The next day he drove not to the Simone’s but to a covered car park near the zoo. He cleared out the empty packets and bottles and put them all in a bin before locking and leaving the vehicle.
He took a taxi to the Simone’s and repeated the previous Saturday’s routine of going down to the shops with Mr. Simone where he informed the assistant he’d made a point of talking to that he was nearing the end of his visit so might not see her again. They had quite a long conversation, mainly about what he’d been and what he’d seen during his stay and his plans for that day, before he left her to her work and headed back with Mr. Simone to his house.
Their journey by public transport over to London Zoo was quite complicated and took far longer than his earlier trip back from there had taken. They could have taken another taxi, but Raoul felt using buses and tubes was more natural. He made no attempt to disguise or obscure his face this time. He made the trip in his usual loud attention seeking manner and made a big fuss about paying exactly the right fee for everyone to enter, using many coins he brought from various pockets to do so.
They spent the remainder of the morning visiting the different cages and houses that contained the animals then took lunch at one of the venues the zoo offered. Shortly after they’d gone back out into the zoo he excused himself, saying that he’d left a bag back there. Rather than have them wait for him, he suggested they meet up in an hour’s time at the Reptile House which they hadn’t yet visited. If he was late, he added, they should go on in and start to look round and he’d find them somewhere.
He had indeed left a bag at the restaurant but collecting it took only moments. He left the park and headed straight for the garage he’d left his car in. The man delivering the package was already there when he arrived, waiting by the silver Nissan. Raoul identified himself easily enough, simply by unlocking the Nissan with the remote control fob as he approached. The waiting man leaned into the green Volvo parked next to it and brought out a long parcel. It was wrapped, though not securely, in brown paper. By the time he had, Raoul had opened the Nissan’s boot for the man to place the parcel in.
He opened the parcel inside the boot so that anyone watching couldn’t see its contents, and found the silver metal case he’d been expecting. The man handed him a key and he unlocked the case. He expertly assembled the rifle it contained, looking around the garage for any signs of movement before taking the scope out and peering through it. Satisfied, he clicked it into its holder at the top of the rifle. He squeezed the trigger and the rifle clicked as the firing bolt shot across to where a bullet would have been if it had been loaded. He nodded, once, and disassembled the rifle again, returning each part to its proper place in the foam padding that held it. When he’d finished he closed and locked the case, covering it once again with the paper. He nodded again, twice this time, as he closed the boot and relocked the vehicle with the fob. It bleeped and the hazard lights flashed to show that this had been successfully done. With that done he turned and began to retrace his steps back to the zoo. No words had passed between the two men as the transaction was carried out. He didn’t wait as the man climbed back into the Volvo and reversed out of the space it had occupied, driving off out of the car park.
When he returned to the zoo Raoul joined the small queue at the Admissions gate and when it was his turn handed over a W$25 note, pocketing the coins that were returned to him. When he’d stepped inside and was out of view he dropped the ticket he’d been given into one of the many waste bins lining the zoo’s footpaths and followed the signs that would take him to the Reptile House.
He spent another pleasant afternoon with the Simone’s, marvelling along with the children at the many creatures they saw, both at the Reptile House and in the other cages and tanks their tour took them past. When their unhurried walk took them by a small hut he treated the family to ice cream, choosing for himself a large 99 with double flakes sticking from it, and watching amused as the children eagerly licked the iced lollies they’d picked from the picture stuck to the side of the hut. They did, basically, all of the things the other tourist families were doing.
They broke their homeward journey by finding a busy brassiere to stop at. It was nowhere near as grand as the restaurant they’d eaten in the previous week, being only one of the chain steak houses that were dotted around the city. The meal of fillet steak, peas and chips was passable rather than special but he cleared his plate, using his last chip to round up the remaining pepper sauce his steak had been covered in. The day’s exercise had made the kids somewhat tired so they took a cab for the last part of the journey back to the Simone’s house, which he paid for using the change he’d got from the zoo. The ‘Gomez’ wallet he’d been carrying for the trip wasn’t quite empty, but nearly so. When they arrived back at the house he went to the bathroom to collect his other wallet before heading for his room. He’d left it in the back pocket of a pair of old jeans that were lying in the dirty laundry basket. This too was decidedly light on cash. He took some of the notes out and transferred them to the ‘Gomez’ wallet which he then placed back on the bedside table before leaving the room.
He left the house and when he was a fair distance away caught a cab back to his waiting car. There was no-one to witness his arrival at the car park, nor to see him open up the car, climb in, and start his journey back to his hotel.
He chose for a change to watch the TV rather than to read, settling on the bed and flicking through the channels until he found something that he thought he might like. He watched for several hours, changing channel whenever a programme he’d been watching finished or ceased to interest him. It was late when he finally turned it off and slipped under the bed’s sheets to fall asleep.
He awoke at his usual time. Before heading down for breakfast he packed the suitcase he’d bought with most of his belongings, and lifted the plastic liner out of the bin, tying it securely before placing it too in the bag. It didn’t contain much, but he didn’t want the contents it did have to spill out onto the clothing the case now held. He used a second empty liner that had lain underneath the one he’d removed to replace it, then carefully went around the room cleaning and polishing all of its surfaces. He’d been careful to touch little in the room and had wiped each surface immediately when he had, but another clean took only a few minutes and would be worth the time spent if he happened to catch any traces of his stay that he’d missed previously.
That done, he headed down for breakfast. When he returned to the room afterwards, he looked around once more and peered into the bathroom that was located in one corner. Having satisfied himself that he hadn’t missed anything, he zipped the case closed and set off for the hotel’s Reception to check out. There was a small outstanding balance on his account which he chose to settle in cash rather than charging it against the card he’d lodged with them as a security deposit once it had been made and collected from his U.K. contacts.
