Walker looked in the mirror once more, hardly recognizing the haggard face that greeted him. From the high of his string of victories this sudden fall had jolted him far harder than he expected. When it had started he had had nothing to live for; making capture a non-issue. Then he had come to like what he did, to make a difference. And then then there had been Clarke... Now the face that greeted him had a shaved head with a host of motley tattoos across it, the most predominant being a pair of burning eyes on the back of his skull. His sideburns had grown in nicely, as had the long soul-patch just under his lip stud. He certainly no longer looked the part of vigorous military type. Slacker-junkie, on the other hand, readily came to mind.
It had been close to a month since the news program had shown his picture to the world and his reality had collapsed. He had immediately left his aprtment. Since he had already stashed his truly personal items long ago, there was nothing sentimental to gather. Since his assignments were always given verbally, there was nothing written to destroy. Instead he had vanished with a large sum of cash, and a fake ID (or two). That and a Kel-Tec
It was harrowing nonetheless. Any person at any moment could recognize his face. The news he had gleaned from watching TV displays told him that the police were tying way to many things together way to fast. Had they turned someone in Clarke's organization? Maybe even Clarke herself? He had tried calling her on every number he had, all to no avail. Whatever might happen, the police would find no link between him and her the publication of his photos. He missed her. In many ways, more than he missed his family. At least with them he knew he would never see them again. With Clarke that faint glimmer of hope yet burned, but it burned his emotions, too.
His constant vigil was wearing him down now, too. There was nowhere in the city where he could drop his guard for even a moment. Every person could be the one who turned him in. Every block, every window, every street held only his demise. Even though he had tried to maneuver out of town, the homeless and hobos recognized instantly that he didn't belong, so he had to avoid them as well. Even though the whispers of "Narc," followed him wherever he ranged, it was still better than hearing, "Stop! Police!" His hopes of reaching the suburbs had been far too optimistic. If he had taken a cab out to Dulles and simply walked through the night he might have made it. But he was too scared to try it then and now it was simply unthinkable. Back to not pulling the trigger, eh David?
His camoflouge worked well enough in the heart of the city, but trying to walk through the 'burbs out of town would mean capture at the hands of the first stereotyping local cop that saw him. But he had to risk it. A month should be close enough time for most to forget, even with the constant showing of his face on the local TV. If he kept focused and aware, he could avoid the police. After all, hadn't he already done that for the last month? He set out near midday. He wanted to quick march his way out, but he had to plod and hunch like a proper bum. So the going was slow, but he made progress. Depsite carrying the wad of cash, int he thousands, he made do with what he could glean out of garbage cans. It was safer. Trying not to dwell on the irony of that, or on images of Clarke's private jet zooming towards some tropical paradise, while he rotted in jail, he continued on.
By night he was entering the 'burbs. He decided to opt for the main streets and walked a bit more determinedly. No longer a slacker, he was trying to chameleon into a drifter. More importantly was how he hoped the cops would see him: as a drifter trying to leave town. The best kind, as far as cops were concerned. Maybe he should just continue through the night? It wasn't too hot nor humid, and he certainly had adrenaline. So he continued. After the tenseness of the last month and the sudden taste of escape, his mind wandered. It built vivid puzzle pieces from his past life and fitted them together in odd ways that ranged from the disturbing to the blissful. His focus narrowed to the road in front of his feet and the subconsiously constructed mosaics of his life. Just like those 26 mile hikes in basic so very long ago. One foot, then the other.
A siren shook his reverie. A single patrol car stopped behind him. Cursing, he realized the fog in his brain had prevented him from noticing his surroundings. There was no where a man could run without getting caught. Fighting through the glare of the police car's bright light he noticed that while the driver was in uniform, her passenger was in a suit. With his arm shrouding the lgiht, he could just see the passenger take out a badge, even though he couldn't read it. He didn't need to.
"Evening Walker. I'm Special Agent Brink of the FBI, we have a lot to talk about."
Continue to Part X
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