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Bipolar Journal week 3


Dear Readers,

Welcome back for week three, hope you have found what you have read so far interesting. I am glad to have a pretty good week to share, it is important to show those days too. I really feel like I’m learning a lot about myself and my illness. I feel like things are improving and that as long as I continue to work at this it will still get better.

3/30 8:16 am

feeling like a ball of electricity is contained in my chest cavity this morning. I know I will have to be wary of anxiety attacks and overly emotional responses today. Hope I can still manage to be productive.

3/30 12:39 am

Had a good day got some stuff done. Spent some time with the kidlums, had fun as always. Feeling good as I get ready for bed, hopefully I can repeat this tomorrow.

3/31 8:36 am

Feeling pretty good this morning. Do feel a little anxiety but have been doing a pretty good job of shaking that shit off lately so i’m not too worried, just need to find something to focus the excess energy on. Have come to the conclusion that I have been being quite deluded when it comes to my thoughts on romance. I have realized the person whom I questioned my feelings for clearly had no doubt themselves about how they feel about  me and it is obvious it is not going to fit with my idea at all. At this point just hope that person realizes how hard it is for me to care about people and how special the fact I do makes them to me. Feeling a little hopeful this morning, not that things will be great or even good but I will be able to deal with them.

4/1 9:15 am

Feeling good this morning. Have been doing some research on my condition and meds feel like I”m figuring out some things that will help me going forward. Have felt my view of the situation changing to a more positive one. I will no longer view my times of distress as madness but view them as sparks of inspiration for in these dark moments I have my greatest thoughts. I will not view my illness as a curse or disease but see it as communications from the universe. When the voices in my head are having a bad day I will not argue with them, instead I will cheer them up so that we can live together happily. I am finally ready to accept myself for who I truly am without fear of stigma or judgment. I no longer care if the world thinks I’m crazy or who thinks something is wrong with me. I will embrace myself and the life I have been given accepting that I am human as we all are, as such there will always be struggles and I will have short comings. I will work to over come those short comings until the day I no longer draw breath which is really all any man or women can do.

4/4 10:18 am

Have been busy and feeling good for the last few days. Starting to feel like I am getting a handle on things for the first time in a long time, really enjoying it. Still have some moments but feel confident I can deal with them because I know what is happening now. Feeling ready to take things to the next level and really start getting functional. I know that as I go forward I will be tested but the gains are worth the pains and I still hope to make something worthwhile out of this crazy thing called life so I have no choice but to deal with it.

4/5 9:05 am

Feeling the minions of darkness scurrying around the edges of my mind this morning, can tell I will need to be mindful as I go through my day. Still feeling optimistic though, feel like my ability to deal with the rough spots is growing. Think changing the way I look at my illness has been the biggest factor in my improved mood lately. I think by looking at it as something I have to find a way to live with, kind of like an annoying roommate, rather than a monster that needs to be slain is helping to make me feel like this is something that I can learn to live with successfully. I think this journal is helping as well, one giving me an outlet for my difficulties, two helps me identify patterns to better manage my days, and three helps to show me that it is not all gloom and doom. It is an easy trap to fall into, becoming so focused on the bad you don’t recognize the good, being able to look back on my week and say Tuesday was good helps me deal on Thursday when things get rough.

4/5 10:01 pm

Had a challenging day on an emotional level, thankfully was up to the challenge today. I also got a bit of a wake up call that made even more clear to me how important it is for me to continue my growth and to do whatever I have to do to create a stable sustainable life for myself. I need to do this for myself and my kids, they deserve a better man than I have been thus far and I am feeling a burning urgency to do more to contribute to their lives. I know that somewhere in the back of my mind at least I will continue fear I may lose my mind. I also know that giving in to fear has never been my way and that I will not accept any outcome that does not leave me content.

Its funny I how it always seems like there is not as much to say when things are good. I hope you still got something from it and thank you for taking the time to read it either way. As always if you or someone you know is suffering with mental illness find help, it worth it.

Lights in the Darkness


Dear Readers,

I would first like to take a moment to say thank you to everyone for their words of encouragement and concern regarding my last post. I found my self in a very bad place that day and your comments were like a ray of light in the darkness. I also found that the process of writing that post and getting the negative feelings out was therapeutic for me. I have really been struggling the last few weeks, forcing me to realize that I have to find a more positive way to process and deal with my negative feelings, especially when I cannot put my finger on why I”m even upset.

I feel like I’m just treading water lately a fact that has been frustrating me to no end. I just want to learn how to be a functional human being and no matter how hard I try I seem to come up short. I have spent countless days and hours trying to figure out why I am so damaged and to fix it but seem to always end up back at square one. You would think it would be simple, taking care of oneself being in my own best interest but still I struggle to even accomplish the most basic tasks.

As I have continued to battle my own nature and become comfortable enough to talk about my struggles I have begun to feel that maybe that is why I was given this burden to carry. I know that I want the people I love to understand that I do not mean or want to be a head case and I would imagine most mentally ill people do but none of us wants to be the one to explain it to those same people. Doctors and books can only explain so much I realized, at some point someone on my side of the issue has to be the one step up and share the every day battle of living with mental illness.

As a result I have decided to start posting a weekly journal about how I’m feeling each day. I hope to give my readers a real look at the highs and lows that I experience on a daily sometimes hourly basis. I also hope that this project will help me to track the ups and downs in hopes of finding patterns I may be able to use to better manage my life. I plan on starting today with the plan to publish the first post Sunday.

I will forward to your comments and feedback as I go and once again thank you for reading!

Standing On the Edge


I feel like I am standing on the edge of  cliff where the slightest breeze will push me over the edge. I do not want to be standing here but I can never seem to find the path back down from the heights no matter how hard I try. I look back on my life to try see where I went wrong but find that I can’t figure out when it was ever right. I have believed more than once I had found the path, only to be staring at oblivion once more.

I talk to god and scour my soul to try and find what is missing, to discover why even the simplest of parts of normal human life escape me but I get silence in return. I have tried to be like the sane people I see but no matter how hard I try to pretend I’m ok in the end I am not well no matter how much I would like to be. I know that many of the people in my life do not understand why I, “Don’t get it”, or, “Can’t figure it out”, the sad part being I don’t know either. I don’t even know why the people that love me do, their continued affection confuses, astounds, and amazes me.

I struggle every day just to not want to die and I am getting so sick of feeling like a nut case but I know that there is no pill, surgery, or person who can save me from myself and I am afraid that I am not strong enough to continue the fight. I don’t know how much longer I can fight the darkness or deal with the pain. I’m so tired and so lonely but utterly incapable of a truly intimate relationship, how could I be when I cannot be close to myself. I am now living in a world of doubt and confusion, a dark world where love and hope are extinct.

I try to cling to the lifeboat that is hope but can’t shake the feeling we are taking on water. I try to convince myself I have one more round in me but am less confident everyday. I want to believe, in life, love, and hope but see so little of the trio I hardly no what they look like. I try to tell myself it will get better, but when? I find myself asking as the days turn to weeks to months and then years.

I am sorry to all of the people I have disappointed and let down in life, the shame of that crushes me almost daily. I wish with all my heart I was a better father, son, friend, person even while I fear that I may not even be as good a person as I think I am.  I feel so broken and damaged that I don’t see why anyone cares or why you even read what I write. I try to tell myself that no one is worthless and we all have a purpose but thus far have found a world full of rejection in which I feel I have no place.

I wrote this today in hopes of purging my horrible feelings and finding a way to go on for one more day. I will do the same tomorrow and every day that the universe sees fit to leave me in this purgatory but find myself unable to shake the feeling that there is something in the shadows I can’t see waiting to end my life. I never thought I would live this long. I figured that during one of my episodes someone or something would send me onto the next world but here I sit though I have no idea why.

