Posted in Blog challenge, Fiction, postaday, Serial story, writing

2015 April A-Z Challenge ~~~ The ABC’s of Death ~ M

If you haven’t read previous chapters, I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!

 

ABC'S of Death book cover (4)

 

Making Plans

 

I know if I try to call Fedora back he won’t answer so I don’t even try. The man is a pain, but it might not be a bad idea to have him watching my back. These guys have already shown they are willing to kill.

I hear a knock on my door. Must be Billy. I put my eye to the peephole, I’m not taking anything for granted. I don’t think the guys that have Angela know I’m still alive, but it pays to play it safe at this stage.

I see a distorted image of Billy so I open the door. He comes in pushing a food cart. “Your food was ready in the kitchen so I volunteered to bring it up. I also have the medical kit.”

The food smells good. Tee wakes up and is ready to be fed. Billy sets the small table in the room with some plates and utensils. My stomach is growling. Time for some nourishment. I cut up some of my steak for Tee and place the small plate on the floor.

“Come on buddy. You deserve steak.”

I motion for Billy to take the seat across from me. My hands hurt, but not enough to keep me from eating. I open one of the bottles of water Billy brought with him and pour some out for Tee, then drink the rest down. I wonder if I’ll ever get enough water.

I start to eat and in between bites I regale Billy with my adventures the past day or so. He lets me talk with only a few, ‘damn’ or other strong exclamations inserted in. When I’m done talking, I butter another roll and shove it in my mouth. Billy keeps my coffee cup full the whole time. The kid has potential.

“I knew you weren’t like most of our guests the first time I saw you in the elevator. You’re not one of these spoiled rich women who are afraid of breaking a nail.” Billy crosses his arms and leans his elbows on the table in a satisfied way.

The mention of broken nails forces me to remember my stinging hands. I open the medical kit and search through it. I find some antiseptic wipes and open them. I wipe my palms and open the sterile gauze. Billy moves his chair closer and takes the roll of gauze bandages.

“Better let me do that.” He says as he winds the gauze around my palms. I’m grateful for the help. The food kicks in and in spite of the gallon of coffee I drank I feel my eyelids getting heavy. I force them open.

“Billy, do you know where Tony Bandoni lived?”

“Sure do. My older sister worked for him for a few years. She used to have me deliver paperwork to his house sometimes for a few bucks.”

I notice he has his street clothes on for the first time. I must be tired if I missed that. “You off work for the day?” I ask him.

“Sure am.” He finishes tying off the bandages and sits back. “Can I help you in any way Dee? That would be so kick ass!” He practically jumps out of his chair in his enthusiasm.

“Can you find out if Angela is being held there? Without getting caught?” I know I shouldn’t involve the kid, but I need someone who won’t stand out doing a bit of reconnaissance work. He knows the town, the people and he’s smart.

“Piece of cake!”

I describe Angela and I also describe the man who took her.

“Whoa! I know that man. He’s someone you don’t want to piss off.” Billy sits back in his chair and gives a little whistle.

“How do you know him?” Maybe involving Billy isn’t a good idea.

“Me and a couple of buddies had some trouble with him once. We were skateboarding down the sidewalk, just goofing off, you know? And my friend flies past this guy and startles him. The guy cusses my friend out and goes after him! I swear if he would have caught one of us he would have done us some damage. He’s a scary kind of man.”

“You don’t have to do this, kid. In fact, you shouldn’t. You could get hurt.” I sit up and beat back the lethargic effects the food was having on me.

“No! I’ll do it. I’m not afraid of him.”

“You should be afraid of him, Billy. He’s a mean guy and won’t think nothing of hurting you.”

“I’ll be careful. I promise! Let me help. I won’t get caught.” He has a pleading look in his eyes. I need the help. I know Billy is smart and quick. If anyone can do it, he can.

“Ok. But the first sign of trouble you get your ass out of there and come back here. You promise?”

“I won’t get caught.”

“I can’t do anything till it gets dark. I want you to see if you see any activity at Tony’s. If you do, you just watch from a safe distance. Then come back here tonight and let me know. I’ve got to get some sleep. I’m not helping anyone if I’m not alert.”

I hate to leave Angela there with the guy for one more minute. I also didn’t want us to get killed. I need some sleep or I wasn’t any good for anything. I also know I can’t just walk up to Tony’s house and announce myself. They think I’m in a hole in the ground. I want that to work to my advantage. I’m also not stupid enough to think I can do this on my own.

Then tonight, if Billy can find Angela, I’ll go get her. If it involves kicking some ass in the process, all the better.

I tell Billy to be careful one more time, then tell him to come here at ten tonight. I can’t do anything till then but rest. Which I do once Billy leaves. I lay down on the bed next to Tee and stretch out. God, I’m tired.

 

 

 

I always enjoy comments and/or constructive criticism. Or, you could just say hi! Thanks!

