Friends With Shadows – Chapter 14

Writer’s Note: Happy Thursday! It’s my Friday! I hope you’re ready to enjoy some delicious story-telling! We’re on to Chapter 14, and we’re going to start seeing more of the overall plot develop! Booyah! Follow me on this experiment and read the book before it’s published! C’mon you hipsters – read something cool before it’s cool! Enjoy todays Chapter 14 rough draft! Almost done with the work week! Enjoy!

Chapter 14

When I stepped through the door, I expected my life to change. I expected to have an epiphany. I expected to feel different. The bright light accentuated all of these new feelings. The bright light was an old halogen light stand illuminating the hallway. Instead of a new perspective, I was greeted by a girl in her early twenties with hair pulled back very tight. She appears to have had a hell of a day, judging by the perky yet exhausted demeanor and frizzy fly away hairs that escaped the rubber band holding her hair back.

“Oh goodness, you’re awake!” Her voice sounded like she was trying to maintain a jovial tone despite the contrary. She grabbed ahold of my shoulders and shook them, giving me the type of examination a school nurse with no bedside manners would deliver. She completed her examination, “Looks good! Ok, Cherie is waiting for you two floors up whenever you’re ready.”

“Where am I? What happened? What’s your name?” I rapid fired the questions.

“Just relax. I’m sure Cherie can answer your questions,” she turned back down the hallway and paused, “Oh, but my name is Laney. Nice to meet you, er, what’s your name?”

“I’m – ”

Laney held her hand up to me, placed another hand on her ear, “Hold on. Yes. Yes. I’m on my way,” She looked back to me, “Sorry, I’ve gotta go. I’ll catch up with you later to make sure you’re still doing well. Bye!” And with that this wearied but energetic Laney disappeared beyond the halogen light.

As for me, I turned and held my hand up to block the bright light, looking for a sign for stairs or an elevator. An arrow pointing toward the stairs gave me direction. Two floors up, I see a more active level than the one I had just left. Several people were zipping down the hall. I slide in behind a taller gentleman that seems to know where he is going. I’m more curious at this point and not interesting in finding Cherie.

What is this place?

The tall gentleman went into a room as I continued straight. I see one window I run towards – the view is bland – the brick wall of the next building over and a dark alley. But, to my left I see the hallway opens up into a large room filled with people and computers.

Where am I? What does any of this have to do with me? Where is Big Rich?

…to be continued….

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Friends With Shadows – Chapter 13 (…continued….)

Writer’s Note: For you new readers that just happened to stumble across this… This book is being written as you’re reading it. It’s an experiment. I don’t think a book has been written this way with the ultimate goal of being published. Upside, you can participate, share, and comment on what I’ve written. I do read your feedback and I do take your comments/criticisms seriously. Downside: this is a rough draft, so you’re going to get bad grammar at times, punctuation mishaps, and a plot hole here and there. By the time this book is done being written, I’ll have a completed piece of literature that you can be like a hipster about and say, “I read the book when it was a blog.” Cool, right! So, here is the continuation of Chapter 13! Get reading, my friends!

Chapter 13 (continued)

Again, irritated at having to look after this guy while Big Rich takes a siesta, she shoves his body back into the car and does her best to lift Big Rich’s hulking carcass onto the seat next him. A brief pause to catch her breath and she moves to the other side using the vehicle as a crutch. Cherie falls into the driver’s seat and starts up the 383 cubic inches of old fashioned Detroit steel, hits the gas and drives off to rendezvous with Command.

Arriving at an unsuspecting building, Cherie makes a call on her phone and gives todays code word with the all clear signal. She makes contact with the Security Chief and requests assistance with the two men in the backseat that behave like trash bags full of water in their unconscious state. The Security Chief sends out a half of a dozen armed guards to keep watch and assist with the two men in the car.

As the three of them entering to the building, a young girl with hair pulled back and dozens of frizzy fly-aways, gives a quick visual analysis and takes vitals to ensure they are relatively healthy.

Cherie shoos off the young girl repeatedly telling her, “I’m fine. Worry about them.”

The girl stops the caravan inside the main building hallway facing Cherie, closes her eyes and then starts reciting medical vernacular. Cherie is hypnotized and amused watching her eyes move behind the closed eyelids as if she were reading a book. The girl continues to recite medical words and facility policy with eyebrows raised and hands at stomach level palms facing out in a “stop” position. Cherie yields and tells her to make the check-up quickly, she has more important items to deal with.

