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Authors: Patrick Dakin

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A Shadow Fell

BOOK: A Shadow Fell
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260

A SHADOW FELL / Patrick Dakin

             
             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             
             
             
A SHADOW FELL

 

             
             
             
             
             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             
             
             
             
             
A Novel by

 

             
             
             
             
             
             

             
             
             
             
             
             
Patrick Dakin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             
             
A shadow
rose
,

 

             
             
             
             
And then it fell;

 

             
             
From
wh
ence it
came
,

 

             
             
             
             
No one can tell.

 

 

 

 

             
             
             
             
             
 
Part One

 

 

 

 

             
             
             
             
    
 

             
             
             
             
             
The Threat

 

 

 

February
, 1990
....

             

Our motor home excursion along the
south
eastern seaboard had been the best of times
. Three weeks of uninterrupted pleasure. Long, lazy days explor
ing
small town
s
,
tour
ing
historical sites,
walk
ing
pristine beaches, and
even a day of deep sea fishing. B
ut
all things must
eventually
come to an
end
.
When your daughter is six years old three weeks of separation from her friends is about all it takes to bring on some serious home sickness. We
were
h
eaded south through Georgia en route to our home in Florida.

             
Taking advantage of near perfect weather w
e
had stopped well before our usual pullover time.
I was
comfortably
seated
outside,
engrossed in a novel
while sipping a
lite beer
,
with Winston curled at my feet. Tanya
, stretched out on a towel,
was
occupied
with
charcoal pencil and sketch book, already show
ing
some talent as a budding artist.
Life seemed impossibly
full of contentment
while we
a
waited the call to dinner
.

             
I
n a heartbeat
everything changed
.
An anguished cry from
Callie
shattered my Utopian mood
.

             
I
rushed into
the RV
, my first thought
s
being
that she had burned herself or
deposited a pot-roast on the floor
. I found
her
standing at the
kitchen
counter,
no evidence of disaster apparent. She was staring at the radio which was broadcasting the early news,
a
haunted look in her eyes
.
“What is it
?
” I said.

             
She was trembling
- I couldn’t tell if it was more
out of
an
ger
or
fear.
Either way
it was serious; she was not a woman prone to over-reaction.
He’s out,” she seethed. “He escaped.”

             
It took a few seconds to compute. The
one
incarcerated
person in the world guaranteed to spark such a vehement response
was her father
.
And surely that was impossible.

Not Reuben
,

I
said
.
But even as the words left my mouth it was obvious my first
intuition
was correct.

             

Yes
,” she
whispered. She brought her hand to her forehead,
as if
fighting off the onset of a vicious
migraine
.

             
The news was, indeed,
disturbing.
Few things in the world were likely to spur a more dreaded reaction than the thought of this
vile creature
on the loose.
I
put m
y hand on her shoulder
. “When?”

             
“Three days ago. Christ, Jack, he could be anywhere by now.”

             
“How the hell could this happen?” I
muttered
.

             
“The radio report says he faked a heart attack
, got away while the ambulance attendants were transporting him.”

             
We both
turned
to Tanya
, standing in the open doorway to the RV
.
Henderson had made no
secret of
his
craving
to
punish
us for bringing him down and
, given his history,
there was little doubt
in either of our minds
about what form his
retribution
would take if he ever got the opportunity.

             
“What’s wrong, Daddy?”
Tanya
said.

             
I
picked her up in my arms
. “Nothing, honey
.
Just some bad news about someone we used to know.”

             
“Is it someone I know?”

             
“No
,” I assured her
.

Someone from long ago.”

 

             
We were on the road early the next morning,
anxious now to
be
home
as quickly as
possible
.
In
truth we were probably safer on the road than we would be
anywhere
else
. Henderson would have no way to track us down whil
e we were travelling. Once home
we would be much easier to target. But
at that moment
we
just
wanted to be back on familiar ground, where we would have access to weapons and police protection if it came to that.

             
There w
ould be
those
in
law enforcement
who felt we were perfectly safe from reprisals. M
any
simply
regarded Reuben Henderson in his present form as nothing more than a harmless old man; a monster of almost unparalleled evil at one time
to be sure,
but now made ineffective by the passage of years.

             
Callie and I knew better
than most how inaccurate this assumption was
.
Henderson
had
spent
a vast portion of his life, by choice,
eking out a primitive existence
in a remote cabin in the Virginia mountains. He
was capable of
surviv
ing
anywhere
, under the most heinous conditions
. A
dd to that
his penchant for ritualistic
killing
which
was
- not to overstate the reality -
his
driving motivation
in life
and had been since his childhood.
The authorities were not even close to knowing how many children he had tortured and murdered
during the many years of his
brutal savagery
; i
n addition to his own father and his sister, t
he number, they knew, ran to at least forty.
On top of that were the murders of countless
innocent dupes whose deaths had been set up to look like suicides to shift attention away from a serial murder spree covering decades.
And t
he fact that
he had been as active during the two years
just
prior to
his capture as at any time in his past
was clear evidence he was
unimpeded
by advancing age
.
What
stood out in our memories
most vividly,
though
, was
the venom he
had
spewed
at us
after his trial.
It
had
chilled us
then and still did
.

             
No, there was not a
fragment
of
uncertainty
in our minds that
, failing capture,
he would come for us.

             
The
only question was when.
             

