1K Serials: The Invited, Chapter 1

THE INVITED 

By Richard Paolinelli

© 2019 RICHARD PAOLINELLI . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO COPYING OR ANY OTHER REPRODUCTION OF THIS STORY IS PERMITTED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

 

ONE

 

“I mark a bittersweet anniversary today in a way that none of us could have ever anticipated. Who could have known that 15 years ago, when mankind first ventured out of the solar system, we had started a countdown on our very existence. How could I have known then that I was commanding a mission, not to the stars, but toward Armageddon instead.”

– from the journal of General Duncan Sinclair, January 13, 2125, the tenth year of the Kustani siege of Earth

 

A high-pitched buzz pierced the silence of General Duncan Sinclair’s office. His dark, chiseled features, which had led many to describe him as roguishly handsome, scrunched into a scowl that he aimed directly at the intruding intercom.

Setting down his stylus, the same pen he’d carried with him on his ill-fated mission beyond the solar system, Sinclair closed his journal and pushed it aside. With a sense of foreboding, he activated the intercom’s receiver.

“Sinclair here, go ahead Westbrook.”

“I’m sorry to disturb you, sir,” the apologetic voice of Sinclair’s aide began without any surprise at his superior’s clairvoyance, “but you said you wanted to be informed if we heard anything from Mars.”

Mars Base had been silent for over three days now, having gone quiet without so much as an explanation or a “mayday”. The sense of foreboding increasing in leaps and bounds, Sinclair steeled himself for his aide’s next words.

“Sensors show six patrol fighters Earthbound. We’ve confirmed they’re part of the Mars Base detachment. We haven’t been able to establish radio contact,” the aide paused uncomfortably. “It looks like they’ve taken a lot of damage.”

As we had feared and much more, Sinclair thought bitterly to himself. Even Lieutenant Westbrook, who always found a way to put a positive spin on any situation, was struck silent. Mars Base was the keystone in Earth’s defense, if it had fallen to the enemy then the demise of humanity was all but sealed.

“Dispatch a fighter wing to escort them in and inform me when they arrive,” Sinclair said, somehow managing to keep an undertone of defeat from creeping into his voice.

“Colonel Rogers has already done so,” Westbrook paused, this time even more uncomfortably. “In fact, he recommended that we increase our alert status before he left,” Westbrook added a quick, but quiet “sir” waiting for the impending thunderstorm to strike him down.

But the storm never broke, much to his relief. Even though both men knew that it was against standing orders for either Sinclair, as the commanding officer of Moon Base, or Rogers, as the base’s Wing Commander, to lead a mission like this, Rogers would know how important the information the Mars’ pilots carried was. He would undoubtedly have a logical explanation for his personally seeing to it that they made it back safely.

“I see,” Sinclair said quietly. “Very well then, have the Colonel’s relief put us on DEFCON Two and tell the Colonel to report to my office along with the Mars’ pilots immediately upon their arrival, Sinclair out.”

Sinclair snapped off the intercom before Westbrook could get out a “Yes, sir!” and contemplated his journal. He’d begun writing the thing on his twentieth birthday for reasons he’d long since forgotten. At the end of every day for twenty-four years he’d logged in every event, good or bad, that had left a mark upon his life. As he placed the leather-bound volume in its designated slot in his desk, Sinclair couldn’t help but wonder how many more events were left to be included in the journal and if anyone would survive long enough to ever read them.

Colonel Ken Rogers led four of the six pilots into Sinclair’s office, the other two had been wounded fighting their way off of Mars and were getting treated in Med Bay. Rogers had known his old friend and commanding officer had been under a great strain lately, they all had to some extent over the last ten years, but seeing the dark circles under his eyes and the weariness in Sinclair’s face shook Rogers. It looked like Sinclair had aged another decade since he’d last seen him at the morning briefing. The report he was delivering wasn’t going to improve things either.

