The Judges Part One


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

After my hard and dangerous Hit in Russia, my Employers allowed me eight months rest.

My life settled down to wandering the woodland surrounding my home, helping the nuns with their school for disabled children and writing a new travel book.

Then one quiet evening my Cloud mail-box pinged a new message and I felt almost relieved at the offer of a new job.

Peace and relaxation are fine for a short holiday, but my days had become a bore and I missed the Assassin's thrilling life of travel, hunting, killing and the threat of being killed.

My Employers sent a longer message than normal.

This contract is long term. Six murderous Judges from the Serb war against Bosnia have escaped justice by hiding in different countries round the world. They are wanted to answer charges of harsh illegal death penalties passed on many innocent people. For political reasons they are better dead than captured. Please agree this contract by return and more instructions will follow.

I agreed.

Chapter 2

Within an hour the second message arrived.
Judges One and Two are in India. Judge Three in London, Judge Four in Brazil. Judge Five in Scandinavia and Judge Six in Mexico. Let us know the order you choose to find and eliminate these people and we will send further instructions.
I replied with one word.
Their further instructions – as vague as usual – told me: Judge One is in an Ashram near ***** a small town in North India. Judge Two disappeared into Nepal. When ready, go to Katmandu and pick up his trail.
My Employers followed with an extra note.
For important political reasons you must find and eliminate all six Judges before the international authorities discover and arrest them.
I didn't bother to reply.
Over the next week I prepared myself with tearful goodbyes to the nuns and children and a final three day orgy with my woodlands lover. He is always good for a brisk and memorable farewell, complaining that my work as a travel writer takes me away too often and for too long.
I travelled a three week zigzag round the world.
Skipping from airline to airline I arrived in Bombay one hot, humid morning, absolutely certain I had no tail.
I stayed first at the luxury Taj Hotel on the waterfront, then switched character from travel writer to young American tourist in a mid-cost hotel.
After a few days I became an intense German university student studying India for a thesis.
Finally I dropped to the bottom of the food chain as a feckless backpacker seeking redemption from something unnamed and trying to find my true self in the slums of Bombay.
Here in the noisy smelly back streets I nearly died in a terrorist attack.

Chapter 3

I spent my days and nights researching the back packer's way of travelling India.
It took me a week to take on the disguise of a real backpacker. First, I hired a room in a tiny house down a dirt road in the poorest part of town and allowed the German university student to wander round, becoming dirtier and more ragged each day.
My hair became lank and smelly; my face and hands grimed with lines of sweat and dust; my fingernails arcs of grease from scooping piles of curry and rice from plate to mouth by hand.
Finally I looked awful enough to become Tilly, a nervous young American running from a bitter and abusive marriage, hoping to find religion, peace, karma and all the other stuff promised by this vast, spiritual, pungent country.
I moved to a dirty little hotel used by students.
The fat young owner welcomed me with a beautiful smile.
'Oh I love India,' I whispered. 'But it's very hot. Do you have a shower?'
'No Madam. We have a cold tap in the yard.'
I splashed as best I could without making myself too clean and in my surprisingly neat little room checked again the address of a small sari shop near the Taj Hotel, scribbled on a twist of paper.
During my exploration of Bombay's backstreets, I made sure I passed by the place several times, checking its position and surrounding shops and alleys.
Now I took two hours going slowly through the crowded bazaars, slipping in and out of different shops, sipping bitter coffee or sweet tea in roadside several tea rooms, watching the colourful crowd roll by along the packed lanes.
Finally satisfied I had no followers I paused to admire a display of radiantly colourful saris on show outside the shop. Turning and rippling in the breeze they looked so beautiful.
Any watcher would see nothing but a young woman touching, stroking and admiring the soft material.
Any listener would hear her ask, 'Do you have a sari in brilliant purple?'
The sweet little woman said, 'Yes Madam. Inside. I'll show you.'
I followed her through rustling lines of bright material, pausing to check a piece by holding it up to the light from the wide open shop front.
Quite safe.
No one followed me into the building.
She placed her hands on the blank brick wall and swung a hidden door open, waving for me to pass through.


Chapter 4

At that moment a heavy explosion nearby threw a great blast down the narrow market street, tossing people into the air and against the walls.
Above howls of pain and terror I heard the rattle of light machine carbines and saw many in the scattering crowd fall wounded or flop dead.
Sweet Little Woman screamed snatched up the cash till and dived under the counter.
I crouched and scurried towards the door through a camouflage of swaying saris.
I'd reached halfway across the shop when a bulky policeman carrying a rifle staggered in and crashed bleeding to the floor.
His rifle skittered across the boards and stopped by my feet.
Sweet Little Woman peeked out and screamed, 'Oh, Inspector, are you dead?'
I grabbed the rifle just in time to shoot a wildly firing terrorist dressed in combat gear, a black backpack slung over his shoulder.
My bullet went straight through his face.
Not a bad shot, with an unknown rifle and a moving target.
His AK47 assault rifle also clattered across the boards and stopped at my feet.
This seemed to be my day for collecting guns.
Inspector groaned and rolled over, staring at me.
'We're at war,' he yelled.
I grabbed the AK47 and continued my crouched scurry to the door with both guns. Through the swaying saris I saw three terrorists chasing the crowd along the road, spraying bullets and throwing grenades.
Dropping the AK47 I threw myself down on the dirt road and sniped at the nearest terrorist with Inspector's rifle and dropped with a head shot.
I rolled back into cover among the swaying saris, taking the AK 47 with me and waited.
The other two stopped; turned; ran back screaming the names of their departed comrades.
Badly trained or high on drugs they raced wild-eyed towards me, screaming insults, hurdling over the dead and wounded splayed in the dust, to be met by half a magazine of quick fire from my AK.
Down they went in rolling heaps. A moan of relief rose from the wounded and people hiding among the market stalls.

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