Alex managed to stay a light behind them, distant enough not to be obvious, but ready to run a red light in an instant if it looked like he was going to lose them. He did not.
After a few simple turns they were in a residential neighborhood and excitement began to crawl into Alex's belly. They were going to her home. He didn't know how he knew, but he did, he knew it as certain as he knew anything. Sure enough, a few blocks ahead on the wonderfully open and clear suburban Olympia streets, he saw the two Dodges pull over in front of a small rambler.
He put on his own blinker and made a right hand turn, breaking his eye contact with them and removing himself from their awareness. He drove just far enough to park in front of another car, and killed the engine, sitting behind the wheel, panting, almost hyperventilating.
He wanted to believe that this was it, that he would just be able to walk into her home and enjoy his time with her, but he knew that, realistically, his other plan, that of taking her to that nostalgic cabin in Vancouver, was more realistic. And why the hell not? By the time anyone responded to this situation, he could be half way there! He was already closer than he would have been in Auburn or Seattle. It was a straight shot down I-5. His van would hold for a day or two. What was the worst that would happen, he would get a parking ticket? He could live with that. It wasn't in his name, anyway.
Alex took deep, satisfying breaths, his earlier fatigue vanished, his body winding up and tightening like a clockwork toy. He closed his eyes and forced himself to relax. This was his moment. This was his time. This was, he now realized, what he had been building up to for so very long.
He did not pack his bag, not this time. He did not want to have anything that would hold him back. He found a sweatshirt and decided he would pose as a jogger. The gun fit snugly into his belt at his side, beneath the sweatshirt, if he loosened his belt a notch. His hunting knife sat in its welcome place on his left hip. Into his back pocket he put a handful of zip ties, confident in their usefulness, as he always was.
Then he began his walk. It was almost 6 in the morning now, and still quite dark. Mist hung in pools around the streetlights, making the hour feel even more gloomy than it was. The reassuring weight of the gun on one side of his body and the knife on the other soothed him and slowed his fluttering heart, already far ahead of him, ready for the fun to begin.
He turned right onto the woman's street, 138th SE, he noted, which was boring and anonymous. Not as exciting as the resident who lived on it, who would probably be his most famous victim.
He so rarely thought of the people he spent time with as victims exactly. They were certainly not his friends, but they gave to him, he enjoyed their company so that the word victim seemed...inauthentic. No, they were his...subjects! Yes, he liked that quite a bit. It implied both that he was a scientist conducting experiments and that he was a ruler and they were beneath him. Both true, both appropriate, both sensible. They were his subjects.
And there were two now, sitting in a large Dodge wagon before the woman's house. One was intently looking out the left side, at the other side of the street. The other man was lounging, his head lolling against the passenger side window. He did not look alert.
Alex slid the gun from his belt and held it tight against his right leg, beneath the line of sight of the men in the car. Perhaps he would talk to them. Pretend to be a local, someone out looking for a pet or a child. He would be casual, treat them as anyone else, and he could hear the conversation in his mind. “Oh my, you're police officers? Well then I'm sure you can help me.”
The apathetic man twisted a little in his seat and Alex forced himself to keep moving as he knew he was entering the man's peripheral vision. Freezing or moving quickly would arouse suspicion. There would be none of that. He was just a casual citizen, out for a morning walk. Hell, they were the suspicious ones, sitting in this neighborhood in a running car—
The man in the passenger seat twitched, as if stung, and Alex moved without thinking about it. He raised the gun, just as he saw the man was reaching inside his own jacket and, with the muzzle just a few feet from the window, pointing directly at it, he opened fire.
The first round took the man in the head, shoving it violently away from the window with a spray of human material, then flopping back into the glass, aping his position from just moments ago. The sound was a whip-like crack in the thin morning air, and the sound of the glass cracking from the impact a lesser, hollower noise.
Alex couldn't see his second target, but he knew that there was no time, so he adjusted his aim to fire past where the passenger was sitting and emptied the gun in the direction of the driver's seat. The rapid reports bled together into a single exaggerated sound, like a string of firecrackers, the individual sounds becoming one and remaining individual. The gun dry fired several times before Alex realized he was out of ammunition.
He grabbed the handle of the passenger door and pulled on it. The man with holes in his head tried to flop out, but was held in place by his seat belt. Holding the now empty gun before him, Alex looked past to see the driver. His window was now a ruin of red as well, and Alex could see that one of his hands was almost destroyed by gun fire where he had protectively held it up. It had done no good. There was a hole in his chest that was slowly leaking blood, a hole high up on his shoulder and...yes, that was not blood in his eye, half the eye was, in fact, missing.
That was when Alex saw it. Miraculously clear of blood, bone and brain, there was a photocopy at the passenger's feet. It was him. It was not perfect, of course, but the likeness was striking. That was why the passenger had reacted when he had seen him. It was a damn good thing he'd brought Wozcynski's gun along after all.
With that thought, he took the gun from the passenger. His hand was still resting on it and Alex had to pull it out of the way. It was still warm and supple.
Alex smiled happily as he checked the chamber. It was ready to go. There was no safety. He carefully closed the door on the passenger, marveling at the destruction the small gun had been able to create. It was not as satisfying as some things, he admitted, but the picture of the aftermath was astounding. He looked at himself and was surprised that, other than the hand where he had touched the body guard, his body was completely clean. It was so unusual for him to create so much destruction and remain so clean.
Not what he would have favored, certainly not what he was saving up for Anderson, not at all, but satisfying in its own way, to a degree at least.
Alex turned for the house.