“Jump” part 6

Blog, Life, short story, Uncategorized, writing

-CASSIDY-
It seems to me the only way I can find out what that book is about is by playing detective. The only other person who might know about that book and about Torres is Lionel’s friend, Ashley. Lionel was suspicious when he saw Ashley hauling Torres’ suitcases into a trunk. I get the feeling Ashley is the right person to talk to.
I wait an hour after Lionel leaves. After feeding my mother some bogus excuse about meeting up with a friend at the movies, I slip out the front door and down the street to wait for the bus. On the bus I pick a seat near the back, beside the window. I brought along the photo with the message from the book as evidence that should prove to Ashley that I’m serious.
A half hour later, I hop off the bus and walk two blocks.
Taking a deep breath, I enter the hotel, the automatic doors making a swishing sound as they open. The lobby is sort of dingy with brown tiled flooring and sad yellow walls. I look around, searching for an employee as I walk to the front desk. After a moment, I ring the little bell. “Hello?”
A guy emerges from a door behind the desk labeled Manger’s office. He has dark hair with purple that obscures a large portion of the left side of his face. He cracks a smile when he sees me.
“Welcome to the Clairvine Hotel. Can I check you in?”
“I’m not a guest. I was actually looking for someone who works here, his name is Ashley.”
“I’m Ashley.”
“Hi, I’m Cass. I’m a friend of Lionel’s.”
Ashley looks me over, his eyes softening. “Well it appears he has good taste in friends.”
I refrain from laughing and act slightly flustered. “I, uh, I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions.”
“Sure,” Ashley says. “Let’s go somewhere a little more private.”
I nod and follow him to the breakfast area across the lobby. We sit at a table tucked in the far corner.
“So, how can I help you?”
“Have you known Lionel long?”
Ashley chuckles. “We go way back.”
I consider this. “Okay, well I’m just going to cut to the chase.” I glance around quickly before continuing. “You were the one who told Lionel where Torres was staying.”
“Yes.”
“So you know what Lionel was going to do, right?”
Ashley cocks his head. “Yes and no. I knew he was going to steal something that he thought should belong to him. I don’t know what it was though.” He leans forward, crossing his arms on the table. “How do you know about that? I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t spill incriminating stuff like that to just anyone.”
“Well—“ I stammer, caught off guard.
Ashley’s eyes narrow. “You went with him, didn’t you?”
“I… that’s beside the point,” I say, my cheeks beginning to blush. This wasn’t part of the plan. “Look, he found what he was looking for but then he lost it…”
“Did you know you could be considered an accessory to murder in addition to breaking and entering?” Ashley says, his tone cool as he disregards what I just said.
“I didn’t!”
“Do you like him?”
“Lionel? No!” I exclaim, my cheeks burning now. “Okay, shut up and just focus okay? And just so you know, you could be considered an accessory as well. You are the one who leaked Lionel information.”
“Touché,” Ashley says, grinning. He leans back in his chair. “What did you want to know?”
“Do you know anything about this?” I pull the photo from my pocket and slide it across the table. Ashley snatches it up and inspects it, flipping it over and reading the message. He grins.
“Good ol’ Dal Torres. Always had a sense of humour.”
“This was in the book Lionel stole. The book was a fake, it had blank pages.”
“A book?” Ashley’s eyes slide to the side.
“Do you have any idea why Torres would go to the trouble of creating a fake book?”
“Did Lionel tell you what the real book contains?”
I bite my lip, trying to come up with something that’s not as lame as the truth, but Ashley beats me to the punch.
“Ah,” he says, his face a mix of interest and dark intent. “That’s what you’re really here about, isn’t it.”
This isn’t going how I thought it would at all. I need to get out of here, before I give away too much, plus this guy is starting to creep me out with his mind reading B.S. I stand from the table. “You know what, I shouldn’t have bothered you, you clearly don’t know anything.”
Ashley grabs my wrist as I pass. “Why don’t you ask Lionel about all the sporting events he accompanied Torres to. That might answer your question.” He lets go and I walk quickly away. “See you around, Cass,” he calls after me, sending a chill up my spine.
-Collins

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“Jump” part 5

Blog, Life, short story, Uncategorized, writing

-LIONEL-
I hold the book in my hands as I leave Cassidy’s house. She wasn’t happy about my sudden departure after lunch, and even less happy about my asking to take the book with me. After I explained she wasn’t going to be able to do anything with a fake book anyway, she let me go, though not before casting me yet another clouded glare.
I left her the photo with the message though, it’s of no use to me anyway.
I can’t shake my suspicions of Ashley, no matter how much I try. He’s up to something, but I can’t figure out his connection to Torres. Maybe if I pay him a visit, show him the book, and gage his reaction, I might make some headway.
With the idea in mind, I walk faster, heading towards the nearest bus stop. Then something occurs to me. If I show up at the hotel hours after I just told him I lost what I stole, that would look weird. I should wait a day or two.
What an annoying word. Wait.
I let out a huff and take a seat on the bench at the bus stop as the wind picks up, blowing leaves and garbage around in a little circle on the sidewalk. I guess the only place I can go is home for now.
-Collins

