Storm Warning, Chapter 8

Fiction By Jackie West // 12/21/2010

 " clyde weston threw off the and it landed a heap a he ran a comb through his shoulder length dark brown hair before hurrying to the council he took a seat beside p>

            “And how did it go?” Jack asked him.

            “It went very well, aside from the fact that the girl we have been focusing on was there and decided to chase after me,” Clyde replied.

            “What did you do?” Jack asked, intently looking at him.

            “I threw a boomerang at her head,” Clyde said. “It knocked her out. When she wakes up, she’ll probably be blank for a day or two, if it doesn’t kill her first.”

            “Nice work, Clyde,” Jackie congratulated him. “Your first job on your own, too.”

            Clyde grinned, but the words didn’t do much. He had been trained not to be flattered when people, companions or not, praise him for something. “Thanks.”

            “You see, being trained not to be flattered really is important,” Jack explained. “I flattered the plainclothesman I met this afternoon, so because he had not been trained to not be flattered, and because he was so young and inexperienced, he took the bait and took it as a nice compliment. Too much will make you overconfident, which we cannot have if we really want to succeed.

            “Right,” Jackie agreed. “We’ll end up in prison.”

            “For life,” Jack added.

            “If they  didn’t kill us first,” put in Carmen, and Tori, who had been quietly sitting by, nodded in agreement.

            “That’s true.” Jack folded his hands on the table. “Now, down to business. The Aoran wants us to strike a little sooner than usual. One week from now, we will once again disturb the peace.”

            “Our targets?” Carmen leaned forward.

            “For the main group, there is the mayor of Raleigh, the president of NC State, and the three candidates for the new police chief,” Jack answered. “Your group, Carmen, has just one big project: blowing up the headquarters of the Coast Guard. Tori, you and your companions will rid the world of four prominent politicians: Colin Mariner, Helen Marlien, Kenda Norman, and Nathaniel Marly.”

            “I’ve always wanted to deal with politicians.” Tori smiled wickedly. “Never liked ‘em.”

            “The Coast Guard’s gonna be the Roasted Guard,” Carmen said in an evilly enthusiastic voice.

            “Don’t get too high and mighty,” Jackie cautioned. “Remember, we’re to destroy, not be boastful.”

            “We have all the supplies you will need in the Red Room,” Jack told them. “Get your job done, and get it done well. That’s all for now. Get the things you will need and return to your posts.”

           

            When the two other groups had left, Jack turned to Jackie.

            “Have you ever wondered if any of us would get captured?”

            “Yes,” Jackie said. “They are truly loyal, though, and would give their lives to keep it a secret.”

            “I hope so.” Jack shook his head. “I hope so.”

 

            When Kerry awoke, her vision was foggy. She shook her head in an attempt to clear it, but stopped as sharp pains jabbed through her head.

            “Stop moving!” complained a voice. “You’re making my job harder.”

            Slowly Kerry’s vision cleared. She saw a boy’s face above her own. A mop of tousled brown clurly hair hung over his face. She wrinkled her nose.

            “Move off,” she groaned. “Your breath stinks.”

            The boy grinned, then turned his head away. “Hey DJ, she’s still alive.”

            “I heard her comment,” another boy said as he entered the room. “When did you last brush your teeth, CJ?”

            CJ stood and stretched. “Three days ago.”

            DJ rolled his eyes. “Go figure.” He walked over to Kerry. “How ya feeling, sweetie?”

            “Shut up,” Kerry snapped. “I’m no one’s sweetie.”

            “My apologies, Princess.” DJ grinned teasingly.

            Kerry rolled her eyes. “Where am I?”

            “Raleigh, North Carolia, U.S., North America, Earth, Milky Way, universe..” DJ replied.

            “You’re too much like my older brother.” Kerry propped herself on her arms and sat, wincing as pain once more enveloped her head. “Could I live without for once?”

            “No,” DJ answered. “You’re gonna be here awhile.”

            “And why is that?” Kerry folded her arms.

            “You got quite a bang on your noggin,” DJ answered matter-of-factly. “You probably won’t remember your address. And if I’m correct, you don’t even know where you are.”

            Kerry groaned inwardly. Being stuck here with these two for who knows how long is not gonna be good, she thought.

