Interstate 65 north of Bowling Green, Kentucky
The sun was just above the horizon and the sky was turning different shades of blue and orange as sunset approached. This should be the last night Fazal would need to live like a homeless transient.
The parklike area just down from the freeway looked to be a suitable place to spend his last night as a vaggabond. Fazal chose this mode of travel rather than risking the use of the identification and Visa card that had been provided to him. He had opted for being annonomous rather than give in to his own desire for some small comfort that he would derive from staying in a hotel. By tomorrow, he should arrive in Lexington, Kentucky where he would reach his contact and get instructions on how to proceed to their meeting in Northern Virginia. He still had more than $1,500.00 left from the money from the dead coyote.
Fazal was a man of simple needs. Sure, he enjoyed the luxuries of wealth as much as anyone, but he never allowed himself to become accustomed to those kinds of things. Losing your edge due to becoming soft was never an option for him.
Approaching the parking area of the rest stop, Fazal noticed a Chevy Impala with chrome wheels that was so lowered that he thought that certainly something on the underside of the vehicle would drag the ground. The music, if you could call it that, was loud enough to be heard easily over the traffic noise. A number of young Hispanic kids sat at a nearby picnic table sharing drags from a pipe obviously containing some form of banned substance. Two girls were laughing and joking while the two men seemed to be amused by their antics. One of the girls went over to a faded blue Toyota Corolla and retrieve a beer from a cooler inside. The Corolla appeared to be the only other car in the parking area besides the lowered Impala. One man was much larger than the other and possibly somewhat older. His head was shaved and he was covered with all manner of tatoos. This man took a long stare at Fazal as he walked past where they were parked. Fazal felt the eyes of the bald man boring into him, but gave no indication of recognition. Ignoring the man's look seemed to be the appropriate action since Fazal had no intention of getting into an altercation with anyone at this point of his journey. Fazal continued well beyond where the young people were in order to find a secluded place where he could bed down for the night. He found an area well away from anyone else that would suit his needs.
He thought, as he set up his makeshift camp and ate the fruit he had purchased from a roadside stand earlier, that by this time tomorrow, he should reach Lexington. He was to call his contact from a public phone and be directed to the hotel where a room was to have be reserved in his assumed name as a representative of an Arab-American organization called FAIR. (Federation of Arab Imigrant Relations) He would then proceed to the FAIR headquarters in Northern Virginia where he would meet his contact face to face. All things considered, thought Fazal, things had gone fairly well since leaving Texas. He had managed to make good progress and, for the most part, stay on schedule.
At about 10:30pm the music from the neighboring campsite had been turned off and a short time later, the Toyota drove out the exit and headed south on the freeway with three people inside. It appeared that the remaining person was there for the night since the Impala remained as it had been. In an hour or two, Fazal thought that he might be able to catch a nap and get an early start in the morning before anyone else was awake.
Rest room facilities consisted of a half dozen chemical toilets of questionable cleanliness and a number of water faucets spaced throughout the area, the closest of which was about 100 feet away from Fazal'a campsite. Taking a small towel and a ziplock bag containing a bar of soap, he walked over to clean up before retiring for the night.
The water was cold but nontheless refreshing and served well to wash away the grime of his primitive, and hopefully temporary, existance. Putting away the soap and towel into the ziplock, Fazal turned to head back to his campsite. It was then that he saw a shadow moving down the footpath toward to where he had set up camp. The hair on his arms stood erect and he immediately set down the bag and quietly moved toward where he saw the movement. The moon was out but at less than 1/4 phase and so low in the sky, it emitted very little illumination. Fazal neared the path where he had first seen the movement and looked toward where his campsite was. The figure of a large man was crouched over where Fazal had left his things.
"The case!" he thought, cursing himself for ever leaving it unattended.
Carefully, Fazal worked his way in closer and saw that what little light there was that night, was feflecting off of the shiny head of the thief. It was the man with the tatoos. Fazal neared the man from behind close enough to make out the familiar, gaudy tatoo on the mans head.
Fazal was not carrying his P220 since it was in the case with the Dragonov. The only thing available to him was the knife strapped to his ankle. Though not his weapon of choice, Fazal was well experienced in using the Gerber LMF. Besides, he would need the silence provided by the knife over the loud report of a pistol in these circumstances.
Silently moving while holding the knife by his thigh so as not to expose it in his silloette or have any light glint from it. Fazal heard the snap on the case give way and heard the man exhale a quiet explative when he saw the cash and weapons inside. Sweat was beading on the man's bald head and ran down the back of his neck. Fazal focused on the area just below the knot at the base of the man's skull and above the first vertabre. The man had the wad of cash in his left hand and the P220 in his right admiring his good fortune just as Fazal thrust the blade horizontally into the center of the soft area between his head and neck. With the initial penetration, the spinal cord was pierced and the P220 dropped from the man's now limp hand. Fazal's left hand immediately went over the man's bulging eyes in an effort to stabilize his target while twisting the blade with his right hand until it was oriented in a more vertical position. The nauseating sound made by this action signaled Fazal that the threat was all but eliminated. With another more vertical thrust, Fazal buried the blade nearly to the hilt into the man's brain. Taking the man out took only a few seconds and made hardly a sound.
Fazal labored to drag the corpse to some heavy vegetation nearby. The man was huge and outweighed Fazal by at least fifty pounds. The task left Fazal gasping for air and sweating. His plans for a restful night had evaporated. He had to move on....NOW.
The tee shirt he was wearing now was stained with the blood of the bald man. Not a lot, but enough to where he had to get rid of it. Just not here. Fazal returned to the faucet and cleaned up himself and the Gerber. He then removed the tee shirt and rinsed it out as best he could and put it into the ziplock bag with the soap. Collecting his things, and putting on his button shirt, he left the rest stop and walked north well off the highway until dawn. He could not risk being seen anywhere near the rest stop. He had come too far and was too near his objective to take any more risks. Compromising the mission over the actions of a common thief were unacceptable.