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I have always enjoyed dialogue. I like hearing the variances in individual voices so this series of shorts is all about voices. The first two stories are told in first person perspective and the last is an epistle using twitter as a format. The formatting didn’t translate well into WordPress, so please forgive me for not wanting to spend an hour re-spacing the story.

These are essentially sketches that may become something bigger down the line, but for now enjoy the experiment for what it is.

Please enjoy.

Kermit.

I was on the porch. Music was playing in the living room. It sounded like something from the 80s, synth heavy and vaguely punk in its orchestration. I felt the need to lay down on the matted couch. Diamond strike on back matches caught my eye on the small end table among a garden of liquor bottles and cigarette butts. At the far end of the porch there was a rusty collection of gardening tools set on a gurney from a Hearse. The gurney was held up by cinder blocks and made into a kind of low table that also housed a collection of bottles and a ripped white parasol along with the garden equipment. A cool breeze swept through the porch lifting the lighter ash from the end table. The ash swirled in the air like a dancing ghost and I was swept up in the jig for a heavenly moment before the breeze caught my skin and raised goose flesh on my arms and chest. I felt the effects of the hallucinogenic mushrooms at this point. I knew I was no longer sober.

th

The house was suddenly foreboding so I couldn’t go back, but the street was dangerous and fraught with unknown perils. I chose the street. I walked out shirtless and barefoot into the yard and was instantly struck by the way the light and shadows lay on the lawn. It looked like a light made in the shape of a large snowflake. I was barely ten feet from the porch and I was already stalled by the heavenly lights pouring through the trees. I ripped my eyes away from the snowflakes and stopped myself from giggling at the surreal humor mundane things hold when you are not sober.

I was away from the house on the sidewalk and walking in an unknown direction. “Aren’t you cold?”

A voice behind me spoke and I was instantly terrified. I became suddenly rigid and willed myself not to look at whatever beast was behind me. I didn’t answer the question, but now that it was asked I couldn’t trust my senses to give me accurate information. I tried to focus on whether or not I felt cold. I was I decided, my skin felt cold to the touch, but I wasn’t sure if I was touching my own arm or someone else’s so I turned to look and saw that it was my arm. I didn’t feel particularly cold on the inside, I felt warm in my chest and in my head which felt as though it was pulsing from fever. “Yes and no,” I answered.

“Are you sure?” The voice said and followed the new question with a giggle.

“No.” I answered.

“You should go inside.”

“That’s impossible.” The voice behind giggled again. I wondered for a moment whether I was imagining the voice. The shrooms were very clearly doing their job and I was fantasy prone and could be having a conversation with myself. I tried to predict the next thing the voice would say. I couldn’t think of a phrase and for a brief agonizing moment forgot how to speak English. I hoped that I would be able to understand the next question. I made myself speak, “Please help me.” I pushed out what I guessed was an English phrase and had a moment of lucidity, “I shouldn’t be outside on my own.”

“What did you take?” The owner of the voice came into view. It was a woman, young, but her hair looked white under the streetlights.

“Mushrooms of some kind.” I answered and my eyes suddenly became very focused on her lips. They looked thick and had some kind of lipstick on them. Her tongue darted out and curled over her perfect white teeth.

She took my hand. Her heat warmed every part of me. There was no sexual attraction at that moment. I was completely incapable of fucking so I pushed it from my mind, but I was suddenly filled with what I could only assume unconditional love feels like. I wasn’t sure if she was black or white. She could have been transgendered, but none of that mattered at that moment I was like a baby chick and this was my mother. “Where do you live?”

I shrugged and turned my head around to see if I could spot my house. It was right there in front of me looming like an ancient God. Bright and barely twenty paces from where I stood. “There it is. I can’t go alone.” My eyes pleaded with her.

“I’ll walk you up.” She smiled and lead my up the small stoop and back onto the porch. She sat me on the couch and kissed me on the lips. “You stay here until I get back.” She gently ordered.

“When will that be?” I asked my voice had taken on a child-like quality that I hated, but couldn’t stop.

“Soon, but you stay on the porch.” She pulled a blanket from the back of the couch and wrapped it around me before she turned and left. I watched the door as she left.

