Susurrus

Episode I
A Golden Opportunity

A Novel by Rory Tillitson

This book is dedicated to my good friend Lorraine,
without her support and belief
in my writing, this book
may not have been
completed.
Thank you.

CHAPTER ONE

Who Am I?





North of Baghdad, nineteen ninety-six, this was not a good place to be since the recent desert storm action yet this is where Terry found himself now along with his spotter Sam Fielding. They were on an assignment to eliminate a high-ranking government official and they were setup in a farmhouse waiting for the mark to show in a silver Mercedes, he was to be accompanied by two other cars with a security detail.

Terry Mitchell was thinking, ”Why am I here... doing this? I could be working for a large corporation making lots of money... yet, I am in some... hell hole about to end some bastard's life.”

Terry was a somewhat handsome man of six feet, educated with a diploma from MIT which he attended following a stint in the army there he had attained the rank of Sergeant in the course of becoming an excellent sniper and was a training instructor before being discharged.

This innate ability of his for shooting and the fact that his mental makeup left him with no remorse or empathy with killing are the prime reasons that he was approached by a certain government agency and recruited for the job he was now doing.

He had become a hit man, a common assassin for want of a better word and after some hundred plus confirmed kills he was tired of his profession and yet he knew he couldn't just quit, that was not allowed no one had ever retired from the fellowship as it was called by his peers.

Sam whispered, ”Vehicle approaching.” Terry took up his position looking through the forty power scope mounted on his Winchester model seventy, three oh eight caliber bolt-action rifle and scanned the building one thousand meters away.

Noting the wind speed from gently waving grasses nearby he adjusted the windage knob on the scope and took one more quick look at the picture of the mark.

Then a black BMW four door sedan pulled up in front of the building followed closely by a silver Mercedes four door and another black BMW like the first one.

As they came to a full stop men poured out of the BMW's holding automatic weapons. They were looking in all directions including one that now looked Terry straight in his eye of course he didn't actually see him as the distance was too great.

Then one of the men at the front car lifted his hand and the driver of the Mercedes opened a back door then a man stepped out slowly, stood up and was looking towards Terry.

The mark! Terry exhaled and squeezed the hair-trigger... Pffffft! The bullet was expelled through a silencer.

A small hole appeared in the mans forehead and before he hit the ground or the others could react Sam and Terry were already moving out of the farmhouse and climbing into the back of a waiting truck.

They crawled under a tarp and rapped on the bed of the truck, once given the signal the driver began to leave the area headed towards the west coast.

Several hours later after driving around border checkpoints in Syria and Lebanon they had arrived at a small port south of Beirut. There they boarded a thirty-two foot sailboat and were heading out to sea under sail.

They had gotten about two miles off the coast into the Gulf under clear skies and a rising sun when a helicopter gunship was approaching from the east. Terry was at the helm saying, ”Just act normal... don't stare... we are just two guys out for a sail... remember that... we are no threat to them.”

Sam nodded and replied, ”Well, they are one hell of a threat to us.” then the gunship fired a missile, before they could think never mind act the explosion blew the boat to pieces.

Some time later a passing ship picked up a man floating in the sea hanging on to a duffle bag. The ship's medical man, who was not a doctor more of a medic with some first aid training had stopped the bleeding and stabilized the man.

The following morning he had come to check on his patient he asked him his name in Greek. The man shook his head not understanding, so the fellow asked again in English, ”Your name? What is your name?” Terry said, ”Mitchell... I think... not sure?”

The medic said, ”You have suffered a concussion... along with injuries to your face... looked like shrapnel wounds I have seen before... I stitched your cheek wound up as best I could do.” Terry was beginning to recall what had happened but remained silent. The medic said, ”You were holding on to that bag.”

He was pointing to a duffle bag. Terry said, ”OK... thank you for your efforts.” The fellow had no sooner left than Terry with some effort as he was very sore from the blast opened the duffle. Inside he saw a huge amount of cash American hundred-dollar bills.

He was trying to think where it came from shortly he was mentally picturing Sam carrying a bag that he had wondered what it was and where had it come from. Now he was realizing that Sam must have taken it from the safe-house they had used when they had begun the mission.

