Die for Me (Killing Eve, #3) by Luke Jennings Read Online (FREE)
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As the light fades, an icy wind rises. A southeasterly, racing out of the Gulf of Riga across the Baltic Sea and meeting the ship broadside, so that the containers groan and strain against their lashing rods. Every day, as we voyage eastward toward Russia, the temperature falls.
The container that Villanelle and I have shared for the last five days is a corrugated steel box the size of a prison cell. It’s a little over two and a half meters tall, contains a part-load of clothing bales, and sits atop a five-container stack on the starboard side of the ship. Inside, it’s as cold as death. The two of us live like rats, huddling together for warmth, nibbling at our diminishing stock of stale bread, cheese and chocolate, sipping our rationed water, and urinating into a plastic bucket. I’ve been constipated since the ship left port on the northeast coast of England, and Villanelle shits into a series of plastic bags bought from a pet shop, which she then neatly knots and stores.
At the forward end of the container there’s an emergency hatch, perhaps thirty centimeters by thirty, which can be unbolted from the inside. This admits a thin shaft of light and a freezing blast of salt air. Standing on the clothing bales, my eyes streaming, I watch the steady rise and fall of the horizon and the slow-motion leap of the bow wave, white against gray, until my face loses all feeling. When the wind drops, I’ll pour the piss-bucket out of the hatch. It’ll freeze as it runs down the container. I’ve asked Villanelle to throw her shit bags out too, but she’s worried that one might land on deck.
She’s thought of everything. Thermal vests and leggings, underwear, toilet paper, washing stuff, tampons, neoprene gloves, red-light torches, a commando knife, plasticuffs, 9mm ammunition for her Sig Sauer and my Glock, and a hefty roll of used U.S. dollars. We have no phones, laptops or credit cards. No identifying documents. Nothing to leave a trail. No one except Villanelle knows for certain that I’m alive, and Villanelle is officially dead herself. Her grave, marked with a small metal plaque provided by the Russian state and inscribed Оксана Воронцова, is in the Industrialny cemetery in Perm.
Two years ago I didn’t know that Villanelle, or Oxana Vorontsova, existed.
I was in charge of a small inter-Service liaison department at Thames House, MI5’s London headquarters, and life was, on balance, fine. Work was on the dull side: I had an MA in criminology and forensic psychology, and had hoped for a more challenging deployment with the Security Service. On the positive side I had a steady if unspectacular income, and my husband Niko was a kind and decent man whom I loved, and with whom I was hoping to start a family. There were worse things, I told myself, than routine, and if I spent every spare moment at the office building up a file of unattributed political assassinations, it was just a private thing. Just me keeping my hand in. A hobby, really.