            “You hungry?” DJ asked.

            “What time is it?” Kerry wondered.

            “7:37,” DJ told her.

            “It’s morning?! I’ve been out for that long?!” Kerry exclaimed incredulously.

            “Yes,” DJ said. “Are you hungry or not?”

            “I’m starting!” Kerry said indignantly. “I haven’t eaten anything for almost half a day!”

            DJ and CJ left the room, and Kerry took the time to properly examine her surroundings.

            She was in a small, square, white room, which had one window facing out toward an alley.

             Kerry was lying on a pile of blankets in the middle of the room. A first-aid kit lay nearby, open, with some of its contents scattered around.

            The two boys returned to the room. DJ was carrying a tray of food. Behind them came a man and a woman. Both were very tall.

            All four of them sat on the floor near Kerry and talked quietly among themselves as she ate. When she was finished, they turned and faced her.

            “Don’t be afraid,” the woman said. “We are friends. My name is Jess Brady. This man is my brother, Ryan Brady. These two boys are our companions. This one is named Clint after his father, so we call him CJ. The other is Jason Damian, so we switched his first two initials and called him DJ. So there you have it.” She gave Kerry a friendly smile. “What is your name?”

            Kerry still didn’t know if she could trust them, but she said, “Kerry.”

            “And a good name it is,” Ryan said, though his face remained expressionless.

            “We four prefer to stay out of public, but we detest injustice. Your attacker conveniently knocked you out in our alley,” Jess explained.

            Kerry snorted. “Hardly convenient.”

            “You’re lucky, actually,” Jess said. “In this part of the city, there are a lot of roughies. We are some of the few people who aren’t.”

            “Then why do you live in the city?” Kerry inquired.

            “We’re still looking for a nearby spot that’s hidden. We still have yet to find one.” Jess folded her legs. “I think we’re close, though.”

            “You’ve heard about the murders?” Kerry asked.

            Jess nodded. “We have.”

            “Well, I’m convinced that the person wh knocked me out is conneceted with them somehow,” Kerry stated firmly.

            “We think so too,” Ryan said.

            Kerry shot him a surprised look.

            “We get all our news from our not minding publicity companions,” Jess informed her. “Their names are Kane Mills and Kurt Evans.”

            Kerry twitched visibly at the mention of Kurt Evans. Jess raised an eyebrow.

            “You have a problem?” she asked.

            “I think he has some nefarious schemes under his truthful seeming name and story.” Kerry folded her arms. “His real name is Brenton.”

            Now Jess twitched. “Brenton...?”

            Kerry nodded.

            “Kurt said he knew about a criminal named Brenton,” Jess said. “He went to try to catch Brenton, but he never came back.”

            “Because Kurt is Brenton, and Brenton is a criminal,” Kerry said. “I’m positive that’s who he is. He’s a full-blown liar!”

            Ryan and Jess looked at each other.

            “That’s not good,” Ryan said. “What are we going to do?”

            “We have to hide,” jess said. “If he comes back, he may try to harm us.” She turned to CJ and DJ. “Pack some food and clothes for everyone and get me the papers. We need to get out of here fast.”

            CJ and DJ left nad were back in minutes. In the meantime, Jess applied a soothing salve to Kerry’s head.

            “So, where are we going?” Ryan asked.

            “We’re going to see a friend of mine,” Jess replied. “CJ, DJ, and Kerry, each of you take a backpack. We’ll try to look like a couple with three kids.”

            There was a snort from Ryan, but when everyone looked at him, his face had that blank expression.

            “Who is your friend?” Kerry wondered curiously.

            “You’ll see,” Jess answered mysteriously.

            They grabbed their luggage and headed out the door.

            Jess flagged down a taxi, and they climbed inside. Jess named him a street, and he sped off.

            The whole way, no one spoke, but when they were dropped off, Jess said,

            “The friend weire going to see is Jesse Morgan. He wants to get out of Raleigh, too. He’s been getting rid of his unimportant stuff, so he’ll take only the bare necessities.”

            “He’s not a possession clinger,” Ryan put in.

            Kerry nodded. “That’s good, if you’re on the run.”

            “Yes,” Jess agreed, as they started walking.

