Raoul followed the marked car. At first he was right on their tail but this wouldn’t look suspicious. There was no opportunity to pass even if he’d wanted to and cars would normally stay behind a police car waiting until passing it was safe and could be done at a slow pace.
When they rejoined the busier one-way system he let a couple of other cars put some distance between them before forcing his way out onto the main road. He was careful not to get close enough for any but a trained eye to spot him, and even then needing to be on the lookout for someone trying this tactic, but never let his own vehicle fall far enough behind to lose sight. When they turned into the station’s car park he drove past, on the lookout now for somewhere to stop himself. He circled the station twice before finding somewhere to pull up. It overlooked both the vehicle entrance they’d turned into and the large pedestrian entrance at the front of the building. He turned off the ignition and waited patiently, watching both exits from the building.
He’d got a fairly good view of the man escorting Riaz when they’d left the hotel. He hadn’t seen his face clearly though, so if for some reason he changed clothes, his coat particularly, Raoul might not recognise him again when he left. He’d have to just hope that he didn’t. There was no reason to after all.
It was nearly three hours later that the man left again, this time using the pedestrian entrance. Raoul recognised the light brown leather coat and this time got a good look at the man’s face, lit up by the building’s lights. When the man turned and strolled casually down the pavement Raoul slipped out of the Nissan, locking it by pressing the button on the large key he had. He pulled a pair of black spectacles from the suit he was wearing, before slipping on the overcoat he’d also taken as he got out of the car. He didn’t theatrically turn up the collar to try to hide his features but did shrug his shoulders to push the coat up and over much of his lower face. He followed, again keeping a discreet distance behind but never losing sight of the man he was tailing. When the man turned into the Underground station he’d been heading for Raoul speeded up, not wanting to lose the man and to see which line he was taking and in which direction.
While they both waited for the next train he used his street atlas to check the station’s location, wanting to be sure to be able to find his way back to collect his car later. He got into the same carriage when the train arrived but at the other end. He used other passengers to hide himself from plain sight, but was careful to ensure he could observe as they approached each stop, looking for any signs that the man might alight. At one point Raoul thought he was going to, and stepped out of the carriage himself, only to step swiftly back in before the doors closed when he realised the man was only moving to sit in a seat which had become vacant. Eventually he did get off and Raoul followed, maintaining the same discreet distance he had before. Raoul followed until the man turned into a smart looking apartment block, letting himself in through the mostly glass front door by pressing a finger against a reader there.
Raoul stood back and waited until a light appeared through one of the darkened windows, only to fade almost straight away as curtains were drawn across it. It had taken about the time Raoul would expect for the man to have made his way to his own apartment, opened the door, and stepped inside. As no-one else had entered the building either just before or just after, he was sure this was the man’s location.
He was in two minds as to whether to continue his vigil now or return to collect his car. He felt exposed just standing around on the street, but if he left now the man he was following might leave again. He waited a little longer wanting to be sure that the man had truly settled in, then decided to collect his car. It would be a far less exposed place to watch from. He walked down several streets, removing and repocketing the glasses he’d been wearing. He kept the overcoat on though. The day had been generally warm but it was chilly now the sun had disappeared. When he felt he’d moved far enough away he hailed a passing cab to take him back to his own car. He hadn’t liked using the Underground. He’d been careful to avoid those cameras he’d seen, or at least to be sure they hadn’t picked up his face, but there were probably other more hidden ones he hadn’t spotted. He hoped the simple addition of the glasses, along with obscuring his features as much as he could with the coat, would have been enough to mask his identity.
Having collected his car, he returned to the apartment building, pulling into a spot that was quite a distance away but overlooked the entrance. He couldn’t see the window he’d seen the light appear in from where he was parked, so left the vehicle briefly to make sure it was still on. It was. Either the person he’d been following was still there or he intended to return shortly. Raoul settled back in the driver’s seat for a long watch. He could leave the apartment and return early the next day, but the man he was watching was a policeman and might not keep the same hours as ‘normal’ people. Better to watch and to wait where he was to be sure not to miss anything.
At first he simply watched, noting arrivals at the building he was interested in, at others down the street, and of pedestrians passing by. He assumed they were all returning home from work from how they were dressed and what they were carrying. There was a lull then the process was repeated in reverse as people departed for their nights’ entertainment. Another lull, probably longer than the one before, then they started to arrive back. It was around 1 a.m. when this traffic in the main stopped. Raoul reached into the glove box, pulled out his book, and started to read. He glanced up frequently, either just to check or when a movement at the corner of his eye suggested he needed to. He returned to his reading as soon as he was sure the street was empty, or that the person who had attracted his attention wasn’t the one he was watching for.