Posted in Blog challenge, Fiction, postaday, Serial story, writing

2015 April A-Z Challenge ~~~ The ABC’s of Death ~ L

If you haven’t read previous chapters, I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!

 

ABC'S of Death book cover (4)

 

Lost in Limbo

 

I pull into the Hilton parking lot. I grab Tee and put him in his satchel. All I have on my mind right now is a long hot shower, gallons of water and something to eat. Not necessarily in that order. If I could do all three at the same time, it would be perfect.

My mind is focused on getting to my room. I walk into the hotel and towards the elevators. Mr. Haughty is in position behind the front counter. I must have looked like the guest from hell as his mouth drops open in surprise. Don’t think much surprises that man. I continue walking and ignore him. The look on my face must have instilled caution, as his mouth closed without him saying anything.

The elevator stops on my floor and I walk towards my room. Billy is just closing a door further down from me and turns in my direction. He stops and stares.

“Dee? What the hell happened to you?”

I give the young man credit. He doesn’t ask a lot of stupid questions. I stop by my door and use the key card. I hear the click and see the little green light come on. As I open my door I get an idea.

“Billy? Can you come to my room in about half an hour? I need a favor.”

“Sure I can. You all right?”

I feel the sting of my blistered hands on the doorknob. “Can you get hold of a medical kit? Some bandages, stuff like that?”

“Yeah, I know where I can get one. Looks like you might be needing it too.”

“Give me about half an hour to get cleaned up.”

“You’re going to tell me how you got in this shape, right?” Billy has an expectant look on his face. His eyes are wide with curiosity, but he stifles it for now. Good man.

“I’ll tell you.”

“I’ll be back in half an hour with the kit even if you wouldn’t tell me. But I’m dying to know.” He winks at me and walks away.

I push the door to my room open and walk inside. I can almost feel the hot water on me already.

I put Tee down on the floor and start shedding my clothes, or what is left of them. Poor Tee is as filthy as I am. I’m tired, so I decide to wash both of us at the same time. Nothing like showering with your dog. Normally I wouldn’t do it, but this is not a normal situation.

Afterward, Tee and I are clean and dry. I put some clean clothes on and wait for Billy. My hands hurt like hell. I get on the room phone and order some food and some extra bottles of water. I will never take water for granted again.

One of the first things I did when I got in the room was put my cell on the charger. I had a phone call to make. By the time I had a shower and brushed the dirt out of my teeth the phone had enough charge to call who I needed to call. I looked at the time and figured I had a few minutes before Billy or the food showed up.

I hit a number on my phone and hear it ring on the other end. I wait for a familiar voice. “Dee, what a pleasant surprise.”

“Hey, Fedora. Do you know the Wenner Estate outside of Ashville?”

Fedora aka William Holden, a rich man, high-tech geek and most times a royal pain in the ass. I did a case for him a few months back. In fact, his grandmother used to own Tee, till I rescued him from his dognappers. A long story for another time. I nicknamed him Fedora because of his penchant for wearing the hats.

Fedora and I kept a kind of friendship after the case. He wants to date me, I keep turning him down. He keeps asking. It’s a game we both play.

“Never one for just calling to say hi are you Watson?”

“Sorry, was a long night last night. So, do you know it?”

“You sound tired, Dee. Everything alright? And yes, I know about the Wenner Estate. Heard it was bought for back taxes a while back.”

“It was. My friend Angela and her business partner Tony Bandoni bought it. Was going to turn it into an exclusive hotel, spa, and nightclub.”

“Bandoni? Heard he killed himself not too long ago. I met the man a few times at some functions. Funny as hell and a good guy from what I could tell.”

“It might not have been suicide. In fact, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t, Fedora.”

There was a short pause. “You investigating that Dee?”

“Yeah, Angela hired me. Now she’s been taken by the same guys I’m pretty sure killed Bandoni. They are after the Wenner deed.”

“Someone believes that old tale about gold bouillon being hidden there? Is that where you are? In Ashville?”

“Yeah. I wanted to know who else was interested in the place. Have you heard of anyone that might be rich enough and willing to kill to get what they want?”

“There were several people interested in it. Myself included for a short time. I can get you a list of names. Where are you staying?”

“Angela put me up at the Hilton. I would appreciate the list and your personal take on the people.”

“I’ll be there by early evening, Watson.”

“Hey! No! Don’t come, Fedora! I just need the names.” All I heard in answer was the click of the phone as he ended the call.

Ah, crap.

 

 

 

I always enjoy comments and/or constructive criticism. Or, you could just say hi! Thanks! 

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Fiction, postaday, Serial story, writing

2015 April A-Z Challenge ~~ The ABC’s of Death ~ K

If you haven’t read previous chapters I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!

 

ABC'S of Death book cover (4)

 

Kick Ass Time

 

I reach the SUV. It’s unlocked. I climb in and set Tee and his satchel in the back seat. My luck is holding as I spot the keys in the ignition. I lay my head on the steering wheel. I’m so tired. The joy of seeing the SUV leaves and in its place is a crippling exhaustion. I’m just so damn tired. My body aches in every square inch of it. The putrid smell of dirt, sweat and blood fills my nostrils. It dawns on my fuzzy brain that the smell is coming from me.

