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Karim and Ahmed shared a quick look. Ahmed said, “We think so.”

“You think so?”

“It burned down,” Karim said with forced confidence.

Hakim could tell there was some disagreement between the two. “You saw it burn down?”

“No,” Ahmed said, sheepishly.

“The house caught fire faster than we expected,” Karim said. “People were bound to come. The RV was in danger of catching fire.”

“So the barn didn’t burn down?”

“We used some of the extra fuel and poured it on the ground between the house and the barn. I’m sure it caught fire.”

“The fuel cans were yellow,” Hakim said.

“What does that matter?” Karim asked.

“It was diesel fuel.”


“Diesel fuel is combustible, not flammable.”

“It still burns.”

It did, but not anywhere nearly as easily as gasoline. Hakim didn’t have the energy to explain. The fuel had likely soaked into the ground and dissipated before it could give off enough vapor to ignite. “What did you do with the extra provisions?”

“There wasn’t time to deal with them,” Karim said. “But I am sure they are destroyed.”

He really was a pigheaded idiot. “And if they haven’t been destroyed, they will find the motorcycles, weapons, ammunition, food, fuel, passports, cash, and the two backpacks that I prepared for each of you.” Hakim tried to shake his head, but it hurt too much. “If the FBI isn’t already there, they are on their way.” He handed Karim the hand-held GPS device. “Head west. Stop at the first gas station you see and then take Highway 54 South. We need to get moving. And remember . . . only diesel fuel. No regular petrol.”



SENATOR Lonsdale wasn’t entirely sure why she was going, but as she entered the lobby of the Watergate Complex South apartment building there was no turning back. Harry the doorman had already seen her and was on the move. From the outside she looked put together and ten years younger than her fifty-eight years, but inside she felt fragile, vulnerable, and beat. Even so she continued across the lobby on a course that would carry her toward the elevator bank and Harry, who was now waiting for her with a sad expression on his face.

“Good evening, Senator.”

“Evening, Harry,” Lonsdale said without much energy.

“Sorry about everything,” the doorman said sincerely. “I know you lost quite a few friends.”

Lonsdale was on her fourth day in a row of funerals and wakes. The pain of watching families torn apart was difficult, to say the least, but Lonsdale had to carry the additional burden of knowing that it was her hounding of the CIA that had more than likely opened the door for the terrorists. “Thank you, Harry. And my condolences to you as well. I know Senator Safford cared a great deal for you.”

“I’ve been here eighteen years, and he’s been here the entire time.” Harry choked up a bit. “I’m going to miss him something fierce.”

“We all are, Harry. We all are.” Lonsdale patted him on the arm. “You take care of yourself.”

“You too, ma’am.”

Lonsdale took the elevator to the sixth floor, and when the doors opened she stepped out and stopped. She looked to her right and didn’t move. She almost got back in the elevator, but the doors closed behind her and then the apartment door to her right opened. Senator Carol Ogden poked her head out and said, “Darling, you weren’t thinking of leaving, were you?”

Lonsdale looked at her fellow senator’s hot pink velour sweat outfit and put a fake smile on her perfectly lined lips. “Not at all.”

“You could have fooled me,” the senator from California said. “And you look like you need a drink.”