Every week or so I will be putting up an advance chapter or two of my newest International Thriller...
Murmansk! You can of course find the earlier chapters further down the page.The book should be
published around July of this year!
**Note this is first draft so be kind ;)
November 24, 2000
The red file laying flat in the center of the table seemed to have us mesmerized.
“Oh my God,” Abby finally uttered, handing Ya Su to Raven before reaching out to the dossier, “You guys act like it might bite you or something.”
Laying the file between her and me, Abby opened the front cover and started reading:
Gabe and friends,
Thank you for allowing me to present a small case for your perusal…a taste of things to come if you will.
A man has approached me from
seventy miles from you. Lancaster
He has lost something, but I know not what. He will only discuss that with my representative in person.
In light of that, I have taken the liberty to secure an appointment for you at 2:00 this afternoon. While it matters not who conducts the interview, I believe it would be better if Gabriel did this one personally. He will allow one other person to accompany you, although the interview will be conducted privately between just him and Gabriel.
He will know you only by your group’s code name, which I have also taken the liberty of creating for you. It is quite apt considering some of your past work if I do say so myself.
Good luck and safe travels. I will expedite the code name via secure means. As always, should you choose not to accept the mission, assess me of your disposition soonest.
As if on cue, the secure cell twittered on the table.
Picking it up, Abby read from the screen before grinning.
“Ha!” she exclaimed before handing the phone to me.
On the screen, I read aloud the single word…
November 24, 2000
“Humph,” Preacher uttered in response.
“Hey! Don’t knock it Preacher!” Abby exclaimed, “We did help save the world after all.”
Preacher shrugged. “Lots of cloak and dagger in that message, makes me want to have second thoughts all over again.”
“Where’s your thirst for adventure buddy?” Snake grinned while patting Preacher’s shoulder. “It’s better than spending the day in your apartment with Dirk isn’t it?”
“Dirk and I keep plenty busy if you must know,” Preacher countered gruffly, although he let the thought drop when Abby spoke.
“I think we should take it,” Abby said while looking around the table. “How hard could it be to find something?”
“Depends on what it is,” Preacher countered, “And how deep it’s buried.”
At that moment Raven and Snake stood up.
“You won’t need me on this one I see,” Snake spoke with a smile. “I wish you guys all the best, but we’ve got to be in LA by nightfall.”
Raven ran her arm through his. “Snake and I have to attend a function for Ravenshire!”
Raven’s late husband, Calvin Forester, had left his widow a millionaire many times over. Over the last couple of years, Raven’s outlook on the world around her had expanded beyond her own immediate needs and wants. In other words, she had become very generous with her money, an amazing feat in and of itself considering her previous attitude. Previously her focus had always been on what would benefit her most, a sentiment brought on by various abuses wrought on her when she was young.
With Snake now an integral part of her life, they partnered in the creation of Ravenshire, a nonprofit entity that focused on the reclamation of lost and stolen art from around the world.
We were all proud of them for what they were doing to save a vital part of human history and art.
Saying our goodbyes, the four of us returned to the table.
“You two should go,” Abby pronounced, indicating myself and Preacher.
“I thought you’d be all over this Abby,” I replied, somewhat confused.
“I am…or I would be if…I didn’t get any sleep last night!” she finally admitted. “My butt’s draggin! And I know May didn’t get much either.”
I looked over to Preacher.
“You up for a road trip Preacher?”
“What the hell,” he finally muttered after a few moments. “I didn’t have any plans anyway.”
“It’s a date then,” I replied before looking at my watch, “Looks like we’ll need to leave in an hour or so.”
“There’s a map on the last page of the folder,” Abby volunteered with half-closed eyes.
Glancing at May, I also noticed her attention also waning as Ya Su slept on her lap.
“Why don’t you guys go get some shuteye,” I urged. Both nodding, the three ladies of the house made for their respective beds.
“I need to go home and get ready,” Preacher said as he too rose from the table, “Be back in an hour.”
Nodding I made my way to the coffee maker to make a pot for the road as he left.
I suddenly realized that we were on the cusp of an exciting new phase in our lives, and yet I was left standing alone in the kitchen making coffee.
