Missing – Part 10 (Day 11) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInline

Missing is part of an ongoing story, which I aim to turn into a novella – a prequel to Brothers in Arms (Book 3 of the Morgan and Fairchild Series). I’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge and, where possible, I try to incorporate the daily prompts. As Missing is a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words.

Prompt: Sept 11th – Friday Favourites (A person just starting out in their field takes a prestigious, entry-level position in a big city, but the result is not as perfect or exciting as they imagined.) I haven’t used the prompt today (I failed to weave it in).

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time. Elsewhere in the story, Holly awakes in an unfamiliar room with no memory of how she got there. She soon discovers she is being held in an abandoned airfield, and her life is in danger.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Holly felt her freedom seeping away like sand in an hourglass. The relentless clock in her mind warred with the frantic drumming of her heart. She tried to remain calm, to stay focused, but with each passing minute she felt the impending danger like a touch across her sweat-dampened skin.

‘You have to be as quiet as a mouse, and as cunning as a tiger.’ Her brother’s twelve year old voice echoed in her head as she dodged from behind the crate.

Her smile was bitter sweet. Holly missed her brother every minute of every day, but she felt oddly close to him as she navigated the large hanger, trying not to draw attention to herself.

The memories were unavoidable, they always hit her hard when she thought of him, remembered finding him in the filthy hovel which had been his final resting place. Lucas had been four years her senior; he had protected her, made her existence bearable. She had lost him because, like their mother, he had been unable to break free of his addiction. That addiction had killed him, and stolen what was left of her childhood.

Shaking the thoughts away, Holly saw an opportunity and took it. At that moment nobody was guarding the door, so she slipped out and plastered herself to the side of the hanger; heart pounding.

She didn’t have a plan, though she had played out the fantasy of finding keys in one of those vehicles. It was a game she used to play with Lucas. There were times growing up when they had been so hungry they could barely function, so they had escaped inside her brother’s imagination. He had told her stories, described the food they would eat so eloquently she could almost taste it on her tongue.

Holly clung to those stories now as she crept along the side of the hanger and searched her surroundings. She saw nothing but wasteland, a wide open space which gave her little to no cover.

In her mind she saw herself running, running fast and sure across the ground until she came to a road. The fantasy vanished the moment a guard stepped around the corner and spotted her. Instinctively, she turned to run. But he was fast and he caught her with ease, squeezing her arms and dragging her back toward the door.

She wanted to scream, to fight, and to cling to what little hope she had left. Instead she allowed him to drag her back inside the hateful building.

Holly barely managed to hold back a gasp when she spotted her personal guard stomping toward them. His eyes were cold and dark, and they burned with anger. She had hurt him, humiliated him by catching him unaware. He was about to make her pay.

She stood her ground, gritting her teeth as he raised a large hand in the air; his intention clear.

The slap, when it came, sent a shock of pain across her face. It burned so hot her eyes began to water. It was less of a shock the second time, but it didn’t hurt any less.

Holly relaxed her jaw and dropped her eyes. She had to fight the compulsion to spit in his face, not because she feared what he might do to her, but she wasn’t quite ready to show her true strength. They would never break her, she would continue to fight until she had no fight left. If they believed her escape had been a fluke, that she had now learned her lesson, she would allow them to believe it. Even as she plotted and waited for another opening.

So she presented herself as a weak creature, no longer a threat. She didn’t say a word, and didn’t protest or even look up when they led her back to her box.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Missing – Part 9 (Day 10) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words.

Prompt: Sept 10th – The Tunnel (Your main character is preparing to enter a tunnel).

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time. Elsewhere in the story, Holly awakes in an unfamiliar room with no memory of how she got there. She soon discovers she is being held in an abandoned airfield, and her life is in danger.

Justin felt a buzz of excitement as he prepared to enter the tunnel. He knew what he would find; lights, cameras, chaos. Gray’s Films were shooting a scene from their latest project within the London Underground, and Justin had volunteered to form part of the security team.

