When they completed their quick tour of the main attractions and still in possession of their wallets, it was time to find their ship. For the direction, they looked for a particular landmark, the Columbus Monument, to be exact. With a height of 155 feet, it was easy to see, when they were again above ground. The bus to take them to the boat should be close by, or so they were led to believe. They dragged their suitcases through the large cobblestone square in temperatures touching 30 degrees C.
"How long do we have to wait?" asked the passenger of the SUV, a thin, wiry man with long sideburns, a bad complexion, his eyes obscured by sun glasses. Both men were from Algeria, hit men for the 'Enigma' - not a job title they could put on any resume or their passports. The driver was a swarthy looking fellow, with a fleshy face, brown eyes and a roll of fat that hung over his belt. He turned to his partner with a terse answer, "until we finish the job."
"But we've been here for two hours," the other complained. "I don't think they are coming."
"Why would they come earlier and stand around the dock? Perhaps they went to dinner or are sight-seeing," said the driver. "We'll wait."
The continual whining of his partner frayed his nerves. This murder was a small job - he would have been better off alone. Instead, he was saddled with this young upstart who made a habit of complaining.
The passenger took a deep breath and caressed the gun across his lap. He didn't like the idea of sitting in a stolen vehicle for two hours. What if someone saw them? He had been with the 'Enigma' for a short time, enough for two murders. The driver had been with them for ten years, so he assumed he had to take orders from him, whether he liked it or not.
They had parked the SUV off the road, in a small park, tucked into a clearing between a cement wall and some trees, out of sight, but within sight of the bus stop. They had covered the bus stop sign with another sign, one to lure their victims. They hoped not too many passengers would wander into the trap.
Borders and Hill arrived at the Columbus monument, looked around, but there was no bus in sight. Crossing the intersection, they headed in the general direction of the port. Soon they reached a cobblestone parking lot, which was devoid of any cars. Borders dragged his suitcase a few feet and found out why cars stayed away. The stones in the parking lot were square, of different heights, planted on the end rather than on the larger flat side. This layout resulted in some stones being one or two inches shorter, than the one next to it. No stones adjacent to each other were of the same height. It was almost impossible to drag a suitcase. To save the wheels, he carried it. Hill, about thirty feet ahead of him called out.
"Our bus stop is down here. There is a sign that says Bus to Ships."
When Borders eventually reached the edge of the parking lot, he too saw the sign, next to a shiny aluminum bench. 'Thank God.'
Hill remained standing, looking about while Borders plunked down on the seat. Within seconds, he sprang up like a scalded cat and wondered if I had third-degree burns. An aluminum seat and 30 degrees C was not a good combination. He placed his hand on the seat. God, it was hot. Then, like Hill, he stood and looked around and wondered if Hill had sat on the seat when he first arrived.
The driver of the SUV grasped his partner by the arm, alerting him.
"There they are," he said, "just heading for the bus stop."
The passenger looked and took the safety off his weapon.
"Let's go," he said and started to roll down the window.
"No, wait until they are at the bus stop, there will be nowhere to run."
"They won't have a chance to run," said the passenger.
The driver turned the key in the ignition, just as a bus pulled in front of them and stopped.
"What the ...?" said the passenger and started shouting out the window. "Move that bus," he screamed, but the bus driver was unable to hear him, or was unwilling to move the vehicle. "Move that damn bus," the passenger yelled, banging his fist on the side of the SUV.
The bus driver had practiced the same routine for the past ten years. It was his lunch break. He had found this place under the trees, and here he settled with his sandwich and wine. He found this better than going back to the depot. Driving back and forth wasted time and at the depot the others would only argue about politics and football. This spot was much better - he could even take a short nap. It was a grand day to be alive, he thought, and he opened the door in search of a breeze.
As the bus remained stationery, rooted to the spot, the men in the SUV, unable to drive forward, became more desperate. The vehicle, parked between the trees and the cement wall was not able to move, nor could the doors be opened. The passenger poked his weapon out the window and fired at the bus. Near the rear of the bus, the rounds slammed into the side. Still, the bus remained stationery. The passenger fired again. This time the shots shattered the side windows, spreading shards of glass on the floor.
The bus driver rose in shock, dropping his wine bottle that crashed on the floor of the bus. Instead of trying to escape with the bus, he ran through the open door and across the park.
About one-quarter mile up the street, Borders and Hill saw a bus parked in what seemed to be a small park. They assumed it was their bus, waiting for more passengers to arrive at the bus stop. As Borders stared at the bus as if that would coax it to move, his attention was averted by a young woman, some distance away in the other direction, calling to them.
"Are you waiting for the cruise bus, it's down here?" she called.
Hearing this remark, they completely forgot about the other bus, ignoring the popping sounds coming from that direction or seeing a man running from it. They followed the woman for a quarter of a mile, and there, around the corner was another bus. After a short ride, they arrived at the "Norwegian Lights," their home for the next twelve days. They were greeted by crew members and anti-bacterial sprays while five-hundred feet above, a silver drone flew over.
The two men, desperate to get out, smashed the windshield of the SUV. It would only be a matter of minutes before the park would become inundated with la policia. They had a habit of shooting first and asking questions later. With his gun barrel, the passenger smashed at the glass, finally breaking it and pushing it aside. Both men scrambled out of the SUV, leaving the weapon on the front seat, and fleeing from the park.
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...