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Liberty’s Child (Part Fourteen)

Liberty’s Child

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!


Day Fourteen: Five Long Minutes


            I was getting to be a little pissed to be honest. I’d had about four hours of sleep before getting to the office, and that was just in order to surprise Debbie. I’d been in pretty constant motion all day, I couldn’t even remember if I’d eaten that day. Now this simple little trip to take Columbia home had turned into another total and complete cluster fuck where I was reduced to crouching down behind what remained of my car, which was less than a year old I’d just like to point out. I can’t say I was scared because at some point fear had been totally overtaken with resentment.


            I looked around the front of the car and noticed that both headlights had managed to stay on, which meant that they couldn’t really see me if I stayed more or less behind them. One of them started towards the car, looking like he wasn’t going to wait for the police to show up before committing his kidnapping. I stepped around the car and fired a round at his chest and ran back behind the car. He fell to the ground and they blindly shot at the space where I had been, the bullets zipping through empty space and cutting into the trees and weeds. When they stopped the sound echoed for a while.


            One of them then carefully snapped two shots off and with each of them they took out each of the headlights, which returned us to something like darkness. That didn’t really bother me though, because I still had three rounds left and if I was lucky they wouldn’t expect me to come out from the same side of the car again. I stepped forward and something smacked against the back of my head.


            I didn’t pass out, but my knees did buckle, which was bad enough. I fell to the ground and the Marley left my hand for a moment. There was then a silenced pistol shot which caused the dirt at the back of my head to explode. I guessed I must have just been killed but was somehow still trapped in my body. The shell landed on my arm and rolled off to the ground. A second working of the gun’s mechanism and the ground popped again and again the shell landed on my arm and rolled into the crook of my elbow.


            It occurred to me I wasn’t dead when a soft and feminine hand reached down with painted nails and took the shells from the ground. I could smell her perfume as she crouched and while I was pretty much frozen to the spot my brain was still making a record of things. I noticed a braid of gold hair drift into view and something that felt like breast in my back as the person who had taken their vengeance out against the earth next to my head spoke in my ear.


            There was a sound of people walking up to the car, which was a pretty strong indicator that I was going to have to go and snatch the person I’d just snatched back again. That was annoying, but I didn’t really want to show it at the moment.


            I will admit that I had a pretty good idea who it was long before she spoke. The speaking that just confirmed what I had suspected. Her voice was soft, warm and alluring. It was the sort of voice you wanted to have whispering things into your ear. I’m not sure if the things she actually said were quite what I wanted, but it was nice to get to hear them anyway.


            “Now you just lay there quietly beautiful.” She said with lips that would look like a sport’s car’s paint job. That is they would look slick, red, and ready for action. “If you get up and do anymore shooting, I really will have to let Mister Cat kill you.”


            “Who the hell are you?” I heard Columbia ask and then a scuffle began in the tipped car. “No! Let go!”


            “No moving hero.” The voice said and something that felt very much like a pistol barrel pressed into the back of my head.


            “No god damn it!” Columbia shouted and someone hit her.


            The person holding the gun to the back of my head got up and left. I looked behind me, found that I was alone and grabbed the Marley. I stood up as silently as I could and steadied the gun with both hands. I pulled the trigger and put a single round through the head of the person who was dragging Columbia towards the SUV. I was amazed to see there were five of them, which meant that SUV must have felt like a clown car. Columbia shot away towards the car, but the owner of the voice and gun ran out into the street and struck her across the jaw with the butt of her pistol, which she then leveled at me. The paint job of the car suffered some more damage, just to the left of me. It was enough to make me shrink for a moment but I stood back up and shot once more with the gun, sadly hitting nothing but the side of the SUV.


            “I thought you got him.” Someone said in an accusing tone.


            “Well if you’re so smart you can stay with Mister Cat and kill him.” Amy Heart’s voice said angrily.


            The door slammed and the SUV drove away quickly. I knew that there must be two of them, and Mister Chester Cat was going to be one of them. I patted my pockets down again, looking for anything that might be useful. I had my pocket knife, the punch dagger and my Marley with one shot left.