A lone tear falls from my eyes onto my dirt-encrusted jeans. Another soon follows. I sniffle back some more before they drop. A thought pops into my head, I sit up straight and start laughing. I can’t help myself. The laughter just bubbles out.

I look back at Tee and see him watching me. I start laughing all over again.

“Tee, I’m stupid. Just don’t tell anyone, ok? That was a wine cellar we almost met our death in. A wine cellar! With big kegs in it. Do you know what that means? It means that they didn’t bring those kegs of wine down those damn wood steps. There must be an easier way in and out. I just didn’t think to look.”

I’m still smiling when I turn the key in the ignition and spot something that makes me smile bigger. An almost full bottle of some fancy named water. I grab it up and twist the cap off. I take a long drink. God, that tastes good. I look around a bit more and spot an empty coffee cup. I’m silently thanking Angela for not being a neat freak.

I tear the top off the coffee cup and pour the rest of the water in. I hold it out to Tee. He needs water more than I do. In seconds, the water is gone.

Alright. We’re alive, we have a vehicle, we have water. Now it’s time to head back to town and kick some ass.

Before I turn the SUV around and head back I check my cell. The battery is dead. I look at the clock in the SUV and am shocked at what time it is. I spent almost twenty-eight hours down in the dark and dirt. Twenty-eight hours of hell. Someone is going to pay for that. First, I have to find Angela and make sure she is alright.

I realize as I’m turning the vehicle around that I don’t know where Angela lives. I have her phone number of course, but it’s not going to do me any good if she is with that heavy-lidded goon. I turn onto the highway and head back to town. Angela wouldn’t be at her place. They have either taken her to their boss or Tony’s place to look for the deed.

I went through twenty-eight hours of hell, but so must Angela have. They’ve had her that long. They must know by now that she doesn’t know where Tony put the deed. Will they still keep her around? I hope so.

 

 

 

I always enjoy comments and/or constructive criticism. Or, you could just say hi! Thanks! 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Fiction, postaday, Serial story, writing

2015 April A-Z Challenge ~~~ The ABC’s of Death ~ J

If you haven’t read previous chapters I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!

 

ABC'S of Death book cover (4)

Joining the Living Again

 

I stick Tee inside his satchel and place it over my head and across my chest so I have both hands free. That rat doesn’t move, just keeps on staring. Something I need to add to my growing list of hates. Rats. I move forward a step and it still doesn’t move anything but its long whiskers. It’s long thin nose twitches.

He probably smells the blood on my hands from my broken blisters. I need to get rid of this ugly monster so I can find the door out of here. I take a step back and slowly squat. The shovel head is here somewhere. It’s not much, but it’s the only weapon I have. I feel around with one hand for the shovel. My other hand holds the flashlight aimed at the rat. I’m afraid to take my eyes off it. My hand bumps against the shovel and I pick it up. Time for something a bit more proactive.

As I rise quickly from my squat, I fling the shovel head towards the rat. It hits it dead on! I hear a loud squeak and it disappears. I need to get the hell out of this nightmare.

Now to find that door to freedom. I walk forward, searching the darkness with my flashlight. I notice dim gray light filtering in further ahead. I look up and I see dirt crusted windows high on the dirt and stone walls. Too high up for me to reach and the windows are too small for me to climb through. I need to find the damn door.

My light finally rests on some wood stairs. Yes! I hurry to the steps and see a thick wood door. If I’m real lucky the door isn’t locked. I say a small silent prayer that it isn’t. On closer inspection, the stairs are looking pretty bad. Some are broken with large gaping holes. There are probably about thirty steps leading up to the door.

Standing here, I give Tee a pet, settle him more firmly in the satchel and put my foot on the first step.

“Here goes nothing, my furry friend.” I croak out. My voice is rusty from dirt and thirst. I place my feet close to the sides of the steps. My thinking is that they will be more solid there. I hope.

I take another step, then another. I’m about half way up when I hear the step beneath my foot crack. Damn it, I need to slow down. In my haste, I step too close to the middle and the step gives out underneath my foot. My leg goes through the step and I grab the railing. I drop my flashlight and hear it hit the ground. At least the railing held.

I slowly pull my leg up, put my foot on the step above and keep moving. I’m more aware of where I put my feet and finally after what seems like ages reach the top step. I grab the handle of the door and push. Nothing happens. Oh, crap.

I’m not going back. That is not an option. So I grab the door handle again, turn it and give it a bigger push. It’s not locked! It opens a few inches, then stops. Who knows when it was last opened. Ok, I need to give it all I got. Which at this point is not much. I take a deep breath, brace myself and put my shoulder to the door. I push with what energy and strength I can muster. It slowly opens wider.