One of my housemates inside turned off the porch light and I didn’t have the strength to tell them I was there so I swam in the darkness of the porch and drifted between the vast darkness in my mind and the finite dark of the porch. I knew there was light inside I just needed to make the journey. It was not an obstacle I could overcome in my state. I revisited the dark in my head and let it take me. I saw colorful fractals and the psychological homunculus of my body was distorted beyond recognition I changed my mental shape like Play Doh. I transformed myself into a woman for several seconds before the shape lost its solvency, but that was as far as my body experiments went because the drug was slowly tapering off by that time. My savior never returned so I went inside and went to bed.

Jennifer.

I pulled a chilled lowball from the cooler, poured a thin line of absinthe into the glass and swirled it. The sazerac is one of my favorite drinks to make. It takes a level of preparation I appreciate. Next I grabbed a pint glass and filled it with rye, simple syrup and bitters. Capped the pint glass with a Boston shaker and shook it rigorously trying to break up the ice enough to dilute it slightly and release the flavors, but not so much that it emasculates the rye. Swirled the lowball one more time before dumping out the excess absinthe and then strain the rye into the glass. Shaved off some lemon zest for garnish and put it on the well for the tiniest waitress I had ever met, Carla, to pick it up. All night every night I mixed sazeracs, manhattans, cosmopolitans and martinis for the rich fucks that drink at my bar. Despite the fancy swagger of the décor and the jazz piped in when we don’t have live music we are still just a bar.

I had a few idle minutes so I washed glasses while keeping an eye on the customers faces. It was a slow night and I wasn’t making much in tips so I wanted desperately to leave. The guy at the end of the bar kept watching my ass and usually that doesn’t bother me, but I was feeling ready to jump down his throat. He was a thick guy with that five o’clock shadow that comes with a guy who has to shave every day, like it never really goes away. He also had some kind of aftershave or cologne floating off of him. It wasn’t too heavy, but I was always pretty sensitive to smells and his was bugging me.

A few hours later I took a smoke break. The customers left and it was just me and Carla waiting for our shifts to end. I stood to head back inside when the ass watcher appeared in front of me, “Could I get a light?” He smirked.

I forced a smile and nodded. I reached for my back pocket and pulled the lighter flicking it as I lifted it when he reached for my wrist. I jerked my hand back and let out a ‘no’ before I could stop myself.

“Sorry, you’ve got a wrist brace. How’d you hurt it?”

I shook my head and left him without a light. I could still see his stupid smirk in my mind’s eye. He followed me into the bar. “Listen,” I started in, “I’m going to need you to leave sir.”

“I’m sorry,” He raised his hands and dropped the smirk. “I got off on the wrong foot with you. I shouldn’t have touched you and I apologize for that.”

“I accept your apology, now please leave.”

The apologetic face was replaced with an angry expression. He lowered his head and I could feel how empty the bar was. I didn’t see the Carla anywhere and I felt suddenly aware of how much bigger this guy was than me. “Do you know who I am?” It was a phrase I had become accustomed to at this bar anytime I told my clientele ‘no’. I got really good at staring them down when I was backed by a full staff and large number of customers, now it was just him and me and I felt scared. “I do not, but I am currently feeling threatened and I will ask you one more time to leave or I will have to call the police.”

The air felt really heavy and I made sure to keep my eyes on him the whole time and prayed that my expression was more stoic than it felt. He finally nodded and left the bar.

I got on the other side of the bar and called my boss instantly. While I was on the phone the waitress sauntered in and answered automatically, “I had to use the bathroom.” She could tell I was livid from my expression alone. I felt a little bad at how much I enjoyed instilling fear into my coworkers, but I was feeling selfish.

Marlon.

th

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 31 Aug

I saw something tonight that I can’t explain. There were a bunch of people singing, but it was super creepy. I think they were Satanists!

Drew Haskell @bropocalypse 01 Sep

@TechPagon Yo, they were just hippies!!! LOL

Sheri Powell @SheriPowell 01 Sep

@bropocalypse @TechPagon You’re both jumping to conclusions. Go talk to them and maybe you won’t have to make assumptions. #checkyourprivilege

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 01 Sep

@SheriPowell I went back today and there was a big circle with a pentagram and I think there was blood in the center of the circle.

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 01 Sep

@SheriPowell zero assumptions. #checkyourprivilege

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 03 Sep

there was a dead cat on my front porch today.

Sheri Powell @SheriPowell 03 Sep

@TechPagon It was probably just a stray.

