The Bishop

Prologue

For this Diary I'll use the name Madeleine – Maddy for short.

I'm small and pretty, with long blonde hair, a great figure and I'm a contract killer.

You can't properly call a woman hit-man. Nor can you say hit-woman or hit-girl or, even more classy, hit-lady. So I prefer the term Assassin. When selected to this calling I gave my life to it as a nun does to religion.

I entered University with two languages and came out with six, along with two top degrees and – as with all young people – a need to change the world.

The chance came when, recruited within days of leaving, I agreed to an interview in an expensive house on the edge of town. Stunned by the rich opulence of the place I hardly heard the opening words of my Recruiter.

'We saw your potential in finishing school and followed your progress ever since. In University you collected four more languages, two great degrees and excelled at sport. You avoided alcohol and drugs, played every possible sport and took on and beat men in martial arts. Your father showed you how to handle guns before the age of ten and you became a superb shot. You have everything we need and if you agree you will become rich in your own right but give up what is seen as a normal life.'

He explained the job in detail and said, 'Think before you agree. To say yes means you'll act out a lonely life in the shadows.'

I still said 'Yes'. Why shouldn't I? My whole lonely life so far had been an act. Adding shadows would make no difference. And I found the thought of killing people who deserve to die quite attractive.

They sent me straight to wilds of another country for three years detailed training in two more martial arts, three more languages and many ways to kill.

My training included tracking and killing Targets in towns, villages, mountains, ravines, deserts and seas and skills in escaping after a Hit from those towns and villages and over those mountains, ravines, deserts and seas, with or without equipment.

It included the art of disguise and fading into the background in any crowd, city or situation before or after a Hit.

It included the stripping, maintaining and shooting every possible weapon an Assassin might use.

It included burglary, lock-breaking, safe-breaking, the disabling of security systems, the elimination of armed guards by knife, bare hands or silenced pistol.

It included killing Targets in a dozen different ways, using knives, handguns, sniping rifles, poisons and chemicals or, again, bare hands.

And it included detailed training in many kinds and styles of sex. Lots and lots of sex.

I enjoyed every moment of the whole course, but most of all I enjoyed the sex. Instructors, both male and female, showed me how to seduce using Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Swedish and American techniques. American? Yes. They lead the way in some really interesting ideas.

And Indian sex. 'Not that too vague and time consuming tantric rubbish. Stick to the stuff on temple walls. You'll need to stay fit and supple but I'm sure you'll handle that.'

Before release at the end of the course I asked, 'Have you turned me into a psychopath?'

'No,' said my Recruiter. 'We've enhanced what you already had. Not many get even halfway through. You've passed with flying colours. Now go into the world and await your first instruction.'

Final advice from Recruiter: 'Go to where you don't know the language. Learn it and never use it outside that country so no-one can ever trace you home, including us. Who knows? The day may come when we need to eliminate you.'

I flew to another continent and disappeared into a secret life. Not even my Handler knew where I settled.

 

 
Chapter 1

 
Final advice from Recruiter: ‘Go to where you don’t know the language. Learn it and never use it outside that country so no-one can ever trace you home, including us.’

I flew to another continent and disappeared into a secret life. Not even my Handler knew where I settled.

A small town I chose deep in an area of great forest seemed perfect. The nearest airport over two hundred miles away meant no tourists. The local people and their own inbred entertainment made any stranger stand out for examination and discussion.

I took a new name and a small house among trees on the outskirts, telling the few people I managed to speak with, ‘I write travel books and need peace to concentrate when back from my research around the world.’

Of course, this helped explain my planned absences for any length of time. On final briefing, Handler told me, ‘Depending on the Target and the difficulty of approach, a contracted Hit can take anything from a couple of weeks to six months or more.’

The locals became used to me and I began to pick up the language, collecting at first a few words, then a few sentences and, after six months, basic grammar and fair fluency.

Handler promised I would be left alone for at least six months to allow my credibility to build. So I spent that time getting to know my neighbours and the townspeople by joining in on everything I could – national days, local fairs and charity functions. I even became a supporter of the local sports teams, cheering them on and leaping with glee when they scored, although I knew few rules of their games.

