Storm Warning, Chapter 7

Fiction By Jackie West // 12/14/2010

 

  Jack removed his hooded cloak and buried it deep in a bush before strolling casually into the town. It was time to question his unsuspecting sources.

            He took a bus to downtown Raleigh, where he hurried into a quiet diner.

            Miss Wilson, the owner of the diner, looked up from where she was wiping a counter. “Hello, jim,” she said cordially. “How are you doing today?”

            “Very well, Ana. And you?” Jack inquired nonchalantly.

            “Never better. What can I get for you today?”

            “The usually, Ana, if you please.”

            While she prepared his soft drink and chicken sandwich, Jack sat at the counter. “So, how’s business doing these days?”

            “Better than usual,” Ana chattered. “It seems kind of strange, though, because the governor was found gone at a place not far from here, you would think you’d want to stay away in case the kidnappers were close by.”

            “It seems that way,” Jack agreed.

             The bell on the door rang merrily, and Jack glanced over.

            The man who entered glanced around, watching everyone closely. Jack stiffened. A plainclothesman. Just what he needed.

            The detective looked at Jack and nodded politely, though Jack felt his eyes roving over himself.

            Jack prided himself in keeping himself cool and collected in uncomfortable situations, and this was one such situation. He nodded back and smiled.

            The plainclothesman came over to sit beside Jack. “Good afternoon, Ana,” he said.

            “Hello, Randy.” Anna looked up from where she was scooping chicken salad onto a slice of bread. “You’re early today.”

            “Yeah, the chief let me go early,” Randy said. “Investigation ain’t goin’ too well.”

            “The murder mystery?” Ana inquired.

            “Yep,” Randy replied, throwing Jack a cautious look.

            “It’s okay,” Ana said quickly. “He’s a regular of mine, a friend. Jim, this is Randy. Randy, this is Jim.”

            Randy reached out a hand, and Jack took it. Then Randy turned back to Ana.

            “I can’t believe anyone would do such a thing,” he continued. “Our governor was such a good person.”

            “Yes, she was,” Ana agreed.

            Jack had had a careless, carefree look on his face, but suddenly he realized that whoever said the governor had to be solemn, and he changed his face right before he nodded and Randy glanced at him. He lifted his glass of soda.

            “I propose a toast to our wonderful governor,” he said, his face clouded with mock grief, which only he knew was mock, while inside he was dying with laughter.

            Randy lifted his mug of iced tea, and they clinked the cups together.

            The uncomfortable mood relaxed, and Ana was relieved to see two of her favorite customers becoming more friendly to each other.

            “So ,what’s your profession?” Randy asked as he dug into his hamburger and fries.

            Jack bit into his sandwich, chewed, and swallowed. “I work in hickory as a receptionist for a dentistry business.”

            “Is it fun?”

            “It’s okay. I can’t find anything better.” Jack drank some soda. “But I’m lucky that today is my day off. I wouldn’t have met you. And just so you know, I greatly admire the work of policemen and detectives. I loved reading mysteries when I was a teen.”

            Randy looked pleased at his words. “I did, too, and I still read mysteries. They help me perfect my detective skills.”

            And they help me to know how to evade detectives, Jack thought. Aloud, he said, “Is there anyone to replace the police chief?”

            “Some prominent officer, yes,” Randy answered. “The candidates will be speaking tonight in front of the Capitol building, and an emergency vote will be taken soon.”

            Jack stored the information in his brain. “I’m glad we’re recovering so quickly.”

            “That is good, but we just can’t figure out why anyone would want to do such a thing.” Randy fingered one of his fries, obviously deep in thought. “If I helped figure things out, it would help me greatly, because I might be moved ahead in position.”

            “You a greenhorn?” Jack wondered.

            “You could say that. “Randy glanced out the window. “I joined the police force only two months ago.”      

            “I have a young friend who is training to be a police officer,” Jack said. “You wouldn’t know Chris Wilson, would you?”   

            “I did meet him, when we were in training,” Randy replied. “We were best buds, but when I finished the training and left, we lost contact of each other.” He looked at Jack hopefully. “Maybe you could set up communication for us?”

            “I could try,” Jack said. “Could you give me your number?”

            Randy took a slip of paper and a pen from his pocket, and wrote down his name and number, then handing it to Jack. “Here you go.”

            “Thanks.” Jack pocketed it before standing and putting a ten dollar bill on the table. “I should go now. Bye, Randy. Bye, Ana.”

            As Jack walked out of the diner, a barely discernible sigh escaped his lips. “Wow, that was close!” he said to himself. “Wait’ll all the others hear this!”

 

            When Jack returned to their hideout, it was time for the doubters to experience the Black Room.