The girl with the textbook behind her eyelids tells the guards to take Big Rich and the new guy to the second floor, room 207 and 208. The guards, not used to taking orders from anyone but their direct commander, looked at each other and at the tiny lady snapping off directives, not moving. Two of the bigger guards flinched when she lurched forward at them with her shoulders raised, feet arches flexed on her toes, and voice lowered but forceful, “Now!”

Cherie smirked, “You heard her, gentlemen!”

The guards starting moving, double-time, as if they had a flashback to boot camp. The young girl, clearly proud of herself, smiled and fixed one of the frizzy fly-aways unaware there were dozens more that need attention. Cherie patted the girl’s should and then took a set of stairs going to debrief with the Commanding Officer.

…TO BE CONTINUED….

Friends With Shadows – Chapter 13

Writer’s Note: Ok, so I decided to move on to Chapter 13 after a good amount of the dreaded and very real writer’s block. I can always go back and fix and add later, right? I think you’re in for a real treat, this chapter is developing the character “Cherie” – we’re going to see more into her personality and who she is what she does and how she handles business. Enjoy the beginning of Chapter 13 my avid readers and generally curious audience!

Chapter 13

Cherie dumped the useless pile of flesh into the backseat of her 1964 Chrysler New Yorker; she still wasn’t certain why Big Rich believed this guy could be of use. Annoyed she has to be the caretaker, she slammed the trunk of the car, she racked the slide of her vintage M4 Colt Commando. Clearing the entrance of the warehouse she stayed in the shadows looking for Big Rich, cautious the attackers were nearby.
She saw a target at the far end of the warehouse and began firing. Cherie pulled out her phone and sent a message to her contact requesting an evacuation. Bullet fragments flew by her face, peppering the area – there must be another unseen target. She stepped closer firing suppression rounds and using the remaining crates and pallets that were standing as cover. She realized her only cover lead her into the light making her an obvious target for the second shooter – and also where Big Rich was lying, moving, but unconscious. Checking for a pulse, Big Rich appeared alright. Cherie moved the boards and splintered wood that were on top of him and began dragging him back to a more secure position – aware the other shooter could be moving in.

Response came back from her contact advising evacuation personnel are en route and had been dispatched before she made contact. Contact advised there was a shooter on the roof that will be neutralized as priority as long as she can maintain her position on the ground. Cherie advised that there were unknown number of assailants, two that she was aware of but she’s not sure if there are more. Contact notified her they just completed a scan and the rooftop assailant has been removed as a threat and there is only one left. Cherie began to back away from her position towards the front of the warehouse. More shots were fired from the shooter aimed at her last known position. Standing behind a pillar, Contact let her know she was clear for exit and stepped out into the street, dragging Big Rich, headed for her New Yorker.

Cherie didn’t look back to see what happened next but could feel the heat at her back and the splinters from the building zip by her face. She closed her eyes for a moment, praying a stray piece of shrapnel doesn’t find itself embedded in a lethal place against her skin. She opened her eyes in time to see the snitch had got out of the car and then slam his head from the force against the frame of the car door leaving a dent in her otherwise pristine vehicle. Cherie and Big Rich both received an extra stumbling push from the explosion, moving them closer to the vehicle.

Friends With Shadows – Chapter 12 (Continued, Again!)

Writer’s Note: Oh, man. This is getting good. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but…it’s getting good. I really do enjoy the direction of the story. Something interesting about the chapters that has developed is the way they show different perspectives for the same moment…are you catching on to that? It was not my original intention, but through feedback and natural necessity it evolved. Anyhow, today is my Friday. Yes, I have a regular job also, like you. 🙂 Enjoy your Thursday! You’re almost there and I’m rooting for you! To help pass the time, enjoy more of Chapter 12 cliff-hanging excitement!

Chapter 12 (continued)

Dean asks for identification of the subjects. Handel isn’t able to give him a definite answer. He couldn’t give him an answer. Someone had taken his earpiece – Handel turns his body with ferocity ready to defend and strike the would be attacker. Handel had been so focused on the subjects down below he didn’t notice someone approaching him. What shocked him even more, when he spun around ready to embed a few rounds in the unknown subject, he saw Thomas holding his earpiece.

“What are you doing?” Handel realized the awe on his own face and straightened it out to a facial expression more suiting to a Law Officer.

Thomas reacted to his partner, “I’m not sure. But, we’re done here. Let’s get out of here. Something is wrong here.”