When the man reappeared the following day Raoul was ready. He’d sated his hunger and thirst throughout the night with the little stock of food and drink he’d equipped the vehicle with. He’d bought these separately to those he’d purchased as ‘Gomez’, not wanting even tell-tale price stickers to link his two identities together. He’d left the emptied packets and bottles in the rear seat behind him, not wanting to draw attention to his presence by stepping out of the vehicle to use the bin fastened to a lamp post a short way down the street. He’d even urinated in one of the empty bottles when he’d needed to rather than leave the car. He’d placed this one carefully under the passenger seat, having secured the lid, rather than just throwing it behind him.
When he was sure the man was travelling on foot again he climbed out of the car, pulling with him the overcoat which he’d removed when he’d picked the vehicle up, though he’d used it to cover himself when the night was at its coldest. He put on the glasses again and slipped on the overcoat as he walked, realising they were heading back for the Underground again. He’d have to pick up some other better disguises if this continued he determined. He paused when the man he was following stopped to check his route on the large Underground map set on one of the station’s walls. This was enough for Raoul to guess that they weren’t heading back to the station, not directly at least. If they had been, his target wouldn’t have needed to use the map. He wasn’t sure where they were headed, but once on a train bound for Kings Cross he used the Underground map on his own street atlas to locate himself, and had a pretty good idea where there intended destination would be long before they arrived there.
He debated to himself whether or not to follow when the man entered the street that the hotel Riaz had checked into stood on, but decided against it. He guessed that the police were now mounting a surveillance operation and didn’t want to walk into it. He might lose the man he was following of course, if he took a vehicle away from his destination or carried on down the street in the same direction he’d entered in. It was a risk Raoul would have to take. He knew the police station Riaz had been taken to, and where this man lived. If he did lose him here, he’d just have to wait until the man reappeared at one of these locations. There was a McDonald’s already open that he could wait in and watch from. Its main entrance was on the same road as Kings Cross Station but there was a second one onto the street the man had gone down, complete with a large window to watch from. He entered and purchased a coffee and a breakfast. He wasn’t really hungry but could use the breakfast as his reason for staying there if it turned into a protracted wait. He chose a seat not at the window itself, where he could be seen from as well as seeing, but a little further away. He’d still be able to see passers by but wouldn’t be easily visible himself. He waited for the man to reappear, sipping occasionally from the bland coffee as it cooled and picking now and then at the breakfast in front of him.
He’d finished the coffee by the time the man reappeared. The breakfast, still more than half uneaten, remained in front of him pretty much cold now. He left it on the table as he slid from his seat to resume following. He left by the smaller entrance onto the street to be sure to maintain his view of the man. It might have been better to use the larger entrance onto the main street, but the man might not be headed back to the Underground station as he appeared to be and might easily be lost if he disappeared amongst all of the other pedestrians thronging this side of the road.
He maintained the same careful methods he’d employed previously and apparently successfully. From his manner and movements the man certainly didn’t know he was being followed. This second journey was longer than the first, involving changing trains with its consequent waiting around at platforms. This made Raoul slightly nervous. There was more chance of being spotted, both by the man he was tailing and by any camera which might cover the platforms he was waiting on. He made sure to wait in spots he’d be difficult to observe in whenever he could.
The road the man led him to was different from the others he’d been in. It was more urban than city centre, the road itself wider, the houses larger and more spread out, and with large front and rear gardens. The street map showed it to be a dead-end. He could observe the man’s progress and follow if it became apparent he was heading for the alleyway at the top. Besides anything else this street was much quieter than previous ones so he’d be easily seen if anyone was around to see, If the man should look back in his direction all he would see at this distance was someone checking a map. Not enough to give away Raoul’s identity or purpose. He was rewarded by seeing the man turn into one of the houses half way up the street. He counted the number of buildings before it, so that he could work out its full address. There was nowhere around that would provide a suitable place to await the man’s departure. He could return to one of the cafes he’d passed and wait there, in the hope that the man would return by the same route to the same Underground station, but this course of action contained a lot of ‘ifs’. Better to pick up the man’s trail at the police station or at his home if he needed to. Besides, from his previous journey and from his current location, Raoul had a pretty shrewd idea what this address was being used for. He’d have to check, but he was fairly certain that this was what he’d been after – the location they’d moved Riaz to. He turned about and headed back towards the Underground station. He wasn’t planning on using it, but there’d been a few shops too, where he might be lucky enough to find what he was looking for.