Focused eyes bounced back and forth from the photo that lay on the desk, to the faces of the passengers leaving the YHZ flight. The four sons of India were looking for two men, one, in particular. They jabbered continually, extended fingers pointing at the photo and the screens. For two-hundred dollars, 'Enigma' had enticed six Indians to get this information. Alarms sounded in the background by doors that had been opened by mistake or otherwise. They were ignored by security too involved by the task at hand. The stalkers finally settled on one man, Borders, although all were not strictly in agreement. The room built for six now held sixteen. As one man held the joystick in his hand, others tried to wrestle it away, arguing in loud voices, believing they could do a better job. When one snapped photos, others argued that they were out of focus, too near, or too far. They watched Borders take a seat with a group of people who were taking the next plane south. Within a few minutes, they lost interest and began to follow a girl wrapped in a sari.
Borders and Hill made their way through the cavernous passageways, with windows that reached from floor to ceiling, arriving at their gate with about five hours to spare. Each gate had its area with ample seating. Excited passengers filled half of theirs. Borders wondered if all these people were going to Barcelona. Looking them over, he tried to decide if they were possible cruise people and if the man in a Panama hat was among them. Most were young families, like those that would go to the Caribbean. A few hours later, all but a few of them had departed, on a flight to the Dominican Republic, leaving about twenty people still seated, none of them wearing a Panama hat. Perhaps he was already in Barcelona.
The sound of "crunch" grabbed Borders's attention. He had heard the sound before, but it wasn't the sound that was startling, but its location. He had never heard it before in an airport lounge. Looking about, he saw that it originated from a couple seated a short distance from him. He watched the woman peel down the sides and take a bite. "Crunch." His mind told him he should be looking at a banana, but his eyes told him something different. She had peeled down a piece of plastic similar to peeling a banana, but she was holding an English cucumber, hence the crunch. Borders watched, heard a "crunch," blinked a few times and yes, it was still a cucumber. No one else paid any attention.
She was about thirty years of age, Asian, refined, in a dark business suit and white blouse. At the top of her head, her hair was pinned in a knot. She reminded Borders of one of the wives of Genghis Khan. Her demeanor was in sharp contrast to the man sitting beside her. 'I think the cuke did something to her brain.' He was tall with long, scraggly, dirty blond hair - his face covered in what he probably assumed would someday be a beard. An unkempt tee-shirt hung over jeans that dragged on the carpet. His wallet was secured to his belt by a two foot braided chain, and a spiked bracelet adorned each wrist. His appearance reminded Borders of the leader of the "Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club." A wannabe biker and Borders wondered if he even owned a bicycle.
The man with the dirty blond hair looked at Borders under hooded eyes. "Enigma' had marked this man for elimination. He knew he could easily do it. All he needed to do was follow him to a restroom and knife him. No one would be the wiser. His orders had been explicit, keep track of the man until he was on the plane, eliminate him if the opportunity arose and don't call any attention to himself.
He sat across from Borders and struck up a conversation with the Oriental woman, hoping it would make them appear as a couple. He thought the plan was working until she bit into that cucumber. With the loud crack, Border's eyes focused on them. There was no way now that he could do anything unobserved. He moved to another seat some distance behind Borders, where he could at least keep an eye on him.
Passengers wandered in and scattered about, taking vacant seats. With his attention focused on the odd couple and the cucumber, Borders failed to notice the man carrying a white hat. He was about fifty years of age, stocky, average for his age group. Wisps of hair floated around his head and fell to a face that seemed to have a touch of too much recent sun. Thin lips, pressed close together, and a knitted brow gave the impression of annoyance. The man sat behind Borders, his hat resting on his lap. If Borders had noticed him, he would have been worth a second glance because of the white hat. Because of his age, he would discount him as a terrorist. They tended to be younger. Still, he would keep all those with white hats in the same box.
YOU ARE READING
Mediterranean MissionMystery / Thriller
Mason Borders, operative for CSIS, has been given a new mission. He has to track a terrorist on a Mediterranean cruise. The ship will stop at a number of ports along the way. Any of the ports from Barcelona to Istanbul could be the target. While Bor...