Snatched…new writing, unedited, incomplete…

At 0900, Konan and Lilly walked into the precinct. Konan had called on his way in to holding and had Bronowski put into an interview room.

Lilly had stopped and bought coffee. She handed one to Konan.

“So, I’m still lead?”

“Yup. I’m gonna drink coffee and watch you work Bronowski. Thanks for the coffee.”

“You’re welcome, Konan.”

Konan walked into the room behind the two-way mirror and sat down. Lilly walked in and sat across from Bronowski.

“Morning, Detective Thompson.”

“Morning, former detective Bronowski.”

He laughed, and Lilly cringed. His voice shrill, his laughter soaked in darkness. She’d been in the room less than ten minutes, and he had already irritated her.

“I know you and Titus killed Bradley Freeman, and I know, you know, where Titus is now. So, let’s not waste any time with stupid games. Tell me where he is.”

“I admit nothing, and you’ve got nothing. You never start the game with your strongest pieces, detective. Where’s Konan?”

“We have a witness who saw you three beat Bradley Freeman with your fists and a tire iron. Then, you ran over him.”

“Three? Who is this invisible person?”

“Why don’t you tell me?”

“Nah, I’ve got nothing to say.”

“You’re not helping yourself at all, Bronowski.”

“I’m not helping you either, detective. Good luck gathering evidence to put me away.”

Konan walked in and sat down next to Lilly. Bronowski shook his head and grinned at Konan.

“There is the great, detective. What’s going on, Konan?”

“Oh, you know. Drinking coffee, watching my partner grill you.”

“Grill me? Ha. She’s not fierce enough to grill me.”

“Ah, I don’t know about that. She crushed your eggs the last time y’all met.”

Bronowski stayed quiet, but Konan saw the anger that flashed in his eyes.

“Titus is smart to stay hidden. If we can’t find him, you will take the rap for Bradley Freeman. Plus, the DA will strap you with the assault on six officers. That will get strapped to the gurney.”

“They won’t give me death. It’s a nicer, more polite world out there, Konan.”

“You think so, do you?”

“Yeah. I’ll take my chances.”

“Okay.”

The door opened and Carl Theodore Higgins walked in. He pushed his glasses up. Bronowski grew quiet, his fake bravado forgotten.

“I’m C.T. Higgins, a prosecutor attached to the District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Bronowski. Where’s your attorney.”

“I don’t have one.”

Higgins turned to Lilly and Konan and raised his eyebrows.

“He hasn’t asked for one, sir.”

“Detective Thompson, did you ask if he wanted one?”

“No.”

“Mr. Bronowski, do you want an attorney present?”

“I can’t afford one, and I don’t want some wet behind the ears public defender.”

“Fine. I am seeking the death penalty for the murder of Mr. Freeman. Plus, you attempted to murder six officers. So, it’s not difficult to see you strapped to a gurney receiving the hot shot.”

“Hold up. What kind of deal can I get if I help you guys out?”

“Depends on how good your information is, Bronowski. Tell me, and we’ll go from there.”

“Okay. Titus had pulled over Freeman before. He said Freeman had an attitude and needed tuning up. I thought we’d throw him a beating to put the fear of God in him. Titus wanted more than a pound of flesh.

Things got out of hand. I beat him, Titus went and got a tire iron. He beat him in the ribs with it. Then….”

“You chained him to the back of the car and drug him,” Lilly snarled. Bronowski paled.

“Yeah, but he didn’t die. I thought we’d leave him there and call an ambulance when we left. Titus said Freeman knew too much. He propped him up…”

“…and you ran over him,” Lilly said. “You tortured that man, and then finished him off by taking turns and running over him.”

“Yeah. That’s how it happened.”

Konan finished his coffee and tossed the cup in the trash. Higgins and Lilly sat quietly. Bronowski looked at the table and said nothing more.

“That’s a nice story, Bronowski. What’s the name of the woman that went with you and Titus?”

“Um,” Bronowski muttered, “is that important?”

