Eye of Vengeance - By Jonathon King

Chapter 1

He’d had the hooded binoculars up to his face for forty-five minutes, but still his eyes were not tired. His eyes had never been tired. He could hold this position, prone on the roof, forever if he had to, because if that’s what had to be done, he would do it. He was looking south, the direction they would come from. Only when another filthy pigeon lighted on the fourth-floor ledge and pecked at a loose piece of gravel, or when yet another journalist with a camera or a notepad in her hands arrived below, would he move his eyes away from the lenses. Shitbirds and reporters, he thought. Couldn’t always predict when they’d arrive, only that they always would.

Everyone else was in their place. The jail guards across the street were uniformed and waiting. The detention sergeant was at the gray intake door, a cigarette butt in his mouth, his thick arms crossed over his chest, waiting. The transport team, he knew, was en route, their man shackled in the back of the van. Everyone was in place for the eight AM transfer of the prisoner.

He checked the shadow pattern one more time. He was sweating lightly in his black cargo pants and long-sleeved shirt. The heat was already rising in the early Florida sun. He registered it, gave the humidity and heat ripple a second thought in his calculations of the shot, but dismissed it. At this range it would not be a factor. He readjusted his baseball cap, worn backward, like the punk kids, but for reasons they would never get. He and Collie had been the first ones to sew black terry cloth on the inside of the band to capture the sweat and keep it out of their eyes. Collie was one of the few men he liked to talk to. Collie would understand.

At seven forty-five he spotted the white van six blocks away, waited for it to catch one more stoplight. He used the binoculars to confirm the decal on the front, and then moved back to his weapon. For the tenth time that morning, he sighted the scope on a spot six feet above the second step of the staircase leading to the gray door. The magnification was so sharp he could see a wisp of smoke from the sergeant’s Marlboro drift through the crosshairs. He shifted his right sighting eye to survey the approach of the van. Then he closed it and opened his left to check his flank. It was one of the odd physiological advantages he’d had as a sniper in Iraq and on the SWAT teams he’d been with. He not only had great focus sight, but also excellent peripheral vision. Most guys sighted with one dominant eye, leaving them blind to the field on their closed, weak-side eye. It was OK when you had a spotter next to you, but when you were alone, it made you vulnerable. He could spot with one eye and check the field with his other. He was a switch-hitter. And he could work alone.

In the street sixty feet below, the van slowed and he heard the clanking sound of the automatic gate as it rolled back. The reporters crowded toward the entrance and were kept back by a jail guard, who corralled them with outstretched arms. The shitbirds just love the perp walk, he thought. They’d always yell out to the prisoner for some kind of statement. Like what? He’s going to confess right out there on the sidewalk? Shit.

The van passed through the gate and pulled to a stop next to the staircase and he went back to the scope. Red brake lights flashed in the lens. The sun glinted off razor wire as the gate closed. The uniformed driver got out and went to the back, joined by his partner. They opened the van’s rear double doors and out stepped the man. He was dressed in jailhouse orange. Only his wrists were cuffed, so he climbed out easily. He was a big man, over six feet tall, but stood with his back slightly bowed, his thick shoulders rolled forward like a yoke.

He followed the man’s bald head in the crosshairs. All three men disappeared between the van and the staircase, but he kept the scope moving in the anticipated time of their steps. When the white patch of Steven Ferris’s scalp slid into the sight, one hundred and fifty yards away, the shooter took a measured breath. Eight inches up