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Mad dog, p.23

Mad Dog, page 23

 

Mad Dog
 


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  -But you guys are required to undergo firearms tests aren’t you? –

  -Well yes but we rigged them. I mean I didn’t always have the problem, it developed a few years back after an incident I’d rather not remember, suffice it to say that I shot someone by mistake, someone that strayed into my line of fire, someone too young to know….., -his voice trailed off slowly. –Anyway I can’t do it and that’s all there is to it. –

  -What about hand guns? –

  -No problem. –

  -Plan C, -said Brock, -you’re going to get the chance you wanted! –

  Plan C was simple, Agent Evans would continue to occupy the position to the left of the farmhouse and Brock himself would occupy the position in the copse. He was convinced that he could manage to get a good shot off using his fourth finger as a trigger finger, the index and middle fingers having been rendered useless, but was 100% sure that he couldn’t get off a series of shots, his balance would be lost after the first shot and he would have to re-sight. Harris was to take up a far more comfortable position. Assuming that Alf hadn’t arrived during the night, he was to wait for him inside the farmhouse, Brock and Agent Evans would only come into action if Harris failed.

  -Excellent, -exclaimed Harris excitedly.

  -Right well if that’s decided we’ve got some work to do. We need to move the corpses of the wolves, the smell of death will attract other predators, like bears for instance and we don’t want to be dancing with a bear tonight do we? If we can get them a hundred yards away that would be sufficient. -

  Agent Evans was unable to help in the task of dragging the corpses through the woods so it was left to Harris with the limited help of Brock. It was a very tired Harris that slumped into the tent shortly before midnight.

  -Well done, -said Brock, -now if you could just give Agent Evans and I a couple of painkilling injections then you can have a sleep, I’ll take the first watch. –

  Despite the trauma that they had suffered, within fifteen minutes Harris had fallen into the deepest dreamless sleep that he had experienced since the night of the fire. Agent Evans wasn’t so fortunate shifting uneasily through a mixture of pain and fear, his dreams being continually interrupted by the attack of wolves, more and more wolves appearing as Brock disappeared under a mountain of corpses until suddenly they all disappeared, everything disappeared as the presence of a far larger beast materialised. A bear, an enormous bear, and it was sniffing, sniffing in their direction, sniffing for them, trying to locate the smell of fresh flesh that emanated from his wounds. Then suddenly it was gone, replaced by calm and silence as his father gently patted him on the shoulder only for the dream to repeat itself again and again.

  Brock sat rifle in hand gently tapping the nervously fidgeting Agent Evans as the bear snuffled and sniffed around the camp before deciding to follow the trail of blood that led to the far stronger smell of the three corpses.

  At seven o’clock on the Monday morning he woke his companions with a cup of piping hot tea heavily charged with sugar. Self heating tea was the only luxury that Brock carried in his meticulously organised pack because in his experience there was nothing that lifted the spirits better than an early morning cup of hot tea, the invention of self heating tea being, in his opinion, one of mankind’s greatest achievements. That cold damp morning neither of his companions would have argued with him!

  Getting Agent Evans situated proved a lot more difficult than they expected as he was totally incapable of supporting his own weight and Brocks in his condition was unable to provide much assistance, therefore the brunt of the work fell on Harris again who physically was not precisely at his best either. Once positioned Agent Evans made himself comfortable with the M-21 and Brock and Harris made for the copse. The hide out that Brock had made did indeed have a superb view of the farmhouse but unfortunately was at the mercy of the elements and the rain hadn’t ceased during the whole of the night nor showed any signs of doing so. It was therefore on a wet floor that Brock laid his waterproof sheet before accommodating himself in shooting position. Once comfortable Harris covered him with a camouflaged sheet that served to both occult him and keep him dry, then strode off purposely in the direction of the farmhouse. The door to the house was unlocked, “why would anyone lock a door out there in the middle of nowhere?” thought Harris, and he cautiously entered. It was dark with the shutters closed and so he put the lights on rather than opening a shutter that would advise Alf of his presence. There was a slight mustiness in the air that led him to believe that Alf had in fact not yet arrived from Duluth. Equally, the kitchen area that was to his right as he headed towards the open plan lounge almost directly in front of the stairs to the upper floors, showed no sign of having been used recently and on investigating the upper floors and specifically the bedroom he discovered the linen basket where Alf deposited his used clothing and found that the only items in it where a towel, a t-shirt and underwear, the towel being completely dry yet smelling musty indicating that it had been there for some time. He took his walkie talkie from his pocket and called Brock.

