The Trials of Loyalty

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Chapter 8

It was a week later, and the task force was no closer to Alexander than they were before they went to Egypt. They just couldn’t get any indication of where he might be or even so much as find someone that has talked to him in the last six months. As time went on with this task force, everyone felt as if they were just beating their heads against the wall.

In the meantime, Savannah’s been digging up what dirt she could find on Daniel. If she was going to have a wolf in sheep’s clothing among her, she was going to know anything she could about the man. Daniel ‘Soap’ Wayforth entered the navy right after graduating high school. He went through boot camp and was made a seal shortly afterward. As far as she could read, she had a model military record until he fucked up his leg in an accident while on duty and got a medical discharge for it. Savannah had a hard time believing that a man that could do so much good, was now a traitor to the American government just like Alexander was. She was beginning to wonder what was going on with these seals for so many of them to become enemies of the country they once served.

Savannah has not had any contact with Daniel since Egypt. She couldn’t stand to be in the same room as the guy. The mere sight of him made her skin crawl. She had yet to tell Coleman about Daniel, mainly because she still didn’t have evidence that he was traitor. Everything she found pointed to him being a stand-up guy. Savannah wasn’t about to risk her career or worse just because she didn’t have any evidence.

Her interest, almost obsession with Daniel was starting to affect her other work as well. Her focus on her daily tasks was drifting and it wasn’t going to be long until Coleman noticed this too. Savannah let out a groan as she hit her head against the desk. To think she was a regular agent a few weeks ago.

With her head still stuffed into the desk, Savannah could hear the soft sound of footsteps approaching her from behind. That should have been enough to bring her face out of the cold metal, but it seemed all the energy had left her body as she was now physically and mentally exhausted.

“Any particular reason why you have your face stuffed into the desk, Carey?” Her boss Coleman asked, a judgmental tone in his voice. Within a flash, Savannah had lifted her face from the desk, whipping her head around so fast to face him that her own hair had flown into her face.

“No particular reason sir!” Savannah piped up. She tried to stop the rising blush on her face as she looked up a Coleman. He stared at her for a few moments longer, shaking his head before opening his mouth.

“Well get your act together agent. Decker got a lead on a woman in the middle east who runs a bunch of shady pay by the week hotel rooms. She said she’s been renting to this guy for a few months now, leaves for days at a time only to come back injured in some capacity or another.”

“Think it could be Ghost?”

“We don’t know, sounds like the profile you gave us.” Coleman glanced around the two of them before continuing. “Between you and me, the description she gave Decker matches the picture we have of him. We don’t know for sure.” Savannah nodded her head. Her stomach began to flutter at the thought of Alexander being so close to them.

“I want you to head to the hotel with Johnson and Daniel. They’ll serve as a backup in case anything happens.”

“What happens if I encounter Alexander?” Savannah asked Coleman, the flutter of nervousness now turning into worry. She’s never dealt with an international criminal before! How are you supposed to act towards a criminal that you have a past with?

“Reverse psychology him or some shit, I don’t care. Do whatever it takes to bring him in. You guys leave in a few hours. I’ll be more in touch when you guys touch down.” Savannah wasn’t able to get an edge word in before Coleman walked away from her. She didn’t want Daniel coming with. It gave this operation more of a chance to go wrong with him joining. The fact that Johnson was coming along did make things better. Daniel was may be desperate enough to help Alexander avoid custody, but he wasn’t stupid enough to get caught.

Whatever the case may be, Savannah had to get her act together. There was a chance she was about to come face to face with a ghost.

Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

After a 17-hour long plane ride, Savannah and the rest of the task force had touched down on Tel Aviv Israel, where the woman said someone matching Alexander’s description was renting an apartment from her. So far, Daniel had been on his best behavior which Savannah was thankful for. The less he pushed her buttons, the better.

The three of them now stood outside the address Coleman had given them for the building. Just looking at the building gave Savannah the chills.

The complex had been painted a dull olive green. Many parts of the paint had chipped off, give the building more of a run-down look. The units were stacked on each other, towering seven stories high. Most of the windows in the units were broken so they had been covered by pieces of plywood. The apartment complex overall had seen its better days.

“This building fits the profile of what The Ghost might choose,” Savannah spoke up, her eyes still looking up at the building.

“It makes sense; there’s no security, tenants look to be a little on the shady side with their own problems to worry about. It’s the perfect place for someone to hideout. There’s no proof he stays here and no one here cares enough to ask questions.”

