Aurora had a gruelling gymnastic and boxercise session and had built up quite a sweat. She decided to reward herself with a long soak in the bath. That was the handy thing about having a dance and exercise studio where you lived; the work came to you. As the bath was running, Aurora grabbed herself a bottle of her favourite wine, Merlot, along with a glass and took it along with her to the bathroom. She unzipped and slipped out of her all in one exercise gear. Her slender body was quite tender and supple. She felt she needed to work on those abs a bit more although she had nothing to be ashamed about body wise. Once her bath was run Aurora stepped into her bath filled with bubbles, just how she liked it and started to unwind.
After a few minutes, Aurora’s mobile phone went. It was Joe North and he had a job for her to do.
‘Aurora, I’ve got someone who I want you to take out for me. Would you mind?’
‘Well, I’ve just got in the bath but I suppose I could do it when I’m done. Who is it?’
‘Huh, I wish I was in there with you honey. It’s a guy called Greg Chandler. I’ll send yer the details of him but he’s not a nice guy.’
‘See you’re still giving me all the good work Joe?’
‘I want you to take care of him personally because I know you can get the job done. Aurora?’
‘Be careful around this guy. He’s a bastard.’
‘You know I can handle myself.’
‘I still worry about you. It’s a dangerous business’
‘I know. That’s really sweet.’
‘Listen, I’ll treat you to dinner tomorrow night. Arrangini’s around 8?’
‘That sounds great I’ll see you then. Love you!’
‘Love you too Aurora.’
With the call finished. Aurora stuck her head underneath the surface. So much for a cosy night in!
Aurora was standing in the shadows by the club Electric Blue. She was waiting for the mark. Electric Blue was Greg Chandler’s regular Friday night out. He would normally go with a couple of his friends to sink a few drinks, chat up a few women and head off home with a kebab.
Aurora was wearing black leggings tucked into knee length black boots and a black leather jacket over a purple sequin top. This helped her to look inconspicuous. This was going to be a job that she was going to enjoy. Gary Chandler regularly abused women hence why he didn’t have any long term partners. He was always a bit ‘hands on’ with them whether they wanted the attention or not. He short changed Joe North on a cocaine deal. Joe may not be the most scrupulous person in the world but when it came to deals he took a gentleman’s handshake to be as good as their bond. Nobody screwed Joe out of a deal and lived to tell the tale. Aurora was also going to enjoy it primarily because she got a night out from it. Being a professional assassin was not akin to a partying lifestyle but this was a chance to let her fiery red hair down.
Greg Chandler was on his way. He was walking up the street with his two friends and joined the queue getting into the club. Aurora waited a few minutes before joining the queue herself. She didn’t want to be noticed by him just yet. She had a couple of hours yet to make his acquaintance. Biding her time was going to make the kill all the more enjoyable.
When Aurora got into Electric Blue, she dumped her jacket in the cloakroom. Underneath, she was wearing a pink top which had leatherette sleeves. She made her way towards the bar area for a spot of Dutch courage. The club was packed as always. Aurora ordered a chilli vodka shot. It was going to be the only drink she was paying for so she made it a cheap one. She then made her way towards the dance floor. She spotted Chandler with his friends but tried to make it look as if she hadn’t noticed him but he definitely had.
Aurora started to dance sensually. You could tell that she did this sort of thing for a living. Getting in some personal time before Chandler would invade her space. She loved to dance. It would calm down Aurora before she had to encounter the mark. Chandler stood there mesmerised. He hadn’t seen her in the club before. He would have remembered somebody as sexy as that. Chandler decided to chance his arm and go over and dance with Aurora.
The two of them came face to face on the dance floor. Aurora gave the impression that she was enjoying the attention from Chandler. This was the performer in her. She moved slowly up and down in front of Chandler greeted with a smile on his face. She then put her arms around Chandler and kissed him. Aurora thought this was vile but the show must go on. She started to walk away and this had the desired effect. Chandler moved in front of her to block her route of the dance floor.
‘Hey darling, you don’t get away from me that easily.’
‘Who says I was going away? I was just checking you were interested
in me rather than just flirting.’
‘Oh I’m definitely interested!’ said Chandler enthusiastically. ‘You’re
‘Thanks’ replied Aurora ‘I’m always on the lookout for a dance
‘Then I’m asking.’
Aurora started dancing towards Chandler. She then turned around and cavorted in front of him, wiggling her backside half way back up. She turned her head and smiled at him to give the show of mutual pleasure. Aurora turned round to face him again and started enticing him to follow her before continuing to dance with him. Chandler had well and truly taken the bait.
Chandler and Aurora left the dance floor and went over to the bar. He put his arm around her waist which made her more than a tad uncomfortable but she hid it well. The barman went to take his order.
‘I’ll have what the lady is having.’
‘I don’t accept drinks from strangers.’
‘I’m Greg and your name is?’
‘Phoebe, hence the tattoo.’
‘It’s beautiful. Almost as beautiful as you.’
‘Aww, thank you.’
‘Now, we’re not strangers, what are you having?’
‘Ok, a steamboat please.’
‘I’ve never had one of those before.’
‘It’s like me. The best and most interesting parts of me are below the
Aurora started walking her fingers up and down his Chandlers shirt which was met with a smile.
‘I’d like to get to meet your interesting parts’ Chandler said.
‘Carry on the way you’re going’ replied Aurora ‘and you might just
have a chance.’
‘I like the sound of that.’
‘I thought you might.’
Chandler then led Aurora back to the dance floor. This time round, they were much more intimate with each other. They gave each other a passionate kiss whilst still dancing. He started caressing her back and moved his hand down to get a firm hold of her backside. Aurora’s mind started to wander back towards her bottle of Merlot that she had to rush for this encounter and her dinner with Joe the next day. Either of these filled her with much more warm and excitement than what she was going through right now. This was a means to an end. She tried to pretend that Chandler was Joe. This helped make the intimacy much more bearable.
At the end of the night Chandler and Aurora said goodbye to Chandler’s friends and left in a taxi together. They went back to Chandler’s place. It was a rather pleasing to look at. He must have made a fair amount with his wheeling and dealing especially if he ripped off all his clients like he did with Joe.
Once they got inside the house, Chandler and Aurora started getting intimate again. They made their way towards the living. The bedroom was too far and Aurora wanted to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. She took off Chandler’s jacket and tie whilst he took off Aurora’s jacket. Chandler started to unbutton his shirt but Aurora stopped him.
‘I’ll help you with that in a moment.’ She said
Aurora got Chandler to lie down and she kneeled down on top of him. She then started to kiss him on the lips before starting to move down his body whilst unbuttoning the rest of his shirt. Aurora moved back up to his face and repeated the action only this time round, she was using her hands as well. This was having a relaxing effect on Chandler, who was very much enjoying the whole experience.
Suddenly, Aurora flung her legs around Chandler’s lower abdomen and locked them together. This took him very much by surprise. There was a new found intensity in her eyes. The couple, who had been playfully intimate only moments ago, were now in the middle of a pseudo sexual move. However, it seemed that only one of them was enjoying it. Before Chandler could react to what was going on, Aurora rolled them both over and was starting applying extra pressure on his lungs. She seemed to be having something like an orgasm whilst his screams were more like those of agony. Chandler’s rib cracked and was finding it harder and harder to breath. A short time later, he was dead and Aurora decided to release the hold. She stood up and placed her foot on his chest, applying pressure whilst she was doing it. Aurora bent over Chandler with a smile on her face.
‘The pleasure was all mine darling. Hope you had a cracking time too.’
Aurora had a little laugh to herself, grabbed her jacket and left. She had a bottle of unfinished Merlot waiting for her back home.
Bentley and Pinkney were having breakfast together at their favourite café when they were called to the scene. Bentley was mildly upset because he had ordered a full English and ended up having to leave half of it. Pinkney had just had a bacon sandwich with a glass of orange juice. She didn’t eat much normally for breakfast but it was a good chance for her and Bentley to usually catch up with each other before the working day.
