Sneak peek - WRONG CHOICE Book 1
A snippet for the curious.
CHAPTER 1 - MADISON
I enjoyed hunting the fuckers.The name seemed appropriate given what they’d done, and the team had agreed on the phrase. TF for short. They weren’t worthy of proper names, or being treated with human decency or respect.
Each of them were assigned numbers to dehumanise what they were, so we could build a portfolio of their lives, with the purpose of destroying everything of value to them, until we finally cut their life short.
We only had one rule—no innocents to be hurt.
It was my turn to watch and gather information. I’d broken a rule and hadn’t told Gus—the man who led the operation—where I was. We were meant to work in pairs, but I’d had a fight with Matt and couldn’t stand to be around him, so I’d gone off on my own and followed #TF4.
I pulled the binoculars from my backpack, placed them to my eyes, and readjusted the zoom to bring him into focus.
This one had been difficult to watch, he’d been smarter than most, but I’d found a place where security wasn’t as tight and waited until he’d travelled to Molloy Island in the south west, to holiday with his family.
He stood on the wooden jetty facing the Blackwood River, with one of his hands stuck deep in his jeans pocket. Mist floated across the surface of the river, and when he breathed, a smoky cloud wafted from his mouth on this chilly June morning.
Wait, was he smoking as well?
I zoomed in. The tip of the cigarette glowed red as he sucked on the death stick, before he forced the smoke out through the side of his mouth. An odd way to smoke. Most forced the smoke through the front of their lips.
He didn’t smoke in the city.
So why now?
Was it a sign of being nervous, or was he completely at ease?
He looked normal. Average. Nothing outstanding or noticeable. But what I’d learnt in this business is that you can’t tell by looking at someone what they are like. Most of the fuckerslooked decent. Dressed well, had respectable jobs, families, and children. These people weren’t monsters in other people’s eyes. They were loved and admired. Sometimes respected. Even role models for some.
I spat on the ground, rolled my boot over the spittle, and ground hard and deep into the dirt. Just like I would have if his face were under my boot.
I lowered my binoculars and looked around, kept my movements slow and steady. I didn’t want to give away my position. I’d worn dark clothing head to toe, which made me harder to see amongst the trees. I pressed my back hard against a trunk. The bark bit into my right shoulder.
Followed closely by more noises of underbrush cracking and breaking.
A kangaroo hopped into view, followed by two others. They stopped, sniffed, nibbled a little grass, then moved on.
Molloy Island was accessed by a barge. Only owners or people staying on the island could gain entry to the place. A small island. Quiet. Houses, cabins, and sheds were scattered throughout the bush. There were no fences dividing the properties, which allowed the abundant wildlife to roam free.
I waited until the kangaroos moved out of sight, before I stepped away from the tree and put the binoculars back to my eyes. Now, if it wasn’t me who was watching, what would I see?
He’s neat. Maybe too neat. Shirt ironed. His jeans hung loose from his frame. Not a man who showed off his body, but I’d seen what he had underneath his clothes, and I had to admit his body wasn’t too shabby. I might have even called him hot, had I not known what he was capable of. His arse, his most redeeming feature; I was looking forward to branding his tight butt cheek with a hot branding iron prior to ending his life.
#TF4 sucked hard on his cigarette one last time before flicking the butt into the water. I cringed. A pet hate of mine—people who littered the environment with their butts. He’d pay for that later. Maybe I’d dump a heap of butts into his bed, so when he pulled back his sheets to go to sleep he’d see the mess and think twice about doing it again. But the only problem with making a point? Watching someone was meant to be subtle and doing that wouldn’t have been smart.
Point to note—find a subtle way to deliver a message about not throwing cigarette butts in the environment.
He fumbled with his belt buckle, undid the jeans button, and zipped his fly down before letting the jeans slide to the ground. He stepped out of the legs, bent over and exposed his bare buttocks for all to see. He wore no underwear?Maybe this was just like his smoking, when he’s away from the city, he goes commando?
I zoomed closer.
Yep, definitely his best feature.
I smiled. He placed his jeans over a railing, keeping them off the damp jetty.
Next he took his shirt off. He folded that too, first with sleeves together before folding the shirt once more, and placing it over the top of his jeans. He stretched and stood naked, walked to the edge of the jetty, and dove into the dark, murky water.
I shivered, because I knew once his body hit the water there’d be a moment where every muscle in his body would contract. In Perth, his morning exercise routine was kayaking down the river. Here it seemed he wanted to be more with nature. To feel it all around him. I couldn’t see him from where I stood, but once he resurfaced I heard the splashing of limbs as he glided through the water. I wanted to see where he went.
I placed my backpack against the tree, covered it with a few sticks and leaves, and walked towards the jetty. Before I stepped out into the open, I stood back and listened. #TF4 still swam in the distance.
His home stood back from the water, large floor-to-ceiling windows commanded views of the river. A lone light shone from the kitchen. Every other room appeared dark. No noise came from the house. It seemed odd that with his children around he’d decided to swim naked. Someone else may see him too. Maybe he didn’t care? But that didn’t seem right, because in the city he was careful with everything he did.
His wife and kids were here. Two children. A daughter Sarah, aged six, and a son Tim, who’s four. Cute kids. Happy kids, and he seemed to enjoy being a dad.
I lifted the binoculars to my eyes and scanned the home. Room by room. No one else appeared to be awake. Satisfied the coast was clear I stepped onto the pier and walked closer to the end to look down the river and watch.
He had a relaxed swimming style, like he belonged in the water. The muscles in his shoulders and buttocks glistened and clenched, then relaxed, depending on which limb pushed through the water. It was like a perfect Hollywood shot, the misty water, the light slowly pushing its way through the dark, and this specimen of a man at one with nature.
My breath caught in my throat. A primal urge. I stepped back, surprised by my reaction, and knocked the back of my knees into the railing. My foot slid out from under me, I stumbled to get my footing, my other foot slipping because of the dampness and the moss that had formed on the edge of the jetty. I scrambled, slipped some more; I couldn’t get a grip, one foot slipped, then the other, until I finally fell backward and hit something.
Lights darted and swam through my vision, like little fairy lights blinking, and shimmering.
I reached up to touch the lights, and smiled as I closed my eyes to dance with the fading lights into darkness.
Sharon M. Thompson (copyright)