CUNNING Chapter Two: He Strikes Again

DISCLAIMER: This story was written and published in 2012 and has been kept up to show the writer’s growth. It is not intended as professional quality

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I would learn about the killer’s next move some time after the case was finished….he had confessed to everything.

Vito Lombardi was one of the richest men in Chicago. He was a Captain in the Lombardi Crime Family, serving only under his Father, Bruno Lombardi. Vito was next in line for head of the family…a position he highly anticipated.

It was one twenty-three in the morning when the killer struck. He walked up the front lawn at this ungodly hour. It was silent save for the sharp chirping of crickets. The killer felt the dew on his shoes slip through onto his skin. He finally approached Vito’s front porch. A butler answered the door and a few quiet words were exchanged. Soon after the killer balled his hand into a fist and thrust it into the butler’s stomach. He withdrew a Glock from his leather jacket and rammed it against the Butler’s head. The mansion had a huge front room with a spiral staircase off the right. He took cover behind it swiftly and fired a shot to attract attention. He smiled wickedly to himself. He had planned it perfectly. All the men he wanted were in the mansion…all he had to do was pull the trigger. A loud bang was heard attracting two men to the front door towards the unconscious butler.

“Jeeze, what happened to him?” one of them asked, his Bronx accent thickening the words.

“Someone’s broken in…” his voice trailed off as a circle of red widened underneath his white buttoned down shirt. He tore it apart to find a bullet hole. “Oh damn.” he muttered, and he collapsed to the floor limply.

The man’s comrade withdrew his gun and turned around, shouting, “WHO’S THERE?” into the large mansion. With the twitch of a finger a bullet spiraled through the air and sliced through the man, who staggered backwards and crashed to the floor. A pool of blood widened underneath him.

Meanwhile, Vito was filled with rage. “SOMEONE FIND OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING DOWN THERE!” he roared with lion-like fury. “SOMEONE’S DOWN THERE! TAKE HIM OUT!” Vito turned bowed his head and wiped his brow with a handkerchief. His three hundred pound figure shook with fear. He was an old man of fifty three; too old to fight for himself. Instead his seven bodyguards rushed down the steps.

The killer smiled to himself when he heard Vito’s fear. He had bugged the room long ago for his own satisfaction. His lips curled up into a sinister smile when he heard the sound of the bodyguards rushing down the steps. He had timed it perfectly. The explosives were ready.

With the press of a button half the wall flew outward, taking most of the bodyguards with them. One was set ablaze and other soared through the air. Midst the confusion he fired three more shots to take out the remaining bodyguards.

With a mighty kick the Vito’s door flung off it’s hinges. Smoke from the explosion billowed into the room and the acrid smell of gunpowder filled the air. Two of Vito’s bodyguards withdrew guns. Not fast enough, however, as they were both shot before they could fire.

“YOU!” Vito cried. “I KNOW YOU!”

The killer pressed forward slowly. Vito backed away and the killer paced forward. “Yes you do,” he hissed, “but I know you never thought I’d be capable of this.”

At that point during the confession, he admitted that a certain part of that night was a blur. He was blinded by rage enough so that what happened next was a blur….the next thing the killer remembered was Vito waking up strapped to a chair. The fireplace crackled and danced providing the only light in the room. The killer sat on the other end of the room with a pen and notepad.

“What’s going on…?” Vito slurred, half asleep.

The killer looked down at his notepad and jotted down notes. He looked up and coolly asked him “Tell me about your first killing.” his eyes were like ice.

“I ain’t answering nothing…” he slurred.

The killer’s eye twitched. He began to noticeably shake. In one fluid motion he stood up and gripped a prong form the fireplace against Vito’s forehead. A hissing of the burning was drowned out by Vito’s cry of agony. The killer leaned in close and shouted at him. “I TOLD YOU…TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST KILLING!”

As it turns out, Vito first killed a rat to the Lombardi family at the tender age of sixteen. He had done everything from petty Larsen to the killing of a family….and the killer took notes on everything. When he finished his interrogation he put a chunk of lead through Vito’s brain.

The killer calmly paced out of the house making no noise…with the exception of a final gunshot to the Butler’s head

CUNNING Chapter One: Business as Usual

DISCLAIMER: This story was written and published in 2012 and has been kept up to show the writer’s growth. It is not intended as professional quality

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It was eleven thirty at night when I returned to the hotel. My rain-soaked trenchcoat clung to my body, and every inch of exposed skin was freezing. The hotel offered little warmth, but it would have to do. Ice cold water filled my shoes and tapped the ground from my coat like a faucet drip. I took a quick sip of my coffee to try and warm up. It didn’t help.

I surveyed the place quickly. The hotel stank of cheap wine and aftershave. The lobby was highly decorated with pricy leather furniture. Painting of all sorts adorned the wall, including one of the building’s founder over the fireplace. The walls alone seemed to be worth their weight in gold. This place was for the wealthy and I wasn’t invited.

Off to the left side stood a maid being questioned by two cops. A translator stood next to one of them. My guess would be she didn’t speak any English. The stairway off to the right was plastered with red tape.

As if in cue, my partner Brock hustled down the steps. He was younger than me, but then again, most people I come across are. He wasn’t quite a rookie, but he hadn’t had his big break. He didn’t know how tough this business could be…yet.

He was shorter than me, yet in much better physical condition. And again, most people are. Brock approached me and offered a firm handshake.

“What do we got?” I asked in my usual stern voice.

“A…dead body, sir.” he told me in a puzzled tone.

“I know that.” I rolled my eyes and told him to walk with me. We made our way past the red tape to the hotel room. I took another sip of the coffee. Its temperature had dropped already. “We got any identification yet?” I asked.

“No…” he told me, his voice trailing off.

“Evidence?” I asked lightning quick. I didn’t have time to beat around the bush.

“We found a pad of paper and a pen. Blood stain on the paper.” Brock’s voice was almost robotic. He had been trained well but he wasn’t invested in what he was doing.

Gradually we approached the room. “Blood stain on the paper.” he continued to report, “I sent it to forensics for DNA analysis.”

“Anything on the paper?” I asked. We traded questions. Just business as usual.

“A list of crimes the dead man committed, sir…at least nine murders.”

When we finally arrived my hand reached for the door- but it froze at Brock’s words.

“Wait!” he warned, his voice full of alarm, “I have to warn you. It’s pretty disturbing.”

I shot him a look as if to say ‘are you kidding me?’ and proceeded to open the door. “Growing up on the streets gives you your fair share of horrors. I’m sure I can handle…” my voice tailed off at the sight, “this….”

On the ground lay an African American, his face swollen twice it’s usual size with purple bruises. His body was twisted and mangled. His right foot nearly touched his head. His right index finger was missing. Limbs were bent in several places. I counted at least fourteen fractures. Deep cuts adorned his body and held blood like a series of cups. A pool of crimson had seeped onto the hardwood floor. At least three vital organs could be seen. I struggled to keep my dinner in my belly.

Brock crouched over the body and examined it with catlike curiosity. He pulled out a few tools and began a rough autopsy. “A bullet through the brain, the heart, and the spine.” he noted. “Don’t see why whoever did this went to the trouble after all this—”

“It’s a message.” I cut him off. He turned his gaze over to me, still in his crouching position. He tilted his head slightly to the side. “What?”

“It’s a message. He’s saying this guy is a cowardly, heartless idiot.”

Brock let out a small chuckle and continued his autopsy.”You think he was a Wizard of Oz fan?”

My eyes dug into his soul with a mind numbing stare. He shut up quick and went back to his work again.

I had seen enough. Just looking at the body washed away whatever cold I had before. My stomach felt like it had a weight in it that kept churning. I pivoted backwards and made my way to the door. Just when I took a step forward I heard the sound of loafers against a hard wood floor. A familiar voice sounded. “His name is Louie Russo.” he said. “He was a hired killer for the Lombardi Crime family…or was.” he let out a small cough. In the doorway stood Commissioner Mason. He soon invited himself in and paced around the room. “Whoever did this hated him.” Obviously. “I mean, they could have shot him and been done with it.” He cast a sorrowful glance over at the body. By now the pool of blood surrounding him had dried into a thick paste. “Instead they took the time to do this.”

“But he deserved it.” Brock chimed in. “Didn’t…he?” he said, less sure of himself. “I mean…he killed others in the past…he had this coming, right?”

When he spoke my blood began to boil and my skin crawled. My eyes lit up with anger. I let out a long sigh to try and contain myself. “Murder is murder, kid. It doesn’t matter who did it or who the victim is.”

Mason slapped me on the back and smiled warmly while he made his way around me. “Always stoic, aren’t you, Jack?” he made his way for the door and made a final remark on his way out. “Since you and your partner seem so heavily invested in this case…I’d like to assign it to you.” With a bang the door slammed shut.