“Jump” part 4

Blog, Life, short story, Uncategorized, writing

-CASSIDY-
After lunch my mother finally lets me go up to my room. It was agony trying to eat at a normal pace while I could feel the book pressing against my skin beneath my jacket. I close the door and pull the book from my jeans, holding it with both hands as I cross the room to my bed.
I wonder what it could hold. Maybe government secrets? Details about a drug smuggling operation? Incriminating photos?
My heart races as I crack open the cover. The first page is blank. I flip to the next page. Same thing. In frustration I thumb through the entire book. Every single page is blank. What the hell? I hold the book upside down and shake it. Something flutters out and lands on my covers. Picking it up, I realize it’s a photo of Dal Torres holding up a middle finger to the camera. I turn the photo over and there’s a message scrawled in sloppy writing that reads: “To the idiot who thinks it’s easy to steal from Dal Torres, think again.”
Huh.
“Why do you have the book?”
I look up startled to find Lionel standing in my doorway. “What are you doing here?” I sputter.
“I came to check on you, I felt bad about what you saw last night,” he says, striding into the room, “But that’s beside the point. Why do you have the book?”
“I found it when we were searching for it. I wanted to know what the big secret was. Surprise, it’s a whole lot of nothing.” I hold up the photo and Lionel snatches it from my hand.
He studies the picture, then flips it over, reading the message. His faces blanches and he tosses the photo down and picks the book up off the bed, flipping through the pages.
“See?”
“I don’t understand,” Lionel whispers.
“What’s not to understand? You thought you were smart, but Torres was smarter.”
Lionel closes the book, staring down at me. “But if this was just a fake, why did Torres act so upset when he saw us in his room? Why wouldn’t he just let us get away, why start a fight when he saw I had a knife? It doesn’t make any sense.”
I draw my knees up. “I don’t know.”
Lionel sits down beside me, his eyes far away as he contemplates. “Is it possible Ashley was involved…?”
“You keep mentioning Ashley. Why would he want to screw you over? Aren’t you friends?”
“I thought so.” Lionel leans back, resting on his elbows. “If I tell you about Ashley and Dal Torres, will you promise not to freak out? I mean, you’re already involved, more than you should be.”
“You’re regretting bringing me along in the first place, aren’t you?” I guess.
Lionel grimaces. “A little. Why did you agree to come along? I mean, you don’t really seem like the kind of girl who enjoys breaking and entering.”
I laugh. “I’m not. I just needed to do something exciting.”
“That’s it?”
“Yeah. You thought it would be some elaborate explanation?” I smile, gathering my hair over one shoulder and finger combing the knots out. “Plus my friend needed some help. Anyway, before we get any more sidetracked, you were going to tell me about Ashley and Torres. Spill.”
Lionel casts me a dubious look before staring up at the ceiling. “You are one strange girl, Cass. Okay, where do I start?”
“The beginning.”
“Right, well—“
“Cassidy?” my mother asks, popping her head inside my room. “I was wondering if Lionel would like some to eat. There’s still some leftover souvlaki from lunch.”
Lionel perps up, his eyes smiling of their own accord. “I’d love some. I’m starving.”
I give Lionel a dark look. He’s clearly thankful for the interruption. He really doesn’t want to tell me what’s in that book. But I’ll find out one way or another. I smile at my mother. “That’d be great. Thanks, Mom.”
We get up and follow my mother downstairs. I whisper to Lionel on the stairs. “We aren’t done talking about the book.”
Lionel offers me a small grimace and averts his eyes.
-Collins

“Jump” part 3

Blog, short story, Uncategorized, writing


– LIONEL-

The lobby is a moderately sized space, with a tiled floor and small breakfast area to the left. Ashley stands behind the front desk in his beige polo with the hotel’s logo on the front. He looks up from his computer as I approach, his black hair, streaked with purple, falling lazily over one eye. His lips quirk up at the corner.
“Hey.”
I cross my arms over the raised counter and play it cool. I don’t want to let him know I suspect him of anything. “Ash.”
He looks around quickly before lowering his voice. “How did things go last night?”
I laugh. “How do you think it went? Torres is dead.”
A couple descends the stairs nearby, talking loudly to each other. They come to a stop at the desk a foot away from me. Tourists have no sense of personal space.
“Yeah, can I get a city map?” The balding man says.
Ashley flashes them his best customer service smile. “Sure thing. Can I get you a popular sites pamphlet as well?”
“Didn’t you hear him?” The wife asks in a nasally voice. “Just get a map.”
“Right away.” Ashley pulls a folded map from a drawer and hands it to the husband. “Have a great day.”
The wife rolls her eyes as the husband grabs the pamphlet and they head out the automatic doors. I wait until the doors close before speaking again.
“Things went badly.”
“Did you at least get what you were looking for?”
I frown. “Well yeah, but then I sort of lost it…”
“You lost something that was important enough to kill for?” Ashley laughs incredulously. “Jesus.”
“Were you working last night?”
Ashley sobers. “I had a morning shift yesterday.”
“So you weren’t here when the cops showed up?”
“No, why?”
“Just wondering, in case you had heard anything they said. If they had any leads or anything.”
“Oh,” Ashley nods. “Sorry. But this might help you out.” He reaches under the desk and pulls out my pocket knife, handing it over the counter.
I snatch it from his hand. “Where did you find this?”
“Behind the hotel earlier when I was taking out the trash. I recognized the handle and thought I better get it back to you before someone else found it and put two and two together.”
“Thanks.”
“So what are you going to do about the lost thing you stole from Torres?” Ashley asks.
“Honestly? I have no idea, but I’ll figure it out.”
“Let me know how it goes.”
“Sure. I’m going to get going though. I don’t want to be seen around here for a few days.”
“I understand. Best of luck.” Ashley dips his chin and grins as I cross the lobby and exit the hotel.
Outside, I flip the knife over and over again in my hands, staring down at the snakeskin pattern printed on the handle. I hadn’t even noticed I’d dropped it. I suppose I should be grateful to Ashley for returning it, but I still can’t shake the feeling he’s crooked. What was he doing loading up Torres’ suitcases? Why didn’t the police collect them as evidence?
But what about Cassidy? I’ve been so caught up in finding that book that I’ve completely forgotten Cass’ feelings. She wasn’t prepared for me killing someone and I haven’t even talked to her about it. She’s got to be freaking out. I should drop by her house and talk to her. That’s what a friend would do.
I tuck the knife into my back pocket and catch the next bus at the stop down the street.
-Collins