The pilots gave a brief, but devastating account of Mars Base’s fate: The complete destruction of the military and civilian populations, buildings and nearly every piece of equipment on the planet. Only a small number of the smaller fighter ships had gotten away, none of the evac shuttles had cleared the ground before being destroyed, and had joined up with the last two battle cruisers left in Earth Fleet in full retreat from Mars. With communications jammed, the fleet was trying to slow down the enemy’s procession toward Earth, sparing only the six fighters to warn Earth Defense Command. The Fleet Commander, an old friend of Sinclair’s, had sent a private message with the flight leader, who ended his report by handing Sinclair the disk containing the message.

Sinclair took the disk, somberly dismissing the pilots. Rogers stayed behind, waiting for the door to close behind the last man out before addressing his friend. He knew how much Sinclair blamed himself for the current situation and no matter how much he disagreed with Sinclair’s assigning that blame to himself, he could certainly understand why he did so.

Sinclair had commanded the mission that had dropped the beacon out in deep space, inviting any and all species of the galaxy to drop by Earth and say hello. The theory at the time had been that any species advanced enough to attain deep space flight would be inclined toward peaceful contact. So the theory said. But instead of a benevolent race, Earth was being called on by the Kustani and if any race could be said to be evil incarnate then it would be the Kustani.

A dozen years ago the Kustani had made first contact with an Earth exploration ship, with tragic results. The Earth ship had been completely destroyed, all hands aboard lost, and the two species had been at war ever since. For the last ten years the Kustani had encircled the solar system, gradually contracting the ring, much like a giant fishing net, into an ever-tightening circle around the inner planets.

Earth, still in its interstellar flight infancy, didn’t have the resources to break the siege. All Defense Command could do was to slow down the Kustani and hope for a miracle. That hope, along with most of Earth’s resources, were fast running out.

“I checked with plotting before I came here,” Rogers began. “The Kustani stopped their advance just a few million klicks on the other side of lunar orbit.”

Standard operating procedure for the Kustani, a race of beings with humanoid-like bodies with gourd-like heads the color of pumpkins and eyes of milky gray that reminded Sinclair of his worst childhood nightmares, keep the pressure on the defenders and watch base by base crumble and fall. Tighten the circle, increase the pressure on the defenders, sit back and wait for the next line of defense to collapse.

Now all that stood between the Kustani and the Earth itself was the Moon, a base staffed with a few thousand soldiers, and what few ships remained of Earth Fleet. Barely enough to hold off the Kustani for long should they decide for one last push, Rogers thought bitterly.

“We aren’t going to win this time, are we, Duncan?”

*     *     *     *     *

Next week: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

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1K Serials: Legacy Of Death, FINAL Chapter

LEGACY OF DEATH: 

THE DYSON’S COMET KILLER

By Richard Paolinelli

© 2019 RICHARD PAOLINELLI . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO COPYING OR ANY OTHER REPRODUCTION OF THIS STORY IS PERMITTED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

 

TEN

 

Chief Kiner had never gone through a week like this in his entire career.

Steve Foster was in surgery, the victim of a stab wound perilously close to his heart. No one could locate Bolton and now it appeared that the Dyson’s killer had holed up in a warehouse, chased there after the attack on Foster had been interrupted by a pair of off-duty policemen on their way to shoot hoops in the park.

To cap it all off the killer was claiming to have Lisa Owens hostage inside, although Kiner was at a loss to explain how the assistant district attorney had gotten caught up in all of this. Yet he had several officers swearing they’d heard her talking to the killer.

Despite all of this, Kiner still didn’t have a clue as to who their suspect was. No one had gotten a clear look at him before he’d taken refuge in the dark warehouse. Kiner was waiting for a SWAT team and a hostage negotiator to arrive on the scene. In the meantime he had everyone wearing a badge that he could call in surrounding the building, making sure there would be no escape and keeping the media well away from the scene.

He had just ordered the media horde moved another block away when he saw Bolton’s Mustang drive through the barricades. Kiner was shocked by Bolton’s appearance. Bolton looked like he’d aged twenty years since the night before. Kiner approached, thinking to update the Inspector. But before Kiner could start Bolton dropped a bombshell, letting Kiner know whose house he’d been in and what he’d found there.

“My God,” Kiner said. “Are you sure, Mac?”

Bolton reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out an old journal and handed it to Kiner.

“It’s all in there,” Bolton replied, stepping past Kiner.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to get her,” Bolton said without turning back. “And I’m going in there alone.”

Kiner quickly leafed through the journal. It didn’t take long for him to put it all together. He looked back up in time to see Bolton slip into the building as his radio came alive with multiple inquiries from his officers. They all wanted to know why Bolton had gone in alone and what should they do.

He didn’t have a clue what to tell them.

* * * * *

Bolton quietly made his way through the interior of the warehouse toward the sounds of angry voices. It sounded to him like a man and a woman. Although he was too far away to make out the words, the male voice sounded threatening, the female’s pleading and it sounded like Lisa’s voice at that. Hearing two distinct voices brought Bolton up short, giving him a moment’s false hope that somehow he was wrong.

But then he recalled the hidden storage room, the journal and who’s house he’d found them in. Pulling his gun out of its holster, Bolton quickly resumed his path toward the voices. Within seconds he was standing in an open space, his gun leveled on the back of a figure draped in a dark overcoat.

“Show me your hands,” Bolton barked. “Now!”

“I don’t think so, Inspector,” the male voice rasped. “Put your gun away or I will kill this woman. Tell the good Inspector I mean what I say, won’t you Ms. Owens.”

“Mac please,” Owens’ voice seemed to come from in front of the figure standing before Bolton. From where Bolton was standing he couldn’t determine if there was in fact more than one person standing before him, nor could he tell what, if any, weapon was being held. Trusting again in what he’d seen earlier, Bolton pressed the issue.

“I doubt that very much,” he said. “Killing her is killing yourself, isn’t that right Lisa?”

“W-what?,’ Lisa stammered.

“I’ve been in your storage room Lisa,” Bolton said sadly. “I’ve read your journal. I know it all. It’s over Lisa, it’s all over.”

“DAMN YOU!” came a shriek that both was and was not Lisa’s voice as the figure before Bolton quickly spun around. Bolton had just enough time to register a look of pure hatred on Lisa’s face and a flash of silver in her hand that was quickly followed by a blossom of white light and a sharp crack of a gunshot.

* * * * *

Kiner heard the single shot ring out of the warehouse. With a curse, Kiner ordered his men in. But before any of them could enter the building Bolton stepped out, carrying the limp body of Lisa Owens in his arms.

Believing the suspect to still be inside, the remaining cops and Inspectors poured into the building. Kiner watched as Bolton, tears streaming down his face, approached. Kiner did not call for medical help, he’d seen enough dead bodies to know there was no need. He didn’t need to ask Bolton what had happened inside either. He’d been around long enough to put together the pieces of this puzzle all too well.

“I’m sorry, Mac,” Kiner said as Bolton walked by and then fell silent as he watched Bolton gently place Owens in the passenger seat of his car. For reasons he’d never be able to explain, Kiner did nothing else but watch as Bolton got into the Mustang, started it up and drove off into the foggy night.

* * * * *

Two days later Kiner found himself still questioning the reasons why he didn’t stop Bolton that night, why he didn’t at least have Bolton followed. Perhaps, he mused as he stood at the end of a pier looking up at the very spot on the bridge where Bolton had killed himself, he knew that it would have only delayed the inevitable. Bolton’s life was over long before he had entered that warehouse and killed the woman he’d loved.

“What a waste,” Foster’s voice startled Kiner out of his reverie.

“What are you doing out of bed?” Kiner asked, without turning around.

“I heard they found two bodies floating out in the ocean, a man and a woman,” Foster said, uncomfortably shifting his left arm that was still in a sling. “I figured it was probably them. I needed to be here. For both of them.”

Kiner couldn’t find it within himself to argue the point and motioned for Foster to at least sit down on a nearby bench, helping the injured man get comfortable while they waited for the Coast Guard boat carrying the two bodies to arrive.

“It still makes no sense,” Foster said, staring out across the water.

Kiner couldn’t agree more. He’d spent the last two days carefully reading the journal and the reports from the crime scene techies that had processed Owens’ house.

The evidence and the journal told a terrible story of a family cursed by an insanity that tied itself to the reappearance of a seemingly innocent comet in the night sky.

