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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

#FreeDailyThriller - Lust, Money & Murder - Book 10, "Black Widow" - Part 58


Chapter 67

Dmitry was already wide awake when the alarm went off.
The operation with Janet this morning was so important that he set three different alarms for six a.m. to make absolutely sure he woke up on time—the alarm on his phone, on his watch, and on the fancy clock on the hotel room nightstand.
As soon as he got dressed, he unpacked the ingredients he’d bought at the supermarket yesterday, preparing for the task he had to complete before he left for Ekkara. He wanted to get the job done early just in case he had to make several attempts to get it right. He had never made fake blood before.
He searched for some sort of bowl or container to mix it in, and he chose a crystal water glass from the bathroom. After he made sure all the curtains were closed, he sat down at the desk in the living room and poured the required amount of corn syrup into the glass, carefully following the instructions Janet had given him. He opened the food coloring bottles and began slowly mixing in the red first, then smaller proportions of blue and yellow to get just the right hue. There was a sewing kit in the bathroom, and he used a needle from it to prick his finger, smearing his real blood on a piece of paper and comparing it to the concoction to make sure it was close. He adjusted the formula a little more until he could not tell the difference between fake and real.
After fumbling a bit with the bottle of multivitamins to get it open, he counted out ten capsules—ten should be plenty, he thought. He carefully twisted the little gelatin capsules apart, dumping the brown powder from each one onto the desktop. He had chosen well—the capsules were so large they might have been for horses rather than humans. Using the eyedropper, he then carefully filled the smaller halves of the empty capsules up to the brim and then twisted the larger halves back into place, fumbling a bit with his large fingers.
When he finished, his hands looked so “bloody” he might have just sacrificed an animal on an altar, but he was pleased with the result.
He carefully cleaned up the mess, flushing the extra fake blood and vitamins down the toilet.
When he finished he glanced at his watch—only seven fifteen.
He still had a lot of time to kill. And he felt jittery.
He was hungry now, and decided to have breakfast—he hoped it would calm his nerves. He picked up the room service menu and opened it. There were only five items offered, described on creamy white paper with an elegant script that might have been used on a wedding invitation.
The first entry said:

BENTO BOX SANTORINI
A scrumptious composition of seared duck breast, squares of duck confit bound by a crunchy panko crust, seared goose foie gras, tart gooseberry jam, and rosti potato triangles.

Dmitry frowned. What the hell? Was this something you ate, or were you supposed to frame it and hang it on the wall?
He tossed the menu aside, went to his suitcase, and unpacked another vobla. He really didn’t want to have dried fish for breakfast, but what choice did he have?
He wasn’t about to do this important operation with Janet on an empty stomach.

Chapter 68

When Elaine got out of bed that morning at Spyro Leandrou’s villa, she could feel her blood pressure rising with each passing minute.
Today was the big day, the one she had been waiting for and planning in her mind every spare moment since she’d had the idea.
At six-thirty, when she, Spyro, Alex and Costa piled into the Lexus to go to church, she wished she hadn’t wolfed down two cups of strong coffee to wake herself up, because her hands shook, and it seemed as if her heart was skipping beats.
The Greek Orthodox church service seemed to drag on forever, and Alex seemed more fidgety than usual.
At eight-twenty five, Elaine quietly excused herself to use the restroom, like she had last week, and walked across the street to the same restaurant as before.
When she stepped inside the women’s side, there was an older Greek woman standing at the mirror in front of the sink, applying lipstick, also from the church across the street—Elaine had seen her there.
Elaine entered one of the two toilet stalls, closed the door, and waited until she heard the woman leave.
When she was sure she was alone, she pulled out her disposable phone and turned it on.
It instantly vibrated in her hand—there was a message from Luna.
When Elaine read it, she let out a little gasp.

