“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 21

From the OP, Kathy and Storm saw the fire blossom and a minute later watched JoelJWM Serialization Hankins run out the shop door and drive away in his van. Kathy, turning to Storm said, “I just got back from putting our tracker beacon on his car. Now we can track that murderous bastard.” Using the secure cell Frank had given them, she called him and said, “The rug shop killer is on the move in his car. Tracker beacon is in place. Everyone else in the rug shop must be dead. I can hear the sirens coming. We are all okay here.”

As Kathy hung up, she heard Jack knock on the door. Storm opened the door and looked startled when she didn’t see Lou. Jack said, “Don’t worry, he is only a minute or so behind me.”

Kathy ran over and gave Jack a hug with tears of relief running down her cheeks. She wiped her eyes and said, “I’ve called Frank, and he has his airborne tracker up and searching for Hankins’ van. It shouldn’t be a problem. I think we need to get Lou and Storm out of here. Our cover story for being here and not calling in the fire is marginal at best.”

“Okay, send them back to the hotel. We’ll contact them tomorrow. After our neighborly curiosity is satisfied, we can also head home. Tomorrow we’ll find out what we can about the fire investigation and go from there. If we are very lucky, the bomb residue may not be too apparent, and it will be classified as an accidental fire of unknown origins. A burned down rug shop won’t incite a first class investigation even with the five bodies, unless they are identified and have suspicious records.”

“Frank won’t want this fire linked to a failed terrorist attempt. He’ll be thinking maybe the Professor will buy that the fire was caused by a faulty bomb mix. No one can tell the Professor differently. Our sick serial killer won’t know and the others died in the fire. We still may be able to use our rug merchant to find the Professor. I think he will stay in his comfort zone along the southeast coast. He must have some way of contacting al Qaeda. Maybe through a personal ad in a local paper.”

“Call Kelly and tell her there is no longer an emergency but to come anyway. I believe the Professor had more of a reason for beginning his terror campaign in Charleston than the fact he had a rug shop safe house in town. If he continues here, we have to be ready for him and right now our team is ragged. We need to get it together. Maybe we should keep this OP location, even if our former target is now burning to the ground.”

Kathy said, “I agree the Professor will keep his focus here. I think he has more than a safe house in the area. He must have at least ten people working with him and a lot of past homework. We might as well keep this place. Lou and Storm can set up here, maybe with a camera shop cover.”

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