Vivian Riley Chapter 03
Senator William Dempsey was an older man of about fifty-eight years. I was surprised to see him as the target. What should an old man like him do? But I only sighed and shrugged my shoulders; that was most definitely not my problem, someone wanted him dead, so they paid me to execute their wishes. I had observed him for three days already and had now found the perfect opportunity to execute their orders.
He went to the park, sitting on a bench, all alone and feeding ducks next to a pond. Well… a few bodyguards standing a few feet away, only closing in on him if there were people walking by too close to him. I had been on the hill across that park all morning, my hair tied up under a ski hat, waiting and watching, observing. From where I was, to Dempsey’s favorite place was a straight line of about a good half mile. My workspace was prepared, hidden under a bush I had a blanket spread where I put down everything that I needed. I rolled up a corner of the blanket to get a steady rest for the rangefinder at eye level while lying down.
As I prepared, I let my mind ease into my bubble, where everything else outside disappeared. It became just another shot like thousand others before; there had been no difference to the paper targets I had practiced with and the living ones. Nothing else mattered. The importance of the senator being a live target was pushed from my mind. My beating heart had to be calmed so that even the pulse present in my hands was diminished. At this range, each pulse of blood in my limbs would move the gun enough to change the point of impact by several inches.
I moved slowly and calmly as I went through the ritual of making one single shot through the cold clean air to a direct hit. As I lay down, I automatically pointed my feet with the toes to the sides, so that both heels and toes would lie flat on the ground. Any wiggle would be transmitted to the gun and reduce the accuracy.
I pointed the laser range finder at my target and saw the jiggling from my pulse in the reticle of the magnified optic of the instrument. To make the base steady enough for a good reading, I placed a flat rock under the rolled up blanket. At this range bouncing the laser off of something just ten yards further away could cause my overcompensate for the drop and make the shot high by nearly ten inches.
Just an error of five yards would move the shot out of the vitals, the triangle formed by his nipples and the top of his sternum. After getting three readings in a row that agreed with each other, I entered the data into my exterior ballistics app on my Smartphone. It already had the altitude from the GPS and the weather conditions from the weather service. But it still needed the incline.
Calmly I punched that number in too. My rifle was zeroed for 200 yards at standard sea level conditions. I adjusted the point of aim to shoot a little higher. There were four clicks per minute of angle on my Leupold scope that meant ninety-seven clicks. Luckily I didn’t have to count them off individually! The target turrets were numbered with fifteen minutes per complete revolution. I did the math in my head and cranked on the elevation I needed.
The windage was a tougher problem. The anemometer gave me the wind here, but it didn’t tell me about the distance between me and my target! What I needed was the wind 100 feet in the air, two hundred to five hundred yards ahead. For that, I had to look through my scope. I put the gun in position with its short bipod extended. A small bean bag was put under the butt of my rifle.
I moved into position, laid my entire body flat on the ground. I scooted the rifle forward and back to get the bipod on firm ground. Then I shifted and squeezed the beanbag until the crosshair found their place. “Find your natural point of aim!” I heard Alexander, my instructor from a good decade ago bark into my ear. No muscle could be straining to make the shot. Everything had to be relaxed so the tremors would not be transmitted to the rifle.
Again, I adjusted my body position until I could close my eyes, relax and open them again and the crosshairs would still be resting on the target the same as before. Adjusting the focus back from infinity, I watched the shimmering of air against the out of focus straight vertical edge of the bench the target was sitting on.
The angle at which the mirage, visible on a hot summer day for the naked eyes above hot objects, moved and wiggled was a good clue as to the wind at the range the scope was focused at. It was a little bit of science and a lot of art as I adjusted for slight left to right wind here on top of the hill, a little stronger out at five hundred yards and judging from the bushes near the target and the ripples on the lake, at about the same right to left wind at the target. I dialed in a correction.