I buried my face in my hands. “Christ…” I muttered. Without looking I made a quick motion to Brock, “Go fetch me another coffee, kid…it’s going to be a long night.”

I cracked my knuckles loudly. Just business as usual…

*** *** ***

I walked briskly outside, my trenchcoat wrapped tightly around me for warmth. The rain whipped in my face and stung my eye. It was a long night for investigations. I had to get to my car and I could barely see! I felt a slight bump as I passed by to see a lean skinny man walking past me. His press pass fluttered in the cool breeze. “WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING, PAL!” I shouted to him.

“SAME TO YOU, BUDDY!” he shouted with a bitter tone in his voice. He jammed his hands into his pocket and started towards the hotel. Boy was he in for a surprise.

I fumbled with my keys for a good half a minute before managing to unlock my car. First thing I did was turn on the heat and press my hands against the A.C. I knew I had to get out of Chicago. It was going to be the death of me.

Waiting

DISCLAIMER: This story was written and published in 2012 and has been kept up to show the writer’s growth. It is not intended as professional quality

This story is for my Grandfather Boppa, who died of Cancer

(NOTE, THIS STORY MAY BE SAD TO SOME OF YOU. READ AHEAD AT YOUR OWN RISK)

The waiting room was filled to the brim with new patients. It was a busy day. The case was especially true for Richard Mason. He stared at his reflection in a window. Rain gave an appearance of nighttime outside, when in actuality it was more around ten thirty.

Mason was fifty six years old. He and his wife had been married thirty one years. Their children were all grown up and one had even had two kids, both girls. One was three and the other was just a year old.

Mason had gone in for a routine checkup at the doctor’s office a few weeks ago.

He was shocked to discover he might have cancer….

So he waited. He figured it was funny what one picked up when they’re anxious for something. He noticed the phone at the reception desk ring three times before being picked up. A woman with a thick accent answered it. The sound of a drawer being opened was caught be his ears and he noticed a woman filing away patient’s papers.

He heard an all too familiar cry of a little girl going to get her shot. A sound many parent’s go through at one point.

His mind moved on to when he had to sit through that experience. He fought back tears thinking about how he wouldn’t be able to do that with his grandchildren should the tests come up positive.

A mountain of tears flowed down his cheeks when he reminded himself his grandchildren probably wouldn’t even remember him. He buried his face in his hands. Mason had never been much of a religious man, yet he found himself praying to God. He laughed at the notion that even the least religious people could look to God for comfort in a time like this.

Again he picked up a familiar sound that drove him deeper into madness. The laughter of a child as a Mother read her a children’s book in. The familiar scent of a fresh book; the crisp turning of pages…His mind again wandered off. Despite his depression, he thought it funny where his mind would go during a time like this. He picked up every detail in the waiting room.

He noticed the fluent tap of a pencil, the pitter patter of rain on the windowpane, the sip of a man drinking his morning coffee, the click of the doctor’s door opening.

The door! He prayed it was for him. He rocketed out of his chair just in case.

The doctor looked down at his clipboard then back up again. “Richard Mason.” He called out robotically.

Mason made his way over to the doctor.

The two seemed to stare at each other for an eternity, neither wanting an answer to the question.

“I’m sorry.” The doctor croaked out at last.

Mason turned his head away swiftly. “I want to cry…but these old eyes, they won’t let me. Mason found a catch in his throat. “How long do I have?”

The doctor stared down at his clipboard, seemingly shameful. “At most a year…” With that, he made his way out.

There was a long moment of silence. Mason had tuned everything out. He walked outside to his car. The rain spilled down on him and drenched him. He felt God was mocking him. As he started up his car he gave the matter a final thought.

“If I’m going to die soon,” he told himself, “I’ll be damned if I don’t make the last of my time count.”

When he was a mile away from his home, he noticed the sun coming out. He looked up into the sky to see the rain letting up. “Make it count.” He whispered.

The Goblin Hunter

DISCLAIMER: This story was written and published in 2012 and has been kept up to show the writer’s growth. It is not intended as professional quality

It was the most important event in Miguel Madison’s life….finally some of the most famous historians had agreed to meet with him to discuss groundbreaking evidence of a lost era of history.

One by one they filed in. All of them dressed in business suits. The smell of fresh newspaper filled the air. A long moment of silence ensued. The tapping of a pencil was heard and long sighs filled the room for a while. After a few moments of silence one of the historians stood up and cleared his throat.

“Mr. Madison….you may start now.”

