Deadly Encounters –
Book Two from the Justice Unbound series
|Piney Reservoir Fishing Reserve|
Late June …
Teaser Chapter One
AT THE RESERVOIR: Late June 7:00 a.m. …
Wearing a drab green Colombia-Brand, fishing shirt, and sporting a black Jarvis Walker “Integra” Rod and Reel, the sketchy figure passed unnoticed in the early sunrise as he made his way along the shores of the Piney Reservoir Fishing Reserve outside Frostburg, Maryland, a popular fishing spot in the western part of the state, and coincidentally, the main water source for the small town of Frostburg.
Chapter 1 Piney Reservoir, Maryland
Abdul Khaliq Khalili looked no different than any of the others out fishing that brisk June morning. His foam trucker, lightweight cap, with the embossed bass logo, blended right in with what everyone else was wearing that day, and except for his heavy baritone voice, which he used only sparingly, there was nothing that distinguished him from any of the other fishermen on the lake that morning, that is, unless you looked more closely at the hard bulge in his camouflaged, 50 L, military, tactical knapsack, hanging on his back. Even then, it could have been anything. The man at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Store told him this was the backpack the Scouts used, when they went on overnight hiking trips.
His dark, sunken eyes, were hidden behind his Spencer HD Polarized, Colored Mirrored Lens Sunglasses, UV400, he had purchased at the Walmart store off York Road, in Cockeysville, Maryland, a few days earlier, as a last-minute add-on, to his pre-planned attire. Cautiously, he looked from side to side, his eyes closing slowly, his temples beating mightily.
Abdul’s mind was on more than fishing. He was tasked with a very heavy assignment. He
was the first of the “new generation”, the first forerunner Middle Easterner who had been
specifically groomed for this new role. His mentors had been clear. He would blend in, and be assimilated into the general populace, unnoticed by any other, than his immediate colleagues. He would look “American”.
“Evan,” the voice crackled on his hand-held two-way radio transceiver, “how is the fishing this morning?”
“Pulling the radio from his waist belt, he responded softly in the code he had been instructed to use, “the fish are biting this morning. It looks like it will be a good day!”
“Be well brother. Bring home many fish today!” the voice replied before signing off. The two-way radio silent, he placed it back into his wide, webbed, American tactical belt.
Abdul reached the destination he had pre-programmed on his American-made GPS. Looking down at his American-made, Thorogood Outdoor Boots, he was satisfied he had made good choices. Turning to make certain there was no one else around, he was pleased he had chosen a secluded spot. Carefully unzippering the large knapsack, he took out the three components he had carefully packed earlier that day. It felt good to unburden himself of the cumbersome, hard plastic bottles he’d been carrying all morning. This would be a test they had told him, a rehearsal for something much bigger. Today’s trial was about more than an infinitesimal dot, in a remote area, no one had heard about.
Last of all he took out his Walther PPQ Q4, 9 mm with its matching black, metallic suppressor, and laid it on the towel he also kept in the bag. He was ready. The lives of his wife and four sons depended on his performance this morning.
He heard the crackle of brush before he saw the young man and little boy emerge from the woods. Wearing a loose-fitting, light grey tee, emblazoned with the pics of his favorite Justice League characters, and carrying a detached maple branch, still festooned with the brown-green leaves from a recent separation, his “walking stick”, he had picked up along the trail, the little boy, with the beautiful blue eyes, appeared to be distracted over a medium-sized, hardened, orangish-brown mass on the lower right side of his Justice League shirt. The mass kept rubbing against his belly, and it was itchy, and annoying. Moving his crop of long, unruly, light blond hair from his eyes, he kept fidgeting with the distracting lump on his shirt, repeatedly spitting into the bottom of his tee, without any success, using the shirt as a sponge of sorts, to try and wipe the bothersome protrusion away[LH1] [RM2] .
The surly man did not flinch. His eyes took in the entire scenario, and they were calm; but his body language told another story. His knees, he held tight together, his fists, he held balled, as his weapons of first defense, clenched at his sides. He would not make any pre-emptive moves. His muscles tense, his body taut, he waited for the boy to speak.
