Archive | September 2014

Bad Fall – Part 94

Bad FallMarka figures out that Liz is probably hiding out at her unfinished house. It’s within sight of Sheltering Oaks and easy for her to pretend to be Marka, as no one has seen her. Marka and Rochelle meet up with Shay and tell him where Frank is. He prepares to go after Liz.

The federal agents moved quietly toward Marka’s property.

“Get her out of here,” Shay commanded Rochelle. “Stay with her.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Thank you,” he added as an afterthought. “I find myself very fond of this young woman.”

“Me too.” Rochelle took Marka and went back inside. She figured the safest place for her was the secret hallway.

Once inside, Marka insisted on visiting Frank. She kicked up such a fuss, Rochelle decided to allow it. James was there. With luck, Frank would still be unconscious. Marka called James first and found that Frank was sleeping.

“He’s kinda restless. I don’t think he’ll be asleep much longer.”

“Dammit. I was hoping he’d be out at least two hours.”

“Doesn’t surprise me. Frank’s got the tolerance of a horse. He can drink more than me and my brother and still be standing. I’d love to have his metabolism. Where are you?”

“Almost there. We’re at the nurse’s station.”

“Door’s open.”

“Thanks.”

“I’ll wait out here,” Rochelle said. “Frank doesn’t know me. I don’t want to cause him any distress.” She picked up a chair from the sitting room and carried it with her down the hallway. She plunked it in front of the door. Before Marka went in the room, Rochelle hugged her. “You be careful, baby.”

“I will. Thank you.”

“I find myself fond of you,” Rochelle paraphrased Shay.

“Me too.” Marka smiled.

James was in the living room with the TV on low. He stood when Marka walked in.

“He’s stirring around a little. I can hear him talking. Are those what he’s after?”

“They’re fakes. I didn’t want to risk Liz getting the real thing.” She pulled the industrial rubber band out of her purse and put it around the fake diaries.

“You sure you’re not a spy?” James winked at her.

“Jane Bond, double O seven and a half.” She winked back at him. “I’m going to fix some dinner. It calms me down. You like chicken?”

“I eat anything, Marka. I’m not picky.”

“I thought about fried, but I think hot grease would be a bad idea.” She walked into the kitchen, considering her approach to the meal. Once she decided, she started getting out her ingredients.

James came in and washed his hands. “Put me to work. I’m not bad in the kitchen. I can cook, too.”

Marka giggled. It was so like something Frank would say, she had to laugh. These two men were a lot alike in so many ways—friendly, handsome, outgoing, generous and loyal.

“So, why aren’t you married, James?”

“Me? Didn’t find anyone worthwhile. I kinda had me a crush on Jen. But she was just a kid when I joined the Marines. Then she met Clay and I figured I lost my chance.”

“Why haven’t you asked her out since—since he passed?”

“Marka, she’s all kinda tore up over him. I don’t know if she’ll ever be over it. Honestly, I’m not sure I want to live in another man’s shadow.”

Nodding, Marka smiled. “I can understand that. You haven’t found anyone else since?”

He shook his head. “Small town like this, I know everyone. I’m a stay home kinda guy. I go out with friends and have a drink or two, but truth is, I’m kinda shy.”

Marka turned to him, putting down the knife she’d been using to cut up celery. “You aren’t going to the right bars, then. Because if a guy like you walked into a club where my friends and I were, you’d have to beat those girls off with your nightstick.”

James laughed and snagged a piece of celery off the cutting board. “Really. Introduce me sometime. I guarantee not to beat ’em too hard.”

“When this is over—” A noise in the foyer made her look up.

Frank stood by the bathroom door, unsteady and disoriented. He leaned against the wall, one shoe off, the other in his hand. He wore a T-shirt and jeans instead of the scrubs and hospital gown. James motioned to Marka to put the knife away. She put it in the upper cabinet in front of her, closing the door quietly.

“Hey, buddy. Going out?” James asked calmly.

Frank looked at him, hardly seeming to know him. “I dunno, Jimmy.”

“Why don’t you have a seat, pal? Marka, coffee? This time, make Frank’s plain.”

“Yeah, of course, James. Coming right up.” She’d already set up a pot and hit the start button.

Unsure whether she should join the men, she stayed in the kitchen, waiting. James led Frank to the love seat again.

