Bright Dark

Theo Darke works a devilishly hard case involving rich, corrupt businessmen who live in the shadowy underworld of illegal arms sales, drugs and human trafficking. From Europe to America, he traces the case with his unusual friend and partner, Mia Chain.


3. City Hop


Matteo rang instantly. The phone directed itself all the way to a plain, white marble apartment in New York. 

Theo Darke was going in and out of sleep. The phone made him jump. 

"What?" he asked gruffly. On his floor, there was half a bottle of water and a collection of mints. Matteo grinned in happiness. 

"It's me, Matteo. I need help. There's been a death," he said. Alfredo the policeman looked crestfallen but managed to control the people and send them a different route away from the house. The house was made entirely of glass walls, swimming pools and a garage that looked like it had been carved into the hillside. The dark suited bodyguards still walked around lazily, on alert for the slightest anomaly or sound. 

Silvia was dosing herself with a bottle of red wine and she was steadily descending into a suicidal, hopeless drunken state. Matteo disliked her. He didn't bother. 

"Who?" asked Theo, sitting up on his bed, now interested at the prospect of a job. Even though  it was very unorthodox. 

"Rufus Grant. Montenegro," replied Matteo watching the deep water of a nearby puddle. The mist had gone and now it was much warmer. Theo grimaced. 

Rufus Grant, gambler, killer, mobster, corrupt businessman was possibly the worst person to ever cross. There had been scandals, deaths connected to him and of course, Theo had had the unfortunate blessing of getting entangled with Matteo, his right hand man. 

Matteo, with his small beard and pitiless eyes looked like a medieval conqueror bent on domination and ruling the table. When they had met in Geneva, it was neutral and Matteo had sat back and let Theo do the talking. He didn't know why they had met but apparently Matteo had wanted someone in America arrested and roughed up just to show the extent of his boss's influence. Theo had refused point blank and Mia had backed him to the hilt. 

"What was he involved in?" asked Theo. Matteo paused. 

"Need to know only, sorry," he said. 

Theo laughed. "Well if he's dead...then I'm going to need to know aren't I? Don't be a sod!" 

Matteo winced at the tone. "I'm sending a plane tomorrow. Just come. Please, my friend." 

The line beeped. Theo stared at the phone and cursed silently. Still, Montenegro might be nice. Even if the job was highly shady. 



Exactly two days later, Theo Darke watched a jealous air hostess in the first class lounge pour a glass of scotch for Mia, who had dressed flashily for the occasion in a blue velvet brocade cocktail dress. Where she got the money from was not his concern. 

The air hostess looked at him and then looked at Mia. He could see her figuring things out. He was much more casual in his polo shirt and jeans, he never dressed up. 

The plane was waiting and soon, a man in a suit arrived with a pinched smile and car keys. Luggage had been put away and passports checked and approved. Now, they walked behind him through the narrow hallways and bridges of the airport complex towards the car park. 

The interior of a BMW X6 beckoned and it wafted them from a dark crypt-like car park to the door of a large, gun metal Gulfstream jet manned by a British cabin lady called Jane. She smiled at both of them, frowned mentally at Theo's lack of decorum and silently approved Mia's dress as they passed and went up the steps. The doors shut. 

"Welcome lady and gentleman. Departure time is 18:30 and we will arrive in Tivat at 5:00 AM European time. Buckle up please," the pilot was Italian like Matteo. 

The plane gathered speed and leapt into the air. 

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