I confirmed that I still had my natural point of aim and the wind hadn’t changed either. As I adjusted the focus on my scope back to the target, I felt the awareness bubble tighten into a universe composed only of my scope reticle and the target. It was all about the focus of the jiggling crosshair on the distant target.
The bubble settled in tight and my sense of hearing disappeared as did my sense of touch and pressure from the rocks under the blanket. The smell of the crushed plants faded to nothing and even my vision narrowed within the tiny window of vision granted from my 14 power scope.
The crosshairs did their random dance of six inches or so about the targets chest. He tossed a piece of bread to a duck and I waited as he leaned back, putting his elbows on the back of the bench on either side of him. It was like he was making himself an even wider and more stable target for me. It was like he knew like he was about to embrace death. The crosshair hung in the exact center of the triangle for just a moment and the gun recoiled.
I had no reflection of actually pulling the trigger. It was a very clean trigger break. A half second later the gun came back down, almost into the same position as before it fired. I squeezed the bean bag to get my line of sight a little bit lower and waited for the remaining quarter second for the bullet to arrive.
I saw the trace, the distortion in the air from the supersonic shock wave, as it arced down into my target and hit it at 1600 feet per second. It was a good shot; maybe three inches to the right of my point of aim, not quite enough adjustment for the wind but the elevation was right on. Senator Dempsey showed the effects of the bullet.
His eyes widened and he looked down before he collapsed on the bench. Quickly I crept out from under the bushes, due to the loud bang people would soon check here and also would the cops soon look for the shooter. I packed my rifle back in my bag, along with all my equipment. Everything on the blanket landed in the bag as well, I didn’t want to leave any trace of my person behind and climbed back onto the trail and pulled off my ski hat.
Back at the bottom of the hill, I slowly walked back to the room. I changed my clothes and put the old ones into the sink to wash them out and went for a shower. Afterwards, I let my hair dry and got dressed. I put on white skinny jeans, a beige long top with fancy wrinkles in the front and a matching blazer. I put on light beige colored high heels, a cream-colored scarf with stars printed on, a copper-colored bracelet, sunglasses and a matching handbag. Like that, I hid the sports bag behind the wardrobe and went outside, back towards the park and towards the sirens driving to the park.
As I reached the park and the barrier the police had set up, I asked one of the officers, “Excuse me, what happened?” I asked like a worried citizen. “A man has been shot, Miss, please turn around, there is nothing to see!” “Shot?” I asked shocked and clutched my hands in front of my mouth, “That is awful! Will he be alright?” “He is dead, Miss, now please move on, there is nothing to see!” he said and I turned around to leave. Still acting like a worried person, looking around in case the shooter was still around. “Mission accomplished!” I thought and walked off to a café for a cup of hot chocolate as a treat for the quick success.
What a shock did I get, when the door to the café I had chosen opened again and a tall man in a black suit and dark sunglasses entered the café as well! Nathan stopped in front of the counter and checked the menu. Carefully I pulled my sunglasses out of my hair and put them on my nose. “Please do not notice me!” I prayed in my mind and hid behind my cup of hot joy.
A cup of coffee in his hands he turned around and looked for an empty table, but of course, his movement stopped as he recognized my red curls. Persistently staring out of the window, I tried to not notice him, but of course, he approached, “Vivian!”
In a pretend surprise I turned to face him and put the cup down, glancing over my sunglasses, “Do I know you?” Maybe he’d think he mistook me for the girl he had met on the flight from New York. “It’s Nathan!” he said and sat down across from me, “From the Flight! How are you doing?” Damn… damn red hair, damn CIA agent! “Oh, yes!” I said and took the glasses off, “I’m grand, thanks. How are you doing?” “Good now!” he said with a smile, “I was hoping to meet you again!” Great! “Aha! Is that so,” I said and leaned back in my seat, “So how did you find me?” For a second he looked confused, but then classified it as a joke, “It was a coincidence actually! I had been ordered to the park, just over there!”