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 03 Sep

@SheriPowell It was nailed to the door in an upside down crucifix.

Drew Haskell @bropocalypse 03 Sep

@TechPagon Dude that was me. Found him next to the dumpster yesterday.

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 03 Sep

@bropocalypse You are such a bitch!

Drew Haskell @bropocalypse 03 Sep

@TechPagon Bwahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 04 Sep

I am seriously getting freaked out! I’m going to keep tweeting so there is a record if anything happens to me. Twitter is forever. Right?

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Before anybody starts commenting let me get this out. I went to the woods and they were there again. I know about the occult and thought I might try talking.

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

There were fifteen people dressed in red robes. Mostly women, the man at the center was saying a prayer in a language I nev

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Er heard before. It drew me in, like music even though they weren’t singing. They smiled as I approached, some of them

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Patted me on the shoulder. The man at the center kept speaking, but his eyes were on me. I could feel them even with my eyes shut. I saw the

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Sky open up like a black opal surrounded by a golden ring and I wept. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I swear angels w

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Ith trumpets descended towards me and suddenly I felt a fever come on me like a wave across my soul. This was a dark fever and it was a

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

T that point I understood I was no longer Marlon. I wasn’t a man or a woman, nor even a beast. I was a God. I have never felt such peace as I d

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Id in that moment. I murdered the congregation of course. My hunger demands blood. I do feel some small pity for Marlon’s parents, but they

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Would have stood in my way.

Drew Haskell @bropocalypse 06 Sep

@TechPagon That’s a pretty creepy story bro. You should have put that on Creepy pasta, seriously I’m getting chills.

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 04 Sep

@bropocalypse Thank you Drew. Say, I wonder who that is at your door?

Hayward Blues

I wrote a short story two weeks ago. I used the HBO drama True Detective as my writing prompt for the story. Hayward Blues is a straight cop procedural with a few supernatural flourishes. The Detective in the story is an everyman named Jeff Lowe and the town he grew up in is changing around him in a negative way, but he feels powerless to slow its demise even as a detective. I was trying to capture a noir feel and I think I succeeded.

Enjoy.

There was a drive-by shooting. A gang of Native Americans came from the nearby Indian reservation and fired automatic weapons into the woods where a house was set a hundred yards deep into the trees. Their goal was to send a message to a rival from town. He had shacked up with his old lady. No one died, but the girlfriend has to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

Jeff closed his eyes and took a deep breath before he got closer to the body. “Have we I.D.ed the body?”

“Kelley Molson.” One of the uniformed officers answered.

“I know that name.” He crouched next to the body. Kelley Molson’s hands were missing and a strange symbol was carved into his forehead. “He works with Richard Heller.”

“Yeah.” The officer replied. “You think he did this?”

“Maybe.” A thin path of dry blood trailed from the corner of Kelley’s mouth to his chin where it turned into a gummy stalactite. “I grew up with Richard.”

The author claims no writes to this photo.

Heidi Crus was home one afternoon when she heard a knock at the door. Jeff stood on the stoop with his badge hung at his chest. Her eyes scanned the badge and traced back up to his face, her face was neutral, almost bored. She left the door open and receded into her apartment. He entered. The coffee table was littered with items, cocaine on a mirror, a powdered credit card, two iguanas with their toes hanging limply over the edge of the table and a large hookah at the center. Heidi flopped on the couch, her right arm reflexively crossed behind her head as she pulled a tendril from the hookah and sucked the smoke into her lungs. She was glassy-eyed and languid. “Where is Richard?” He asked.

“Gone.” she answered with an almost imperceptible shrug.

The room was muggy with heat and all the windows were covered with heavy blankets that cast the room in an orange gloom. He cleared his throat, “I’m looking for Richard.” They have known each other since elementary school but had to stop. He was a violent thug in his youth, but the years mellowed him. Now that he saw her she looked like a ghost of the girl he knew.

Memories of old sexual encounters relayed at the back of his brain in a rapid-fire montage with the girl that laid on the couch in front of him. He hadn’t taken a seat yet, but the scene was depressing him and he wanted to leave already. “He’s a fuckhead.” She said as she shifted onto her side.