He felt a familiar rush of air, the clickety-clack of an approaching train, and was met by a hushed silence. Not what he had expected.

Justin took up his position and scanned the crew. He recognised everyone on the platform; it was part of the job. He watched silently, patiently and listed to the chatter in his earpiece.

“I’m sorry to hear about your friend.”

He tensed at the sound of Kelvin Fairchild’s voice. The tone was smooth and even; expertly controlled, and Justin knew he should be worried. Not because Kelvin was his boss, but because he sounded hurt. It was Justin’s first day back after an enforced leave of absence, and he hadn’t seen Kelvin in almost a week.

“Thanks, Kel.”

He waited out the silence, wondering just how mad Kelvin was. The man had more control than JJ, which was saying something, and he made Justin sweat for several long minutes.

“Are you ready to share the load now?” Kelvin asked.

By load Justin knew he was referring to the enquiries Justin had made about the missing children. “I’ve had help…sort of.”

“Why didn’t you come to us with this, Justin? And I don’t mean giving the others bits and pieces of the puzzle. I mean, if you thought this was a genuine case, why didn’t you bring it to the table?”

Justin shrugged. “I wasn’t completely convinced, not at first.”

“But you are now?”

“I am now.”

The confirmation hung in the air, as thick and heavy as the production lights. This time, Kelvin didn’t keep him waiting.

“I’ve put it on the agenda for the team briefing, and I intend to assign Tommy to work with you.” Tommy was the perfect member of the team when it came to investigation and surveillance work. “But know this, Justin,” Kelvin said, and his voice had taken on a hard edge. “First and foremost we’re a family, and we look out for one another. Don’t forget it again.”

Justin nodded once, and Kelvin walked away without saying another word. He knew Kelvin wouldn’t hold a grudge, and the matter would be forgotten by the time they spoke again. But Justin felt a wave of guilt all the same.

Kelvin was right, they were family, and the guy knew first-hand what it was like to lose a member of his family. His cousin, Andrew Butcher, had dropped off the grid four years ago. The pair were raised as brothers and the loss had hit Kelvin hard. JJ and Ellen grieved with him, being Andrew’s closest friends.

Two months ago Andrew had re-emerged. He was trying to make amends, but Justin knew he had a long way to go before Kelvin forgave him.

He shook his head and pushed aside his wandering thoughts. With the whole team backing him he couldn’t fail and, with that thought, he concentrated on the job at hand.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Missing – Part 8 (Day 9) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words.

Prompt: Sept 9th – Write a story based on Gabriel Fauré’s “Pavane.”

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time.

Justin listened to the steady rhythm of Paul’s heart monitor. There were other sounds, accompaniments which belonged to the precise and orchestrated movements of the nursing staff. Beneath that he detected the hushed tones of relatives walking to and from the ward, and the hiss and buzz of machines working their magic.

The atmosphere was subdued, a quiet, painful melody that gave Justin an appreciation of the intricate dance of those around him.

He rubbed his hands over his face, trying to rid himself of the melancholy. His mind often drifted to the architecture of life; those inner workings he enjoyed to study and dissect. It was a coping strategy, and the hospital was a complicated system he couldn’t help but admire.

“Hi.”

Justin jumped to his feet, jolted by the welcome sound of Paul’s voice. “Hey, buddy. You gave us quite a fright.”

“I’m sorry.” Paul swallowed, and his eyes flickered shut. “Olly’s dead.”

“What?”

Paul’s eyes opened. They held such raw emotion Justin wanted to look away.

“I visited the shelter, just to check in… you know. I was worried about him.” He stared past Justin, and his expression became haunted. “He was hit by a car. The police…they found a card in his pocket and they…” Paul’s words trailed off.

Justin could fill in the blanks. “I’m so sorry.” He didn’t know what else to say; words seemed inadequate.

“Thanks.” He met Justin’s eyes. “I appreciate all you tried to do. It means a lot that you wanted to help.”

Justin wanted to remind him that he still had a job to do, that there were others still at risk. But it wasn’t the time. “Anything you need, Paul. I mean it.” He placed a hand on his friend’s arm. “When you get out of here, I want you to stay with me for a while.”

