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Waiting for Ray - Chapter 15 Another Job 1993
By P-M Terry Lamar
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
This is chapter 15 in my novel, Waiting for Ray.
In the wee, dark hours of a cold spring night, Ray waited patiently in his 1982 Chevy Impala, the brown color unrecognizable in the dark of the poorly lit street. He gazed down the row of large, impressive homes on Williams Street in Denver, Colorado. His non-descript car shared the road with much nicer cars parked under the huge old trees that lined the road. He was parked down and across the street from an imposing, red-brick Victorian set among other homes that seemed even more impressive from the outside.
Ray had been waiting for five hours, making sure his target was completely asleep and that the wealthy neighbors had settled down as well. In the weeks leading up to this night, Ray had been carefully planning his assignment. He knew that Kenneth Anderson always had an early meeting on Thursday mornings, and usually went to bed by 10:00 pm and was snoring deeply by 11:00 pm. It was now 2:00. Cynthia Anderson had been asleep since just after midnight after reading one of her novels she enjoyed so much in the quiet evening. Though they were in their fifties, they had two small children, adopted, who slept in separate rooms down the hall. Megan and Dexter, 6 and 8 years old respectively, had each had their usual 11:00 trip to the bathroom and request for a drink of water after having fallen asleep at 9:00. Their habit of waking at this time was why Cynthia had developed her own habit of staying up until midnight, reading.
as Ray switched his receiver to each of their rooms, he heard the sound of steady breathing in each room; though how Cynthia could sleep with Kenneth’s snoring he could not understand.
Ray had set up the small microphones and transmitters when he had gone to the home to add new cable connections. Cynthia had not been able to resist his offer of a free installation of new cable drops in any and as many rooms as she desired. all she had to do was promise to extend their contract for another year. The cable company knew nothing about it, but Cynthia had trusted the nice man on the phone so much that she hadn’t called to check if the offer was valid or not. Someone who sounded so educated and refined couldn’t be lying, she was sure. She had barely glanced at the credentials Ray showed when he arrived for the installation, making him wish he hadn’t spend the large sum he had on the forgeries and the side-markings on the rented van out front.
His smile won her over, and his thick Boston accent ensured Cynthia would not mistake him for the man who had called her on the phone. She allowed him free reign of the house while she gardened outside. She later fixed herself, and him if he was hungry (Yes, please, ma’am), a fine lunch around 1:00 pm on a Tuesday, three weeks ago.
He finished adding the cable drops and installing the microphones before 4:30 that day and had winked at her when he left, causing her to blush and remember fondly their small talk during their shared lunch and his admiring glances at her figure. as he drove the rented van away, he saw her still watching from the open front door and wondered if he’d overdone the flirtations. No, he wasn’t too worried. His healthy, hale tan would be gone later and his square jaw would be smaller and his startlingly blue eyes would go back to normal once he returned to his hotel room. Even two inches of height would disappear when he took off his special work boots. She wouldn’t recognize him again no matter what opportunities she had to see him.
Since that day, he’d been monitoring their nightly activities. His brown, non-distinct car had become a familiar sight to the neighbors after he left it parked under the tree it was parked under now. However, he had actually been sitting and listening from a van parked further down the road until tonight. The Anderson’s were, thankfully, a family who operated on a regular routine and little disturbed their habits.
Now, Ray put away his listening equipment under the passenger seat of the Chevy and stepped out of the car. He closed the car door quietly and walked slowly away from the house. He was wearing tan slacks, a white shirt and a pale brown jacket and a small, black backpack over one shoulder as he walked down the sidewalk. On each side of the street, the sidewalk was well away from the street and it was very dark. He crossed the street and continued away from his target house; at the corner, he turned, not along the sidewalk, but into a deeply shaded area between some trees and some tall shrubbery. There, in the darker among the dark, he took out his black sweatpants which slid easily over his shoes and then over his slacks. He took off his reversible jacket and turned it inside out, he zipped up the now completely black jacket up to his throat. He pulled shoe polish out of the backpack and smudged the skin around his eyes. after he pulled a black balaclava over his head, he tugged thin black gloves over his hands. Then, a critical part of his job that night, he placed night vision goggles over his eyes and the world lit up around him. He put his backpack over both shoulders after transferring a pistol with silencer and a knife into his deep jacket pockets.
Now he walked carefully and silently along the route he had planned over and over during the past few weeks. He travelled in the darkest points along the sidewalk back to the Anderson home. Sometimes, Ray could not help but be in the open, but the moonless night didn’t reveal him to anyone but the night creatures which were already aware of him anyway.
as he passed in front of the Anderson’s house, his already alert senses sharpened even further. He enjoyed these times of increased awareness during the course of a killing. He felt almost superhuman, aware of every sound, every scent, and every microscopic movement. He walked up the sidewalk to the back of the house that faced the alleyway. Warily, Ray stopped and assessed the alley for a long moment, sure that he was completely alone only after he’d been able to thoroughly evaluate every deep shadow and place of possible cover.
as he moved to the designated window, which he had also prepared that day he had worked in the house, he pulled a small screwdriver out of the pocket in his sweatpants. He used the head of the screwdriver to remove a small patch of putty that covered a metal contact. He pushed down on the contact with the screwdriver and heard a faint click. Now, unless someone had discovered and disconnected his work, the alarm around this window was rerouted to his imbedded contact and he could open the window unheeded.
He then pushed his screwdriver along a small bored hole, again covered with putty the same color as the paint, through the window frame to the lock on the window. The screwdriver easily passed along the tunnel, popped through the putty on the other side, and pushed the lock open. He again checked his surroundings for any hint of movement and froze when he saw something moving across the alley from him. as the movement repeated, he watched and breathed slowly, ready to act if he had to. Just as he was prepared to melt back into the shadows of the surrounding trees and bushes, he saw a cat run into the alley, a second cat chasing it with a loud mewing.
Without a second thought, Ray moved to the window and pushed it open. He had chosen this window because it was the only one that did not have an obstacle right beneath it, so he was able to enter the dining room easily and quietly. He closed the window behind him in case someone wandered by and noticed it was open. Then, slowly, listening closely to his surrounds, Ray moved around the large, polished dining room table to the archway that led into the main hallway. The furniture in the house was beautiful and elegant, even through his night goggles, the quality was evident. The plush, tasteful carpet ensured his steps were soundless.
When he moved onto the hardwood floors in the hallway, he was especially careful. He had noticed that the work boots he had worn weeks ago had squeaked slightly on this floor and he had chosen his shoes for tonight carefully. He was thankful when his shoes made no sound and he moved silently toward the staircase, which was carpeted. He climbed the stairs cautiously, watching the door at the head of the stairs and the one to the right carefully. The children had their lights off and they should remain asleep all night, if they followed the patterns of the last few weeks.
He turned to the left, and the gap under the master bedroom door showed the room there was dark as well. as he got closer, he saw that the door was slightly open. Remembering back to the day he had worked in the house, the doorway was thick and heavy and capable of keeping sounds out of the bedroom. They probably kept it open in order to better hear the children when they awoke at night. Ray admired the caring of the Anderson parents; they loved their adopted children dearly. He paused, listening. He heard Kenneth’s snoring and nothing else.
He pushed the door open gently, knowing the hinged would not squeak since he’d carefully oiled them himself. He could see the bed, Kenneth closest to the door and Cynthia on the far side. Considering the large size of the bed, if he caused Kenneth to move as he died, the movement would not likely wake Cynthia, so he could cut Kenneth’s throat with the knife. However, he settled on the silenced handgun instead since Ray didn’t want this nice family to see the gaping wound of an open throat when they discovered the body. as quickly as that decision came, Ray told himself he had chosen the gun because it was likely to cause less movement than the knife. He told himself he couldn’t care less about this family and what they felt upon discovering the body.
Kenneth had to die because someone powerful and important wanted him dead. That was all Ray had been told when the contract had been made. However, he had looked into it further himself since he wanted to know the reasons for people hiring him. He still avoided political jobs, and he had wanted to know more about this job to ensure himself he wasn’t getting in the middle of a political or major crime syndicate battle. He discovered that Kenneth Anderson had recently warned the senior executives at his major, international paper conglomerate that he would become a whistle-blower if they didn’t start cleaning up some of the environmental problems the company had caused near several of their plants. Killing Kenneth was cheaper than cleaning up the messes, so they had hired Ray.
Ray moved over to the sleeping man. He pulled out the gun, checked the silencer and the slid off the safety. Considering the best angle, he placed the gun almost touching Kenneth’s upper forehead at a trajectory to guarantee instant death. He pulled the trigger. Kenneth’s snoring stopped as a circle of red appeared on his forehead. Most of the bleeding would be to the back of the head, where the wound was much larger.
Ray stepped back and looked over at Cynthia to see if she’s been disturbed by the slight sound of the shot. She lay still, near the far edge of the bed where she’d turned off the side lamp. Moving quietly, Ray turned to move out of the room, when he heard Cynthia’s breathing change. She was waking up.
Cynthia had awakened because she was used to hearing Kenneth’s snoring, and he was now as quiet as he’d ever been. as she started to roll towards her husband in a worry about sleep apnea, Ray moved toward her side of the bed. Before she could reach out to touch her husband, Ray grabbed her firmly and slapped his right hand over her mouth. He was strong and he had her in his arms, moving toward the door before she had any idea of what was happening to her. With his left arm holding her securely and his right hand over her mouth, he pulled her down the hallway to the bathroom. He backed into the bathroom door, which was ajar to make nighttime trips easier, and pulled her inside. Turning around, he pushed the door quietly closed with his back and he held the struggling woman. He was grateful that she was still confused and wasn’t fighting him too aggressively.
He looked around and saw the half-full roll of toilet paper and before she could react, he reached with his right hand and jerked it off the holder, the center roller tumbling along the tile floor, and he shoved the roll in her mouth as she opened it to scream. He pulled off his backpack and pulled out his ever-faithful roll of duct take and quickly taped the roll into place in her mouth. He then picked her up and placed her in the bathtub face down. He used the duct tape to secure her arms and legs temporarily, but then reached into his backpack again and pulled out two lengths of cotton rope. He tied her hands and feet securely while she struggled to get out of the tub. He tied the end of the rope that held her hands to a bar above the imbedded soap holder. It was secure in the wall and she wouldn’t be able to pull it out. He tied the end of the rope on her feet to the fancy faucet. It didn’t seem that strong, but he wasn’t sure how much she’d struggle after trying a few times to get away.
He looked down at her and made sure she was breathing normally through her nose so she wouldn’t have difficulty breathing with her mouth stuffed full.
He went back into the hallway, and to the master bedroom. He checked the door and saw that it could be locked with a button on the handle. He turned the button and closed it hoping it would stay locked. It did.
Now, if the kids woke up, they would be scared when they found their mother in the bathtub, but they should be spared the sight of their dead father.
Ray glanced one last time at Cynthia in the tub and when he saw her looking so scared and miserable, he had to fight the urge to say, “I’m sorry.”
Before anything else went wrong, he rushed downstairs and started the quick process of making it look as if he had come into the house for a robbery. He threw a few pieces of silver into his backpack, opened drawers and strewed items around as much as possible. after only three minutes, when it looked convincing enough, he went to the back door and opened it.
Moving very quickly now, because he knew alarms were sounding at a nearby security firm, he smashed a hole in the window through which he had entered the house. He then opened the window to make it look as it a burglar had come out that way as well. He knew the murder of a man in his bed and the tying up the wife in the bathtub would appear incongruous with a mere house burglary, but some smart police investigator would think of a logical reason, especially after the security firm had tromped through the house and had made any feasible evidence almost impossible to find or use in court. They could never associate the crime with him anyway. Even if the men who had hired him felt guilty and confessed, they had no idea who he was and they did not know what he looked like.
He sprinted across the road to his car and opened it. His backpack, balaclava and weapons went into a special compartment in the seat which would pass any routine inspection. He turned ignition and the car started with a low grumble. He had tuned the engine and modified the muffler so that it started and ran very quietly. He moved slowly down the street, in the opposite direction of the Anderson’s security company, and disappeared into the large Denver area as he rubbed the black polish from around his eyes.
Only after he had collected the second half of his pay, and had explained the trussed-up wife with a curt, “it was the best thing to do at the time,” did he allow himself to wonder about it. He had to admit that he had wanted to spare the wife and children from as much of the shock as possible, though he had to know they would suffer no matter what he did after he put a bullet into the brain of Kenneth Anderson. He even had to admit to himself that he felt a vague regret for killing the man who lived a good and decent life. Most of his victims were dirty in one way or another, and he never allowed himself to consider their loss. He let himself consider this loss and how he had reacted, and he wondered it he was beginning to lose his edge. He almost decided to take a vacation for a month or two before contacting his front man for another job. Then, as he flew incognito to Seattle, he muttered to himself that he better get back on the horse that threw him off, and he swore to immerse himself in work rather than run away from it.
Copyright 2000, P-M Terry Lamar
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|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|Great story, Terry; brava!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D
|Reviewed by Jean Pike
|Fabulous writing, Terry. I don't know how you did it, but you have made this hit man so likeable that I was actually rooting for him not to get caught when the wife woke up! These characters are so layered and complex and I am loving this story! One small thing, and it's neither here nor there, but I noticed that you didn't once capitalize the name Anderson.|