Heavens Alley - Chapter 16: Russian Salad

July 05, 2016 Anson 0 Comments

Eric was having a mind numbing headache. The cause was a sly slender blonde. She was the only one who had control over him and it drove him insane. It had been a few months now, and she hadn't asked much of him, but the fact that she could and that he had to oblige always was an itch at the corner of his brain. But he had done his homework. Patiently and diligently he had worked, gathering information on her background and on the video recording she possessed that threatened to expose him for what he was: a cold blooded killer. Her threat was real, there was only one copy of the tape in a P.O box. But the P.O box had two set of keys. One hung around her neck held in place by a gold chain. The other was with an unknown source, who was instructed to simply take everything in the P.O box and hand it over to the police, if she were ever to mysteriously disappear. Eric had an easy solution: kill them both, but he didn't know who the unknown source was. But he was getting close.

Eric had hired a freelance detective by the name Thomas to follow the professor around. Thomas was twenty three years old and had been rejected from the police academy for being unfit. His mind though was extremely sharp and he began providing services as a freelance detective. The only clients a nobody washout detective has are shady ones, and Thomas accepted every client to walk through his door. Most were spouses suspecting their other halves of cheating, parents worried their kids were doing drugs and similar sorts. He struck gold, at least for his standards, when a slick man in a suit entered his office. He asked Thomas to drop every case he was currently handling, for which he would receive an agreeable settlement, and begin investigating a woman who was only identifiable by a photograph. The fee they agreed upon was more than what he would have made if he had continued for years with his other clientele. Thomas began his new task immediately.

Eric had done his own research on Thomas before hiring him. Thomas was discreet and he was smart, and more importantly he was a nobody, which meant Eric could get rid of him when his job was done without anyone noticing. He was impressed when Thomas dug out her name from official records but was even more impressed when Thomas deduced the name was fake, and after two months of backtracking he had her birth name: Marsha Stan. Eric made sure he never let her name slip. He continued to call her the professor, except in his mind where she was the blonde bitch. The next task Thomas was assigned was to find her confidante, and confirm if there were more than one accomplice. Thomas was meticulously slow, only because he wanted his investigation to be thorough. Eric allowed him the freedom of time because the alternative would be missing out on another copy of the tape and that would prove devastating. He was to call Eric when he thought she was meeting someone of interest and Eric would check out the suspect himself.

The first call came a few days back.

Eric picked it at the first ring. Thomas was at a market and he had the professor in line of sight. Thomas described her behavior as odd because she was here meeting someone who definitely wasn't selling goods. There was an exchange taking place. Eric ordered Thomas to pursue the guy she was there to meet.

Eric sat impatiently at his desk, unable to concentrate on the patient on the couch discussing his stressful woes. He drummed on the desk until the phone rang again. He feigned urgency and ushered the man out of his office. It was Thomas on the line. He had a name and an address. But that was not it, Thomas had been extra diligent and broke into the mans house for more information.

The mans name was Anatoly Ivanov, a Russian and an ex mercenary. He fled Russia in the late 90's after having led a coupe against the KGB director. He was wanted for treason. He was now the professors errand boy. Thomas got all this from one email (the password was written on a post it on the fridge) the professor had sent him. He deduced the professor threatened to have him extradited if he didn't comply with her demands, which were to get dirty information on people she couldn't access herself. He was definitely not the accomplice, just hired help. This Thomas was sure of. Judging by the frequency of the professors mails Thomas could say with certainty she used him rarely, but he still knew her for a very long time. Eric asked Thomas to resume following the blonde bitch.

This was a day ago. Eric was now home, indulging on a fine glass of Cognac. Eric rubbed his forehead and gulped down the drink in one go. He had work to do. He got up from his comfortable maroon three-seater sofa and stripped naked. He then wore a surgeon's gown and a disposable cap. He was ready. He walked to the basement to face the man on his table.

It was Anatoly Ivanov

Anatoly was lashing around in an attempt to break free. How many times had Eric seen this? He had lost count. He had used the fisherman's Palomar knot to tie down the body to the hooks on the sides of the table. It was efficient.

"I'm going to take off the tape on your mouth. If you scream you die. Nod if you understand me", Eric said in a murderous tone.

Anatoly immediately stopped moving. He calmed himself down. He was a mercenary, he knew how these things worked. He nodded. Eric took off the masking tape in one swift motion. Anatoly lay silent.

"How long have you known Marsha Stan?" Eric asked.

"I don't know any Marsha Stan." Anatoly responded.

"Yes. You know her as the professor. How long have you known her?" Eric continued.

"About four years now. I don't know her, I only work for her." Anatoly answered.

"Have you done any work for her that was related to me?" Eric asked.

Anatoly was silent for a few seconds. He was weighing in the consequences between selling out the professor and lying to this mad man. He decided he had only one choice.

"Only once. I was asked to record you..."

"That's enough!", Eric interjected rather angrily. He knew what the Russian had recorded. It was what held the noose around his neck. "I will make a deal with you. You tell me everything you know about her, tell me about every one of your dealings and I will let you go. You are to leave the country and not show your face here again. If you try to contact the professor in any way I will hunt you down and kill you. In addition I know about your past and trust me when I say this, if I don't kill you, I will hand deliver you to the KGB."

Anatoly wasn't very sure Eric would keep his end of the deal but he also knew he had no choice. He had tied down many men this way himself. There had been zero survivors so far. He prayed Eric was not like him.

"She tracked me down when I was seeking asylum in Germany. The German police didn't know why I had escaped Russia but they were happy getting information about the inner circles of the KGB from me. One day, out of the blue, she sent me an email. I don't know how she found out. She threatened to inform the Russian consulate if I didn't help her. So I did. Her demands were fairly simple. I was to record people doing things they wouldn't want recorded. Occasionally I had to accompany her as security and once she had me kill a man. She didn't tell me why. Over time I realized what she did, she learnt of people's demons and used them. That was exactly how she held me captive. I would've killed the bitch but she had an ally, someone who knew my demons equally as her. I'm sure that's the same reason why you haven't killed her yet." Anatoly paused his narration and looked at Eric for an answer. He was trying to bond with his captor, establish connection in hopes of appealing to his good side later. Eric had a stone cold gaze that did not waiver. He simply asked "And who is this ally?"

"That I do not know. If I did I'd have solved both our problems. She had me follow her around and eventually we set camp in Heavens Alley. I've done only two jobs for her since. One was you and one was to break in to a journalist, Amora somethings house and retrieve copies of some document. I didn't see what they were."

Eric raised an eyebrow. What did the professor need with Amora? How and why did she even know her? This was very strange and very wrong.

"What else?" Eric asked.

"That's it man. That's all I know. Listen. I can help you. She trusts me. We can beat her together." Anatoly's voice was gaining a hint of desperation. Eric smiled. He didn't don his kill attire for nothing. He could never trust the Russian anyway. He had to go.

Eric made it quick. He put a fresh tape over Anatoly's mouth. He took an army knife from the tray and pushed it through Anatoly's chest, until it broke through two ribs and pierced his heart. He winced for a while and then lay still as the night. Eric got to work tearing down his body into smaller parts, which he would later burn in the forest.

The Russian had given him one key piece of information. The blonde bitch had recently acquired new data which meant she would surely have to visit her P.O box and also her ally. If Thomas was as good as Eric hoped he was, both the key pieces of the puzzle would be in place in a few days. Eric smiled. The Russian had served another purpose.

Eric's need for a kill.