“Jump” part 2

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PART 2
– CASSIDY-
The hotel looks different in the daylight. Of course, that might also be because I get to see it from the street, not the roof. For some reason I still expected police to be here, considering they would have found Torres’ body last night, but there’s not an officer in sight.
Lionel and I walk around the side of the hotel to where the fire escape is. It turns out the blackness below it yesterday is the employee parking lot. Various shiny black and silver cars are lined up along the building. A couple of city dumpsters are huddled below the fire escape. Lionel looks to me dryly.
“So, are you going to check the dumpsters or am I?”
“I’m not dumpster diving for a secret book that you won’t tell me anything about.”
“I’ll take that as a no,” Lionel says, striding to the dumpster and hoping up swiftly, using the side as leverage to propel himself up and over.
I stare at him for minute. His white blonde hair drifts around his face like dandelions in the breeze. He’s the one that got us into this mess. I don’t know why I’m still helping him. Some small part of me hopes I can be the one to find the book, that way I can peek inside and see what the big secret is.
I leave Lionel to rummage through garbage and search through the shrubbery skirting the hotel. I crouch in the grass and survey beneath the bushes, pushing branches out of the way. Nothing. I walk a few feet down and try again. Still nothing. I check the whole perimeter and frown. Nothing.
Lionel is jumping down from the dumpster as I return. “Any luck?”
I shake my head. “Nothing. Maybe it landed on a lower level of the fire escape?”
“That’s possible. I guess we’ll have to check. Here stand on my back, you’ll have to jump to bring the ladder back down.”
“Okay.”
Lionel bends over so I can step up. Just then, voices sound nearby. The back door to the hotel begins to open.
“Quick,” Lionel grabs my sleeve and we scurry to crouch behind the nearest car. He peers through the windshield and his eyebrows knot together.
“Who is it?” I whisper.
“My buddy, Ashley and some other guy. He’s got Torres’ suitcases and he’s loading them into a car. What the hell is he doing?” Lionel wonders.
“Wouldn’t the police that those as evidence?”
“They should.”
“Can you hear what they’re saying?” I ask, craning my neck to get a look. Lionel pushes me back down gently by the shoulder.
“No, but I bet it’s fishy.” His gaze remains locked on his friend.
Something flashes under the car in the spot next to us. Beside the back wheel, the black book glints in the sun. You’ve got to be kidding me. Lionel remains oblivious, I can’t let him get the book just yet. I pull my ring off and drop it on the pavement.
A moment later Ashely and the guy head back inside the hotel.
We stand and Lionel looks pissed.
“Do you think we should come back later?”
“They probably won’t be coming back out for a while. Let’s check the fire escape.”
We start to head towards the escape when I pretend to realize I lost my ring.
“Oh shoot! I dropped my ring,” I say holding up my hand. “It’s probably by the car. I’ll be right back.”
Lionel tells me to hurry as I rush back to the car. I pretend to look around until I find the ring beside the book. I tuck the book into the waist of my jeans quickly, pulling my jacket down over it. Then I grab the ring and jog back over, slipping it onto my finger.
“Got it.”
He looks bored and motions for me get on his back. After a couple of attempts, I finally reach the ladder. I hang from it for a few seconds as Lionel grabs my legs and pulls. The ladder slides down and I land lightly.
Fifteen minutes later, after an unsuccessful search, Lionel huffs and calls off the dogs.
“I have no idea where that book could be. Maybe Ashley found it? He’s clearly being shady.”
I nod. “That’s possible.”
“I might have to pay him a visit.”
“Do you want me to tag along?”
Lionel shakes his head, starting down the ladder. “No, I don’t want him seeing you.”
“Alright. We’ll I’ll head home then?”
Lionel lands with a thud on the grass. “That would be best. I’ll meet up with you later.”
I follow down after him. My sneakers slips off the last rung and I let out a yelp. Lionel reaches up to steady my legs. I jump down. “Thanks.”
He grins. “Later.”
I watch as he disappears around the corner before touching the book through my jacket. When I get home I’ll finally be able to see what the secret is.
 
