Vampire "Unleashed" (Vampire "Untitled" Trilogy Book 3) (10 page)

“Is there anything else I should know about this man?” Miklos asked.

“This is everything I know.” The lawyer motioned the screen with both hands, palms out, offering everything he had.

Miklos picked up the gun. “So where is he?”

“I don’t know.”

“How do I find him?”

“I don’t know.”

“Don’t make me shoot you,” Miklos barked as he pointed the gun. The lawyer brought his hands over his face and squealed. “I don’t know, believe me, I only have email. I can send message and ask he comes to my office. I can email now. Let me email and we can try bring him.”

“I want to know where he is now.”

“But I don’t know.”

“Then I will shoot you.” Miklos grabbed Burkhalter and lifted him out of the chair with the gun below his chin. The other masked men flanked the lawyer and gripped him solidly to walk him back outside. It looked practiced, choreographed. There was no discussion, but some key phrase or behaviour from Miklos set the men to action.

Outside the sky had darkened with angry grey clouds. Miklos led the way towards the forest, the gun by his side. Burkhalter began crying, then wailing, then screaming for help, his voice echoing through the empty valley. He tried to turn his head to the left and right, imploring the men pushing him towards his own grave.

They walked him to a shallow hole in the snow that was barely big enough to cover him if he curled on his side. They forced him to kneel then stepped aside to surround him. Burkhalter held his hands out in the shape of a begging bowl.

Miklos approached surely, holding the gun. “You have not helped me find this man.” He took his mobile phone from his jacket and found an image. The picture of Anke Burkhalter sitting in the garden in her yellow dress. “Your wife,” he said showing the picture. “I am going to kill her because you didn’t help me.”

Burkhalter dropped his head and whispered the word, “No.”

“And your son, is going to be fucked by perverts and raised as a diseased rent boy. He will never stop crying… and you…” Miklos put the phone away and slowly chambered the bullet of the gun. “You are going to die in this hole. Unless you tell me where I find this man right now.”

“I don’t… nnnnnn… I d… I…”

The lawyer lost all sense of control and began twisting his body as though poisoned by a muscle contorting toxin. Miklos pushed the gun into his mouth, an action that brought Burkhalter back to his senses. He held him there for what seemed an age, staring down the barrel as the Angel of Death gripped his chin with one hand and held a gun in his mouth with the other. Miklos’ hand was clenching, his finger was tightening.

He pulled the trigger.

The hammer dropped on the back of the gun.

It clicked.

The gun wasn’t loaded.

He let go and allowed the lawyer to fall back sobbing, his legs slowly kicking like a dog running in a dream. He appeared so mentally broken that his fractured mind allowed no conscious control over his physical body.

Miklos took the magazine of bullets from his pocket and visibly inserted them into the gun and pulled the topslide back to chamber the round. He bent down beside Burkhalter and rested the end of the barrel against the lawyer’s left eye. “Listen to what I say. I will let you live... for now. But I know who you are. I know where you are. I have friends here in Zurich, friends in the police force, these police friends are how I found you. If you report this they will tell me and I will come back and kill you and your family. Do you understand?” The lawyer said nothing, tears streamed from his eyes. Miklos motioned the men to leave. He dangled the key fob from his finger. “And Johann… the keys to your car are over there.” He threw the keys to one side to get lost in the snow. “Don’t make me come back for your wife, Johann. This is the only chance you get.”

----- X -----

They were out of Switzerland quickly but even after four hours Cornel felt he was going to vomit from worry. He had a repetitive thought that Burkhalter wouldn’t find his keys. The guy had suffered a heart attack or angina, or some other cardiac stress, been terrified to the point of madness then left in sub-zero temperatures to find his keys in a snow drift. What if he couldn’t find them? He would die. He would freeze to death.

Miklos had his head back with his eyes closed.

“Miklos… Miklos,” Cornel nudged him.

He tilted his head a fraction and opened one eye.

“Hmm?”

“The passport picture of McGovern. The identity he is using. I want to pass that to Europol.”

Miklos closed his eye and held his pose for a few seconds longer before leaning forward and shaking away sleep. “Why?”

“So they can put the passport information out at the borders.”

“But then the police might find him first.”