            When he had locked the door, he went to the relaxing room, where Tori, Carmen, Jackie, and some other people were waiting.

            “How was your afternoon?” Carmen asked.

            “Successful, but I could have been revealed had I let the information slip,” Jack said.

            Everyone looked at him expectantly.

            “Now I personally know a plainclothesman,” he said.

            “Oh, no,” Tori groaned.

            “And he personally knows Clyde,” Jack added.

            Jackie rubbed her forehead. “This is very coincidental, Jack. Who is this plainclothesman.”

            Jack produced the slip of paper from his pocket. “Randy Dwayne.”

            Jackie blinked once. “Oh, him. I read about him the other day. Nosy kid, trying to push himself to a higher position.”

            “He might be good on our team,” put in one of Tori’s people.

            Jack looked at her. “Are you crazy?!” he exclaimed. “He’d report us!”

            “It was a thought.” The woman shrugged.

            “I wouldn’t do that if someone paid me two million bucks!” put in Carmen. “It’s way too risky.”

            “As if anything that happened on this venture wasn’t risky!” Jackie glared at her.

            “Alright, cool down,” Jack said in an attempt to stop the brewing argument. “We need to discuss the information I collected.”

            They sat and talked for awhile before Jack stood and called for silence.

            “I need a volunteer,” he said.

           
            Kerry blinked as she propped herself on one elbow.

            “Kerry, you’re finally awake!”

            Kerry craned her neck and saw Macie standing behind the couch. “Huh...what?” she said sleepily.              

            “Andrew will be home any minute now,” Macie said in an impatient voice, “and the pizza delivery man is here! I need you to go get the pizzas because I have to tend the cake.”

            Kerry slowly stood, stretched, and yawned, then giving Macie a limp salute. “I’m on my way, Commander.”

            Macie rolled her eyes and grinned. “Get along, Kerr.”

            Kerry got the pizzas, paid the deliveryman, and went inside to catch up on news.

            “Andrew’s heart condition has greatly improved since he went to the hospital,” Macie explained as she spread a thick layer of chocolate frosting on her chocolate cake, “so they’re letting him come home.”

            “That’s great,” Kerry said, rather unenthusiastically. “So, is there any new from Dad?”

            “No,” Macie replied. “I wouldn’t be worried, though. He probably had important work to do that he couldn’t tell anyone about, so he’s working and keeping low.

            “I guess that could be the case,” Kerry agreed.

            Macie spooned out some frosting and gave it to her. “Could you go check on the boys? Last I knew, they were playing video games.”

            “Sure.” Kerry took the spoon, licked off the frosting, and hurried upstairs.

            She stood in the doorway of the boys’ room for awhile, watching Jeremy and Justin expertly shoot down enemy fighters and blast their way through hundreds of storm troopers, before stepping in and interrupting.

            “How are you doing?” she inquired.

            Their eyes didn’t leave the screen, but Justin spoke up.

            “I was doing fine, but the instant you started talking I got blown up!”

            “Me too,” Jeremy added.

            “Sorry,” Kerry apologized.

            “Game’s going well,” Justin said as his fingers flicked over the controls. “We’re winning, and we’ll be doing our favorite level, Mos Eisley, soon.”

            Kerry sat beside Jeremy. “That’s my favorite level, too, when I can get the chance to play a lot of it.”

            The boys finished the level, and Jeremy handed his controls over to Kerry.

            Kerry selected the Sith as her fighters, while Justin chose the Republic, as he always did.

            Kerry picked Darth Vader as her first choice, and Justin clicked on Yoda.

            Kerry moved Vader through the hot, dusty streets of Mos Eisley, defeating and conquering. All the while, she was planning how she would defeat Yoda when Vader caught up with him.

            Soon they met. Both drew their lightsabers and dueled for awhile with no success. Then Kerry drew Vader back and set him on the Force choke, bringing Yoda down.

            They whizzed through the level, and Kerry had much fun, even though the Sith were defeated.

            “Kerry! Justin! Jeremy!” They heard Macie call up the stairs. “Mom’s home with Andrew!”

            They quit the game and charged downstairs.

            Mrs. Nicholas came through the door hauling a carseat, purse, and diaper bag.

            Macie took the purse and bag, and Kerry rushed for Andrew. His reddish-blonde hair, sticking out due to the two traditional cowlicks known to Nicholas males, was soft and this, as Kerry stroked it. his large, dark blue eyes looked at everything around him with wonder.

            Andrew grabbed Kerry’s finger and soon released. As he stretched his hand, Kerry noticed a straight crease going across it.

            “Mom,” she said, “why does his hand have one straight crease running across it?”

            “They were suspicious of something, so they ran a test and found he has a condition called Down syndrome.”

            “What’s that?” Justin wondered as he enviously eyed Andrew.