I wish no one knew how I felt and as tempting as it is to give into that kind of thinking, I know I am not the only one! I have to remind myself of that all the time though in my darkest hours it is small comfort. I wish that I could talk about my feelings like other people but find when I try the words just won’t come out, so I write my pain in hopes of expelling the darkness. I hope that by sharing my misery I might help someone to see they are not alone and to make people see how much it hurts to try and cope with challenges of mental illness.

To the people who do care , thank you , your wiliness to love me even though I cannot is one the few things that helps me to hold on. I will continue to fight for as long as I am able because I do not want your affections or assistance to be wasted. I will do whatever I am capable of to live not for myself but because I cannot in good conscience give up as long as there is still at least one person who still believes in me. I must continue the fight for as long as I am able because that is who I am.

To all of the people who have gone out of their to judge me , reject me or otherwise shit on me. Eat a dick! I hope you burn in hell!

Book four of The Navelan Chronicles is here!


Hello Readers,

I would like to let everybody know that book four of The Navelan Chronicles is now available for purchase. I am extremely exited to have finally finished the series and really looking forward to some feedback. I am very proud to have completed this and hope that people will check it out and enjoy it. Here is a sample chapter to check out hope you like it.

Chapter 1

Velanario surveyed his growing army with an increasing sense of pride. He had spent several weeks drilling the hodgepodge force and he was finally beginning to see the fruits of his labors. He watched one hundred elven spears march in tight formation while centaurs and saytors alongside Rock Elve, practiced moving around the formation as they would in battle. He watched the crisp maneuvers with satisfaction, confident this force that had once been a random collection of beings was now ready to face the dreaded Imperial Legion.

He thought of the many hours of work it had taken to get them to this point. He could not help but recall the first days of the army’s formation and the stress he had endured for his effort. The recruits had been raw and undisciplined, speaking a multitude of languages and mistrusting each other. He had first had to break down those barriers before he could even begin to form them into a cohesive unit.

He had built his unusual army around the strengths of its members and by their ability to work together. The process had taken some time and was still not perfect but he had made far more progress than he had expected. He had organized them into units of one hundred and by type of soldier, infantry, cavalry or artillery. He made sure to mix them up so that no unit was made up of any great concentration of a single race or type. He also decreed that all orders were to be given in Navelen so they would have a single common language in battle.

The infantry was made up of elves, goblins, and humans for the most part. They were armed mostly with spears and carried shield of various design. They looked like a pageant of color as they marched the greens, browns, and other hues of the elves and the variety of their dress nearly overwhelming the senses. They spoke the widest variety of languages as well and teaching them to march together had been one of the greatest nightmares of the whole process.

The cavalry was composed primarily of hooved creatures, centaurs, saytors, and even a few fierce, half bull minatours. A group of about one hundred Rock Elve goat riders were also a part of the mounted wing of the force. The rest was a spattering of Properiens, humans and any other creature that could ride. They equaled about five hundred and had thus far proven to be the best of the newly formed army.

The artillery was comprised mostly of the little folk who had pledged themselves to the cause of freedom. The halfens, gnomes, and dwarves. The hob-goblins and dwelfs as well as a group of satyrs had also joined the force. They were armed with slings, javelins and short bows, more of a skirmishing force than true archers. They were the least disciplined of the army for the most part except for what was fast becoming known as Kilgren’s Legion.

The group was comprised of two hundred dwarves, heavy infantry meant to guard the archers in case of attack. They had first resented the assignment, thinking they were not being taken seriously. The knowledge that they were responsible for keeping their fellow warriors safe had soothed their anger and they soon looked on their job with a sense of pride. They had been trained under the watchful eye of Kilgren and Velanario believed they would prove to be terrible foes.

He found his thoughts pulled away from matters military as the Southern Mountains came into his line of sight a moment later. The news that his dear friend Powhak had brought to him from the mountains had stunned and shocked the young Navelen more than he would have thought possible beforehand. The recent development of a relationship with Myela only complicated the issue and he did not know what to do.

Pokkahenna had named the elvling Libertus Rock Elvatore, according to her brother. He had shared the mind blowing news with his friend as soon as the two were reunited; still unaware that Velanario was now seeing Myela. He had not been angry when he had found out but had clearly been disappointed. Velanario felt horribly guilty and now did not know what to do.

He had become involved with Myela, but did not believe that he was in love with her. He had first fostered the relationship to enlist her aid in his rebellion. He had soon found himself drawn to and involved with the infamous outlaw. She had brought a large number of recruits to the army and he did not want to lose them because he broke her heart. He also did not want to hurt the female who had become his friend and lover though he knew in his heart there was no future for them.

He was now a father and Pokkahenna not Myela was the child’s mothher. He had shared much more intimate relationship with the Rock elve, though they had been together physically only one time. He had once planned to build a life with her but had given up that dream due to the danger he faced from the Imperials pursuit of him. He now wondered if he might still find a way to build a life with the elve who had helped to sooth his broken heart and who had given birth to a son he had not yet seen.

He would see the child soon though, he vowed to himself as he watched the army drill. He would soon be leading a mission into the mountains to scout the way for the army and approach Divine Lords about joining their cause. He had decided he would go and see the child on the way, a day or two added to the journey would be more than worth it. He planned to go and see his father as well, to show him he was wrong about him and offer him a chance to join him.

He would be leaving in a few days, a handful of knights joining him on his quest. He hoped they would be able to find a path through the mountains for the army. He too hoped he would be able to convince a least a few nobles to join them, their wealth and fighting elves were resources they would greatly need in the days ahead. He was still doubtful they could succeed but he believed in his goddess and the leaders of her faith.

He called an end to the day’s training and headed toward the large tent that was serving as his chambers. He had moved into the camp in the valley, thinking it prudent to live among the beings he hoped to lead to freedom. He entered the tent and poured a mug of water from the large pitcher that sat on a small table in the corner of the tent. He blew out a long sigh and fell back onto his cot, relaxing his mind for the first time since waking several hours before dawn.

He tried to push all of his cares away as he lay there, needing time to sort through his many conflicting feelings. He needed to have his mind clearly focused on coming events but found himself unable to concentrate. The news that he was now a father had given him a lot to think about, on top of all the things he was dealing with. He felt quite overwhelmed by recent events, the weight of the world seeming to be resting on his shoulders.

He heard activity around the door of his tent and knew his peace was soon to be disturbed. He heard Frugge try to tell the visitor that Velanario did not want to be disturbed. He also knew that the visitor would not be turned away. He recognized Myela’s voice and knew he would not be able to ignore her any longer. He had avoided her since learning of the birth of his son, a fact he did not feel particularly good about.

The Half Navelen, half Forest Elve female walked into the tent angrily, having already sent Frugge, the large and fierce Orc running. She stormed directly to Velanario as she entered, beginning to yell almost immediately. “Why have you been avoiding me, you bastard”.

He did not have an immediate response, being unsure how to put his news into words. The alluring female took his silence as indifference, which sent her into an even greater tyraid. “You have some nerve. Laying with me in the wild, then avoiding me once you are home.” She yelled at him angrily. “I had thought you a better elve than this, you bastard.” She finished before bursting into tears.

“Myela, I am sorry, but there is something I have to tell you.” Velanario said softly, feeling guilty for the hurt he was causing the female elve, who had already been hurt so much. “I have recently learned that a female I had a relationship with before you has given birth to a son.” He told her, hoping she would understand why he had avoided her.

“Do you love this elve?” She asked him through her tears.

“I did once. I do not know how I feel about her now.” He told her honestly, unsure how she might react.

“Do you love me?” She asked him a look somewhere between curious and hopeful stamped on her green and white molted face.

“I don’t know that either”, he admitted wishing he was somewhere far away having a different conversation or facing a pack of angry Commandario’s. “I will be leaving soon to make the way for our army”, he began uncomfortably. “I plan to go and see the child and his mother. I hope to figure out how I feel about her then.” He told unsure whether he should share that with her or not.

