Screeching to a stop, Selwyn Moss glanced over his shoulder in time to catch the annoyed gaze from the driver in the next lane. He snapped his head forward, attempting to avoid eye contact with the man.
Moss had seen the man motioning him to lower his window. It didnt matter. He concentrated on fixing his steely glare on the glow of red in front of him. While having his driving critiqued by a balding, middle aged soccer dad ranked low on his list of concerns on an evening such as this, any attempt to curb the touch of spite he felt bubbling within him would, he knew, be futile. As the light switched to green, Moss released the clutch of his late model coupe just fast enough to ensure the smell of vaporized Michelins filled the mans nostrils.
Jackass, Moss mumbled to himself. After all, whats worse, he wondered? Being distracted behind the wheel, or driving a rusted out Ford Windstar?
He knew the answer. Image was everything. At least in his world.
It was a cold, wet evening. The judgmental minivan driver piloted one of the few cars hed seen on the sleepy streets of Osyrus, Tennessee. Moss pulled off the hilly road, put the car in neutral and set the e-brake. The flash of orange framed his silhouette within the cars cabin. Smoke filled his lungs. Nicotine coursed his veins. Selwyn Moss, MD, had spent that morning warning a 49 year-old patient about the dangers of tobacco use, but, as he knew, the edge was taken off evenings like this with substances that he was supposed to despise. And despise cigarettes he did, but not because of their carcinogenic laced smoke. It was the lack of control he felt after allowing addiction to creep back into his triathlon trained body. It was the fact that a cardiologist with an on again off again relationship with smoking had to hide his habit from everyone to maintain the credibility hed built within his profession.
He was a hypocrite, and he knew it, but name one person on this planet who isnt, Moss silently justified. He was simply much better at masking his faults than anyone else hed ever met. He didnt have a choice. His identity was his protection, and his credibility was the capstone on the identity he adopted 15 years earlier. However, a nicotine buzz failed to take the edge off this time.
Still whirling from what had transpired hours earlier, nothing could change what he had witnessed. The gruesome scene. His narrow escape. People he cared about abducted.
A subdued laugh filled the Audi. Moss startled himself with the sound. It certainly wasnt consistent with his mood. He shook his head and pulled back onto the roadway.
He didnt know where he was heading. It didnt matter. They found him here, after all these years. They could find him again. They probably had intentionally let him get away, too. By stalking ones prey, the mark often leads the predator back to an even larger prize, though this approach would fail them this time. Moss was a man on the run with nowhere to go. Nearly everyone who mattered to him was gone, and he was too smart to lead his predators to the few people left in his life he still cared about. He had no safe haven any longer.
Delayed gratification was a virtue in his former line of work. A decade and a half out of practice had slowed his reaction time, making him vulnerable. A night like this, hed known for some time, was inevitable. He knew the abilities of his former boss. His secret past had caught up to him. Someone was likely watching him now. His old friends were experts at revealing themselves only on their terms.
His phone chimed.
Hello, snapped Moss. Jasper. Weve got them both.
With the confirmation of his blown cover, Moss shivered as this fact resonated with him. Only a select few people have called him Jasper in the recent past. Stay out of sight until tomorrow morning. Ill call you then with precise instructions.
Damn it. Wait, Moss screamed at the mouthpiece. It was too late, the connection severed. He was left staring at his blank caller ID.
The one place he wanted to go was the one place he couldnt return to. Willoughby would have to wait. For now, he drove off into the darkness with no destination in mind.