couple of times, and by the end of the day I called the colonel. Early morning on the third day a car took us to the military headquarters where Maxim was waiting for me. I had walked Victoria through my plan a couple of times to reassure her. She now quietly accepted as they locked her in the other room, even though I could still see fear in her eyes as the door closed.
“I have a plan, but we do this my way or else the deal is off and you could hand me over to whomever you want.”
“We’ll see, what is your plan?” Maxim asked.
“I need two passports, one for me and one for Victoria. I will keep both with me until the job is finished and I pick her up again. This is just so I know you will keep your word. I also need a pistol with a silencer and two full clips. A driver must take me to the Russian border, from where I will find my own way to Moscow and the General. All my belongings, money and clothes, will stay with me. Once at the border near Dobrush in Belarus, I will leave Victoria with the driver and three days later I will cross at the same spot and expect the driver to be there when I get back. We will come back here to give you my report and then I will leave with my daughter and never hear from you again.”
“How will you kill the General?”
“I will need a Russian uniform, preferably officer, and when I’m close enough to the General I will shoot him. The details I will work out once there. The passports need to be British, with fake names. James Mace for me, and Victoria Mace for the girl.”
“Very well. You’re the expert.” He called for an officer. “Captain Bogdan will take you to have your passports made. Tomorrow he will give you your weapon once at the border. The girl can go with you up to there, but she will wait with the captain until you return.”
The next hour went by filling in documents and taking pictures for the passports. Captain Bogdan was a quiet man. One could almost get to like him. Later we got escorted back to our hotel where I went over my plan again with Victoria. It was risky business, for both of us, so I went through every minute detail until I was confident she understood perfectly.
The next day, at exactly six o’clock, Bogdan picked us up and we drove north. A couple of military orders, signed by the colonel himself, was enough to get us into Berlarus early afternoon. Two hours later we stopped about five hundred meters from the Russian border, out of sight of anyone patrolling there. Bogdan switched off the car as I got out and started changing clothes, putting on a Russian major’s uniform. The bandages on my arm was covered by the jacket and gloves. The bones were healing well, but I could still feel a slight tension in my wrist. I gave the captain a thumbs up. He got out and handed me the pistol. I screwed on the silencer and loaded it. After retrieving a thousand dollars from my bag and stuffing it in my pocket, I was ready. I looked over to Captain Bogdan. He nodded and called Colonel Maxim from his cell phone.
“In three days I will pick you up. Same time, same spot. I will wait with the girl in Dobrush.”
I nodded and blew a kiss to Victoria. She immediately ducked down, hands covering her ears and closing her eyes. The captain looked at her, puzzled by her reaction, but before he knew what was happening, a 9mm bullet ripped through his skull. A thud could be heard as he dropped to the ground. I dragged the body to the back of the car before gently tapping Victoria’s shoulder, letting her know everything was ok. At my touch she shuddered, but smiled when opening her eyes and seeing me. I stripped out of my uniform, put it on the dead body and got into the clothes Adam had left me. Bogdan’s clothes I stuffed into my bag and then drove off with Victoria, leaving the dead officer behind where he lay.
For the next three days I was in the clear. Maxim wouldn’t expect an update so no one would notice my betrayal. If someone happened across the Bogdan’s corpse, they would be swayed by the dollar bills sticking out of the uniform pocket. Belarusians are mostly poor, and taking the money without reporting a dead “Russian” major would certainly be the most likely outcome. I had three days to get as far as possible from this place. We drove to Minsk. No one bothered us at official checkpoints. Our passports were authentic, or seemed that way at least, and by noon the next day we were on a flight to London. We didn’t lose any time at Heathrow as I booked us on the next flight to the USA.
From New York we traveled south. I knew by this time that I was a wanted man in Ukraine, and probably London as well, since Colonel Maxim knew we had the British passports he so kindly provided us. I already threw away the pistol in Belarus and now, after arriving in Suffolk, Virginia, we ditched the passports too.
I decided it was time to stop running. It’s been about a week since we left Belarus. I was tired, not to mention Victoria. We felt dirty and this was as far as I was willing to go. I had no idea on how we were going to make it over here, but we had to take our chances.
“Listen little one, if we stick together, this could work for both of us.”
Victoria nodded, and so I decided to stop my business as a hit-man and try to make a decent, honest living from now on.
We got a place to stay at Windsor Manor Park. I was expecting it to be difficult, but just as with the car I was driving, in the United States if you pay cash up front, people usually ask few questions. I used my Canadian passport for the paperwork, paid six months’ rent in advance, and Victoria and I moved into our new home. It wasn’t the best of places, but we were happy. She never complained, and I was used to worse than this. After the first month, the house was cleaned out, new furniture was bought, and things were starting to look better for our future.
I called an old friend at the bank in London. I knew he wouldn’t betray me, but found out that a French Citizen, by the name of William Jordan, had all his bank accounts blocked and his assets were frozen until Interpol could bring him in for questioning.
“What the fuck man? You mean my houses, hotel–everything is just left to rot? You’re telling me I lose everything I own?” I didn’t know if I was sad, angry or just shocked.
“Almost. You still have the offshore. It’s not much but... I’m sorry. Why are the police after you anyway? Where are you?”
“Don’t worry about that, Phil.”
“Will, I won’t sell you out man. Just tell me what’s going on?”
“I can’t tell you. You were saying the offshore...”
“Yes. So far, no one knows about that. But if you use that money, and they catch you, you will be up for tax evasion.”
“That is the least of my worries, Phil. Thanks. You’re the best.”
“I can’t talk to you any longer. If they found out, you would be in trouble too.”
With that I hung up. Philip was the guy who helped me when I started trading. He had an account opened for me in the Cayman Islands when I started making money so I wouldn’t pay as much income tax. The cash I had brought from Russia was running out, and I knew soon I’d have to get a job. I went to a bank in Norfolk, opened an account, still under my Canadian name, and then went looking for an honest job.