Paul nodded, a small smile tugging at his lips. “You always look out for me.”

“We look out for each other.” It was the absolute truth. Their lives had taken many different turns, but they had sworn to protect one another as children. Justin learned about friendship and honour long before he joined the army.

“You never give up on me.” Paul’s voice was sleepy, the words slurred.

“I’ll never give up on you.”

Or those kids.  

Justin’s instincts told him that, whatever had happened to Paul’s friend, there was a real threat out there. Someone was targeting vulnerable teenagers. It was a conviction JJ would appreciate – a man who lived by his gut.

When he detected the change in Paul’s breathing, the slow and easy rhythm of sleep, he pulled the chair closer and sat down to wait. This time his mind was quiet and, after a few minutes, he felt his own eyes begin to close. It had been a long night.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Missing – Part 7 (Day 8) A Story A Day – #BlogBattle Writing Challenge

Organised by Rachael Ritchey - http://www.rachaelritchey.com
Organised by Rachael Ritchey – http://www.rachaelritchey.com

#BlogBattle is a weekly writing challenge organised by Rachael Ritchey. You can find more information about it here. It’s a fun battle, and a supportive group – a great place to hang out! The theme this week is ‘HEAD’.

As some of you may know, I’m taking part in the ‘A Story A Day September’ challenge. My blog battle entry will serve as my story for today. The prompt for the challenge is related to conflict and tension. To my blog battle buddies, this is a continuation of an ongoing story. It can, however, stand alone. I followed the theme of this weeks battle.

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time. Elsewhere in the story, a girl named Holly wakes up without any memory of the night before. She soon discovers she has been kidnapped and is being held in an abandoned airfield.

Andrew slipped out of the shadows and approached his contact. Gary Jones was a weasel of a man, but he was also predictable and would do just about anything for a fast buck. Tonight he had information Andrew needed, information which might lead to his client’s missing daughter.

Gary startled when he saw Andrew; eyes large in a long, narrow face. “Shit, why do you have to do that, man?” He snorted. “You’re like a ninja or something.”

“Or something.” Andrew didn’t have the time or patience for chitchat. “What do you have for me?”

“Word is that the Pintus family are branching out. Seems there’s a need for organs and they’re in the retrieval business.”

Andrew’s expression didn’t change. He knew all about the family, he’d been gathering intel on them for months. “That better not be all you have.” He took a step forward. “You know how I feel about time wasters.”

A growl punctuated the words. It made Andrew smile. He looked down briefly, nodding to Blue. The move was almost imperceptible. Blue was a Utonagan, bred to resemble a wolf but deemed a failure due to his piercing blue eyes. Andrew had saved his life or, more accurately, they had saved each other.

“I hear they’re snatching street kids. Mainly near Chapel Market.” Gary glanced nervously at Blue. “That’s all I have right now. But I’ll put feelers out. They’re holding them in a central location, I just don’t know where. Yet.”

Andrew pulled an envelope from his inside pocket, and made a show of removing some of the notes. He handed the rest over. “If you get me a location I’ll triple your reward.”

“Reward.” Gary snorted. “Yeah, right.”

At the low growl from Blue, Gary stuffed the envelope in his jeans and darted off in the opposite direction. “I’ll be in touch,” he said, before disappearing into the night.

Andrew backtracked to his truck. “The weasel actually came through for us,” he said, glancing at Blue. The dog cocked his head as if to question the validity in his statement. “We have somewhere to focus our attention.”

Inside the dark blue BMW, Andrew touched base and reported in. He had another job to do tonight, but he had a little time. The temptation to visit JJ was strong. They were working out their differences, or so he’d been told. The thought made him grin. JJ hadn’t forgiven him for checking out the way he had. Nor had Ellen for that matter. They were his closest friends and he had shut them out. All the way out.

Andrew sighed and let his head fall back against the seat. He had always been a stubborn fool. His time within the Special Reconnaissance Regiment had been the hardest in his career, a career that almost ended in his death. Andrew had spent weeks in a coma, and longer still in recovery.

