Echo, Part 6

“Where are we going?”

The car had gotten on the interstate and had headed north, leaving his home far behind until even the glow of it faded from the rearview mirror.  He had calmed down considerably after having left his vehicle in the dark parking lot in a huff.  After passing through the third small town on the quiet road, he had finally gotten around to wondering where they were taking him.  Still, it had taken until the fourth town to ask.  Once his temper flared it took him a long time to rein it back in.

“We needed to get you out of the city.  The FBI has a large presence there and even after you’ve received your new identity, your face will draw too much suspicion.  So, we are relocating you to somewhere the Bureau will have to rely on someone recognizing you and having the wherewithal to call it in.   Then FBI would have to run your credentials and decide to question them before sending up a team to check you out.  That chatter will buy us time to assess the threat and relocate you again if needed.  Hopefully it won’t come to that.”

He suddenly had a vision of spending the next ten years of his life constantly on the run, with teams of agents always on his heels and he sighed.

“Oh, don’t worry too much,” the system responded.  “Your credentials will be very convincing.  We have calculated a very low probability of the FBI taking any interest in your new life.”

“Until you have me come out of hiding.”

“Well, yes.”

There was more than a hint of laughter in the reply.  He wondered if he should be upset but he’d already spent so much energy on being angry before that he had nothing left to give to the emotion.  In fact, he suddenly realized how tired he was and looking a the clock he realized he’d been awake for nearly 24 hours.  He tried to stifle the yawn that came upon the heels of that realization but the microphone in the car still must have picked it up.

“You are in safe hands if you want to rest.  The battery has a 50% charge and given the anticipated road conditions ahead, that should carry you several hundred miles.  You could get at least three hours of sleep before the car will need to stop to get recharged.”

He yawned again, “What is the final destination?”

“A little mountain town just over the northern border of the state.”

“And you aren’t telling me the nap of it because?”

“You’ve never heard of it and you are too tired to process much of what is being said right now anyway.  Would you like us to put on some music that will help you sleep?”

“No.  The sound of the road will do that well enough.”

“Okay.  As always, please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you be more comfortable.  Shall we adjust your seat into a sleeping position?”

“No, thank you.  I’ll sit up for a little while longer.”

“As you please.”

He scowled.  Not much of what had happened to him in the last day had been pleasing to him.  Not wanting to waste any more energy on being upset, however, he turned his attention to the road and the desert landscape sliding passed the windows.

He had been on the road before but had never taken it to the northern border.  He’d never had a need or desire to drive that far.  There was nothing up there.  Except, now he was going to be up there.

He knew eventually the desert would give way to rolling hills, the result of long ago volcanic activity that would then herald the climb into the mountains.  It was quite the amazing transition and he wondered if that was a good omen for the major changes his own life was going through.  The landscape was beautiful now but it had been shaped by violence.  Would his own situation work out the same?  Had he already endured the worst of the turbulence or were the real eruptions and sculptings to come?  Only time would tell.

His head pressed against the cool glass.  His eyes blinked.  The moon shadows stretched away from the tall Joshua trees.  The dashed yellow line flashed by in nearly connecting long streaks.  Then his eyes closed and he fell asleep.

And, begin:

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