Friday, February 18, 2011
Story-A-Day #99: The Great One
THE GREAT ONE
Alexander knew that he had held back too far, and now he had lost them. There would be repercussions for this oversight for sure, possibly even a trip back to Butyrskaya, the very place this whole miserable charade had started. At least that horrid dump had tanning beds now, not that it would make a huge difference to anyone imprisoned in that dark, dank hole. He had done a five-year stretch in Russia’s notorious prison, and tanning beds or not, he wasn’t keen on returning.
He dashed quickly along the peninsula, pausing intermittently to scan his surroundings. She was out there and he would find her. Kneeling next to a large evergreen, he pulled the parabolic mic from his knapsack. A quick listen was all he needed to realize the wind and crashing waves of the lake were too much of an impediment for the sensitive equipment.
He collapsed the dish, tucked the gun-shaped device back into his bag, and was about to stand up when he noticed a hint of red through the trees. Olga. It had to be.
The death of Konstantin Medvedev was meant to be a simple job, but had turned into five years behind bars before Alexander was able to achieve their goal. Of course, they didn’t realize that that damned lawyer Magnitsky would ingest the poison as well. The subsequent flood of allegations of abuse and insufferable standards that flooded the media worked wonders though: Medvedev became a footnote in history, and Magnitsky a looming beacon of martyrdom shining a light on the corrupt Russian prison system.
Still, tanning beds at Butyrskaya? It was laughable.
Alexander dashed a little further ahead. He was not here because he was a screw up; he was here because he was the great one. No challenge had ever bested him, and today, he was here to bring Olga home.
Keeping low to the ground, he quickly made his way towards the flash of red he had seen. He knew that Olga was with a man, but he was not sure who that man might be. He would need to remain vigilant. There could be more men in these woods.
With his bearings now in place, the trail was easy to follow. Olga’s small footprints ran parallel next to the man’s larger ones. Alexander followed them towards the shoreline, then up towards the trees. A second set of men’s prints intersected them and followed the shore. They were fresh.
Crouching behind some low shrubbery, Alexander paused and scanned the beach. The footsteps disappeared over a mound of rocks. They were not alone.
Alexander quietly slid his handgun from its holster and followed the pair of footprints into the trees. It did not take long to find Olga, her face frozen in a grimace of surprise; what was left of it at least.
And so the games begin, Alexander thought to himself. He carefully screwed on his silencer. There was at least one other person out here. They had completed his mission for him, and in doing so, initiated his secondary objective: leave no witnesses.