Nathan pointed out towards the park where I had shot Senator Dempsey and leaned over the table. “Senator Dempsey has been shot!” he whispered and leaned back again, “I was told to help keep the people at bay and such!” In shock I put my hands in front of my mouth again, also hiding a little smile, and asked worried, “I heard someone was shot, I didn’t realize it was the senator! I didn’t even know he was here! Will he be ok?”
I had to admit it… it was handy to know someone from the CIA to get information about my target. Nathan shook his head sadly, “He is with God now!” “Oh no!” I whispered and looked very upset about Dempsey’s death. “So how have you been the past couple of days?” he asked to change the subject that seemed to upset me so much.
“It was great, I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors, walking, shopping and enjoying the change of air and surroundings.” I said and honestly smiled about the truth in most of those words, “What about you? How’s your case going?” “It’s settled, I took the guy to the court and he confessed and everything is fine now!” he said happily, “I’m so glad this whole thing is over and I’ll never have to come back here!” “You don’t like Auckland?” I asked curiously. “Well… I don’t know, all I’ve seen was the hotel room and the court.” Nathan explained.
“I have a splendid idea!” he suddenly said and took my hand, “Since you’re on vacation and I’m free for the rest of the day, you can show me around a bit!” Euphoric he pulled me out of my seat and out of the café, our cups still half full on the table. “Okay, okay, fine, just give me a second; I have to call a friend!” I said and pulled out my phone. “Make it quick, there is so much I wanna see before the sun sets!” he said and let go of my hand. Dialling Antonio’s number, I walked slower until I was out of hearing range.
“Antonio!” I said as soon as he answered the phone, “I ran into some guy I met on the plane and he is insisting in spending time with me! Can you bring my stuff to some hotel? I’m afraid he is too much of a gentleman and will insist on bringing me home to make sure I’m safe!” “Do you want me to get rid of him?” my arms dealer asked a little worried. “No, just get my stuff, ok? Check in for me as Vivian Thompson!” I begged him and added, as I approached Nathan again, “I’m so sorry, but I’ll make it up to you, okay?”
“Everything settled?” he asked as soon as I shoved the phone back into my jeans, “You look great by the way!” It was really amazing how different he was to the time on the plane. I mean, sure, he was still very open and naïve, but on firm ground, he was confident and straightforward. He knew what he wanted and he would go for it! “Jup, I have some time for you now!” I said and stopped beside him.
“That’s great!” he said and took my hand again, “How long will you stay here?” “Another night, my flight is the day after tomorrow, an early flight,” I said and hoped it wouldn’t be the same as his! “Really?” he asked and looked at me in surprise, “Me too! What a coincidence!” “I don’t believe in coincidence!” I said and thought about what could happen if I would actually let this happen.
So what! I’d just have to keep my cool and our conversation away from my work and my self in general! If I would manage to do that, there wouldn’t be any problems. “Do you prefer the word destiny?” he asked and smiled at me. “I believe in facts!” I said and looked at the childishly innocent expression on his face.
“How boring! I think I’ll introduce you to some fun activities!” Nathan said and held my hand even stronger while pulling me down the street. All afternoon long did he pull me from one place to the next; shops, casinos and lots of other places. “And now we’re going to a club!” he said as the sun had set and the shops were about to close. “A club?” I asked and couldn’t believe I had already spent so much time with him.
“Yes, come on, I saw one just over there!” he said and started to pull me down the road. “Wait!” I said and looked at his black suit, “Nathan… Not like this! We have to change into something suitable for a club if you’re going to drag me there, at least change into something stylish!” “Fine!” he said, “Is your hotel close to here? I’m sharing the hotel room with two other guys from a department here in New Zealand, believe me, you don’t want to see that!”
“Just five minutes from here actually!” I said and hoped Antonio had actually brought my things to the hotel he had said. “Good, I have jeans here, and you can wear just about anything! You’ll look stunning anyway!” Nathan said and looked at me in a weird way… As we entered the hotel, one of the staff saw us and came over, “Welcome back, Miss Thompson! Did you have a nice day?”