“Yes. She beat Freeman too, didn’t she?”

“She didn’t want to.”

“Name,” Higgins said. Bronowski nodded. “Darlene Smith. She’s an officer at the 3-9.”

“Jesus,” Lilly muttered. Higgins shook his head and closed his eyes.

“Why did she want someone to pay?”

“A guy raped her five-year-old daughter.”

“And she wanted revenge. Why Freeman?”

“Because the guy that raped the daughter had black skin, and no one had been arrested. She decided Freeman would do.”

“So, you, Titus, and Smith went out in search of vengeance.”

“Yeah.”

“How did you and Titus know Smith?”

“Titus dated her. He’s the father of Smith’s child.”

“Wonderful.”

“Where’s Titus now,” Lilly snapped. “And don’t tell me you don’t know.”

An old, untitled writing…unedited, incomplete…

In hindsight, I should have planned the murders better.

 Rest assured; I committed the foul deed for all the right reasons. Of course, all murderers have said the same thing when they got caught. Notice, I did not say I brought them to justice. Every now and then, a crime is so repulsive, so terrifying, that it transcended the law of man. Such is the reasoning for my ‘crimes.’

I stared out the window while my attorney, Lindsey White, filled me in on the paperwork. Who knew that law enforcement stayed bogged down in bureaucratic hell?

“Hey, I need you to pay attention. We need to figure out what kind of defense I will present to the jury. I am leaning toward a crime of passion, what do you think?” She seemed eager to hear my thoughts. Lindsey had recently graduated law school, and I represented her first foray into the big leagues. Her blondish-brown hair and pixie nose made her a delight to be around. Plus, she had a one-of-a-kind sense of humor. Sarcastic, sardonic, and brutally honest, she was the total package.

“That would explain one murder, possibly two, if I had killed my wife. That is not the case. I killed a father and son.”

“Yes, but you were filled with passionate rage for the murder of your wife. So, it is kind of the same thing.”

“Do you think the judge will go for it?”

“I don’t know. She might.”

“This is your first major case, Lindsey. I’d stick with the cookie-cutter formula and ride it out.”

Unbeknownst to my jailers, I had studied Criminal Justice in my pursuit of a higher education. ‘A well-honed mind is your greatest weapon,’ my father and mother used to say. A sparrow flittered around the barred in window. It studied the image of itself in the window. I had often been so engrossed in my pursuit of a better life, that I had forgotten to live the life I had. Now, I faced either life in prison or worse yet, death.

“You might better put me on the stand to be cross-examined.” Lindsey shook her head no.

“You will be crucified. Hank ‘Hangman’ Childers would pick you apart. Do not get me wrong, Jayce. You are intelligent and somewhat educated on the workings of the government and its judicial system. Still, you would get destroyed in mere seconds.”

“They nicknamed him The Hangman. Seriously?”

“Yes. He has a 94% conviction rate when it has been decided to pursue the death penalty.”

“And they decided to pursue it in my case?”

“Yeah.”

I felt queasy. Sweat formed on my forehead and the top of my scalp. Things suddenly became very dark for me. My heart pounded in my chest; my breathing became shallow. Hell, even my hands began to perspire.

“Lindsey, do you think you could get a meeting with Childers? We should seek a plea. I confessed my crime, AFTER I turned myself in.”

“I know. They decided that you premeditated the crime, carried out the deed, and then turned yourself in, all to circumvent the judicial process.”

“There is no way they could even hope to procure evidence to support such outlandish claims. You could go to court dressed as a clown and be taken more seriously than this insanity.”

“True, but The Hangman could be playing dumb, hoping that it would lull us into a trap. We need to be careful.”

We sat in silence for a while. She scribbled a few thoughts down on her legal pad. The yellow lined paper was mostly empty.

 Lindsey began to draw a man hanging from the gallows.

Bloody Retribution…old writing, unedited, incomplete…

Khalil Muhammad stood on the precipice of greatness under the hot African sun.