For whatever reason, or for no reason at all Kiner thought, certain members of the Owens family fell victim to the belief that the return of the comet was a call to cleanse the world of impurity. Each cleansing would only be accomplished if twelve victims were sacrificed in a specific manner.

Well, Kiner mused silently, twelve people were certainly killed this time around.

The journal was an account of each cleansing that enumerated each victim’s name, the date and place of death and also served as a guide for the next generation to follow for another successful cleansing. The first entry of the journal included a dire warning of what would befall mankind if a cleansing was not carried out to completion.

It was dated the sixth of May, 1639 in Paris, France by an Englishman named Theodore Owens. Lisa Owens was the seventh member of the family to begin a cleansing. She would be the last of the Owens to fall victim to the “curse”. There weren’t any relatives of hers left that anyone could locate and she hadn’t had any children.

There would be no more cleansings and that was the only comfort Kiner could find in the aftermath of the tragic deaths of over one hundred people across three centuries.

“It doesn’t make a bit of sense at all,” Kiner said aloud just as the Coast Guard boat came into view. Both men stood and waited silently as the boat docked and crewman carried two stretchers off the boat and gently set them down on the pier. One of the men knelt down between the stretchers, unzipped each of the body bags they carried and gently pulled back the lining to expose the faces of the bodies within.

“It’s them,” Kiner said after a few moments examination. The crewman quickly zipped the bags closed and the men picked up the stretchers and took them to the coroner’s wagon waiting at the end of the pier.

“What do we do now?” Foster asked as he watched the bodies of his two friends being carried away.

“We do our job, just like Mac did,” Kiner replied. “He stopped anyone else from dying because of this madness at least.”

“No matter the cost?”

“No matter the cost,” Kiner said. “Knowing that each time we catch a killer, we’ve kept him, or her, from killing again.”

“With respect Chief,” Foster said quietly. “That stinks.”

“Yes,” Kiner agreed. “Yes it does.”

* * * * *

Fifty-six years later…

Casandra Phillips had often wondered what was stored in the dusty old footlocker in the attic of her Uncle John’s house. All he would ever say about the box was that it had some boring old family papers inside.

The mystery of the box made her curious about what in her family’s history could be so terrible as to be consigned to such an obscure fate. The only oddity she could find in the family’s past was her father’s third cousin, four times removed who had been killed in San Francisco long before Casandra was born and this distant cousin had been involved in a dozen murders at the time. But no one in the family knew much more than that, other than Uncle John and he would never speak of it.

On the day of Uncle John’s funeral, Casandra walked up the steps of the old house and quickly made her way to the attic and the mysterious box. She had discovered the key to open it the day before and was impatient to explore its mysteries.

Opening the box, waiving away the dust storm that came with its opening, Casandra pulled out a pile of press clippings and a very old looking, leather-bound journal. She opened the book and read the inscription on the first page:

 

The journal of Theodore Owens

April 2, 1639

Written as I embark on my journey to Paris

 

The ringing of her cell phone startled Casandra. Impatiently, she flipped open the phone.

“Hello.”

“Cassie, its Tom,” said the voice on the other end of the call. “I just wanted to know if we were still on for tonight, with your uncle’s funeral and all. I wasn’t sure you still wanted to come over.”

“It’s okay, Tom,” Casandra said, looking back down at the journal. “I still want to see Dyson’s Comet and tonight is supposed to be the best night for viewing.”

“Great, I’ll see you tonight,” Tom said as he hung up.

Casandra flipped the phone closed and began reading again. She had a feeling something wonderful in the pages of this book was about to reveal itself to her and perhaps her life would never be the same again.

 

THE END

 

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Next up in the 1K Weekly Serials series: The Invited

 

The_Invited

 

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This Date in Baseball: 1956

On this day in 1956, Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history. Yogi Berra caught the final pitch of the game to Dale Mitchell that was called strike three by the home plate umpire.

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The story of the man who called that final strike is even more incredible than the game played that day.

Ralph “Babe” Pinelli capped an amazing career in baseball that spanned 40 years as an infielder in the Pacific Coast League, then the American League and the National League. When his playing days ended in the early 1930s, he became an umpire in the PCL before moving up to a 22-year run as a National League umpire.