Madison ran his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “Yes, yes.” He stammered and he clambered for a chunk of bone he had dug up. Dirt caked the bone, and Madison held it gently. He held the bone out to the crowd as if to offer it to them.

“Does anybody recognize this part of the body?”

Another long moment of silence ensued. Coughs were heard and finally Madison spoke again.

“It is my theory,” he mumbled, “that this bone belongs to an undiscovered creature. The date of the bone however is unknown.” He paused for a moment to turn his attention to a chart. “The bone seems to be part of a period of the Dark Ages unknown to us…”

“Get to the point.” An old historian grumbled, obviously angry.

“The point is there is a period of time unknown to us…it is my belief that this bone came from a creature of legend….a goblin.”

Snickers cracked the silence of the room. Finally and old and decrepit old man stood. “You expect us to believe,” he stated firmly, “that you think a fairy tale creature existed at one point in time without any record.”

Miguel bowed his head, “it’s not a theory.” He mumbled.

“Bullshit!” Another cut him off. “you waste our time with this shit?” he cursed.

“Wait!” Miguel pleaded, “please I have a hypothesis that can back up my—.”

Yet the historians paid no heed. They filed out one by one. Grumbles of anger and wasted time were heard. Finally Miguel Madison found himself alone in the huge empty room. The ensuing silence was maddening. Alone with his thoughts, Miguel Madison could do nothing but reflect….reflect back to the important date of 1315.

The wind howled like a monster in the night. Rain pattered down carefully upon the faces of King Arthur, Merlin and the fabled Goblin Hunter. Lightning cracked in the sky providing the trio with momentary light. Thunder roared overhead drowning out many noises.

King Arthur turned to the Goblin Hunter. “You expect me to believe,” he stated firmly, “that there are Goblins in my kingdom.”

“Yes.” The Goblin Hunter stated angrily. “I’ve told you that six times now.”

Arthur let out a chuckle. “Such talk is madness. Goblins are a thing of legend. They do not exist!”

Merlin stepped in and grabbed Arthur’s hand, “My Lord,” he stated, “You must believe him.”

Arthur jerked his hand away angrily. “Don’t tell me you’ve fallen into this madness as well! Has the greatest sorcerer had a spell cast upon him?”

“It’s the truth!” The Goblin hunter objected. “The Goblin King is on his way! Camelot will fall soon.”

Arthur paid no heed to the warnings. He simply marched back in the direction of his castle. “Nonsense.” He muttered. Rain dripped down off his helmet. “Camelot cannot fall.”

At last Merlin turned to The Goblin Hunter. “Apparently I did not gift you with any persuasive ability.”

The Goblin Hunter turned away, ashamed. “I just wish I could convince him….” His voice trailed off.

Merlin rested a gentle hand on The Goblin Hunter’s shoulder. “My Goblin Hunter,” he gently told him, “if Camelot is to fall…so be it. You have eternity to convince the humans of the impending danger…I trust you shall do so.”

All at once, Miguel snapped back to reality. Apparently in his daydreaming he had wandered off to his car. He slammed the car door shut behind him. He paused for a moment to reflect. “Merlin, oh Merlin.” He said to himself, “Where are you now that I most need you.”

Miguel tried to start the car but to his own surprise the engine stalled. Miguel heard a knock on his window. Miguel cast a apprehensive glance to his broadsword on the seat next to him. Stealthily he clutched the hilt. He slowly rolled down the window to see a strangely garbed man in linen. When he spoke his voice was that of oil mixed with gravel. “The King sends his regards….Goblin Hunter.” The voice hissed.

In one fluid motion the creature lashed out! He reached through the window throwing his large hands around The Goblin Hunter’s throat. His skin was that of cracked granite. “Your days are numbered.” The creature warned. “The Invasion is coming.”

Miguel slid the hilt of the sword out from its sheath. In one fluid motion he thrust his broadsword forward penetrating the creature’s stomach. It shriveled away in pain giving Miguel enough time to take the offensive. He leapt from his car and gave a mighty swing of his sword. “AWAY WITH THEE, GOBLIN!” he cried. The Goblin backed away with surprising swiftness for one his size. In a fluid motion he clutched a sword of his own and raised it to parry The Goblin Hunter’s block. Memories stirred. His life as a boy began to come to mind.

The house had been ransacked for reasons unknown. His Mother stood in a pile of blood, her face unrecognizable. The ten year old future Goblin Hunter stared with soft warm blue eyes.

The magician Merlin approached him from behind. “I feel sympathy for you.” He stated. “I have gone through similar ordeals.”

