About the book;
Aydin Torkal – aka Sleeper 13 – is on the run.
Hunted not only by the world’s intelligence agencies, but also by the elite brotherhood of insurgents he betrayed, he has lived the past year like a ghost.
MI6 agent Rachel Cox knows Aydin better than anyone. The only person who believes he is an ally in the ongoing war on terror, not the enemy.
So when a coded message arrives from him, warning her not to trust her own colleagues, Rachel must choose between her career and the truth.
But as Aydin hunts down those who destroyed his childhood, the trail he follows will lead him closer to home than he ever expected.
He won’t stop until he has his revenge.
He is FUGITIVE 13
Chapter one; Sevilla, Spain.
The windowless room was a chilly sixteen degrees and the skin on Wahid’s bare arms prickled as he sat, alone, on the hard metal chair, in his prison issue cotton t-shirt and trousers.
The only door to the room was directly in front of him, across the plain metal table that, like his chair, was bolted to the floor. Thick cuffs clasped Wahid’s hands together. A chain ran down from his wrists to the cuffs around his ankles. The small amount of flex was long enough when he was sitting, but caused him to stoop uncomfortably and shuffle demeaningly when walking. Just one of many indignities designed to make him feel weak and defeated.
As Wahid stared straight ahead at the closed door, wondering what questions today’s trip from his cell would include, he heard footsteps the other side. Two sets. One set was cushioned – a guard, they all wore the same thick rubber-soled boots. The other footsteps made a sharper click-clack sound.
Hard soles on the concrete floor. Not a guard, but someone else. A smartly dressed someone else. Locks clicked and churned. Wahid thought through all of the people who’d been to see him in this place over the last twelve months. Which face would it be today? Which approach would they come at him with? Aggressive, conciliatory, understanding, accusatory? Whatever tactic they tried, all they had were their words, and Wahid was confident that this time would be no different.
The door swung open. Wahid caught a glimpse of the hand of the guard who’d opened it, but he didn’t make a move to come inside. The fresh face of a young man Wahid didn’t recognise appeared in the doorway. An unexpected visitor.
Wahid was immediately intrigued. Confidence and arrogance seeped from the man despite his youthful appearance. He stepped inside, hands behind his back, his eyes fixed on Wahid, both men unblinking. The door closed with a thud.
Locks clicked back into place. The man didn’t say a word. Wahid didn’t move, but his curiosity bubbled away, even though he was also now wary.
Something about this visit already felt different, wrong, even before the man glanced up to where one of the two CCTV cameras in the room was located. After a couple of seconds the little red light beneath the lenses flicked off. The lens shrivelled back inside its black plastic casing. The man switched his gaze to the other camera, which shut down too, before turning his attention to the four-foot-wide two-way mirror that took up most of one wall. In a flash the glare on the mirror noticeably reduced as the glass was blacked out from the other side.
Wahid’s eyes narrowed. The man finally looked at Wahid once more. ‘And now we can talk,’ he said. He slapped a newspaper down onto the table. A UK tabloid.
Wahid first glanced at the date. Today’s paper. Then his eyes fell upon the headline – Muchas Gracias, España – and the grainy image that accompanied it. A grainy image of Wahid. Despite himself, he frowned. The reaction drew a smile from the man. ‘Congratulations,’ he said. ‘You’re dead.’
Fifteen minutes passed. The man who’d introduced himself as Eric Neumayer was sitting opposite Wahid. Neumayer’s manner remained confident yet relaxed. Almost snide, with a plastered crooked half-smile. The man certainly wasn’t like any of the other visitors Wahid had had here, yet Wahid hadn’t said a single word since his arrival, despite his growing curiosity at the situation. Combined with his apparent authority– the switched-off cameras and the blacked-out glass – it was made clear to Wahid that Neumayer wanted to do the talking, not the other way round.
‘Do you understand what I’m saying to you ?’ Neumayer asked. Once again Wahid held his tongue. ‘The whole world believes you’re dead now.’ Or so the headline said. Wahid, aka Ismail Obbadi, the infamous terrorist caught red-handed on Spanish soil by MI6 more than twelve months before, had been killed in a brawl at a maximum-security jail in southern Spain.