“You’re kidding! That’s funny. C’mon, let’s get back to business,” Handels tone sounded playful, his face was serious, daring him to rebel.

Thomas, unsure of what his next move would be, tried one last time to persuade his Law Academy colleague, “We shouldn’t be here,” staring him down and emphasizing every syllable.

Thomas threw the earpiece over his shoulder off of the building.

“I’m sorry. You’re serious. Well, I’m not going down. And you’re not leaving me to do this by myself. So, get back down there and cover the front so none of us get hurt.”

Before Thomas could reply, Handel already knew he wouldn’t comply and immediately leapt for his former partner. Crashing into the ground, the two struggled, exchanging elbows and fists. The fiasco was more equivalent to young brotherly brawls in terms of appearance; make no mistake, the two were determined to submit one or kill the other.
Thomas managed to break from Handel with his back to the skylight. Handel raised his sidearm and double-tapped his trigger. The ballistics made contact with the center mass of Thomas. Stumbling back Thomas attempted one final gesture and released a grenade too late; he was out of energy, and out of time. The grenade fell through skylight and landed near the subjects.

Handel ran up to the skylight just in time to see the blue tinged bubble emit from the detonated grenade. After the flash, his eyes adjusted to see his partner dead on the ground next to him – a quickly fading sense of guilt passed through his heart. He looked down the skylight and saw two blurred figures moving and clumsily grabbed his rifle and began firing down at the two. The two subjects ran out of the building and he saw another possible target under broken crates and pallets, slightly moving. Through his scope, he could see an opal colored ring and realized this was the other target Dean was looking for.
Handel shook his face, wiped his blurred eyes, looked down the scope, centered his target in the reticle, slow breath – darkness.

That’s twice someone managed to sneak up on him tonight.

…to be continued (again, I think)….

Friends With Shadows – Chapter 12 (Continued)

Writer’s Note: I appreciate you all bearing with me as I write this book. It’s not a perfect process and sometimes I won’t have anything to write. However, you may rest assured that I will make every attempt to post something to keep you up to date. Yesterday did not go as planned, obviously. Today is a new day and I will be writing some more. Hopefully, the infamous writer’s block won’t attack and kill any inspiration or clever thoughts I may have. Anyhow, enjoy the rest of Chapter 12! Share it with your friends!

Chapter 12 (Continued)

Through the alley, Dean clears the back part of the warehouse. Finger resting just to outside of the trigger, safety off, pointed down at forty-five degree angle, he approaches the back door, takes one more breath, calming his nerves, turns the knob and peels the door open. The old rusted knob, grinding against its will, Dean squints his eyes as if that will help the grinding noise. He slices his body across the doorway, firearm at ready position, all clear. He slips into the building, no sign of anyone, only the sound of a deep voice some distance away. Unable to make out what he’s saying, he moves for a better position trying to maintain the element of surprise.

Thomas moves to the front of the building using shadows and parked vehicles as cover. Standing in a semi-crouched position, Thomas looks around him and then eyes the door. Waiting for a signal from his counterparts to confirm how many subjects and locations, he begins to question his motives for being here. His breathing becomes shallow, his thoughts become lost, his shooting arm starts to shake. Rolling his eyes up, standing more erect, he lowers his shoulders and leans against the wall, telling himself there is still time to turn around. “You don’t have to be here. You can still back out. It’s not too late,” not his own voice but the words bounced around in his head. Some deeper, more ominous voice, causing the realization of his choices to become more clear.

Handel struggles to climb the ladder with his gear attached. Once he throws his legs over the ledge he finds a glass skylight in the ceiling with a large surface area. He looks down and sees a light and someone standing in the center; possibly the snitch. He seems to be talking to someone in the shadows but unknown how many are there.

He hears Dean’s voice in the earpiece, “I’m in position. Report in.”

Thomas hesitates then clicks the com, “Ready. Waiting for instructions.”

Handel turns his mic on, “Aerial set. One subject in center of the building. At least one more just out of sight in the shadow towards the back of the building. Unknown number of others. Standby.”

…to be continued (tomorrow, perhaps)….

Friends With Shadows – Chapter 12 (A New Chapter)

Writer’s Note: Happy Monday! Chapter 11 went faster than I expected it would and Chapter 12 is flowing from the keyboard with ease. This, of course, means I’m going to go back and find a major plot hole or rewrite the whole thing. Ha! We’ll see…. Enjoy your lunch hour and enjoy the next chapter. 🙂 Get your read on!

