The Trials of Loyalty

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Chapter 15

By the time Alexander got back to his safehouse, it was well after midnight. Normally he wouldn’t even think about falling asleep for several hours but tonight there was nothing more he wanted to do than fall face-first into the mattress. Maybe this was his body’s way of telling him that he was tired of avoiding people and running around.

Alexander floated towards the mattress, falling face-first towards the shitty mattress. Before his face could come in contact with the material, his phone started going off on his hip. Alexander groaned, waiting several moments before answering the phone.

“I wonder who this could be,” Alexander muttered as he stuffed his face into the mattress. “You do you realize what time it is right Daniel?”

“Of course, why do you think I keep calling you at this time? I mean, I have the information of Johnathan and the Russian asshole but if you don’t want the information, I can call another time- “Alexander perked up in bed, exclaiming ‘Wait’ before Daniel had the chance to hang up.

“What kind of information did you get? I’m sorry, let me rephrase that. What kind of information did Savannah get?” Daniel didn’t stop himself from snickering as there were the sounds of shuffling on his end.

“Johnathan’s folder contained the usual information, model navy seal and family man. Honestly though, did you think there was actually going to be a chance of her finding something in his folder?” As much as Alexander didn’t want to admit it, he knew that was going to happen.

“What about Ivanov’s folder?”

“That was a lot more interesting from what I paid attention to. Nothing against her, but I sort of tune 75% of whatever she says.” As if Daniel could sense Alexander’s distaste towards that statement, he interrupted him before he could jump in. “I’m sorry, after this whole thing, I don’t plan on ever seeing her again. It’s not like I give a shit about what she’s got to say to me.

“Just tell me what information was in his file.” Alexander bit back, causing Daniel to sigh on the other end.

“Apparently, Viktor Ivanov has ties to the same terrorist group that Yousef Hakim belonged to. There’s nothing directly linking Ivanov and Hakim together but maybe with Viktor having ties to the Jundullah movement, maybe’s he’s the one that handed down the kill order to Yousef?”

“Yousef did tell me he was handed the orders. I don’t know, I’ll have to go talk to him again. Maybe knowing that we have Viktor’s name will be enough to give his location out.”

“That or we could instill some fear in him ourselves. I’m not against terrorizing some low-level piece of shit if that means we can find out who did this to Johnathan.” For the first time in quite some time, Alexander found himself full-bellied laughing at what someone had said.

“Is this your way of telling me you want to come with on this one?”

“Of course. As they always say in the seals “Don’t run to your death, unless you’ve got back up behind you.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s not how that goes Daniel.” He couldn’t help but comment as he laid back down in the bed.

“Whatever, you know what I mean man. I’ve got your back man, no matter what.” All Alexander found himself doing was nodding his head, not even responding to Daniel as he hung up the phone, tossing it onto the bedside table.

It seemed that Alexander was getting closer to finding out Johnathan’s real killer. As much as he enjoyed the hunt and thrill of getting the answer to this mystery, Alexander was going to be happy when it was all over. He didn’t have to put other people like Daniel and Savannah on the line anymore. He didn’t want to drag them do any further than he already had.

It was time that all of this finally came to an end, for everyone involved.

24 Hours Later…

Alexander and Daniel are now walking down the side of the street on opposite sides, a good distance behind Yousef as he headed towards the local farmers market. Since Daniel arrived in the country, the two had been tailing him. They couldn’t get him at the compound because after Alexander’s last visit, he ended any chance of them ever going back there. This was their last chance of getting to Yousef and getting him to talk.

Daniel and Alexander had been tailing for Yousef when they actually reached the market. Yousef unexpectedly stopped, grabbing a few pieces of fruit of a stand on the side of the road. Before the two of them were spotted, Alexander and Daniel hid; Alexander hiding behind a wall and Daniel crouching behind the tail end of a car.

They watched as Yousef picked various pieces of fruit off the cart, bringing them up to his face to smell. This process went on for several minutes, with Alexander and Daniel glancing at each other from across the road. How long could this guy inspect fruit for?

Eventually, Yousef put down the fruit he was inspecting and continued on down the road. Alexander and Daniel left their spots when he was far enough down the road.

The foot traffic picked up as they made their way further down the street. Daniel was having to push through mountains of people as he struggled to keep up with Yousef and Alexander. The crowds were doing a great job at hiding them, but if it kept up, they risked losing him in the crowd.

Just as Daniel’s side of the street cleared up, Yousef happened to stop to inspect another cart. When he turned to look down the street, his eyes landed on Daniel who stood in the middle of the otherwise empty sidewalk. Yousef shrugged, not thinking anything of it. When he began to turn his attention back on the cart, his eyes caught sight of Alexander standing across the street.

Yousef's eyes widened, recognizing Alexander from the earlier incident. He stood by the cart for several moments, his feet frozen to the ground before bolting into the farmers market.

“God damn it!” Alexander yelled as the two of them took off after Yousef. As they made it to the entrance, they could see Yousef running further into the farmers market, hoping to lose the two men in the crowd.