Thomas Tutter is dead.
It appears that Lonnie Hendrix murdered him to keep him quiet. It was staged as a suicide, exactly the same M.O. used on your father. I have a recording of a message that Tutter left Hendrix where he clearly implicated both himself and Hendrix in your father’s murder.
Hendrix is still on the loose, and he may go to Greece.
Leandrou could be next. Be on the lookout!
In the meantime, I will continue to try to track Hendrix down.
About your operation, Dmitry called yesterday and he’s there on the island, all systems GO.
Good luck, baby-doll, and please be careful! My thoughts and positive energy are with you.

* * *
An hour later, Elaine was sitting at the seafood restaurant down the street from the church with Spyro, Alex and Costa, eating breakfast, or at least pretending to. She’d been nervous enough before she’d received Luna’s message, but now she was so keyed up her knees shook. She had no appetite whatsoever. She forced down some food anyway, just so she would have plenty of energy when the time came.
As she watched Spyro make the rounds in the restaurant and greet all his local friends, Elaine kept asking herself if what Luna had told her about Thomas Tutter and Lonnie Hendrix had changed anything, and she kept concluding that it hadn’t. She still had to go through with the plan and try to win Spyro’s trust. At this stage, trying to have Spyro Leandrou arrested for murder was too much of a long shot. She had to manipulate her way into at least one of his criminal operations.

 * * *
Finally, at ten minutes until eleven, Spyro finished his socializing at the restaurant and came back to their table.
He smiled at Alex. “Ready for ice cream, Superman?”
“Yes!” the boy cried, and he slid off his chair and scampered towards the front door.
This is it, Elaine thought, and she, Spyro and Costa followed him outside.

Chapter 69

Dmitry spotted the silver Lexus RX as soon as it came around the bend in the highway.
He was sitting inside the SUV, which was positioned exactly where Janet told him to park, on a wide gravel road shoulder situated on the hill above the village of Ekkara, under the shade of two towering eucalyptus trees. The spot was designed for tourists to pull over and gaze out at the seascape. But if you looked to the south, it also afforded a perfect view of the gently sloping street, the row of abandoned shops, and the corner tavern—the red umbrellas and tables were clearly visible.
As the Lexus approached, Dmitry lowered his head and pretended to study a map of Santorini Island. He was wearing a pair of sunglasses, and his eyes followed the vehicle as it drove past.
He glimpsed Janet sitting in the back seat, or at least he thought it had been her. But when he looked in the rearview, watching the rear of the car as it continued down the hill, he wasn’t sure. Had she changed her hair color? Janet had blonde hair, and the woman in the back of the car had darker brown hair. Even with the tinted windows, he was sure of it. She hadn’t mentioned changing her hair color in her email instructions—maybe she had simply forgotten?
There had been a child in the back seat, too, or at least someone much smaller and shorter than the woman.
Now Dmitry grew more anxious, wondering if there was a mix-up or if it could simply be another family in a Lexus RX that, from a distance, might look like the one she was supposed to arrive in.
There was a pair of binoculars sitting in the passenger seat, a pair he’d brought with him from Moscow along with the other equipment Luna had asked him to buy. He picked them up and twisted himself around in the seat, peering through them out the SUV’s back window.
The Lexus was parked right in front of the tavern, at the very bottom of the hill.
At first, only the driver’s door opened.
A big man climbed out. He was dressed in a brown, rumpled suit. He briefly glanced around before opening the rear passenger door. He sharpened the focus of the binoculars and saw the detailed man’s face—bulbous nose, pockmarked skin.
Bozhe moi, he is ugly, Dmitry thought.
More of the car doors opened. A young woman in a dress emerged, then a boy, and another man, quite tall.
The woman turned his way, smiling at the boy.
Dmitry ducked his head a little, still looking through the binoculars.
Now he was fairly sure the young woman was Janet, even though she was wearing sunglasses. The boy dashed around the front of the car and went into the tavern, the two men following along, talking casually to each other.
The young woman lagged a little behind.  Just as she opened the door to the tavern, she paused to glance up the hill in his direction.
There was no question now—it was Janet.
He reached into the glove compartment and pulled out the bottle that contained the fake blood capsules.
“It is show time,” he said to himself, remembering one of his English idioms.

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