 

 

 

             
             
             
             
             
             
2

             
             
             

             
We lived on a
small acreage
in Levy County in central
Florida
. The nearest town was Williston
with a population of a couple thousand
;
Ocala was a forty minute drive southeast.
I had bought the place a year or so before Callie and I got together
,
tiring of the condo
life
I had
endured
since retiring to
Miami
Beach. I
’d gotten the property at
a reasonable price but the house had been badly
neglected
and it had taken me most of
a year
to complete the renovations I
f
elt were necessary
. It was now a comfortable, airy structure
, set well back from the road,
and
surrounded by
lots of tall, scraggly trees and
leafy vegetation common to
this part of the world
. In most ways it
suited us well
;
the
one quality
we were not entirely sold on
was it’s remoteness. I had gone from one extreme to the other in moving here from
Miami
Beach and
,
although I loved the solitude and beauty
,
I had reservations about how suit
able
it was for
a small child.
Callie had overcome this concern to a large degree by ensuring that Tanya was involved in a variety of activities outside the home.
It seemed t
here were enough play groups and sport
s options
available
for young children
within a fairly short drive
to offset the fact that we lived
a largely secluded existence.
 

             
When we arrived home from our trip I phoned
Tom Kilborn
,
the
Special
Agent in Charge of the
F.B.I.’s
Tampa field
office
.
A
lthough
it would
be
overstating
the truth
to
say we were
close friend
s
we had
worked together several times over the years before his promotion and had always
got
ten
along well
.

             

Hell
o
,
Tom,” I said when I was put through to him after identifying myself to his assistant.

             
“Jack, how are you?”

             

O
kay I suppose. You?”

             
“You know me, Jack.
The search is still on
for younger women and older whiskey.”

             
“Same old Tommy the Killer, huh?”

             
“Well, maybe not quite the same. We’re all getting older, am I right?”

             
“No argument from me there. I
imagine
you
know
what I’m calling about.”


I do
. I wish I had some good news for you
, Jack
.
There’s been no trace of him
yet
,
but w
e’ve got a full bore search
underway
. We’ll get him.”

             
“How the hell could this have happened, Tom?”

             
“I
don’t
know. Makes you wonder. Henderson was being held in the Greensville Correction Centre near J
arratt. You probably remember it
was originally a maximum security facility but
it
was reclassified to medium security recently when two new state prisons were opened. Henderson was slated for a move but, because of his age, they didn’t put a high priority on him and hadn’t gotten around to it yet.”

             

Do you have any more details on how he pulled off the escape? The news reports were
pretty
sketchy.

             

Not a lot really. As you’ve heard,
He
nderson
used some kind of drug on himself to temporarily mimic the effect of a severe heart attack.
How he was able to get a hold of this
particular
drug we don’t know.
But i
t’s no secret,
of course
, that availability of narcotics in the prison system is hardly unusual.
In any event
, prison officials
figured he was pretty much done
;
he was
transported to
the
nearest
medical center
in the middle of the night and a guard was posted at the emergency room exit.
Henderson was hooked up to an IV and a specialist was on his way in to see what could
be
do
ne
for him when
it was discovered he was missing
.
Looks like he waited for the right opportunity, threw on some doctor’s scrubs, and simply walked out of the place.

             
I shook my head in wonder. “Jesus. That easy.”

             

Sad I know,” Kilborn said, “but it l
ooks
that way
.”
He made no effort to disguise the disgust in his voice.

             
“Callie’s pretty nervous
.
She’s convinced he’s going to try to get to us
.
He
never
made a secret of what his intentions would be
if he ever got the chance.
The thing is, Tom,
we have a
six-year-old daughter
now
.
We adopted two years ago. I don’t have to tell you what this maniac would do if he
was
ever
able to get
h
is hands on
her.

             

You can tell Callie to rest easy.
We’
ll have
you guys covered. He’s not going to get near you.”

             

I appreciate the sentiment, but y
ou know damn well you can’t
guarantee that
.

             
I heard him sigh
. “Look, what can I say?”

             

Get
me back in. Temporary assignment, no pay, no status. Just let me be part of the unit.”

             

Jack,
if my math is correct y
ou’re now
at
mandatory retirement
age
. I couldn’t get you back in even if I wanted to
, which I don’t
. Look, you’ve still got your standard issue Glock I assume.”

             

O
f course.”

             
“Start carrying
it if you’re not already
. Keep your eyes open and let us do our job
s
. Besides,
the best thing you can do for
your family
is to stay
close to them.”

             
I couldn’t argue with the truthfulness of that
.
“Will you
keep
me
posted
?”

             

You can count on
it,” he assured me
.

Anything I learn, you’ll know
as soon as it’s humanly possible.

             
I wasn’t
exactly pleased
with the outcome of the discussion with my old associate but I
knew it was unlikely I was going to get anything more from him.

I guess
I’m going to have to be content with that then. Get this guy fast, Tom, before he has a chance to harm another child.

             

We will. Now go take care of your family.

             
I hung up feeling like a
very
old warhorse
who’d been
put out to pasture. It wasn’t a feeling
I relished
.

             
The newspaper and television people called all day wanting to
interview us for our reactions to Henderson’s daring escape.
I had learned
during my career with
the Bureau that the best way to treat the media when you don’t want to be bothered by them is to totally ignore them. Don’t beg them to leave you alone, don’t express anger that they’re bothering you. Make absolutely no comment about anything. Simply ignore them. Eventually they get the idea and leave you alone.

BOOK: A Shadow Fell
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ads

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