The First Chapter of Sniper, Sniper
Book published 10th January 2024 as ebook and paperback.
Click to buy https://www.amazon.co.uk/
Take a look up the carriageway and you would see traffic all the way from the lay-by to the bridge where it sped around the corner and straight down the hill. Concrete, a whole lot of it, went into building that bridge. Two lanes spanned the four lane bypass and then some as it carried over a wide bramble lined ditch next to the furthest lane. Water almost overflowed its margins as it drained from the gently rising fields beyond. Fields full of brown and black cows most sitting but all chewing, with tall oak and beech trees beyond. Go past the bridge a few yards and the road bent around to the right behind the first main support and a long bank of gorse and low bushes. At that point sight of the traffic disappeared. Visibility had improved a great deal with the wind slight and constant. A big difference from the howling storm that had been lashing the bridge only two hours earlier. Then the rain stopped and the sun shone high and hot; its heat quickly evaporating surface water as the road safety van pulled into the lay-by.
Nick Deacon sat in the driver’s seat staring into his wing mirror looking up the road. The small rucksack on the passenger seat almost obscured the burner phone next to it. A man with a deceptively youthful face and steely blue eyes that showed a touch of innocence. The sort of look that would easily make you believe anything he said. Age? You would have to take a guess. Definitely over thirty. Definitely under fifty. So, settle on forty and you were sure to be close. Longish blond hair but dyed near black with one of those wash out dyes. A deep tan added a layer of attraction to an already appealing look. With a big grin he studied his black light-weight bomber jacket, then the bright red T-shirt, Such crap. Why does Nolan wear such tacky clothes? Was the lack of a uniform a problem? Probably not. Would anyone but him even dare to look into a speed van? Maybe, but not in a quiet lay-by. Besides, the uniformed man laying in the ditch at the side of the road some five miles away, with a 9mm flat nose through his heart, had a slight build. Way too small for Nick’s tall, muscular frame. And dumb. Small and dumb. He had believed him when Nick had knocked on the windscreen and said he was lost. Believed him until the Glock 9mm was stuck in his chest.
The latex gloves on both hands were as skin tight as the plastic on a shrink-wrapped chicken. Opening the rucksack, he removed a pair of brown leather walking boots. Took off his muddy wet boots and put on the larger ones. Put his boots in the rucksack then into the back next to a green metal jerry can. His attention shifted to a dark grey Fiat with a lady driver with long blonde hair. An attractive lady. Not as attractive as Suzie though. No one was as attractive as Suzie Carter. He just loved long blonde hair. Suzie has long blonde hair that is wavy. That was what had made him look, the long blonde hair. The car pulled onto the inside lane and accelerated into the traffic. His fingers twitched, visions of Suzie Carter swirling around inside his head, until the Fiat was over the rise in the road when it slipped out of view. His concentration snapped and he glanced towards the over forty tons of articulated metal parked near the lay-by exit. That could be tricky particularly if it started to move when he had to leave. There would be a need for speed if there were problems.
The burner phone buzzed. Picking it up he looked at the text from the hotel receptionist. So gullible. Pretty and efficient but believed every word he said. He checked the time. Almost eleven. Pulled his phone from his jacket pocket. As it lit up he tapped the GPS tracker icon. The car was leaving the hotel and restaurant just west of Dorchester and heading his way. A good guess? Sure, but the direction it was taking was the best route to South London. Watching the map with the slowly moving blob he estimated the distance. Twenty miles: near eighteen on slow roads before hitting the bypass so there was plenty of time yet. The transmitter fixed under the back nearside wheel arch of Luke Carter’s car was doing a good job.
Moving into the back past the ex-army jerry can strapped to the nearside wall. A small square packet with the flashing red light secured to its side maybe six inches up from the bottom. Lowering the small square viewing window, two thirds up the left hand rear door, he set up the speed camera, training it down the two carriageways to the point just before the bend. Activating it he watched the road. Smiled as he saw the front bumper of a car flying down the outside lane dip slightly as the lay-by came into view. Why do drivers always panic at the sight of a speed van? He chuckled. Checked the tracker and estimated the car would arrive within twenty minutes.