The young boy turned to Merlin. “Can you make them pay?”

Merlin let out a small chuckle. “My dear boy, I can’t make them pay…but I can aid you in your quest to do so.”

Tears swelled up in the young boy’s eyes. “Then do so.”

In a swirl of light a fine mist began to sliver into the room. “One million lives.” Merlin stated, gesturing with his hands. “The strength of ten. The intelligence of Kings….” Words were chanted unknown to any language, and the boy found himself transformed—.”

A sharp pain in the Goblin Hunter’s shoulder pushed him back to reality. The Goblin twisted his sword in his shoulder causing the Goblin Hunter to fall to his knees. A barrel role saved him from beheading and a swift gesture blocked another strike by the vile creature. Steel scraped against steal when the swords withdrew. A loud clang was heard as another stabbing attempt was parried. On and on it continued. The Goblin Hunter finally realized he could not out fight the creature. Instead he opted for something more subtle.

A quick sidestep sent the Goblin farther than intended. Off balance The Goblin Hunter sent his blade above the creature’s eyes, blinding him. With another swift combination of movements the Goblin had fallen to the floor.

The Goblin Hunter spat in the face of his foe. “Scum!” he cried. He lunged his sword into his opponent’s heart. Green blood oozed from beneath the Goblins’ traditional battle garb. The same blood filled his mouth and he let out a cough. “No one….” He slurred, “no one will believe you…It has been….ten thousand years…still you are shunned….the Invasion…will…come…” his voice trailed off and he stopped breathing. Slowly but surely the Goblin crumbled to dust.

The Goblin Hunter stood silent with the remains of his prey. His brow furrowed and he looked upon the remnants of his enemy. Determination filled his voice. “They will believe me…they will believe me…” he repeated the words over and over. “…eventually….after all….I have an eternity, don’t I?”

The Secret of the City of Gold

DISCLAIMER: This story was written and published in 2012 and has been kept up to show the writer’s growth. It is not intended as professional quality

The Secret of El Dorado

From the Journal of Gonzales:

Day fifteen.

Cortez sent us out little more than two weeks ago to scour the area. I was assigned to lead his troops in the expedition. So far nothing dangerous has been encountered. It is safe to assume that we will encounter no dangers in this foreign land.

If my estimates are correct, we’re about twenty miles inland from Cortez and the rest of the troops. After two weeks of marching I’ve finally ordered my troops to take a rest for a few days.

Day Sixteen.

I shall never forget last night. All the troops were sitting round the campfire. The smoke billowed up through the air as the fired danced about with its flickering flame. We ate heartily that night. A well cooked fireplace meal was exactly what the troops needed to keep their spirits up. We took turns talking one by one. My number one (a commander named Ramos) stood up at his turn to speak and all was silent for a moment. He gathered his thoughts and finally uttered the words “Any of you know what I’m looking forward to most?”

There was a long moment of silence. Tension filled the air. Finally he answered: “I can’t wait to round up these sub humans and ship ‘em off to Spain.” He took a moment to bend over, resting his elbows on his thighs. “You know what’s better? He asked. “WE’LL BE RICH!” He let out a loud cackle clapping his hands together. All at once he lost his balance and toppled over, much to the amusement of the rest of the troops. Something told me he had a bit too much rum that night.

The trouble started after we went to bed.

I had heard rustling through the trees and bushes. I had convinced myself it was just a bunch of animals. A sharp cry of pain convinced me otherwise.

I let out a loud bellow, summoning my troops to arms. “THE NATIVES HAVE FOUND US! THE NATIVES HAVE FOUND US!” They were dressed in little to no clothing. Most carried bows with a quiver strapped to their thighs. Others carried flat edged swords. Almost immediately after I had left the tent a native was on top of me. He bowled me over with a mighty lunge. I felt the air sucked out of my chest. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t fight. He spoke in a language I couldn’t understand. His flat edged sword was raised high above his head, when all of a sudden a blade pierced his chest. His body went limp as it slumped to the ground. From behind him stood one of my best fighters, Santiago. He helped me up and we stood back to back.

The natives attacked with styles unknown to us. They knew the terrain and damn it if they didn’t use it to their advantage. They covered behind trees, bushes, or whatever else was handy. Their arrows darted through the air with ease. I watched in horror as my troops were murdered around me. One by one they picked us off. They struck with deadly accuracy.

Me, Santiago and Ramos were the only ones to escape.

Day Twenty.