            “Come on Professor.” Mister Cat’s voice said walking towards the car. “You can bore him to death with your lecture on William the Bastard.”


            I came around the back of the car and banged into the man who must have been the professor. I put the gun under his chin and shot him through the head. He collapsed to the ground and the tire next to me popped suddenly. I ran around to the front of the car and heard Cat laughing to himself. I’d dropped the Marley and was opening my pocket knife with my right hand when another round hit the side of the car.


            “That would be your last round Mister Collier.” Cat said and the black top near me popped from the shots he clearly fired from over the top of the car.


            I slid close to the car and a thought occurred to me. I pushed on top of the car and it was about a precariously balanced as I thought it was. The car rolled towards where I hoped Cat was standing at that moment. He shouted as the car began to roll and I heard cracking and snapping as it went into the ditch. The problem was that those were tree limbs and not human. That is, if Mister Cat is indeed human, an idea I’m still holding some reservations about.


            “Now that was just naughty.” He said, his smile not drifting for a moment. He always looked like Conrad Veidt in that one movie to me.


            “I’m sure it was.” I nodded to him.


            “Going to have to kill you know.” He said, and in an unexpected piece of theatrics, he raised the gun and placed both hands on it in order to bring it down with perfect aim.


            I might not be the brightest thing, but I’m certainly not dumb enough to just stand there and get shot. I ran to the car again and felt my shirt sleeve tug as I jumped behind the car. I checked my arm and when I was sort of safely behind the car and found that I hadn’t actually been shot. He was just toying with me, so I decided to come out and fight him. I jumped out from behind the car as he came close enough and slashed at him, missing him by miles of course.


            He kicked me in the chest, which knocked me back hard enough that I fell against the side of the car and slumped to the ground. I’d hit the passenger side door and had slid down to my butt, sitting in the wet grass. He walked up to me, holding his gun at an odd angle so that he was looking directly down the barrel, but keeping it only about six inches from his face. It made him look like a badly drawn comic book villain, gracing the cover of something where the hero wore a cape and solved crime with a catamite by his side.


            “Put your little jack knife down for me.” He said and I tossed it gently to one side, but carefully enough that I’d be able to grab it again quickly. “I’m going to enjoy this.”


            “Are you?” I asked as he stood over me, the barrel of his gun about two inches from my head.


            “Yes.” He said nodding. “I never will understand her fixation with you, but now that you’re gone she’ll act like a proper lady again.”


            “Oh.” I said.


            “She really doesn’t think right when you’re around.” He leaned closer in order to confide in me.


            “Women, huh?” I asked, and he laughed a rotten meat flavored laugh right in my face.


            I ducked my head to one side and pushed my left hand forward while grabbing his right hand with mine. I stabbed him in the side with the punch dagger, well below the ribs and was satisfied to hear him give a yelp. I then yanked it out of his side and stabbed his wrist, just below the hand bones, right between the upper arm bones. He shouted, and tried to pull away from me, but I pulled harder and smacked his face into the side of the car. I yanked the knife out of his arm and moved as quickly as I could for my pocket knife again. I then gave Cat a good hard kick in the face, which sent him rolling away from the car. I got up, holding the pocket knife down behind my arm so that I could just up and stab him without his knowing I had it. The tip had broken off my punch dagger, but most of it was still there.


            Cat stood up slowly, as if there was something that had caused him great pain. Humans can feel pain, but so can a slug. He was wet from the dew covered grass and his own blood and shook his hands a bit. He looked at me with disgust, the permanent smile finally gone from his head along with one of his front teeth. He looked now as if he were just disappointed in me for not being able to understand the joke.


            “You dumb son of a bitch.” He muttered and pulled the right side of his coat open, which exposed another pistol.