  -He’s not here and hasn’t been for some time. What do you want me to do? –

  -Sit and wait! -came the abrupt reply. They had no reason to believe that Alf would reappear that day but equally no reason to believe that he wouldn’t and no other option than to wait.

  Harris didn’t bother hiding himself simply sat on the high backed sofa that had its back to the door and made himself comfortable walkie talkie in hand. He suddenly spotted the lap top on the low table in front of him and immediately turned it on checking the log to see when he had last used it, Friday 20th June. Harris did some quick mental calculations and decided that, although Alf would have needed to locate some form of transport, it was probably the day that he left for Duluth. It also occurred to him that Alf was definitely intending to return, he wouldn’t have left the lap top otherwise. He was surprised to find that he had internet coverage out in the middle of nowhere but was grateful that he did and immediately checked the history of its usage. One of the last pages visited was the street map for Duluth. It then occurred to him that he could make contact with Harvey and accessed his own email account and sent a message to Harvey.

  “I’m sending you this message from Alf’s computer. He is not back from Duluth yet; we are waiting for him and will let you know when the job is completed”

  -That’ll get him thinking,-said Harris to himself, smiling.

  Shortly before one o’clock the storm started to intensify again reducing visibility significantly, so much so that the bent hooded figure in a raincoat dashing towards the farmhouse almost went unnoticed. It was impossible to be sure that it was Alf, as likely as it seemed to be, and Brock aware that Harris was waiting inside the house decided not to take him out.

  He picked up his walkie talkie and called Harris. In a whispered voice he pronounced the four words that Harris was most anxious to hear, “someone’s approaching the house”.

  Harris laid down the walkie talkie, closed the laptop, turned off the lights and removed his hand gun. The moment he had been waiting for had arrived.

  20

  Hari strutted around the flat like a caged animal, he’d spent the four days since seeing his photo on television without leaving the confines of the flat and needed to get out, he needed to think and being caged in was becoming an obsession to him limiting his capacity to reason.

  It was five o’clock on Sunday afternoon and he had just spoken to Mustafa. If the call he received from him on Saturday, explaining how they were now being searched for by The Guardia Civil had concerned him at least he had received the good news that they had established a perfect time for executing their attack, a time that in principle appeared to be fine, eleven thirty in the morning being a perfectly reasonable time for both the cell at the Embassy and the cell in Lewisham, Mustafa’s latest call however was completely different, he wanted permission to eliminate Txabi and Martxelo!

  The cocktail of nervousness and mistr
ust that existed in the safe house made for anything other than a comfortable coexistence. The distant sirens of the ambulance and Guardia Civil heading to the accident at km-12 of the M131 raising the, already tense atmosphere, up a notch.

  Khalid and above all Abu couldn’t understand why they had allowed Enrique to simply leave and set of the alarm. Khalid argued that killing them wouldn’t have cost them anything, the police would still be investigating and searching the area for whoever was responsible but the area they would need to search would have been larger as they’d have no idea where the assassins came from nor where they had gone and what was more important still, they wouldn’t know who they were looking for nor would they have descriptions to go by. Abu’s argument was more basic he simply accused Martxelo of being a coward, of not having the balls to kill him. Abu’s argument itself, in Arabic, was not a problem but his exaggerated gesticulations including the clutching of his crotch and pointing at Martxelo, was. Martxelo understood perfectly what Abu was insinuating and had to be restrained by Txabi to stop him putting a bullet through Abu’s head. Fortunately for Martxelo Abu remained impassive to his threats as neither Mustafa nor Khalid would have attempted to restrain him.