“Yes, thank you!” I said a little surprised and smiled. “Here are your keys,” he said and handed me a credit card sized key card, “Do you require anything else?” “No thank you,” I said and handed him a few bills as a tip. “Thank you, Miss Thompson, I’ll get your elevator!” he said, took our shopping bags and carried them to the elevator. “Thanks,” I said as if that would be the most normal thing in the world.
The man brought us all the way to my room; something I was secretly very grateful for since I didn’t even know the room number or the floor yet. I opened the door and the page carried the stuff into the room. With a bow, he left the room and closed the door behind him. “You’ve got a nice room!” Nathan said a little intimidated by the luxurious suite. It took me a few moments to adjust to this change as well.
The room was held in creamy, golden colors, the wardrobe was light brown, so was the bed, the duvets and cushions were golden and the curtains were light cream. There was a cream colored couch and a 40-inch flat screen, a fridge and a mini bar, the door to the luxurious bathroom opened and if Nathan wouldn’t have been so shocked himself, he would have seen my surprise about what Antonio had done.
Quickly I caught my self and returned to my usual self. “You can use the bathroom to get changed, take your time!” I said and walked over to the window. My room had a nice view! “Sure…” he said stunned and took his bag into the bathroom. As soon as the door was closed I dialed Antonio’s number, “What have you done?” “Do you like your room, signorina?” Antonio asked amused. “It’s actually kind of nice,” I admitted calmly and whispered again, “But it is a little over the top!”
“Only the best for you!” he said and chuckled, “How did your date go?” “He’s in the bathroom, changing. We’re going clubbing.” I shook my head and didn’t quite know how to handle that guy. “You’re going out drinking with a man you hardly know?” Antonio asked, sounding uncomfortable. “Well… we’ve spent hours together on the plane and would you prefer he arrested me? He is CIA!” I said and sat down on the bed, “Anyway, it might be handy to know someone on the other side!”
“So you’re using him?” he asked and relaxed, “That’s good, through him you’ll be able to get a better look about the insides if they get a lead on you or not.” Snorting, I looked towards the bathroom door, “As if that guy would ever get a lead on me. Anyway, he’s probably coming out soon, he is changing his trousers, not his entire wardrobe!” “How can you know this?” Antonio asked. “I have to go. Thanks for your help with the room anyway.” I said and hung up.
With a quick glance over to the bathroom door, I pulled out a dress I had brought in case I needed to go to some fancier restaurant, it was cream colored ironically, with a brown leather belt just above my waist with a ribbon in the front and three layers of the cream colored skirt part. With another glance to the bathroom door, I took off the blazer and the top and pulled the dress over my head. I took off the shoes, jeans, and jewelry and replaced it with long oval earrings, just like little bands and a necklace with a cream-colored butterfly pendant. I put my purse, my fake ID and a cardigan in a cream handbag and just slipped into Baileys colored high heels when Nathan opened the bathroom door and stepped out.
“Wow!” he said amazed and stared at me, “You just look amazing!” “Thanks…” I said careful and looked down to examine my outfit, “I guess… Can we go?” “Yes!” he said and smiled silly. Of course, I was worried about hanging out with a CIA agent, no matter how naïve and silly he was, it was a high risk. But it was also a great opportunity to keep off the wanted list.
Nathan brought me to a club not too far from the hotel, a fact that was not hard to guess since the hotel was one of the most central hotels I had seen. Everything someone could need was within a walking distance of about twenty minutes! The music was loud and drowned out every other sound one could have possibly heard. A conversation seemed impossible, a fact I didn’t dislike at all, so I got pulled straight to the dance floor. I would most definitely NOT get drunk tonight!
Nathan disappeared after a while and returned with two beers and smiled, offering one of them to me. The music took control as we danced, drank and had fun. I had to admit that I hadn’t done anything like this since… ever! At least not for fun, once I had snuck into a club in Manhattan to lure some guy out. He was dead shortly after. But this was merely for fun and so I had another drink…