She’s Coming For You – Chapter 35

Suleiman was the new leader of the group in A Coruna, appointed by the leadership overseas. He had spoken to his people in Vigo and Santiago de Compostela. He had read them the riot act for not only murdering two innocent people, but drawing further attention to the events of 21st August. His people should have taken the men to one side and asked them questions.

When they captured the infidel, Suleiman wanted to ask him who had betrayed their group, who the informer was in their midst. Without that information, they would all be looking over their shoulders for the rest of their time here in Spain. There was a traitor – he was one hundred percent sure about that. How else was their operation foiled in this manner?

Suleiman had his suspicions, and went out into the field and follow his operative in Santiago, who had killed the man opposite the cathedral. Suleiman felt his excuse for the act sounded hollow. It was possible the Santiago operative, Ahmed, was the informer and wanted to kill the infidel to shut him up and cover his own tracks.

Before leaving, Suleiman talked to his most trusted lieutenant and asked him to journey to Vigo and shadow the operative there. All the people in the cell were now in the field, scouring and searching for the man who had upset their plans. It would only be a few days before they captured him and took him to A Coruna to answer for his crimes against God. 

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 34

Police Bulletin:

The Policia Nacional in Santiago de Compostela have an update regarding the recent deaths by shooting in Santiago de Compostela and Vigo.

Two recent shootings have been connected in some sections of the press with the recent massacre in Santiago de Compostela, which resulted in the deaths of an American tourist and two North African migrants.

The first shooting took place at the Pazo de Raxoi in Santiago de Compostela. This attack resulted in the death of a Spanish citizen, Martin Callas. The Policia Nacional of Santiago de Compostela are now completely convinced that Martin Callas was an innocent victim of an unknown, vengeful attacker and that Martin Callas played no part in the massacre of 21st August.

The second shooting took place at the Guixar Station in Vigo. This attack resulted in the death of a Portuguese citizen, Heitor Silva. The Policia Nacional of Santiago de Compostela are now completely convinced that Heitor Silva was also the innocent victim of an unknown, vengeful attacker and that Heitor Silva played no part in the massacre of 21st August.

The Policia Nacional would like to renew their call for calm during this troubling time and for people to be on the lookout for the perpetrator of the massacre on 21st August. If you see the suspect, do not take matters into your own hands, but call the Policia Nacional and allow us to do our public duty towards the citizens of Spain.

The Policia Nacional will make contributions to help with the expenses of the funerals of both Heitor Silva and Martin Callas.

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 33

Pontevedra is well worth a night’s stop if you’re travelling between Santiago de Compostela and Vigo. The main attraction for me was that traffic is banished from most of the city centre. The current mayor first came into office in 1999 and his philosophy was simple: private property – the car – should not occupy the public space.  Within a month, he had pedestrianised all 300,000 square metres of the zona monumental – the medieval centre – paving the streets with granite flagstones.

Cars were stopped from crossing the city and street parking was banned – people looking for places to park cause the most congestion. All surface car parks in the centre were closed and underground ones were opened, with 1,686 free places. Traffic lights were removed in favour of roundabouts, and traffic calming measures were introduced in the outer zones to bring the speed limit down to 30 km/h.

The benefits were and continue to be many. Thirty people died in traffic accidents from 1996 to 2006, but there have been no fatalities since 2009. CO2 emissions are down seventy percent. Three-quarters of what were car journeys are now made on foot or by bicycle, and central Pontevedra has gained 12,000 new inhabitants, whereas the tendency in Galicia is for towns to be losing people.

Small businesses have managed to stay afloat because passers-by are on foot rather than in cars and so can window shop and pop into a store to make a quick purchase or buy an item to drink or eat.

I witnessed the same effect in Athens in Greece. People can be more attentive to their surroundings rather than watching out for cars and making sure they don’t bump into other people on the narrow pavement. There’s more room to breathe and the air is less full of pollutants and toxic fumes from stationary vehicles, making the atmosphere more pleasant.

Before this scheme came into effect, more cars passed through the city in a day than there were people living there. Now, most people, like me, walk everywhere. This additional exercise will benefit people’s health and I didn’t see very many overweight people during my stay.

Two adjoining squares, the Praza da Peregrina and the Praza da Ferreira, are well worth seeing. In the Praza da Peregrina stands the chapel, the Santuario de la Peregrina, for travellers on their way to Santiago de Compostela. The floor plan is in the shape of a scallop shell and the building is built in the Baroque style.