His prisoners knelt in front of him and murmured prayers. “There is no mercy for you infidels. Prayer won’t save you.”

He motioned to his soldiers, the gunners on the crew-serve weapons spun the barrels to face them. With the drop of his hand, his soldiers sent the prisoners to their reward in the eternal bliss of their god. Bisa, mother of Bethanie and Adah, twin sisters aged three, heard Muhammad’s voice in the distance. She had taken her daughters to the well which supplied water from a nearby wadi.

Bisa took her daughters and moved to a nearby wall. Through a crack in the wall, she watched her parents along with her neighbors die. Bethanie and Adah’s cries drowned in the hammering of machine guns. She hugged her children close and tried to quieten their cries. Unbeknown to Bisa, a child-soldier noticed her watching through the crack. Behind her, she heard the clack of a bolt ridden forward in a rifle. She tensed. The soldier escorted Bethanie and Adah to Muhammad, along with Bisa.

“Why were you hiding?”

Bisa could think of nothing to say in her defense. Muhammad stepped closer to Bisa and whispered:“Why were you hiding? Answer me, or your children will die first.”

“I am scared.”

“Good.”

Muhammad drew his sidearm and shot Bisa in the head. The twins cried out in fear, Muhammad raised his hands and gave thanks for his victory over his enemies. Hidden on a dune a quarter of a mile away, a team of military members watched the massacre. The team consisted of a multi-national group of soldiers.

The team leader, code named Ghost, directed the 3-man teams on the situation.“Muhammad shot a mother in the head. Team Alpha will engage the front. Bravo will block off the rear, team Charlie will sweep left, Delta sweeps right. There are innocent children in there, watch your sectors of fire. Let’s get this done.”

Charlie Williams, head communications guru for all teams waved Ghost over. “What’s up Charlie?” Charlie motioned to his laptop.“ This freaking animal is burning people. He’s making kids burn their parents alive.”

“Yeah. He’s an deranged freak for sure. Have you got eyes on the kids that watched their mother get murdered by this savage?”

“As of right now, no.”

“Alright, stay here in the nest. You have our blindsides. Talk to you soon.”

Ghost walked to where alpha element prepared to assault the village. He took a seat in the rear of the Humvee. They moved toward what appeared to be the gates of hell on earth.As they drew near to the hellish landscape the radio squawked.

“Bravo, in place.”

“Charlie, in place.”

“Delta, in place.”

Ghost gave the driver the go ahead. They sped toward the village as the .50 caliber heavy machine gun began firing.“All teams, go.”

It was over in a few short moments. Rapid gunfire resounded throughout the village as all teams converged. Muhammad’s soldiers fought back but soon surrendered. Charlie Company’s top enlisted member, Menace called Ghost over. “We found these two young’uns sitting in the ashes.”

He motioned to Bethanie and Adah. Ghost knelt in the ashes beside them.

“Hello, ladies.”

Adah reached for him, and Ghost picked her up. He took Bethanie by the hand. Everyone walked back to the vehicles. Charlie Williams stood by the lead vehicle speaking on the radio.

“Listen, douche canoe. There were children involved here. We have two of them, and we are in a terrorist state. We are not leaving them here.”

“What about Muhammad? Did you guys get him?”

“Negative. Muhammad bugged out.”

“Get back here, asap. We will figure out to do with the kids.”

“Roger, Alpha out.”


Hours later, the team pulled into a NATO air base located in Chad. General Thad Krieger, Commander of the Multi-National Task Force, stood in the hanger.

“You’re late.”

“We got here as fast as we could, sir.”

“I have spoken with your government abou the kids. They have decided that you should bring them back to the states.”

“I understand that there are cultural differences in a multinational force,” said Sonja,”but kids are baby goats. These are children.”

Sonja Alarie was a French national and had little patience for stupidity. She especially hated anyone who seemed to not like children.