When they reached the scene, Delaney was already there. He had started searching for clues inside Greg Chandler’s house as to who killed him. Delaney acknowledged Bentley and Pinkney’s arrival at the scene with a sarcastic welcome.
‘Sorry to have disturbed you from your weekly love in but we got a call to here from the housekeeper who discovered the body. Yes, in the north west of England, a housekeeper. I know but she discovered the body around 8 this morning.’
‘Who is it?’ asked Bentley.
‘His name is Greg Chandler. He was a local businessman. We can’t immediately tell what killed him. We’d have to wait for the coroner’s report for that. No outward clues.’
‘Could it have been natural causes, they do happen?’ asked Pinkney.
‘It could have been but the tone in and around the eyeballs show that it was a violent death rather than a heart attack or something.’ replied Delaney.
‘Fair enough. Did any of the neighbours or passers-by notice anything?’ asked Bentley.
‘Not from what we could gather.’ replied Delaney. ‘Without a definitive time of death, we’re only guessing when he died but nobody has stepped forward with any useful information.’
‘Okay. I’ll get to work on that. Sarah, can you please put the feelers out to see if anybody in the area notice anything suspicious last night even if they thought it was a UFO.’
‘Will do Nick.’
Bentley got to the coroner’s office a short while later. He was quite astonished to see something of a smug grin on both the faces of Christian Morris and Dr Fiona Miles. Bentley felt enticed to ask.
‘What’s with your faces?’ Bentley asked.
‘We know how he died.’ said Morris.
‘I gathered that you buzzed me.’
‘I know.’ said Miles.
Both the coroner and his assistant started giggling. Bentley was getting a little impatient with their childish behaviour.
‘Well spit it out!’
‘He was crushed to death.’ said Morris.
‘Crushed to death? Are you being serious?’
‘Absolutely.’ replied Miles. ‘You can tell from marks by his lower chest and abdomen that he was beaten up and unable to breathe.’
‘Do you know how this happened?’
‘We’re not sure if it was a kinky sex game that went wrong or a violent attack that went right.’ replied Morris.
‘Which do you think is most likely?’
‘The injuries including a couple of broken ribs, one punctured his left lung, show the signs of a brutal beating. However, it could just be that they were a little too aggressive in acting out a move of the Karma Sutra.’ replied Miles.
‘Time of death?’
‘You’re looking at just turned 3 in the morning given the bruising and how blood shod the victim’s eyes still are.’ replied Miles
‘So there is no way of proving either way?’
‘You could put it under ‘suspicious deaths’ certainly because of how he died but like I said it would be tough to prove he was murdered.’ replied Morris.
‘It’s something I can only get a conviction on through a confession?’
Bentley was feeling low. He had two dead bodies of businessmen that may or may not have been connected. What he needed was a lucky break or inspiration from somewhere.
Bentley was on his way out of the crime lab when he saw Mischa Henry coming in the opposite direction. She had just come back from a separate crime scene and was still wearing her light blue coverall.
‘Hi Nick. Another dead body?’ asked Mischa.
‘Yeah. I called in to see Christian and the Doc about Greg Chandler. The body that came in this morning.’ replied Bentley.
‘Ah, the kinky sex victim.’
‘How did you know about that?’
‘It’s a small office and I’m a pathologist.’
‘Actually, Fiona wanted me to have a look at some scrapings under the victim’s fingernails.’
‘Did it come up with anything?’
‘Unfortunately not. There were only traces under the nails. Not enough to come up with anything solid.’
‘Shoot. It’s like trying to cross a river, you can see a bridge to get across but you can’t use it. It’s so frustrating.’
‘Aww. I’m sure it’s only a temporary setback.’
‘Hope so. Do you fancy a drink?’
‘Nick, it’s only 2 in the afternoon.’