‘The Spanish government have had enough of you. They don’t want to put you on trial, and neither does anyone else. They want rid of you. Within twenty-four hours you’ll be on a plane out of Europe for good. You’ll be sent directly to a black site. Zed site. Have you heard of that? I’m not kidding when I say it makes Guantanamo look like a luxury resort.’
Wahid’s mind whirred. Could the governments of Western European countries really be so corrupt and deceitful as to concoct such lies to their public? The answer was simple. Of course they could.
‘I’m sure I don’t need to explain what will happen to you when you get there,’ Neumayer said. ‘The lengths we’re prepared to go to in order to get you to talk.’ ‘We?’ Wahid said.
That smile on Neumayer’s face rose slightly at Wahid’s decision to speak. He hadn’t yet stated who he worked for, even though it was pretty damn obvious. ‘Does the accent not give it away?’ Neumayer said.
MI6, Wahid would bet, but once again chose to say nothing. ‘There’ll be no stop to the torture. Not until you tell them about your brother. And the others at the Farm.’ Wahid clenched his fists under the table. His brother, Talatashar, number thirteen, was still on the loose. Talatashar was the reason that many of Wahid’s brothers were now dead, and why Wahid himself would soon become a plaything of the British government. He could only hope the authorities never caught up with that vermin. He wanted his own people to get there first.
Neumayer looked up to the two cameras which remained switched off. Wahid’s eyes narrowed again. He had so many questions for the man sitting in front of him, but he wouldn’t ask them. He couldn’t show any weakness. ‘I’m not expecting you to open up to me here,’ Neumayer said. ‘And besides, to do so would be pointless.’
Neumayer paused as if for dramatic effect. ‘But I do have a message for you, from the man I work for.’ Another pause. The crooked smile on Neumayer’s face dropped away. He squinted and leaned forward.
The two words rattled in Wahid’s head. Two simple words that meant so much. Did Neumayer have any idea of the true nature of what he’d just said? That look on his face suggested he probably did. Then what was this? A threat? Or was it possible that Neumayer actually was an ally? That he was working for the same people as Wahid? Or was the threat, in fact, coming from his own people?
Wahid had never talked in the twelve months of his captivity. Hadn’t given away a single piece of intelligence. But now the authorities were shipping him out of jail to a black site – perhaps he was nothing but a liability. Once a shining example of the capabilities of his people, Wahid – number one – was now simply a problem.
Whatever the answer, it didn’t matter. Wahid knew what he had to do. Neumayer opened his mouth to speak again. Before a word passed his lips, Wahid roared, leaped up and hurled his whole body across the table. Neumayer twisted backward, trying to find a counter, but the element of surprise was enough to give Wahid the upper hand. The two men crashed to the ground. Neumayer was young and sprightly, but Wahid had been trained in close quarters combat since he was just a boy, and he’d always been top of the class at the Farm.
Despite Neumayer’s attempts to gain ground in the scuffle, Wahid seamlessly wormed onto his back. Neumayer’s lean body was on top, the chain between Wahid’s cuffs wrapped around Neumayer’s throat. Wahid tugged and pulled on the chains, his body tensed, the muscles on his arms rippling and bulging. Neumayer gasped for air, jolted and bucked. He threw fists and elbows into Wahid’s side.
An alarm blared. How did they know? Had they been watching all along, or had Neumayer somehow triggered the alert?
Barely a second later the door burst open and two uniformed guards barrelled inside, weapons drawn, shouting instructions in a convoluted mess of Spanish and half-baked English.
Neumayer screamed at the guards, as best he could with the metal crushing his throat.
There was a loud pop as one of the guards fired his dart gun. A painful jab on Wahid’s thigh. Another pop. Another jab in his shoulder. A wave of numbness quickly spread across his limbs. He only had a few seconds before he was out cold.
He tugged even harder on the chains. Wrapped the links around his wrist to shorten the flex further. The grip was now so tight the metal cut into his skin. Blood poured down his hands and arms. With one final effort, Wahid mustered all the strength he could and shouted out again with pure venom and hatred as he jerked sharply on the chains. There was a sickening crunch. Wahid didn’t know if he’d snapped the spine or crushed the windpipe. Maybe both.
Neumayer’s body gave a final fateful shudder, then he went still.
Wahid heaved a long sigh, his body slumped. His vision blurred before turning black.
Please note; I will be reviewing this as soon as I can due to having a personal incident at home. Thank you!