The Threateners

Read Online The Threateners by Donald Hamilton - Free Book Online

Book: The Threateners by Donald Hamilton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Donald Hamilton
it? But did you really think Mark was fooled when you went out of your way to strike up an acquaintance with him at the gun club last summer and then acted so very helpless with that new rifle that he was obliged to invite you home and fix it for you? You’re not much of an actor, you know; and when Mark realized he was being followed again, it became obvious that you had to be part of the conspiracy, the inside man, I suppose you’d call yourself. . . . What are you laughing at?”
    “Never mind,” I said.
    I’d laughed, of course, because Mark Steiner’s suspicions of me echoed so faithfully mine of him. And then, of course, there was Madeleine and her suspicions. If the Spookies, whoever they might be, had been trying to turn us all against each other, they’d succeeded brilliantly. Hearing a car pull up outside, I took out the little Llama pistol, it being SOP that you never shoot anybody with your own gun if somebody else’s is available and will do the job. I had no doubt the Llama would do the job. Whatever Mark Steiner might be, he wouldn’t have a gun around the house that wasn’t sighted in properly. Somebody tried the gate and then pounded on it. I walked over there and paused before reaching for the padlock key.
    “Give me a word,” I said.
    An impatient male voice said, “Lapis, damn you. Now open up.”
    I was interested to note that this one called it Laypis.    
Chapter 6
    The first man who entered my little front yard was tallish and blondish, wearing expensive prefaded jeans, a short, prefaded, denim jacket, and a dark blue turtleneck, all very casual, but I got the impression it was merely a costume he put on for slumming out here in the crude southwest; he was an eastern three-piece-suit man at heart. It showed in the neatly pressed jeans—no true westerner ever put iron to denim—and in the white, capped, well-brushed teeth, the crisp, closely trimmed, slightly wavy, light hair, and the shining, newly shaved face.
    On the other hand, he had said Laypis, which placed his origins somewhere west of lah-di-dah Boston. A man of contradictions, obviously. He smelled pretty. If I were to shoot him, at any reasonable range, it would be an easy retrieve for Happy, I reflected, since if I could detect the after-shave lotion and cologne at ten feet, my dog, with his far superior olfactory apparatus, should have no trouble tracking it out to at least a hundred yards even if I dropped the guy in heavy cover.
    Our visitor was wearing a gun high on his right hip under the unzipped zipper jacket: a flat automatic, probably chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge that seems to be replacing the good old .38 Special in the affections of the bureaucracy.
    “Where is she?” he snapped.
    “Right over there, ” I said, inclining my head toward the woman sitting on the ground, watching.
    The newcomer looked that way and back to me with suspicion in his baby-blue eyes. He was quite a handsome fellow; the clean-cut, freckled, all-American-college-boy type that some government departments seem to cherish. Somehow, I’d been quite sure from the instant I first sighted him that like me, he got his orders from Washington. As they say, it takes one to know one.
    " Steiner says your name is Helm?" He made it a question.
    “That’s right. Who are you?”
    He flipped a fancy ID folder at me, too fast for me to read what was engraved on the gold shield inside.
    “U.S. government,” he said. “We were informed that it was an emergency; that the woman was badly hurt, unconscious, an ambulance case. She doesn’t look like an emergency to me. If this is some kind of a trick . . . Check her out, Mike.”
    The second man in was shorter and darker than the first, and his black hair was somewhat longer. He wore a light sport coat instead of a windbreaker, but a slight hip bulge indicated that the gun was in the same place and probably of the same configuration and caliber. They do like to standardize. He walked over

Similar Books

03 Deluge of the Dead

David Forsyth

Illusions of Evil

Carolyn Keene

Freaked Out

Annie Bryant

The Mercenary Knight

Elyzabeth M. VaLey

Into the Abyss

Stefanie Gaither

Stone Cold Dead

James W. Ziskin