I also wrote the travel book I researched in the time before I came to their town. I knew little of the subject or country I had “researched” but the book seemed good enough to publish. So I flew to another country, found an agent and within weeks three publishers were raving over the manuscript.

Now, with my cover established, I could relax and find some sex. A vibrator is fun but no good at foreplay so I took a lover in my forest town

– a hunky local worker – and taught him a few new tricks on how to give and receive pleasure.

I found money no problem. Every month a great wodge of cash crashed into my main numbered bank account in a small tax-dodging country. Most stayed there earning interest, but a reasonable monthly “salary” arrived in my local account, having taken a dizzying bank-to-bank route round the world. Eventually I could expect a reasonable amount of travel book royalties to deepen my cover.

So I sat back and enjoyed a restful and pleasant way of life for seven months until one day my anonymous Cloud Mail-Box pinged with its first coded message.

Go to the Cote d’Azure and await instructions.

 
Chapter 2

 
I travelled to the South of France and found a pleasant hill-village behind Nice.

I rented an apartment and, with nothing else but to wait for instructions on my Target, I began research on the many specialist brothels that abound to serve the rich and famous of Europe.

This became a joy and distraction – or so I thought – until my Cloud Mail-Box pinged with the instruction: Find and eliminate The Bishop.

I set aside my brothel book and started researching churches and cathedrals and bishops. I found a bishop in Nice, an Archbishop in Marseilles and one Russian Orthodox bishop in a fancy church in Nice.

At the Orthodox Church I heard of a bishop investigated for diddling behind the altar with an eleven-year old boy but that had been years ago, so he couldn’t be my target.

A pity. I’d love to pop a queer priest.

So I went back to my extremely pleasant brothels research, wondering all the time: Who or what is The Bishop. And how do I find him?

I sent a question via my Cloud Mail-Box and received an immediate reply: Look in the sewers.

The sewers?

From this cryptic reply I realised that this first mission is a test of my ability to act alone in tracking and securing a Target. I decided there and then never again to ask for help.

“The Sewers” means a criminal, not a priest. I thought hard and deep for several days on a plan to single out a criminal on a coast riddled with crime, without finding an answer. Then came a stroke of luck.

Sitting at a pavement cafe sipping some local concoction, my eye caught a glaring red headline in an abandoned newspaper on the next table. I reached out and grabbed before the breeze carried it away.

Smoothing the page on my table I read the big banner in mounting excitement.


THE BISHOP WINS AGAIN

 
A quick scan of the article made my heart leap.

Here is my breakthrough. Here is my man. In print. And with a picture.

I took a deep calming breath and a sip at my concoction before reading again, this time slowly and with concentration. The article and picture, both short on detail, gave me enough to start tracking my Target.

A column of words in breathless tabloid-ese, told how this man; well-known to the authorities as a MASTER CRIMINAL – had AGAIN cheated justice. It rushed on, piling cliché and cliché onto cliché, that this RUTHLESS GANGSTER and his HENCHMEN lived a life of untouchable ease and luxury on their ILL-GOTTEN-GAINS from drugs, prostitution, arms smuggling, gambling, murder, along the Coast and in all the large cities, Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux…

The article went big on his luxury houses and luxury yacht and luxury brothels and luxury women. In fact it went big on the word luxury. But it didn’t say where he lived.

The colour picture seemed almost as useless. It showed a crowd of big men surrounding a small man obviously hurrying from the courthouse. Snapped over shoulders and through a forest of heads, the picture showed only raised arm of the man who must be The Bishop – expensive watch glinting gold in a shard of sunlight – and an ear partly covered by strands of black hair.

Not much.

But a start.

I took the paper straight to the best brothel I knew and whispered ‘Where do I find him?’ to my favourite lover just as she reached orgasm. She froze and hissed, ‘He owns this place but he’s dangerous. He kills women he doesn’t like. Stay away.’

‘I can’t. I need him for my book.’

‘You’ll never get near to him. But if he hear’s you’re searching he’ll find you. ’

Although I tried again to make her come, I’d spoiled her big moment and she told the Madame and got me thrown out. I missed her because she was a wild one, well worth the extra money.

This incident worried me. Had I broken cover? Would The Bishop come after me?

I knew I must move. I abandoned my lovely hill-village, went down to Nice and disappeared into the cover of two new characters.

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