Four days…four days without food. Santiago has been complaining like a madman. We trek endlessly in search of food, with nothing but each other for company. The sun shines down baking us alive in our armor. Still we move on, undaunted by the perils we face. Four days without a native attack and I hope to never encounter another one.

“Damn those creatures to hell!” Santiago found himself saying every night. “We’re the superior race! We deserve the riches!” He knew nobody was listening. He didn’t care. “We found the place!” he proclaimed. “We deserve the spoils!” He tossed branches through the air in rage. “Who do those animals think they are trying to kill us?” “I mean what do they—?”

“Enough,” Ramos whispered. Santiago was obviously upset by this. He made his way over to Ramos and crouched over to wear he sat. Santiago was dangerously close to him. His anger combined with the lack of food and the heat was a recipe for disaster. Anything could happen.

“What did you say to me?” Santiago hissed.

Ramos reaches into his pocket and withdrew a piece of parchment. From where I stood I saw nothing of what was written. Once Santiago saw the map he scurried over to take a look. His eyes filled with wonder and lust. “Where did you get this?” he marveled. His eyes turned from the embodiment of rage to soft and comforting.

From the change in Santiago’s mood I knew I had to take a look at it. I snatched the map from his hands and had a look for myself.

“Our luck hasn’t run out after all gentlemen.” Ramos said cheerfully. “I picked this off of one of the dead natives.” A bright grin gleamed on his face as he stood up to pat me on the back. “I’m sure you men have heard of the City of Gold.”

“El Dorado.” I muttered.

Day Twenty Five.

It had taken us a while; however we had finally found the city of gold.

We had walked for five days following the map. Finally we found a bright clearing in the woods.

Ramos was the first to see the bright light. He withdrew his rapier and with a clean swing cut across the vines blocking the path. One by one the three of us peered into the city.

Pure Gold. The entire city was made of pure gold.

The water sparkled with life and light. The buildings gleamed and glistened when the sun shone over it. Every object in the city was gold. Cortez had encountered natives telling him about such a place…I was hesitant to believe him…but I’ll be damned.

“We’ll be rich.” I whispered to myself. My voice was filled with the shock of such a marvelous sight.

“Right you are, my friend.” Ramos whispered back. “All we need to do is kill these savages…”

“….and we steal the gold and make our way back to Spain.” Santiago finished.

All at once we heard a click behind us. We turned around slowly to find a native with some sort of weapon. It gleamed silver with a black handle. It resembled a gun only more…advanced.

“No one intrudes on the city of gold.” The man said in a thick accent. I saw him go for the trigger and without hesitation I withdrew my gun and shot him dead.

“IDIOT!” Santiago shouted.

I had realized my mistake too little too late. The shot cracked through the air, alerting the natives to our presence.

I saw a native dart across a platform and press a red button. A siren wailed from out of nowhere.

Chaos ensued.

Technology beyond that which we could comprehend was after us. Flying ships hunted us through the thick jungle as we scrambled to get to safety. Bursts of fire flew out of the machines lighting the forest ablaze. Guns more advanced than ours sounded through the forest. Bullets ripped through the jungle with rapid fire. Flying carriages flew all around us.

We were lucky to get to safety…all we had now was luck.

Day Thirty One.

We’ve been on the move for six days straight. We can rest in one place no longer than twelve hours at a time. It’s useless to fight them. All we can do is run.

I awoke tonight to hear a terrible scream. I knew the voice all too well. Ramos had gone insane. By the time Santiago and I found him he was inside The City of Gold shooting whomever he could lay his hands upon. His rapier sliced through his victims with no mercy.

“IF I DIE,” he cried into the night, “YOU ALL GO WITH ME!” Three more cracks were heard and three more natives fell to the ground. His sword cut through flesh and sliced stomachs. Santiago and I watched from afar. A native sneaked up behind him as he thrust his rapier through a native’s chest. “YOU ANIMALS!” he cried to the heavens. “YOU THINK YOUR HUMAN? THINK AGAIN! YOU HAVE NO CIVILAZATION! YOU’RE ALL SAVAGES!”

Savages. The word echoed in my mind. Which one of us were the savages? They were only trying to protect their homeland. We were the ones who invaded looking for riches….who is at fault?

My questioning was cut short and soon blinded by anger as a native blasted Ramos in the back. All at once light seemed to fill his veins and in one great flash of light he disappeared.

Santiago let out a great cy of “NO” and charged into the city of gold to fight for his  fallen comrade.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I cried to him.

“THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE!” he cried out to me, “GO DOWN FIGHTING GONZALES!”

At that point I saw another native with a weapons poised to fire at Santiago, who was brutally murdering the natives.

“LOOK OUT!” I cried to him. Yet my warning came too late. His veins filled with light and in another flash he soon disappeared as well. I soon began to wonder how these natives managed to create such technology so far advanced than the civilized world.

A blow to the back of the head interrupted my thoughts.

As I awoke I found myself strapped to a slab of rock…My head felt like it had been put in an oven, ready to burst at any time. I tried in vain to move. My body wouldn’t let me.

All at once a man I presumed to be the tribal chief stood over me. He spoke in language I couldn’t understand…and yet this time…I had a feeling we were somehow connected…his words were mine…and mine were his.

“The fools,” he says, “thought they could steal from the city of gold…they thought they could steal our secret…they do not know that nobody may know our secret…for anyone that knows has power…anyone who has power is corrupted….the world would plunge into darkness.”

As he spoke gestures were made as if part of some ancient ritual. The other natives cheered and hollered at his words.

“Let the Gods decide his fate.” The chief said, and a great cheer fell through the crowd. Their gaze turned upward and I did with them. A hovering disk floated above the city. A beam of light shot down and some….thing descended down. It had a swampy green color. It was naked with clubbed feet with two toes. It walked slowly towards me, almost taking pleasure in my terror. It had three fingers, and bright blue veins littered its body. It’s head was elongated and swelled up like some sort of balloon. Whatever it was…it was not a god.

Soon it hovered over me. It smiled a welcoming smile, yet I was not comforted. It spoke no words, it simply touched my forehead. All at once everything became clear.

It was from another planet. Its ancestors had visited the city of gold and helped them to build. Since it was isolated the aliens thought it was the perfect place to test their technology in the hands of another race…what they did to my friends was done to guard the secret…yet he assured me they were not dead.

He told me that the city of gold would be leaving the planet soon. He told me not to worry. I was told I would be seeing my comrades very soon. I felt my veins fill with light and in a flash I found myself gone.

Epilogue—Present Day:

The beaches of Florida held countless delights for children. Thomas and his Mother visited the beach every day. This day however Thomas found something peaking out of the sand. Curious, Thomas dug it up to find it was some sort of book. He read the title aloud in a sweet innocent voice.

“The Journal of Gonzales.”

In a flash of light three men appeared on the shore of the beach! All of them of Hispanic descent. They all were dressed in ancient armor with blood stains on them. They were weary and tired. The three marched upwards along the beach. As they passed by one of them snatched the book from Thomas’ hand. “That’s mine.” He stated as he continued to walk. He held the journal underneath his arm and repeated himself.

“That’s mine.”

The Cold Case

DISCLAIMER: This story was written and published in 2012 and has been kept up to show the writer’s growth. It is not intended as professional quality

Jack Monroe had been on the force for years. He had the look of a weary man who had recently put on weight. Despite this he was strong as ever and had an temper to match. He ran his fingers through his sandy brown hair as he looked down to inspect the dead body. Jack had seen his fair share of death. Quite frankly, this one topped them all.

“Black man murdered in his own home.” Jack muttered to himself while he bent down to inspect the body. He pulled his pipe from his mouth and let a puff of smoke. Jack’s rough hands glided over the man’s skin. Meticulously, Jack inspected each bump and bruise along the corpse.

As he inspected the body, several other police men did their best to keep the media outlets at bay. Cameras flashed rapidly and reporters crowded to ask questions as an oncoming onslaught.

Jack had learned to tune out the buzzing of the media. He had worked on the force as a P.I for well over a decade. The body that lay before him outdid anything he had seen.

The face was badly bruised, both eyes swollen shut. His face was bloated and completely unrecognizable. Not even his own Mother would recognize the poor soul. Blood sat on his face mockingly. A tattoo adorned his ribcage. That of a beautiful spider’s web. Jack noted it as familiar. A swastika had been carved onto the man’s forehead; yet the amount of blood gushing from the wound proved that it was done post mortem.

Jack immediately ruled out a white supremacy movement. No leads pointed down that road. The initial wound was a pocket knife through the man’s back. He had lost consciousness almost immediately. Searches for DNA under his fingernails came up dry, hammering home the point that the man did not struggle. His death was a quick cut and run. Cuts were askew across his chest in an almost mocking manner. Again he repeated to himself that it couldn’t be a white supremacy movement. Those killers wanted their victims to suffer. Whomever killed this man wanted to kill him and be done with it.

“Had to be to throw us off.” He muttered under his breath.

