Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted an installment of ‘Road Kill’. I took a vacation back to my hometown and gave my brain a bit of a rest. Now I’m ready to get back to it. We’re coming to the buildup to the climax of this story. It’s about to get very interesting. I can’t wait to see where it goes.
I apologize for the break, but I hope you enjoy this installment of Road Kill.
Road Kill Part 22
Rafferty left made a call and immediately left us to take a military transport to GTMO. Jones had provided him with the names of the three prisoners that had been vetted up to the last steps of being selected to help Secretary of State with her insidious plot.
Our task was to look into the backgrounds of the three prisoners in order to give Rafferty some leverage to use when he spoke to them. He needed to know what buttons to push to get them to tell the truth.
“I’m going to go take care of some other things,” Jones said as we were beginning to look through the prisoner records.
“We could really use your eyes on this,” Ben said.
“My eyes are afraid they’re going to be arrested at any second,” Jones answered.
Ben and I looked at each other and laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Jones asked.
“You’ve hacked into the State Department and the medical records at GTMO,” Ben answered. “Compared to those infractions, looking over prisoner records that were accessed by an authorized person and given to us, is a pretty minor offense.”
“Okay, you got me,” Jones admitted. “It sounded boring and I didn’t want to do it. I’ll help out anyway.”
With Jones’s help, we looked for commonalities among the three prisoners. Two were from the Saudi Arabia and the third was from Yemen. Their backgrounds showed that they were all lower level members of the so-called Islamic State. They were recruited as teenagers and trained in Iraq.
“I can’t believe these guys fell for the promises of riches and presents that the IS fed them,” Jones said.
“It’s easy,” Ben responded. “They get on Facebook and Twitter and use social media to lure them in. They think they’re going to meet girls and get money. The next thing they know their being brainwashed and taught how to rig a suicide vest. The girls are the virgins they’ll meet after they blow themselves up in an airport or on a train.”
“Terrorism meets Social Media, that’s scary stuff,” Jones said as he shook his head.
“Terrorism meeting our Secretary of State, that’s even scarier,” Ben retorted.
“Good point,” Jones agreed.
We continued to look over the records. Suddenly, Jones grabbed the folder that contained the records for the prisoners that were rejected and those that made it all the way through the vetting process. He looked at them as we continued to concentrate on the three.
“I think I’ve found a common thread. It’s a longshot, but maybe worth looking at,” Jones said.
“What is it?” Ben asked.
“Families. All of the prisoners brought in have families that are likely in danger in their home countries.”
Jones was onto something that we missed. We looked for alliances and past activity. The one thing that many of these young men wanted in return for committing suicide missions was for their families to be taken care of. They were captured while in the planning stage of their missions, so the promised help for their families was never delivered.
“Is that the leverage that was being held against them?” Ben asked.
It was a good question, but we didn’t have a definitive answer. Rafferty was on his way to GTMO and would be landing soon. With time growing short, we needed to take a gamble that this was how the Secretary of State was playing it.
We split up all of the records to confirm what Jones had found. It appeared that all of the prisoners had either families of their own with young children, elderly parents or some combination of the two. I checked my watch and saw that Rafferty had likely landed and was on his way to GTMO.
Rafferty answered on the second ring. I told him what we had found. He agreed that it was a gamble, but the odds were pretty good.
“Nice job finding the pattern so quickly,” he said.
I explained that it was Jones that found it and Rafferty again joked that Jones would be a good asset for The Mother Ship. When the call was over, I didn’t mention this to Jones. He had made his position on working with the government very clear.
Rafferty agreed to get back to us in a few hours. In the meantime, Ben and I would head back to the trailer that Jones had accommodated us in during our last trip to Florida and he would get back to his normal life.
Jones gave us a ride to the trailer. We stopped along the way at a Publix Super Market to pick up some sandwiches and drinks. Jones waited in the car while Ben and I ran in. It was nice to be able to walk into a store freely after days of being on the run. Donovan had assured us that no one was after us.
“I heard the sub sandwiches here are pretty good. Why don’t we get a couple?” Ben asked.
It sounded good. I picked up some bottled water while Ben ordered a couple of subs. We met at the checkout area after about ten minutes, paid for our food and went back to the car.
Jones had a look of concern on his face.
“What’s wrong with you?” Ben asked.
“I’m not sure,” Jones answered. “I think a car followed us here and is parked in the parking lot.
“It’s a grocery store. It’s not the biggest coincidence that a car pulled in at the same time we did,” Ben said.
“That’s true, but no one got out of the car and it’s parked where someone could easily watch us.”
Ben and I looked in the spot where Jones said the car was parked. It was a nondescript sedan with two figures in the front seat.
“Let’s exit the parking lot by driving past them and see if they follow,” Ben said.
Jones maneuvered the car toward the sedan. The occupants made sure to look down as the trio passed. As Jones pulled out of the parking lot, he could see the sedan begin to move out of the parking spot in his rearview mirror.
“Looks like they’re following us,” Jones said. “What should I do?”
“Just take us to the trailer. Let’s see what they’re after. They might just be tailing us to see where we’re going,” Ben said.
Jones drove the short distance to the trailer. When he pulled into the gravel driveway, the car that had been at the super market slowed slightly as it passed the trailer and then picked up speed and was gone.
“Looks like someone was following us,” Ben said.
“It’s a good thing I stopped at the wrong trailer. The one I stopped at is empty, but it has surveillance cameras. If anyone tries to go in, an alarm will go off and they’ll be caught. I have connections in the police department and they’ll keep a close eye on it,” Jones said as he put the car in reverse and continued the additional quarter-mile to the correct destination.
“Good instinct Jones,” Ben said. “For a beach bum and country lawyer, you are pretty sophisticated in your thinking.”
“Coming from you, I’ll take that for what it’s worth,” Jones replied.
“Can we look at the video feed from those surveillance cameras?” Ben asked. “We might be able to tell who is following us if they come back.”
“Yes. I’ll text you the web link and you can watch a live feed,” Jones answered.
Ben and I took our food and went into the correct trailer. I powered up the laptop, opened the browser, and fired up the live feed from the empty trailer.
We finished our sandwiches and sat back relaxing for a minute in anticipation of Rafferty’s phone call. After about an hour of a half-hearted card game, I spotted some movement on the screen.
The same sedan pulled into the driveway of the abandoned trailer in broad daylight. Two men in suits emerged and approached the front door. The motion sensor on the surprisingly advanced cameras switched to a view from the front entry. I was startled when I saw the faces of the men that pounded on the door.
“What is it?” Ben asked. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Not exactly a ghost. The men pounding on the door with their guns drawn were familiar. They were from The Mother Ship. They worked for Donovan.
Just as they were about to force the door open, three police cruisers surrounded the car and armed officers emerged. The men dropped their weapons and were taken away in the cruisers.
“It’s only a matter of time before they show their credentials and are let go,” Ben said.
I realized what he said was true, but my bigger concern was with Donovan sending his men after us with hostile intent. Just as I was mulling this over, my cell phone rang. It was Rafferty.
“Tell Ben to listen to this as well,” Rafferty said with an edge of anger in his voice. “This is bigger than we thought. We need to put our heads together as soon as I get back.”
I had no idea at the time how big of a turn thing were taking. I told Rafferty about Donovan’s men at the trailer. He was not surprised.