As I sit down to write the 24th installment of Road Kill, I have the urge to start pulling the whole story together. This installment will begin to move toward doing this. It will call back to some of the early events in the story and start to identify who the good and bad guys are.
Hold onto your hats. It’s going to be fun.
Road Kill Part 24
Rafferty looked exhausted, but he also looked like he had something weighing on him. He motioned to Ben and I to sit at the vintage kitchen table. He also asked Mr. Muscle Suit to join us. It turned out his name was Marcus Rogers. Marcus took a detour to the refrigerator and retrieved four cold beers. Rafferty had uncovered something on his trip that was a game changer. I wasn’t sure, at the time, if I wanted to hear about it. Now I wish I hadn’t.
“First, let me tell you about the trip itself,” Rafferty began. “I had my suspicions that someone was in step with us, or even one step ahead. I was right about that. When I got to Mayport, my usual pilot had been called away and there was someone else there to fly me to GTMO. He was military, but he had the stench of The Mother Ship all over him.”
“Donovan sent someone to fly you to GTMO?” Ben asked.
Rafferty ignored the question and continued.
“I was able to pull some strings with the Admiral and my usual pilot became free to fly me down there. Once I got there, I started talking to the four prisoners that are left. Mysteriously, the rest of them had been transferred, with the exception of two.”
Rafferty didn’t pause for questions, but did take a swig of the cold beer Marcus had provided for us.
“The two prisoners that were not transferred are now deceased. It appears that they were somehow poisoned in their cells. It was a quick acting poison called Aconite. Heard of it?” Rafferty asked, looking my way.
I felt my heart drop. The prisoners had been killed with the same poison that had killed the unfortunate passenger that switched seats with me in what seemed like a lifetime ago. I was confused. Things were falling apart.
“Now it gets very bad for us,” Rafferty continued. “I talked to four prisoners. They were all interrogated extensively. They were asked about their families. They were asked about their roles with their organizations. There was particular concentration on their knowledge of radioactive materials.”
Rafferty sat back and shook his head while a faint smile crossed his lips.
“None of that surprises me. It just confirmed out suspicions. Now, here is the surprising part.”
He paused, took another swig of beer, fixed his gaze on a spot on the wall and continued.
“The prisoners described the person who interrogated them.”
“Someone from the State Department?” Ben asked.
Rafferty cut Ben a quick look, then went back to staring at the wall.
“No, it was Donovan.”
At Rafferty’s statement, a palpable depression sunk into the room. Rafferty drained the rest of his beer and stood bringing the bottle to the sink. Marcus Rogers, as if coordinating his movements did the same.
“Here is the surprising and most disturbing part. I suspected that Donovan was in on this,” Rafferty said, beginning to pace. “I even made my network of people aware of the possibility. We’ll need every one of them. Let me ask you guys this. How do you think Donovan has been able to keep up with us? We now know the why, but the how has been bothering me.”
I started to answer, but Rafferty cut me off with a look.
“Maybe Ben has some idea of how Donovan has been informed. Can you shed some light on it, Ben?”
Simpson shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Then he forced a smile.
“Seriously. I’ve been helping every step of the way. I’ve been in this with you guys.”
“Just stop it. I know you’ve been communicating with Donovan. You’ve been bugged since I first suspected it. I’ve got every report to Donovan recorded.”
Simpson looked around the room and then quickly jumped to his feet and reached for the pistol he retrieved from the trailer. He began to raise it toward Rafferty, but he didn’t see or hear Marcus behind him. Marcus grabbed Simpson’s right arm and snapped it with an audible crunching sound sending the gun clattering to the floor.
He then forced a groaning Simpson face first to the ground and secured his broken arm to his good arm with a zip tie he conveniently had in his pocket.
I looked at Rafferty for some kind of explanation or direction.
“Your friend and former shipmate Ben has been shadowing you for Donovan. That bunker at his house was built by Donovan through some black-ops funds. He could have taken you out at any point during your little journey, but Donovan was hedging his bets. He was trying to assess how bullet proof the plan was. He is on the hook with the Secretary of State. Now that we’ve outed him, Donovan won’t play cat and mouse any longer.”
I asked Rafferty what the next move was. This certainly changed the complexion of what we were trying to do.
“We change nothing. We move forward and try to stop the attack on the soccer match.”
I had to let his words sink in. How could we not change what we were doing?
Rafferty saw my confusion.
“Listen, the Secretary of State is still going to go forward with this evil plan. I’m not going to let her or Donovan succeed with this. I’m going to do everything possible to stop them and you’re going to help.”
Rafferty was determined as he spoke over the groans of pain from Simpson.
“Call someone to come and pick him up. This safe house is likely blown. We need to get out of here and gather some of the others together. It’s time to move from strategic to tactical planning.”
Marcus left the room and Rafferty began pacing. He was obviously anxious to get out of the safe house and so was I.
“They’ll be here in ten,” Marcus said as he returned to the room.
“Keep an eye on him. I have to make some calls,” Rafferty said as he left the room.
I sat at the table and pondered what had happened in such a short time. My life had turned upside-down. I had no idea what the future held. I wasn’t sure I had a future. My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of someone at the door. Marcus moved to the door and looked through the window. He opened the door and let three men dressed in black into the kitchen. A fourth stood guard at the door.
Simpson groaned as they pulled him to his feet and dragged him out the door into their black panel van.
Rafferty came back into the room.
“Okay, the three of us are out of here,” he said.
“Where to, boss,” Marcus asked.
“First, we’re going to pick up Jones. Then we’re headed south to The Warehouse.”
I asked Rafferty why we were picking up Jones.
“First of all, he’s in danger. Donovan has met him. Simpson has likely filled him in on what he’s helped us with. Donovan has enough to have him tried for treason or worse. Second, we’re going to need him. He has skills that make him very valuable for what we’re trying to do. We need all the help we can get.”
Rafferty said we were headed to The Warehouse. I had heard of it, but it was more myth than fact. It was allegedly somewhere in the southeastern United States and was the ultimate safe house/armory. If this was where Rafferty was taking us, things had just ramped up.
“We can pull together the people we need once we get there and plan this out.”
We climbed into the SUV Rafferty had driven to the safe house and headed east to the beach. Rafferty phoned ahead to Jones and told him to get ready to leave. Once he explained himself, Jones didn’t put up much resistance.