Chapter 10

Written by: Anna Zhigareva

“Because Stevenson knows us like the palm of his hand, and he’s used that.” Max tapped his finger on the rim of the chipped mug, tongue bitter from the coffee. “He’s fabricated some good evidence.”


“And he’s used these to taunt us.” Okada stared at the photographs.


Max found his gaze travel to the earlier ones. They didn’t correlate; just flimsy bits of paper. His heart skipped a beat. “And they will be his undoing.” 




Sean licked the envelope with his tongue, enjoying the familiar taste of paper and glue feed into his taste buds. Envelope sealed, Sean removed the gloves and turned towards his desktop in excited agitation. He’d check the address just once more. 


Okada might have guessed at something, and now that he had Mia and Max, the three of them would have surely come up with a plausible truth, but they’d be too late to do anything. USA Homeland Security couldn’t do anything if it tried. Tiger’s Gold was simply too big. 


Sean felt his mouth curve in the beginnings of a smile. Tomorrow night, he’d be on the plane to Hawaii, the case closed over Max and Mia’s heads (Okada might yet escape punishment – who could’ve known he’d become an agent?) and Sean would have another nod of approval from the boss. The day after, the ship would leave Hawaii with him on board. Who was it this time? Sean consulted his files. Ah, a Mr. and Mrs. Lake.


How many years – twenty? – that he’d given to Tiger’s Gold? And not a mission gone wrong. They were all so stupid, so gullible. All it took was a bit of whiskey and charisma, and they were his, eyes and ears. Max had even been in on what he thought was a deal. It had been fun. The key, the deposit box – child’s play compared to what Sean had in store. His longest mission yet. Others had come and gone but with this one he had worked for years to make sure it all came to perfect fruition. 


“You couldn’t help the photographs, could you?” A voice behind made Sean start and whip around, only to be met by a gun barrel pointed at his forehead. Familiar angry eyes stared at him. “Add in a bit of spice. Have Max play a game you’d created only to realise too late you’d had him guessing wrong. Should’ve thought about the fingerprints, Sean. Not on the last photo, but on all of them. Get him.”


As reinforcements pulled in, guns at the ready, masks hiding the true identity of all in the room but Sean and the agent, Okada’s face betrayed no emotion. “We outplayed you, Sean. And here’s something that has been waiting for you for twenty odd years.” As the handcuffs locked into place, an audible gulp sounded in Sean’s throat and his eyes edged towards the desk where the sealed envelope rested, unsent, address correct. Inside, the original superimposed photograph, no piece missing this time.


BRILLIENT! Well written Anna. A solution that is plausible as are the characters and the ability to have the bad guy look as though he has won through right to within a few words of the end...and then. Kapow! Knock the reader for six. Loved it and especially it is always great to see tying in a play on the words of the title of the story - Missing Pieces - 'no piece missing this time' - the last 5 words of the chapter. Well planned, written, and executed. There are no 'Missing Pieces' in this piece of Anna's work. Loved it.
I am speechless! Anna, what a stunning end to a serial that has been fabulous all the way through. You wrapped up all the loose ends and left us breathless with an unexpected twist. Well done many times over! You did this serial proud!
I have to agree with Ray and Suraya. This is a fabulous writing. It's been such a joy ride watching this series come together. And you, Anna have given it a fantastic ending. Congrats!!!