Sleep – how did he suppose she could even attempt to sleep? She lay staring at the ceiling, wondering when he would come, if he would come. Midnight he’d said, but time in this room had no meaning. There was no clock and her watch had been taken from her when she had first arrived. It was an easy way to disorientate a prisoner: making them lose track of time. She’d no idea if the midnight hour were close or had indeed passed. She’d done everything as he’d said, followed the same routine and now she lay waiting.
It was hardly surprising but she had not been able to settle. Her muscles tingled in anticipation while her heart rate and respiration rate were faster than normal. Her mind was in turmoil, wondering how they were going to get out. (The Casa was like a fortress.
Her thoughts were halted abruptly by the click of the key in the lock of her door. She turned slowly and peered into the shadows. It was him. Even in the dim light she recognised him. He was still in the suit he had worn at dinner.
He didn’t move towards her but silently made his way to the bathroom. What was he doing, she wondered? It was a bloody daft time to be caught short, that was for sure. He reappeared and stood framed in the doorway, illuminated by moonlight. In his hand he held a knife – small and compact. He clicked a button and she saw the flash of the blade – a switch blade. Her mouth went dry. It was stupid to be surprised that he was armed. He glanced at his watch.
“If there are trousers and a long sleeved top in the wardrobe put them on now and see if there is any flat foot wear,” he said quietly.
How calm he seems, Rhiannon thought, as she jumped out of the bed and opened the wardrobe door. The only clothes that were remotely like he’d specified were a pair of silk dress trousers and a silk shirt. The outfit looked completely incongruous with the flat canvas pumps she had worn down by the pool; they weren’t ideal for the jungle but better than the stilettos she had worn earlier.
“You’ll do until we get away from the Casa – hopefully my back–up will have thought to provide clothing for you as well as me. Now listen, from here on in, Miss Phillips, you do exactly as I say. No questions, both our lives depend on it. No matter what you see – and it won’t be pretty – you have to trust me. Don’t think, just do. Understand?”
“Good girl. Now, when I give the command to advance, you can follow me. Stand where you can see me.”
He moved to the door and walked out onto the landing, the knife clasped loosely in his hand. He turned and in one fluid movement the knife arced through the air towards some unseen person, the thud of something falling indicting it had hit its target.
Using the hand single for advance, he beckoned her forward. The guard at the end of the corridor was slumped on the floor and she watch horrified as Kendal reached down and withdrew the knife from the man’s chest, pausing only to wipe it clean on the man’s shirt. He retrieved the man’s weapon and, again using a hand signal, indicated they were going right and then down a set of stairs she hadn’t seen before. Servants’ stairs, she supposed.
As they neared the bottom, he brought his hand up in a halt signal and then brought his finger to his lips, indicating she had to be quiet. She could just see a guard standing in the hall. Slowly Kendal reached up and pulled his tie from around his neck. She watched as he withdrew a fine wire concealed within the material. Holding the wire taut between his hands, he stepped down the final two steps. It was at the last moment that she realised he intended to use the wire to cut the man’s throat. She closed her eyes, leant against the wall and swallowed hard, praying she wouldn’t be sick. She was glad she wasn’t looking – it was bad enough listening. Knowing the sounds she could hear were of a man’s last, desperate seconds of life did nothing to ease her panic. My god, he was an assassin. Did it have to be like this? Was her only way out to kill in cold blood? A fine tremor shook her body.
Porter glanced back at Rhiannon. She was leaning against the wall, her head resting on her arms and her eyes tightly shut. Was she going to lose it now after being so strong? He touched her arm. She flinched at his touch and her eyes flew open. He could see fear in their depths – not just of her situation, but of him as well. That realization disturbed him but he couldn’t afford to dwell on it.