‘I know but it helps inspire me. I would normally ask Sarah or Danny but they’re busy at the moment. What do you say?’
‘Ok. I’ll join you but I haven’t had anything to eat today so I can’t be drinking on an empty stomach.’
‘Sure we can grab a bite to eat first and go for a couple of drinks.’
‘Ok. I’ll need to get changed first but I can meet you over there say in about half an hour?’
‘Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you over there.’
Bentley and Mischa met each other at The Fly in the Loaf. Mischa was wearing a pair of black jeans, sandals and a pink top. They each ordered something to eat. Bentley ordered a Cumberland Sausage Baguette with a side order of chips while Mischa had a Cajun Chicken Sandwich with a salad bowl. They had a cup of coffee before they would move on to the heavier stuff. Bentley was eating his with gusto.
‘Umm, I do love the food here. Great quality pub grub!’ he said.
‘That’s true. I’ll let you off for dragging me out of the lab.’ mentioned Mischa.
‘It’s good to get away from the main office now and again for a lunch time. Whilst I like the canteen it’s still on site.’
‘I know what you mean.’
‘Besides I needed space to think. Alternative surroundings are always good.’
‘It’s good to see you outside the office too. It’s all work, work, and work in there.’
‘You’re right. I need to be a tad more sociable.’
After they finished their meals, they went and sat over by the bar to order some drinks. Bentley ordered a Jack Daniels and coke whilst Mischa thought she would join him on the shorts with a Southern Comfort and Lemonade although normally she was a glass of wine sort of girl. The two started to get onto matters of the case.
‘Has the drink got your creative juices flowing?’ asked Mischa.
‘Yes, I think it has. I think we are looking for female.’
‘Who do you think it is?’
‘Her name is Aurora Nightingale. She is a freelance assassin who appears now to be working for a local businessman called Joe North.’
‘What makes you think that?’
‘Well, she is known to be North’s main squeeze even though he is still married to his wife. Plus she is the only one of his associates who is female. This would also explain the red hair at the first crime scene, the kinky end at the second crime scene and why two men who had dealings with North are now dead.’
‘I think you’re on to something but how are you going to prove it?’
‘You always have to spoil things don’t you.’
‘Hey, I just know what the courts are going to say if we go in with half-baked theories and minimal, ambiguous evidence. I’m going to need to present an argument that a jury would understand rather than me trying to leave them to fill in the blanks.’
‘You’re right though.’
‘It’s not all bad for you though. At least you’ve got an idea as to who it is and as to why they did it.’
‘I have with Hussain but not with Chandler.’
‘What do you think was the reason behind Hussain’s murder?’
‘Well Hussain’s friends get the impression that there was tension between North and Hussain over their dealings with each other. There was mistrust on both sides it would seem.’
‘But it looked like it had been resolved right? They were still going ahead with the deal.’
‘Exactly. North may have kept the appointment but never intended to show up. He wanted to teach Hussain a lesson. It may have been the same with Chandler as well.’
‘Could be. I’ll keep my ear to the ground in case anything else turns up.’
Bentley and Mischa finished discussing the case. Bentley tried to persuade Mischa to have a few shots before they left. Mischa was persuaded to have an apple sour whilst Bentley chose vodka. They had a shot of each. Mischa was knocked a bit sideways by it as she wasn’t used to drinking this early in the day but it meant that things were a bit more relaxed between the two of them rather than being all work related.
Bentley and Mischa shared a cab back to the station as they were not in a fit state to drive. Bentley was grateful for Mischa coming with him to the pub as he felt it helped to reinvigorate the case.
‘Thanks for humouring me today.’ said Bentley.
‘It’s been a pleasure.’ said Mischa. ‘I got out of the office during the day for something other than going to a crime scene and I got to see a different side to you.’
‘I thought we got on pretty well?’
‘We do Nick. I just mean you were much more laid back and fun.’
‘I see. The job does make me a bit too serious at times.’
‘Next time I’ll treat you to a bottle of vino.’
‘I’ll hold you to that.’
