Tuesday, 16 February 2016
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The mist looked green as it rolled in from the sea. Is this why they called fog peasoupers? Bea wondered, as she peered through the murk for her target. She flexed her fingers and went on tiptoe trying to get some warmth to her extremities. She sniffed back a waterfall of snot and blinked the tears from her eyes. Her grey trench coat helped her blend in with the weather but did nothing to keep her warm; why hadn’t she brought a scarf? Too late to worry about that now, she kept her eyes firmly fixed on the passenger exit of the ferry port.
“Any moment now,” Bea kept saying to herself. “Any moment now.” And then the song would come back into her head.
“Look now, look all around, there’s no sign of life.”
A foghorn belched in the distance and she heard the sound of the cars on the ferry start their engines but she wasn’t interested in them. The information said that her target had boarded the ferry by foot, and so common sense said he’d leave by foot too. Of course there was the chance he’d get speaking to a driver and leave in a car, but that would be too risky. No, he’d leave by foot and probably book into a B&B in Dover and lay low for a day or two.
She lit a cigarette and breathed out smoke into the fog, “ba ba ba, ba ba, ba, ba ba.” What was that awful song?
People began to come through the gate. Women, men, families, the young, the old, mostly poor, some well to do. She focussed on every face and once she was sure it was not her target she found and analysed another one. She took in a lungful of smoke and let it out slowly. She remembered the games she played with her mum when she was a kid. They’d guess how many people would come out of the train station before her dad appeared but she wasn’t playing games now.
Cars were flowing quicker now and the flow of people slowed. The fog was getting thicker and thicker. She dropped her cigarette and let it roll on the wind, sparks flying. A woman came through in a bright red coat that stood out in the mist, and then it was him, unmistakeably him; that tall frame, that rugged face, the hat at a slightly jaunty angle and of course the cigarette in the side of his mouth. He raised a hand to take the cigarette from his lips. Her knees went weak for a moment as she remembered the magic those hands had done. Even from this distance, in this light she could tell why she’d loved him, why she’d given herself to him and now how easily she could do it again.
He looked around unsure of his next move. He looked like a prisoner coming out of jail, back to life but unsure where to begin. And in a way he was. Ten years he’d been away, but he wasn’t coming back a free man. He was coming back an enemy agent. Here to infiltrate, compromise, damage all over again. He saw the taxi rank and started walking. Was there a slight limp? Or was it just the weight of the suitcase?
She stepped forward out of the darkness and held up her gun.
“Roger,” she said.
He recognised the voice and smiled. He saw the gun and pulled that face; the face she thought she’d once thought she would love forever. For a fleeting moment she wondered if she could go through with it. She smiled back at him, an involuntary movement. Their time together flashed before her eyes, could she really kill him?
A foghorn belched in the distance and she could hear the chatter of the taxi radios.
“Veronica,” he said taking a step towards her, a smile spreading on his face.
She pulled the trigger; the bastard had got her name wrong.
“Voices, another sound, can you hear me now? This is planet earth you're looking at planet earth.” She sang as she walked away.