Authors: Bernard Lee DeLeo
© 2002 by Bernard DeLeo. All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.
ISBN: 978-0-7596-9722-5 (ebook)
Chapter 7 Employees and Business
Chapter 8 Relationships and Danger
Chapter 10 New and Old Acquaintances
Chapter 12 The Russians and Nate’s Lincoln
They Close The Deal and Sammy Gets Taken
Chapter 16 Cementing Relationships
Chapter 21 Fabric Of Existence
Chapter 24 DC Limousine and Danger
“Where are you assholes taking me,” the handcuffed man asked arrogantly. I’ve already told you everything I’m going to.”
The policeman on the passenger side of the unmarked state car looked back, grinned at the hulking man behind the car’s caged partition, and then turned back to face the front.
“Hey shithead, what do you think is so funny? I hope my lawyer is waiting for me when we get to wherever you feebs are taking me.”
The driver sighed. “Believe me when I tell you this, there will definitely be someone to meet you at the end of the trip, and you will have a lot to say.”
“Fuck you,” the prisoner sneered. He was 6’5” tall in his bare feet, and weighed 300 lbs of almost solid muscle. They called him Rack on the street; because he loved to torture things, and he was very good at it. They caught Rack because he spent too much time snatching his latest victim from in front of a supermarket. His partner, a fifteen year-old crack head, ratted him out, and told the police everything he knew about the young girl slave ring Rack worked for. Rack had been working for the group through a street gang he had belonged to since he was eighteen. For ten years, he had escaped all but small brushes with the law. Rack’s luck had changed the day before, when the crack head had missed their target, and she had started screaming. His partner had dived back into the car. Before Rack could even throw the car into gear, he had the barrel of a.357 magnum pistol jammed into his ear.
“Put both of your hands at ten and two on that wheel or I blow your face off.” Rack carefully placed his hands on the wheel, glancing slowly at the gunman. The black police officer, who held his pistol with both hands unwaveringly, stared coldly at Rack with murder in his eyes. His partner had already handcuffed the crack head face down on the ground, and now had his gun pointed at Rack from the other side of the car.
“Easy brother, this jus…a misunderstanding. We was on…”
“I am not your fucking brother, and I know exactly what you were doing.”
Rack leaned back, shaking his head at the memory of the arresting officer. Leave it to him to pick the one spot the police had just been driving by. Now here he was on his way to who knows where, with these two feebs. Although the crack head had given up enough to make them suspicious,
Rack knew they really had nothing as long as he kept his mouth shut. The car turned down a long, well kept road, leading to a huge walled in structure. Two guards met the police car at the gate, and Rack could see two armed men in towers above. They looked over the driver’s papers, and waved the car through. The car came to a halt a few minutes later in front of a concrete complex. His captors got out and eased Rack out of the backseat.
“A black man don’t even get a trial now before you lock him up. My rights don’t count now, huh?”
The uniformed driver, who was also black, walked up next to Rack, and said quietly, “You have one last chance to tell us everything right here and now. I have the equipment, and the authority, to take your statement. You may give me your confession right here this instant.”
Rack laughed, “You crazy. I don’t have to tell you nothin’.”
The black officer smiled, “I was hoping you’d say that.”
The other officer laughed, and Rack started getting worried. They walked up to the entrance, and the sealed double doors hissed open. Three men in suits met them inside. They took charge of Rack, who watched the two officers pass back through the door.
“Mr. Hutchison, please accompany us. Please do not speak, and do not resist. These two men will hurt you if you do not follow these two directives.”
Rack followed the man as he led the way. They passed strange looking cells, and armed checkpoints. A hushed atmosphere enveloped the complex. Rack had done a year at Folsom prison for armed robbery, and he could tell this was no regular prison. They got on an elevator and went down three levels. The level they got off on was built like a maze. After turning down numerous hallways, they entered a large room with a single long table with chairs spaced neatly around it.