The team loaded into the C-130 Hercules, with Adah and Bethanie. It took fourteen hours for the team to make it to Camp Baldwin. Adah and Bethanie stared in awe at the going-ons of the base.

“Alright guys,” Ghost began, “we have a debriefing to get to, and then you will return to your home units. It was great working with you all again.”

The debriefing took half an hour. Rachel Winterborne met Ghost in the parking lot with Adah and Bethanie.

“Hi, Ghost. Why did you bring these children back with you?”

“Excuse me? Krieger said he cleared it with the government.”

“Well, he lied.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Yeah. It’s going to take some time to get this sorted out. You could take them home with you until it’s sorted. How does that grab you?”

“I live alone.”

“Exactly.”

“How long would they stay, Rachel?”

“No more than two weeks. We have got to reach out to Tripoli. Then they would debate what would be best for the children. A couple of days to install the plan, and you would be single once again.”

“I have no idea how to parent two girls. Can’t Child Services take them?”

“At midnight? No, they would say to hold them until Monday.”

“You guys had 14 hours to sort this out. Did you forget that two children were one the plane?”

“I know you’re frustrated, Ghost. I’ll come over in the morning and help. Okay. You have to survive for a few hours. Surely, a big, burly man like yourself aren’t afraid of two little girls.”

“Afraid, no. Tired, you bet.”

“Come on, Ghost. I’ll go home with you, and I’ll keep you safe from these dastardly little cuties.”

Musings…a few random thoughts from my actual front porch…unedited…

For the past few days, I’ve been sick. It seemed like a regular head cold, and then it evolved into this monster that tried to strangle me every night. It looks like I’ve managed to turn the corner.

Time has slowed since I became sick. The days seemed to move at a snail’s pace. Usually, the days fly by, but given that I’ve been stuck at home, I guess it made sense that time would drag.

I’ve discovered an awesome way to survive quarantine and illness. Thanks to ThriftBooks, I’ve bought many books to read. My ‘to-be-read’ pile has grown exponentially.

Life without goals is chaotic for me. I am a guy that has excelled within structure. I tend to not make New Year resolutions. However, after experiencing some writing success last year, I’ve decided to set some goals for myself for 2022.

Editing, that part of writing I dread, will be my main focus this year. In between bouts of subtraction/rewriting, I will finish stories I’ve already started but left incomplete. My current writing project, Snatched, will be the last ‘new’ project as I focus on three stories which I’ve rewritten: A Hot Day Down South, The Recluse, and Holes.

As always, thank you to all the great people who visit and check out Freeman’s Front Porch Musings. I am thankful to each of you, and the support you’ve given me.

Take care,

Freeman

Snatched…Part VI: The beginning…unedited, incomplete…

Tate ‘Tater’ Givens stood on the end of the porch, looking at nothing in particular. He spit tobacco and wet his lips. A slight breeze caused the Confederate flag wave.

Tater heard footfalls behind him. He turned and faced his nephew, JoJo.

“What’s going on, nephew.”

“Ain’t nothing, unc. I just come from town. Them protestors done a number on it.”

“Well, somebody did a number on that guy that got killed.”

“We didn’t have nothing to do with it?”

“Nope.”

“Pops would ha…”

“Your Pops served as an enforcer for the KKK, JoJo. Times have changed. There’s no reason that someone would kill a person like that. How would you feel if someone killed me like that?”

“I’d avenge you.”

Tate chuckled. “That’s why this crap never ends. Because one thing happens, and both sides think they need to react to it. On and on the cycle goes. Be smarter than that. Let it end with you.”

Konan and Lilly had an enjoyable meal with Paddy and Esther. After conversation and a few laughs, the pair of detectives said goodnight and walked to their vehicle.

“Are we going after Bronowski tomorrow?”

“Yeah, Lilly. I figured I would turn you loose on him. I will follow your lead.”

“You think he might remember me, Konan?”

“Um, you crushed his eggs. Every guy remembers those who went for the soft spot, Lilly.”

“Maybe you should lead, then.”

“No. Bronowski would expect me to take the lead, and he knows how the game goes. We need to get him off balance and keep him unsettled.”

“Okay.”

Konan stared out the passenger window as Lilly drove him to his house. Silence filled the night. Protestors marched and shouted, but no fires burned. Lilly pulled into the driveway.

“Paddy and Esther seemed thrilled to see you. Mad Michael must have thought a lot about you. What are you going to do with all this money he left you?”

“It’s blood money, Lilly. Let’s not forget my father spent his entire life as a career criminal.”

“Yeah, but how are you going to discern what came from criminal activity and what didn’t? Konan, he wanted to know that he left you in good shape. You’ve got to respect him for that.”

“Yeah, maybe. Remind me to go by and see Haley tomorrow, to see what she found on the mirror.”

“Okay. I’ll meet you at the office at 0900.”

“Alright. See you then.”

Snatched…Part V: new, unedited, incomplete…

Lilly hunkered down beside the vehicle and returned fire. Reverend Alf leaned against the tire and sobbed. “Lord Jesus, they tried to kill a brother,” he moaned. Lilly smacked him with the back of her hand and snarled, “shut up.”

Konan and the other officers exited the top floor and descended the stairs.

“Go get the van,” Bronowski yelled to Titus. “I’ve got these clowns.”

Titus ran from cover toward the backside of the hotel. Konan tracked him and fired. He missed. Lilly and the other officers provided suppressing fire on Bronowski.

Pinned down behind cover, Bronowski watched as Titus pulled out of the drive and gunned the accelerator. His friend disappeared into the night. Bronowski laughed and dropped his weapon.

“I give up. You got me,” he said, lifting his hands. “I surrender.”

Lilly took her second pair of cuffs out and handcuffed Reverend Alf Williams to the steering wheel. She joined Konan and the officers in securing Bronowski. Lilly wiped at the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes. Bronowski laughed and jerked his head at her.

“That’s why girls don’t play the game, darling. You’re weak.”

Lilly smiled sweetly, took two steps, and drove her knee into the weakest part of a man. Air gushed out of Bronowski’s lungs as his knees hit the pavement. She yanked Bronowski to his feet and shoved him toward the car.

Konan unlocked the handcuffs that held Reverend Alf and shoved him in the backseat with Bronowski. Lilly sat in the passenger seat while Konan drove them back to the precinct.

“I don’t want to share this seat with this, racist. I’m a man of God…”

Lilly whipped around in her seat and glared at the preacher. She raised her eyebrows and her lips pulled back into a fierce snarl.

“Don’t make me have my partner pull over for me to tune you up, preacher. We found you face down in a bowl of coke and surrounded by underage girls. Shut your lying mouth.”

Silence grew in the car. Konan knew how his partner felt. She felt betrayed by Reverend Alf. He spoke of unity, of love and compassion, and admonished others to live a life free of sin, only to find him in a situation where he violated everything, he claimed he stood for.

Konan could understand the reasoning for her disgust. As a person who had faith in a higher power, it always hurt to find out that a person you respected, such as a preacher, had human weaknesses and was as vulnerable to sin as you are.

Still, he would pay good money to watch his partner ‘tune up’ Reverend Alf. Konan felt the Reverend needed several kicks to the head, not necessarily the one attached to his neck.

He pulled into the parking garage and got out. He and Lilly escorted Bronowski and the preacher into booking. The desk sergeant grinned when he saw Reverend Alf handcuffed.  He frowned at Bronowski.

“Caught yourself a preacher, did you?”

“Face down in a bowl of coke,” Lilly said angrily.

“You don’t say. Ain’t this the one that always…”

“Yep.”

The officers took their mugshots, and the suspects were led to holding. Konan and Lilly took the lift to their office.

“How could a person who says he is a man of God turn and do the things this piece of garbage got caught doing?”

Lilly stormed off after Bronowski and Reverend Williams got sent off to holding. She needed to get outside, to clear her head and breathe air not polluted by the likes of Bronowski and Williams.