The first few months had been hell on earth. He had relived the mission over and over, focusing on the death of his friends and torturing himself because he had made it out alive. The doctors had referred him to a therapist, a man who wanted to get inside his head and analyse his feelings.

The problem was, Andrew didn’t want anyone else to see his failings. Including JJ and Ellen. He didn’t want to think, or feel, he just wanted to escape. It was the first time in his life Andrew had taken the coward’s way out.

He had travelled England, working out his tension with manual labour, and suffocating his ghosts with scotch – just to get him through the nights. After a while he began to heal, first physically, and then mentally. He hadn’t managed to let go of the guilt, but his head was clear of nightmares and Andrew had learned to forgive himself for surviving the attack.

The low whine from Blue dragged him back to the present. He sat up, and looked across at his companion. “What do you say we drive by Chapel Market and scope out the place?”

Blue answered with his usual enthusiasm, eyeing Andrew with what looked suspiciously like impatience.

“Okay, I hear you, buddy. We won’t find Holly sitting in the dark.”

Andrew started the truck, and felt energy course through his veins. He would find the girl. Losing wasn’t an option. Not this time.

Missing – Part 6 (Day 7) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words.

Prompt: Sept 7th – A killer is on the loose, having broken into the home of a wealthy woman and left her for dead. He absconded with a few items, then left the initials, ‘M.A.’

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time.

The Watering Hole, so named by the patrons who kept the bar alive, was busier than usual. Justin didn’t mind a crowd. Normally. But tonight he wanted to drown his sorrows, and the atmosphere was too jovial for his taste.

It had been years since he’d felt such hopeless despair, but then war did that to a person. Justin knew his friends were worried, especially since he had no desire to put on his happy face. They thought of him as the clown, and he didn’t mind the title. He just didn’t allow it to define him. JJ wasn’t the only one capable of dark moods.

Justin almost groaned when he caught sight of Charles Macavoy. He liked Charlie, always had, but it was clear Susannah, the brains behind Morgan and Fairchild, had called in the cavalry. Not that it was unusual to see Charlie at the bar. Everyone who served, past and present, frequented the place. Charles Macavoy was police, but he was also one of them.

“How’s it going, Mac?” he said, accepting the beer.

“Better than you, kid.” Charlie nodded to a seat. “You look like shit.”

“I’ve had better days.” He glanced over to the rambunctious crowd in a corner booth. The group clearly had something to celebrate.

Charlie followed his gaze. “Teddy’s celebrating retirement,” he said, smiling. “He also just closed a pretty big case.”

“Good for him.”

“He got his man. I’m sure you’ll get yours.” Charlie took a sip of beer. “It wasn’t easy, but they put Rebecca Rylatt’s killer away.”

Justin glanced at the group, and back to Charlie again. “I heard about that.” He searched his memory. “Did they ever solve the puzzle?”

The killer had broken into Mrs Rylatt’s home, gathered several valuable trinkets and left a set of initials behind; written in Mrs Rylatt’s blood.

“You know I can’t divulge the details. But, yes. They solved the mystery.” Charlie shrugged. “You can read about it soon enough.” He gave Justin a pointed look. “Why don’t you tell me where you’re at with your case?”

“I’ve got nothing. I’ve been to every hostel, shelter, and charitable organisation I can find. Nobody knows anything, and if they do, they’re not telling me.”

Charlie reached into his pocket and pulled out a slip of paper. “I called in a few favours. I’m not saying it will pan out, but this is the number of a volunteer at St Matthew’s. One of the kids in their care took off a few weeks ago.” He held it towards Justin. “Call him. He might be willing to talk.”

“Thanks, Mac.” Justin glanced at the number in his hand. “I can’t explain it, but I know there’s something going on here.”

“I hear you, Justin. You’ve always had good instincts.” Charlie raised his glass. “I’ll help in any way I can.”