He suddenly didn’t know what to do with his hands so he stuffed them in his pockets. “We tried his number.” One of the iguanas shifted and turned almost knocking the hookah over in its haste

“He got into a fight with a bartender last night. They cut him off. I left without him.” She took another puff off the hookah. “Do you want a hit?” She offered. Her eyes were flirtatious with the hint of a smile curling at the corner of her mouth. It was the sly half smile he remembered. The girl he remembered was still in there, buried under asshole boyfriends and prolonged drug use. He didn’t blame her, didn’t think to arrest her for the coke, he just felt sad for her. Years of disappointment left everyone a ghost.

“No thanks.” Her feet rubbed against each other. The movement drew his eyes. “Which bar?”

“Lincoln’s Pub,” She answered.

He put a business card on the coffee table. “If he comes back, have him call me.” she didn’t pick it up, she just pulled the mouthpiece back to her mouth and took another draw.

Outside he felt the blood rushing through his veins. He looked back at the door. Memories were fucking with him, conjuring forgotten emotions. He shook them off as he climbed into his truck. Nothing good would come from him going back to her.

Lincoln’s Pub was an old creaking bar. It had a reputation as an upscale joint in the seventies, but it’s lost its shine, now it’s the kind of place old drunks go to die. The smell of decades old nicotine still hung on its walls and the floor was sticky as he walked to the bar. Jeff flashed his badge at the bartender.

On the stage a band was setting up. The sound man was hooking cords together while the band members drank beers and laughed at inside jokes amongst themselves. Jeff smelled marijuana and he looked over, but nobody was passing a pipe or a joint.

The bartender moved closer and waited for the question. Jeff rehashed the fight to the bartender who corroborated the incident and the bartender on duty. He wrote Cody Reynolds address down on a bar coaster.

The trailer park Cody lived in was a nightmare. None of the lots were marked, the roads that crisscrossed the park were riddled with potholes and it looked deserted, luckily it was small. Jeff circled twice before he found Cody’s place. People watched Jeff through beige blinds and floral print curtains. His trailer had a wooden deck attached to it with a greasy propane grill and a weather warped case of beer next to white plastic patio furniture. There weren’t ashtrays on the table, but there was a forest of stuffed butts on plates and in the tops of tallboy beer cans.

The storm door was all but ripped off its hinges from years of misuse and the primary door had a football shaped hole at shin level. The door hung open. Leaves had already drifted into the house. Jeff cautiously opened the door and stepped inside. “Police. I am looking for Cody.” The house was still.

Cigarette funk seemed to hover in the air. Somewhere in the distance he heard a baby crying. He did a quick sweep of the trailer, he noticed the master bedroom was wide open. The water bed dominated the room and a man sat at the edge of the bed swaying slowly. “Your door was open.” Jeff said loudly. The man continued to sway in place. Jeff lifted his gun from its holster. “Sir, please respond. I need you to turn around.”

Jeff circled the bed. The man didn’t look at him. His hands were gone, blood drained all over his lap and onto the floor. He sported the same strange cross that adorned Kelley’s forehead. The man’s eyes darted up at him. His mouth drew open in an “O” shape. Thick black blood pooled in his mouth and fell forth like a dam when he moved away from Jeff. Jeff reared back startled by the sudden motion. The man didn’t make it far. He crossed half the bed and stopped cold.

Jeff stepped out of the bedroom and went for his radio. “I need backup and an ambulance at 3378 Hargrove Place, Lot 792. Get here fast as you can.” Jeff turned back and saw the motion a second too late. It was Richard, he bashed into Jeff and tried to run down the hallway. The hall was too narrow for him to break away. Jeff grabbed hold of his arm, threw a forearm into the back of his neck and stamped on the back of his knee simultaneously. “What the fuck are you doing? Didn’t you see my fucking badge?” He put his arm around the guy’s neck and held it there without applying too much pressure. His pulse was accelerated and he was seeing red. He threw him to the ground and kicked him in the midsection for good measure before he handcuffed him. “Motherfucker.”

Richard was shackled in a small brightly lit room with two plastic chairs and a table set against the wall. The room looked more like a closet then an interrogation room. There was no mirror, just a small camera covered with black plastic in the ceiling. Richard leaned back against the white brick wall with his eyes closed. He was breathing loudly trying to wish himself away from this place.

Jeff stepped in with a notebook and a piece of paper.“This is a confession.” Jeff put the paper in front of Richard, “Read it.”

