A four-year-old child? The news comes same time as me. I buckle, hold her torso, replay the execution.
Contact review: I had fired four shots. We had come in at the wrong angle. The error had cost us vital seconds, given the mark’s escort reaction time.
A woman in a black leather jacket. Too late to adjust. Caught her in the front of her skull.
The second a direct hit between the male target’s eyes. Two more into his chest.
The child must have been hit by a bullet passing through the man’s body.
I’ve been involved in killing young children before. Caused my post-traumatic stress disorder, said Turner at Alex’s funeral. Alex’s mother and sisters never said anything, too proud to reveal raw emotion, but it was clear they had secretly wished it was me the insurgents had hacked to pieces.
Turner knew better — ex-military made good in business. He understood combat, he understood life and he understood death.
‘It’s the price of war, Jak, the price of freedom, Jak. Not your fault, Jak. We’ve just paid the ultimate price, but it’s always us or them. Don’t take yourself too seriously. They fight dirty. Don’t wear uniforms like we do. They mix in with the natives, Jak. Mix in so well you cannot be expected to differentiate. Them kids, Jak, they’re just as likely to detonate themselves as the other mad suicide fuckers. You walk away and you hold your head up high. You’ve done nothing wrong, no reason to be ashamed. You and Alex are heroes. Think of the lives you’ve saved. Think of the boys and girls in this great country of ours who sleep safe because of what you’ve done. You won’t understand now, you’re grieving the loss of your best friend, my son, but when you do, I’ll be here. You can rely on me, Jak. You were the last person to see my son alive. You fought to save him. That’s a unique bond no other two people on earth can ever share. We’re united forever by our love of Alex. It is our destiny and our fate.’
Not my fault. The words stick in my head before the binge starts at Turner’s country house where the bereaved father hires a huge wedding marquee to say goodbye to his only son. His own personal helicopter is parked outside. Free drinks for everyone while a diddly band played dance music until the early hours.
‘Not my fault,’ I say, when I finally sober up in the clink. Turner agrees and helps me back on to my feet.
I enjoyed her even if she whacks me dead hard as I climax. I smile until I remember I have just murdered a child.