“I know.” He pulled the mobile from his pocket, half expecting the silent alert. No doubt it was Susannah checking in. He wondered if Charlie had a similar text. The pair were pretty tight.

But it wasn’t Susannah. It was a friend of Paul’s. “Shit.” Justin jumped to his feet. “I have to go, Mac…I…I have to go.”

Charlie snagged his arm. “What is it?”

He didn’t want to form the words, didn’t want them to be true. He knew better. “Paul OD’d twenty minutes ago.”

Charlie grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair. “Let’s go. I’ll drive.”


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Missing – Part 5 (Day 6) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words.

Prompt: Sept 6th – Abandoned: Write a story set in an abandoned location. It could be a foreclosed house, a closed-down theme park, a ghost town, or anything else. 

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time.
In Part 4 of the story, Holly was introduced. She awoke in a room, having no memory of how she got there. Holly discovered she was trapped. To read part 4, click here.

Holly knew her only chance of escape was the element of surprise. The deck was stacked against her; she had no idea where she was, why she’d been taken, or what her captors had in store. It couldn’t be good. And, judging by the other containers, she wasn’t the only prisoner.

She had unscrewed the bulb from the lamp and unplugged it. After removing the cloth shade she held it upside down, hoping to use the heavy, ceramic base as a weapon. The room was dark now, save for a slither of light which bled beneath the blinds.

Holly positioned herself beside the door. She had worked out a pattern over the last few days, and knew someone would arrive soon to dose her with pills. They wanted to keep her subdued, and weak. But, like everyone else in her life, they underestimated her.

The first time they tried to drug her, she had feigned compliance; layering on the confusion like an award winning actress. It was surprisingly easy to tuck the pills in a fold beneath her tongue. Her performance was pure method; if Holly had learned one thing from her mother it was how to fly high on amphetamines.

When she heard the lock disengage, Holly’s heart began to pound in her chest. The onset of panic made her hands shake so, before she let the fear paralyze her, she held aloft her weapon and brought it down the second a figure stepped into the room.

The thwack of ceramic on bone was a sound she would never forget. She had expected the base to explode on impact, but it was made of sterner stuff. The person she’d caught unaware had hit the carpet like a felled tree. He was tall, she could see that by the light filtering in from the doorway. But Holly didn’t want to know anything else about him. So she dodged around him, clutching her weapon, and slipped out of the container.

Outside she was hit by a wave of vertigo, whether from the violence she had inflicted, or the sheer size of the outer room, she couldn’t be sure. It was too big to be a warehouse. Holly couldn’t be certain, but it might have been a hanger of some sort.

The number of containers, arranged in neat rows, made her blood run cold. How many people lay drugged and defenceless, she wondered. The place was like a maze, and yet there were so many places for her to hide and dodge from view it aided her plan of escape.

She heard voices, a low hum which told her they were somewhere close by. The sound echoed, feeding her paranoia because she couldn’t be sure which direction to take. She hovered between two containers, conflicted because she wanted to sneak inside and help the people trapped behind cold metal walls.

Instead she pushed forward. The only way she could help her fellow captives was to get help. She might be tougher than she looked, but she wasn’t a fool.

Holly dodged and weaved for several long minutes, each feeling like an eternity. Her doubts tormented her; the visions of men in pursuit – of monsters that fed on children. When she came to a large, dirt smeared window, she stopped to peer out.

The sight beyond the glass had hope plummeting to her feet. She’d been right about the hanger. The place looked like an old, abandoned airfield. She saw nothing but neglected land for miles. Nothing but vehicles. Holly counted at least six, which meant that her chances of sneaking out of there were zero to none.

Her odds couldn’t be any worse.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Path of Destruction – A Story A Day (Day 5)

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words (slight over this time).

That said, today I felt like writing something different. So the story I wrote for Day 5 has nothing to do with my series. The continuation of Missing will return tomorrow.

Prompt: Sept 5th – Dark, gloomy forest. (Your character is alone in the woods and finds blighted trees, drooping plants…rot and slime everywhere. It once was beautiful but overnight is turning into a swamp–its not natural. Your character must get to the bottom of this and stop it before something they love very much is threatened also.

