Public Service…new writing, unedited…

Allison Charlene, the first victim, had lived quite a life for her young 26 years on the planet. A professional secretary for the emergent law firm of Ash, Becker, and Curry, or ABC, she had traveled extensively throughout Europe and Southeast Asia prior to taking a job with the firm.
In the last three years though, she began to suffer from depression and anxiety.


She quit traveling and became a homebody. Yet, for someone diagnosed with depression and anxiety, there was no trail that indicated she had sought help for either.


Lilly looked across the desk at me, and I glanced up from the computer. Our eyes met, and I grinned. I knew what she was thinking about, because I had thought the same thing. I cleared my throat and looked back at my screen. Lilly had an impish grin on her full lips, and I took a deep breath.


“Can I see you outside for a moment, Detective Konan?”


Rankin snorted, and Manson grinned as she kept an eye on Sasha. “Sure, Lilly. I have a moment.”


We stood and walked out of The Murder Room. Down the hall, next to the latrines, was an unlocked janitor’s closet. Lilly took me by the hand and pulled me into it.


She threw her arms about my neck and kissed me. Is there anything sweeter than getting a kiss from the one you love? I think not.


“What’s all this about?”


“I wanted a kiss from my husband. I’ve wanted to kiss you all day. As a matter of fact, I wanted to ask you what you planned to do to Scott Walters.”


“I’ve not planned anything, hon. He’s digging his own grave, I don’t have to do anything to him.”


Lilly leaned forward and kissed me lightly on my lips, and whispered, “You’re not the kind of man to take a threat lying down, Konan. I know this, heck, it’s part of the reason I love you. Don’t play me like I’m stupid.”


“I’m not,” I said, as I lifted my right hand in the air. “I have no plans.”


“Maybe you should make some. He doesn’t sound like the type to just go away.”


“He’s not. If things get hairy, we cut and run.”


“No, Konan. That’s not you. You’re thinking of me and Gareth. Do what you must to protect all of us. Even if we must leave town and start over somewhere else, you can’t let this slide.”


I pulled my wife close and kissed her full lips, she let out a throaty growl, and I broke away.


“No, hon. We don’t need to add to our troubles.”


“The mighty Konan is chicken. I never thought I’d see the day.”


I laughed and stepped out of the janitor’s closet. Lilly followed on my heels, and she licked her lips and winked at me.


“Let’s do it again soon,” she whispered.

I watched as she walked past me. Lord help me, I whispered to myself. I’m sure He knew how much I needed Him. Besides, I would need all the help I could get to deal with Scott Walters.


I started to walk toward the office when my phone rang, and I glanced at the screen. The number was unknown. It rang three times and disconnected. Then, it rang again. I answered it on the second ring.


“Hello?”


“Hello, Konan. Do you know who this is?”


“Yeah, I know who you are Cartwright. Why are you calling me?”


“You’re in a heap of trouble son. That goes for your pretty wife too, congratulations by the way. Meet me at midnight tonight at our spot.”


“I’ll see you then.”


He was back. I knew after our last meeting, Cartwright wasn’t gone for good. Billy had died at his hands because Billy had betrayed Cartwright. Now, my old boss was back in town.


Fear gripped my heart for a brief moment. I no longer lived alone, my wife and step-son lived with me, and I wanted to keep trouble far from them. I thought I could outrun my past, but it had an ugly way of showing up when I least expected it.


Now, I’m caught between Cartwright and Scott Walters. It was time to make a plan.


Lilly was deep into the life of our second victim by the time I returned to the office. She had brought a white board over to our desk and placed a picture of each victim on it, along with the date of death, cause of death, and location of discovery.


Sam I. Walton, 56, was in no comparison anything like the first victim. He had not traveled outside of Mississippi, in fact, he had not left the Fredericksburg area ever. In fact, the only link between him and Allison was depression and anxiety. Both suffered from these mental conditions, and neither had sought help for them. An interesting fact emerged in our findings though. Both victims had died near a body of water. I didn’t know how this fit together, but for some reason the killer had chosen to take their life near water.


“What took you so long to return?”


I looked at Lilly, and her green eyes bored into mine. She waited, and I couldn’t lie to my wife. For a marriage to survive, thrive even, there had to be a sense of trust.


“Cartwright called me.”


Lilly leaned toward me and whispered, “Cartwright, your old boss?”


“Yeah, he offered his congratulations to us. I’m to meet him at midnight. Manson and Rankin need to come stay with you and Gareth while I am out.”


“Okay, are you expecting trouble?”


“I wasn’t until he called. We need to leave early to prepare. Tell our friends, for her and Rankin to come loaded for bear.”


“What about Janko?”


“I’m going to talk to him now.”


“Okay babe. We will get through this. Just go easy, okay?”


Janko was yakking on the phone when I rapped on his door. His eyes cut toward the door and saw me, then he motioned for me to come in. I pushed the door inward and made my way to his desk. He said goodbye and hung up his phone.


“What now, Konan?”


“I just received a call from Cartwright.”


“Your former boss? The government’s assassin?”


“He’s a facilitator of events, Janko. That’s not important. What is important is that he said I was in a heap of trouble, as is Lilly.”


“Did he say why?”


“No, he didn’t. It doesn’t take a massive leap to figure out what he’s talking about though does it?”


“No, he’s talking about the deputy chief.”


“Yeah, that’s what I think also.”


“Hmm. Scott’s always had a reputation. What does Cartwright want?”


“I don’t know. I’m to meet him at midnight.”


“You don’t think that’s dangerous? Can you trust him?”


“There’s only one way to find out, chief. I need Manson and Rankin to stay with Lilly and Gareth.”


“Of course, done. What about you?”


“I’ll be fine.”


I hesitated and Janko noticed. He nodded his head and said, “Don’t worry, son. We’ll take care of your family. Go do what you must. We will deal with the fallout after the smoke clears.”


Janko dismissed me, and I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. It was good to have friends you could always count on, it was even better when your friends saddled up with you for the hard times.


Midnight was a ways off, but I needed to get ready for whatever trouble was on its way. Me and Lilly knocked off early. By 1800 Manson, Rankin, and Janko showed up at our home. All came strapped with sidearms, M4 rifles, and extra ammunition.


Lilly kissed me on my lips, and I took a deep breath. It was almost midnight. Time to go make a deal with the Devil’s brother.

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