Excerpt from No Greater Evil
It was a lie and the CEO seemed to sense it. Swallowing his sobs, and mustering what little courage he had left within him, he looked up and spewed, “If I tell you I am a dead man anyway. So fuck you and the…”
The stranger did not let him finish. He raised his weapon and fired a bullet into the CEO’s mouth. The man’s head snapped back violently as teeth and bone and bits of brain tissue exploded out the back of his skull, splattering the Persian rug and Brazilian mahogany floor beyond it. The stranger fired two more bullets into the CEO’s chest, paused and then fired a final shot into the lifeless form. For a few measured ticks of the mantel clock, the CEO’s upper body remained upright. His head lolled back on a rubber neck with its sightless eyes staring at the ceiling. Then, like the clock’s second hand, his torso slipped slowly from twelve to four, coming to rest on the overstuffed seat cushions, shuddered once and was still.
The stranger unscrewed the suppressor and put it and the pistol into his pocket. Then he walked calmly back across the office, stepped up onto the raised platform and took an encrypted satellite phone out of his pocket. He punched in a number and said “Minotaur is KIA,” and hung up. He didn’t bother to pick up the shell casings. Neither they nor the mushroomed fragments of lead from the hollow point bullets inside the CEO’s body would be of any use to the Chicago police in solving the murder. The Glock would soon be destroyed and without it the bullets and casings would be of no value.
He gave the room one last sweep of his eyes and was about to leave when a reflection in the wall of glass behind the desk suddenly caught his eye. In a fluid motion, he drew the Glock and spun around in a two-handed firing stance but there was no one there, just the dead body of the CEO slumped over on the sofa. He hesitated then slowly put the weapon away and turned back toward the window: what he saw there stopped him cold. Instead of his own reflection, the form and face of a woman was superimposed over the place where his should be. She was dressed in a black robe with a hood draped softly across her head. It cast her porcelain-like face half in shadow and half in a light, giving it an appearance starkly similar to his mask, but he could tell that she was not wearing one.
In confused silence, he peeled off his mask but the image of the woman in the dark glass did not change. Unmoving and unmoved, she stared at him with a knowing look on her face and a faint smile on her lips. She possessed an elegant, timeless beauty and there was an aura about her that was both alluring and yet vaguely unsettling. He could not turn away. Like prey before a predator, he was frozen in her piercing stare. And the more he looked into her eyes, the more his field of vision began to narrow and blur; until finally, it was as if he was peering down a tunnel into a black hole that was inexorably drawing him in. Then abruptly, the tunnel evaporated into the cold reality of the room. Before he realized what was happening, the woman vanished without a trace, as silently as a shadow becomes part of the night.
For a few more moments he lingered there, staring at the wall of glass trying to reconstruct the haunting image of the woman’s face in his mind’s eye, but he could not. It flickered at the margins of consciousness, taunting him; however, like the stars that twinkle at the edge of vision then disappear when stared at directly, she was gone and he could not bring her back. Finally, he turned and exited through the door in the bookcase as effortlessly as he had come, leaving behind a deathly silence broken only by the sharp rattle of ice pellets on the windows and the sound of distant thunder over the lake?and the body of a killer brought to justice.