-Collins

“Jump” part 1

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-Cassidy-

I go over the plan in my head over and over again. It’s simple, run, jump, roll, and hide. That was as far and Lionel had explained before giving me a hard look and disappearing into the shadows. I grip the ledge of the roof tightly until my fingertips go numb as I glare at the gap between this building and the next one. It’s got to be at least an eight foot jump.

It’s simple.
I call Lionel every name I can think of under my breath as I back up from the ledge. It might be simple if I had any sort of practice with parkour or something. Hell, I did gymnastics when I was 6 and I got vertigo just standing on the balance beam. Lionel does this sort of thing all the time, he’s trained for it, but it’s ridiculous to think I can.
A quick whistle sounds from the other roof and I can make out Lionel’s waving hand. Show off.
I pace back a few more feet and rub my palms against my jeans. My heart races in my chest. I’ve got to be crazy to even think I can do this. I begin to regret my decision to help Lionel out.
A metallic clang sounds nearby and a half dozen men swarm out the roof entrance. They start shouting at me but I’m off before they get near me. My shoes slap off the cement and I pump my arms. The edge of the roof is coming up fast. The shouts get closer but I push harder. One last step on the ledge and I spring up and over. The alley below passes by in slow motion.
Everything speeds up again as the ledge of the neighbouring building rushes towards me. I realize I’m too low, I didn’t get enough height. I let out a scream as I reach out and collide with the brick. My hands clamp around the roof’s ledge. I dangle twenty stories above the ground.
My feet kick wildly, searching for a grove in the bricks, a window sill, something. The shouts behind me have quieted. Those guys on the other roof are waiting to see if I’m going to go splat.
My grip is slipping, the sweat on my hands making it hard to hold on. I jerk suddenly to the side as my grip fails and I hang by one hand, a yelp escaping my lips. The muscles in my arm are burning, I can’t hold on much longer. My fingers rake across the ledge as I fall.
Hands shoot down and wrap around my wrist before I even have time to register that I’m not plummeting to my death. A few grunts and I’m pulled over the ledge and onto the roof. I take raspy breaths.
“What part of roll and hide didn’t you get?”
I cast Lionel a dirty look. “Oh shut up.”
He grins before twisting to look over the ledge. The men are milling, their eyes fixed on where I disappeared. They probably can’t see us, it’s too dark.
“Who are they?”
I shrug. “Security maybe? People aren’t supposed to be on the roof.”
I can tell he isn’t entirely convinced, but he lets it go for now.
“Come on, we still have to figure out which room Torres is staying in.” He grabs my hand and we crouch down as we jog over to the fire escape on the opposite side of the building.
“My buddy said he was staying in one of the rooms accessible from the fire escape.”
“Well that’s vague.”
“It’s better than nothing.”
I let out a breath as Lionel creeps down the escape.
“You coming?” he asks, squinting up at me. His eyes flash in the light emanating from the hotel room window beside him.
“Why did I need to jump? Couldn’t we just have used this fire escape from the beginning?”
“Well yes, but I needed to make sure you were committed.”
“Committed?”
“Good news, you are.”
My eyebrows draw together. “I could have died.”
“Don’t be so dramatic. I knew you could make it.”
“But I didn’t. I almost became Cassidy the pancake.”
“Oh, right.” Lionel’s quiet for a moment. “Anyway, the fact remains you didn’t die. So let’s get a move on and do what we came to do.”
I follow sullenly behind him as we descend stair after stair pausing at each window to look for Torres. After six windows we finally find him. I make a mental note that he’s on the 24th floor. “What now?”
“Shhh!” Lionel says, using his arm to press me against the wall beside him. Slowly he peeks around the sill to get a better look. “He’s reading a script or something,” he whispers. “He’s pacing back and forth. Looks like he’s alone.”
“Now what?”
“We have to get him to leave the room long enough to get what we came for.”
“How do we do that?”
“Leave that to me.”
I watch as Lionel fishes his phone from his pocket. He dials a number and holds the phone to his ear. After a couple of rings someone picks up.
“Yes, this is Dal Torres’ publicist. Could you please put me through to his room?” A few seconds pass. When he speaks again his voice shifts down a few octaves. “Mr. Torres? This is the front desk. There was an accident in the parking lot. Your car has been damaged. If you would please be so kind as to come down to the lobby so we can sort out the situation?” Torres’ response is loud enough I can hear it through the window as well as the phone. He’s not happy. He hangs up quickly and leaves his room. The slam of the door is audible. Lionel shoves his phone back into his pocket, smirking as he does so. “That should give us about ten minutes. Let’s move.”