Chapter 12

Thomas and Handel did what they have been trained to do and began running searches for targets. Just like normal operation, they’re just doing a search for a couple of suspects; continued justification of their ambiguous morality. Accessing the regional camera network, Thomas began looking for image matches. Handel, knowing the chances were slim, began monitoring the local digital band for phone conversations or Law Officer radio descriptions of the suspects; yes, they were calling them “suspects” now. Dean continued to drive around to known locations of the snitch, knowing this to be futile in the immediate future. If he had more time, he knows the suspect would eventually turn up in one of these locations.

Thomas found dark video footage in the alley where they had dropped off the suspect; he was getting into some dark vehicle after encountering a shadow figure. Thomas began searching nearby footage for the direction of the vehicle and found they went to an abandoned warehouse. Minutes from their current location, the address is given to Dean as he presses the accelerator as hard has he can. A drop of sweat curves down Dean’s face, the only sign of apprehension he will show.

Something the man with the opal colored ring said continues to resonate in Dean’s head. He does have the choice, the option to stop all of this, come clean, accept the consequences, and move on with life, however that may look. Chump – no way, not today, not in this city, not at this Rehab Facility. Still, the choice he faces, every time he discards the possibility of turning himself in he cognitively buries himself deeper in the darkness of the lies he has told his superiors and himself. Every missed opportunity, he brings Thomas and Handel down with him further into the the cold dark, where irrational anger and misguided hatred are created.

Actively participating in his own eventual self destruction, Dean pulls up to the curb a block and a half away from the warehouse. The three men step out of the vehicle and double check the safety and ammunition on their firearms. After a brief discussion, they have devised the best method of entering the building, clearing it, and obtaining the suspects; all three acknowledge there are going to be three suspects maybe one or two more they are unaware about. Dean will circle to the back to see if he can flush them out while Thomas covers the front and Handel will head to a higher vantage point on top of the building.

Dean reminds them that he’d prefer them alive but dead is just as good. He’s trying to put the two green detectives minds at ease, make them feel better about going in after these suspects. Dean knows he can’t let them live.

Friends With Shadows – Chapter 11 (As Promised!)

Writer’s Note: Chapter 11 is here! For some reason, it feels like a milestone, to be celebrated! Woohoo! For my new readers and followers, I’m writing this book as an experiment – I’m basically writing the rough draft online for everyone to read. The upside is that you can comment and participate in the writing process. The downside, is that while I do try to edit before I post, I don’t catch everything so, you’re getting the chapters in a raw format. Anyhow, enjoy Chapter 11! Happy reading!

Chapter 11

When do I get to know? When do I get to find out how this ends?

A clearing, a misty meadow. Maybe early morning, maybe late evening. The green of the treeline is still visible. The sweet smell of the blooms. For a moment, I forget where I’m at. For a moment, I forget that my body aches. For a moment, I take in the view and the smell one last time.

Where is everyone?

Looking down, my t-shirt is painted in Rorschach. Is that my blood? Is that mud?

Surrounded by rusted gray walls, I sit up on the make-shift table. A short woman walks in. Her appearance, comical, her hair is pulled tight while dozens of individual curly strands are sprouting all over her head. She has had a rough week apparetly, I almost can’t believe she’s a real person – the type of character that you would only see on a comedy series. Smiling, she uses her middle knuckle to push her glasses up onto the bridge of her nose, “Oh hey! I’m glad to see you awake. How are you feeling?’ Her obvious exhaustion betrays her otherwise chipper demeanor.

The smile I return is painful.

“That bad, huh? Don’t worry, I’ve got some stuff that will make you better. Take two of these green pills,” she runs her hand on my sternum as part of some kind of medical exam and I let out a painful grunt, “…better make it three of the green ones.”

She hands me a fresh set of clothes, still warm from the dryer, she tells me to get changed and come outside when I’m done. She leaves, her alfalfa sprouts flying around her head like tiny bobble heads.

Peeling off the Rorschach of my mother yelling at me, my abdomen reveals new stitches and gauze. Disbelief overcomes my thoughts – only a few days ago I was delivering mail for Dean, and now, I’m literally stitched together. Wearing the clean clothes the apparent nurse gave me, I linger in the room for another moment. Taking in the peace, the quiet, and a deep relaxed breath, one last time. Something has changed. I don’t know what I will do or what is going to happen but, I know whatever I was doing before is over. I need to talk to Big Rich.

I step through the door, the light is the brightest I’ve known.

…to be continued….