It was a deserted, older, quite ornately decorated large home and while they were waiting for the go signal Sam was constantly nervously nosing around he must have found one of Saddam's stash's of cash that were hidden all over Iraq.

The following morning feeling better he was up and about he was standing on the deck of a small freighter enjoying the sea breeze when the medic and ships captain approached. The medic said, ”Good morning!” Terry answered, ”Good morning to you.”

The medic said, ”The Captain speaks no English... however he doesn't want trouble with the authorities and wishes you to leave before we get to our destination... there is a small skiff he will give you for your departure... tonight you can easily row to the coast of Egypt it will not be a far distance... do you agree?”

Terry said, ”Of course... I'm feeling better and wish no trouble for the Captain. However I have no papers so I probably won't get far but tell your Captain... I will not involve him in any way... I am very grateful for your aid.”

The medic writing on a pad said, ”Here is an address of a friend that can help with papers... he is very good and will always help those in need.” He handed Terry a page from his notepad with a number and street on it which Terry stuffed in his pocket nodding and saying, ”Thank you... I shall never forget this.”

Not long after it was dark the medic came and escorted Terry to a small skiff floating beside the freighter at the bottom of a rope ladder. The lights of a city were not far off on the horizon. The medic said, ”That is the town of my friend... good luck.” Terry climbed down the ladder into the skiff and was on his way.

An hour later he beached the skiff and carrying the duffle he walked towards the small town. When he was just on the outskirts of the town he looked around and found a small abandoned hut.

There were several old boxes and other rubbish to its side moving a few items he had covered the duffle after he had put some of the cash in the cargo pockets of his pants.

He then proceeded into the town, as he approached the buildings a woman appeared carrying what looked like a water jug on her head. Without speaking he simply showed her the address and after a quizzical look she pointed to her left up a side street. He continued in that direction and repeated the same action, not speaking and showing the address to a man walking by who pointed further up the street.

He was looking at numbers on the buildings when he stumbled on a carelessly left box that after replacing it he had seen “Torrance Industrial” printed on it. Just as he was starting to walk away he noticed a man peering out a window above which were the numbers of the address. He showed the paper to the fellow who simply motioned for him to come in as he opened a door.

Once inside Terry said, ”English... Do you speak English?” The man said, ”I am Hussein Mohammed and yes... I speak English. What can I do for you?”

Relieved Terry said, ”I am in need of a passport... I have lost my papers and am in dire need of same, I was given this address and told that you could help. Is that true?”

Hussein said, ”Yes... for a price anything is a possibility... I am to assume you are American... and that you do not wish to go to the embassy for a replacement... or you cannot... true?”

Terry answered, ”You are correct... can you help?” Hussein stared at the face before him for some time then handing Terry a comb said, ”Here... fix your hair... we need a good photograph.”

He was pointing to the side of the adjacent room where a chair was sitting in front of a hanging green cloth. Terry dragged the comb through the locks of curly blond hair and Hussein nodded.

He sat down there was a flash and Hussein said, ”What name to put in the passport?” Terry said, ”T... Uh... Mitchell... No... Mitch... Torrance... yes, Mitch Torrance”.

Hussein grinned saying, ”Mitch Torrance it is then, no middle initial?” Terry answered, ”No... no initial.” Shortly Hussein had asked him to sign his name and Terry wrote, ”Mitch Torrance” for the first time in his new life.

Shortly Hussein handed Mitch a very real looking passport U.S. Seal on the cover and inside was a stamp from the Egyptian customs and immigration department dated three days ago, the picture page contained his face and San Francisco as the issuing office dated a year ago.

As Hussein said, ”It is real... I get blanks from a friend at the embassy... no forgeries here my friend... well not the passport at any rate. That will be one thousand US dollars please?”

Mitch pulled out some cash and gave the one thousand to him. Hussein said, ”If you wish... a second one would only cost five hundred... it could come in very handy.” Mitch nodded handing him the five hundred and shortly he had both passports. The second had several stamps inside from various Mediterranean countries.

Mitch had thanked Hussein and walked away. Retracing his steps he collected the duffle went back to the skiff shoved it in the water and began to row eastward towards Cairo. The rising sun was almost blinding him as it was dead in his face then an extremely tired Mitch pulled ashore and seeing no one around fell asleep.