Konan followed her out. Lilly walked to the town square and sat next to a statue that memorialized the sacrifices of veterans of every war. She sat on a bench and crossed her arms.

She watched as Konan walked toward her and shook her head no. Konan walked to a coffee shop on the other side of the square and purchased two large coffees.

He carried one to Lilly and sat down next to her. She took the coffee and stared at the monument.

“How could he do it, Konan?”

“He’s just a man, Lilly. Flesh and blood.”

“That’s just an excuse. It’s like every person ever caught cheating. ‘I’m just a human being with human desires.’ It’s a load of bunk.”

Konan sipped his coffee and said nothing. Words would do no good. Lilly had put her faith in Reverend Williams, and then found his susceptible to the same sin that plagued everyone else. Verbiage wouldn’t fix that.

“You know what makes me mad though?”

“What’s that, Lilly?”

“The fact I thought he cared about all those people he claimed to try to help. I watched him and would think, I want to help like that. To be an advocate for righteousness, to stand for the weak and poor. Now, I find out he is a fraud and charlatan.”

“You know the problem with people, Lilly?”

“No, what’s the problem?”

“They’re only people. We’re susceptible to our wants, our needs, we go into relationships half-hearted, we stay in relationships that we know are toxic for far too long, and we put faith in people that are undeserving of our respect. Our nature is our greatest asset and our greatest weakness.”

Konan and Lilly sat on the bench and listened to the sounds of the night. The evening air was still, and a slight breeze rattled the dry leaves on the oak behind them.

It sounded like the dying wheeze of Lilly’s faith.

Snatched…Part V…new, unedited, incomplete…

Konan waited until the crowd of officers and detectives had dispersed before he approached Janko. When he was certain that their conversation would not be overheard, he walked up. Janko sighed in that exasperated way parents do when their children ask to many questions.

“What, Konan?”

“Do you have any idea where I should start my search the Reverend?”

“The last I heard; he rented a room at the Fairmont off Exit 133. The owner called here to complain that Reverend Alf had made a full-time nuisance of himself.”

“Did they forget that they have the right to refuse service to people like that?”

“I don’t know, Thompson. Why don’t you and Konan go find out?”

“Will do, chief.”

The pair of detectives walked out to their unmarked sedan and drove to Exit 133. It sat off Highway 12, a towering beckon of modern life trapped in a trailer park world. Konan pulled under the canopy and let Lilly out. She walked in while he parked.

Lilly glanced over the various brochures and menus until Konan walked in. She walked to the counter and rang the bell. An older, grey-haired woman came from the back room.

“You need a room? Single? Double occupancy?”

Konan pointed at his badge and shook his head. The woman’s tired eyes showed no emotion as she swept them over his badge.

“No, someone called and said Reverend Alf made a nuisance of himself. We’re here to deal with that.”

“That’s what the other cops said too. Y’all have an orgy or what? You replace what you tear up, you hear me? I don’t care who you are, you break it-you buy it.”

“Okay. Could we get that room number, please?”

While the lady searched up the room number, Lilly went outside to call in for back up. Moment’s later, two black and whites pulled in.

“We’ve got Reverend Alf in Room 331 at the end of the hallway, top floor,” Lilly said glancing around at the four other cops. “Plus, there are two other officers, both which we suspect of murder in there as well.”

No one said anything for a moment until Konan put his hand up, everyone turned and looked at him.

“Keep your head on a swivel, weapon discipline at all times, do not try to be a hero. Remember this, all the heroes are dead. Okay? Let’s get this done.”

Loud music came from the top floor, laughter and giggles came from the reverend’s room. It seemed strange to Konan that no guards stood outside of the preacher’s quarters.

The squad of police officers slipped quietly through the night. They stacked up outside of the door, and Konan kicked the door in.

“Police, freeze!”

Each officer took a hard corner and pied the room. Shouts of ‘clear’ let Konan know the area was secured. Reverend Alf had his face in a bowl of cocaine.