“Please sit down. You, Mr. Hutchison, are in a prison for special cases. You will now meet a man who you will tell everything to. He is also a prisoner of sorts. Five years ago a gang near his home murdered his wife and tortured, raped, and dismembered his twelve-year-old daughter. He dropped out of sight, and hunted down the entire gang. He tortured and killed every member individually without leaving a trace. When he was done, he gave himself up. He was convicted on twenty-eight counts of murder with special circumstances. He offered no defense, and refused any legal help. He was sent here after he killed five prisoners in self-defense at the maximum-security prison he was sentenced to.
The CIA trained him long ago, after recruiting him out of the Marine Corps. He did two tours of duty in Vietnam as a sniper, and had fifty-eight confirmed kills. No record exists as to what he did for the CIA. Listen closely Mr. Hutchison. He knows how to use violence to acquire information. Since coming here, he has proven to be very helpful to us. He will find out everything you know. I tell you this only because you still have a chance to cooperate without having to meet him.”
“You are wasting your time asshole. I ain’t scared of you, him, or these other white dildos you got working for you. I want my lawyer, and I want out of this fucking tomb.”
The man nodded to the two men. They drew their weapons, and pointed them at the prisoner, while he removed the handcuffs from Rack’s hands. He stepped back to a panel in the wall. A doorway appeared in the curtained side of the room, which opened into a large bare room containing two bolted down metal chairs facing each other five feet apart. After the door closed behind him another door opened across the room. A man entered the room dressed in standard issue gray prison garb. He was about six feet tall with short cropped graying hair. Although of medium build, Rack could see tendons and muscles flow with each step. He regarded Rack quietly from dark dead eyes, set in a heavily scarred face. The man walked over to the chair facing Rack and sat down slowly, his eyes never leaving Rack’s face. He motioned to the chair opposite him.
“Sit down across from me Mr. Hutchison,” A voice as dead as the man’s eyes told him. Every syllable sounded like a threat.
Rack ran straight at him, but he was no longer there. The man gripped Rack’s wrist in his hand, and Rack went to his knees in agony, as the bones in his wrist were slowly pulverized. Rack screamed. The constant pressure kept increasing as if his wrist were caught in a hydraulic press. The pain eased, and Rack felt himself lifted easily into the chair he had been ordered to initially. When Rack looked up from his mangled wrist, the man sat on the chair opposite of him, just as coldly as before. As Rack started to complain, the man held up his hand, and Rack bit back his words.
“This conversation is being recorded. Tell everything you know about the group kidnapping young girls, every detail. When you lie, or stop before we have all of the information, I will know it, and I will break something on your body. When I have broken everything I can, I will begin tearing pieces off.”
“What do I get ou…” Rack screamed, as there was a blur of movement. One of the fingers on his damaged arm was bent, snapped, and returned to its original position.
“Begin now,” the man said quietly.
“But.” Rack screamed again, as another of his fingers on the same hand snapped loudly. Rack started talking, starting with his earliest involvement with the gang. The first time he left out something, another finger snapped before his horrified eyes. He talked nonstop for the next two and a half hours without pausing. When he finished, he looked up pleadingly.
“That’s all of it, everything, honest…” Rack’s face exploded inward, and his body fell loosely to the floor, twitching grotesquely. “I know.”
The man looked up at the doorway impassively as it hissed open. Six heavily armed men burst into the room. The man who had led Rack to the room, walked in cautiously, and stared angrily at the still twitching body. He turned an angry gaze back to the man before him.
“You were not to kill him Connor. We still don’t know if he told us everything.”
“I know,” The man called Connor replied. “I wish there had been more time, or that he had lied.”
“You are becoming too dangerous for our operation. I think you are losing sight of our objective.”
“My objective may indeed be different Quenton. Kill me now if you are afraid. I am not dangerous to the innocent girls this man destroyed, but you are right when you say I am more dangerous. I am much more dangerous. Kill me now if I am of no further use. I am content.”
One second the man stood calmly in front of him. The next instant witnessed a whirlwind of movement, shouts, screams, and a shot. Not more than twenty seconds had passed, and all of the men who had followed Quenton into the room lay unconscious, in various positions on the floor.
“Sit down Mr. Quenton.”
Quenton whirled around towards the voice. He looked in disbelief at the sight of the man who spoke, coldly watching him from one of the chairs. “If you killed any of these men I’ll.oh hell, what’s the use of threatening you. Are any of these men hurt badly?”
“No, I just wanted you to speak without any distractions, from the same level. Now please have a seat. I wanted you to know my words of death are real, and therefore my words of life are also real,” Connor told him with a slight smile.
“Outlaw Josey Wales,
Connor nodded, still smiling.
“I recognized the other speech from all those Punisher comic books we’ve been bringing you. I think maybe you’ve gone around the bend my friend.”
“I am not your friend.”
“No, but you are no longer someone we can handle,” Quenton pointed out. “I guess you’ve reached that next level you were talking about, because I’ve never seen anything like this. You still cannot leave here.”
Connor stood up and walked over to the wall, paused for a second, and then passed through it. After a second, he passed back through. He returned to his chair, and sat down. “I can leave here any time I want.”
Sweat ran into Quenton’s blinking eyes as his mind tried to adjust to the impossible. He breathed deeply, and realized he had been holding his breath. “What the hell are you?” Quenton whispered.
“I am Vengeance.”
“That’s more of your comic book crap. This is no hero comic. Are you still human?”
“I passed through and came back,” Connor replied calmly. “Since then, I have been testing the limits of what I can do. I cannot molecularly change form, but I can phase my molecular structure through anything. I have strength and speed. I can leave my body for long periods of time. There are things I can sense when I face someone, and concentrate on a subject; but I cannot read minds, not yet anyway.”
“What do you mean passed through?”
“I went out of body, and went through some kind of gateway.”
“What was on the other side Elvis?” Quenton asked.
“There were sensations which bombarded me, sensations so strange, I cannot relate them to you in a way you could understand. I maintained for an instant, and then I returned. The pain I nursed all these years for my wife and daughter has left me. I have purpose now, without the agony of their deaths haunting my every thought. I am cold no longer. I am ice.
“Why did you kill Hutchison then if you don’t feel anything?”
“I could not take the chance he would one day walk out free,” Connor answered. “I know how justice works today. It doesn’t. Why else would you have me here.”
“So you are judge and jury now?” Quenton asked, leaning towards Connor. “The court system in this country may fall short once in a while, but it’s the best around, and all we have.”
“We’ve got a saying down here Mr. Quenton: ‘Don’t piss down my back, and tell me it’s rainin’.”
Quenton shook his head, “With all of your power, you still feed me old movie lines.
The Outlaw Josie Wales
“Very good,” Connor said. “I am not a judge or a jury. I am justice without liberal guilt. Executing my justice makes me feel right.”
“You are not God.”
“No,” Connor agreed, “but I am strong with the force.”
“Oh please, oh please, no
“The force exists. I am living proof of it.”
“What is it you want then Luke?” Quenton asked tiredly. “It seems you are the force around here.”
“I am a lot closer to Darth Vader than I’ll ever be to Luke Skywalker. There are darker shades to the force, some good, and some evil. I do not have a saber of light, but I can, and I will bring down the hand of darkness.”
“Very poetic, but you are neither Vader, nor Skywalker. You are Thomas Connor.”
“That man no longer exists. You may call me Gray.”
“As in the crayon, or the area?” Quenton asked quietly.
“As in the shade,” Connor replied in a whisper.
“I give up, what do you want?”
“To continue what I am doing,” Connor informed him, “only on the outside of this place.”
“And who exactly is going to finance your justice operation?” Quenton asked.
“You forget. I can phase in and out of anywhere. I will take money from the criminals, and use it against them.”
“Like the Punisher?” Quenton offered.
“Yes, almost just like the Punisher, only better.”
“Are you going after Hutchison’s gang first?”
“Yes, but I will be going much further than that. I’ll keep in touch, so you can keep innocent people out of my way.” Connor stood up. “I’ll be back.”
“Oh Christ, the
too? Is there any movie cliché you don’t know? Will you be leaving out the front door, or do you plan on walking through all of our walls?”
Connor smiled at Quenton. “Can I use your car? I want to go and do some reconnaissance on the information I received from Mr. Hutchison. I will bring it back before you go home.”