“If they catch him they will put him in prison. He is easier for you to find in prison. It might be true about him travelling the world. If it is, we’ll never find him without police help.”

Miklos nodded. “Yes. This is true. I will let you send this information to your Eurocops, but only from inside Romania. Deal?”

Cornel nodded.

He had it. He had Paul McGovern’s new face and identity. Burkhalter said the passport was genuine. Somehow McGovern had managed to get real documents in a fake name. No wonder he could cross borders undetected. They’d been looking for Paul McGovern. Now they would look for Alan Jay. The same Alan Jay with bank accounts. The same Alan Jay who engaged lawyers and realtors. The same Alan Jay who was crafting a paper trail of accounts to adopt a new life as a citizen of Switzerland.

But he’d fucked up.

The paper trail was uncovered. Valuable clues could be teased from this knowledge.

This was breakthrough day.

Paul McGovern’s ability to hide was coming to an end.

PART III

They were back in Romania by the early hours. Cornel knew they were back in country because the van kept hitting potholes as the roads turned to shit. Ludovik was clicking keys, working the laptop almost incessantly. “Miklos!” he called. The two men exchanged words in a conversation that sounded serious in tone. A name was spoken, “Ildico Popescu.” Cornel felt his muscles clench and his heart quicken.

Miklos nudged him. “Are you awake?”

“Yes.”

“He is saying the house McGovern bought in Romania was not for him, it was for a girl.” To Ludovik, “Adresuar per vajzen?”

Ludovik checked his screen, “Adresa, adresa, adresa… Ildico Popescu, Europe Apartments, Strada Rosiorilor, Centrul Nou, Brasov.”

“You didn’t say anything about this girl,” Miklos said.

“She isn’t important.”

“Not important? She is the mother of Paul McGovern’s baby!”

Cornel looked away.

Ludovik read from an email as he traced his finger across the words on his laptop. Miklos shook his head as he absorbed the details. “It makes sense now. You knew about the girl and the baby. McGovern bought her a home and you started looking for how he got the money. This is how you linked him to Aldo.”

“It’s not like that.”

“He is reading your emails to your police chief, Cornel, don’t lie to me... You tried to tell the police and they didn’t listen.”

Cornel swallowed hard. “She is not important because McGovern can never come back for her. He can’t visit or even get close enough to watch her. Even if he could, he wouldn’t, he’s not stupid. The lead was only the lawyer.”

Miklos leaned back in his chair. “Sure, the lead was only the lawyer… Fuck! Cornel? You keep this a secret? You think we won’t discover?” He closed his eyes with a shake of the head. “I know you try and protect women, Cornel, but don’t ever lie to me again. Don’t try and keep secrets from me.”

Cornel shuffled in his chair uncomfortably. “I still want to give McGovern’s new passport to Europol… And his email address. If he is moving between countries it is your only hope of finding him.”

Miklos spoke to Ludovik, bitterness inherent in his tone of voice. Ludovik prepared an email with the Alan Jay document and the email details, lockmail.ru, an anonymous Russian mail server notoriously used by paedophiles.

“His email,” Cornel said. “It’s used by criminals to stay anonymous, but it has been infiltrated by police forces for a long time. We will be able to get all of McGovern’s emails.”

Miklos and Ludovik spoke.

“Ludovik said he knows, he said only idiots use lockmail; and he already has McGovern’s emails.”

The journey went silent. They had Ildico Popescu’s address. Sooner or later they would pay her the same type of visit they made on Johann Burkhalter.

It would be another hour before they arrived in Brasov.

“When do you want to talk to her?” Cornel asked.

“Talk to who?”

“The girl, Popescu. What’s your plan?”

“Why should I tell you? Maybe I should keep secrets from you too.”

Cornel sighed. “Look, I’m focussed on finding McGovern. If you think the girl is important then let’s go now. Let’s visit her tonight and find out what she knows.”

“You want to go now?”

Cornel nodded. “I want to get this finished.”

Sixty minutes passed.

The roads became more familiar.

They arrived in Brasov and went straight to Central Nou. The front door to Europe Apartments was electronic but it took Ludovik less than a minute to open. In the elevator Miklos leaned against the wall and took out his gun, “I’m surprised you wanted to do this again,” he said to Cornel. “You didn’t enjoy Burkhalter.” He checked his weapon.

