Chapter 16 (pt 2)
How quickly this had all happened! Where had they come from? How had they picked us up? The Mafia use car bombs at times as well as silenced automatics, ambush and overt violence to name but a few methods. I decided to call a taxi and get away. There was nothing I could do for my compatriot so I concluded that there was nothing to keep me here. I needed to deal with this situation and stop dithering! I have no doubt I would revisit my feelings regarding the loss of Misaki.
I talked to Sumisu. He is never demonstrative but he was very quiet when I informed him of Misaki’s death. He instructed me to go back to Gateshead and observe what was going on at the sports centre. He also warned me off revenge, reminding me that ‘it is a dish best served cold’! Sumisu suggested that I ring the police and let them know that there is a body in a car and the car maybe booby-trapped. After all it’s no more than the truth! I feel sick at the thought of what had happened to her but I had to leave. I found the number of a taxi company in a nearby town and arranged a pick up at their earliest convenience! Then, when there were only a couple of minutes to my lift arriving, I rang the police with my message and hung up very quickly. The taxi duly arrived and I asked for a lift into Middlesborough, which only took about fifteen minutes. I got out in the town centre and paid the man then headed for the station. There was a local train that took me back to Sunderland and I decided it would be politic not to stay in any of my usual haunts. I wondered how long they had known about our activities! We had stayed too long observing the Thompson house after Jim had been murdered, maybe it was then. Damn complacency had caused her death! It would not happen again I would make sure of that.
I found a pub with rooms that called itself a hotel. Somewhere that didn’t question my lack of luggage. In fact not only did I not have luggage, and therefore a change of clothes, but also neither had I a car or most of my ‘equipment’. I had my Glock 17 and knife, which I am never without. I would need to get organised tomorrow but tonight I was in the right place, a pub, to drown my sorrows and anaesthetize my feelings of guilt.
The following day I started late. The breakfast was greasier than I thought possible, or was that due to the state of my stomach after the previous night’s excesses? Nevertheless I ate it, the grilled tomatoes are excellent as a hangover cure, and then set off to acquire a car, clothes and luggage. I went back to the hotel/pub and deposited my gear, booked in for a week and then set off up to Gateshead. I parked on the main road that passes above the park on the edge of which is the new sports centre. The hire car was a Mondeo with a worn out clutch and tatty interior but it had a two-litre engine and was quite quick once I got it moving. I had bought some good binoculars and a new set of black gear and was suitably attired for covert operations. I eased my way into the woods at the top of the park that I’d used for cover when I had shot Jiacomo in the leg. This time I had no long-range weapon so it was going to be observation only for now.
I hadn’t been there for long when I realised that something had changed. There were perimeter guards! Oh they weren’t obvious. A bit like passers-by with no destination! I kept very still. I wasn’t sure whether one of them was close. I spent half an hour being like one of the trees around me and gauging how many guards there were. I managed to pick out three men who were patrolling apparently at random intervals. There didn’t seem to be anyone getting close to my hiding place. This was the first time that I had to think since Misaki’s murder. It came to me – ‘What on earth am I doing watching this lot?’ – What possible good could it do to sit here and wait? Perhaps Sumisu just wanted to cool my heels! If I had my long-range weapon I could take action to make me feel better! An hour later I was still there and had spotted nothing out of the ordinary. I rang Sumisu,
“What’s happening Sumisu san?” I demanded.
“Patrick san! I trust you have made yourself comfortable. The weather is dry in the north-east!” he replied calmly.
“Sumisu san what are we doing?” I almost shouted.
“Patrick san there have been developments that are rather disturbing,” he said in a more serious tone. “I was about to message you when you rang. Mrs Thompson has very influential friends! She has been released on bail and her passport confiscated although if she wishes to leave the country I am sure the Mafia will find a way! I would expect that at some point she will arrive at your location but only briefly. It is my belief Patrick san that she intends to withdraw from this area and move on. She may go back to Italy first to see her daughters; it seems they never left the ship. Patrick san I believe that James Thompson was a mere pawn in the Torino grand plan. Which came first I do not know. Did they meet, marry and have the children and then this plan was suggested to Janice; or, what would be more sinister was she sent to England twenty years ago to entrap Thompson and so on?” there was a touch of resignation in Sumisu’s tone.
“Why would she come back here Sumisu san?” I asked.
“It is my opinion Patrick san that she is in charge of this operation. I believe she will turn up to leave final instructions for the team remaining to wind things up. She will also to tell them where they need to head off to next!” he said. “If you stay where you are I think she will turn up and then…….. “
“Are you suggesting she doesn’t get back to Italy Sumisu san?” I asked quietly?