Quenton took a handkerchief from his coat pocket and wiped the sweat from his face.
“You do not look well Quenton. I did not mean to upset you.”
Quenton shook his head in disbelief. “You turn my reality inside out, and then act surprised it upsets me. Listen Connor, or Gray, or whoever you are, if you try to leave, the guards will try to kill you. Someone will get hurt.”
“Why would they try to kill you,” Connor asked.
In the blink of an eye, Quenton was staring at a mirror image of himself, complete with used handkerchief in hand. “I thought you could not change form.”
“I do not change form,” Connor told him. “I can, however, mimic any subject I wish. Handy little trick, huh?”
“Amazing,” Quenton gasped. “Can you even be killed?”
“I can heal instantly, but I guess I could be blown to bits. Do you really wish to kill me Quenton? Just because I will not act as a bullet fired from your gun does not mean I cannot be useful to you.”
“Why would you want to be useful?” Quenton asked.
“Because,” Connor stated simply, “I love this country. It may sound naive, but I love America. My father landed at Omaha Beach during the Normandy invasion. He came back with shrapnel in his spine, and a permanent stiff leg. He never complained and he never gave up.”
“The only evil in America exists in the humans governing her, and living within her borders. I hope to turn many in this country back away from the dark side. Now, can I have your car keys?”
Quenton reached into his pants pocket and withdrew his car keys with a shaky hand. “You will take care of it, won’t you? I only have six more payments.”
Connor laughed, and patted Quenton on the shoulder as he stood up. To Quenton’s horror, he heard his own braying type laughter come from his doppelganger’s mouth.
“I will take excellent care of your 97 Ford Explorer.”
“How did.” Quenton stuttered.
“I have traveled out of body many times. I know everything about you and where you live. You also want what’s right Quenton. You just do not know how to attain it sometimes. We could accomplish quite a lot, if you are willing.”
“I.I do not know what to say. Your powers are incredible. If you really do mean what you say, I will work with you.”
“You realize you cannot lie to me or hide anything without me knowing it?” Connor asked.
Quenton looked down at Hutchison’s shattered body and nodded. “I know.”
“Good.” When Quenton looked up, Humphrey Bogart looked down at him, wearing the same hat and trench coat he wore in the movie
“This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” Connor added in perfect Bogart voice.
Quenton laughed uneasily as Connor changed back into Quenton’s form. “Stay here for a half an hour, and I will get you credentials you may use to come and go as you please. I may even be able to get a vehicle assigned to you.”
Connor changed to his own form and smiled in agreement. “Call me Thomas. I was having a little fun with you before. Your proposal does seem like the best course. I just wanted you to stay out of trouble with your superiors.”
“Will you be staying here at night?”
“Yes, although I can protect my body with an impenetrable aura when I leave it, I would just as soon leave it here.”
“Why do you need to go out at all if you can go anywhere out of body?”
“Some questions will need to be asked,” Connor replied. “I will need my body if I am to ask the questions, and then gain the answers.”
Quenton shuddered. “I will be back in less than thirty minutes.”
“I will be here.”
Quenton left. Connor began to help the men sent in to subdue him back to consciousness. By the time Quenton returned, his men were on their feet, albeit a bit unsteady. He had brought Connor a suit, shoes, and tie along with the credentials. Connor handed him his Ford keys back, and took the keys Quenton gave him for an agency vehicle. Connor quickly changed into the suit, while Quenton explained the change in plan to his men, who became even more confused. After obtaining directions to his government vehicle, Connor left with a slight wave to Quenton.
Quenton mopped his brow again as his men gathered around him. Quenton held up his hands, “I know, I know, this must be the weirdest damn thing you all have ever seen. Trust me, it would not be any clearer if you knew everything. Mr. Connor will be back. He is to have full access to the complex until further notice. Is that understood?”
He received nods of affirmation and then dismissed them. Quenton then called for cleanup. After leaving the room, Quenton went around to another doorway. He entered into a room, which had a two-way mirror, overseeing the killing room he had just left. The blonde haired woman seated in the room, typing furiously into a laptop computer, looked up at the intrusion.