“Do you see a future for us or not?” She interrupted her tears stopping, her heart needing him to address their situation first.

“I care for you very much Myela”, he told her slowly, struggling to find the right words. “I do not believe we have a future together though.” He confessed, guilt showing on his face. “I know you wish to return to your forest home and I would not be happy there”. He pointed out needing her to understand he did not want to hurt her. “I also now have a son, a son who will need me to teach him how to be strong and brave.” He told her, his thoughts becoming clearer on the subject.

“I understand”, she said, the look in her eye changing from desire to a look of acceptance. “I will avoid you from now on”, she said stiffly.

“I do not want you to avoid me Myela.” He said strongly, placing his hands gently on her shoulders as she spoke. “I cherish your friendship and appreciate what you have to offer greatly.” He assured, needing her to know his choice was not meant as an evaluation of her worth. “I just do not believe that we have enough in common for our romance to last.” He told her, sad that his relationship with the female was going to be changing forever.

“I know you are right Velanatio. I have known since this began,” she told him with dry eyes. “Just promise me we will remain friends.” She told him, knowing in her heart they were making the right choice.

“I promise Myela”, he said tears trying to take his voice.

She left the tent a moment later, nothing left to say. Velanario felt both upset and relieved once she was gone. He would miss her and think fondly of the time they had spent together but he knew he was doing the right thing. He did not know if he would end up with Pokkahenna but she had his son, whose life he wanted to be a part of.

He heard the sound of Kilgren clearing his voice a moment later, the rough one eyed dwarf seeming to know something was wrong without word being said. He wondered what his friend wanted but figured it would be a problem he did not want to deal with at that moment. He sat up anyway knowing that the dwarf would not go away until he had taken care of whatever he wanted.

“What is it now Kilgren?” he asked tired of the mantle of leadership he now carried.

“Some news has come in you need to hear, Magia has commanded it.” He told his already overburdened companion.

“I will be right there”, Velanario replied more sharply than he intended, his voice somewhat louder than one would use in normal conversation.

“I’ll wait outside”, the dwarf responded sympathetically.

Velanario stood up and walked to the large wash bowl by the door. He poured some water into the dish and washed his hands and face. He could not let his cares show in front of his soldiers, their fragile unity would not bear it, he knew in his heart. He let out one long deep sigh as he put on his cloak.

He then walked out of the tent to join Kilgren and answer the summons of Magia. The ancient priestess of Ilumini was the last of the first elves and a powerful sorceress. They had found her deep in the mountains while fleeing from Prince Ilindor, her assistance proving to be instrumental in his defeat. She was now their spiritual and political leader, her wisdom guiding their actions.

“I am sorry I snapped at you friend.” He offered to his best friend as he moved to join him.

“I understand it’s been a long day”, he replied, having already forgotten his friend outburst.

“What can you tell me about the news?” He asked wanting to arrive with some idea what to expect.

“Just that it caused the folks that do know go about looney.” He observed wishing he had more to offer his friend.

“Well let’s get going then. It sounds like it might be important.

The two friends walked out of the camp together, telling the two elven sentries that would return shortly. They then began the climb to the caves of Ilumini and the quarters of Magia. They expertly navigated the maze twisting tunnels that honey combed the mountain, picking the inclining tunnel whenever they had a choice. They soon found themselves standing outside Magia’s door, on the highest level of the complex.

The pair entered to find several others had also been summoned and had arrived before them. He worked his way to the front of the small ground, finding Magia sitting calmly on a small cushion on the floor, Leodamus and Cornrilius at her side. They each kneeled down and bowed to her in respect before stepping back into the crowd. Leodamus stood up a second later, clearing his throat and straightening his robe before he began to speak.

“I thank you all for answering our summons so promptly, it is greatly appreciated.” He began as the assembled being began to quiet. “We have received an extremely alarming report from Properia. We will need you to remain calm once we share it with you. Once I have finished we will then discuss it.” He told them before even began to share his news.

“The Imperials have slaughtered every non-navelen in the city”. He said in a melancholy tone. “The Regent has also ordered the killing of all non-elves on the estates. We do not yet know if the Lords have obeyed or not.” He informed them while trying not to imagine the horror of the events he was describing. “He also executed the councilors he held prisoner along with a few thousand other Navelens who opposed him.” he concluded as the news set in among the group, an uncomfortably long silence taking over the gathering.

Velanario’s brother Petrolani was now dead. He felt a twinge of remorse at the news but not nearly as much as he would have expected. He had never been terribly close to his eldest brother. He was nearly two hundred years older than Velanario and had been gone to the Imperial city before Velanario had even been born. He had really only seen him on his infrequent visits.

The news that the regent had killed thousands of innocents in cold blood disturbed him much more, he found. He his blood was soon boiling as he thought more about the horrifying situation. The very idea that something so horrible could happen when they were so close to ending the regent’s reign. He now wanted to kill Adolphus even more, which he had not thought was possible before that moment.

“What are we going to do?” Velanario called out in a loud monotone, his mind already planning his foes death as he spoke.

“We have decided that we will move up our invasion plan.” Cornrilius said rising to his feet as he spoke. “I will lead a small unit to make sure the army will have a clear path. Then I will go into Properia and rally what support again from among the nobles.” He told the gathered beings, each chosen by Magia to go on the appointed mission.

“What if they will not rise for you?” Nevos asked his doubts clear in his tone.

“Then then they will die a traitors death”, the young Emperor responded with angry dripping from his voice.

“I will be leaving in the morning.” He told them with a steely edge to his tone, anger simmering just below the surface. “Magia has chosen each one of you to accompany me on my journey.” He informed them as they began to show there surprise. “She tells me that you represent the best of the warriors of Navela”, he said. “I have faith that we will rally the nobles to our cause and bring justice to our land, but if anyone does not wish to join me then you are free to stay here. I thank you for your time.” He said before returning to his place next to the sorceress.

“Well that’s the plan guys”, Leodamus said a moment later. “If anyone is not going let me know. Everyone who is going is to meet me in front of Velanario’s tent at dawn.” He said, knowing none of the hand-picked warriors would retreat from the duty being placed before them.

Thanks for checking my sample out hope you liked it. If you are interested in reading The Navelan Chronicles al  four Volumes are available on Amazon, they are in order, The Liberator, The Hunted, The Abductor and The Revolutionary. I hope you will check them out and enjoy.

Lee’s World Update


Hello Readers,

I would first like to say thanks for reading as always. I would also like to apologize for having taken so long to post again. I have been busy working on a new novel and trying to get myself straitened out. I hate to admit I am having much better luck with the book than life at this point. I sure that any of you who regularly read my blog or know me will probably not be surprised by the news but I figured I would share any way.

The new novel I am working on is a fantasy(shocker right) based on the early middle ages and the beginning of the Viking age. The main character of the story is a young man named Rune who is about to celebrate his twenty first birthday. He is given a ship as a present and must work to fill his crew. He then sails off in search of adventure and new lands for his people who badly need them. This is going to be a full length novel of about one hundred thousand words. I am still debating with myself on whether I should self publish or try to go the traditional route.

I am still working on The Navelen Chronicles and hope to conclude the series this year. I have book three written but have been so busy with Rune I have not had a chance to finish editing it. I am sorry if you are one of the people waiting for the next book. I promise I have not forgot about you or Velanario.

I guess it is time to get a little serious now that I have talked about the fun stuff. I recently saw my therapist for the first time and was actually quite pleased with her approach. I did not expect this to be the case at all. I really thought it would be like my experiences in the past when I did not feel comfortable or like we had the same goals. I am now looking forward to continuing my treatment in hopes of becoming a healthier, happier, and more functional person.