Just when I think Tee and I have made it I hear it. The stairs are giving under my feet! The next few seconds happen like they were in slow motion. I feel the stairs giving beneath my feet, I push in desperation against the door. It finally opens the same time the steps fall away. I jerk my body inside the opening and hear the steps crash. We made it!

I take a minute to catch my breath. Looking around, it seems we are in the kitchen part of the house. I don’t care where we are, we are out of the dark and out of the hole. Now to get out of the house.

It’s dark in here too, but not because it’s night. The windows are boarded up solid. There is enough light to avoid the odds and ends of things scattered. I try the back door of the kitchen. Locked tight and its solid wood. I need to find a window or a door with glass and try to break through that way.

I’ll try the main part of the house. I notice the dust and the cobwebs as I walk through a connecting doorway. The dining room, the long fancy table was still there and a few chairs. Nothing for me here.

I trudge into the foyer. Large, with a high ceiling. If I was more in the mood, it would impress me. Right now, I’m just thinking of fresh air and water. I move further west in the house and come across what looks to be a home office. With a fireplace. The fireplace has a poker. It’s not a crowbar, but it’ll work on the boards across a door or window.

I walk back into the foyer and try the front door. Locked of course. I walk east into what looks like a sitting room. A room with big windows. I take the poker and slam it against one of the windows as hard as I can. It shatters. Glass showers down around me, but I don’t care. What’s a few more cuts? My mind is set on one thing. Getting out.

Now for the boards. I use the poker to finish breaking the glass around the edges of the window, then I tackle the boards. Compared to everything else I have had to do to get out, the boards were the easy part.

Sunshine and fresh air meet us as I step out the broken window. I take Tee out of the satchel and set him on the ground.

I take several deep breaths of the clean air. Now to find a way back into town. I’m not sure who is going to pick up a hitchhiker in a sports bra, covered with dirt and blood, but I’m alive. I’m thinking these thoughts as I walk towards the front of the house. I feel like I’m a hundred years old. I’m so thirsty I could drink just about anything. Then I spot something that makes me smile. I pick up Tee and start running.

I see Angela’s SUV. I might not have to hitchhike after all. My luck is definitely coming back.

 

 

 

I always enjoy comments and/or constructive criticism. Or, you could just say hi! Thanks! 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Fiction, postaday, Serial story, writing

2015 April A-Z Challenge ~~ The ABC’s of Death ~ I

If you haven’t read previous chapters I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!

ABC'S of Death book cover (4)

Inside Where?

 

I start to bust up the crates and build my fire higher. I still need to reserve the battery in the flashlight. I don’t know what’s on the other side of this wall, I might need it. I’m finally on the last crate and give it a kick to bust it up. This one isn’t empty like the others.

I take a stick and start to dig through the insides of the crate. I see a major mouse nest. That must be why Tee started digging at the wall. A mouse-hole. Under the nest, I hit something metal. I scrape the nest aside and see a shovel. My luck is turning! I scrape more of the nest away and grab the shovel.

Now this is something I can use. Damn it. The shovel has no handle. Just a broken off piece of wood sticks up from the shovel head. This must be where they threw broken tools away, as I come up to some more metal in the bottom of the crate. A broken pliers that look to be decades-old. A few more pieces of tools, but nothing whole.

I manage to finish busting up the crates. Now to start digging my way out of this hole.

Hours later I’m about four feet inside the wall. I’m digging the hole big enough for my body to crawl through. I take a break. I need to find something to put the loose dirt on and drag it out. Otherwise, I’m just digging more than I need to. I’m dirt covered from head to toe. Itchy from where the dirt turned to mud with my sweat.

I’m dying of thirst. My mouth feels like the inside of this hole. I’m not stopping though. I’m afraid if I do, I won’t start again. I got about another four feet to dig. I can feel a stale breeze through the tunnel I’m digging. That and my temper is the only thing keeping me going.

I’m angry as hell. I plan on getting out of here, finding Angela and that goon and kicking some major ass.

Searching around to find something to pile the dirt on to drag it out of the tunnel, I find nothing. Ok, time to get creative. I take off my shirt, tie the arms together to make a loop. I can use the body of the shirt to pile the dirt on, the arms tied together to drag it out of the tunnel. I have my sports bra on and who’s going to see me anyway.

I start digging again. Every once in a while Tee comes inside the tunnel to check on me. Otherwise, he’s in the bigger room laying down in front of the hole watching me. He did his part. Now it’s time for me to do mine.

I’m almost there. A couple more feet of digging and I can crawl my way to the bigger space. I’m exhausted. I need water. I need food. I need a shower. First though I have to live long enough to get those things. My arms feel like lead. My hands are blistered and bleeding, but I’m still alive. With each shovel of dirt, my anger builds. I let it.

I have no idea what time it is. My watch died hours ago. Too much dirt. I’m finally at the end. I burst through the hole and collapse in the other space. I’m so damn tired. I just lay there on the dirt floor. I don’t even have enough energy to lift my head and take a look around. I close my eyes. Just a minute. I need just a minute.