He lifted a long, soft leather carry case from the base of the van. The zip slid effortlessly open. First he removed the solid wooden stock. Then the barrel and screwed it into place. Then the silencer. A long fat lump of metal that weighed down the end of the barrel. The scope was already in position. A custom made weapon and deadly. In the right hands of course. Screwed on a tripod about a foot back from the end of the barrel. Set the height so the silencer just protruded past the camera. Pulled the bolt and slipped in a round. 7.62mm with hand loaded powder specifically for this operation. Checked the tracker. Five minutes. No longer. Waited... Checked the tracker. Two minutes.
Lining the scope three hundred yards before the start of the bend he breathed out. Then in. Long breaths. Which lane? He guessed the outside. If right it would make this really simple. Checked the tracker. Now... The silver Mercedes sped around the corner and under the bridge overtaking a long brick lorry. Outside lane. Checked the speed camera. Eighty two. Zero in. He saw the face. Registered dark glasses and short black hair. An almost silent phut. The windscreen cracked. The car swerved. Hit the barrier. Flipped across to the inside lane to be crushed by the brick lorry travelling at its flat-out speed of around sixty and shifted at least one hundred yards before stopping.
He did not bother with the camera but shut the window anyway. Pulling back the breech bolt he ejected the casing putting it into a small container and into an outside pocket of the case. Taking time to break down the weapon, wiping each section as though he was cleaning his most favourite heirloom before returning the parts to their padded pouches. Zipped up the case. Shuffled into the driver’s seat and checked the scene. The Glock 9mm in his hand. No silencer. If there was trouble, who cared about a bit of noise? Besides, something that banged loud would make the nervous think twice.
The artic had not moved. The driver out of the cab was running towards the wreck. He hesitated and glanced towards the van. Did not see the hand gun pointed at his chest. Then carried on running. Nick glanced in the wing mirror. Saw the chaos unfolding. A long jam stretching back towards the bridge. Tucked the Glock in his waistband. Fired up the engine and slung it into first. Nudged the van onto the carriageway. This had been easier than anticipated. No traffic so straight out and flattening the accelerator soon hit over eighty. The van rattled like all vans do. The next junction maybe a mile further down the other side of the gentle rise in the road.
Up the ramp and around the roundabout heading into the countryside on the hill behind the fields of cows. Towards those distant trees. Pulled onto a muddy, narrow track. The van wheels skidded. Engine whined. Revs high. The back swung back and forth as it struggled through theclinging mud. Only two miles from the bypass and he could hear faint sirens from the direction of Dorchester. Stopped in a small copse next to a black Range Rover almost lost in the gloom of the thick bushes. A stolen vehicle parked earlier. The five mile walk to the speed van with the small rucksack on his back covered in less than an hour. Then the short conversation with that dumb driver. A jerry can strapped tightly in the boot with a square packet secured to the side near the bottom. Red light just waiting to be activated.
Opened the van door and put one booted foot onto the muddy ground. Stamped it in. The leather boot two sizes too big with a distinctive sole. Then was out and reached back to retrieve the gun case from behind the driver’s seat. Walked the short distance to the stolen car leaving a trail of over-large distinctive footprints.
Put the case onto the back seat. Sat in the driver’s seat and pulled off the boots. Reached to the footwell of the passenger side and took from a carrier bag a pair of Jimmy Choo black trainers with white soles. Brushed his hand over them removing the slightest blemish before slipping them on. Carefully tied the laces finishing with each lace exactly the same length. Put the muddy boots into the carrier. Pulled a pair of plain lens glasses from his right-hand jacket pocket. The frames thick and black. The glasses large. Just like Nolan’s. Put them in the bag with the boots. Picked a remote control from his left hand jacket pocket and flicked the on button. The red light glowed.
Turning the key and engaging the 4 x 4 traction and a low gear he headed back towards the lane cutting through the churned mud turning the dishevelled farrows into long straight lines. Waited at the end of the track and, confident there were no other vehicles, pressed the centre button on the transmitter. The small square packet on the side of the can in the van instantly exploded igniting five gallons of high octane. In the rear view he saw the fireball shoot way up into the sky, way above the treeline. The shock wave rocked the car as he slipped onto the lane. Excessive he knew but he liked a good noisy blast. Chuckling to himself he headed south towards the coast.
A short time later another huge fireball would engulf the one black car parked in the Portland Old Quarry car park. One scorched, muddy boot laying about twenty feet from the explosion. The silver BMW, maybe a mile away, would attract no attention as it negotiated wide speed bumps on a back route to the A35. Then on to South London and home by the river. In the boot a gun bag and a warm gas blow lamp with the smell of scorched boot leather still lingering.