            “So how are we being transported out of the city?” DJ asked.

            “Our feet,” Jess said. “We’re walking.”

            CJ and DJ groaned, but a glare from Jess put their attitudes back on track.

            Kerry was not enthusiastic about walking out of Raleigh, but she knew that complaining would get her anywhere, so she kept silent.

            As they walked up the stairs to Jesse Morgan’s house, he threw open the door.

            “I’ve been expecting you!” he said.

            “You knew we were coming?” Kerry was astonished.

            Jess and Jesse looked at each other knowingly and grinned.

            “Yes, I did,” Jesse said. “Now, are you ready to go?”

            Everyone nodded.

            “Let’s go!” Jesse adjusted his backpack as he spoke.

            They trooped down the stairs and walked off at a brisk pace. They fell into line, Jess and Ryan in front, CJ and DJ in the middle, and Jesse and Kerry on back.

            After awhile, Jesse pulled out an iPod and a neatly rolled coil of earbuds.

            Kerry glanced over. “Only the bare necessities, huh?”

            Jesse grinned and nodded. “Yup.”

            “I don’t think I could live without my ipod.” Kerry suddenly remembered the musical device that had been in her pocket for the past day and pulling it out. “What are you listening to?”

            “Epica heavy metal,” Jesse said, moving his fingers deftly over the buttons.

            “Good stuff,” Kerry said as she stuck in her earbuds.

            The group walked on in silence. Then finally CJ spoke.

            “We’re walking all the way to the woods?”

            Jess and Ryan looked at each other.

            “We could try to hitchhike,” Ryan suggested.

            “How would that work?” Jess wondered doubtfully.

            “Split into pairs,” Jesse said. “I’ll go with CJ, Ryan goes with DJ, and Jess and Kerry go together.

            “We could try, I guess. Does anybody not know how to thumb a ride?” Jess asked.

            When no one raised a hand, Ryan said, “Let’s split up now and go farther away from each other.”

            They did so, and when Kerry and Jess were on their own, Kerry inquired, “Where are we meeting the others?”

            “A prearranged spot. We mapped everything out just in case, Jess replied, glancing at her wristwatch. “We should be on the outskirts of Raleigh in an hour or so. We’ll hitchhike from there, OK?”

            “Ok,” Kerry said.

            When they reached the outer fringes or Raleigh, they stuck out their thumbs.

            An hour and a half passed unsuccessfully. Then a car stopped. It was a sleek, bright yellow Mustang with black stripes, a spoiler, and a sunroof.

            The driver was a woman who couldn’t have been more than twenty. Her affluence was shown through the fashionable, expensive clothes she wore, and her disgust of hitchhikers couldn’t have been more obvious.

            “You got perfectly good legs, so why don’t you use them?” she asked, squinting as she took off her flashy sunglasses.

            “Because we don’t want to,” Jess said, annoyed at the authorit in the younger woman’s voice.

            The woman shook back her wavy blonde in a showoffish manner. “You hitchhikers are so lazy.”

            “You’re one to talk,” Jess retorted calmly, though it was all she could do to not go over and slap her silly.

            “We need cars-us more affluent ones, at least,” the woman shot back.

            “Everyone uses cars.” Jess clenched her teeth. “So are you going to give us a ride or not?”

            “Who are you kidding?” The woman revved her engine and sped off.

            Almost immediately, another car stopped. It was a rusty, old pickup truck; the driver was a young man, clean-shaven and well-mannered. He picked them up and agreed to drive them farther.

            Ten miles down the road, Jess asked that they be dropped off. The man left them near the edge of a deep forest.

            Jess looked at her watch. “The others should be here soon.”

            A few minutes later, Ryan and DJ came along in a bright pink sports car. Ryan seemed relieved to escape from it, and so was DJ.

            “That girl was starry-eyed when she saw me,” he said dryly. “That’s why she took us.”

            Jess was amused. “You didn’t run off and get married?”

            Ryan looked ready to slug her, but decided not to.

            Several minutes passed as they waited for Jesse and CJ to arrive.

            When they didn’t, Jess got worried. “What if something happened?”

            An hour passed, but no one stopped.

            Where were Jesse and CJ?

 

           

 

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