Episode 1 – The Mark
Large flakes of snow permeated outside the home of Veronica King. The temperature was unseasonably cold in Charlotte, NC and unlike past snowstorms, this one was threatening to stick around.
Inside the home the logs in the fireplace crackled as red, blue, orange, and yellow flames danced behind the partially opened gate. A steady stream of heat pumped into a concentrated 8-foot radius around the expansive living room. In the middle of the circle sat Terri Buckley, rouge FBI agent, wanted serial killer and certified sociopath.
She stripped the FBI issued Sig Sauer she absconded with upon leaving the agency as she pondered how her latest mission went awry.
This will be a simple job, Buckley thought as she strolled down 4th street in Uptown Charlotte. Fans were bundled up and walking with purpose to the arena to witness the Charlotte Hornets battle the Miami Heat. With the addition of the snowfall, everyone was worried about their warmth and not the hired gun walking amongst them.
The target for the evening was Yohan Vazquez, a commercial real estate broker who owned the rights to a large plot of land that ran parallel to I-277. With the money being poured into urbanizing the Uptown area, he was sitting on some of the most valuable land in the city.
While Terri never bothered herself with the rationale for a contracted hit that came to her via her employer, The Syndicate, she overheard that Vazquez illegally acquired the land and the rightful owners wanted it back. In her book she thought, good for him. She applauded his efforts to take what he wanted, but a paying client wanted him wiped from the face of the earth and she would oblige.
For all the money he had, and for what he was poised to make on the development rights to the land, you would think he’d have parking closer to the arena, but he didn’t and that worked to her advantage.
She was a mere 5 paces behind him and off to his right. Between her and her mark walked a family of three and a couple who appeared to be on a date. She sped up slightly quickly overcoming the couple as they slowed to kiss each other. She ran the calculations and determined they would be held up at the crosswalk as the timer counted down 4, 3, 2, 1.
She retrieved the gun from her pocket, placed it squarely in the middle of Yohan’s back and pulled the trigger. She had already worked the sequence she would perform at the report of the gun.
Slide the gun back into her pocket and run with hysteria like the remainder of those on the street would do. But when she pulled the trigger, no report, no blowback, nothing. Just the confused look of Yohan as he turned with the pressure of the gun to see Terri with murderous intent in her eyes.
He took off in a dead sprint and she gave chase cursing the misfire with each stride. The slick moisture from the snow made for tricky footing but she managed to course correct without losing ground.
The best decision he could have made was to run toward the safety of the building where guards and policemen were sure to be stationed, but instead he ran into a parking garage with Buckley on his heels.
He yanked on the door at the stairwell and began to climb them three at a time. He likely thought he could lose her as he ascended each flight, but he soon found that she was quicker on the steps than he was.
He burst through the door on the fourth floor chancing a look back at his pursuer. When he did he ran smack into an illegally parked vehicle a mere five feet from the door. His body crumpled to the ground as he breathed heavily from the exertion.
Terri, who watched as he hit the ground, slowed to a walk and stood over her Prey.
“Please, don’t do this,” he panted between each word. “I’ll pay you three times what they’re paying you. Just don’t–“
The plea ended abruptly as she thrust her combat knife through his windpipe. She removed the blade from his neck as the blood bubbled through his fingers while he tried to stop the bleeding. She wiped the blood, his blood, from her knife on the sleeve of his winter coat before stowing it away. She gave him 30 seconds max before he’d bleed out or suffocate from lack of air. Either way, her job was done
As she looked at the firing pin that now lay in her lap she wondered if this had been the reason for the misfire. Then she decided, it didn’t matter, she would never trust this gun again. She took the disassembled parts, opened the gate fully getting a blast of heat from the fireplace, and tossed each piece into the flames. With the money from this job, she’d go purchase a new handgun, and maybe a garrote.
It’s always better to be prepared, she thought as she tossed in the last piece before heading upstairs to get some well-deserved sleep.