The Praza da Ferreira shows the benefits of the pedestrianisation of the city. There are arcades, cafes, fountains, and gardens that can all be admired in peace, along with the facade of the San Francisco church.

The Alameda is a promenade that takes you away from the centre towards the river. There are many splendid buildings here, starting with the town hall, the ruins of the San Domingo church, the provincial council building for Pontevedra, followed by the administrative building for the provincial council. There is also a statue of Christopher Columbus here. The flagship on his famous 1492 journey to the New World, the Santa Maria, was built in Pontevedra.

The Museo de Pontevedra is well worth visiting, even though you might have the place to yourself. Originally, the museum was in two houses in the beautiful Praza da Lena, but the collection now seems to have moved one hundred metres away to the east and is housed in a glass-sided building called the Sexto. There are rooms full of paintings by Galician artists, displays of Roman finds, and the contents of hoards including gold rings and bracelets.

The most interesting section is that devoted to the Galician writer and artist Alfonso Castelao, who was driven into exile during the Spanish Civil War and died in Argentina in 1950. He was an excellent cartoonist and his paintings depict rural Galicia and the horrors of war.

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 32

Mike Alvarez had discarded his suit about three hours previously and hung it on the coat stand by the door in his office. He had loosened his tie, and he still felt warm, even with the air-conditioning on full. Opposite him, Claudia Reyes was a little chilly, as this temperature for her was like home in the summer.

“So, what do we have?” asked Alvarez. On the conference call with Alvarez and Reyes were Susan del Piero in Burgos and agents Grady and Del Bosque in Leon.

“Well, sir,” replied Susan, “we have a seventy-five percent identification from James Adam here in the hospital in Burgos and a hundred percent positive ID from the bus driver of the airport bus and from the hotel here in town. The local police are getting contact information from the hotel based on this being a murder inquiry as regards Santiago de Compostela and an attempted murder inquiry in Burgos. The victim in Santiago was on the train when James Adam was attacked and went on to Valladolid and Leon, before arriving in Santiago de Compostela.”

“Thank you, Susan,“ said Alvarez. “Now Grady and Del Bosque up there in Leon, what do you have for us?”

“Grady here, sir. From a train perspective we’ve checked the bookings, the man in question was on all the trains that the victim was on, even from Leon to Santiago de Compostela.”

“Right, so what the hell was he doing? Following them? Waiting for an opportunity? Or waiting for his terrorist friends to show up somewhere?”

“We won’t know that for sure, unless we can capture him alive, which will be difficult,” replied Reyes.

“Damn right there,” replied Alvarez. “This guy is from Spetnatz, anyway. Del Bosque, what about hotels, where did he stay? Do we know?”

“Yes, we do, we know where he stayed in Pamplona, Burgos as Susan said, and Valladolid, but we haven’t found where he stayed in Leon yet, although we soon will. The trail goes cold as soon as he gets off the train in Santiago. No hotel in Santiago had a guest of that name staying there.”

“Thank you, all of you, good work. So, to sum up, we have Pat Walker in all the places we have listed out, we know he was there, we know he did it, but the question is, where did he stay, who did he become next, and where is he now? Let’s all go up to Santiago and see what we can find of the elusive Mr Walker.”

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 31

Kim Samuels was pleased she’d paid in advance for all her hotels. It meant no awkward conversations about cash or credit card or whether she’d like the receipt emailed to her. There was just a quick shake of the head when she was asked whether she’d used anything from the minibar. With her travel bag inside her rucksack, she walked to the train station using an indirect route. With the station in view, she pretended to tie up her shoelaces, giving herself some time to scan the approaches to the platforms.

It looked exactly the same as the previous day when she’d gone on the train to A Coruna. The police had not tried to hide – a car was parked outside with two men on either side of the doors, studying everyone carefully.

Samuels had chosen her train well because another train would soon arrive and there would be an influx of people to the platforms. Most passengers in Spain are met by at least one other person, leading to large crowds on platforms and in the station waiting areas.

It was more difficult to spot the terrorists as they kept out of the way of the police and yet watched the same set of passengers. Samuels spotted two likely lookouts and thought how best to deal with them, should the need arise. The other hunting knife she’d bought in Pamplona, more of a stiletto really, nestled inside the cuff of her jacket.

She carried the rucksack over her left shoulder, distorting her body shape slightly and keeping her right hand free. She carried her ticket in her left hand. She walked past one of the policemen who barely glanced at her.

Once inside, Samuels saw one of the terrorist watchers sitting in a seat facing the doors. She followed other passengers to mask the view of him and then turned left where another watcher stood right by the door taking people to the platform. Samuels carried on towards the toilets as the door was not yet open.

She returned two minutes later. Two policemen inspected people’s tickets before allowing them onto the platform. The terrorist watcher had made himself scarce. Some people, hoping to meet people off the train, were complaining to one officer they weren’t allowed to go onto the platform, so Samuels made the most of the argument by showing her ticket quickly to the other officer who nodded impatiently, before helping his colleague with the complainers.

Samuels looked at her fellow passengers and relaxed slightly. Her seat was at the end of the carriage facing back along the train. She doubted anyone would try to do anything on a train full of people, but you never knew. The journey to Pontevedra took twenty-five minutes. The ironic thing was that the previous day at the station in A Coruna, she’d seen no terrorist lookouts at all, which made her think the terrorists had based themselves there. They’d assumed she wouldn’t be visiting their city. Or perhaps they assumed she couldn’t be an assassin as she was a female?

She felt like she was being hunted now, but she could cope with that. Samuels wondered how long it would be before the Americans started tailing her, too. They would be more professional and more difficult to spot as they would choose people who fitted in with the local population. They might also not dismiss females so readily.

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 30

Update – MASSACRE IN SANTIAGO

Another shooting in pilgrimage city

Killer found dead.

A man’s body, matching the description of the lone gunman responsible for the worst mass shooting in the city, has been found at the Pazo de Raxoi this evening.

All extremists will be hunted down and caught like rats says PM.

There is no reign of terror in the city says mayor as fourth violent death occurs in last 24 hours.

The man’s body was found at 5 pm today. He had been executed with a single shot to the temple. The identity of his killer is unknown.

This death follows hard on the heels of another shooting near Vigo station earlier today when a man, again matching the description of the Tren Turistico murderer, was found with multiple gun wounds near the Guixar station. Police think this man might have been heading down to Porto on the train.

Extra security measures will be in place throughout Galicia to reassure the expected influx of pilgrims over the next few weeks, many of them from Asia.

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 29

The outstanding reason to visit A Coruna is to see the world’s oldest active lighthouse, built by the Romans in the 2nd century and re-clad in the 18th century to protect the old structure. The lighthouse is a wonderful sight, but make sure to walk along the coastline here to experience the pounding of the waves and the strength of the wind even on a gentle day.

There are secluded coves where you can burn an unwanted passport and bury the ashes in the sand, which is soon washed over by the hungry tide.

You might begin to understand why the coast to the west of A Coruna is called the Costa da Morte, the coast of death. Ships have been wrecked along this coast for centuries and the jagged rocks, frothing waves, and strong tides have to be treated with great respect even today, when modern technology makes us feel safe.

The Aquarium Finisterrae is close by and the highlight is the vast Nautilus tank, which allows visitors to become familiar with the fish life of the Atlantic Ocean.

This city was the departure point of the Spanish Armada in 1588, a fleet that failed in its attempt to invade England and end the Elizabethan age. Even though the fleet was defeated and scattered to the four winds, the English still felt that A Coruna should be punished.

In retaliation, Sir Francis Drake raided the city a year later, an attack that was only repelled when a local heroine called Maria Pita killed the English standard-bearer with a spear. This event is commemorated in a statue in Praza de Maria Pita, the heart of the city. This square also houses the Palacio Municipal.

Nearby is the Xardin de San Carlos where lies General Sir John Moore, killed in 1809 during the British retreat from French forces. Charles Wolfe’s poem to the fallen general is reproduced on a nearby wall. The general died when his left shoulder was mostly blown off by a cannonball during the Battle of Elviña, which took place on 16th January of that year.

Moore’s army was attacked by the French under Marshal of the Empire Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult during the Peninsular War. Napoleon had defeated the Spanish armies and caused the British army to withdraw to the coast following an unsuccessful attempt by Moore to attack Soult’s army.

Starting on Christmas Day, 1808, the British forces retreated across northern Spain for more than two hundred and fifty miles through the mountains while their rearguard fought off repeated French attacks. Both armies suffered from the harsh winter conditions and it’s estimated 3,000 British soldiers died during the retreat.

When the British eventually reached the port of A Coruna a few days ahead of the French, they found their transport ships had not arrived. When the fleet did arrive and the British were in the midst of embarking, the French army attacked, forcing the British to fight another battle before departing for England.

The British held off the French until nightfall, when both armies disengaged. British forces resumed their embarkation overnight and the last transport ships left in the morning under French cannon fire. Sir John Moore died after learning that his men had successfully repelled the French attacks.

In the Parque de Santa Margarita is the Casa das Ciencias with its planetarium and gadgetry mainly aimed at children. In the park are many rubbish bins where you can discard items of worn clothing that no longer have any use.

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 28

Update – MASSACRE IN SANTIAGO

Lone gunman kills 3.

Unknown terrorist kills tourist near Museo do Pabo Gallego.

All killers will be hunted down and caught like rats says PM.

Tourists need have no fear about their safety and security says mayor.

An unknown gunman was being sought by police this morning after killing an innocent tourist on board the Tren Turistico as it started to go up the steepest hill on its round trip of our pilgrimage city yesterday.

The killer was described as being about six feet in height with fair skin and an athletic disposition, who also killed two Muslim bystanders.

Hand grenades were found, but none were used in the attack.

The cold-blooded, lethal killer is extremely dangerous and should not be approached under any circumstances by anyone.

Extra security measures will be in place to reassure the expected influx of pilgrims over the next few weeks, many of them from Asia.

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 27

After listening to the testimony of witness seven, Inspector Maria Sanchez put out a bulletin to all officers, describing the man responsible for all three murders earlier in the day. They would increase security at all points of departure in the city and at the airport and all major railway stations in Galicia.

In the morning, all leave was cancelled and officers would make enquiries at all the hotels in the city, looking for people who had checked out on 21st August.

The man was dangerous and armed. The police primed response units to come to any potential flash point in an instance. The police were on high alert, aware that it would look bad if Spain allowed this assassin to get away.

Some officers had sympathy with what the man had done, after all, he’d stopped a terrorist incident and two jihadis were dead. It was just because he’d shot an American – perhaps he was excited and got carried away with emotion – that all this palaver was taking place.

Americans shot each other in vast numbers per day, so just one more death didn’t add much to the overall figures.

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 26

Inspector Maria Sanchez of the Policia Nacional was interviewing the passengers of the bus in the Praza do 8 de Marzo at the time of the Tren Turistico incident. Sanchez was twenty-seven years old and ambitious to get on in the police service. She had done well so far in this world dominated by machismo.

Sanchez wore black jeans and a blue top with a silver crucifix around her neck. She had short brown hair and hazel eyes that looked quizzically at each of the first six passengers, whom it seemed had seen nothing useful but had heard a short burst from what most of them understood was a firecracker.

They were all sitting on the left-hand side of the bus listening to music or playing one of those time-wasting games on their phones where you go around shooting people in a made-up world. How ironic this was, thought Sanchez, when real people were being shot in the real world, if you could have been bothered to witness it. But you wouldn’t have received any points in the game for seeing a real killing, would you? she thought, staring at the backs of the so-called witnesses as they left the interview room. She felt jaded already as witness seven shuffled into the grey room and sat down at the shiny metal desk.

Witness seven was a man in his late forties, with shifty eyes who seemed unable to make eye contact with Sanchez. He looked around and patted down what remained of his unruly hair.

“This is the interview room for the people from the bus who witnessed the shooting?” he asked, looking bewildered.

“It is,” said Sanchez, “you’re in the right place, don’t worry.”

“Where is the interviewer then,” he replied. “Has he just popped out of the room?”

Sanchez wondered about slapping the man around the face, as she could do without this kind of sexism when she was pursuing her line of enquiry. Instead, she chose sarcasm, something she was carefully nurturing by watching British TV comedies, without the subtitles.

“Well, the interviewer took one look at you and decided he had better things to do, so he left you to me, Inspector Sanchez of the Policia Nacional.”

“Well that’s all right, I didn’t mean any offence by my question.”

“None taken,” lied Sanchez through her gleaming white teeth. “Anyway, you said witnesses to the shooting, but sadly none of your fellow passengers on the bus witnessed anything worth reporting, so how are you different from them?”

The man smiled and sat up straight in the metal chair. “I saw everything,” he said proudly, “and it’s not what they’re saying on the TV news. They’ve got it wrong as usual, but I am glad I can be of help to everyone and set the record straight.”

Inspector Maria Sanchez looked hard at the man before pressing the record button on the recorder. “The testimony of witness seven from the bus regarding the Tren Turistico incident, today the 21st August. Please proceed, witness seven…”