“Where am I?” Frank asked.

James told him. “Do you remember anything?”

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 93

Bad FallMarka slips something into Frank’s coffee. For the moment, he’s asleep with James watching him.

“I hardly knew that man in there,” Marka said, gulping for air. “He scared me so. What did that evil woman do to him?”

“I don’t know, honey. But I’d like to kill her myself.”

“Not as much as I want to,” Marka growled. “I’m not a violent person,” she told Rochelle. “But she’s injured someone I love. Who knows if he’ll ever be back to himself.”

“We never did stop for that notebook,” Rochelle said suddenly. “You wanted one, remember?”

“Yes! I bet they have them at the store downtown.”

“Then let’s go.”

They went down the stairs and out the back. Rochelle led her through the woods again and back to her car. They drove quickly to the small store downtown. Marka found the stationary section and grabbed a few of the essay notebooks. After paying for them, she took them outside and dropped them on the sidewalk. She kicked them around, telling Rochelle to step on them a few times. She picked them up, curling them, bending the spines.

“There, that looks pretty good.”

“His had the dates on them.”

“Oh, crap. You’re right.” She took a pen out of her purse. Most of the dates had been written in black ink. She visualized Frank’s neat printing in her mind and did her best to imitate it. Afterward, she scrubbed them around on the sidewalk again. Satisfied with their appearance, she stuffed them in the plastic bag once more.

“You gonna write in them too?” Rochelle asked.

“I hadn’t thought of that. No. I don’t think we have time for that. If Liz isn’t here yet, she will be. Let’s get back. I’m worried about James with Frank. I have no idea how long that drug will hold him.”

“What did you give him?”

“I crunched up some Benadryl and put it in the coffee.”

“That shit makes me sleepy as hell.”

“That’s what I’m counting on.”

They headed back to the nursing home. There were police cars and more federal agents around. An ambulance stood on the lawn outside the blue house. Marka saw Colonel Shay. Before getting out of the car, she called him.

As soon as he heard her voice, Colonel Shay looked up, casting about the area, trying to find her. “Where are you? I’ve been worried sick since I got your call.”

“I had my phone off. I’ve been with Frank. His cop friend, James, is with him now. He’s sleeping in our room.”

“What? I have the entire police force here and feds everywhere, scouring the countryside and he’s asleep!”

“He might not be for long. He was pretty agitated when I drugged him.”

“I’m sending people up there now.”

“No. Only you and me. He barely knew who I was. He should recognize you, though. You’ve known him a lot longer.”

“Okay. Where are you?”

Marka hopped out of the car and waved at him. Shay saw her and struck out across the lawn to the waiting car. Marka introduced him to Rochelle. The federal officer drove them closer to the facility. There were so many cars around, hers wouldn’t be noticed. They stood outside a moment, studying the lay of the land.

“Any sign of Liz?” Marka asked Shay.

“Not her, but that was her handiwork at the house. No one’s seen her since she left the courthouse.”

“She definitely got away?” Rochelle asked.

“Well, she tortured Cherry and Brad. . . .”

“She did that before she went to Canton,” Marka said. “Their wounds weren’t bleeding when I got there. That extent of damage, they would still have been bleeding so soon after. We were only minutes behind her escape. I bet we beat her here. We weren’t trying to evade the law and cover our tracks.”

“Then where the hell is she?”

“She’s got to have a safe house nearby,” Marka said. “She couldn’t be—Oh, my God. It’s so obvious.”

“What?”

My house. It must be. It makes perfect sense.”

“What are you talking about. Your house? You have a room here.”

“My house is being worked on before I move in. But it’s deserted right now. They’ve been waiting for some parts or something. The point is, it would be easy to break in. No one’s seen me. She could pass as the new resident easily enough.”

“Where’s this house?” Shay asked.

Marka walked a few feet away and faced her property, less than a block away, across the street.

“Bloody hell!” Shay muttered. “Give me that thing,” he gestured to Rochelle’s radio.

She undid the clasp, handing it to him. Shay got on there, barking orders to whomever would listen. He glared at the house across the street.

“Marka, I hope you’re not too attached to that place.”

“Not really,” she said, hesitantly.

“Good. Because I’m about to level it.”

© Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

amazon page for books