The Game

Free The Game by Tom Wood

Book: The Game by Tom Wood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tom Wood
Tags: Espionage & spy thriller
of grandeur.’
    She frowned and quickened her pace.
    ‘Everyone’s a critic,’ he whispered to his actors.
    He flicked another sphere of bread. It landed near the woman’s feet and the pigeons whooshed in her direction. She yelped and fled, jerking the tiny dog with her. It yapped.
    This time he didn’t suppress his smile.
    Parc Central was one of the few green areas inside the town, but the surrounding valley was green under the summer sun. The pretty young mother and her son came here so often because it was so close to the boy’s school. The child still enjoyed playing on the swings and roundabout and climbing on the frame. They came most days after school and sometimes at the weekends too. The man with blond hair knew because they never went anywhere without his knowledge – without his presence.
    They lived in an apartment nearby. Although only a small dwelling it was located in one of the town’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. The mother worked part time as a sous chef in a fine restaurant and earned each month less than half the sum of the apartment’s rent. He had eaten at the restaurant and found the food to be quite excellent, if a little heavy on the saturated fats.
    The mother saw him on occasions, of course, like she saw other people on the street or in the park, but she strolled through a simple existence unaware of just how dangerous life could be. She failed to see through the mundane cloak that encased him. She dismissed him as just another man. A local, perhaps. Uninteresting and harmless. She didn’t see the monster. But she would when the time was right.
    That time was coming.

Vienna, Austria
    Victor’s hotel had a fitness suite located on the ground floor. It was open twenty-four hours a day, which meant Victor could use it in the middle of the night when there were no other guests around. Beneath a high ceiling the room was fitted with rows of exercise bikes, cross trainers, treadmills, step machines and rowing machines that occupied about three-quarters of the space. The rest was filled with resistance machines. No free weights.
    It was quiet. His footsteps echoed. There were speakers positioned throughout the room linked to a music system that could be operated by the guests, if they so chose. Victor left it alone. The only other sound was the thrum of air conditioning that kept the temperature low.
    Including the main entrance, there were four ways in and out. The other three consisted of two short corridors leading to the male and female locker rooms and a door that would open into a room containing maintenance, cleaning and first aid equipment. He tried his hotel key card on the lock for the other door but was greeted with a red light.
    The female locker room was small, with no more than twenty lockers lining two of the four walls. Benches stood before them. A small toilet and a smaller shower room led off from the main area. Victor found no one. All the lockers were unlocked and he checked inside each one to make sure they were empty of anything forgotten by a guest who might come to collect it at this time of night. Nothing.
    He exited it, walking fast, shaking his head and looking embarrassed for the benefit of any security guard who happened to be watching the fitness suite via one of the two cameras. The men’s locker room had a similar layout and was similarly empty of people and belongings.
    The suite’s only entrance was set in one corner and even with mirrors on most of the walls, it was impossible to watch from the majority of the cardiovascular and resistance equipment thanks to several pillars and the machines blocking line of sight. But the door pushed inwards. Victor took a two-euro coin – the only money on him – from a pocket of his shorts and balanced it on the top of the inside handle.
    He began his workout by doing a circuit of the resistance machines. He kept the breaks between sets short and used light weights and high repetitions to maintain his

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