He woke up to the sound from a truck passing on a road some one hundred meters from the shore. He guessed from the height of the sun that he had been asleep for half the morning. He splashed some sea water on his face and walked up to the road. He flagged down another truck and was on his way to Cairo.

Once there he had stopped in a shop where he obtained some new clothing and checked into a middle class hotel. The payment in cash drew wondering looks from the clerk who knew most American's never walked around using cash.

After awhile he had found a bank and purchased several travelers cheques knowing these would cause much less in the way of stares from the locals.

Not wishing to stay in Egypt for too long yet not really wanting to buy an airline ticket, as most travelers would have a round trip ticket too many questions involved.

After a bath and a good nights rest he hired a cab the following morning, after some dialog with the driver he was on his way to Hurgada a city where the cabbie had said, ”There is a marina there with boats for rent... if you wish to enjoy the Red Sea.”

Once in Hurgada he paid the cab driver at the waterfront area looking around Mitch found a restaurant, while eating he questioned the waitress about boat sales. She had pointed to a boat yard not far away.

He was looking at a forty-two foot sloop sitting up on dry land supported by several wood blocks as a man walked up saying in English, ”Interested... this was left here following some repairs that the owner could not pay for... it's a bargain at... two hundred thousand.”

Mitch turned and looked at the sales rep for several seconds then said, ”If... and I mean... if... the boat checks out to my satisfaction... and there is a new set of sails... and all new rigging, that is lines... new... rigged for single-handed sailing... I'll pay one hundred thousand... American... cash!” The Egyptian glared for several minutes at the ground then answered, ”Deal!”

Holding out his hand which Mitch shook and after money changing hands the work on the boat had begun. Mitch checked into a hotel near the marina and he had quickly become a pain in the sides of the marina workers. Constantly demanding the smallest items be done as being necessary for his sailing the boat.

A month later a quite relieved boat salesman was watching a newly painted sailboat, with a new engine, sails, rigging, full set of new winches and most enjoyed by him his newest nemesis Mitch underway heading out into the Red Sea hopefully never to be heard from again.

Mitch was laughing inside as he sailed away fully aware that the fellow wanted him gone in the worst way possible. The first day Mitch had sailed south towards the Arabian Sea and turned east.

He found himself at the port of Ash Shihr in Yemen not exactly a tourist stop but there were a lot of boats in the harbor. He needed some supplies and fresh water he had quickly found that water was a precious commodity aboard a sailboat, what with the heat he was continually using it to cool off and just about emptied the tank on the boat.

While in Yemen he asked around and found it very easy to get almost any weapon he wanted. He had asked a local food vendor if he knew where he could buy a handgun. He was directed to a small nondescript building and a man who had just what he wanted.

The man who had wished to remain anonymous showed Mitch a room full of various handguns, rifles and automatic weapons. Mitch checked out several and finally bought two Smith and Wesson nine millimeter pistols, two Colt forty-five model nineteen eleven pistols, and his favorite a Winchester model seventy in three oh eight caliber with a scope. This he had to look closely at because it was almost identical to the one that he had lost in Iraq.

He took these along with four radios that he checked for working order - they had the same frequency - along with four two-way ear bugs that worked with the radios. All of this and several boxes of ammo he carried back to the boat. He had stashed them away along with cleaning kits that the fellow had tossed in.

All of this he had bought for five hundred American dollars which he felt was a bargain, even though he also figured they were probably taken off dead American soldiers. He reasoned that better he had them than someone else in the middle east.

Mitch spent the night in the harbor leaving at first light and continuing on an easterly course. A couple of days later he found himself in Colombo on Sri Lanka once again in need of supplies and fresh water. This was a recurring theme that was beginning to irritate him so he had picked up some extra five gallon water jugs and two ice chests for fresh foods.

He also bought a couple of used but in good shape Penn open-faced reels and ocean rods these he had filled with eighty pound fishing line. Along with the rods he purchased several large heavy lures containing plastic eyes meant to resemble bait fish and a box of various colored plastic streamer tails for them.

Apparently the lures were left by an American following several failed fishing trips that had ended in no catching or so the story went. The whole mess the local had let go cheap. Mitch had thought they were probably stolen and the local had no idea of the value. He also picked up a new Sony laptop it could run on twelve volts so he now had something to do at sea.



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