I wake to Tee’s tongue on my face. His whines wake me further. How long was I asleep? I don’t have a clue as I struggle to sit up. I groan as my body aches all over. I need to find my flashlight and the satchel. The shirt I know is history. Towards the end I couldn’t even use it anymore, it’s in shreds. Oh god, I don’t want to crawl through that tunnel, but I have to. The flashlight is on the other side.

I take a deep breath and move my body through the tunnel. I grab the satchel with the flashlight inside. I notice the fire has burnt itself down to nothing. I must have been out for hours. Time to get out of here for good.

I crawl back and join Tee. Taking the flashlight, I shine it’s light around. The place is huge. Dirt floor and dirt walls. There are barrels sitting around, it looks to me like it used to be a wine cellar. I’m under the mansion! That means there has got to be a door leading to the main house somewhere. Then I hear Tee growl. A deep growl from that little dog is unusual. I shine the light to where he is looking and see a couple of red beady eyes.

I grab Tee up with one hand before he can run after those red eyes. I am looking at the biggest damn rat I have ever seen in my life! The thing is huge and it’s staring right at me and Tee.

 

 

 

I always enjoy comments and/or constructive criticism. Or, you could just say hi! Thanks! 

Posted in Blog challenge, Fiction, postaday, Serial story, writing

2015 April A-Z Challenge ~~~ The ABC’s of Death ~ G

If you haven’t read previous chapters I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!

 

ABC'S of Death book cover (4)

Getting Out?

 

I catch Tee before he hits the ground. I’m just glad at this moment that he’s not a Saint Bernard. The crazy dog is licking my face like it was last nights steak dinner.

“All right Tee. That’s enough.”

I settle him in my arms. I don’t want to let him down on the ground as I’m not sure what is sharing this hole with us, if anything. There could be snakes and I didn’t save my buddy just so he could get bit by a snake.

Snakes? Oh great. Now I’ve put that idea in my head. I hate snakes. I hope Angela gets back with that flashlight soon. I stand in that small circle of light that is filtering through the open hole. This has been a long morning.

“Dee! I got the flashlight and the satchel.” I hear Angela’s voice overhead. Her head appears as she lowers the satchel and lets go. I catch it with the hand that’s not holding Tee.

“I put the flashlight inside. I spotted a ladder in one of the sheds. I’ll drag it over here. Hang on!” She disappears again. I sure hope it doesn’t take her long with the ladder. I want out of here.

I kneel down and search through the satchel. I find the nice heavy flashlight and turn it on. Still holding Tee, I flash the light around. I don’t see any snakes. I also don’t see any other way out. There are some old crates on one side. The hole is bigger than I thought it would be. Going back several feet. From what I could see, it was about twelve by twelve feet. Someone had used it to store stuff.

I’m not going to be down here long enough to worry about the crates. Angela should be here soon with the ladder.

“Dee! I’ve got the ladder!” I hear metal clattering and see her pop her head over the hole again.

“Damn, I didn’t know ladders could be so heavy. Let me catch my breath then I’ll slide it down to you. I sure hope it’s long enough.”

“Anything is better than nothing. Thanks, Angela.”

“Ok, let’s do this,” Angela says, as her head disappears again. I hear the metal of the ladder clatter again then a muffled scream.

“Angela! You ok up there?” I hear nothing for several seconds.

“Angela!!” I yell again. A head appears over the hole once more. The face is in shadow, but the head doesn’t look like Angela’s.

“Well, well, well. What do we ‘ave here? It’s Dorothy and her little dog Toto! Guess you ain’t in Kansas anymore, eh?”

Crap. I know that voice. The thug from this morning.

“That must make you one of the flying monkeys then.” I answer. What’s the jerk going to do? Throw me in a hole?

“Bitch! You broke my damn finger this morning.”

“Didn’t your mother ever teach you to keep your hands to yourself? Consider it a lesson learned.”

“We’ll see who learns the lesson. You’ll ‘ave a bit of time to learn yours. Have fun starving in your hole, bitch.”

I didn’t say anything. The jerk has a point. Dammit.

“Here I thought you would enjoy teaching me a lesson yourself.” Maybe I can goad him to get me out of this hole. At least I’d have more of a chance.

“I would normally, but I got orders to find the deed to this place. Bimbo here is gonna tell me where it’s at. Eventually.”

I didn’t like the sound of his laugh as he disappears from view. I turn off my flashlight and step back into the dark. I didn’t want to take any chances that he might decide to shoot me instead.

Minutes pass without further noise or voices overhead. The sinking feeling in my gut tells me they’re gone.

“Hey, jerk!” I yell. “Come and deal with me yourself! Or are you afraid of a woman?”

Nothing but silence answers me back.

Ah, crap.