His life is chronicled in this book, PERFECTION’S ARBITER  and is available on Amazon in both e-book and print formats. It can also be found on several other e-book platforms right here: PERFECTION’S ARBITER.

 

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The Hypocrisy Of Adam Silver

Funny, isn’t it, how principles go right out the window if enough money is involved?

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey recently tweeted his support of Hong Kong as it struggles to remain free of Chinese oppression. The Chinese got their knickers in a knot – too bad in my humble opinion – and started canceling NBA G-League games and stopped televising NBA games in China.

This prompted NBA Court Jester Commissioner Adam Silver to apologize to the Chinese for the grievous insult Morey’s tweet inflicted on their delicate senses. He did so in a way that basically threw Morey right under the bus. Only when many people outside of China took umbrage did Silver attempt to backtrack by saying that he and the league are “apologetic” over the outcome and reaction that followed Morey’s tweet then lamely added that “we are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression.”

Adam is trying to have his rugelach and eat it too. I believe they call it “chutzpah” back in Winchester County, New York but I will defer to my friend James Pyles to confirm that.

Look, Silver has invested a lot of time and effort into expanding the NBA into China. Although, why one would willingly do business with a regime that murders its citizens for kicks and steals the intellectual property of many businesses – and creators like myself – is beyond me.

But Adam’s initial response, attacking Morey for standing up for those seeking the freedom and liberty every human being deserves, while apologizing to China because hundreds of millions of dollars are involved reveals a curious hypocrisy on Silver’s part.

He later states that he supports Morey excersing his freedom of expression and thus no league punishment will be handed down to Morey. That’s good. But where was that support from the freedom of expression for one Donald Sterling a few years back?

Yes, what Sterling was recorded saying to his mistress was racist and horrible. But here’s the thing about freedom of expression in this country: It means expression that we find horrible and disagree with is just as protected as that we do agree with.

You may hate what the man said, but he has the right to say it. Yet, he was stripped of his ownership of a multi-million dollar business by Adam Silver and the NBA.

Where is this heavy-handedness from Adam with regards to the Chinese. They have engaged in far worse conduct than Sterling ever did. Has Silver decided to remove China from any involvement with the NBA?

No. In fact, he has gone groveling to them. Apologizing to them because someone dared speak the truth to China. And all because enough money is involved to make Adam throw any semblance of integrity right out the window while he counts all those beautiful Renminbi’s with Mao’s face on them.

It reminds me of my final month of employment at the Modesto Bee. I had already handed in my notice to take a job at another newspaper when someone in HR discovered to their great horror that I had not yet taken my company-mandated “Diversity Training”, a one-week excursion into the land of Inclusionary Hell. It made no sense for me to take it since I was about three weeks from leaving the company, but I was given no choice. (In retrospect, I should have called in sick.)

Day one, we are told that it is wrong to sort out our fellow co-workers based on race, gender, etc. etc. Immediately after making this statement, we are asked to introduce ourselves and what our ethnicity is. I’m sorry, but didn’t you just say we weren’t supposed to make that an issue?

So, when my turn came I introduced myself and stated my ethnicity as “Human”. I think at that point the two indoctrinators instructors were wishing they had called in sick that week.

Day two, we are role-playing. (As an aside, I HATE ROLE-PLAYING) I am the manager of the advertising department when one of our top clients calls and says that Sally, who is black, is his account manager and he wishes to have someone who is not black handling his account from now on. As the head of the department, I am asked, what is your response?

My response was to tell the client that Sally was handling his account and would continue to do so and never again call me with this racist bullshit. Now, I note that my fellow employees clapped and nodded their heads in agreement with my decision.

Our indoctrinators instructors informed us that I was wrong. That, in order to keep the client happy, I should replace Sally with Jimmy, who is so white he makes Barry Manilow look like a brother. The next 10 minutes were… well, let’s just say they were interesting.