Young girls in various states of undress lay about the room, their eyes had the dreamy look of bliss about them.

“Lord have mercy,” the reverend sobbed, “y’all done messed up my party.”

“Where are Bronowski and Titus?”

“Them boys are long gone. They come by to see if I needed some help with the next march.”

“Get you fat butt up,” Lilly snarled, yanking the man to his feet. She slammed him into the wall and wrenched his arms behind his back. “You have the right to remain silent…”

Konan walked into the bedroom; more young girls lay about the room. He sighed and covered up the two in the bed with the blanket. Another stirred at the foot of the bed.

“Good morning,” Konan said, handing her the bathrobe. “I’m Detective Konan. Do you know where you are?”

“Yeah,” the girl said. “Reverend Alf said he would show me a good time. He gave us coke and said we would witness his glory.”

“The reverend is full of crap. He brought you here to satisfy his own selfish needs.”

One of the patrol officers stuck their head in the room and let Konan know that Lilly took Reverend Alf to the unmarked car.

“I need all of you to come with me to the station,” Konan said to the young woman. We need your statements, ok…” Konan’s words were cut off by a hail of gunfire. He shoved the young woman to the floor and shielded her with his body. The bullets continued to tear into the room, but his only thoughts were of his partner alone in the parking lot with a lying preacher and two corrupt cops

Snatched…Part IV continues…

Somewhere along the way, Konan dozed off. For the second time in a few hours a banging at his door woke him up.

“What?”

“It’s Lilly. We need to go.”

Konan stood and stretched. As he neared his fiftieth birthday, he had slowly come to the realization that it took more energy to accomplish the same things he’d had no problem accomplishing when he was in his twenties.

He walked to the door and opened it. 

“What’s going on, Lilly?”

“The fire department has most of the fires contained. There’s a lot of businesses damaged, and a lot of people hurt. Janko wants all hands-on deck.”

“Yeah. I figured. Do we have time for coffee?”

“We’ve always got time for coffee.”

Konan and Lilly walked into the kitchen. He pulled two to-go mugs from the shelf and made coffee.

“Have you talked to Paddy lately?”

“Nah, I haven’t had time to get by there, Lilly.”

“Some of the fires were out that way. We should check and see if he and Esther made it out alright.”

“I will. We’ve got a murder to solve first.”

“Yeah. The sooner we find him or her, the less damage our town will sustain.”

“We’ve got to find Bronowski and Titus. We shouldn’t have to look far.”

“Well, Janko may have ideas on where to get started. Let’s get to it.”

Lilly drove them to the department. Konan stared out the passenger window and sipped his coffee. “Somewhere, there’s a community of white supremacists that’s waited for this moment. Why haven’t they showed their hand yet?”

“What are you thinking about?”

Lilly’s question brought him out of his thoughts. He turned to her and muttered, “what?”

“What are you thinking about? You’re deep in thought over there.”

“Why haven’t the white supremacist rolled out in force? I mean this is what they’ve waited for their whole lives, if you believe the media’s narrative.”

“I don’t know.”

“Think about it. Riots, protests, the town is on fire, and not one white supremacist is found amid it. Something is off.”

“We’ll look into it,” Lilly said as she pulled into the parking garage. “For now, let’s focus on getting justice for Mr. Freeman.”

Janko and the rest of the homicide detectives were packed into the murder room when Konan and Lilly walked in. Janko put down his donut.

“Now that we’re all here let’s get started.”

Konan and Lilly sat at their desk. Janko pulled a whiteboard to the center of the room, took a sip of coffee and pointed at a graph.

“Last night’s riots have destroyed four businesses that we know of, over one hundred injured, and three deaths. At the center of it all is Reverend Alf and his ‘warriors of justice.’ Manson and Rankin, I want you get on these three deaths. Konan and Lilly, you get Reverend Alf.”

“What about Bradley Freeman, sir?”

“You and Konan are still on that, aren’t you Thompson?”