“There’s just one thing, these buildings are on the most populated street in town. It doesn’t make sense why an international fugitive would choose this place to high out in.” Savannah finally took her eyes away from the building to glance at Johnson and Daniel.

“I think it makes perfect sense.” Savannah rolled her eyes. Of course, leave it to Daniel to contradict what a professional in that field is saying.

“How do you figure?” Savannah did her best to bite her tongue as she replied to him,

“People remember someone on a desolate road rather than a populated street. It gives him all the more chance to blend into the ground.” She didn’t want to admit it, but he was right. It’s a lot easier to blend into a crowd and stay hidden then be the only one walking the street and stay hidden.

“Alright, let’s head into the building.” Daniel began walking towards the front doors with Johnson following behind him.

“Guys wait- “Savannah stopped to two men short of entering the building. They turned back to face her, Daniel with an annoyed look on his face. “Let me go in, you guys are going to get nowhere with her or the Ghost in case he’s in there.”

“And what makes you say that Carey?” Daniel crossed his arms over his chest, trying his best to intimidate Savannah. Little did he know that she wasn’t the type of girl to be intimidated.

“The last thing this woman is going to want to do is to talk to a bunch of men filled with testosterone, ready to strike at any moment. Besides, if Ghost is there you guys are going to give yourselves away. Just the sight of you screams Feds. We need to be able to stake out the place, see if he’s in there before we detain him.” As Savannah spoke, she took off her grey suit jacket, throwing it in Daniel’s general direction. She rolled the sleeves up on her white dress shirt as she began making her way towards the door.

“You’re going to do better than me, a former navy seal, going up against a rogue navy seal?”

“No offense Savannah, but you’re a girl. You can’t handle yourself against someone like Ghost.” Johnson chimed in. Savannah ignored the sexist comment as she pulled her hair out of the bun, letting it fall is waves against her shoulders.

“Exactly. I have the emergency tracker in my watch in case anything happens. I’ll let you know what I see.” She didn’t give the two men a chance to interject as she opened the door to the building, letting the door close behind her as she entered.

When Savannah entered the lobby, her nose was instantaneously assaulted with the smell of mold and mildew. The wallpaper of in the room was peeling all of the walls, revealing the water damage behind it. As she walked up towards the front desk, the wooden floorboards creaked and cracked beneath her feet. Savannah had to resist the urge to scream as she witnessed a rat dart across the floor.

Reaching the front desk, Savannah rested her hands against the splinting wood. She hit the damaged bell with her free hand, instantly regretting it as it was covered with dust.

An older woman with greying hair began padding around the corner, a smile on her face as she approached the desk.

“Welcome, is there anything I can help with?” The old woman squeaked out. Savannah could tell by the way she spoke that English wasn’t her first language. Oh god, this was going to be fun.

Savannah tried her best to put a smile on her face as she met the old woman’s eyes. “Hi, I’m agent Savannah Carey with the FBI. You spoke with my friend, Aaron Decker on the phone?” There was a puzzled look in the woman’s eyes for a few moments before she nodded her head.

“Yes, I did. He asked about the man in 513.”

“Could you tell me what you told Agent Decker on the phone?” Savannah asked the woman, pulling her notepad out of her pocket in the process.

“Yes, yes. The man, he comes in at odd hours. I don’t see him for sometimes weeks. There’s something off about him.”

“Does this man have a card on file? For the payment of the room?”

The woman shook her head, her lips turning down into a frown. “No. At the beginning of the month, he walks by me and gives me a wad of cash. Pays for the entire month in advance.”

Savannah slid the notebook back into her pocket as she began walking backward away from the front desk. “You said he was in room 513?”

“Yes, but I don’t want to cause any trouble.”

She did her best to put a reassuring smile on her face. “Don’t worry about it. We’re actually old-friends.” Fully turning around towards the staircase, Savannah shook her head as she began climbing the steps. Sure, it’s not like they were the best of pals back then, but she liked to think they were at least friends in college. Who knows what he thought?

The four flights of stairs to the fifth floor seemed to go by quickly. Soon enough, Savannah was making her way down the hallway of the fifth floor. She hoped that has she climbed the stairs to the other floors that the condition of the space got better. From what Savannah could see, it seems to have done the opposite of that.

At the end of the hallway, Savannah came face to face with a wooden door that was barely hanging on its hinges. There was ‘513’ indented in the door where metal numbers should have been. In retrospect, this wasn’t the worse thing she had seen since entering the building.

Savannah could see that the door to the room stood ajar. Slowly approaching the door, she nudged the door further open with the toe of her boot. There was no way she was going to touch the knob of that door.

