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.