All characters and situations are entirely fictional. © Copyright Mercian Comics, 2015.
The Return of the Lost Siren 02
A black Fiat 500 entered through the corroding gates of a junkyard, on the outskirts of Livorno, Tuscany. It lay amongst a grassy plane, descending into a rocky barrage beneath the sea. Up the dusty coastal lane, two men sat watching in a white Alfa Giulietta. They observed a tall, impressive, blonde woman leave the vehicle.
“Grazie, Antonio, it looks like your informant was right, Serena Rocca is alive,” said Inspector Nico.
“Should we go in now?”
Nico grinned at Antonio’s eager naivety, “No, not without back up. Besides, Rocca is only the bait – it’s the bigger fish that we hunt, my friend.”
Serena thumped on the front door of a ram-shackled hut besides the yard. She heard the bolts being unlocked and the door opened to the sight of a little man, not an inch over five feet. He was a stout pygmy with a large stubby nose.
“Serena, it’s good to see you healthy, but I am guessing this isn’t a social call, eh?”
“No, I need a sub, Rudy.”
“Oh, interesting,” Rudy replied, “The Surfer for another harbour assault?”
“Not this time, I was thinking of the Sea Enemy would serve me better. Do you still have it?”
“I could have it ready for you within a week,” the little man said, swigging his bottle of cola.
“I need it today, to take back with me,” she insisted.
He offered a drink, “Do you want a sip?”
Rudy frowned, “Aw, Serena, you always require such thirsty work.”
“You are always paid well,” she answered.
Rudy pulled up a dirty blind to view the car stationed opposite, “And what if I should have to move again?”
“They were there when I arrived,” Rocca observed, “They must have had prior knowledge.”
“Your friends or cops?”
“You know I don’t keep friends,” Rocca said, “But whoever they are, we shall lose them, shortly.”
Inspector Nico’s eyes were slowly closing shut by the time Serena’s Fiat 500 left the junkyard at some pace. Like a cat, Nico is never entirely asleep when on surveillance. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for Antonio who was, blissfully, snoozing with a newspaper over his head when the inspector turned on the ignition.
“She’s moving,” he whispered, loudly.
In a daze, Antonio fought the paper out of his sight and turned the Alfa Giulietta around in pursuit.
It soon became clear they were heading inland when they hit the main highway heading towards Pisa. Quite some time later the Fiat stopped outside a villa, in Florence, where Rudy greeted a woman who looked like she could be his mother. It would later emerge Rudy only struck up a relationship with her a few weeks earlier; and from that day on, she never saw him again. Inspector Nico returned the following week when the unfortunate pensioner reported her life’s savings had been cleaned out.
In the guise of the Lost Siren, Serena Rocca was long gone by the time detectives returned to the junkyard, after falling prey for such a rudimentary decoy. Her passage had been simple. As soon as the detectives left, she hauled a boat trailer, by hand, from the yard to the sea. There, she launched a white circular submersible with a glass canopy, known as the Sea Enemy, into the water. After returning the trailer to its shed, the Lost Siren pushed the craft over the cascading waves until it floated, freely, at which point she hauled herself aboard the one man vessel.
22 hours later, Serena received the call she was expecting from Fadhila Zuma. They met upon Rue Felix Faure, in Cannes. Fadhila never mentioned the earpiece concealed under her shoulder length hair, but to somebody of Serena’s experience, she suspected as much when they embraced on meeting one another. By holding her hair over her right ear as if the gusty, overcast, weather was uplifting her styled locks, Zuma had inadvertently brought the behaviour to Rocca’s attention.
Serena deliberately overplayed the greeting, squeezing their bodies together, whilst slipping her hand off Zuma’s naked shoulder and down the back of her elegant cream dress; this was no display of affection, but a subtle body search. Of course Serena had her own secret – underneath her loose fitting denim jacket and jeans with a white shirt – she wore the colours of the Lost Siren.
“That’s it… Turn left, forward past the gift store,” directed a cool, acerbic, voice in Fadhila’s earpiece, “Keep going until you see the small wooden sailing yacht called ‘Birdie’. I’m looking right at you – step aboard.”
Someone like Serena well knows the experienced assassin trusts no-one. This is why Radomir Semanic guided Fadhila down to Le Vieux Port in real-time, so no prior knowledge of the setting could be leaked in advance. Maintaining control is the key for the professional killer.
Such subterfuge was also designed to take the target by surprise but, in practice, gave Serena a good educated guess of where to look for her would-be killer. From the busy shopping street where she met Zuma, to the harbour, the killer should be tracking her by foot, or alternatively, in waiting at some vantage point.
“This way, babe,” guided Fadhila on to the boat with an outstretched hand.
They climbed aboard ‘Birdie’ from her stern. To enter the central cabin, one had to walk along the deck towards the bow. As Serena followed Fadhila, she realised the relative seclusion from the harbour would be the perfect place to make the hit. Her sharp eyes quickly scanned the area and spotted a figure with a rifle, high on top of a sailing mast, six or seven boats away. By instinct, Serena crouched behind the cabin, on the starboard side, a fraction before a bullet splintered the wood where she had been standing.
A quick glimpse up at Fadhila’s expression showed only shock and confusion, turning quickly to fear as another slug buried itself into the wood.
“GET INSIDE!” shouted Rocca.
Zuma did as she was told, while the sniper tried his luck for a third time. He appeared to have had enough and began the dissent back down to deck. Serena wasted no time in pursuit when she noticed Fadhila’s delicate, limp, hand laid out between the double doors to the cabin. She discovered Fadhila on the steps, dead, from a bullet in her back.
Although the hit came through the wood of the cabin door before reaching Fadhila, such a strike would almost certainly have been intentional for a pro. Nevertheless, as Rocca held Zuma’s beautiful, lifeless, body in her arms, she figured her adversary wouldn’t have killed his former girlfriend simply to give himself extra time to escape; there was already sufficient distance between them for that. Could the hit be still active? Rocca lifted Zuma’s hair to see the earpiece was large enough to be a bomb. Moments later, ‘Birdie’ boomed to her destruction.
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