I walk forward, peering into the room, my fingers cupped against the glass. “How do we get in?”
Lionel chuckles. “The window.” I watch as he crouches down and works the blade of a pocket knife between the sill and the pane, working to unlatch the lock. After a few seconds of shimming the blade, the window creaks up a fraction. “Bingo,” he says as he pushes the window up.
“Do you want me to be a look out or…?”
“Cass, there’s literally nothing to look out for on this fire escape. Come on,” he says, taking my hand and pulling me though the opening after him.
Torre’s room is warm, with a single lamp on near the bed. A couple of suitcases sit near the foot of the bed, and it’s there that Lionel heads.
I know I agreed to help but I’m having second thoughts. The act of breaking into someone’s room and stealing from them feels different in practice than in theory. I rub my arms and stride a few feet across the room. On the small desk there’s a script, tossed haphazardly there when Torres left. I go to pick it up, curious to see what it’s for, when Lionel’s voice sounds behind me.
“Don’t touch anything. Fingerprints, remember?”
I draw my hand back. “But you’re rummaging through his suitcase.”
Lionel lets out a laugh. “He’s going to know it was me, there’s no point in hiding it.”
A minute passes. Lionel searches through the second suitcase.
“He could come back… we should hurry.” I edge closer to look over Lionel’s shoulder. “What are you looking for anyway?”
“Got it,” he exclaims, pulling a small black book the size of his hand from the suitcase. He stands, tucking the book inside the breast pocket of his bomber jacket. “Easy. I told ya. Let’s get out of here.”
We’re turning to the window when the door to the room opens and Torres stands in the hallway. His dark hair is a wild mess down to his shoulders, a bandana tied above his brow. His eyes are dark and narrow, his lips pulled back over his teeth.
“Lionel.”
My mouth falls open. We’re screwed.
Lionel pushes my shoulders roughly. “Quick! Out the window!”
I run to the window, pulling myself through the opening, Lionel following behind. A howl rips from Torres’ throat as he streaks across the room and grips the back of Lionel’s jacket, jerking him backwards. He staggers towards the bed and trips over one of the open suitcases. Torres advances on him.
“Lionel!” I shout.
“Run, get away from here!” He demands as he regains his balance and pulls the switchblade from his pocket. I want to, I’m scared, but I’m paralyzed. I can’t leave him.
“You little punk,” Torres says, “You think you can steal from Dal Torres and get away with it?”
A cocky grin spreads over Lionel’s face. “Well I just did, and I’m pretty confident I will.”
Torres doesn’t like that and steps forward. “Give me the book back and maybe I’ll let you walk out of here.”
“No.”
“Little prick.” Torres launches himself at Lionel, striking out with a series of punches. Lionel dodges most of them, but one hits him in the jaw and he falls onto the bed. Torres is on him in an instant, he kicks out, his boot connecting with the lamp. It goes crashing to the floor, sending the room into blackness.
I can’t see them. I only hear grunts and cursing. What do I do? I should run, do like Lionel said, but I still can’t force myself to move. After a minute the room goes silent.
“Lionel?” I squeak.
A second later a figure emerges from the black, its hands gripping the sill. I jump back, afraid it’s Torres, but instead, Lionel appears. He shuts the window and turns to face me. His face is clouded.
I bite my lip hesitantly. “What happened?”
Lionel shrugs. “Torres won’t be making any more movies.”
“Did you… did you kill him? With that switchblade?” My voice rises. “Oh my god, you killed Torres!”
Lionel steps forward, gripping my arms. “It was either that or get killed. You heard him.”
I shake my head. “I didn’t agree to this.”
“You didn’t do anything. Your conscience is clear.”
I step back, my sneakers grating against the metal of the fire escape. “It doesn’t work that way.” Anger seeps through me, washing away my disbelief. “What was so important you killed for it, huh?” I reach into Lionel’s jacket and pull the book out. “What is this?”
Lionel tries to grab the book but I hold it up and away from me.
“Be careful with that,” he says.
“Answer my question. What is it? I swear I’ll drop it over this railing. Who knows where it’ll land down there.”
“I can’t tell you. Now give it back.”
I hold the book further over the railing. “Tell me!”
Lionel ignores my question and reaches over me, trying to grab the book. My back presses into the railing. “Stop playing around, Cass.”
A siren sounds below us and it startles me. The book falls from my hand and drops down into the darkness below.
“No! Dammit!” Lionel growls, pounding his fist off the railing.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to drop it.”
Lionel rolls his eyes and lets out a slow breath. “I know.” He steps past me and starts down the stairs. “Let’s go. That siren meant someone called the cops. They must have heard the scuffle. We’ll come back tomorrow and find the book.”
I nod and follow after him.
 