Let me sum up my parting statement as I left for the day and filed a complaint with HR and was then excused from attending for the rest of the week (which was good because it let me get back to doing the job I was being paid for):

“You have spent these two days telling us,” I began and likely was shouting at this point, “that excluding anyone based on race, gender and whatever else is wrong and unacceptable and grounds for termination for us employees. Then you have the nerve (I should have said chutzpah) to tell me that it is perfectly fine for this company to do exactly that to one of us to keep a racist POS client happy and keep those bucks flowing into the bank account? So the official McClatchy policy is racism is bad until it impacts accounts receivable and then its all fine and dandy?”

There were a few other choice words added in (I’m Italian, when we get started…) but the point was the hypocrisy was on full display. The sad fact was they knew it… and they didn’t care.

I suspect Adam and the NBA knows it too. But as long as the money keeps flowing in, they won’t care that they are hypocrites. Whoever has the bigger wallet is who they’ll cater do and to hell with the Sallys, Sterlings and Moreys of this world.

I haven’t watched an NBA game in years and I even quit following my Lakers about three years ago. Between Silver and his predecessor, David Stern, the NBA is no longer basketball. The NBA’s glory years will turn out to be the 1980s when the Lakers, Celtics, Sixers and Rockets played the game as well as it will ever be played.

Today’s NBA is street ball. Those refs not on the take have no clue what traveling or double dribble are. Nor do they call the game the same for all ten players on the court instead of having one set of different rules for the superstars. Players collude to violate the spirit of the salary cap with no sense of loyalty to the team that drafted them or the fans that cheered them on.

And now, we have a commissioner who worships at the altar of Big Money, paid for with the blood of innocent men and women who only desired one thing: Freedom.

 

 

 

1K Serials: Legacy Of Death, Ch. 9

LEGACY OF DEATH: 

THE DYSON’S COMET KILLER

By Richard Paolinelli

© 2019 RICHARD PAOLINELLI . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO COPYING OR ANY OTHER REPRODUCTION OF THIS STORY IS PERMITTED WITH WRITTEN PERMISSION.

 

NINE

 

Nick Bolton’s apartment was a madhouse.

Police cars, Coroner’s vans, media vehicles, lights, cameras and the obligatory looky-loos had completely surrounded the complex. Mac Bolton hadn’t spoken a word as he’d ridden in the Chief’s car, barely registering anything that Kiner had said to him or while on his phone seeking updates.

Bolton ignored the flash of the still cameras and the glaring lights from the TV crowd, quickly making his way past the throng being pushed back by the patrolmen on the scene. He ignored the expressions of sympathy and the occasional apology offered by his colleagues and walked straight into the bedroom where the covered body of his father lay sprawled across his bed. Sanchez was working the scene for any trace evidence.

Bolton reached for the covering but paused before pulling it back, bracing himself for what he was about to see.

“He put up a fight Mac,” Sanchez said quietly. “He must of heard the attack on the nurse in the kitchen and was getting up to see what was going on. The killer took her out very quickly and was probably entering the room just as your father was getting to his feet. There are some defensive wounds on his hands.”

Mac silently nodded in acknowledgement and drew back the plastic only enough to expose his father’s face. There was a look of surprise frozen on his father’s face. Mac would have expected a look of anger or pain as had been found on the others victims’ faces. His father would have been angry at the intrusion. There should be anger there, not shocked surprise, Bolton thought.

Puzzled, Mac carefully examined the scene and was drawn to the position of his father’s left hand and a trail of blood that led from the out flung hand to the pillows at the head of the bed. Or was it the other way around, Bolton wondered. Without a word to Sanchez, Bolton leaned over and felt under the pillows.

His fingers quickly made contact with a small object and he swiftly withdrew it. Lying there in the palm of his hand was a gold locket attached to a few links of a chain. There was a smear of blood on the locket, obviously torn from the killer by his father who had hidden this small piece of evidence before his death.

Nick Bolton had done this last act because he knew this small piece of jewelry would identify his killer. He’d known this because he recognized the locket just as his son now did. Mac Bolton now knew who the killer was.

* * * * *

Steve Foster didn’t know who the killer was, but he had a very good idea where the killer would strike next. He had a hunch and was playing it, staking out an area near Buena Vista Park where he thought the next attack would occur. The idea had struck as he was looking at a map of the city with pins marking the sites of each attack. He thought he had spotted a pattern, not enough of a hunch to warrant a full-scale stakeout, but enough for him to set up shop and keep an eye on the park.

