A Little Bit Odd
Oddball is tasked with finding out who murdered his fellow agent, Marion. He believes it is linked to the disappearance of billions of pounds from government coffers. Oddball knows that catching Marion’s killers will require footwork by him, but discovering how massive sums of taxpayers’ money are missing will require someone with specialised computer skills.
Harriet Lewis is such a person, but she carries the scars of her childhood abuse, which makes her hard to handle. Oddball asks Saxon to help and, much to everybody’s surprise, Harry Lewis is no longer the introvert that most people know her to be. She tears through firewalls like they are tissue paper and leads Oddball to his colleague’s killers while uncovering dark secrets about the missing money. In an unexpected twist, Harry discovers something about herself that she had never suspected.
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A LITTLE BIT ODD
Satisfied that there was no threat, Oddball made his way back through the living area and stepped over the big man’s body, until he was at the foot of the stairs. He looked up at the dim light coming from the small window on the landing above. Clasping both hands around his gun, he raised his arms and started up the stairs. Every inch of his skin prickled. He heard every beat of his heart and felt the pump of his pulse. He trod with infinite care on the edges of the stairs, trying to avoid any creak or groan of the timber that would give him away.
Oddball counted to himself as he took each riser: One. Two. Three… Twelve. His next silent step took him onto the landing where there were four doors. Three bedrooms and a bathroom, he reckoned. The sound of gunshots had come from above his head when he had been outside. He guessed the bathroom, situated directly in front of him at the top of the stairs.
Opening the door was never going to be easy. It was likely that at least one person was alive in there. Or maybe they had left the bathroom while he was checking the downstairs, and now stood in wait in one of the bedrooms. Oddball didn’t fancy his chances if that person fired at him through one of the thin wooden doors. He touched the wall adjacent to the bathroom door and pushed with his finger-tips. He sensed it was of brick construction. The 1930’s building methods didn’t include cheap plasterboard walls. Brick would offer him some considerable protection so he placed his back against the wall, turned the door handle and eased the bathroom door open a little with the toe of his shoe.
Nothing happened, but Oddball had been in the game long enough to know there was somebody in there. He gambled on speed and dashed past the door to the wall on the other side. As he passed by, two things happened. First, he could see a naked body on the floor. His impression was of a big man. Second, a shot rang out, splintering the door and shattering the plaster on the far wall.
A voice called out, “Come on, you bastard. Come and get what you fucking deserve.”
“Are you alone, Angel?” Oddball demanded.
“Is that you Oddball?”
“It is. Are you alone and are you safe?”
“I’m safe and I have a dead Russian to keep me company. What about you? Are you alone?”
“No, I’ve got a dead Russian with me too. Can I come in?”
Emily pulled the bathroom door open and stared wide-eyed at Oddball. “What happened?”
“I came to rescue a damsel in distress, but the damsel seems to be well in charge of things.”
“Where’s the other arsehole?”
“Bottom of the stairs. He’s a bit dead.”
Still naked, Emily stepped forward, took half a dozen steps down the stairs. She pointed, and emptied her pistol into Luka Vasiliev’s chest.” The aroma of heated metal, gunpowder, plastic, vaporised gun lubricant, and death, hung in the air.
“Nice grouping,” Oddball observed.
Image used and published according to the licence granted by the artist