The news was on the fifth page but there was small picture accompanying it, showing The Millennium Palace, Barcelona. The twenty seven floor hotel cum shopping complex was to host the UN Environment Conference three days hence. A dead body was found in the very room, the conference was supposed to be held. The dead person was identified as Maviel Drufiar. His daughter was found unconscious beside him.
Cory read the news again. Forgetting her breakfast altogether, she took to the Internet, searching for news about the Barcelona murder on a dozen news platforms and couple of restricted ones. The police had viewed the CCTV and found that Maviel was carried in alive while his daughter was herded in at gunpoint. It looked like a mob killing, a lesson to others; but the reason for the murder was a mystery since the girl, a fourteen year old Barcelona resident, did not know anything. When she finally accessed a few of the police photographs, she was sure the dead body was Maviel and he had left a clue to the identity of his killers. He had written with his fingers, in his blood "woman3".
Cory had engineered the sale of a fake classic- WomanIII. The painting had been sold to a cartel operating out of London. Maviel had been the point man. The cartel handled everything from oil money to drugs to handguns to selling of human cargo. Their influence along the gulf coast and the Mediterranean made them very effective and dangerous. Somebody had discovered the con and now they had killed Maviel to make a point. The girl was brought in as bait to lure Cory out.
Cory would have to assume that Maviel would have told them about her involvement. He did not know her as Cory, still, he had known a few of her contacts on the continent which he could have given up. The next targets would be these people. Cory tried to place a video call via the internet site she used regularly. All three calls failed to go through.
Cory grabbed a small bag and ran to her "panic room" and collected some money cards and identification along with a small gun and a burner phone. She put on a grey wig and faded coveralls. She went to her garage from the inner door without making a sound or putting on lights. She shifted the steel cabinet from the back corner, the wheels making no sound on the rubber matting. There she removed out a pre-cut portion of the wall held in place by screws. The opening was small enough to crawl through. Once outside she sat with her back to the wall and waited, looking and listening. When she was sure there was no one around she leapt at the back wall and scrambled over to the neighboring property.
As she made her way away from the house she noticed the two cars which had communication antenna and three tough guys in each all looking at her house from time to time. She controlled a surge of anger and frustration; now she knew the game and was maybe a step ahead. This could be a hostage situation or her colleagues were dead, in both cases Cory needed leverage. With a grim smile Cory started to think about avenues to attack....To Be Continued
PICTURE CREDIT: WIKIPEDIA