The little boy stood still, his mind racing, wondering why this man was way out in this part of the woods. It had taken forever, for he and his father to reach this spot.
Thoroughly engrossed in what the man was doing in the woods by the water’s edge, he wanted to know everything about this strange individual, this man who was dressed in the same manner as the fishermen he had seen earlier when he and his father had entered the park down closer to the dam.
“Hi!” the little boy yelled out as he ran up to Abdul. He was so excited he nearly tripped over a rock laying a few feet from where Abdul stood. Catching himself before he fell, he at once saw the items on the ground and stopped. The items on the towel caught his attention, and he turned to his father and asked: “Daddy. why does the man have a gun?” His father, preoccupied with removing some thorns he had picked up along the trail from his trousers, did not respond right away. Once he stopped, and saw what was on the ground, he grabbed his son’s hand; but Abdul was faster.
“It’s only for protection! I’ve heard there are bears in these parts.” Abdul said to diffuse the situation, with a slight grin on his face. “Don’t be afraid. I’ll put it away. The little boy stopped, thinking what he would say next. Abdul would not be deterred. This was only a distraction; this wasn’t a crisis. “How old are you, my man? he asked the little boy in his deep voice, carefully softening his intonation for the child.
“I’m five,” replied the youngster, turning his attention to the other objects on the ground.
Abdul relaxed a bit; but as his guard came down, the five-year-old continued his prying.
“What is the other thing?” the little boy asked, pointing to the suppressor.
“It’s just something I use when I’m inside to block out the noise.” Abdul responded. This little one was annoying. Abdul was becoming increasingly agitated. He had not reckoned on a nosy little boy messing up his plans for the morning.
Seeing his displeasure and sensing the strong current of Abdul’s mounting frustration, the young father looked at Abdul, and said softly, “I’m sorry to bother you”.
Then, looking inadvertently to the ground, he made the fatal mistake he would soon regret. “What’s this?” he continued, looking at the vials and plastic gallon containers of the yellowish-green liquid that had been meticulously aligned on the 2 x 4 foot blue towel Abdul had set up only minutes earlier. “Are these all for fishing?” he asked. He knew his mistake immediately when he saw the twisted expression on Abdul’s face and the sinister, dead, emotionless look in the man’s dark eyes. The father stopped, and, tugged again on his son’s hand; but it was too late.
Quickly screwing the suppressor onto the barrel of the Walther, Abdul was ready for what he had to do next. No one must know of his mission here, nor suspect anything amiss before his mission was complete. The life of the father was a small sacrifice for the greater good! One American for his own family. It was a no-brainer!
The little boy pleaded with him with his eyes. “Please don’t shoot us mister!” he cried, his little eyes growing larger as he saw the look of fear on his father’s face. It was over in an instant. Abdul didn’t blink an eye as he shot the father. He would let the little one go. It would be hours before the young boy would be found, and by then, Abdul would be on his way back home. It was good he brought the gun. It made the deed less personable. It was the gun that took the father’s life! He’d do it again if he had to!
Wasn’t that what he’d been sent here to do? Allah should be smiling! Standing there, the Walther still warm in his hand, he savored his accomplishment. It felt good. He was hot, flushed with his success. It was the gun! He was just a mortal! This cold, hard, piece of molded metal dictated to him what had to be done. It controlled his every action! With this weapon he was king. Abdul cradled the warm machine of death to his bosom.
Could it be the darkness that had crept into his being? Was it not only yesterday that he had been a teacher, a forger of young minds? What had happened in that interim between daylight and night? The “cause” was never his! How had he succumbed to the rhetoric and falsehoods of the caliphate? What i chose to go back?
The little one froze, staring at the lifeless body of the person who had been his father only moments before. He shook his father’s dead body, trying to elicit a response. When there was none, he looked to the man with the still-smoking, weapon of death. He could do nothing here, so he ran, into the thick brush of the woods, his eyes those of a child in distress, his heart a cold, hard rock of anger and mistrust. There would come a day when he would revenge his father’s death.