He’d been at it for hours now and hadn’t yet heard about Mac’s quasi-arrest and the death of Mac’s father. Technically, he had been off-duty for twelve hours and he had spent all of them moving around the park looking for the killer.

So far, he’d come up empty. But he wasn’t about to give up just yet. Sipping from a cup of coffee as he leaned up against a tree in the park, he watched a couple of early-morning joggers pass by, quickly disappearing from sight and leaving him all alone.

A snap of a twig made him whirl around, dropping the coffee as he reached for his gun.

“You scared the hell of me,” Foster said in relief. “I thought you were somebody else. So what brings you out here C….”

Foster’s voice cut off in shock as the knife struck his chest.

“No,” Foster gasped as he fell to the ground ahead of the darkness that was threatening to claim him. “It can’t be you.”

* * * * *

Bolton waited for the car to pull out of the driveway and turn the corner before stepping out from behind a truck parked across the street. It only took him a few seconds to get past the front door and he was lucky enough to not have to worry about the security system. The resident had forgotten to arm it before leaving.

He wasn’t worried about the resident returning to the house. He wasn’t planning on staying long anyway. He’d been in this house before, been in every room except one and he was long overdue to pay this room a visit.

It was for storage, he’d been told, and was rarely opened. There was a table stationed in front of the door to the room and Bolton quickly moved it away. The door was locked but provided no more delay to Bolton’s progress than the front door had.

But when Bolton pulled open the door he was stopped dead in his tracks. Inside lay a horror beyond comprehension. It was all there, clippings of news stories on every killing, articles of clothing and possessions from each victim, trophies for their killer, all arrayed on an altar to shear madness.

There was an old journal on a side table with several large candles, a few of them had been burned down to about half of their original size. Bolton picked up the journal and started reading. Less than an hour later, Bolton exited the house and walked three blocks to where he’d parked his car and got in. But instead of starting the car, he just sat unmoving behind the wheel. A person he’d come to know so well, had let get so close to him, was responsible for the slaughter of so many innocent people. Had tried to frame him for the murders and had killed his father. The only question when Mac got his hands on his father’s killer would be would he arrest, or kill, his quarry.

In his anger and his grief, Bolton was afraid of what the answer would be.

 

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This Cop Is Unworthy Of The Badge

I’ve lived in eight states over the years, in small towns of a couple hundred population on up to big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. One of the stops along the way was Thousand Oaks, California – the last town I lived in before packing up and fleeing moving to Nebraska.

I actually liked the area. It was far enough removed from Los Angeles not to feel like a big city but close enough to get to things we enjoyed doing. I am happy to say I am no longer a resident of Thousand Oaks this morning after reading this story:

Police Chief Nixes Event Because, GASP, Republicans Will Be There

That’s right. An event to raise funds for the families of fallen officers – including a Sergeant of the very same station that this man currently commands who gave his life in the line of duty during a mass shooting – has been canceled because the Thousand Oaks’ Chief of Police got his knickers in a knot because Republicans were also invited.

It makes one wonder if the department has a policy to check the voter rolls before deciding to send a car out on a call. If a store owner is a Republican can he expect the police to show up if he is being robbed? If the murder victim is a Republican exactly how hard will the officers investigate the crime? Will they bother arresting a suspect, especially if the suspect turns out to be a Democrat?

You might think I’m taking this to an extreme, but consider this:

If the Chief of Police hates Republicans so much that he will deny money being raised to help the families of fallen officers – including one of his own men – just because they were invited to the event, then how can we trust he can set aside that hatred when it comes to doing his sworn duty: To serve and protect. How can we trust that those under his command haven’t received his message of hate loud and clear and are carrying it out on the streets every day?

To serve and protect goes for everyone living in Thousand Oaks, Chief Hagel. Not just the ones that vote for Democrats. It’s time for Thousand Oaks to have a new chief of police, the current one has disgraced the memory of his fallen Sergeant and police officers everywhere.