  Txabi dragged Martxelo out of the room taking him outside to try and calm him down. After fifteen minutes of listening to racist abuse aimed at Abu, Txabi managed to calm him down sufficiently for them to return to the house but the truce was only to be temporary.

  That evening when Martxelo threw out the rubbish he discovered the box of six empty wine bottles, wine that he knew they hadn’t consumed, firstly because no one could drink six bottles of wine in such a short time and remain reasonably sober and secondly because they were Islamic and as such didn’t imbibe alcohol and his mind started to work overdrive on the possible reasons for them emptying them, all of which were naturally unacceptable to him. This time however he decided to wait until shortly after nine thirty when the three Arabs went to pray and quietly took Txabi to one side and explained to him his suspicions.

  Khalid had not been idle whilst Mustafa, Txabi and Martxelo had been missing looking for the explosives they had no intention of using. The process of emptying the hermetically sealed bottles of wine without any of the liquid at any time coming into contact with the air was complicated and extremely slow and required his complete concentration. It took him until fifteen minutes before their return to achieve the transfer of the liquid to the plastic serum bags that he had brought with him, leaving both the wine bottles and the bags hermetically sealed in the process. He carefully replaced the empty but still sealed wine bottles in their padded box and placed it by the side of the outside bin before storing the serum bags in the rucksacks, three in each.

  -Look I know you think that it’s just that I don’t like them but there is something very wrong with all of this. They are hiding something from us and it’s something big. –

  -Oh for the love of god Martxelo, you’re paranoid about them. Forget about them, lets get the job done and get out of here, it’s not even three days for Christ sake. –

  -Look I’ve been thinking and there’s a number of things that don’t stack up. They showed no interest in the explosives until you made a show and then today Mustafa asked about the detonators but didn’t ask how we were to activate them. –

  -Oh come on Martxelo, how else are we going to activate them other than by mobile phone, I mean is he supposed to think that were going to light the touch paper and withdraw ten paces, don’t be ridiculous. –

  -Yes, well when we were on the Dam trip he showed little interest in where I thought we could place the rucksacks and never once asked if there was coverage inside the Dam walls. –

  -And is there? –

  -Well yes but he wouldn’t know, I mean he never once asked nor looked at his damn mobile to confirm it for himself. –

  -Where are you trying to get with this Martxelo? –

  -Well I don’t think they have the slightest intention of using the explosives. –

  -So what do you think they are going to do, knock the Dam walls down with your head? –

  -Well no, outside by the bin there are six empty wine bottles, the wine bottles that only they could touch! They’ve obviously transferred whatever was in them into other bottles, bottles that won’t call attention when entering the dam. Do you know when Mustafa got really interested in the Dam tour? When they showed him the final product streaming towards Madrid, that’s when! They took a duct cap of the pipe line and allowed us to taste the water. When they took the lid off his eyes near popped out of his head! I’m telling you they have no intention of using the explosives, they’re going to poison the water supply; they’re going to use some sort of chemical weapon! –

  -I don’t buy it, I mean they know we wouldn’t go along with that, how do you think they are planning to do it without us knowing? –

  -They’re not! We’ve served our purpose and they’ll try to eliminate us from the equation. –

  -Paranoia! Its classic paranoia, you’re projecting personal conflicts and attributing it to the hostility of others. You’re taking bits of information, real or imagined, and you’re creating a false reality with them, you’re adding two and two and getting five. Get a grip man! –

  -Okay if you’re right it will do no harm for you to ask a few subtle questions, you should be good at that you studied psychology after all, but be careful because if I’m right they’ll kill us! Why don’t you start by asking them what the wine was like? -

  -Very funny, okay leave it to me, I’ll ask some questions tomorrow when were preparing the explosives. –

  The following morning Txabi did nothing other than consider the best way to approach the subject with Mustafa who, he had to admit, was showing little interest in assembling the explosive devices that they were supposed to be using. The problem about preparing subtle questions is that the more you think about them the less subtle they appear and this was precisely what was happening to Txabi. In the end he decided that the best way to clarify the situation was to simply ask Mustafa straight out.

