This is the twenty-second part of a fiction serial, in 1400 words.
Jenny has a busy morning
After a restless night, Jenny decided on a bath instead of a shower. As the water was running, she carelessly chopped off most of her hair with a pair of kitchen scissors. The end result made her smile at how masculine she looked, especially with no make up on. The sight of her hairy legs in the bath also made her grin. She certainly wasn’t going to bother to shave them, or under her arms. All that twisting and stretching would hurt, and when today was over, she wasn’t going to care about what she looked like.
Something ugly and sinister was now protruding from her left breast. It made her feel sick to look at the strange internal flesh that had broken through the skin during the night, but it was no longer bleeding, and her high temperature seemed to have subsided too. In fact, it was the best she had felt in a long while.
After drying off, she covered her breast with two dressings, wincing at the pulling sensation from under her right arm as she fiddled with the tape. The pains across her shoulder blades hadn’t been helped by the hot water, so she took four tablets to deal with that for now. From the wardrobe, she took out an old black hoody, one she hadn’t worn in years. She slipped that on over a baggy T-shirt, then pulled on a pair of denim jeans that felt a little loose around the waist. Using her mobile phone to check the time, she set a countdown on it. By the time the alarm went off, it would all be over.
One way, or another.
Her outfit was finished off with a pair of black leather gloves, and a black woolly hat. On her feet she had some old Adidas tennis shoes that would be comfortable, and make them look a little bigger too. Looking at the reflection in the bedroom mirror, she reckoned she could pass for a man. If nobody looked too closely at her chest of course. Last but not least, she took a long overcoat from its hanger in the wardrobe, and draped it over her arm. Jenny put the flat keys back through her letterbox after closing the door, and walked down to the car park. Tucked into the back of her jeans was the envelope containing the note to Gemma, along with the memory stick. She would stop and post that on the way.
Agata Schulz was already waiting outside the hotel for the taxi, checking her designer wristwatch. The cab would take her to the office of her new publicity agent, and he would drive her to the small television company that was in negotiation to make a documentary about her. Across the hotel car park, the two surveillance officers checked some paperwork. They had Agata’s itinerary, and two of their colleagues would take over at the TV station. After a long night, they could both go home to bed, once she was in the taxi.
There had been no time to practice firing the shotgun before leaving the cottage. Jenny had been worrying about being overheard anyway, and decided to trust to luck, and You Tube. But she had loaded the gun before leaving, rather than chance being seen loading it in a public place. Checking that there was nobody around in the car park, Jenny took the shotgun from the boot, and wrapped it in the long overcoat. Then she picked two more shells out of the box, and put them in a pocket of the hoody. It seemed like belt and braces, as she probably wouldn’t get time to reload. But better to be prepared.
The second surveillance team was parked outside the front of the agent’s office. They had watched Agata go in after the taxi dropped her off, and they knew what car to look for, once the agent drove out of the car park behind the small office building. The driver had already entered the postcode of the television company into the satnav, just in case they were separated in traffic, and he turned as his colleague passed him a paper cup containing the coffee she had just bought for them both. “Thanks. Did you remember two sugars?” She nodded.
The painkillers had worked, and Jenny felt pretty good as she parked the big car carefully in a meter bay at the rear of the office building. No point attracting the attention of any passing traffic warden, but she didn’t bother ringing the number on the signpost, to pay the fee. A parking fine was going to be the least of her worries, by the time today was over. Walking round to the passenger side, she removed the shotgun from where it was propped up against the seat, wrapped in the long cashmere overcoat. It was a shame to lose that cherished coat, but it wasn’t as if she was ever going to need to wear it again.
Gritting her teeth as she hung up the phone, Commander McDonald turned to the Inspector who was waiting expectantly at the end of her desk. “Nope. They won’t wear it. Insufficient evidence, and the case corrupted by the leaking of the names and details. No charges, as no hope of a fair and unbiased trial. The Inspector’s face fell. “Really? Nothing? Not even the gun charges?” She shook her head. “Nothing. They are free to go. Leave them until our time expires, then give them their personal stuff and kick them out. We will have to find another way to make a case against them. I tell you, when I find out who the bastard was that leaked all that information, heads will roll!”
Agata was checking her lipstick in a small mirror, as the agent tapped the face of his wristwatch. She gave him her whitest smile. “Alright, Mark. I’m ready”. They walked down the back stairs to where his now unfashionable convertible was parked behind the building. At the other end of the car park, Jenny was walking through the arch leading to the street behind, holding the shotgun pressed firmly against her hip, her index finger already on one of the triggers. Mark Goldman opened the door for his new client, and as he walked around to the driver’s side, he saw a squat, stocky looking person walking toward the car, carrying what looked like an overcoat. As he opened the door, that person suddenly started to walk faster, and the coat they were carrying dropped away to reveal the barrels of what was unmistakably a shotgun. Without hesitation, he turned and ran back into the door they had just used to exit the building.
Mrs Goldman hadn’t raised a hero.
Agata watched him run past and raised her eyebrows. He must have forgotten something. She hadn’t noticed the person with the gun, not until someone appeared at the passenger window, pointing it directly at her face.
Jenny had hoped to confront the woman, make some speech like “Remember me? It’s Jenny Pettifer, you bitch”. But there was no time for theatricals. She pulled the trigger, feeling the end of the gun smack hard against her hip as the barrels lifted on discharge. And the noise, It was so noisy. Acting on instinct, she dropped the shotgun, and turned to walk quickly back to her parked car. The second barrel would not be needed.
At close range, the blast had smashed the window, and taken off a good third of the top of Agata’s head, spraying skull, hair, and brains all over the inside of the convertible’s roof. But Agata still had that dazzling white smile, even in death. At least the shot had missed her teeth.
Trembling with excitement and adrenaline, Jenny was back in the car with the engine running long before both the cops on surveillance had even got out of their car, sure they had heard a gunshot. She selected ‘drive’, and spun the wheel of the car as she accelerated out of the meter bay.
By the time the cops were standing by Mark’s car, shaking their heads at the sight that greeted them, Jenny was approaching a roundabout over one mile away. Caught in traffic, she pulled off the hat, and checked the timer on her phone.
There was still plenty of time to drive to the police station.