            “There are many internal issues that occur,” Mrs. Nicholas said. “Down syndrome occurs when a third 21st chromosome is reproduced in cell division, resulting in many problems, including mental and physical setbacks.”

            “That’s how he got his heart problem?” Macie asked.

            Mrs. Nicholas nodded. “That’s right.”

            “But he will need surgery eventually, right?” Kerry wondered.

            “Yes, he will, but he’s so small that the doctors need to let him grow,” Mrs. Nicholas answered, taking Andrew from Kerry. “So I need to feed him, and then the rest of you can hold him.”

            She went upstairs to feed Andrew in her room.

            “Okay, we need to have dinner ready when she comes down,” Macie said. “Jana, Jeremy, get the paper plates, cups, and napkins. Kerry, get the soda and pour it. I’ll cut the cake. Justin, please bring the pizzas to the table.”

            Everyone whirled into action, and soon the table was set and supper was ready. They all sat at the table.

            Mrs. Nicholas soon came down, holding a sleepy Andrew. She put him in his carseat, and then sat down. They prayed and started eating.

            Halfway through the meal, the doorbell rang.

            Jeremy leapt up and ran to the door; he peeked out the window.

            “It’s Luke Brewster!” he exclaimed.

            “Let him in!” Mrs. Nicholas said.

            Jeremy threw open the door, and Luke stepped in.

            “Am I interrupting?” he asked.

            “Not at all.” Mrs. Nicholas stood. “Do you need something?”

            “Well, I was coming to see if anyone was interested in hearing the police chief candidates speak in front of the Capitol building,” Luke explained.

            Mrs. Nicholas glanced at Justin, Macie, and Kerry.

            Justin shook his head, and Macie shrugged, but Kerry looked hopefully at her mother.

            “Can I go?” she asked.

            “I don’t see why not,” Mrs. Nicholas replied. “Pack up some more pizza and a piece of cake for her, Macie, and Kerry, go get ready.” She turned to Luke. “When does it start?”

            “In about forty-five minutes,” Luke said. “I came so you get ready in time, if anyone wanted to come at all.”

            Kerry ran to put on jeans, and her sturdy sandals. When she buried back downstairs, Luke was plowing his way through a large slice of cake.

            “Who else is coming?” she asked.

            “My dad and Elijah and Triste,” Luke replied as he licked his fingers.

            Kerry grabbed her box of food and followed Luke out the door to the waiting car. She squeezed innext to Elijah and Triste.

            “Hi, Kerr!” Triste exclaimed. “Don’t you think this is gonna be fun?”

            “You like making and hearing speeches too much.” Elijah shook his head.

            “You are gonna be mayor someday,” Kerry joked, sending the three into fits of laughter. All Mr. Brewster and Luke could do was look at them quizzically before turning away.

            The drive to the Capitol building took nearly half an hour. When they, arrived ,speeches were already underway, but they joined the back of the crowd and listened as the voice of Roger Renway boomed across the lawn.

            Her mind on Renway’s words, Kerry’s eyes drifted up to the high balcony of the Capitol building.

            Suddenly, the speech was forgotten as her eyes caught swift, stealthy movements.

            Then a black, hooded figure stood straight up, the railing coming only to his waist.

            The noise of the crowd disappeared as Kerry focused on the figure.

            Then it jumped.

            Its cloak billowed around it, as it flew feetdown to the stage where speeches were being made.

            Everyone had noticed it by now. A few women were screaming, and some of the small children were crying, and some men were trying to collect their families and move off.

            The black figure came up behind Renway and swiftly knocked him unconscious. Then it leapt to the ground.

            The crowd began to scatter, and in its frenzy to get away, Kerry was separated from the Brewsters. She looked around frantically, but saw no one she knew.

            Suddenly, the want to help chase down the figure overcame her common sense. She starte to run, keeping her eyes fixed on the ominous black cloak.

            The figure ran down a narrow street and turned to an alley, where it ducked in.

            Kerry followed it all the way, and she heard shouts behind her saying:

            “We’ll handle this, miss! Go back to your own family!”

            “Don’t be foolish, girl; stop chasing him!”

            Kerry ignored them, determinedly pushing on.

            The figure quickly made its way through several dark alleys.

            Then it disappeared.

            Kerry stood in the middle of an alley, looking around, feeling bewildered.

            Then something hard crashed into her head, and everything went black.

 

Comments

Wow, Eirian, how can you

Wow, Eirian, how can you leave me hanging like that?! It's not fair :( Please post more soon... or else. :D

Laura Elizabeth | Wed, 12/15/2010

*************************************************
The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

*grins*

It'll have to wait til next week...I'm out of posts!

Jackie West | Wed, 12/15/2010

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