Jack took another puff of smoke from his pipe and let out a long sigh. Within a few extra minutes the rough autopsy was over and he made his exit.

Upon his way out an officer grabbed his arm and pulled him close. “What did you find?” he whispered into Jack’s ear.

“Nothing.” Jack stated simply, “Nothing at all.”

The officer fumbled for words, and all out once he let out “What do you mean?”

Jack shot the man an annoyed look and raised one eyebrow. “Did I stutter?” With that, Jack took his leave, pushing past the rabid reporters angrily. One cameraman began to move towards him. Jack grabbed the camera and shoved it back.

“No comment.” He gritted through his teeth.

Days dragged into weeks, which dragged into months. Bodies popped up day by day; all of them killed by the same method. The months dragged into years and still the bodies appeared. Supremacy was ruled out after a few months when non-minorities began to pop up with the same killing method.

With any other detective the case would have ran cold. Not Jack. Jack knew the loss of their families and identified with them. After all, he had lost family as well. His wife and beautiful baby daughter…both killed in a petty attempt at revenge scheme. Jack had fought the killer with every ounce in him, yet in the end he managed to get away. Jack had been bitter ever since. Jack knew loss like no other on the force.

The pitter patter of rain gently drummed against his umbrella as he paced through the slums of the city. He was close the cracking the case. He could feel it. He just needed to be in the right place at the right time. His thoughts drifted off from the killing to his family, to the happy times he had spent with them. He fought back the memories. Memories were a poison to him. Memories made him freeze up and second guess himself.

A loud bang pierced the silence of the night; a sound which was soon followed by a cry for help. Jack’s pace quickened into a sprint. He grew closer and the cries grew ever louder until within minutes he saw the man and the assailant.  The assailant had soft green eyes and a skinny frame, about one hundred thirty pounds, red hair. He was lean yet wiry and his eyes lit up with delight from the cries of help from the victim.

Jack arrived just as another loud bang was heard and the victim slumped to the ground. Blood filled a puddle of murky water.

“HEY! YOU!” Jack cried. It was then he went to reach for his gun only to find that he had forgotten to bring it with him. He cursed under his breath at his own stupidity. Upon instinct, Jack dove to the ground a split second before a shot rang out. He knew he only had one chance to disarm the assailant. He had to make it count.

In one fluid motion he threw himself from behind a brick wall and launched his pipe at the murderer. Burning ashes scattered onto the killer’s hand, causing him to drop his weapon. “Ah!” the murderer cried, “Stings like a bitch!” he winced.

Jack gave him no time to recover. He clutched his umbrella and threw it towards the killer with a heavy lunge.

The man’s head snapped back into a brick wall and he let out a cry of pain.

Jack knew better than to let up. He had to put this prick behind bars by any means necessary. Jack’s hand balled up into a fist and brought it to his stomach. A year’s worth of rage flew through his fists. “NOT SO TOUGH WITHOUT YOUR GUN ARE YOU?” He shouted into the night.

The killer said nothing and simply took the beating.

Jack’s hands stained with blood and still he did not let up. Within a few more minutes he had his hands around the killer’s throat.

Jack let out a deep throaty growl. “Why?” he howled.

The murderer coughed up blood. “You-you didn’t do your homework did you?” he whimpered. The killer let out a long groan and a small cough then continued. “I’ve been killing them…for a reason…”

Jack’s grip tightened around the murderer’s throat. “Why?” he repeated.

“The first body you inspected….did you not remember him?”

Jack’s expression turned from anger to sorrow once he had realized his mistake. His grip loosened. “His face was unrecognizable…but his frame…”

“Don’t forget the tattoo.” the assailant mumbled. “It looked familiar didn’t it?” He looked up at Jack with acceptance. “I can see you remember…he killed your wife and kids, Jack.”

Jack broke down in tears. He slid down the side of the brick wall and he cupped his face in his hands.  “What have I done?” Jack mumbled. “WHY DID YOU DO THIS?!” He cried out into the night. A thunderous clap from the rain answered him. He pointed the corpse on the ground. “And him?” Jack whimpered.

The man smiled “He was a mobster…untouchable.”

Jack looked up at the killer. “Is that what you do…?”

“Yes, Jack.” The assailant whispered. “I take the law into my own hands. All my victims are killers who have escaped the law or are untouchable….I serve justice where nobody else can.”

“Go.” Jack said between despaired tears. “Go now before I change my mind and lock you up.”

It was on that day, that Jack Monroe’s year long case….

….finally went cold.