 

 

I always enjoy comments and/or constructive criticism. Or, you could just say hi! Thanks! 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Fiction, postaday, Serial story, writing

2015 April A-Z Challenge ~~ The ABC’s of Death ~ F

If you haven’t read previous chapters I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!

ABC'S of Death book cover (4)

Falling In

“Where’s your car?” I ask Angela.

“Over here.”

“I want to see this Wenner place. You got time to take me?” I start following Angela to her car. I want to see this property that has someone so interested they would send a thug to hustle Angela.

“I canceled all my appointments for this week. Between Tony’s death and threats to me, I couldn’t possibly work.” Angela digs out some keys and pushes the remote. I hear some locks unlock from a Cadillac SUV Escalade about ten feet from us. We get in the SUV and buckle up. I put Tee in the backseat with his satchel.

“We can stop someplace for breakfast on the way out,” I tell her. I was hungry and it’s been a long morning already.

Angela glances over at me and grimaces. “You just beat up some guy! How can you possibly think of food right now!”

“I didn’t beat him up. I stopped him from hurting you.”

“Where did you learn that stuff Dee? It all happened so fast!”

“I’ve been taking lessons for years. Anyway, that’s not important. Do you have the deed to this Wenner place?”

“No. Tony had it since he owned most of the place. I own forty percent, he owned the rest. The deed must be in his house somewhere.”

“Tony had that much money? A stand-up comic?” I ask, but I’m looking for a place to eat. I’m hungry and I’m sure Tee wouldn’t mind a bite. He loves scrambled eggs.

“Oh, he only was a comedian since he retired. It was always a dream of his to become a comedian. He made all his money in real estate. Tony owned one of the biggest real estate offices in Ashville. He started before Ashville became popular with the rich and famous.”

I see a well-known chain restaurant, known for its breakfast twenty-four hours a day. It was good enough for me. I point it out to Angela and tell her to stop there.

We stop and have a fast breakfast. I take some of the scrambled eggs out to Tee, who’s waiting patiently in the SUV. My mind is mulling over all Angela has told me about Tony. Seems he got into the real estate business just in time to cash in on the boom in Ashville. Made millions over the years and finally was able to retire and live his dream of playing in clubs as a stand-up comic. He sounds like he was a stand-up guy all around.

Forty-five minutes later Angela pulls onto a run down gravel road that leads to the Wenner mansion. Even I could see it would make a good area for an exclusive hotel. It sat on some good land, a bit overgrown with weeds now, but I saw the potential. It also was only fifteen minutes away from a ritzy yacht club on the ocean.

I’m looking around as Angela maneuvers the SUV to avoid some major potholes, when the mansion suddenly comes into view.

For being neglected for so long, it was surprisingly intact. Overgrown rose bushes and weeds were everywhere, but the building itself was eye-catching. As my uneducated eye looks the mansion over, it looks to me like something out of the Great Gatsby movies. Impressive.

“The house doesn’t look too bad,” I say to Angela as she stops and parks in what I imagine was once a grand circular driveway.

We get out of the SUV and I take a look around. That’s when I start to notice the various holes all around. Must be where people were digging for the gold.

“The house is in great shape considering. No one bothered with it, they were more interested in the grounds, as that is supposedly where old man Wenner had the gold buried. In some kind of underground vault is the rumor.” Angela steps carefully over some rubble.

“Let’s take a quick look around,” I suggest.

“Ok, but be careful, there are holes everywhere and some of them quite deep,” Angela warns me.

People are strange. To go out and dig holes all over just because of some decades-old rumor of gold. Gold has a way of making people crazy. Gold fever is real. Me, I’m not interested in finding the stuff. I’m just interested in finding out if Tony was killed because of some myth that there was gold buried here.

By now we’re behind the house in what looked like what used to be a pretty fancy garden. I could still see parts of hedges and flower beds. Years of dead leaves and overgrown grass rustle beneath our feet. We skirt a few holes and walk slightly off a faded path when I hear an ominous cracking sound underfoot.

Crap.

We must have stepped on a hidden hole that had been covered with leaves and grass.  The wood was old and weathered and couldn’t hold our combined weight. Seconds flashed by as I give Angela a hard shove off the boards and feel the wood give beneath my feet. This was going to hurt.

I’m laying flat on my back and looking up at the concerned face of Angela. I must have fallen a good fifteen feet. Good thing the dirt was soft. Well, softer than rock anyway. I’m trying to catch the breath that was knocked out of me as I hear Angela calling my name.

“Dee! Dee! Oh my god, Dee! Are you alright?”

I hear Tee barking up there and Angela calling my name, but I have no breath to answer. Finally in a big gasp, air comes back into my lungs. I  cough as the dust I raised when I fell starts to settle around me. I start to take inventory of my limbs. Nothing broke, but damn that hurt.

I struggle up and try to take a look around. It’s dark and smells of the earth. I need some light. And a ladder.

“I’m Ok!” I gasp. “Can you find me a flashlight? And a ladder or rope? Also, get Tee’s satchel and throw it down to me. There might be some things in the outer pockets I can use.”