“Simple tailing mission my ass Ghost.” Daniel cursed under his breath before chasing Yousef into the farmer’s market. A brief second had passed before Alexander took off after Daniel.

Both Alexander and Daniel were quickly picking up speed to catch Yousef, who was surprisingly outrunning them.

Yousef was so focused on making sure the two men weren’t catching up with him that he didn’t see a low table in front of him, tripping over it in his path. Daniel and Alexander both vaulted the table with ease as they reached it, their speed not slowing down in the slightest.

Realizing that he had no chance of losing Daniel and Alexander in the farmers market, he made a sharp left turn down an alleyway.

When they turned down the alleyway to follow Yousef, they came across a dead end. The only play Yousef could have gone was a run-down shack to the right of them in an attempt to hide. Alexander stepped up to the door and tested the handle.

“The asshole fucking locked it,” Alexander exclaimed as he began to breathe heavily, his hands on his hips. Without thinking, Alexander took a few steps back and with all his force, began kicking the door with the bottom of his foot. After a few forceful hits, the door splintered as it opened, hitting the wall behind it.

The door opened up to the small living room of the shack that had seen better days. Everything from the walls and floors to the wooden support beams that held up the ceiling was ready to fall apart. The floorboards of the shake creaked as Alexander and Daniel stepped inside.

“There can’t be many places in here to hide,” Daniel commented as he began walking the perimeter of the room. Alexander allowed his eyes to float around the room, resting on various details throughout.

In the corner of the room stood a run-down wardrobe, one of its doors hanging on its hinge and it moved back and forth. From his spot in the room, Alexander could see a hunched figured crammed into the wooden box.

Alexander stormed over to the wardrobe with Daniel on his heels. He placed his hand on the small handle, waiting a few seconds before ripping the door open. Yousef sat crouched down in the wardrobe, a petrified look in his eyes as he looked up at Alexander and Daniel.

“You’ve got nothing. I haven’t done anything wrong!” Yousef spoke up in broken English. Daniel rolled his eyes, before grabbing Yousef’s collar and roughly pulling him out of the wardrobe.

“Oh, don’t worry, we just want to talk.” Once Yousef was out of the wardrobe, Daniel threw him into the corner of the room to trap him. “We just want to ask you a few questions. Then we’ll leave you to go back to doing whatever the fuck it is you do on a day to day basis.”

“I’m not answering any questions!” Though Yousef was speaking to both of them, his eyes were directed towards Alexander. Little did he know that Alexander didn’t have a gun on him this time around.

“Look, just calm the fuck, down would you?” Alexander had barely talked to Yousef and he was already starting to get on his nerves. “What can you tell me about Viktor Ivanov?”

“Who is Viktor Ivanov? I know of no such man.” Beads of sweat fell down Yousef’s face as he denied it.

“Really? Because he SURE was involved with Jundullah. You know, the terrorist group you have known ties and connections to?” Alexander and Daniel circled around Yousef, further trapping him in the corner.

“I don’t associate with men who are not truly associated with our cause.”

“So now you acknowledge that you know him? I thought you ‘knew of no such man’?” Daniel lifted his fingers to put air quotes around his statement.

“I know of men like him. They believe only because it benefits them, not because they agree with our message.”

“I’m going to be honest with you Yousef,” Alexander leaned down to bring his face closer to Yousef’s. “You’re really starting to piss me off with this fake innocence bullshit. You either tell me what the fuck you know about Ivanov now, or I let my friend here- “He pointed a finger in Daniels direction. “continue the conversation.”

“You might want to answer his question because you’re not going to like it when I take over.” Daniel’s voice tone grew dark as he too began leaning down towards Yousef.

With his eyes shifting between the two men, Yousef cracked. “Alright, I know Viktor! He gave me the orders to kill your friend, but I didn’t want to! He said he was going to kill my family if I didn’t do this!”

“Yeah, we’ve heard that before. Why did they want Johnathan killed?!” Alexander was practically screaming as he somehow bent his face closer towards Yousef’s.

“He was doing consulting work with the US government, looking into something with Russian terrorism. Your friend was getting closer to Viktor and he wanted him taken care of before they caught him.” Alexander had to stop himself from striking the nearest wall. Johnathan didn’t even know it was coming. Johnathan occasionally did consult work with different branches of the military, just to help out. This is what it got him, a death sentence. Johnathan had to die because he was helping someone out.

“Where can I find Viktor?”

“I don’t know. There are several places he jumps between; Russian, Iraq, the US! I can never tell! Please, just let me go, that’s all I know I swear!” Yousef began begging for his freedom as tears streamed down his face.

Much like the first time Alexander had tracked Yousef down, he flew his fist towards him, striking him squarely on his nose. There was a loud crack before Yousef crumpled down to the ground.

Alexander and Daniel started at each other, processing the information they just heard. Before Alexander could get anything out, Daniel took the chance.

“Do you want to call up Savannah or should I?

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