Bentley went to his office. He had quite a lot to mull over. He gave Pinkney a call to check if there was any more information that came in from their house to house enquiries. Pinkney did mention from talking to Chandler’s friends that he left for home from a nightclub on the night of his murder with a red headed woman. However, they said that Chandler had introduced her to them as Phoebe.
Bentley was left to wonder was this in fact Aurora Nightingale under a pseudonym or somebody trying to frame her. One thing was for sure; Bentley had his work cut out for him on this case. He had plenty to consider with limited time to do it in as the killer could yet strike again.
Aurora was swimming at her local swimming pool. Swimming was very therapeutic to her. She was getting exercise but it seemed the least physical of the activities that she got up to. After she had done a few laps, she spotted a familiar face up in the seating area. It was her mother. Aurora got out of the pool. She was wearing a shiny, one piece blue bathing suit with a deep scoop neck and back.
Aurora wandered over to the part of the seating area where her mother was with a smile on her face. She waved to her.
‘Hello darling, how are you?’
‘Great thanks. I was hoping to catch you here. You still swim on a Saturday then?’
‘Things are less hectic on a Saturday so it’s a good time to come.’
‘Yes of course. I just need to go in the Jacuzzi first and get changed. Give me about 15 minutes – half an hour?’
‘That’s fine sweetheart. I’ll meet you in the café.’
Aurora needed to use the Jacuzzi because her body was still sore from her physical confrontation with Chandler. That’s why she preferred using a sniper rifle but she felt that someone like Chandler needed the personal touch. She was paying for it now though. A man got into the Jacuzzi with Aurora and was starting small talk with her. She often got chatted up by men in the Jacuzzi. She did have a fine body and was a good looking woman. That was why she took to wearing a ring on her wedding finger. Aurora flashed it at the man and this made him shrink.
After she had finished in the Jacuzzi, Aurora had a shower, got changed and went to meet her mother. Her hair was still quite wet so she wore it down for it to dry. She was wearing a crimson hoody with jeans and a pair of black converse. She carried her wet items in a blue backpack. She spotted her mother and suggested that she would buy lunch.
Aurora and her mother each had a chicken salad and a cup of tea. Shona Nightingale and her daughter didn’t see each other much these days but they still got on well. When Aurora returned home from a young offender’s institution after four years, things changed. Shona and her husband, Fraser, found it difficult to cope with Aurora being reintegrated into their lives. After just six months, Aurora left home for good. They met for family get togethers at Christmas and birthdays but little besides that. When they met, she was civil to her father but they didn’t really talk.
After exchanging pleasantries, Shona and Aurora got down to the reason that they were both here; her parents were missing her.
‘You’re father is missing you Aurora, probably more than I am.’
‘Mum, if he really missed me he would be down here with you.’
‘Believe me, if he could, then he would be.’
‘What do you mean?’
Shona then produced a photograph of a little baby. It was an early picture of Aurora not long after she was born. Aurora put her hand over her mouth and tears welled up in her eyes. She looked so innocent then. All the hopes and fears that awaited her then were an undiscovered country. Aurora wanted to say sorry to the younger version of her but the past was the past.
‘We were so proud the day you were born sweetheart. You had brought a light into our lives that wasn’t there before. Hence that’s why we named you Aurora.’
‘I was so innocent and perfect back then.’
‘You still are Aurora.’
‘No I’m not mum. I’m far from perfect.’
‘We all make mistakes but it doesn’t mean we stop loving each other.’
‘I don’t want to be a stranger anymore.’
‘You’re father is dying Aurora.’
‘Dying? Why, what’s wrong with him?’
‘He has lung cancer. Doctors don’t think he has got long left.’
‘I don’t know if I can…’
‘Please Aurora; this could be your last chance. You would really regret this.’
‘Okay, I will come and see him.’
Shona was pleased with this. They departed giving each other a warm embrace. Aurora was happy to be on good terms with her mum again.
‘You don’t have to be a stranger any more Aurora.’
‘I know mum. I know.’