Tee is still barking as Angela answers me. “I have a flashlight in the car. I’ll see if I can find a ladder in one of the sheds.”

I hear her move off and try to calm Tee down. “Quiet Tee! That’s a good boy!”

I’m looking up at him when I see him move closer to the hole. “Stay back Tee!” I yell, but it’s too late.

I see the dirt shift under his feet and see him slide. He scrambles to get back, but it’s no use. With dirt falling around me, I watch as Tee slides through the hole and starts falling.

 

 

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Posted in Blog challenge, Fiction, postaday, Serial story, writing

2015 April A-Z Challenge ~~ The ABC’s of Death ~ E

I’m not going to list each preceding chapter every day. It would get much too long.  If you haven’t read previous chapters I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!

ABC'S of Death book cover (4)

Excitement

The morning comes full of bright sunshine. Tee and I had a good nights sleep and now he was dancing in front of the door.

“Hang on buddy. Let me grab a shower first.”

I take a quick shower and dress. I put Tee in his leather bag and head downstairs. My thoughts are on the new case as Tee makes a few visits to nearby bushes. We found a nice small park near the hotel, deserted this time of the morning. Tee is enjoying some freedom from the hotel room. So am I.

While Tee is sniffing every bush and tree in the park, my mind is going over what I know about this case so far. Which is damn little. I need to talk to Tony’s daughter. I also need to have a look inside Tony’s house. If the cops weren’t looking at anything but suicide, there might be something of interest inside. I want to pay a visit to the club Tony was playing at too. Talk to a few people. See if they knew of anyone that had it in for Tony Baloney.

I pull out my phone and punch in Angela’s number. I need the daughters address.

“Hey, Angela.”

“Dee. I’m waiting for the cab so I can pick up my car. I should be there in about fifteen minutes.”

“Bring the number for Cynthia when you come. I want to pay her a visit today.”

“Here’s the cab. I got the number and her address for you. See you soon.”

I hang up thinking Angela sounds more like herself this morning. Efficient. I whistle for Tee and head back to the hotel.

I reach the hotel parking lot just as I see Angela get out of the cab. Tee and I are still on the other side of the parking lot when I spot a man walk up to Angela. Something didn’t feel right to me, even from here. I trust my gut feelings. I speed up to a quick walk, almost a jog, when I see the guy grab Angela’s arm. I hear their raised voices, his angry, her’s scared.

This jerk raises his other hand and slaps Angela. Just as I reach them I hear him say, “Leave things alone lady, or you’ll get hurt.”

There are two things I hate more than anything, one is a person abusing an animal, the other is a bully. This guy was a bully. You could see it in his lidded eyes and thin-lipped sneer.

“Hey, asshole! Get your hands off her!” I get his attention.

“Keep moving lady. This ain’t none of your business.” He still has a large hand grasped around Angela’s arm.

I move right up on them. I grab one finger of the hand that’s on Angela and pull back. Surprise I was taught is sometimes your biggest ally. The idiot yells as I pull that finger back some more.

“You bitch! I’ll kill ya!”

“Who are you working for?” I ask him because guys like this are never the brains. They are just dumb muscle.

“Fuck off!” He yells. Yeah, not very original.

“I would suggest that for yourself,” I tell him as I let him go. I knew he wouldn’t take his own advice.

He reaches behind his back and pulls out a gun.

“I hate guns,” I tell him as I kick him. I didn’t tell him I had a black belt in jujitsu. I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.

I step into him and hit his arm off to the side. I stomp his foot and having on my biker boots I know it hurts like hell. I know jujitsu, but I also fight dirty. If someone is going to draw a gun on me, they are going to get hurt. Better him than me. As I toss him over my shoulder and he hits the pavement I grab his throat. My thumb is on his jugular. I know it hurts. I’ve been on the receiving end of it in training.

This guy is out of shape. Lazy. If you are going to be muscle, at least have some. I put more pressure on his jugular.

“Lay still.” I tell him. He quiets down. His eyes are looking at me and they are telling me that I’m dead if he can figure out a way to do it. I’m not worried.

“You tell your boss to lay off Angela. You also tell him that I’ll be around for a while. I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’ll find out. You got that?”

He blinks a few times. I take that as a yes and let up. I grab his gun off the ground and stick it in the back of my jeans. I’ll get rid of it later. One less gun off the streets.

Dumb ass is gasping for breath as he gets up. He’s holding his sore throat. Drunkenly he lurches toward the back of the hotel. I’m thinking he has a car back there. I let him go. I want word to get to his boss. Because something is up and Angela has got her pretty blonde self smack in the middle of it.

I look at her. “What the hell did he want?”

She’s holding Tee and hiding her face in his fur. “Angela!”

She jerks her head up and looks at me. I see the red mark on her cheek from when Stupid slapped her but see no tears. I walk up to her.

“What is going on Angela? What did he want?”

“He asked me where the deed was.”

