He knew the very second their eyes locked that she desired him. And that she was his type, the adventurous one. No, they had never met before, never knew of each other’s existence until now. He crossed the whole length of the sprawling lobby, looking at her, smiling his mischievous smile. She took it all in shamelessly imagining what lies beneath his well-tailored shirt.

‘Shall we?’, he said.

‘Sure’, she replied swinging her laptop into its bag and got up to lead the way.

Her room, then. By leading, she had decided. Words were redundant when intention spoke louder.

She slid the card to light the room, dropped the bag on the floor but refused to let go of his lips that had stayed on hers from the time they alighted from the lift. His hands were where she wanted them to be feeling her up. She held him against the wall with her body while her hands searched for his zipper.

She knelt.

His moans egged her on.

He pulled her up, cleverly, not wanting to end too soon. His wet tongue played with her earlobes while his fingers efficiently unclasped her brassiere. She gasped in anticipation as his hands searched for more. Each clothing was discarded hurriedly.

They collapsed on the bed, she on top, when he let out a cry.

She unrolled away to find him clutching his chest, face contorted in pain. She ran to the bathroom and returned with a glass of water.

There he was! A stranger, in her bed, naked, dead.

She sat down and coolly gulped down the glass of water, looking at the listless body.

Natalie had quietly poked a fine needle injecting the lethal Potassium Chloride in his body. Within a few moments, the drug had done its job.

Now the next phase had to be executed.

She quickly gave a call to Chang who quietly opened the door. He was dressed as the Hotel’s Security Officer.

“This won’t be a bad job for you. You look great in this.”

“Shut up. No time for jokes Natalie.”

They quickly dressed him up.

She put a silencer on her gun. And took three precise shots on the dead body of Tariq. She made him lie the way she wanted, it had to appear natural. The gunshots had to appear antemortem. So she wasted no time, lest the blood stopped flowing.

She fired some other shots in the room to cause more damage and give it a realistic appearance.

He got to work immediately. He took out his huge duffle bag and laid out its contents on the bed. It had a powerful sniper rifle that had to be assembled. He started working on it.

Meanwhile, Natalie started identifying all the fingerprints in the room and started systematically sanitizing it. She wanted no traces. Nothing was to spoil the plan.

“How much time do we have? Are we on schedule?”

“We are on dot. Another ten minutes and the convoy will pass.”

Chang had got his sniper in position. He had a clear view of the street from the vantage position. Now he just had to wait.

Natalie was ready. The room was sanitized. They were ready to move out anytime. Just one more job had to be done.

She sank on the sofa and lit a cigarette. She was watching Chang and was lost in thoughts.

The order had come late at night. She knew it was important and that’s the reason they were tasked. They were the best assassins the agency had. And a zero failure rate.

She had started preparing for the mission a fortnight back. She had scouted the right people to fit the profile she was looking for. Finally, she found the person she was looking for. Tariq. She had honey trapped him in no time. It was so easy with her looks, training, and the agency.

Natalie had very shrewdly setup her date with this guy who she had found on Tinder. She had cleverly set up the hotel reservation using his name.

The convoy approached. Chang took a deep breath. There were lots of cheering crowds, but fortunately, they were barricaded. He needed a clear view. They had studied the area a week back. The Economic Advisor of the Mauritian government was now in the crosshairs of Chang’s sniper. He steadied himself. Froze for a moment. Then a gentle pull.

The bullet found its mark on the forehead of Aboudin Markah. He crashed. They had not yet realized what had happened.

Chang knew he had hit the right spot. Aboudin had slumped. Slumped dead.

Within a fraction of second, Natalie took a shot at the vehicle with her grenade launcher. It landed just on the bonnet of the vehicle. Boom.

Second shot. She took it and aimed at the lawns where there no people. She wanted minimal collateral damage. Only the effect.

Natalie hurriedly arranged the material she took out from the duffle bag on the bed and put some in the closet. They had to make it look genuine. Everything was to the liking of Natalie now.

She looked at Chang for one last glance of approval. He nodded. She crookedly smiled. The last part had to begin now.

She waited precisely for ten minutes before she knew the police would storm the building looking for the killer. She gave the final go-ahead once she noted some commotion in the lobby of the hotel.

“Make your move Chang, now.” She quietly said.

Chang quickly opened the door of the hotel room. Looked around. There was nobody. He quickly opened fire randomly, targeting no one. He launched a grenade that blasted in the lobby. It was filled with smoke. Another grenade. Blast. More smoke.

She quietly moved out of the hotel room and vanished in the corridor.

Chang sprayed some bullets from the lobby on the main door of the room Tariq was lying in.

Police and hotel security rushed to the spot on hearing the fire. They spotted one of the security officers entering the room. They followed. They saw the dead man lying on the bed. Three shots on his body. They found the sniper which had targeted the Economic advisor of Mauritian government, Aboudin Markaz.

They were yelling. Talking on walkie talkies. Screaming orders. Confusion. Panic.

Chang quietly slipped past the gathered crowd. It was not difficult in the commotion. He looked back and smiled to himself.


Natalie and Chang were sitting in the café on the main market of Port Louis, watching television channels airing the news continuously. She was sipping on her ice tea, Chang his dark coffee. The news reporter was excitedly airing the news.

There was a major act of terror today here in the city. The Chief Economic Advisor Mr. Aboudin Markah was killed in an act of terror which targeted his convoy. There were two blasts in the act and one in the hotel where he was staying. The man was later shot dead by the security of the hotel. They had identified him to be a young man from Libya. They suspect him to be associated with the ISIS, as some propaganda material and letter owning the responsibility has been found with him. This is the first time the Mauritian capital has been the target of a terror strike. A sleeper cell is likely to have extended support to this dastardly act of terror. Agencies are investigating the matter.

Natalie and Chang were booked on a flight to Shanghai in two hours’ time. They had done their job.

She called a number. Highly encrypted line. Spoke in fluent Chinese.

“Sir, the task has been accomplished. The target is down.”

“No traces left. No suspicion. We are clean. News reports are exactly as expected.”

“Will fly the bird in a short time.”

“Good job Comrade, well done. See you soon. Fly safe.”


The Deputy Director of the Chinese Intelligence agency walked up to the chief of Intelligence the next morning. A file under his arm, and with the knowledge that both his agents were back in Shanghai.

“Sir, they are back. Chang and Natalie are safe home.”

“Aboudin Markah is out of the way. They are already blaming it on ISIS.”

“We have put out propaganda videos, in which they are claiming responsibility for the act. Nobody can trace it back to us.”

The Premier said after a lot of thought. “This was required. Our economic plans were being constantly blocked by Markah. They had tried talking sense to him. But he would not budge.”

“He constantly cited the examples of Sri Lanka and Pakistan. He did not want Mauritius to be part of our grand plans of economic expansion.”

“He paid a price. God bless his soul.”

“Yes Sir, for the sake of national interests, some tough decisions have to be made.” Said the Deputy Director. And he walked away, closing the door behind.

He was the master of these games of deception. That’s why he occupied the chair.


Six months later.

The Chinese premier and the Mauritian Prime minister were meeting on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Summit in Islamabad. The spokesperson was giving the press briefing.

The Mauritian government and the Chinese government have entered into an economic agreement, in which the Chinese government will invest $ 2 billion as a start, in Mauritius for the development of its port and tourism industry. It will be a soft loan over a period of thirty years.

Photo by Andre Hunter

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Manoj Paprikar
Manoj Paprikar is a doctor by profession, a gynaecologist. He is an avid trekker, traveller, reader and a writer. He has a blog and has published a book. He plays Table Tennis and loves playing guitar.
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