Evening Train to Paris
By Casey Jones
Safely ahead of him, the agent once regarded most likely to succeed, ascended the steps of the Eurostar train. Before midnight the two of them had left St. Pancras station in London for Paris, he and the hunted double agent Furtif, née Françoise Delon, former darling defender of French security.
Agent Branchard had worked with her on several missions for France’s DGSI. There was a time he believed he was in love with her. For sure, he admired her. Then this. Lured into the camp of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the Holy Warriors, Furtif would have to die.
The three of them sat in one of the passenger cars of the train. Furtif beside the window. Across from her, judging from Sorbonne posters in the Latin Quarter, an educated professor sat reading from a textbook on his lap.
The door slid open. An obese woman, quite disheveled, blond hair unkempt, voice stridently loud, announced, “Je voudrais une fenêtre.”
Branchard pretended not to understand. On this mission he was not a Frenchman. In fact, he had boarded the Eurostar in London, pretended he was a native there, had disguised his face in mustache and beard, dyed his red hair chestnut brown, and kept his mouth shut. When he did speak it was in flawless English.
Furtif, herself disguised, was hardly recognizable, but Branchard had no doubt who she was and what her fate would be once the moon shone itself the only light out there. And once the fat lady stopped blabbering away in French. The lights in their car would be doused. They would sleep. All but Branchard. Nestled in his concealed holster, his Nagant Revolver with suppressor waited patiently to lullaby Furtif to a very deep bottomless sleep.
Finally, reassured by the snoring three, in darkness he rose from his cushioned seat by the door, extracted the Nagant, and skulked towards the sleeping Furtif. Once she had confided in him that she never slept, but this time she had dropped her guard and would pay dearly.
The revolver against her chest, he fired three rapid poofs. Pulse silent as the night. Furtif’s head lolled forward, free of the dark hairpiece, eyes blue but faded forever.
Branchard had scheduled the shooting moments before the Eurostar pulled into Lille station, 220 km from Paris. Now he joined the other passengers waiting to descend the steps and disembark. He’d drive to Paris in the Peugot arranged by DGSI.
“Ou vas tu?”
Branchard turned sharply to the voice behind him. Attached to the voice? The fat woman whose gun with a silencer of her own seemed attached to her. She had ditched her fat- woman disguise. Stood there peeling away the make-up artist’s flesh from her face and other arm.
“Ou vas tu, mon ami? Where are you going?”
Branchard had killed the wrong woman.
Furtif nodded like someone who knew the answer. Then she ordered him to march towards the station shrubbery where she poked the silencer against the back of his head and fired.