Richard opened his eyes and looked at the paper. “I didn’t do shit.” He said through clenched teeth.

“Talk to me. Tell me what happened.” Jeff sat down across from him.

“Fuck man, I didn’t do this shit. He was like that when I got there.” He leaned his head against the wall. He was grinding his teeth and his eyes were watery.

“You got in a fight with Cody at Lincoln’s Pub last night and then you went to his place to get even.” Jeff laid it out.

“No.” He leaned forward in the chair resting his forearms on the table. His hands were fidgeting and his eyes were downcast. “I got in a fight with him last night, yeah, but I wasn’t going over to fuck with him. I walked out to the Res and then went to his place. He was like that when I got there.”

“Why were you over there?”

“I was, I was gonna sell him somethin’.” He shifted nervously in his seat.

“Right now you are in a very bad place. There are two dead bodies and you are my primary suspect. I can’t help you unless you tell me everything.” Jeff clicked a pen and put it on top of the confession. Richard watched the pen intensely as he placed it down.

“Crying Hawk,” Richard said quietly.

“Tom Crying Hawk?” Jeff responded.

Richard nodded, then he looked Jeff in the eyes. “Dude’s going on the warpath. He was sayin’ all kinds of weird shit about death and retribution. He said they were stealing from him.”

“Who was stealing from him?”

“He didn’t say, just said ‘they’.”

“Why did you go to the Res?”

Richard’s eyes were fixated on the paper in front of him. “I’ve been with his sister. She wasn’t around last night, so I bought some crystal. I was gonna sell some to Cody as a peace offering, but he was dead and then you came in. I didn’t kill him. I didn’t kill anybody. It was Crying Hawk, you gotta believe me.” He looked up at Jeff. “I didn’t do this shit.”

The Reservation was made up of several Native American communities and was predominantly forest. None of them were towns in the traditional sense. To the outside world it was just a casino and some duty free shops, but the bulk of the populace lived away from the tourism. The young natives formed mafia-like gangs throughout the region. The large forested area made it near impossible to regulate criminal activities and the flow of drugs in and out of the reservation. Racketeering, drug smuggling and extortion were all common crimes on the Res.

Tom Crying Hawk lived in a small trailer nestled among trees and undergrowth almost a mile from the road. Jeff turned into his long unpaved driveway. The gutted remains of cars lined the trail. He heard howling before he saw the metal pen that housed three large wolves. The air was filled with the smell of roasting meat and dog shit. An army of motorcycles and ratty looking cars were parked out front. A bonfire was burning and several men were milling about with beers in hand. Jeff’s stomach sank.

He stepped out of his car and took a deep breath into his lungs. ‘Play it cool,’ he thought to himself. ‘Just ask a few questions and if you have evidence call for back up.’ He took his time walking up to the trailer, his badge dangling around his neck suddenly felt heavier with all the eyes on him. No one spoke to him, but he could feel the cold wash of their scrutiny. He heard a bottle crash against the bonfire. At the door he took another breath before knocking.

The door opened. A woman greeted him with a smile the was wiped away when she saw his badge. “It’s the cops,” She said with a sneer in her voice.

“I have few questions for Tom,” Jeff spoke calmly. He could feel the teenagers growing restless next to the fire. There was no conversation between them which meant they were waiting for him to make a move.

A booming voice inside answered, “Let him in.”

The woman stepped out of the way and Jeff stepped across the threshold. The trailer was nice. Double wide with wood trim over everything. The living room was furnished with leather furniture and a massive flat screen TV hung on the wall. Some reality show with an MTV logo at the corner of the screen was playing. There were five men sitting around a dining room table on the other side of the living room. They had drinks around them and cards on the table. One of them was smoking a fat cigar.

Tom Crying Hawk sat at the head of the table shirtless. He was a well built man. All his muscles bulged even as he sat with cards in his hand. His hair was pulled back in a long braid. “What do you need man?” He said with a smile.

“I have a few questions about Kelley Molson and Cody Reynolds.”

“I know them.” He stood up, “What about it?”

“They turned up dead today and,” He cleared his throat, “someone blamed you.”

The smile fell away from his face. “Who did that?”

“I can’t say. Not until the case is closed.”

He stepped from behind the table, “I got a right to face my accuser. You should tell me and save us both a lot of trouble.”