Shrugging, I had to grin at myself.
Well, at least there was coffee, I grinned.
November 24, 2000
Two and a half hours later, I pulled into a long, gravel drive.
“We’re being watched,” Preacher mumbled from the passenger seat, “Camera on the gate, and someone hovering in the shadows on my right.”
“I’ve got someone on this side also,” I replied with a nod. “Hard to believe the man could lose something in the middle of this little
.” Fort Knox
As I spoke, the house came into view…If you could call it a house.
I’d call it a Castle!
Assembled from Bedford Stone, the house rose from the ground fifty or sixty feet.
“Looks like an old monastery or something,” Preacher observed as he stared ahead. “The only thing missing is the cross on the top of the tower.”
It did indeed resemble a monastery, and it probably had in actuality been one in the past. I knew that there were many that dotted the countryside of
Indiana…many of them still in use.
Ascending up at slight grade, I pulled partially around a circular portion of the drive, stopping in front of the large wooden entrance to the building.
“Shit,” I heard Preacher exhale suddenly. Turning toward him, I immediately noticed the pinprick of a red laser centered over his chest.
“Shit,” I responded myself as I glanced down at my own chest.
There was nothing there!
“Apparently the bastards want me to stay in the car,” Preacher growled.
I sat there, affixed to my seat, not knowing what to do until Preacher finally turned to me with a look of resignation on his face.
“Go,” he stated, waving me out of the car. “If they wanted me dead, they’d have done it by now. Besides, they want our help…doesn’t make sense to kill someone coming to their aid.”
Nodding, I pulled on the door handle and exited. Making my way around the car and up the steps to the large front door, I watched as it immediately opened in front of me.
A man was standing there, an assault rifle in his hand held toward the ceiling. Glaring at me, he didn’t speak a word or attempt to move out of my way.
“I have an appointment,” I finally stated.
“Gab…” I started before realizing my mistake.
“Savior,” I finally got out, feeling weird verbalizing it for the first time.
Standing aside, the man waved me in, closing the door behind me.
Starting off down a long hall, I fell in behind him. I could tell by the man’s bearing and abruptness that he had been professionally trained. Turning suddenly, He held out his hand to stop me before opening a door beside him and stepping partially into the room.
“Savior is here,” he uttered crisply, waiting for an answer I didn’t hear. Pushing on through the door, he turned and cocked his head for me to enter. Leaving immediately once I cleared the doorway, the man pulled the door closed behind him.
I glanced around the large expanse of the room…a library or study with high book cases on all of the walls.
Just like every other mansion I’ve ever been in, I thought with a quiet sigh.
“Mr. Savior, come in,” a voice implored from the other end of the room. Scanning that end of the room with my eyes, I finally spotted the source of the voice.
A thin, middle-aged gentleman sat dwarfed by the huge oak desk he sat behind. Wearing a crisp, white long-sleeved dress shirt, he had the cuffs rolled up to the elbows of his skinny arms.
Standing as I approached, he pushed back on his rimless glasses that looked much too thick to be useful.
“Please sit,” he stated while indicating a padded leather chair in front of his desk. “Thank you for coming.”
As I took my seat he seemed to be sizing me up with his eyes as he sat quietly back down in his own chair.
A short, uncomfortable silence followed before I finally spoke.
“How can I help you,” I questioned quietly.
The words seemed to flow over his head as he continued to sit and stare at me.
“I’ve lost something,” he finally answered before clearing his throat.
“Timepiece relayed as much,” I replied gently.
The best way I could classify Patrick McGruder in my head was as a spy, although even that handle seemed lacking somehow. But since all good spies apparently need a code name; it came as no surprise when McGruder had informed us earlier that he was known only as Timepiece to his clients.
“What is it that you need me to find?”
Again he stared at me before dropping his head, staring at his lap.
“I’ve lost Monte,” he finally uttered.
Sitting up straighter in my chair, I leaned slightly closer as I spoke.
“I’m sorry…is Monte your wife…or perhaps your daughter?
Shaking his head adamantly, he continued to withhold further information for a full minute before he spoke again.
“Monte is my bitch.”
Copyright 2015 by J.T. Lewis