London, a city of elegance, energy and royalty. Well known for the Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and of course, the London Bridge. A stunning suspension of steel and class, standing tall alongside the British morale. At least for now.
The reports came flooding onto his desk. What seemed to be a million forms of paper work were cluttered, contributing to his usual disoriented desk décor. He looked down at his desk, taking a deep breath of cartridge ink, stale coffee and pressed cotton-polyester suits worn by busybody interns scuttling around him.
“Parker!” Someone barked from the opposite end of the precinct.
The voice originated from a large-built man with a red complexion brought forth by rage, which Agent Thomas Parker was mainly the source of.
“Take a seat, Parker,” the man ordered while pulling up a chair in his office and marching to the other end of his desk.
“Sir, you’re looking awfully rosy today,” snarked Parker while kicking his feet up on the desk with wood paneling in front of him.
“Hilarious as always,” said a very unamused Director Bennet, as he drew a breath of anger and frustration and took a good look at the boy who sat in front of him. It felt like everything about him was designed to put him on edge, from his eyes that gleamed with reckless curiosity to the strands of black hair that hung slightly above his eyebrow.
“Look Parker, as unbelievably irritating you have proved yourself to be…”
The brief pause after this sentence left Parker uneasy. In a split second, he knew something was coming.
“This is crossing the line!” Mr. Bennet roared, pounding his fists into the table and pushing Parker’s feet clean off his desk. He began to sigh, placing his palm on his forehead as he added, “Even for you, this is too far. Do you seriously expect me to lead an investigation into a mass bombing of a target you can’t identify, let alone plotted by a woman who is dead?”
Parker started to speak but for once, decided to think twice.
“Give me a chance to prove it.” A playful smirk sparked across his face. Director Bennet replied with a firm nod.
“You and Katherine have a week to bring me evidence.”
Beneath the luxury boutiques, and cafes harbouring scones and pastries to be served with a cup of traditional English tea or a dose of buzzing caffeine, underneath the London aesthetic, there was a sinister presence lurking…
“How long till it’s ready?”
“A week, maybe even two… This kind of charge isn’t easy to build. It takes time and money,” the man said, sending an intimidating glare towards the woman in front of him. The man pulled out a piece of paper and slid it across the table.
“I will give you half,” she snarled as she crumpled up the paper and threw it behind her.
“Unless you want me to give you half of the bomb, there’s nothing more I can do for you.”
“Well then…” Suddenly a wicked smile formed. “There’s nothing more you can do for me,” she said while pulling out a gun.
The man scurried backwards. Fear shot through his spine, paralyzing him before he slipped over the damp floor. He could hear the woman’s long red jacket swaying in the cold gust. Drops of freezing water leaked onto his face from the creaking pipes above him. The man smeared the water around his face with his fingers only to see the mouth of the gun, 2 inches from his face.
“Please! I’ll reconsider!” The man pleaded.
“Unlike you, I don’t reconsider,” she replied as her heel stepped on the man’s jacket, pinning him down. She squeezed the trigger without hesitation.
The woman drew a sleek tube of red lipstick from her pocket. Her long, thin figure began to arch towards the man.
“It’s time to make an impression.”
The sound of a reckoning began to fill the air, shadowing the night sky.
“Hey Parker! Found your nonexistent evidence yet?”
“You put a ring on that nonexistent girlfriend of yours yet?” retorted Parker in a confident tone.
“Come on Parker, focus, I might take your queen,” teased Katherine.
“Maybe, but not today,” Parker sneered. “Check mate, Kate.”
Agent Katherine Woodsen smiled in respect, her air brimming with policy and intellect. Parker and her were like magnets, they stuck together. He was crazy enough to think of something and she was crazy enough to believe him.
“Back to work now,” she said as she walked into Bennet’s office, knowing that Parker would soon follow.
“The man’s name is Angus Kirby, he was on the most wanted list for two years, until the fair lady murdered him,” Katherine started.
Parker handed a picture and watched as Bennet’s eyes grew wide. Parker could feel the disbelief in the atmosphere. Katherine smiled as they both realised what this meant. Parker had been right.
The photo lay on the table, it captured the cold body of Mr. Kirby lying on a sidewalk. One distinctive feature popped out, the initials “FL” carved on his forehead with a deep rouge lipstick, claiming responsibility for his death.
“She’s been active for over five years now, and no one knows she exists,” he said, walking forward and directing the insult at the entire precinct. “She’s always liked it like that.”
“She has no reason to make herself known,” added Katherine. She moved towards Bennet with a consequential look in her eyes.
The mood shifted in the room.
‘Well, spit it out boy!” said Bennet in an uneasy tone.
“She’s planning something huge, and she wants to take credit for it,” grinned Parker with an electric sense of nervous excitement. The moment still haunted Parker, as he could look back and feel the desperate satisfaction he felt, how the desire for approval had blinded him.
The phone rang out of nowhere, the deafening noise woke him instantly. He glanced at the clock beside him, thinking who could be calling him at 3:15 in the morning? He lazily walked over to the telephone, dragging his feet behind him. He picked up the phone and was ready to hang up.
“Wrong number,” Parker barked into the line.
“Parker… shut up and listen,” the voice on the other line was drained of life, almost haunting.
Parker knew who it was. “Director Bennet!” he exclaimed, the sound of distorted pain coming through the telephone was extremely unsettling. “Director Bennet! What happened?” He let out an anxious cry. The line went silent and, in that moment, Parker heard something in the background of Bennet’s apartment.
“The London bridge is falling…”
“It’s not Ariana Cobalt!” The sudden scream from Bennet caused Parker to drop the phone. He shuffled backwards away from the phone.
He could still remember the terrifying cries of Director Bennet begging for his life. Ariana Cobalt. He knew that name, but from where? A solemn week passed by, the office remained melancholic as the fumes of death circled the office. Parker couldn’t stop thinking about what Bennet had told him. His fingers raw from researching every lead that led to a dead end. Why the emphasis on Ariana?
Epiphany struck! He had been so focused on the name, he had forgotten the other thing he heard that night. His eyes dilated with realization and a hint of insanity.
“The target,” he said with a grave face. “She’s going to hit the London Bridge!” Parker could hear the rejection, the laughter coming from his superiors. He ran down the stairs, searching for the one person who would believe him.
“Katherine!” he screamed running through the locker room, inquiring wild stares from the other officers smoking and gossiping in the corners by the sink.
Parker screeched to a halt. Ariana Cobalt and her 16-year-old daughter were murdered by the notorious serial killer Dominic Harrison. Her daughter’s body was never found! Parker began to formulate a theory but he knew he had to prove it.
2 hours later
Beads of sweat ran down his forehead in panic, the blaring sirens lit the hallways red. The clamour of phones and fumbling reporters on the television trying to appear professional as the chaos unraveled behind them. The second tremor came in! Did he have the time to stop her? With the London Bridge about to crumble, all he could think about was the sinister betrayal. Parker was struck motionless, his breath felt like needles stabbing his lungs and more importantly, his heart.
He had snuck into Director Bennet’s old office, pulling the key for his drawers out from the cigar box he knew it was in. He twisted the key and with quick precise movements, slid open the folder labeled “Cobalt”. The file was unredacted the night of Director Bennet’s death. His hands began to tremble as he leaned for support against the drawer. He couldn’t accept what he had just read.
“Dominic Harrison was set free due to insufficient evidence and the testimonial of first responder Officer Harold Bennet being terminated. Kaitlyn Cobalt was admitted to an institute for the criminally insane under the alias – Katherine Woodsen.”
He felt a knife stabbing him from behind, it pierced his shoulder mercilessly, knocking him weak on his knees as Katherine’s red lips said, “Checkmate, Parker.”
He desperately snatched his gun. He couldn’t afford to think twice.
“The London Bridge isn’t falling down, at least not today.” He pressed the trigger and felt the force on his fingers. The bullet ran straight for the Fair Lady’s heart.