Killer in the Shadows #5

Rome night

“Butcher’s knife, carpenter’s, surgeon’s?” Hanno asked, staring with fascinated horror at the blade.

“None of the above.” Aquila replied. “This is the tool of an entirely different profession. It is a killer’s knife, and the precise nature of the injury suggests that this killer is practised in their art.”

Aquila methodically considered the possibilities in his mind. A weapon of that sort was suggestive of professional murder. But someone with the resources to employ a trained killer would be unlikely to want to use those resources to assassinate a common soldier.

The officer revealed that his dead comrade had been on patrol the night before. That raised the question of how the killer had known where to find the soldier. These mysteries perplexed Aquila and he did not look for answers from the young clerk or the xenophobic officer.

The sun had risen higher in the sky and the last of the night’s rain evaporated from the surface of the cobbled street. Senators and other wealthy citizens began to emerge from their villas. Some were accompanied by women in expensive dresses with their heads covered by folds of fabric. The men wore clean white or coloured togas. Aquila was conscious of his brown tunic and cheap sandals.

“Sir, please see to it that the body is covered and taken away.” Aquila addressed the officer first and then his clerk. “We will return to my office now and think this matter through.”

Aquila beckoned to Hanno and they began to walk back towards the Legal District and their rented office. The officer called across the road to a squad of soldiers and the body of their comrade was carried solemnly away.


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