He paused when he left the hotel, looking around and wanting to be sure the Nissan wasn’t being observed. When he was happy that it wasn’t, he unlocked it and placed the case in the boot next to the parcel, still there and looking undisturbed from when he’d last seen it. He climbed into the driver’s seat, started the engine and pulled out of the hotel car park into the road.
Down the road a little he stopped at a cash point. He didn’t expect to need much more in the way of cash but he’d used just about everything he had left to settle up at the hotel and might find that he needed some. He drew the maximum he was allowed to – W$750. He hoped that he’d have no more use for the card after today. There was no point leaving cash on it if it could be avoided.
He parked at the beginning of the street he’d used on the Friday to spy Riaz’s location, and used the same method as before to make his way to the property that overlooked it. He was careful not to call again at those houses he’d got a response from, but chose those that hadn’t answered before. This time he was carrying the silver case rather than the black one, which he’d disposed of as soon as it seemed safe to do so. In his other hand he carried the same black clipboard. Being a Sunday, more people were home, which meant more doors being opened when he called, so his progress was a little slower this time. The answers were the same though. Basically ‘no thanks’, though they were generally a little politer this time. When he reached the ‘To Let’ property he rang the doorbell as before and waited. He wanted to be sure it hadn’t got a new occupant since his last visit two days previously. Even if it had, that fact would have been unlikely to change his plan significantly. It would just have slowed it down slightly, while he dealt with an extra obstacle. He preferred not to have to, of course. He took his calling seriously, and generally tried to avoid involving others unless he had to. If nothing else, the higher the body count, the greater would be the authorities’ response. When there was no answer he slipped round to the back and let himself in through the same patio door. He looked around as he made his way through the lounge. Everything looked identical to how it had before. No signs of occupation or even that there had been other visitors since he was last there. He went straight to the small bedroom. He looked through the window at the house he knew Riaz to be staying in. There were no signs of life but that didn’t surprise him.
It was still early in the day and it was a Sunday. Even without anything to do on the other days he expected that Riaz, and those that might be with him, would be taking a lazier than usual approach to this day. While he waited for movement he opened the case and assembled the rifle. He didn’t hurry in his work but completed it slowly, methodically. When he was happy with his completed task, checking by peering through the scope and pulling the trigger, hearing the click made by the firing pin, he chambered three rounds from the cardboard box that sat in the silver case. He set the rifle on the bed while he opened one side of the window, and pulled back the edge of the net curtains. When he’d done this he lifted the rifle again, and used the scope to be sure he had a full view of the garden he was watching. Satisfied that he had, he sat on the edge of the bed to wait.
After a little over an hour he saw the patio door he was watching slide open and Riaz appeared. He was carrying a cup and saucer, a large newspaper folded under the arm of the same hand it was carried in. He wasn’t alone this time though. He was followed from the house by a woman. Her smart suit was at odds with the more casual attire that most wore on a Sunday, and contrasted very much with the slacks and t-shirt that Riaz was wearing. From her manner of dress, he guessed that she was working. One of the police team assigned to protect Riaz no doubt. Raoul also thought he’d glimpsed a strap that was probably a holster under her jacket. She too was carrying a drink, though in a mug rather than the cup and saucer that Riaz seemed to prefer.
Both sat down at the round table on the patio, Riaz facing towards Raoul and the woman opposite with her back to him. They were close enough for sounds of the conversation they were having to drift up through the open window, far enough away for the actual words to not be decipherable unless one listened very intently.
Raoul didn’t like the idea of killing a police officer, at least not one that wasn’t the intended target. The World Alliance had made it the only crime which carried the death penalty. Many countries had quickly passed legislation to veto this in their own systems, European ones mainly, but this hadn’t happened in the U.K. There had been some debate in many of the country’s State Assemblies but all had decided to let the law stand. It wasn’t compulsory after all, only an option. It was one that Raoul’s research had told him the U.K. hadn’t used yet but it was there ready if it was felt it was appropriate in a particular case. He would wait a little, see what might transpire. He was in no great rush, though he’d rather spend as little time here as possible. He was sure that by now if his entry into the house had been noticed by anyone it would have been reported and the authorities would have already arrived but nonetheless his illegal presence here made him uncomfortable.
As he waited and watched conversation between the two people stopped, or at least no sound could be heard. Riaz was leafing through the open paper, which now lay on the table in front of him, pausing when he found something of interest to read its contents keenly. Frequently he flipped open a small book that he’d laid next to the paper. From its size and colouring, Raoul thought it was probably a dictionary and that Riaz was looking up words he didn’t understand. After another half an hour the policewoman – Raoul had more or less decided this was definitely what she was – picked up her mug from the table, rose, and returned to the house. She closed the patio door behind her as she entered. Riaz was alone. Raoul picked up the rifle from the bed, resting the barrel on the window ledge to be sure it would keep as still as possible. He took careful aim and squeezed the trigger gently.
The silencer on the rifle worked well. The sound of the round was quite loud in the small bedroom but much quieter outside as the shot buried itself in Riaz’s forehead. Raoul fired off a second shot almost before the first had hit its target. This one was aimed at Riaz’s chest and found its mark as perfectly as the first had. Raoul was lucky. Riaz didn’t fall from the chair or even slump forwards. To anyone looking out at him from the house he would appear to be dozing as he sat.
Raoul quickly disassembled the rifle and returned the pieces to the case. It wasn’t a rushed act but a practised and methodical one. He quietly closed the window again. When the body was found not being able to immediately pinpoint where the shots had come from might gain him a few extra minutes and those minutes could be important if he were to leave undetected. As he was exiting the room he looked back to make sure he’d left no evidence of his presence behind.