-Collins

The Pemberton Series pt. 6

Blog, character

I’m on my way to the Jacob kid’s parents’ house when a voice crackles over the radio.
“Pemberton, do you copy?”
I let out an aggravated groan as I stop at a red light, picking up the radio. “Yes chief, Pemberton here.”
“Get your ass down to Hazel district. Corner of Bartel and 5th.”
“Chief, I’m on my way to question the parents on the Jacob case, can’t—“
“Get down here. A body’s been discovered.”
The light goes green and I stomp down on the gas. “A body? I’ll be there in ten.” With that, I slap a siren on the roof and breeze down to Hazel.
I park my car across from the crime scene. The chief, along with several other officers, and the coroner are convened around a lumpy sheet just shy of the shrubbery beside an apartment building. I jog over to them, slightly out of breath.
“Ah, Pemberton, glad you could join us,” the chief says, turning to me. “I had a feeling you should see this.”
I nod as the coroner bends down to remove the sheet. I’ve see several bodies in my career, but never one as bad as this. The guy looks to be in his late thirties, with straggly brown hair and hollow cheeks. His throat is slit and the blood has dried on his skin and pooled beneath him. There are several other stab wounds to his chest visible through his sweater. The sheer amount of blood makes me want to gag, but I hold it back. I turn away for a moment to take a breath.
“What are you thinking happened?” I ask. “A drug deal gone bad?”
The coroner replaces the sheet and stands. “Normally I would, yes. But this doesn’t seem right. The usual indicators aren’t present.”
I glace at the chief. “So what does that leave?”
The chief scratches his chin. “Judging by the wounds, we’re most likely looking at some sort of specialized knife. Also, the sheer amount of carnage inflicted on this guy tells us the killer really had it out for this guy. Several of these wounds were inflicted post mortem.”
“You called me down here because you think this is connected to my case?”
“Right. Now we’re still running prints on this guy, but chances are he’s going to have some sort of mark on his record. I’d bet my career on it.”
I nod. “Ok, so why was the killer so sloppy this time? He’s been so careful, we haven’t even found any other bodies.”
“Perhaps there was a witness he wasn’t counting on or he was put into a situation where he rushed. There are several possibilities,” the coroner says.
“I see. What’s my next move, chief?”
“Go question the parents. See what you can find out.”
I head back to my car. This guy was spooked. The murder was hasty and careless. I’m still having trouble imagining the Jacob kid being responsible for something that horrific.
A knock on my passenger side window has me looking up. A young guy in a turtle neck blinks at me behind sleek glasses. I roll the window down clear my throat.
“Can I help you?”
He leans into the car, bracing his arms along the bottom of the window opening. “Are you investigating that body over there?”
“Yup.”
“I would like to offer some information.”
“What kind of information?”
He looks quickly around before continuing. “I saw what happened last night.”
“What did you see?”
“I couldn’t make out much, it was dark. I was walking home from work and I heard some voices. I couldn’t make out what was being said. There was a car parked half way on the sidewalk. There was a guy attacking this other guy. He used a knife and stabbed the guy over and over.”
“Did you see anyone else with him?”
“When he got back in his car I hid in the bushes. As he drove by I noticed someone in the passenger seat.”
“A man or a woman?”
The guy shakes his head. “It was too dark to tell.”
“Could you identify the killer?”
“Again it was too dark. I just know it was a guy.”
I let out a chuckle. “So what you’re telling me is aside from a possible accomplice, you really aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know.”
The guy starts to sputter some sort of retort but I’ve had enough.
“Save it, pal. Go get your attention from someone else who gives a shit.”
His face goes red as he unhooks himself from my window and steps back. I roll my eyes as I speed off down Bartel.
-Collins

Jacob makes a choice

Blog, character, Short story, writing

Newest installment in the Jacob series. Read with caution as this is slightly  graphic.

-Turner
I see him before he sees me.

Little does he know I’m gunning straight for him. With my car. I know the moment Angel sees me, her eyes widening and glancing back at her would be stalker. As much as I want to ram this bastard with tons of steel, I’d rather get up close and personal. I slam on the brakes, putting it into park and heading straight for him, not bothering to turn off the car or close my door.

“Hey, you!” I yell at the stalker behind her. He stops in his tracks. His hands are twitching, pupils dilated. His hair is long and greasy, and the stench coming off him is atrocious.

“Angel…get in the car.” I say, not taking my eyes off the tweaker that dared follow my girl.

I can tell her body is tense, her arms wrapped around her waist, she does as I say, going to the passenger side and slamming the door.

“Hey man…I meant no harm, I’m just walking here.” The stalker says, his eyes flicking back over to Angel.

Oh no, he isn’t getting away with this. I slide my hand into the holster behind my back, hidden by my black sweatshirt. I grip the handle, releasing my breath on a sigh. I pull the serrated steel out of it’s resting place, and into it’s home. My palm.

His breathing accelerates when he sees my baby glinting in the moonlight.

I know I shouldn’t be doing this in an open area, with Angel just a few feet away. But I’m not sure I can contain my monster, not today. Not now.

I can tell this guy is about to run, his foot is tapping, turning to the right. He may just be some drug addict hoping to rob a young woman for another hit, but I can’t let this scum go. Not alive.

Just as I predicted, he bolts for it. Unfortunately for him, I’m faster. My blade flies from my hand, with no effort on my part at all. It sticks him in the side. He falls to the ground, howling in pain. My baby sticking out of his ribs. I know Angel just witnessed me in action, the real me. But I could care less at this moment. I know she won’t run.

Blood is pouring out of my latest victim, in an open street no less. There will be no clean up this time. No disposing of his body.