“I want to find McGovern… whatever it takes.”

Miklos put the gun away. “Don’t worry. This won’t be like the lawyer,” he grinned slightly. “Women with babies break easily.”

The lights came on automatically as they stepped from the elevator. Ludovik pointed to number ninety one. Loro brought out locksmith tools and picked the pin tumbler in seconds. The door opened slightly.

“Stay back with me,” Miklos said whilst raising his arm as a barrier to prevent Cornel from going in.

Cornel felt his stomach tighten as Loro opened the front door to Ildico Popescu’s apartment. The lights were out and he used a small flashlight as he entered the apartment. Ludovik followed using the light on the back of his phone. The men returned within a minute, both shaking their heads. Without any spoken instructions all of them returned to the elevator and departed in silence.

“Do you know where she is?” Miklos asked. “And don’t lie to me, Cornel.”

“You won’t find her,” he whispered.

“You knew she wasn’t here, didn’t you?” Miklos replied in a matching whisper. Cornel got out of the elevator quickly, getting out of the building and into the snow, almost running.

“Hey… Hey!” Miklos ran to catch him. “Where are you going?”

“Home. We are through. This is where we go our own way”

“You know where she is. Tell me.”

He shook his head. “I don’t know. I really don’t. There was talk of her going into police protection. This is why her home is empty. You cannot find her.”

Miklos shook his head, his teeth gritted, the frustration showing on his face.

“Find Paul McGovern. Kill him. Please from me, kill him… Put a bullet in the side of his head, but leave the girl out of this.”

Miklos reached a hand into his coat, glaring at Cornel, his face becoming skeletal. Cornel imagined the gun coming out and backed away but Miklos grabbed his arm. He pulled a fat envelope from his coat. “You don’t deserve this,” he said pushing the envelope onto Cornel. “Go home. Get drunk, get lost and forget everything.”

----- X -----

Cornel watched the clock on the kitchen wall. Seven fifty in the morning, he was waiting until eight to begin drinking. The envelope given by Miklos was full of cash and he’d spent the whole night staring at it, contemplating the rights and wrongs of keeping it. Eight thousand, seven hundred Euros. It seemed a precise sum. Were they paying him by the hour? He hadn’t expected payment or asked for it; perhaps Miklos had a budget of ten thousand and once the job was done he handed the loose change over as a gesture.

He would keep it. Fuck morality. He’d been a hired goon for a few days made worthwhile by the discovery of McGovern’s new passport.

He opened the door to his pantry for a bottle of scotch and took one solid slug from the bottle ten minutes before his eight o’clock start. “Oh, Jesus,” he mumbled. “Thank you for getting me back in one piece.” He took the bottle into the lounge to check his email and composed a message to Scotland Yard and Lupescu:

Paul McGovern has a British issued passport under the name of Alan Jay. (A copy of his new identity is attached to this message.) He has bank accounts in this name with Credit Suisse and Union Bank of Switzerland through their Zurich branches.
He is attempting to gain Swiss residency by creating a paper trail of business accounts.

The value of his theft in Albania was grossly under-reported, the real amount of capital at his disposal is approximately three and a half million Euros.

McGovern is communicating with the outside world using a Russian email host (Details below). Access to his emails could provide fresh leads to his location.

Association with Albanians has ceased but reengagement may happen with little or no warning. I believe the Albanians already have access to McGovern’s emails.

Time sensitive. Please forward emails to me if they can be accessed.

I am in Brasov and available for debriefing.

“This is going to make someone happy,” he mumbled to himself. “People are going to shit when they see this.”

He called Ciprian. “Hey, it’s Cornel. Where are you?”

“I’m at the station. How did it go?”

“We have McGovern’s new name, he’s calling himself Alan Jay. The Albanians discovered Ildico Popescu last night and went to her home. I was praying you got her out.”

“We did. Lupescu put her up in Dumbravita.”

“Dumbravita? She didn’t go into Witness Protection?”

“No. Lupescu said he wasn’t picking up the bill for that until…” Ciprian took a breath. “No, she didn’t… but listen, I saw you leave with the Albanians and got good pictures of them. Better still, I found the taxi from Private Club and know where they’re staying; they’re at a farmhouse in Sacella.

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