Chapter 3: Nick Bracco
by Gary Ponzo
Matt stayed a block behind the bus, while Nick scrutinized the passengers with his binoculars.
“Nothing suspicious,” Nick answered Matt’s silent question.
“Can you see him?”
“No,” Nick said referring to Karl Saxon, the assassin they suspected was on the bus. Saxon’s nickname was, The Ghost, so the two agents kept a sharp eye on the vehicle as if he could evaporate at any moment.
“I don’t like it,” Matt said. “He must know we’re following him. Why not make a move?
After more than a decade of partnering together, Nick’s mind was rummaging through the same exact thought. “Maybe he’s preparing to take a hostage and wants the bus to thin out first. Less people to control.”
“Yeah,” Matt said, gripping the steering wheel with clenched fists. “But the longer we wait, the more time he has to prepare for us.
The thumping sound of a helicopter became too conspicuous and Matt stretched forward over the dashboard. “Tell Lincoln to get the chopper out of here. I don’t want Saxon to spook. The less hostages, the better.”
Nick called Agent Jack Lincoln to instruct him bring the chopper to a higher elevation, but continue his surveillance. When Nick placed the phone back on his lap and looked through the binoculars, he said, “As far as I can tell there’s only seven passengers left.”
They were still on Pennsylvania Avenue, just before the White House and watched the bus make a left turn to head back south where they had begun. At the first light the bus pulled over at a stop and Matt crept toward the curb to double-park. Nick almost jumped from his seat when the car behind them honked the horn. Matt opened his window and waved his arm to encourage the driver to go around, but there was already a line of cars too close for the driver to negotiate the turn.
Another long honk.
Nick could feet his temple pulsate with pressure. He opened the car door.
“Hey,” Matt said.
“I’ll be right back,” Nick said, then jumped out and stomped over to the car behind them. The driver was a young male with a buzz cut and a gold earring pierced through his lower lip. Nick went over to his window and slammed his FBI credentials up against the glass so hard he thought it might break.
The guy’s eyes widened.
“Get out of here!” Nick shouted.
The guy jammed his gear into reverse and slowly rolled backward, causing the rest of the cars behind him to do the same.
Meanwhile Nick moved behind the SUV for protection and scrutinized each passenger as they exited the bus, his fingertips lingering on the grip of his gun. There was a woman with two children. A businessman. A young kid with red headphones dangling around his neck.
The bus began to pull out into traffic and Nick hopped back into SUV. When he shut the door behind him, Matt said, “There’s two left.”
Nick scanned the interior of the bus with the binoculars. “This isn’t good. I’m getting backup.”
Matt glanced down at the bus route displayed on his phone sitting on the console. “There’s one stop left on the route. Have Walt bring the crew to 14th and Constitution.”
Nick made the call, then returned his attention to the bus, examining the pedestrian traffic to assess the risk involved with the imminent confrontation. His head began to pound as he withdrew his pistol and examined his chamber with a quick slide out and snap back into place.
“You getting ready for a shootout?” Matt asked.
“Well don’t, you’re scaring me.”
“What, you think I’m trigger happy?” Nick asked putting the binoculars to his eyes.
“No I think you’re target challenged.”
“I miss a target by three inches and right away I’m target challenged.”
Matt looked over at him. “You were twenty feet away when I had—”
“Stop,” Nick said, squinting through his binoculars now. “Something’s happening.”
NEW Follow-Along Thriller!
FBI AGENT NICK BRACCO AND INDEPENDENT CRIME FIGHTER EMILY STONE ARE CHASING A KILLER.
MONDAYS ARE NICK BRACCO’S CHAPTER, THURSDAYS ARE EMILY STONE
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