Anastasia twirled the cyanide pill. It kept on spinning for two minutes and never wavered more than half an inch from the middle of the table. A perfectly round red pill, was there a more elegant way to die in Moscow?
Anastasia hoped she didn’t have to take the cyanide. The temperature had crept up to minus seven. Spring was coming. Before long the buds in Gorky Park would be blossoming and her kids would once again be going on the Buran rides. Whether she’d be there beside them depended on who would walk through the door in the next five minutes. If it was Mischa, she’d live. Mikael, she’d die.
She had climbed the KGB ladder mostly on intuitive hunches. One day she knew she’d tumble down it again, much further down than she’d started. Today could be that day. The day she was exposed as a double-agent.
The front door squeaked. A pair of manly footsteps entered the hallway and started ascending the equally squeaky stairs. Anastasia had three floors to think on whether the danger had been worth it.
She’d done it for her kids in the first place. MI6 had promised them a house in the Lake District and a carefree life if she’d successfully complete the mission. That was eight years and five missions ago. There was no denying it. She loved her life as a spy. And by now the odds were stacked firmly against the Lake District ever happening.
The footsteps now took the form of a shadow peering from under the door, creeping closer, then going silent all together. There was a single knock.
“Come in!” Anastasia yelled.
The door flung open.
His voice sounded more rugged than usual.
She bit, then swallowed.
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