“What deed? To what?”

“The old Wenner estate. Tony and I bought it together a few months ago. It was up for auction for back taxes. It’s run down from decades of neglect, but it sits on some good acreage. We had plans to fix the mansion up into a small exclusive hotel, spa, and nightclub.”

“Doesn’t sound like something to kill over.”

As the words are coming out of my mouth, Angela gives me a strange look. “What aren’t you telling me?” I demand.

“There are rumors that old man Wenner, back in the twenties, hid some gold bullion somewhere on the estate. Tony and I didn’t believe it as people have been trespassing and looking for this gold for years and not finding a thing! Can that be what they want?”

An old estate. An eccentric old man. A gold bullion legend. A thug who talks and looks like a Mafia wannabe?

Add one possible murder and the attack on Angela. What have I got?

Oh, crap.

I always enjoy comments and/or constructive criticism. Or, you could just say hi! Thanks! 

Posted in Blog challenge, Fiction, postaday, Serial story, writing

2015 April A-Z Challenge ~~ The ABC’s of Death

I’m not going to list each preceding chapter every day. It would get much too long.  If you haven’t read previous chapters I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!

ABC'S of Death book cover (4)

 

Death is Deadpan

“Who was this Tony to you?” I ask a now calm Angela.

“He was my best friend. I could and did tell him everything and he would understand.” Angela was calm, but her tears were still flowing.

I got up and checked the small fridge in the room for some water. I grab two bottles and hand one to Angela. I open mine and find Tee something to drink out of and pour some for him. Then I sit down again and see Angela’s tears have dried up. Good. I never was good with crying females, they make me nervous.

“Were you guys lovers or something?”

“Oh God no! It was never anything like that! I loved Tony, but as a best friend.” She actually looks a bit put out by my question.

“Tony and I met several years ago when I walked into the club he was performing in. I was hell-bent on getting over my last breakup and the place looked like it would be fun.”

“So, he was a musician? Those were never your types in college Angela.”

I saw her smile. Now, she looked like the Angela I knew. “Oh, he wasn’t a musician, he was a stand-up comedian. His show was so funny, it made me forget my misery.  After his show was done he was having a drink at the bar and I went up and thanked him. We hit it off from the beginning and were best friends ever since.”

A stand-up comic? That was even less like the old Angela. In fact, there were bets placed back then that Angela didn’t have a sense of humor. I guess college pranks weren’t all that funny.

“So why would someone want a comedian dead?”

“I don’t know why anyone would want to kill Tony!”

The waterworks were looking like they were going to start again, so I ask another question hoping to head them off.

“Did he have any enemies that you knew of?”

Angela was looking a bit shaky, but no more tears at least. “He never told me about anyone that disliked him that much. I know he was having some problems with his daughter. Now she might have killed him! She’s not a nice person.”

Daughter? How old was this Tony? Did he have a wife too? Maybe one that didn’t like him having a pretty blonde woman as a best friend? All these thoughts are swirling in my head. What the hell am I getting myself into here? A crime of jealousy?

“Daughter? Did he have a wife too?”

Angela sat back in her chair like she was exhausted. She closed her eyes and answered my question.

“His wife died several years before I met him. Cancer. His daughter used Tony like an ATM machine. She only ever contacted him when she wanted more money. Like I said, she’s not nice.”

I grab my notebook from the nightstand and look around for a pen. Even the Hilton must have pens in their rooms. I find one, a nice silver one with the name Hilton discreetly etched on it. Classy. As long as it works.

“What’s the daughters name? I want to talk to her.”

Angela opened her eyes and looks over at me. “Cynthia. Cynthia Bandoni. I have her number at my office. I’ll get it for you later.”

I write the name down. “Thanks.”

“Bandoni, Tony’s last name too?”

“Yes, Cynthia never found a man who could afford her, yet.”

I smile. Certainly no love lost there. “Can you get me into Tony’s place? Is that where he was supposed to have killed himself?”

I try to ask these questions as gently as I can. I don’t want to set Angela off again. They were questions that had to be asked though. There were going to be more too. I give an inner laugh. I guess that means I’m accepting the case. Hell, it’s got my curiosity revved up. I have dozens of questions I want to ask but I better stifle myself for now, or at least till Angela is more herself.

One more question I have to ask, then I’ll send Angela home to rest. It was getting late and I was hungry and tired.

“Angela, how old was Tony?”

She smiles, her eyes on me. “Seventy-three. He was the youngest seventy-three-year-old man I ever knew. He would have liked you Dee.”

Seventy-three? Crap.

I walk Angela down the hallway to the bank of elevators. Making her promise to call a cab and not try to drive in her exhausted condition. She agrees. Just as the elevator doors are closing she smiles.

“Dee? Did I tell you what Tony’s stage name was? It was a play on his real name. Tony Baloney. He was a funny guy.”

I had to laugh.

 

 

I always enjoy comments and/or constructive criticism. Or, you could just say hi! Thanks!