The Observer

By: T Patrick Phelps

 a Political Suspense Thriller (Derek Cole Suspense Thriller Book 3)


5:15 pm

August 15, 2014

It was cooler than he wished. Though he did not know if the temperature might alter the expected and desired aftereffects, he believed the cool weather would keep people too comfortable. If it were warmer, even hot, more people would be driven outside to enjoy the late August weather. And when the heat proved to be too much, those same people would be forced to retreat inside for the cooling comfort of air conditioning, coupled with a thirst quenching drink. Inside, was where he needed them to be.

He switched the key of his car to “on” and waited for the touch screen display of the 2010 Lincoln Navigator to jump to life. There were only two things he cared about; the time and the temperature.

“Sixty-eight degrees,” he sighed. “Too cool. Much too cool for August.”

The display only told him that his time was drawing to an end. The display could not remind him that he still had a choice. A choice was something he believed he still had. Though his thoughts were cloudy and his head, fuzzy, having a choice was something he knew.

“Just a few more minutes until I am free,” he thought, trying to force the fuzziness from his mind.

A cell phone sat beside him on the vacant passenger’s seat. Though he was sure the phone's signal would be strong and battery near full, he grabbed it, flipped it open and pressed a few numbers, grateful to hear the tones. He didn’t expect his mentor to call for another few minutes, making him wonder why he was instructed to arrive so early.

“It will make people nervous,” he said to his mentor the day the plan was detailed to him. “A car sitting outside a restaurant in that part of town will make people nervous. Someone might say something. Especially now after everything that has happened.”

“Things must be well timed,” his mentor said. “Our plan needs to be flexible in case of interruptions. Do not worry about being seen. They will all notice you when the time is right. And then, no one will ever forget you.”

He knew better than to question his mentor. Aahill was so new to the organization, and his mentor had already proven himself to be brilliant. He felt that he was not worthy to question someone as brilliant and as well respected as his mentor. But soon, in a matter of minutes, his name would be listed among the great ones. The ones who sacrificed all so the truth could be told and the non-believers, punished.

Still, he wished for less time to wait. Or perhaps, more time.

Aahill turned the key to “off” and waited. He studied the people passing along either side of the street, some with a direction, others ambling by. He wondered why more were not walking into his target. The research the organization had done listed his target as a popular and highly-rated place: One of the most “liked” taverns in the area.

Having lived in Manhattan for only a few months, Aahill was far from an authority on taverns in the Upper East Side. But of all the places listed in his instruction list to “check out,” this became his favorite. The location was perfect; near both office buildings and apartment buildings.

The two times he had been inside, he found the bar and seating areas packed with patrons. Most inside wore crisp, white shirts, ties and sport jackets; telling him this was the place where people who lived in the nearby apartments stopped for dinner or a few drinks on their way home from work.

As he sat waiting, Aahill could not prevent his thoughts from returning to the sudden and unexplained events that ended with him sitting outside the tavern, several days before the original planned day.

“Friday is your day, Aahill,” his mentor said. “Friday will mark your entrance into greatness and the day that the infidels will mourn for generations.”

“But that is not the day you told me before?” he said. “I thought I had more time. That our plan was not ready yet?”

“Our leader knows things you and I cannot possibly understand. And our leader says Friday is your day. This Friday.”

Aahill didn’t question his mentor. He was, after all, respected by so many and guided by something divine. His mentor always seemed patient while others, those of Aahill’s “other life,” were cruel, quick to insult or, worse, to dismiss. When his mentor praised him for choosing this tavern as the location, Aahill remembered the stirrings in his soul when his mentor said, his face filled with a smile, “You are guided by Allah. Who am I to question your beliefs?".

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