“Yes sir.”

Janko put down his donut for the second time and walked close to his people.

“I understand that you’re understaffed and overstressed. However, our town needs cool heads to prevail. Until this situation calms down, we’ve got to deal with whatever pops off.”

The detectives nodded, scattered ‘yes sirs’ were muttered here and there. Lilly sighed. 

“Now, get out of here and handle your business.”

Snatched…Part IV: the beginning…unedited…

There’s something about restless slumber that further exhausts an individual. To Konan, he felt as if someone had tried to smother him with a wet blanket. 

He sat up on the side of the bed and tried figure out why he heard banging and screams outside of his trailer.

“Get out here, white man! Face justice for your transgressions.”

Konan picked up the shotgun by his bed, a Mossberg 590, which he kept loaded with slugs. The only attachment on the tactical shotgun, a Sure-Fire flashlight, rested on the side of the barrel.

“Coming,” Konan muttered. 

He peeked through the blinds at the crowd of people standing in his yard. Some had Molotov cocktails in one hand, a lighter in the other.

Konan kicked his front door open and stepped outside.

“Ooh…oh…man. Hold up,” a young black man said as he backed up. Konan pulled the weapon tight into his shoulder and backed the man up. 

“You’re trespassing,” Konan said quietly. 

“Look man, we just upset, okay. Don’t pull the trigger, baby…don’t pull the trigger….”

Somewhere in the crowd someone hollered, “rush that fool! He can’t kill us all!”

“Your friends don’t think a whole lot about you, do they?”

“No, sir. Please don’t pull the trigger.”

“I have six slugs loaded in this shotgun. Your friend is right, I can’t kill you all. However, the first dozen or so are going to hell before I get there. I’m going to say this one time, go home.”

The crowd muttered and milled around for several moments, but no one decided to push their luck that night. A few ‘man that crazy white dude won’t shoot nobody,’ echoed from the crowd but nobody cared to try their luck. Slowly, the crowd dissipated. Soon, the only two left in the yard were Konan and the black man he aimed the shotgun at.

“Sir, please…”

“Shut up.”

Konan listened to the sounds of the evening, but he couldn’t hear any protestors near his property. He lifted the shotgun to his shoulder. The black man sobbed and fell to his knees.

“You made me pee myself, that ain’t right.”

“You come to my house, uninvited, threaten violence on me and then have the audacity to complain about how I treated you. You’re too stupid to live. Please tell me that you’re not a father.”

“I have six kids.”

“What kind of idiot would breed with you? You know what, never mind. Go home, and I better never see your face again. Otherwise, I’m gonna kill you on principle.”

“Yes sir, you won’t see me again.”

Konan watched as the man hightailed it from his yard. He sighed and walked back to his home. “God, I’m too old for this crap,” Konan muttered as he walked in and shut the door.

He leaned the shotgun next to the sink and made him a cup of coffee. Konan knew he would not get any rest, so he dressed, sipped his coffee, and waited.

The sun would rise soon, and he might as well be ready for whatever the new day would bring.

Snatched…the story continues…unedited…

After dropping Lilly off, Konan drove home. The older he got, the more he loved staying home. His home served as his refuge from the insanity of the world that lived in. 

He pulled close to his porch and stepped into the night. Even from his house, which sat on the far outskirts of town, the sky appeared blood red. He could hear the shouts of defiance and knew that rebellion had begun.

He had seen it all before, in more destitute parts of the world, but never had he thought it would happen in America.

For his lack of faith in humanity, Konan had prayed that his cynicism was wrong. It hadn’t been, and Konan knew that his fears were rooted in truth.

After showering, Konan sat on the side of his bed. He pulled his cedar chest to him and opened it.  Konan stared at the American flag that his unit presented hm with when he retired. 

“Our sacrifices meant nothing. All the blood, the horror, the dead and the dying, none of it meant anything.”

A single tear rolled down Konan’s cheek, he laid back on the bed and let a restless slumber fall over him.