Grey Areas by David Durbin - HTML preview

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By David Durbin
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00001.jpg00002.jpg00003.jpg00004.jpg00005.jpg00006.jpg00007.jpgMonday 24th October 2014 – London, England


GMT 15:38


The man moved hastily down the busy corridor, glancing backwards every so often


to check he wasn’t being followed. His oafish girth impeded any great speed and it


was with some awkwardness that he squeezed past junior aides and ministers


heading in the opposite direction, trying not to be too forceful when pushing


through but eager to complete his task as soon as he could. Finally he managed to


fight his way into a private chamber, bolting the door behind him as he fumbled his


mobile phone free with a sweaty hand. Dialling a number from memory, he sat


heavily in a plush armchair, wheezing from his efforts. His call was answered


almost instantly.




‘It’s been decided, you’re not getting what you want. He’s going in


completely the opposite direction; the old bastard actually thinks the public will forget all about the last ten years and allow him some glory if he gives them an


election. I guess he’s just too old and tired to keep oppressing them.’


‘When is he going to announce the decision?’


‘Next Monday. He is going to inform the ministers and then go straight to a


press conference outside Number 10.’


‘You’ve done well. Your money will be in the usual place.’


‘Thank you. But what about the announcement? I thought that-’


‘You’re not paid to think, so don’t. And don’t worry either. There will be no


announcement.’ Wednesday 26th October 2014 – Manchester, England


GMT 05:28


The dark room was quiet and devoid of character, gleaning with the surgical


cleanliness and emptiness that can only be achieved through a concerted, obsessive


effort. A car drove slowly past the window and illuminated the sterile scene, its


headlights easily penetrating the thin net curtains and highlighting the entire


contents of the sparse room for the briefest moment. The glow of the headlights


faded as the car passed by, the change in the light conditions causing the powerful


figure sleeping beneath a simple sheet to stir uneasily. A second later his eyes


snapped open, the transition from slumber to full consciousness almost


instantaneous as he glanced around the room, checking everything was as he left it,


his amazing and unique eyes easily piercing the gloom.


A man of routine, he checked his watch before rising and padding across to


a small coffee table, picking up a pack of cards and shuffling them, slowly to begin


with but gradually picking up speed until the cards were flying between his fingers, little more than a blur. He tracked them intently with his eyes as they moved, able


to pick out the individual cards as they appeared, disappeared and resurfaced,


carrying on in this manner for nearly half an hour as he did every day, using the


exercise to increase the dexterity in his hands and train his eyes to be better at


detecting movement. He found it hypnotic and very calming, and was extremely


attached to the routine because of the relaxation it afforded his troubled mind.


Setting the cards down on the table he picked the top one from the pile and turned it


over, revealing the eight of diamonds. Dropping to the floor he performed eighty


push-ups rapidly, enjoying the feeling of the blood flowing to his triceps and


shoulders. Once finished he pulled another card from the top of the pack and turned


over the three of spades before performing thirty squats, his thick legs moving like


iron pistons.


Next card, another exercise; by assigning a particular exercise to each suit


and multiplying the face value by ten to dictate the number of repetitions he would


perform, he was able to generate a randomised work-out every morning, for


although his mind and spirit craved routine, his body adapted rapidly to any


physical challenges he threw at it. Some mornings he would work through the


entire deck six or seven times; exercise was the purest form of pleasure he had and he thrived on pushing his astonishing body to its limits. Day after day he would


drift away when working out, distancing himself from the physical discomfort he


was inflicting, focusing instead on the emotional pain he carried wherever he went,


reflecting on the troubles of his past. Pushing himself harder and harder, he would


collapse in a river of sweat and vomit, often passing out. As a result of his


masochistic efforts he had obtained almost superhuman levels of fitness and


amazing physical strength. As a consequence of his self-inflicted torture, he had


lost a significant proportion of his humanity, a fact of which he was largely


unaware, so gradual had been the change. A hollow shell of a man he was almost


machine-like in his qualities; strong, single minded and calculating, but lacking in


real emotion. Pity, remorse, excitement, happiness, love, all were distant memories


for him, memories he avoided at all cost, memories he had shut off and killed over


the past few years. On some days he would remember a face, a place, a particularly


gruesome death, but he always pushed the away and it was only when he slept that


they consumed him so overwhelmingly that he would wake in a pool of sweat and


tears. Last night had been one of his better nights, perhaps because today spelled a


change in his daily routine, giving him something else to worry about; this morning


he planned to only work through the pack of cards four times and use the rowing machine for an hour and a half, as he had other preparatory work to do. Today was


to be a busy day for Thomas Evans.


Later that evening Evans pulled his stolen, non-descript car up in a residential area


of the city and parked across the street from the two-storey home currently


occupied by his latest objective. He knew the target’s face, name, and what he did


for a living; he did not know why his client was paying him to kidnap the man, who


was a politician’s aide, and he did not know who he was delivering him to or the


fate that awaited him. Evans did not care. Exiting the vehicle he ran across the road


and past the house, cutting into the back garden, little more than a shadow in his jet


black operational gear. Using a detached rifle scope equipped with night vision, he


located the back door and inspected it, defeating it with his lock pick in seconds


and opening the door gingerly, silently easing it back as he snaked his way into the




Moving quickly, he entered through the dark kitchen into a cluttered and


colourful lounge absolutely littered with children’s toys and playthings. Soothing


music played softly from another room, but he could hear no sounds of movement


from the house. Proceeding with caution, he picked his way past a myriad of action figures and a jumbo-sized yellow dump truck filled to the brim with plastic


soldiers, slipping silently into a well-lit hallway decorated with a multitude of


family pictures in solid wooden frames; he could see his target in most of them,


progressing in age from an awkward looking teenager to the rather portly husband


and father of two that he had now become. Evans could not be sure that there would


be any pictures of this man as a grandfather, as a retiree, but that was not his




Nothing but his objective occupied his conscious mind as he checked


through the downstairs rooms one-by-one before heading upstairs, sneaking up a


narrow flight of stairs, his immense concentration focused on the world a few feet


in front of him. At moments like this he felt strangely at ease, enjoying the


transformation of his complex and tormented existence into a simple goal


orientated situation where the only paths open to him were success or failure.


Moving as smoothly as a viper he entered the first bedroom, careful not to wake the


two young boys asleep in their beds. Without hesitation he approached them,


removing one of the chloroform soaked pads from his backpack, preparing to


strike. He attacked, holding the rag over the nose and mouth of the first boy, his


muted struggles eliciting no sympathy from his tormentor. Satisfied he was unconscious Evans repeated his attack on the second child, incapacitating him with


the same cold efficiency. Keeping the pad close to had he drew his pistol and


attached a silencer before creeping back toward the hallway where he could hear soft laughter from the bedroom at the end of the hall.