Path of Destruction

Okay. So here’s the thing. If your wings are screaming at you to stop, to take a break, to cease and desist (stay with me), then you should really take the hint. Thing is, though, I rarely listen to reason. It’s not surprising then, that I fell from the sky like a feathery missile all out of juice (it’s better than lead balloon).

That’s my way of explaining why I woke up face down in the dirt with a fractured radius and some seriously messed up primaries. Not only did I have no clue where I’d landed, I was effectively grounded. Sometimes it sucks to be me.

I guess this is the part where I introduce myself. That’s normally how these things work. So, whether you’re reading this as a character study, just for shits and giggles, or because you’ve been ordered to analyse the crazy girl, I’m Andromeda.

This journal is my way of atoning for my sins, apparently. My therapist insists that, if I ever want to control my anger, I have to write out all my angst for you to study. Basically, by order of the gods, I have to clean up my act.

I’ll admit that I brought the original curse upon my family – the one which involved snatching objects from the earth so the gods could appoint blame elsewhere. Not that I’m bitter or anything. And yes, I probably shouldn’t have made a deal with a sorcerer, especially when my sisters and I only had another century to endure.

But let’s get back to my face plant. I had a perfectly good reason for pushing myself beyond my limits. The deal I made came with a few stipulations, and it turns out the sorcerer who broke the curse has a twisted sense of humour. The spell meant I was bound to the fate of my sisters, and unless we stayed together – everything we touched would cease to exist. And I mean everything.

For someone who was trying to keep my treachery under the radar, there’s nothing like leaving a path of destruction behind like a flaming arrow. In my defence I had travelled for three days to find the damn mystical man, so I had my work cut out for me. I had forty eight hours to get back to my family before all hell broke loose.

It’s obvious at this point that I failed. If you’d been in the forest the evidence made for a pretty horrifying sight. I feel bad about that. I do.  The place was dying faster than an ogre caught in quicksand. The once thriving woodland became a dark and gloomy place – the stuff of nightmares.

I understand why the tree dieties took offense. I don’t even blame them for trying to snuff the life out of me. It’s basically what I was doing to them. The whole scene became a macabre fight to the death, and it wasn’t as though I could fly right out of there. Have you ever tried flying with a fractured radius?

Perhaps I could have found a way out of the quagmire eventually, but my rage took over. Hey, I’m in therapy for a reason. It’s tough to walk around with this demon on my back, a demon with the power of Hades. So, yes. I may have gotten a little carried away.

I’m sure you’ve read the details. They’re in my file after all. You’ll also know that I’ve tried to make amends. I rebuilt the land I destroyed, pledged my allegiance to Gaia, and will eventually join the immortal army.

So that’s my introduction. Not a great one, I’ll admit. But I’m not a writer, and I have no desire to be. That said, tomorrow I’ll tell you what I did to the sorcerer who got me into this mess. I think you’ll enjoy that.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Missing – Part 4 (Day 4) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words.

Prompt: Sept 4th – A person wakes up, not quite remembering what happened the night before, and is surprised and upset by what they see outside the window.

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time.

Holly woke slowly, almost reluctantly. She’d been dreaming. A wonderful dream; a place she felt safe, and loved, and whole again. But it didn’t last. Soon the face of her brother began to fade. His laughter nothing more than an echo in her mind.

Her stomach clenched; with hunger, she knew, but also with regret – with longing.

Holly waited for the familiar sense of reality; the hard floor beneath her, the balled up coat she used as a pillow on warmer nights. Instead she felt a soft, curved padding, which fit around her like a hug.

Her eyes flew open, confusion swamping her thoughts when it registered she was laying on a bed. A large bed with soft sheets and a downy quilt. She scanned the small room, her brows scrunched as she tried to recall how she had acquired such luxury. She came up blank.

The décor was basic, not unappealing considering where she’d spent her previous nights, but basic nonetheless. Aside from the bed, there was a single wardrobe and a small chest of drawers which held a lamp. The carpet was a deep brown, the walls a creamy texture; newly painted she acknowledged. There was the subtle fragrance of fresh plaster and polished wood.

She closed her eyes, listening for sounds which would give her a clue as to where she was. The silence made her head hurt, or perhaps that was the effort of trying to remember.

Holly pushed back the covers, her pulse jumping in alarm when she saw the unfamiliar clothes. She was dressed in a pair of black cotton pants and grey vest top. Her skin shone as though she had scrubbed herself clean, though she had no recollection of it. Surely if she had showered, she would remember?

Her hands went automatically to her hair. Holly sucked in a breath, wishing she had a mirror. Her once tangled, matted locks had been brushed out; now smooth and straight.

“What the hell is going on?” she said, feeling sick to her stomach.

Her gaze moved to the small window, covered by creamy white blinds. She walked across with a sense of dread. Her instincts were screaming at her – she really didn’t want to know what lay beyond the window. Yet her fingers reached for the string anyway.

The breath she’d been holding came out in a rush as soon as she drew the blind. Not three feet from the window was an identical pane of glass. It wasn’t what frightened her. No, it was the fact the window was set in a square, metal container.

Holly looked to her left, and then to the right, and her stomach clenched in painful understanding. She was in a box too.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Missing – Part 3 (Day 3) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words (I’m slight over today).

Prompt: Sept 3rd – The Maze (Your character is lost in a maze).

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time.

The familiar sounds of battle settled around Ellen; the slam of a punch, the ragged breaths, the pounding feet. She could practically feel the accelerated heart rates. JJ was an exceptional boxer, but he’d taught Justin well and the kid had some moves of his own. That the fight was friendly didn’t matter, they went all in.

When JJ staggered back against the ropes, and Justin made no move to attack, Ellen threw a towel at him. “You’re getting old, tough guy,” she said, winking at Justin.

JJ ducked beneath the ropes and jumped to the ground. He made quick work of his gloves and walked to the tall fridge to pull out two bottles of water. He handed one of them to Justin, who was only a few steps behind him.

“I think you might be right. Either that or Justin’s working off one of your moods.” JJ downed a third of his bottle.

Ellen grinned, enjoying her friend’s discomfort. Fact was, she thought of JJ as kin. She enjoyed nothing more than pushing his buttons; it was her duty as kid sister. “Don’t worry. Grace will kiss it better.”

JJ moved quickly, snaking his arm around her neck. She should have anticipated the move, perhaps part of her did, but she didn’t prevent it. “I’m guessing you two have something to discuss,” he said, releasing her on a laugh. “And you’re absolutely right, so I might as well take advantage of that…by telling my beautiful wife how you two ganged up on me.”

“Like she’d believe that for a second,” Justin said, shaking his head. “Plus, you have to put a ring on Gracie’s finger before you can call her your wife.”

JJ was already walking to the showers. “I know what she is, kid, and I don’t need a ring to prove it.”

Ellen stared after him, wondering at the comment.

“Is he right?” Justin asked, reclaiming her attention. “Do you have something for me?”

“Nothing you’re going to like.” She motioned to the bench. “I spoke to Stuart, and he told me about a new organisation helping young people. These missing teenagers, they probably got help by enrolling in the program. Without names, there’s no way of knowing.”

“So it’s a dead end.” Justin hung his head. “Is the organisation legit?”

Ellen reached out to put a hand on his arm. “Listen to yourself, Justin. I understand you want to help your friend, but this isn’t a conspiracy.”

“You’re right.” Standing, he walked over to where he’d put his gloves and pulled them on. “Thanks for checking it out. I owe you one.”

“Justin-”

“No, it’s okay, Elle. I just need to work of a little steam. You know?”

She walked to him. “Are you purposely quoting me?” It worried her when he didn’t return the smile. Justin always bounced back. “Do you want to go a few rounds in the ring?”

“I think I’ll finish the night on a high, thanks. I almost had JJ on the ropes, let me enjoy the victory.”

