He wanted to continue reading in the park he’d been in before or to continue his sight-seeing around the city but the day was grey and overcast. Besides he also wanted to be near his car in case Riaz was found outside of the police’s safe keeping.
He’d learned that much at least from the woman. That Riaz hadn’t gone to the police after his near miss with the bomb and that they hadn’t found him, or at least hadn’t when they’d questioned her. They were looking for him, that was obvious, and Raoul guessed that he knew why they were. It was probably a good thing that the woman hadn’t known where he might have gone. If she had, if she’d even had an idea, she would have told the police when they questioned her and Riaz would probably have been picked up.
Even now they had two advantages over him. They had immediate access to any information. Raoul too would get the same information, but probably not till it had been through several contacts. They also benefited from having lots of men. Not only would they get information more quickly they’d be better placed to react to it. The delay and the extra bodies would mean that they’d have the time and the resources to get to Riaz before he could himself. He had considered the merits of getting access to extra manpower himself through his U.K. contacts. He’d decided against the idea. He used third parties when he had to, mainly for procuring things that he had either no time or no contacts to do, but the completion of the actual assignment he had always reserved to himself. He had decided just to wait. To react to circumstances as they unfolded. Actually he didn’t really have any other choice, so it made the decision somewhat simpler.
He bought another book, ready to move straight on to it as soon as he’d finished the one he was currently reading. The assistant didn’t notice, or at least didn’t comment, that it was in English. He could speak English fluently, as well as many who had it as their first language and as Johnson he used that language. This small token that he’d successfully carried it off was welcome. When he was pretending to be Enrico Gomez, he spoke only hesitant Worlderin. He’d found that using Worlderin was a good way of not getting drawn into conversations when he didn’t choose to. It was good protection too. He hoped that if he did have to use this alias his language skills, or apparent lack of them, was another factor which might throw suspicion away from him.
The skies hadn’t improved when he stepped outside again after buying the book, so he returned to his hotel room. It was much earlier than he usually arrived back there but late enough for the maid, who every day cleaned and tidied his room and made up the bed, to have already visited and completed her routines.
He kicked off his shoes and carefully removed and hung up his suit. He took the mobile from the pocket and placed it on the bedside table next to his partly read book. He lay on the bed and picked this up, continuing to read from where he’d left off the previous night, and waited for the call that he hoped would tell him more about Riaz’s whereabouts.
The first call he took, that told him Riaz had drawn cash from his U.K. account, he received too late to do anything about. It did at least though tell him his quarry hadn’t yet been found by the police. Riaz himself would have no doubt worked out that the explosion had been an assassination attempt. If he’d been picked up by the authorities he would undoubtedly have pushed that fact vociferously. Raoul had no expectation that any detailed investigation would draw any other conclusion. He’d made no real attempt to make it look other than it was. Sure, he’d done it in such a way that a cursory inspection would point towards an accident, but only to give himself a few extra hours to get out of the country. He’d expected it to be successful so even if a more detailed examination revealed the truth, and even if that truth then led them to somehow work out the perpetrator, he’d be long gone by the time they did.
When they found the woman’s body any suggestion or suspicion would leap immediately to likelihood. It would be difficult to come up with a more plausible explanation than that someone was after Riaz. Raoul had worked this out even before deciding to question her, but he’d decided it was a gamble worth taking. She might have known something really useful. And there was a possibility at least that it would take a few days before her absence caused enough alarm bells to be rung for it to become the subject of investigation.
It seemed almost certain that if Riaz had been found by the police, they wouldn’t have just left him to go on his way again. They would, he was sure, try to hide him. A short term solution at first, perhaps while they tried to find Raoul, then something more permanent. If he were still at large then to visit cash points it must be because he wasn’t under the protection of the police. That Riaz had not chosen to deliver himself to the authorities, either immediately or later after the initial shock of the explosion had passed, did not strike Raoul as odd at all. He didn’t know Riaz himself but knew plenty of others just like him, and wasn’t surprised that his distrust of relying on the authorities would outweigh his desire to find safety.
The short telephone conversation that had brought him the news had been innocent sounding, so he saw no need to go to the added trouble and expense of changing phones again yet. He’d keep this one and use it for at least one more call. He put the mobile back on the bedside cabinet he’d picked it up from. Before returning to his book he ordered some food from Room Service. He’d eat here, ready to respond if another call came through. When it grew dark he flicked on the lamp on the cabinet, and when it became late he climbed under the bed’s covers, eventually putting the book aside and flipping off the light.
When he awoke the next day he repeated his usual behaviour, breakfasting in the hotel’s restaurant then visiting the Simone’s. He took the mobile phone with him, in case an opportunity to find Riaz should come up. After his visit he returned to the hotel, still waiting for a call. He was fully dressed when it did, sitting in the room’s armchair and reading by the light let in through the one wide window.
Riaz, he learned, had checked into a hotel. He took down the address he was given and was already making his way down to the hire car, street guide in hand and the gun he’d purchased secured under his suit jacket as he ended the call. He turned off the phone and dropped it into some bushes before climbing in to the Nissan, then thumbed through the guide to find his destination. He’d check into the same hotel, and would explain his lack of luggage by saying that it was still in his car, and that he’d collect it later. The hotel had an impressive name but from its location on one of the back streets he doubted it would actually be so – more a boarding house than a proper hotel he expected. From what he’d seen of Riaz and of how he lived, he doubted the man could have afforded a more luxurious venue.
He drove as fast as speed limits would allow, weaving between the traffic that was in his path. With luck he’d get to Riaz before the police did. He hoped that the man would be settling in for the evening, that now he’d been fortunate enough to track him he wouldn’t lose him again.
His journey over to the address he’d been given seemed to take for longer than it actually did in reality. He passed the hotel still in his car. As he’d suspected it was a small affair, not even benefiting from dedicated parking but sitting on the street itself. Trying to find somewhere to leave the vehicle he was travelling in was proving tricky and taking him further and further from his desired destination. He eventually stopped and checked the map, deciding to go back round and try again, although this manoeuvre would take him back onto a main road and into the busy one-way system that surrounded the nearby station.
He was luckier the second time around, finding a space a couple of hundred yards after the hotel which he eagerly pulled into. This spot required him to buy a ticket at one of the machines sited at either end of the street. He walked to the nearest one, away from the hotel, noting from its white plastic sticker displaying prices that he could buy enough time to last until parking became free. He returned to his car to leave the ticket on the front shelf so it could be seen through the vehicle’s windscreen. As he opened the door to do so, he saw a police car pull up at the hotel. It didn’t try to park, instead simply waiting outside the building, its hazard lights telling other drivers they’d have to wait – the road wasn’t wide enough for them to pass. Shortly after, he saw Riaz being led to the waiting car. He recognised him even at this distance from his vigil of the previous days.
It occurred to him briefly that he could take out his target there and then as the car passed but decided against it. He had no doubt he’d be able to hit the man even if the police car was travelling at some speed, although these narrow roads wouldn’t really allow that, but he’d no escape route thought out and the police, being already on the scene, would no doubt react very quickly. He decided instead to follow them, to see where Riaz was taken and to plan a hopefully more successful second attempt. He climbed back into the Nissan and pulled out to follow the police car when it passed him.