Story so far ~
Professional assassin Helena is in Barcelona on a job. At the last minute within feet of the target she receives a text message. The hit is cancelled and the agent Ashall has double crossed her and tried to have her killed.
At the airport Helena’s first task was to shed certain aspects of her external appearance. In a cubicle in the ladies she removed her dark wig, revealing short brown hair, next the large sunglasses and lastly the thick layer of make-up. All this detritus and the glass she had drunk from at the reception were put in a plastic bag. She put on a pair of designer glasses and added a Ferragamo silk scarf. And finally a dash of lipstick. She looked at herself in the mirror, satisfied the transformation was complete. On the way out she discarded the plastic bag into a bin about to be emptied by a cleaner. Next Helena went to the BA desk and bought one business class ticket to London. There were no problems with security checks or passport control. She was always extremely careful never to have anything in her bag or on her person that might be picked up by the authorities. In the VIP lounge Helena waited for her flight in a smart leather chair well away from anyone else and sipped a strong cup of espresso.
She took a couple of deep breaths and looked out of the small aircraft window. Yet something else to frustrate her, a delay. Men in high visibility jackets were moving around on the tarmac but there was no indication of why there was a problem. In the row of seats in front of her were two little boys, one was about five while the other was a few years older. The older one played with his Nintendo while the other one fidgeted. Their mother sat across the aisle absorbed in texting on her phone. Helena didn’t pay attention to the people boarding the plane, she just wanted to get back to London. Finally, the last passengers arrived – Mr Salazar and his assistant. The assistant took his seat back in economy leaving Mr Salazar to settle down right in front of Helena between the two little boys.
It would be so easy, she could just do it now. Everyone would think he had had a heart attack as originally planned. But the job had been cancelled. He was not the banker, that was what the client now thought. And more to the point there was nothing in it for her. She was not involved now. She would just relax and enjoy the flight. When she got back to London she would do a full de-brief with Ian. The Belladonna Agency, as far as possible, vetted the clients, their agents and the target. She didn’t have many scruples and it wasn’t her job to judge. Inflicting damage on an ‘innocent’ or ‘truly good’ person was not the done thing in her line of work. She knew of less professional agencies and individuals who undertook any assignment for money.
Pressing the button on the side of her seat she tried to push it back into the reclining position. It would not budge. She tried again. No. It was not going to budge. She turned her head and saw a white linen suit and yellow shirt. There he was, slouched down, his knee rammed into the back of her seat, his eyes shut and his iPod playing. She could hear the thump thump thump. What had she said to him earlier that day? Little mark in little black book. An involuntary growl came from Helena, causing the older of the boys to turn round. Helena watched on the small overhead screens the flight path of the plane and monitored the remaining journey time to London, her mood darkening mile by mile.
Mr Salazar and his two sons on the other hand were having a fun flight. While their mother slept the boys were entertained by their father who read stories, played electronic games and generally amused his two sons for the duration of the flight.
The plane came to a standstill and Mr Salazar and his family were to be allowed to disembark first. Helena felt Ashall try to push past her to be the next off the plane. She strategically moved herself to block his path. She could smell his aftershave and his hair gel. He had no inkling who she was.
In the baggage hall Helena caught sight of Ashall standing by the carousel with a luggage trolley. He tried to stand a little away from the crowd but there were too many people and Helena watched as every time he moved more people crowded around him. This suited her fine. Helena moved into the group of people now gathered around the baggage carousel, it had started to turn and the first suitcases were appearing. She manoeuvred her way between a family group and an elderly couple. Ashall was directly in front of her. There was no one behind her. From inside her jacket she took out a fountain pen and unscrewed the lid. The nib of the pen was sharpened to a fine point. Helena stepped forward one pace and thrust the pen nib into Ashall’s arm while at the same time releasing a deadly dose of poison from the ink reservoir via the lever on the side. She withdrewn the pen swiftly, replaced the lid, and walked away. Thirty seconds later Ashall slumped slightly forward onto the luggage trolley he was holding. The elderly couple standing next to him became concerned when he did not move despite several polite requests. By the time the alarm was raised Helena was through ʻNothing to Declare’ and heading for the exit.