Deadly Secrets

Prologue

Sydney

It was hard to concentrate with the fog blanketing his brain. An indistinct barrage of accusations flew at

him, throwing him off-balance. He clasped the arms of his office chair and squinted at the red, contorted

face bellowing at him from across the desk as a spray of spittle pricked at his face. A laugh tickled at his

throat.

Dragging himself up, he carefully moved to the front of the desk. A wave of nausea lodged in his throat

along with the taste of scotch. He stumbled and stifled a curse and immediately the tic in his forehead

spasmed. He yearned for peace and quiet.

‘You don’t deny it?’ the visitor boomed.

‘I don’t admit or deny anything. This is progress. Sometimes there are losers, but they are…’ He

scrambled in the recesses of his mind for some clever, elusive words. ‘Collateral damage.’ He smirked with

satisfaction. ‘I’d have preferred not to have so many losers but…it’s out of my hands.’

The visitor’s response, a sarcastic laugh, surprised him.

‘Collateral damage? That’s what you call it?’ The visitor leaned down, drawing close, and stale hot breath

flooded his nostrils. ‘You’re a megalomaniac. You think you’re untouchable. Well, you’re not. I’m going to

stop you.’

The pulse in his temple throbbed more insistently now and he glared at the hard-set mouth opposite,

his thoughts too slippery to form a witty retort. He was bored with the bleeding hearts. They just

complained endlessly. No matter what he did, there was always someone ready to criticise or disagree. It

was just self-interest.

‘I’m not quitting! So piss off and leave me alone.’ He pulled himself up straight to glare up at the red

face. ‘I don’t answer to you…or anyone else for that matter. People will applaud my time in office. They’ll

see I was revolutionary…visionary…taking this country to bigger and better things…taking it forward.’ He

threw his head back for emphasis and immediately regretted it.

‘You’re out of control. You have to be fucking stopped!’

Spittle landed on his face again and he slowly wiped it off with the back of his shaking hand. The rest

of that bottle of scotch beckoned, but as he stepped forward, he stumbled and again had to grab the desk.

‘Fuck off!’ he slurred.

‘You will be stopped…’ the visitor murmured before lunging at him. ‘I’ll make you pay, you bastard.’

The word ‘bastard’ echoed like a chant.

His chest clenched as steely hands dug into his shoulders and shook him.

He jerked back but the visitor’s hands held fast. He almost laughed at the absurdity of the scuffle.

Instead, he growled, ‘You’ll pay for this…you, you…’

He thrust forward but his assailant didn’t budge. Nausea again rose in his throat but he was bound by

a rough and clamp-like embrace and he choked on the bile. They tussled falling against the desk. He twisted,

using what strength he could muster but couldn’t break free. His smothered jabs at his opponent’s belly

had no impact.

‘I’m not quitting,’ he croaked through the acid taste.

As his visitor’s grip waned, a glint of something caught the corner of his eye. Then, without warning, a

sharp stab seared through his neck. He grasped at the pain, his hand touching cold metal. Sticky wetness

pulsed from its base down onto his collar. His legs buckled and he slumped to the floor.

A moan and an oath, ‘Oh my God,’ floated through the darkness, followed by retreating footsteps and

the thud of a closing door. Silence. At last, he was alone. The pounding in his ears softened, his strength

oozed onto the carpet in a steady rhythm. He tried to shout but only a hoarse gurgle passed his lips. He’d

get that bastard; later.