7 Days in May HTML version

the Prime Minister know what had been going on. It would probably mean the end of his career but at his age that didn’t
overly worry him. It would be kept from the public of course, these things always were. He would retire somewhere
abroad, probably without his wife.
As Holland walked further into the wood a dark shape followed, keeping well back in the trees, watching as he turned
off the main pathway towards a clearing he’d discovered, calling the dog to follow him. It was a nice place to sit in the late
afternoon sun and have a quiet snooze.
Holland stopped, looking back over his shoulder. The stupid dog was standing in the middle of the path, head up,
sniffing the breeze, facing back the way they’d come. He called, and after a brief pause, it turned and followed him, casting
backward glances now and then.
Holland found the clearing and walked over to his favourite spot, sitting down on the soft grass with his back against a
fallen tree trunk. Taking the newspaper from his pocket he spread it open and began reading.
Nothing to beat a lazy Saturday afternoon in the sun, catching up on the news.
Grouchie flopped down beside Holland but soon had its head up again, ears pointed forward. Giving a gruff bark, it
stood up, panting.
“Will you shut up and give a man a bit of peace and quiet!” Holland shook his paper as though that would make the
dog obey.
It didn’t. Grouchie had spotted something amongst the trees and his curiosity had been aroused. He waddled off to
investigate. Holland gave the dog a quick glance, then went back to his paper.
The man following Holland saw the old bulldog coming towards him and smiled, pulling an air-gun from his pocket.
Taking careful aim, waiting until the dog was just a few paces away, he tightened his finger on the trigger.
“Night, night, Grouchie. Sweet dreams,” the man muttered, pulling the trigger.
The dart hit the dog in the neck and it yelped - an unusually high pitched yelp for such a barrel-chested dog. Grouchie
shook its head, pawing at its neck, knocking the dart free, but the anaesthetic had already begun to have an affect.
The dog looked around as though confused, tottering on uncertain legs back towards where Holland sat, but it didn’t
get far before collapsing on the ground. The man bent over and picked up the dart, slipping it in his pocket for later
Holland put down his paper, laying his head back against the trunk, closing his eyes as the sun heated his face. Then
hearing something, he flicked them open again, sitting up straighter. Someone was walking towards him.
“Sir Craig Holland,” the man said in a well cultured voice.
Holland nodded. “And you are?” he asked in his usual arrogant tone, displeased that he’d been disturbed by a stranger
this way.
And where was Grouchie? That bloody dog was never around when you needed it.
Something about the self-assured man staring down at him had set alarm bells ringing in Holland’s head.
“The Senator sends his regards,” the man said, pulling the air-gun from his pocket.
As the steel tip penetrated Holland’s shirt, he scrambled to his feet, surprisingly nimble for a man his age. Pulling the
dart from his chest he looked at it, realisation dawning in his eyes, his hand whipping up to his mouth.
“Nice try old timer,” the man said, grabbing Holland’s wrist before he could swallow the dart, watching as his target’s
eyes slowly glazed over. “Nearly had to do an autopsy on you right here in the woods.”
Holland sank to his knees, then fell to his side, mouth slightly open, breathing gently. The special anaesthetic would
take a few minutes for the target’s liver and kidneys to disperse, so while he waited the man pulled Holland upright and
leant him against the tree, the way he’d found him.
Taking a large penknife from his pocket, he opened it.
The cuts were deep, the blade grating against bone as the man slashed each wrist. The cuts themselves weren’t enough
to kill Holland, such cuts seldom were, but they signalled that here was a man who wanted to end his life.
Dropping the knife on the ground beside Holland’s outstretched legs, the man pulled six packets of paracetamol from
his pocket. He opened them, tossing the bubble packs on the grass. The packs were empty, each tablet carefully removed
from its blister by gloved fingers and disposed of down the hotel toilet earlier.
Sitting beside Holland the man read his paper, waiting for the blood to pool on the ground. Satisfied, he folded the
paper, putting it back in Holland’s jacket pocket. Then he injected him behind the ear with a compound that would lead
the pathologist to conclude that Holland had died of paracetamol poisoning.
Fifteen minutes later Grouchie shook its head and stood up, swaying from side to side, eyes still glazed. A little later
the dog wandered back to his master, lying at his side, tongue lolling, waiting for him to wake up and take him home.