“I can’t do that.” Jeff felt a quiver in his voice and took a step back.

Crying Hawk had an elaborate skull tattoo on his chest the eyes of the skull were stuffed with roses and a Red snake was trailing out from the mouth and circled around his shoulder. He also sported a black tear under his left eye. His face lost all trace of civility. Jeff felt his heart in his throat and wanted to run, but that would only throw the army out front into a frenzy and he would never see his home again. He was close enough that Jeff could smell the Scotch on his breath. “I say you can white man!”

Instead of a response Jeff unclipped his gun holster.

“Where do you think you are?” His eyes darted to the gun and back to Jeff’s face. He could hear people behind him. They came in from the bonfire to see the show. “Who the fuck said this shit about me. You can walk away, juts tell me his name.”

Jeff opened his mouth, Richard’s name was on his tongue, but the moment it escaped from his mouth Jeff knew that would be the end of Richard. Crying Hawk’s eyes bore into him with unrelenting ferocity. “I…” The crowd behind him was close. “I can’t.” He let it fall from his mouth. The hands behind claimed him.

Outside the mob was laying into him with hands and feet. He felt a belt lash his back. He reached for his gun, but a stray boot intercepted him before he could reach it. He heard Crying Hawk order, “Get his gun!” This was his last chance if they got to his firearm his life was over.

One of the men kicked him over and others moved in to pin him down. Jeff threw a punch that caught flesh and managed to get his hand to the grip of his gun. Her clicked the safety and fired. The shot went into the ground, but the sound was enough to give him a moments space. He pushed off the ground and held his gun out in front of him. “Back the fuck off!” They could rush him and he’d be fucked, but no one wanted to be the first to take a bullet.

Jeff blasted for his truck. He heard the cage unlatch and the snarling sound of wolves. He swiveled on his feet. A wolf jumped for him its teeth bared. He fired a shot that caught the wolf full in the chest. It whimpered for a moment before falling lifeless on the ground.

The other two had gotten to his hood and were barking at the windshield. He got the door shut and started the car. They weren’t pursuing him any further. The wolves jumped off the hood as he pulled around hitting cars as he clumsily maneuvered away from Crying Hawk’s place.

The investigation wasn’t over. Richard was his only link to Crying Hawk’s potential involvement and it was only a matter of time before Crying Hawk came knocking on Richard’s door. He was weary, but the bruises on his ribs put revenge in his mind. He was going to find something on Crying Hawk. His city, his place was changing all around him and nothing was going to bring back the home of his youth, but he could sure as Hell get even. Heidi’s door was closed when he arrived. She greeted him with a smile this time. “I have a few more questions for Richard.”

“Sure, he’s in the bedroom.” She let him in. Heidi touched his shoulder as he walked in. Jeff turned to her. “You look tired.” She said.

“Very.” The iguanas were off the coffee table and lounging on a rock in the corner with a heat lamp beating down on them.

“Let me help.” She pressed her fingers gently into his shoulders and Jeff’s eyes reflexively closed. “Sit.”

“I shouldn’t.” His protests were futile, she guided him to the couch and worked his back more.

He lost track of time and found she had snaked herself around into front of him. “I was happy to see you.” She said with her half curled smile.

He didn’t say anything. She leaned in and kissed his mouth. Her tongue darted between his lips and he didn’t fight it. He kissed her back. Fireworks went off in his brain and he was enraptured by her moist lips and the incense smell of her place. His hands clumsily groped at her breasts and she moaned softly as she pressed herself closer to him. He was lost in heat, but a sound from the back broke the spell. He pulled himself away. “I can’t.” He said and willed himself off the couch.

“Don’t worry about Richard.” She jeered. “He’s useless.”

Jeff shook the fog from his brain and headed for the back. Richard was dead on her bed. Blood had welled up on his chest from what looked like multiple stab wounds. Jeff’s mouth dropped open and he felt a needle in his neck. He thrashed back, but whatever was in the needle was already working its way into his bloodstream and his arms felt like liquid. He stumbled onto the ground Heidi stood over him smiling. “There’s a storm coming Jeff. I’m sorry that you won’t get to see it, but there is a plan and I’m so sorry you had to get caught up in it. I really was happy to see you.” She kissed him on the forehead and knelt next to him as his eyes closed. Her pretty half smile was the last thing Jeff Lowe saw.