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

Missing – Part 1 (Day 1) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI decided to take part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being that I’m struggling to fully connect with my characters within the Morgan and Fairchild series. The writing is easier now, but it isn’t flowing as it should. Spending a month with the team, in addition to finishing the latest book, should help to iron out those kinks. The aim is simple – to write and finish a story every day in September. There will be a daily prompt to follow, but I will use that to continue a story, or stories – all related to Morgan and Fairchild. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words per day.

Prompt: Sept 1st – The Disappeared (write a story that features people disappearing).

Justin tapped his glass against Paul’s, tuning out the busy sounds of a thriving bar so he could concentrate on his friend. Paul looked better than the last time they met. But then it wasn’t hard – that time they had been in the emergency department. Justin had hauled him in off the street.

I’m glad you called,” he said, pushing aside the visual. “It’s really good to see you, Paul.”

“It’s good to see you too, man.”

When Paul broke eye contact and stared into his drink, Justin felt disappointment snake its way into his gut. He ignored it, irritated with himself. When had he stopped giving his friend the benefit of the doubt?

“I need your help.”

Those were the words Justin dreaded. Not because he didn’t have Paul’s back. He did. But he had learned the hard way that being a good friend meant refusing to feed Paul’s habit.

“A friend of mine, Olly, has disappeared.” Paul looked up. “He’s not the first, Justin. I think someone is targeting my friends.”

How many times had he listened to Paul’s conspiracy theories, he wondered. How many times had paranoia consumed his friend and caused a rift between them.

“Why don’t you stay with me for a few days?” Justin put a hand on Paul’s arm. “I’ll help you figure this out.” Justin watched temper flare in his friend’s eyes. There was also a healthy dose of fear, and that got his attention.

“I’m clean, Justin.” Paul put a hand over his. “You have to believe me, this isn’t the drugs talking. Olly had a good deal going at a shelter on Hastings. He was getting his act together too, but then he vanished. It’s not like him to leave without a word.” Paul took a swig from his beer. “I started asking around, and others are missing. Mostly street kids.”

“What is it you want me to do?” Justin asked, feeling something else snake its way into his stomach. It felt suspiciously like dread.

“I know you have connections. I just need you to look into it for me. Please, Justin. This is important.”

“Okay. I can’t promise anything, but I’ll ask around.” He drained his glass and stood. “Why don’t we get out of here. I could use something to eat, and you can tell me everything you know about this friend of yours.”

“Just give me five minutes.” Paul jumped off his stool and headed toward the sign marked toilets.

Justin watched him go, feeling like shit that he questioned his friend’s intentions and that he hoped Paul would still be clean when he came back out.


I’ll continue the story tomorrow (hopefully by working in the next prompt).

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel