Chiang Mai – Monday, Feb. 24, 4:00 p.m. (4:00 a.m. EST) Raven and Ice sat in the back of a tuk tuk on the shoulder of a two-lane road outside of Chiang Mai. The driver, who didn’t understand English, leaned forward and drooped his arms over the steering wheel as if he might collapse. He stared into the distance, awaiting instructions. “Thank God you noticed Sasha and Ingrid leaving,” Raven said. “Or I would have lost them. I wish we could follow them into this place. What is
Chiang Mai – Monday, Feb. 24, 5:00 a.m. local (5:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 23 in DC) Sasha and Ingrid staggered down the hall and tumbled into their room, as Raven and Ice watched from the stairwell. As soon as their door slammed, Raven whispered, “Now what?” Ice held the stairwell door open for Raven, and they both stepped into the hall. “It’s almost dawn,” Ice said. “You need sleep too. Have you heard anything from your people yet?” “Nothing. I’m sorry I wasted your time.
College Park, MD – Saturday, Feb. 22, 10:00 a.m. EST At the College Park Hotel & Suites, Anna spotted Viktor sitting in a reading nook in the corner of the cavernous lobby beyond a glitzy bar area. He was staring down at his phone and scrolling. He still hadn’t shaved, and she thought the stubble made him look particularly attractive. She reminded herself to pretend she didn’t—the meeting needed to remain strictly professional. He looked up, caught her eye and smiled. “Hey,”
Washington, DC – Friday, Feb. 21, 5:00 p.m. EST Anna flinched when she heard a knock on the door of her apartment. Her place was on the 9th floor—whoever it was had bypassed security. She got up and looked through the peephole. It was blocked. Before she had time to consider the options, however, she heard a deep, “Surprise!” “Viktor!” she cried out as she opened the door. She rushed at him, draped her hands around his neck, looked into his dark eyes and stretched up to kiss
Washington, DC – Friday, Feb. 21, 6:30 a.m. EST Anna dried off, wrapped herself in a towel and gazed into the bathroom mirror. She tenderly removed the two damp bandages on her head and inspected her new stitches: thirteen in all—five on her right eyebrow and eight above her hairline, complete with a sliver of shaved hair. Having lost a full 24 hours in Miami due to the car accident, she was glad to be home. She splashed water on the stitches and patted them dry with a clean
Miami – Wednesday, Feb. 19, 3:00 p.m. EST Once inside the airport terminal at MIA, Anna bought a couple of empanadas at a kiosk and followed the moving walkways to the rental car complex. She approached the only counter where no one was waiting and had a contract within 10 minutes. Her ride was gutless but cheap—Tanner would appreciate that. Driving south on Le Jeune, she turned east on the Dolphin Expressway toward the Azure Ocean, a boutique hotel she had booked online. She
Washington, DC – Wednesday, Feb. 19, 11:00 a.m. EST When Anna heard the airport announcement that her flight to Miami would soon board, she rose to wait in line at the gate. In doing so, she noticed a familiar woman making a beeline toward her. Then Anna watched the crowd watching the woman. She wore a white coat with a waterfall collar, wide white belt, spike-heeled shiny black boots and sleek black pants. A black designer bag hung from her left shoulder, and on her right, s
Washington, DC – Tuesday, Feb. 18, 7:00 p.m. EST Anna was pacing in the lobby of the E Street Cinema, when one of its six doors flew wide open and crashed into a tall metal garbage. A stunning young Black woman tumbled into the place. She had long straightened black hair, dark brown skin, arched eyebrows and bright brown eyes, and she was visibly out of breath, as if someone had been chasing her. Wearing a black thermal puffer jacket and ripped stone-washed jeans, she looked