Vigilante:Jessica Daniel Book 2

By: Kerry Wilkinson

PROLOGUE



The man had deliberately worn soft-bottomed dark trainers and dug out some old black jogging pants and a navy-blue T-shirt. There wasn’t a great amount of choice in his wardrobe but at least he had enough dark clothes. He was also grateful for the unseasonably dry weather. He didn’t own a big thick jacket but, even if he did, it would have made him stand out.

He had quickly discovered following someone was not as easy as it appeared on television shows. It didn’t help that he only had set times during the night where he could carry out work such as this. Wearing dark items made it a lot simpler and the fact the council couldn’t be bothered fixing street lights was pretty much a godsend. The trainers were something he had overlooked at first. It seemed silly now but not only were they quiet to walk in, which was exactly what he needed, but they gave him a head-start if he did have to run for it. He had made a special effort in recent months to get himself into shape. At his age, he was never going to be an athlete but he had managed to lose a few pounds from his stomach and put on a bit of muscle in his shoulders and arms. Free access to the gym had helped and he was faster too. Each session would begin with running. It wasn’t stamina he needed, just speed. He knew he wouldn’t have to race over a distance if it came to it, he only had to sprint to safety.

A few test runs had helped, trailing random people after dark and learning not to be seen. There was no rush to get things done, it was all about waiting for an opportunity and not being caught. The targets on his list weren’t going anywhere and one by one they would all be dealt with.

Hopefully tonight was the time when the first name would be scratched from that list.

The man looked up a few hundred yards ahead of him. The person he wanted was still with a couple of his friends but it looked as if they were finally saying their goodbyes. Though he had made every effort to stay out of the illuminated areas, the three people ahead of him were standing under a street light. The man watched their cigarette smoke drift upwards and could hear their faint voices. He saw one of their hands go into a jean pocket and swiftly transfer a palmful of something to the man he himself was watching. The handover was so quick and assured, neither of them even bothered looking around. Why would they? They knew the chance of being caught was minimal and, even if they were, they would be back on the streets soon enough.

The person who had initiated the transfer shook hands with the third member of the group and then turned around, walking towards a nearby alleyway. Even from this distance, he could see the person walking away had his jeans slouched somewhere underneath his backside, his underwear sitting high above them. He shook his head from the shadows at the ridiculousness of this current fashion trend.

Now there were just two people left under the light, the man decided he could move closer. His step was gentle but he followed a deliberate path towards his target, stopping around fifty metres away and resting against a wall in a heavily shadowed area. He could hear the voices of the two remaining people clearly now. Their local accents jarred as they spoke in American slang as if they had been born in 1960s Harlem.

It wasn’t the black or white issue that annoyed him, he was fairly colour-blind when it came to race, but young white men who were busy making other peoples’ lives a misery and thought they lived in a ghetto really did wind him up. He saw the type all the time – those who listened to rap music and thought they were some tough gangster because of it.

Idiots.

The two people moved from under the street light and started to walk briskly in the direction of where the man knew they both lived. He had figured it might come down to two people together. He wasn’t confident he could take down a pair at the same time at this stage, certainly not for his first piece of work, but he knew there was a pretty good chance they would split up soon enough to go their separate ways.

He had done his homework.

The man kept pace with them, carefully watching his step. On one of his practice runs, he had soon worked out it wasn’t just a case of staying unseen; you had to watch where you walked too. As best he could in the gloom, he avoided any stones on his path that could have caused a noise and hurried after the two figures, determined not to lose sight of them. They crossed a road as he knew they would and then, finally, he saw them shaking hands and saying their goodbyes for the night. The man crouched behind a car, unconsciously holding his breath. He felt his heart rate rise, knowing he was a minute or two away from the moment he had spent the past few months preparing for. He moved his hand to the outside of his pocket and felt for the knife. It was still there and, even through the material of his clothes, felt slightly cool to touch as if it were waiting for his hand to warm the handle up.

Ahead of him, the second man turned to his left and walked through an archway that separated the blocks of flats on the estate. His shadow disappeared away from the lights and into the night. That left just the one.

The target turned around and started walking towards where his follower knew he lived. The man trailing him knew he would have to act in the next five hundred yards. He stood up from behind the car and began moving quickly behind the victim. It didn’t matter if he was seen now. He held his hand in his pocket and quickened his pace, moving within thirty yards of the person he had been watching for the past hour.

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