“Please…pl…I didn’t…I just…I wasn’t gonna hurt her!” He pleads. Oh, yes, the pleading. I only took a victim an hour ago and here I am relishing in my favorite pastime again. This time feels different though, better. Almost like the first time. Protecting Angel always gave me this feeling.

I ungraciously pull my blade out of his prone body. “Tell me…why should I not gut you like the pig you are right here, right now?”

His eyes go wide as saucers. “I’m an addict man…I got a problem. I wasn’t gonna hurt her. I just needed some cash…I promise you! I PROMISE! Don’t kill me, please. I got a kid.”

Like that would change my mind. I drag the bloody edge of my weapon along this throat, down to his collarbones. Playing, teasing.

“That woman over there…” I use my blade to point at Angel, not meeting her gaze though, “that is my woman. Do you understand me? And you had the audacity to mess with her. To scare her. That is an unforgivable thing.”

He nods vigorously. “I won’t do it again, I’ll do anything…it’s…just let me go.”

I chuckle. It’s time to end this. He isn’t getting out of this alive. I’m too far gone for that. I can tell the moment he realizes what I mean to do, the light drains from his eyes, his grip on his wound loosens. I bring my blade up to his throat, pressing in, I’m about to sever his life from his body when an angelic voice sounds behind me.

“Don’t Jacob.”

I don’t turn, I keep my knife on his jugular, but lessen my pressure.

“Please…don’t make me witness anymore…let him go.”

My heart constricts in my chest. I want to make her happy, but I want to end this guy more. I need to kill this scum.

“Look at me!” She pleads, her voice breaking. I can’t help myself, I turn. Taking in her tear streaked cheeks and red eyes. “Let’s just go, please, Jacob…let’s go home.”

Home…she said home. With me? She wants to go home with me…It plays on my head on a loop. I can’t break her gaze.

But the monster is louder, beating inside me for release. I can’t deny it…my monster takes over.

I end the stalkers life, and shatter my Angel.

The Paul Pemberton series pt. 5

Blog, character

Merv’s Bowling Alley is the tackiest place in this town, but it’s got the best beer. That’s the only reason the guys and I started meeting here instead of the pub on 7th. It’s busy tonight, glow in the dark bowling is the draw. I’m lousy enough at bowling as it is, if I have to bowl in the dark I might takes someone’s head off with my ball.

I park my crappy station wagon across the street from Merv’s and pull my bowling shoes from the trunk before jay walking. Inside, everything is dark much to my dismay. Everything is glowing, the counters, the balls, the chairs, even my Hawaiian shirt’s flowers glow blue.
“Hey, Paul, over here!”
I squint in the direction of the lanes and I can make out Kev waving. I crack a smile and head over. O’Brian and Stanley are standing together on the lane arguing over which way to through the ball. Those two are a barrel of laughs when they get out from behind their desks.
“Save any beer for me?”
“Course. After the shit the chief’s been putting you through, I’ll buy your first round.”
I sit down beside Kevin and chuck off my street shoes, replacing them with my bowling ones. “I swear, that he’s got another thing coming if he thinks he can reignite a fire that burned out twenty years ago. I’m just working until retirement. Every day is another day closer to the end.”
“Tell me about it,” Kev laughs.
“In ten years I’ll be sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere while a hot islander massages my back.”
“What would your wife think about that?”
“Who said anything about Helen?” We share a dubious look before busting a gut.
O’Brian, finished arguing with Stanley, takes a seat across from us. “Hey Paul, how’s your son?” he asks, scratching his stomach.
“Who knows? He only talks to me when he needs money for school.”
“Same here. My daughter ignores me for months until she needs new textbooks or rent, then it’s all ‘Dad, can I ask you for a favor?’” O’Brian’s mouth puckers in disapproval.
“Hey, you’re up!” Stanley declares, clapping Kevin on the shoulder.
Kevin bowls a perfect strike, knocking the pins down with a professional throw. He likes coming here, not just because of the beer, but because he likes to show off. He always brags about all the trophies he won when he was a teen. Not like I care that much. He was an over achiever, unlike me.
After Kev, it’s my turn. I throw a crappy frame, the ball barrelling straight into the gutter. A burst of laughter erupts behind me.
“Maybe once you get a couple a beers in you, you might actually knock over a pin or two!” Stanley crows.
My cheeks heat a little as I return to my seat. “Well then get me a damn beer.”
An hour later I’ve gotten slightly inebriated, O’Brian chuckles to himself as he chugs his fifth beer, Stanley’s wandered off to get some nachos at the concession stand, and Kevin’s droning on about this moron he busted for parking in a handicap spot.
“He kept saying he was perfectly within his rights to park there, and I’m like dude, being an idiot isn’t a valid handicap,” Kev snorts as he downs the rest of his beer. “How goes it with your case? You’ve been listening to me ramble on all night, but you haven’t had a chance to vent yet.”
“My case?” I say. “It’s gotten only slightly more interesting. I went over to the lead’s house, she gave me a little bit of info to work with, but not much. She was pretty certain her love sick puppy was just sweet and cuddly.”
“Hmm. That’s not much. Is there any other leads you can follow?”
I think about the file on the kid. “His family lives in town, but I don’t know how helpful they’d be.”
“What would it hurt? His family would know him better than anyone. Maybe an interview with them would clear up this case once and for all. The chief might even get off your back.”
“You’re right. I’ll pay them a visit tomorrow.” A face in the crowd catches my attention behind Kevin’s head. In the dark I make out a pale face shrouded by a hood. When I blink though, it’s gone and I chuckle to myself. This case has got me stressed.
Stanley pushes his way through the crowd, a plate of nachos in hand. A giggling teenage girl backs up without seeing him and knocks the plate from his hands. Cheese and crushed chips coat the carpet. Kevin and I burst into hysterics. Stanley looks at the mess with a downtrodden expression before sinking to his knees and scooping a fingers through the cheese.
“I better stop him before he starts eating the carpet,” Kevin smirks, pushing up from his seat and heading over to Stanley.