I am glad to say that while I still struggle I am doing much better and thankfully my meds continue to work. I cannot put into words how good it feels to be able to have a thought or feel something without be so overwhelmed by a flood of others that I stop functioning. I am also finding that as I feel better and continue to take positive steps many of the things that terrified and confused me no longer seem quite as scary or mysterious. I find I am regaining an interest in having a social life and even romance, something I thought impossible only two months ago.

I would like to say one more thing before signing off, any one who reads regular you have heard it before(Sorry). If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness or emotional problems, get them/yourself some help. You are worth it, its worth it! I myself dodged treatment for many years because of shame and the stigma of mental illness and I have to confess it was one of the worst mistakes I have ever made in my life. The consequences of a lifetime of untreated mental illness now another set of obstacles for me to overcome.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy life’s to hear what I have to say! Please checkout The Navelen Chronicles and be looking out for news of book three’s release.

Jack Finder and the Brain Harvesters PT. 3


Hello Readers,

Here is part 3 of Jack’s story. I hope you have enjoyed following my newest character. This is the last part of this story but i would like to write more about him in the future. Please let me know what you think and if you would like to go on another case with Jack or not. 

 

 

Pt 3 Jack Finder and the case of the Brain Harvesters

          Jack returned home to find his fears were in fact quite well founded. He saw the heavy door of his house hanging on one hinge and knew in his heart that Michelle was now in great danger. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and dialed Jesse’s number, hoping against all odds that his friend and caretaker was safe with her brother. He was shocked when a women’s voice answered his call, the voice was not Michelle’s as he expected but that of the mysterious Juliet.

          “I have programed your phone so that I am the only one you can call”, the mystery women told him as soon as the phone was answered.

          “Where is Michelle?” Jack said calmly, while struggling to keep his composure.

          “She is safe for now.” The feminine said coldly. “Whether she remains that way is now up to you.” She told him next, a sense of enjoyment clear in her tone.

          “What do you want from me?” Jack asked his tone one of defeat.

          “I want you”, she told him her voice turning cold. “The women’s life for yours, that is the deal. Do we have a deal Mr. Finder?” She asked already knowing the answer to the question.

          “Why did you warn me to leave this case alone if you were going to move on me anyway?” He asked instead wondering why they had even bothered with the first call.

          “You have a reputation for paranoia Mr. Finder and we wanted to get some leverage before we let you in the plan.” She told him arrogantly. “Now do we have a deal or not?” She asked in a hard edged tone.

           “You know we do you wretched bitch.” He answered his fear and anger threatening to overwhelm him at any moment.

          “Watch your tone when you speak to me worm!” She said loudly and angrily, real emotion evident in her voice for the first time. “I will send your little slut back to you in pieces.” She warned him, her anger seeming to dissipate in the blink of an eye.

          “If you harm her, I will dedicate the rest of my life to finding you.” He told the women coolly, trying to remain calm for the sake of Michelle.

          “I will not need to harm her as long as you do as you’re told.” She offered, both knowing that she held the cards as long as she had Michelle.

          “How do I know you will release her if I do what you want?” He asked knowing he would not believe her no matter what she said.

          “You have no choice but to trust me. I have the women and I am the only one that knows where she is.” The voice he knew as Juliet reminded him arrogantly.

          “Alright, what do you want me to do?” He asked in a resigned tone, accepting he would have to trade his life for the wellbeing of the women who had come to mean so much to him.

          “Go to the corner of 7th and Wabash. A car will come for you”, she instructed him. “And Mr. Finder, I would recommend leaving you pistol at home”. She told him before the line went dead.

          Jack walked back out into the street unsure what to do. He had a strong suspicion that both he and Michelle would die if he followed the instructions he had been given. He also could not help but believe that Michelle would be killed if he did not. He could not stop it this time, the stress finally more than he could bear.

          The feeling began to come over him suddenly, silently and invisibly just like it always did. He noticed the anxiety in his chest first, feeling like someone had shot a bolt of electricity through his soul. His heart picked up next soon feeling like it was about to explode out of his chest. He began to sweat next, salty droplets beading up on his forehead as he fought to surpress the dark and primal urges and fears beginning their assault on his mind.

          The normally fearless man stood crippled by a sudden rush of guilt, fear, and self-doubt, his many years of mental training not standing a chance against the storm of negative thoughts racing through his mind faster than he could possibly hope to process them. He watched the kaleidoscope of misery flash by in his mind, the images so vivid they almost felt real. The world around seemed to be moving so slow, while his thoughts were moving with the speed of firing neurons making him feel disoriented and confused.  He fought the storm with everything he had, knowing the life of his closest companion hung delicately in the balance.

He was suddenly battered by feeling of regret as he thought of her and the relationship they had. He had never told her how much he loved her, or how badly he wished he could. He gave those thoughts and any other a mental shove, forcing his mind to go blank. He could not afford to lose control of himself now, refusing to fail Michelle again, he forced himself to head for the meeting. He knew that he had no other hope of saving the women who had tried for many years to save him from himself.

He arrived at his destination after about twenty minutes of walking, the horror of a few minutes before giving way to an immense feeling of dread. He did not even care now if he survived his coming ordeal, as long as Michelle was safe. He would gladly die a thousand times if he knew that it would mean that she would live. He was almost looking forward to death now, hoping in death he might find a release from the pain of his existence.

He watched the black Mercedes pulled up to the curb ready to accept his fate. He approached the car like a man going to the gallows without hope of a reprieve. He had watched members of this shadow organization gun a man down in cold blood and held no delusions about what he might be in for. He watched the rear door of the sedan open and nearly fell over, relief exploded through his entire being as a fear stricken Michelle rushed into his arms.

He held her for a moment thankful she was still alive. He let her go hesitantly, thinking this would be the last time he would ever hold her or anyone else. He looked at her tear streaked face trying to burn that image into his mind. He wanted to make sure it was the last thing he thought about. He feared his death might not be painless and wanted to remember what he was dying for when that moment came.

“I have to take a ride with these people. I’ll see you at home shortly. We have a lot of cleaning up to do.” He said whishing he could say what he was really thinking.

“Don’t lie to me Jack. I know what you did.” She told him with a fresh tears in her eyes.

“I have to go now”, was all Jack could say before he climbed into the waiting car.

He was shocked to see none other than Special Agent Souza waiting for him. He could not hide his shock at the sight of the federal officer and she was clearly amused by his reaction. Jack could not even speak as he sat next to what was supposed to be a member of law enforcements. He could not help but think that just maybe he was not quite ready to die just yet as she began to speak.

“Hello again Mr. Finder”, she began with an amused smirk on her coldly beautiful features.

“Why did you do this? I just got the warning.” He demanded to know, as he looked for good place to make his move.

“The decision came from my leader, Jack. She didn’t believe you would leave us alone, I guess. ” She informed him smugly, her arrogance aggravating Jack to no end.

“What happened to Alexi?” He asked as his eyes scanned the road ahead.

“He’s dead but Mr. Andrazy already told you that”, she replied shortly.

“What did he do?” He inquired probing for information.

“I am not going to answer any more of your questions Mr. Finder.” She told in a flat bored sounding tone.

He watched out the windshield as the car approached a red light thinking his chance to escape had finally come. He first tried to open the door; not at all surprised to find it locked, he drove his elbow into the window as hard as he could, repeating the motion over and over as he tried to shatter the glass. He found his efforts greeted by laughter, his captor seeming to enjoy the spectacle. He stopped swinging as soon as he heard her laughter, realizing his efforts were futile.

“That is shatter proof, bullet proof glass.” She informed him as her laughter subsided.

He fell silent after that, hoping he might get another chance to try something after he got out of the car. He cursed silently as he felt the needle slide into his arm. The point went into his muscles and injected him with some unknown substance. He looked at the agent with an alarmed look on his face, fearing he might be about to suffer the effects of some horribly painful poison.

“You will go to sleep in a few moments. When you wake up you will be in a highly secure location. Do not try and escape again, if you do our deal concerning the women will be null and void.” She informed him as he began to feel the drug take effect.

He drifted off into a drug induced sleep, slumping over and onto Special Agent Souza. He was lost in a strange world of odd, vivid dreams where witches chanted incantations and cruel beast growled and gnashed their teeth. He tried to wake up but found his way back blocked, his body refusing to answer his summons. He floated along for what seemed like forever trapped in a world that seemed to have lost all reason.

He woke strapped to a gurney, still groggy from the drugs he had been given some time before. He looked around slowly trying not to move his head and alert his captors to the fact he was awake. He saw a trio of women standing around stainless steel table, on the table he could see a man struggling against his bonds. He then saw one of the women draw a blade from somewhere and slide the blade across the doomed stranger’s throat.

He saw one of the women turn their attention toward him and quickly closed his eyes. He listened with his ears straining as the sound of footsteps scraping across the floor drew closer. He heard a power tool kick on near the table and corpse, wondering what was happening but not daring to open his eyes. He felt a cool smooth hand being laid on his chest and worked to breathe like someone who was still unconscious.

He was unable to fool the murderous woman, who had done this many, many times in the past. She calmly turned to her fellow killers and said, “He is ready sisters. I know you are awake Mr. Finder. You can stop trying to pretend”. She said addressing Jack directly for the first time.

He opened his eyes and saw all three of the women now standing around his gurney. He was not surprised to see that Special Agent Souza was one of the trios. He saw that one of the women was of Asian descent, the other being a statuesque blonde. They were both exceeding beautiful women just a agent Souza was, a fact that jack found strange even in his current state.

“You must be Juliet”, he said to the blonde, wanting to know the identity of the women before he died.

“I am”, she said smiling with evil grin that was  both sexy and alarming at the same time.

“What are you going to do with me?” He asked thinking he was going to get the same treatment as the unknown murder victim still lying on the table.

“We are going to harvest the chemicals in your brain to make the elixir that allows us to maintain our perpetual youth and beauty.” She informed him happily with a twinkle in her eye.

“How does that work?” He asked while his eyes scanned the immediate area in hopes of seeing something he could use to free himself from his bonds.

“We will kill, just as we did the poor fellow on the table.” The women known as Juliet told him. “Then we will take your brain to refine into the substance that sustains us. It is an ancient science that originated in the days when science was called magic.” She answered, leaving Jack truly confused.

“How old are you?” He asked still unable to believe that such methods or formula’s existed.

“I am one thousand years old.” She told him, amused by his confusion.

“That is not possible.” Jack replied still having trouble wrapping his mind around what he was hearing.

“Oh, you would be amazed by what is possible Jack.” She told him with another superior smile on her face.

“You enjoy this don’t you? You sick whore.” He said next, his rage and disgust at what he was hearing mixing with his doubt and causing him to become quite agitated.

“I enjoy every aspect of my existence Mr. Finder, which is why you are here.” She told him, the smile wiped from her face by Jack’s crude language. “We knew you would not give up on this case and we could not allow you to destroy what has taken a millennium to build.”

“Is this what happened to Alexi?” He asked fearing he would soon meet a similar fate to the man he was searching for.

“Alexi was not a good candidate for our purposes. The Hepatitis C he contracted a result of his drug use made him useless for our purpose. He is now buried behind the compound along with several other undesirables.” She told him, seeming to be proud of the fact she was a mass murderer.

“Sister we must finish our work on the first source of material.” The Asian conspirator interrupted a moment later.

“Yes of course Yoko, this worm can wait.” Juliet said without a hint of feeling in her voice, like she was talking about putting up the groceries.

The three women returned to the body together the one he knew as Juliet picking up the electric bone saw he had heard running a few moments before to begin harvesting the brain of their first victim.. Jack watched horrified as they expertly processed the body, quickly removing the brain. He watched them pull a pail of the man’s blood out from under the table and pour a healthy dose of salt into the mix to keep it from coagulating. He then saw them exit the room leaving him alone for the first time.

He began to franticly test his bonds, hoping they were not as strong as they appeared. He was soon disappointed, realizing they were in fact quite strong, too strong for him to break. His wrists and ankles were soon covered in blood from the restraints cutting into his skin. He stopped struggling as the wounded areas began to feel like they were burning from where his now exposed flesh made contact with the leather straps holding him down.

He lay on the gurney for several minutes waiting for the fierce pain in his wrists and ankles to subside. He was surprised by the amount of blood that now pumped from his extremities, figuring he must have been given some sort of anti-coagulant. He had an idea at that moment, figuring he could use the blood as a lubricant to free him from his restraints. He now began to try to pull his arm out of the cuff instead of trying to break it.

He worked his wrist towards himself, trying to ignore the pain burning in his arm. He found himself making progress that was slow and painful. He kept his eyes on the door the women had used to leave the room, hoping he would have time to free himself before they returned. He could not help but let out a little yelp of excitement as his right hand came free of the thick leather cuff that had been holding it.

He was quickly able to undo the other three cuffs that held him to the gurney. He climbed to his feet but found he could not move particularly well, his ankles burned painfully from his first attempt to liberate himself. He hobbled over to the table that held the dead man, hoping to find something he could use as a weapon. He found a large knife, the one used to kill the man on the table, he assumed from the still fresh blood on the razor sharp blade.

He heard the voices of the three women returning and quickly hid under the table. He hoped he would get a chance to strike before the twisted trio realized he was no longer strapped down and helpless. He saw a pair of feminine legs pass within a foot of the table right before one of the women said,” He is not here and there is blood everywhere”

He took that as his cue to strike and plunged the knife into one of the legs in front of him. He heard a scream and saw Special Agent Souza fall to the floor clutching her now badly bleeding calf. He did not want to give the dangerous woman a chance to recover, scrambling out of cover he plunged his stolen blade into her chest over and over. He did not stop striking until he saw her chest stop moving his anger spent.

Jack then turned to see his remaining two captors approaching him with blades of their own drawn and vengeance in their hearts. He stood ready for the fiendish women his adrenaline causing his aches go away and making him want to kill the remaining two sorceresses. He did not give the pair a chance to take advantage of their superior numbers, instead going on the attack. He went at Juliet with abandon, deciding she would die no matter what the outcome of the conflict.

He closed the distance between them quickly, trapping her arm as she attempted slash at him. He then used his superior size and strength to overpower his adversary, driving his own blade in her diaphragm. He watched her body fall to the floor and she began to choke on her own blood. He was so transfixed by the sight of his foes final moments he forgot about the last remaining foe. He was reminded by a sharp pain in his back followed by a burning sensation a moment later.

He turned quickly, his movement dislodging the blade from his back and knocking it out of the woman’s hand. He heard the blade go sliding along the floor noisily and struck. He launched a vicious right hand straight into the face of the last of the evil witches, knocking her down and out with the force of the blow. He then stood over the fallen women, knowing what he had to do. He bent over the evil but still exceptionally good looking women and laid his blade across her throat.

He did not want to kill the now harmless women but he could let her life he knew. This group was obviously well connected and he did not want his few loved ones to come to harm because he could not do what was necessary. He thought of Michelle then, bringing his last image of her to his mind. He pictured her scared, tear streaked face and found the resolve he needed to do what was needed. The fountain of blood that followed his cut disturbed him but too gave him a grim sense of satisfaction.

          He looked around the room as the woman gave up her last hold on the land of the living. He surveyed the scene of carnage with a sickened feeling, wondering not for the first time how people could do things like this to other people. He also wondered how he might explain what he had witnessed here to anyone. He knew that because of his mental illness he would more than likely be accused of murder no matter what he said. The truth of the situation was simply too impossible for the average cop or anyone else to believe he knew. He had in fact been a witness to the scene and barely believed it himself.

          He saw a large cabinet in the corner of the room and went to investigate it. He opened the door and was pleasantly surprised to find several chemicals that he knew were combustible when mixed. He grabbed the ingredients and closed the door. He then found an empty bucket and began to mix the volatile blend carefully. Once he was finished he dumped the mixture on the floor and pulled out his lighter, one that had been a gift from Michelle.

          He watched the flames lick their way across the floor and begin to make its way up a nearby wall. He then realized he did not know how to get out of the building. He saw only one way out, the door the three women had used to dispose of the unknown man’s corpse. He made his way down the hall quickly hoping it would lead to the exit, knowing he would die as a result of a fire he started if it did not.

          He saw a door at the end of the hall and hurried toward passing several more openings on his way toward the one he thought might lead to freedom, as the heat and smoke from the fire began to make its way down the hall. He tried to open the door only to find it locked. He began to kick the door furiously, determined to knock down the portal and escape the twisted hell he was now in. He felt the door begin to give at the same time he began to have trouble breathing.

          He heard the telltale crack of the door frame giving way just in the nick of time. The flow of fresh air that began to seep into the hall gave Jack a second wind, which allowed him to finish the destruction of his last obstacle to escape. He stumbled gratefully into a large foyer, the air clean and easily breathable. He continued his flight into the night beyond what he found to be the front door of a large and opulent home.

          He watched the flames engulf the structure with a sense of accomplishment. He had found out what happened to Alexi, had saved Michelle and made sure that the three evil women would never be able to hurt anyone again. He heard the sound of approaching sirens in the distance and knew it was time to get going. He did not want to be found at the scene or have to try and explain what had happened here.

          Jack snuck away using the surrounding forest for cover. He soon found a road and a gas station, one he knew was not more than ten miles from his home. He asked to use the phone and called Jesse, knowing his friend would come to his aid and maybe even believe what had happened to him. He waited patiently for his friend to answer, ecstatic once he finally did.

          “What happened man?” The detective and Jack’s best friend asked once he had picked up his friend.

          Jack told his friend the story of what had happened leaving nothing out, which took the entire ride home. The normally unshakeable man was simply floored but what his friend told him. He drove speechless for some time trying to absorb what he had learned. He would not have believed Jack at all if he had not already spoken to his sister, who had already told part of the story.

          “Man I’m not sure I shouldn’t take you in.” Jesse said first, his duty to the people of his community always his first concern. “They would never believe this shit though.” He admitted still unsure whether he believed it or not. “You did sacrifice yourself to save Michelle too, but I’m going to warn you homie. If you ever do something to endanger my sister again I will kill you myself.” He said finally, deciding once again to help his friend despite the fact that he would end up in prison with him if half of what Jack had told him was uncovered.

          “I would never put her in danger intentionally man, you know that.” Jack countered his friend’s statement a little offended by his speech.

          “I know but intentional or not, don’t do it again, man.” He said not nearly as angry as he was making out to be.

          The car pulled up in front of his house as they finished their conversation. The door had been rehung already and a light was on in the living room. He looked at his friend with a question clearly stamped on his face. The two had been friends long enough that words were not necessary, Jesse already knowing what the question was.

          “I fixed the door a few hours ago. Michelle wouldn’t leave; she wanted to be here if you came back.” He told his friend, while wondering what his relationship with his sister really was right before realizing he didn’t want to know.

          “Thank you for everything man.” Jack said before climbing out of the car.

He stood outside looking at his home for several minutes. He wanted to see Michelle, to hold her and tell her finally he loved her. He wouldn’t he knew, his fear of both intimacy and rejection would not allow it, not yet at least. He would have to work on that he decided as he looked at the house that had become his home in a way nowhere else had ever been. He did not know how long it would take but he would tell her, the idea that he might someday lose her if he did not was just not an acceptable outcome for him.

          He walked in the front door happier than he had ever been to return home. He felt like the luckiest nut case in the world that night, a person that meant so much to him was inside and safe. He had survived a harrowing ordeal and now knew exactly how he felt about her, had been forced to come to terms with those feelings in the face of death. He would never again take her for granted he knew, he could not now that he knew how much he truly needed her to be a part of his life, even if it was not the part he truly whished her to be.

                                      The End

 

 Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it and really hope you will return. 

PT. 2 Jack Finder and the Case of the Brain Harvesters


Hello Readers,

I would like to present part two of Jack’s story as promised. I hope you enjoyed part 1 and will come back tomorrow for the conclusion.

Pt2- Jack Founder and the Case of the Brain Harvesters

“He is in the witness protection program man, you need to stay away from him”, Jesse implored his friend in a tone that was as excited as the cool demeanered man spoke.

“He’s knows something about what happened to Alexi and I’m going to find out.” He replied strongly, wishing his friend would just give him information and save the lectures.

“He might and he might not but he is under the protection of the FBI.” He told Jack, envoking the name of the FBI in hopes of getting through to him.

“Yes and why is that?” He asked hoping to find a link to Alexi and Tony beyond roofing. The theory that Alexi’s past may have caught up with him again taking hold.

“I don’t man, it’s above my pay grade.” He told his friend in frustration, his own curiosity now peaked.

“See what else you can learn. I’ll go rattle his cage a little and see what happens.” The now private eye told his former partner, knowing he would find a way to get the information he needed.

“I told you man they won’t tell me anything.” He insisted knowing his stubborn friend would not take no for an answer.

“Don’t let me down man”, he said ignoring Jesse’s statement. He then hung up the phone quickly not giving the other mam a chance to respond.

He rose from his comfy chair and headed for the door. He had finally escaped the worst of his hangover and he was ready to see one Tony Delvecio. The roofer had some questions to answer and Jack was quite eager to see what he would say. He grabbed his Sox cap as always before heading out the door and climbing into his tired old car. He breathed a sigh of relief as the engine roared to life. He pulled away from the curb, heading toward the job sight that Mr. Delvecio’s company had been working at the day before.

He pulled up to the work sight to find all the employees on sight milling about unsure what to do. He scanned the site, quickly realizing that Delvecio was nowhere in sight. He climbed out of the car and surveyed the scene in front of him with a scrutinizing eye. He would have to speak to at least one, maybe even several of the workers and he felt a panic attack coming on. He tried to calm his breathing, his racing heart and sweaty brow, focusing, searching for one of the men on the scene to stand out as a supervisor of some kind.

He thought he saw what he was looking for after a few moments, spotting an older gentleman, who the workers repeatedly approached to ask questions. Jack figured that if the roofers saw him as the man in the know, it would be a good place to start. He approached the portly man nervously, needing to rub his sweaty palms against his pants several times, while he silently hoped he would not want to shake hands.

“Hello sir, I am looking for Tony”, he told him with difficulty.

“Yea me too budy. I got twenty guys here and no tools. The cheap skate better not try to get out of paying us for this either.” He complained bitterly, obviously not liking his boss. “Who are you?” He asked wondering what the degenerate looking man in front of him could want with his boss.

“I am a private detective. I’m working for Alexi’s sister. Did you know he was missing?” He asked the man, thinking he may know something helpful.

“I knew he had not been at work but guys come and go around here all the time. I didn’t think much of it.” He responded bluntly.

“Did you talk to Alexi much?” He continued to question, hoping this trip would prove to be a waste of time.

“I didn’t, couldn’t understand half of what he said. He seemed like an alright guy though.” The man told him sighing as he spoke. “You really think something bad happened to him?” He asked with concern in his voice.

“I don’t know but I am more convinced all the time that he is in trouble.” He told the man honestly.

“He hung with this guy name Joe real tough. Joe Martinez, he’s here this morning, over their by the blue ranger he said, pointing to a short Latino man who was smoking a cigarette.

He thanked the foremen for his time before he approached the smoker. He almost did not even bother, feeling like he was running out of leads. The man looked up at him when he was about ten feet away, a suspicious look in his dark brown eyes. “Hello Joe, I am a private detective. I am working for Alexi’s sister and would like to ask you a few questions.” He said hoping the man would speak to him.

“I heard he was missing. I tell you whatever I can.” He said with a slight accent.

“Alexi had told several people he had a new girlfriend but I can’t figure out who she is. You wouldn’t happen to know something about her would you?” He asked thinking this would be his last chance to ID the women.

“He said her name was Juliet. He met her at some bar.” He said hoping he would be able to help the private detective.

“Did he say ever say anything else about her?” He questioned, knowing even the smallest detail could help him.

“No, but I got the vibe she was a rich people of some sort. He said Tony introduced them.” He offered trying to remember any fact he could.

“Why do you say that?” Jack wondered, wealth now being mentioned twice, its connection to the case still unknown.

“He mention a room with marble floors and named some really expensive booze.” He answered wondering why the local police had not been this thorough.

“Thank you Joe you have been really helpful.” Jack said as Joe stuck out his hand. Jack took the hand and his skin crawled as they made contact. He hated to be touched but could not avoid the gesture without seeming rude.

“What are you going to do now?” Joe asked wanting to make sure his friend was not going to be forgotten.

“I need to find your boss. He seems to be the last one to see Alexi.” He said wondering how he would find the man.

“Let’s go to his place. I know right where it is.” He said excitedly, grabbing his coat and rolling up the windows on his truck as he spoke.

“Yes let’s do that”, Jack replied, before turning quickly to head for the car.

The two arrived at the small somewhat ran down house that was owned by Tony Delvecio. They noticed his work truck sitting in the driveway, both figuring they had found the man. They approached the front door together, Joe knocking several times, getting no answer. The pair was about to leave when the door opened and a hoarse voice called out to them, “What do you want?”

“Mr. Delveecio we need to talk”, jack told the obviously distressed man.

“I told you everything I know,” He insisted.

“No you didn’t”, jack countered quickly. “You can talk to me or I can call the FBI and see what they have to say about your activities. I understand they want people on witness protection to keep a low profile.” He threatened the man, hoping his bluff would work.

“Come in, let’s make this quick”, he said as his eyes darted around as if he thought he was being watched.

The pair entered the house cautiously the owner’s strange behavior putting them on their guard. The house stank of stale smoke and body odor, it’s occupant an obvious slob. They both sat on the worn brown couch in the living room, both silently wondering if that had been a good decision. They were joined by their host, who took a seat in a beat up old lounger nearby.

“What do you want to know?” He asked, in an agitated voice, sweat beading on his brow.

“I want you to tell me what happened after you left the bar Friday night and I want you to tell me who the woman was that was with you.” He demanded thinking he would soon know the truth.

“I don’t know what happened after they left the bar. We parted ways after that. I went to get something to eat at Greg’s Dinner.” He claimed, honestly from what jack could tell. “I can’t tell you who the woman is. I am sorry.” He finished a pleading look on his face.

“You know who the woman is. If you don’t tell me, you will tell the PD and FBI.” He said again using threats to compel the man to talk.

“I ain’t going to tell you shit about her. I don’t want to die.” He said looking Jack hard in the eye as he did so.

“Tell me who she is Tony. The FBI will protect you.” He said trying to coerce the frightened man.

“Yea and who’s going to protect me from them?” He asked cryptically.

“What do you mean? Jack asked surprised by his reaction.

“You don’t have a clue what’s going on here pal”. He said breaking into a hoarse cynical laugh. “Alexi is dead or wishes he was and there is nothing either one of us can do about it.” He said sounding resigned to his fate. “Hell they are going to kill me if they learn I’ve even told you what I have.” He informed the stunned pare fear evident in his voice.

“Who will kill you? I can’t help you if you don’t tell me.” He persuaded feeling like he was close to a break through.

“You can’t help me dick! You will be lucky if you can help yourself. They will know who you are now.” He told him in a threatening tone.

The two had forgotten about Joe as they had been going back and forth. He pulled them away from their conversation when he looked out the window and said, “We have company”.

“What are you talking about?” Tony asked nervously, seeming less than surprised by the news.

“Five men with masks and assault rifles,” he announced in response, his eyes now bulging with the fear that was quickly taking hold over him.

“We have to get out of here!” Jack said loudly his eyes scanning the room.

He spotted a back door and sprang into action, flinging open the portal and charging through it. He turned his head to see Joe right behind him with Tony a few feet behind, the larger man breathing hard. He found himself standing in a small back yard, surrounded by a decrepit wooden privacy fence. The sound of the front door being kicked in carried through the house, alarming the frightened, desperate trio. Jack noticed a spot in the fence that had started to lean. He charged the weak point wildly, crashing into and through the rotting barrier, tumbling into the gravel lined alley that ran behind the house.

The three desperate men were fleeing down the alley way when the air around them lit up with the sounds of gunfire. The world around them became a whizzing, swirling cloud of terror as the heavy rounds began to hit all around them, ricocheting off of and smashing  into every object near them. The fat man went down as a half dozen rounds tore through his body. The exit wounds sprayed blood and gore all over the fleeing men as they ran, the terror they felt making them unaware of the gore they were now covered in.

The sounds of gunfire continued to follow them as they ran for their lives. The shots were less accurate now, their pursuers having a hard time shooting while running. The pair continued to run as fast as their tiring legs would allow, even after the horrific sound of machine guns faded in the distance. They did not stop until a police car pulled up in front of them, siren flashing. Jack heard a familiar voice, though in a different tone than normal say, “Hit the fucking ground”.

“Jesse it’s me Jack”, he called out to his former partner with his hands in the air.

“What the hell is going on man?” He asked wondering what sort of catastrophe his friend had triggered with his meddling this time.

“We were attacked by gunmen while questioning Alexi Emelinenko’s boss”. He told his friend honestly, knowing he would not be happy.

“You mean Tony Delvecio, the federally protected witness I told you to stay away from.” He said next, a hint of anger in his tone.

“You didn’t really think I would listen did you?” Jack countered, wondering how someone who knew him so well was surprised.

“I guess not”, he admitted his mood mellowing as he spoke. The simple truth of his friend’s statement calming him, only because he knew his friend was right. “Wheres Delvecio?” He asked hoping the man could provide some answers to his mounting questions.

“Dead in the alley behind his house”, Jack offered.

“You guys okay?” The detective asked next, wanting to make sure the pair was not injured.

“I’m good”, Joe said first, still breathing heavy from their flight and his addiction to nicotine.

“Me too”, Jack said a moment later, both grateful to be alive.

“Show me the body and tell me what happened. I need to make sure you’re not going to prison before I call this in.” he said silently praying this would not be the time that the man who was like a brother to him would cost him his job.

“Calm down man, it’s not like that.” He assured his friend, understanding his concern and enjoying it a little. Jesse was always so calm and cool; Jack could not help but get a rise out of ruffling him up a little. “Five guys all armed with AKs or AR-15s kicked in the door and wasted your witness while we were trying to run out the back.” He informed his friend hoping that knowing he had not fired a shot would calm his friend.

The trio was soon back at the scene of the murder, waiting for back up and the crime scene squad. Jack took the opportunity to pick up a few shell casings and take the victims phone, all done without Jesse’s knowledge. He felt bad hiding things from his friend but knew it would go better for the detective if he was unaware of his activity. He gave the police a statement when they at last arrived, sharing everything he uncovered with them.

He and Joe were then taken to the station where they were questioned for several hours. The questioning was interrupted around midnight when a pair of FBI agents arrived, claiming they had jurisdiction. The murder of a federally protected witness was not a common occurrence and they were eager to find his killer. The pair of federal agents began the questioning process all over, a gorgeous female agent of about forty leading the questioning.

Jack smoked his cigarette slowly, irritated after hours of telling the same story over and over. He had told the police over and over why he had been talking to Mr. Delvecio but they had showed no interest in Alexi or his disappearance. They kept insisting that he knew something about Andrazi’s life before witness protection no matter how many times he told them otherwise. He had been on the verge of exploding with rage when the agents arrived.

The male agent introduced himself first, identifying himself as agent Russel. He looked to be in his early twenties. He was good looking and appeared muscular under his poorly cut government suit. He also looked like he was fresh from the academy, a certain naivety still showing on his young face. Jack looked at him thinking that look would not last long; it never did in their line of work.

The female agent was about five ten with long shapely legs. She had long wavy brown hair that she had tucked into a neat bun on top of her head. She still had of a woman many years younger than Jack figured her age to be. He pulled his eyes from her shapely assets and focused on her face. He noticed her full pouty lips and high cheek bones, hardly a wrinkle creased her face. He looked into her warm lively brown eyes, pools that threatened to swallow him up.

“I am Special Agent Souza”, she told him formally before sitting down.

“Mr. Finder I understand you were with Tony Delvecio when he was murdered?” She asked, the interrogation beginning once again.

“Yea I was there. I already told the local PD that. I’m sure they have the tape.” He replied letting his annoyance show.

“I know it has been a long night Mr. Finder but we need to figure out what you know about the victim and the people you claim killed him.” She said calmly as she opened the file in front of her.

“Now please tell us again why Mr. Andrazi was of interest to you.” She requested in the same calm almost friendly tone.

“I had been searching for a man who worked for him named Alexi Emilinenko.” He began for what felt like the thousandth time that day. “Mr. Delvecio as I knew him told me several lies about his whereabouts on the night Alexi disappeared and I went to his home to confront him.” He explained hoping they would be more helpful than the locals had been.

“So you didn’t know that he was Anthony Andrazi, Chicago mob informant?” She asked, watching him closely for a reaction as she spoke.

“No, I knew him as Tony Delvecio, owner of a small roofing company in a small Midwestern city.” He told them, now quite intrigued by what he was hearing.

“So, a former detective like you has never heard of the Andrazi case?” The young agent who had called himself Russel chimed in.

“I never said I hadn’t heard about it. I just didn’t know he was Andrazi.” Jack countered unwilling to let the rookie put words in his mouth.

“Tell us about the men who shot him.” She requested next, while giving her partner a look that implied he should be quiet.

“Five came in the front, ski masks, military grade hardware.” He told them trying to remain calm, fighting the anxiety attack that threatened to boil over at any moment as he recalled the traumatic event. “We ran out the back of the house and through the fence”, he explained as his speech became more rapid, the pulsing sensation that was a precursor to panic rippling through his chest. “The victim was struck by gunfire that was coming down the alley at us as we fled in terror.” He told them as a single bead of sweat formed on his brow.

“Are you nervous Mr. Finder?” The cocky younger agent asked thinking he was about to break the older man. “Why are you sweating?”

“I have bipolar disorder and am having a minor panic attack as I recall the event of this afternoon.” He said quite rapidly his voice rising.

“Is there anything we can get for you?” The beautiful Special Agent asked, this time putting her arm on her partners and giving him a much sterner look.

“No I’m fine, let’s just continue. I would like to get this over with so I can go home.” He replied somewhat sourly. “But thank for the consideration”, he told her appreciating her concern for his condition.

“I have only one more question Mr. Finder”, she offered kindly. “Did anything you found in your investigation lead you to believe you knew who was responsible for the disappearance of Alexi Emilinenko or the murder of Anthony Andrazi, aka Tony Delvecio?” She asked looking him straight in the eye as she did so.

“I did not”, he told her with disappointment. “Mr. Andrazi was my only lead I had.” He told them, wanting to get out of there and begin to trace the new leads they had found.

“Thank you for your time Mr. Finder. We will be in touch in we need anything else. Oh, one more thing Mr. Finder, stay away from this case from here on out, leave it to the professionals.” She told him, a stern but still polite edge to her voice.

Jack walked out of the police station a few minutes later, glad to be free and even more determined to figure out what happened to Alexi. He heard the phone in his pocket ringing and pulled it from his pocket. He quickly realized that it was the victim’s phone and looked at the contact’s name. He was pleasantly surprised to see the name Juliet on the screen.

“Hello”, he answered, hoping the caller would not realize he was not Mr. Andrazi.

“Hello Mr. Finder”, the electronically altered voice said in response.

“How did you know I had the phone?” He asked the strange voice.

“I know a lot about you Jack”, the voice claimed. “How is Michelle?” the voice taunted before breaking into a cackle.

“What do you want from me?” He asked beginning to feel like he was being watched.

“Leave this case alone Jack. I promise you it will not be worth it, think about your friends”. The voice said before the line went dead.

He hung of his own phone and looked around with a wary eye, now fearing he was being watched by well informed and probably powerful new enemy. He was now convinced that Alexi was involved in some very high level criminal activity, no matter what his sister believed. He also now wondered just how honest the young women had been, silently admitting to himself; he may have been taken in by the good looking victim routine.

He needed to regroup he realized quickly as his thoughts began to race in multiple directions. He had too many questions to consider and found he needed some to time to decompress and consider his next course of action. He did not feel particularly safe out in the open at this point either. The threats of the mystery voice did give Jack the impression they were  not idle and he was not yet ready to die.

He took out his phone and dialed Michelle, hoping she would be able to come and pick him up. He would then send her out of town until this thing was over, he decided as the phone rang. He had now been threatened personally and could not now abandon the case. He began to grow concerned as he waited for his assistant to answer, the threats of his newest adversary still echoing in his head.

He became truly alarmed when her voicemail picked up, rarely did his calls go unanswered by the young women who meant so much to him. She did always call him back in short order and he figured she would do so as soon as possible. He then turned his attention to the more immediate problem of how he was going to get home. He was about to call a cab when he saw Joe, fellow witness to the death of Tony Delvecio, aka Anthony Andrazy. He waved to the young man and began to walk toward him, hoping for a ride and some  more answers.

“What was Alexi and your boss like at work?” Jack asked hoping the young roofer might shed some light on the identity of the caller, who no doubt had sent the gunmen.

“I don’t know man,” Joe began hesitantly. “They always talked in private, mostly about money I think.” Joe said without much confidence. I saw him give Alexi money a few times when it wasn’t payday”. He said, as a light bulb went off in Jack’s head.

He slammed his hand down of the arm of Joe’s truck door as the two rode back toward his office. He knew why Andrazy wanted Alexi gone and why he had been giving the man extra cash. Alexi had been black mailing him, offering to keep his whereabouts a secret in return for cash. He ignored the drivers unsteady look as it all clicked into place.

Alexi had discovered his bosses true identity and began shaking his boss down for cash in exchange for his silence. Andrazi must have whent to some element from his past for help with the problem, figuring it would be safer to kill the man than pay him. Jack had then stumbled onto the case and angered this criminal element that was backing Andrazi. This Juliet seemed to know both Alex and Mr. Andrazy, she must be the connection to the group now threatening him, if he could find her, he would find out what had happened to Alexi.

He would start by speaking with Ivana Emilinenko, the sister of the missing man. He was beginning to wonder how much she really knew about what her brother had been up too. He hoped the young women had not been a part of this plot, had not tried to make him look like a fool. He hoped the women would be able to offer some clue to the identity of the women know as Juliet even more than he wanted her not to be involved, his anger at being threatened bringing his resolve to new heights.

He looked at his phone a moment later, realizing that Michelle still had not called him back. He tried to suppress his concern, telling himself she was probably taking a shower or something like that. He would probably arrive home to find her drying her hair and putting on lotion. They would share a good laugh at his worry and get back on the case, or so he hoped.

TO BE CONTINUED………..

I hope you enjoyed. Thank you for reading! Please come back tomorrow for the finale.

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