  It wasn’t until mid day that Mustafa appeared to drum up sufficient interest in assembling the devices by which time Martxelo´s paranoia had become contagious.

  -How many packages does Martxelo think we need? -asked Mustafa, much to Txabi´s relief.

  -Three, –was Txabi´s blunt reply.

  -And have you got sufficient mobiles for that?-

  Txabi started to relax; Mustafa was asking the right questions!

  -Yes, we’ve got more than enough for that. Did you check that there was sufficient coverage inside the Dam?–

  -Well no, what for? I thought we’d set the alarms as timers. We want all three to explode at the same time and if we use the timers the signals can’t be intercepted. Better safe than sorry! –

  This was getting better by the moment.

  -I take it you’ll want me to go with Khalid and Abu on the tour? –

  -Well yes, obviously, I mean that’s why you didn’t go on the tour last time isn’t it? –

  Txabi relaxed completely, it had all been Martxelo´s paranoia after all. Smiling he turned to Mustafa and asked what now seemed a totally unnecessary question.

  -Mustafa, if you don’t mind me asking, what happened to the wine in the bottles, I mean they’re all outside by the bin, empty? –Mustafa froze, the blood draining from his face. –It’s just that Martxelo´s got the ridiculous theory that they contained some sort of chemical weapon, that you’re intention is to poison the water supply to Madrid. –continued Txabi laughing lightly.

  Mustafa struggled desperately to think of a feasible answer but could only stumble and stammer over his words before finally answering, -Erm, well they were corked, Abu tried one of them and it was corked so they threw it all away. Pity it was one of my favourites. Chemical weapons indeed, your friend Martxelo has certainly got a vivid imagination. –

  Txabi needed to think quickly, Mustafa was lying, he knew it, the body
language, the stammering, the false joviality in the voice, he was lying!

  -You’re right that is a pity, what was it Chateauneuf du Pape, Cotes du Rhone? –

  Mustafa tried desperately to remember what type of wine bottle they had used but it was useless, he’d only seen it for a moment, Khalid being responsible for that.

  -Would you believe it, I can’t remember the name; it’s on the tip of my tongue, -stammered Mustafa shifting nervously. -

  -Well I hope it wasn’t Brouilly Manoir du Carra because that´s my favourite. –

  -No your alright it wasn’t. –

  It was! Txabi had checked the bottles the night before, he’d never heard of Brouilly before that. Mustafa calculated the probability of Txabi getting the type of wine right out of the hundreds of options available to be extremely slim and had therefore told him that it wasn’t Brouilly, after they had finished preparing the explosives and Txabi had gone for a “stroll” with Martxelo he went and checked. His opinion didn’t change, the probability of Txabi naming the right wine was virtually non existent, he must have known before hand and had therefore laid him a trap, a trap he had fallen into but one that was going to cost Txabi and Martxelo dear before they had the chance to advise anyone else of their suspicions.

  Txabi apologised to Martxelo for doubting him but they now needed to establish a plan to stop Mustafa. ETA prohibit communication with cells whilst they are in the process of executing an attack thereby reducing the risk of filtrations or phone tapping, they do however allow in extreme circumstances the use of a “safe” messaging service. Txabi sent a brief but succinct message “If you receive no further message from us by Tuesday morning we will have died at the hands of our guests. They need to be stopped”.

  -We need to be extremely cautious, -said Txabi to Martxelo, -they know we suspect them and I think you´re right, they are going to try to eliminate us. We need to find the contents of the bottles and destroy them, we need to cover each other at all times. –

 
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