“Hello? Is anyone here?” The minute the words fell from Savannah’s lips, she wanted to facepalm. Did she really expect Alexander to just come of nowhere and go ‘Well, here I am. Looks like ya caught me.’? Sometimes she wonders how she had gotten into the FBI.

Hearing no response, Savannah stepped into the one-room apartment. The first thing she laid her eyes on was the wooden table in the middle of the room. From where she was standing, it seemed that the table sat on an angle. There were only two chairs at the table, indicating that there were two people in this room at one point. That and the fact there were two beer bottles by their respective chairs.

Directly behind the table was a small room dedicated to the bathroom. It was big enough for a toilet and shower. Besides the bed that had seen better days against the wall furthest from Savannah, there wasn’t much else in the room.

As she continued to inspect the room, Savannah couldn’t help but notice how perfect this room was for Alexander if he actually stayed here. He was only here for a few days at a time, it’s not like he needed much more than what this room held.

Even though the woman said he lived here, they seemed to be no trace of someone actually staying here. No clothes, shoes. The only thing that indicated that someone was actually in here at some point was the beer bottles. This only further proved her point that Alexander was in fact, a ghost. Even in his safe house, he cleaned up all traces of him existing there.

“You know, many people might consider this breaking and entering.” A voice spoke up, a humorous tone to it. Savannah’s hand went down to her hip to reach for a gun that wasn’t there. As a Psychologist, she wasn’t required to carry a gun. She often did though just to put herself at ease. Savannah squinted her eyes closed when she released her gun wasn’t at her hip.

Slowly, Savannah turned towards the voice. With her hand on her hand, she came full circle to stare Alexander in the face. He looked almost identical to the photo in his file, minus a five o’clock shadow that now covered his face.

Savannah couldn’t help but ease as she continued staring at him. She knew he was a criminal, but she still felt like she was looking at the friend she knew in college. Savannah almost felt- safe with him.

“It’s not breaking and entering if the door was already open,” Savannah spoke up, casually reaching down towards her watch. Hopefully, without Alexander noticing, she pushed the button on the side of the watch, signaling the track system.

Alexander chuckled, shaking his head before responding. “It seems you haven’t changed since college Savannah.”

“Well, you certainly have. Let me guess, did you change your hair? No, wait. You’ve grown taller!” She couldn’t help as the sarcastic edge crept into her voice. Even in college, he brought this side out in her.

Alexander glanced towards the door, letting his eyes linger there for a few moments before dragging them back onto Savannah. “Look, I don’t have much time. I need your help.” He pulled what looked to be a passport from behind his back. “I found this, and I need you to search through whatever fucking databases you have access to for the name that’s in here. It’s important.” Savannah barely had time to catch the passport as Alexander threw tossed her the passport from across the room.

“Have you lost your mind? I’m not going to help you!” Savannah shouted, raising her hands in the air in frustration.

“Whatever you have against me or whatever the situation is, I’m asking you to just do me this a favor. That’s all I ask. It would really mean a lot to a friend and his family.” For the first time since their conversation had started, the look in Alexander’s eyes softened. They had only gone soft for a few seconds before they returned to normal.

Savannah blinked her eyes in confusion and by the time she opened them, Alexander had disappeared. She frantically searched the room for him and found no sign that he had left the room, much less been standing in front of her a few moments earlier.

As she continued to stare dumbfoundedly at the empty space in front of her, Daniel and Johnson charged into the room, guns at high ready. With their barrels still pointed up, the two of them made their way closer towards.

“Where is he, Carey? Where’s Ghost?” Johnson yelled; his voice gruff with anticipation.

“He left. He was right in front of me- “Savannah gestured to the empty space in front of her.

“Did he say anything to you?” Savannah found herself silent, unsure of what to say exactly. Did she tell them of their conversation, of him practically begging her for help as he stood there in front of her? Or does she just keep her mouth just?

As she was about to respond with the latter, Savannah changed her mind. The desperation in his voice as he asked an FBI agent for help, knowing that there was the possibility of him being caught. For whatever reason, he was desperate enough to ask her for help.

“Uh- no. He left before I got the chance to ask anything.” Savannah spoke softly, sliding the passport into her pocket as she covered said pocket with her dress. Daniel and Johnson finally holstered their guns as they stood there, their own eyes inspecting the room.

Savannah wasn’t going to help him, that’s for sure, but the passport was their first real piece of evidence they had against Alexander. Maybe she’d be able to use it to figure out what’s motivating him to cause all this chaos and, more importantly, what made him desperate enough to ask for her help.

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