-Collins 

Family Tidings

creative, fiction

Newest Jacob piece. Enjoy.
-Turner.
It’s time for family dinner. I haven’t attended in quite awhile and my mother was becoming bothersome. I’m here to appease her, to keep up appearances and to warrant another four months without coming.

Not that I don’t like my family, I do. As much as I am capable of. Besides Angel, my emotions have never been a large part of who I am. I’m merely indifferent. Although hate is a feeling I am much more accustomed with. But I digress.

I smooth my hair back one more time before knocking on the door. Father always insists I just walk in, but that doesn’t seem right. Especially with my lack of communication as of late.

“Ah, my sweet boy, you made it!” My mother croons. Her short gray hair tucked behind her ears, her large blue eyes with the crinkles in the corners regard me with what I assume is affection. Actually, that’s not true. I know it’s affection. My mother is the most boisterous, charming woman. According to Angel, at least. I take her word for it.

“Mother.” I respond. She gestures for me to come in, rubbing her smooth hands across my cheeks before giving the left one a light tap. I want to cringe at the contact, but I school a smile onto my features. Evelyn does this every time she sees me. So I remain ever the actor.

I walk into my family home, the one where Angel and I would have play dates. Where we would read books, and play hide and seek. It might seem strange, that I would have had such a typical childhood, only to turn into what I am today. But it’s true. I wasn’t always this way. I had normal experiences. Loving parents. And an annoying…

“There you are, you little shit.” My older brother, Keith, says, grabbing my shoulder and trying to put me in a headlock. I want to stab him in the thigh for it. I restrain myself. He finally lets me go when he realizes I’m not going to take the bait and wrestle him to the ground like I used to when I was younger. I’ve gained much more control with age.

I nod my head. I really have nothing to say to him, I feel like I should. I should probably look up to my pre-med older brother, with his beautiful girlfriend and lavish predictable future, but I just don’t. His eyes turn down at my dismissal.

I head towards the dining room where my mother has a full spread out with all my favorites. I can hear her bustling in the kitchen, always the perfectionist. It’s the one thing I have inherited from her. I walk past to the den where my father is sitting, watching Wheel of Fortune, calling out the correct answers each time. He hasn’t noticed my prescene yet, I take in the room that hasn’t changed in twenty years. Same faded yellow couches, same creaky rocking chair. Same bay window with a view of the house of horrors that was once Angel’s home. I feel my pressure rising the longer I stare at it. I itch for my blades, their smooth metal between my fingers. The spray of blood as I bring it down into my victims.

“Dad, guess who’s here.” Keith says coming to join us in the living room, garnering my fathers attention. He plops his ass into his usual spot on the couch, throwing his arm over the back. I take my spot on the rocking chair.

“Well, long time no see, Jake. Where have you been? Your mother has been beside herself with worry.”

“I’ve been busy.” I respond, turning my attention to the T.V.

“Busy, too busy for your family?”

With that, Keith turns to me. “Yeah, what gives? You know Yvonne really wants to meet you.” Yvonne being his blonde, bimbo girlfriend. Whom I’ve already found every piece of dirt on. Luckily, her family line is clean, she is just a few nuts short of a bolt.

“I have a lot of clients. I’m busy, working, making money.” Hopefully that appeases them.

Dad shakes his head. “Money ain’t everything, Jacob.”

I ignore his response. And my brothers glare.

After only one more puzzle, my mother announces that dinner is done. We all gather around, piling our plates with our favorite foods. This is one thing I do indulge in whilst here. The food. My mother is a great, fantastic cook.

It doesn’t take long for the questioning to start. “So…how is Reina?”

And there it is. One of the biggest reasons why I never come here anymore.

“She’s fine.”

“Are you ever going to bring her back? We miss her around here.” My father says.

My fork stabs into my pot roast, pulling away pieces, before I shove them into my mouth to avoid answering.

Keith nods, speaking around a mouth full of food. “Yeah, I miss the little squirt.”

“I don’t know.” I whisper. Hating how weak I sound, how weak she makes me feel.

This is bullshit.

“What was that, Jake?” Mother asks.

My fork is displaced as I slam it into the table.

“I said, I. Don’t. Know.”

And with that, I’m done. Because I have no answers when it comes to her and I can’t stand to be reminded of it.