It was both a diversion and a dismissal. Ellen couldn’t argue with the fact he wanted to be alone. She conceded only because she knew JJ was still around. If she knew her friend, she knew he’d picked up on Justin’s mood too.

“Well okay, then. I’ll catch you at the briefing tomorrow.”

Justin nodded, and walked over to one of the punch bags. Their underground training facility was equipped with everything they needed. If the kid needed to work of his mad, it was the perfect place.

Ellen stepped out of the room with the sound of pounding leather at her back. It was so familiar it shouldn’t have bothered her. Yet it did.


I had to go subtle today. Justin is lost, though not strictly in a maze. It’s more an emotional prison he’s caught up in, and looking for Paul’s friend is a little like trying to find a needle in a haystack!

Thanks for visiting.

Mel

Missing – Part 2 (Day 2) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words per day.

Prompt: Sept 2nd – The Pickpocket (Your character’s an extremely talented pickpocket. He learned the skill when he was young and poor. Now he has a good job, a healthy bank account, and a respectable lifestyle, but he thinks it’s a shame to let such remarkable talent go to waste).

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time.

Justin slipped into the back of the BMW, and met Ellen Parker’s eyes in the mirror. He saw amusement, followed by suspicion, filter through her dark brown eyes.

He pushed the box of doughnuts between the front seats, wiggling his brows at her. She didn’t even look down.

“If you’ve come for a favour, I’m going to need more than a little sugar bribe.”

“How do you know I didn’t drop by to keep you company?”

Ellen turned in her seat, pinning him with a stare. “I’m doing Abe a favour by babysitting some exec with questionable morals and an attitude problem. I don’t feel particularly accommodating right now.” She lifted the box and grabbed a doughnut without breaking eye contact. “But you get points for effort.”

They often worked with AD Securities, and Abe had the biggest contracts when it came to protection detail. This particular principal was big news if Abe wanted Ellen on it. Justin suspected something else was eating at her, but he wasn’t brave enough to bring it up.

“How’s Stuart doing?” he asked, almost amused when her hand paused halfway to her mouth. Ellen didn’t often share her family business, but Justin was family too. They were a team. “I hear he’s cleaned up his act.”

She bit into the sugary treat, chewing far longer than necessary before swallowing the bite. “The last time I saw him he told me to butt out of his life, so, yeah…he’s doing better.”

A chirping tone filled the air between them; the mobile ringtone unfamiliar. Ellen’s smile was slow and deliberate. “Give me a second.” She held up a finger, and then used it to accept the call. “This is Stephen Webber’s phone. How may I assist you?”

Justin watched the smile spread, and had to smother his chuckle. She was up to something. Her “Sure, I’ll take a message,” said it all.

“Are you going to tell me what that was about?” he asked when she disconnected.

“Payback.” Ellen winked at him. “Mr Webber needed a lesson in manners, and I’m more than happy to oblige.”

Justin considered what he knew about Stephen Webber; a successful businessman who had worked his way up from nothing – a regular success story. His arrogance was legendary, but it wasn’t a crime.

“What did he do? Threaten to take you away from this life and show you the world?”

Ellen laughed as she rummaged for another doughnut. “He challenged me to a little game.”

“And is he aware of issuing this challenge?”

She waved a hand. “That’s irrelevant. He was bragging about his ability to lift things without a person’s knowledge, like picking pockets is all the rage, and assured me if I stuck with him I’d learn a thing or two.”

Justin dropped his head on a groan. That was as good as a dare to someone like Ellen. “So you took his phone.”

“So I took his phone.”

“You do know that you crossed about a dozen lines, right?” It was a pointless question, but Justin needed to voice it.

“Let me worry about that, kid. Right now I’m feeling a major sugar rush, and you should take advantage of it.” Ellen waved the remainder of her doughnut at him. “Tell me what you need.”

Justin did just that. Starting with everything Paul had told him about the missing teenagers. Ellen’s stepbrother might be cleaning up his act, but he knew the streets and he owed his sister a major favour. She had taken a bullet for him. Literally.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel