Author:William Johnstone

    Evidently not, and he wasn’t the sort of man who could easily ignore a ringing phone. So he slipped it out of his pocket, opened it, and held it to his ear.

    “Yeah? This had better be good.”

    “Hey, Jackknife. I hear you saved the day.” The voice belonged to Lawrence “Fargo” Ford.

    “A lot of people saved the day,” McCabe said, “including half-a-dozen MegaMart employees who were killed fighting those crazy sons of bitches.”

    “Word is that you got a few prisoners.” JACKKNIFE


    “I don’t expect the government to admit it any time soon, but four of the terrorists were captured.”

    “Oh, they’ll admit it,” Ford said. “Everything’s got to be open and aboveboard now, remember? No more of this illegally detaining prisoners like we used to. No more doing whatever it took to get information out of them we needed to save innocent lives either.” McCabe grunted. “Yeah, I forgot. Anyway, it’s over.

    Nothing blew up real good . . . this time.”

    “Yeah, I’ve been thinkin’ about that,” Ford drawled.

    “You know what these guys are like, Jackknife. They’re like cockroaches. You stomp one of ’em, there are always a dozen more running around, hiding from the light and fouling everything up for everybody.”

    “And your point is?”

    “How’d you like to come back to work for the Company?”

    “I can’t do that,” McCabe answered without hesita-tion. “I never worked for the Company to start with.”

    “You know what I mean,” Ford protested. “You’re too good at this sort of work to just sit around, McCabe.

    Don’t you miss it?”

    Again, McCabe didn’t hesitate. “Not a damned bit. In fact, I already turned down one job today.”


    “Hiram Stackhouse. He wanted to make me his new head of security. Seems he’s not too happy with the old one. Can’t say as I blame him.”

    “But you told him no.”

    “I told him no,” McCabe said. “I’m a truck driver these days. That’s plenty of excitement for me.”

    “I don’t believe that,” Ford said.

    “Believe whatever you want, I don’t care. Was there anything else you wanted?”


    Ford didn’t say anything for a moment; then a chuckle came from the phone. “No, I guess not. Oh, Brad Parker says to tell you hello.”

    “Right back at him. He gonna be all right?”

    “Yeah, he’ll be fine. He’ll be back in the field before you know it.”

    “Fighting the shadow wars,” McCabe said.

    “Yeah. Somebody’s got to do it.” For a second McCabe felt that old familiar pull.

    Then his wife and daughter laughed in the kitchen, and it went away.

    “Good night, Fargo.”

    “It’s morning over here—” Ford began, but McCabe closed the phone and didn’t hear any more after that. He turned the phone off, set it on the table beside his chair, picked up the remote, and turned on the TV. Nothing on the networks but special reports about what had happened today, he realized after a minute or two of flipping through the channels. He found a rerun of an old sitcom, heaved a sigh, and sat back to watch.

    By the time Terry looked into the living room a few minutes later, McCabe’s eyes were closed and his chest rose and fell regularly.

    Terry smiled and let him sleep.

    Hamed al-Bashar sat on the bunk in the tiny cell, unmoving, his hands clasped between his knees. He didn’t know exactly where he was, but he knew it didn’t matter.

    He would tell the infidels nothing, no matter what they did to him. He would never betray his fellow warriors in the cause of jihad.

    And soon the infidels would give him a lawyer. Despite the fact that he was not an American citizen and had come JACKKNIFE


    to this country only to do it grievous harm, the fools would bend over backward to make sure none of his

    “rights” were violated.

    The Americans didn’t know it, but they had only one real right—the right to die, crushed by the inevitable tide of Islam that would sweep over the entire planet sooner or later. Today’s mission might have failed, but there would be another, and another, and another, and as always, the Americans would slumber on until it was too late.

    In the end, Hamed knew, he and his compatriots wouldn’t even have to defeat the Americans. They were doing it to themselves with every day that went by when they refused to admit the true extent of the danger they faced. They brought themselves one step closer to ex-tinction with each sneering, sanctimonious newscast, with each march by chanting, sign-waving “peace” protestors who had no idea what true peace cost, with each Supreme Court decision that took power out of the hands of the people and placed it in the greedy grasp of liberal politicians.

    In the gloom of the cell, a smile spread slowly across Hamed’s face. He was nothing, a speck of dust in a great wind blowing from the east, a wind that one day would scour the earth clean of the infidels and their corruption.

    If it was the will of Allah, he would live to see that day.

    If not . . . well, he was secure in the knowledge that it was coming anyway.

    A quiet sound that no one else heard came from the cell.

    Laughter, and a whispered “Allahu akbar!” PINNACLE BOOKS are published by Kensington Publishing Corp.

    850 Third Avenue

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