“The world will be a better place without her Patrick san!” he said quietly. “The mechanics I will leave to you and your special skills my friend!”
“Ok Sumisu san I will let you know when it’s done. Speak to you later!” I replied.
In all honesty I was shocked on two counts. My mentor had never used the term ‘my friend’ previously and the plain way in which he had suggested I kill Jacinta! I understood why I had received that instruction but was amazed that Sumisu had said the words! ‘Gob smacked’ was the expression to explain how I felt. I also was experiencing uplift in spirits because I had a goal and it went some ways to making me feel better about Misaki. The next step was to get closer so that my Glock pistol, or maybe the knife, would be certain to be affective.
It was mid-afternoon now so I would guess our lady would be here anytime. I looked about for my first target, which would be the guard up on this side. There was nothing to choose between them in size. They were all big and armed – suits by M & S! They had mobiles and spoke to each other occasionally and the guy nearest to me kept wandering up to the edge of the woodland where I was concealed. I worked my way closer to the edge and near to the regular pathway my first target was patrolling. I decided to wait until Jacinta; it seemed ludicrous to continue thinking of her as Janice, arrived before I made a move. Their attention would be on her at that point.
I waited another hour before there was an arrival. She came with a suit and a bodyguard. She herself was wearing a business suit. Gone was the slightly frumpy middle-aged housewife and here was the consummate businesswoman! The suit would be the corporate lawyer she had representing her. From what I could see she looked perfectly relaxed and there was no reason why she should be any different. She was guarded and on her way home fairly soon I thought. True to form the guard at my end was facing the compound where the prefabricated buildings were situated. There was no one watching me so I slipped in behind my guy, plunged the Glock blade into his heart from behind with a hand over his mouth until he gave up struggling then dragged him back into the undergrowth beneath the trees. One down!
There was no point in hanging around so I strolled along the edge of the wood as inconspicuously as possible towards the compound. I edged through the woods above the top perimeter fence and on to the street. I crossed the street and walked down towards where Jacinta’s car was parked. I took the valves out of the offside tyres that were nearest the curb and strolled away down the road. The empty house was still empty so I walked purposefully up the drive and started looking in the windows as before while watching the compound.
Suddenly, there was a lot of commotion, people running around and shouting and running towards cars. I guess they had found the guard’s body in the bushes! I watched as they got her car and discovered the tyres were flat. Now they were worried. Guns came out of coats held down by their owners’ sides so as not to be too conspicuous and people bristled round Jacinta and escorted her back to the compound where they found another car. I had to move quickly. I sprinted up the hill through the woods to my own car parked on The Avenue and made for the road that exited the estate on to the dual carriageway. That I had not foreseen and so it was skin of the teeth planning now - if it could be called planning!
They were driving in a black SUV followed by a similar coloured saloon. Actually remarkably easy to spot they were moving so fast. I kept pace but stayed back. My old, beat up silver Mondeo was a very useful vehicle to have hired. I had no trouble keeping up with them and I could hardly be more inconspicuous. Where they were heading was the big issue! I followed them on the Sunderland highway. I was thinking they might be heading for an airfield this time! They wouldn’t have had the time to organise another freighter so it must be an alternative and rapid means of transport. Therefore I concluded it might be a small jet or light aircraft possibly flying to Schiphol and from there a scheduled flight to the home country. They were heading towards Washington that would allow them to make several choices. The big airport is Newcastle but then there are several airfields around Gateshead and Durham. I kept them in sight but didn’t want to get too close. They might suspect that I am tailing them, but they won’t know for sure unless they spot a car staying with them. The fact that they were in two cars did nothing to make following easy. If the second car dropped back I would have to go ahead and follow the SUV. I’d be ‘the meat in the sandwich’! So far there was no sign of them doing that, which suggested to me that they were unaware of my presence.
“What on earth!” I exclaimed to the interior of the car. “Where are they going?”
At the next roundabout they took the route south on the A182, which in my mind was leading them nowhere near any of the airfields that I was aware of. I got on the mobile and rang Sumisu.
“Is it done already Patrick san?” he asked.
“No Sumisu san. They knew that there was a problem and fled. I am following down the A182. I believe they are heading for a flight somewhere. They could go to Teesside Airport, but can you find out if there is anything between please?” I requested.
“Certainly Patrick san, I will call you back,” and he disconnected.
They carried on driving towards Houghton-le-Spring. My phone rang.
“Hello Sumisu san?” I asked.
“Moshi moshi Patrick san. There is a small airfield at Fishburn near the A1M between junctions 61 and 60 heading south,” he stated rapidly. “Other than that it is Teesside!”“Thanks Sumisu san,” and I rang off.