            His left hand reached for the gun and I leapt towards him with all the strength and speed I had left. I stabbed his upper arm with the punch dagger again, pinning his left arm to his chest and more or less body checked him. We both went down and I brought the pocket knife around, half forgetting it was there. I was thinking of just punching him in the back of the head, just below the skull, which is where the knife ended up. I must have gone into his brain stem with the dagger and it was forced further when his head banged the ground with it in it. He made some noises as we landed on the ground and I twisted the knife so savagely that I heard a snap and my right hand came free. I looked at the beaten up knife and found that the impact had broken the blade away from the body of the knife. It had broken free and all I had left was the handle. At least the blade didn’t actually break though. I could continue to have faith in these knives.


            I threw the end of the knife away, opened his coat and grabbed the gun from his holster. I shot him twice in the chest, and then deciding to be a completist I gave him a round in the head as well. The gun was silent, the only noises coming from the working gears of the weapon. I then was surprised to find that I was talking to the corpse, which is an odd thing for anyone to do.


            “That’s right bitch.” I said pointing the gun at my fallen foe again. “That’s what you get, you fuck with me. I fuck your day up motherfucker. C’mon, let’s see you start some shit now bitch.”


            I managed to stop before I started giggling, which would have led to full blown laughing which would become screaming in no time. I almost had to slap my hand over my mouth, but I stopped the torrent of nonsense before it got too far. I didn’t want to be found kneeling over a dead body and screaming up into the heavens, it wouldn’t have reflected well on my profession.


            I was about to just drop the gun and leave it at that, but I walked to the smashed up Mercedes and looked in to see if anyone was alive in there. It didn’t look like there was, so I just dropped the gun into the lap of the fellow I’d shot in the head about a hundred years ago. I looked around at the carnage of both men and cars and for a moment wished I smoked. I could have asked Liberty for one of her packs of French cigarettes which she to this day has flown over twice a week.


            She could have given me a lighter or some matches to go with the tin of fifteen hand rolled beauties if I had just asked. I could have asked her, right after she’d taken me to the very edge of heaven, which she had done that afternoon about a thousand years ago or so. This afternoon’s love making seemed to have happened so long ago that it might have been some family legend that happened to some long ago Collier in which ever village in Wales he left to come here.


            I pulled my cell phone out, looking around for police lights as I did so. I called Alice, listening to the phone ring over and over again before she finally picked it up. She must have let it ring about three hundred times, or at least four before answering. When she did, it occurred to me how late at night it was and that some people actually go to bed at night.


            “Hello?” She said, sounding groggy, as if she’d been asleep. It must have been heaven, to actually have been asleep. I was so tired, but I couldn’t sleep yet.


            “Hi Alice.” I said trying not to sound like a panicky idiot. “LION pretended to kidnap Columbia, now UNICORN really has.”


            “What?” She probably didn’t know she was shouting, but she did.


            “They are still fighting for the crown, and I think Columbia is somehow playing the part of the brown bread.” I managed, and finally saw something that looked like the flashing lights of the police coming towards me. “Listen, I’m surrounded by dead bodies, and I think I’m about to be arrested. Do you think you could triangulate my position or something and come really fast and get me? I don’t really want to leave her in that spot.”


            “Don’t hang up your phone.” She said. “I can probably manage the rest from there.”


            “Thanks beautiful.” I said. “When all this is over, if you want, I will take you on a date where ever you want to go.”


            “Will you really?” She asked.


            “You’ll just have to remind me I said that because I think I’m currently suffering from a concussion and I haven’t slept… um, ever.” The lights came close enough that I could just about hear the engines, since they were driving without sirens at the moment. It was a single red bubble on in the center of the roof, which meant it was a state trooper. “I’ve got to go, the police are here.”


            “Alright.” She said, “I’ll talk to you in a bit, don’t hang up.”


            “I won’t.” and stuffed the phone into my pocket.


            “Are you alright sir?” One of the officers asked as the car came to a halt and turned to block traffic.


            “No.” I said shaking my head. “Not even a little bit alright. My name is Jack Collier, I’m a private investigator. My client and I were driving back to her home when we were attacked, she’s been kidnapped. There are a few bodies in that Mercedes over there, and there is the body of a dead hitman over there near my car which… was beautiful before the whole hitman kidnapping my client thing came up. I have a private investigator’s license in my back pocket, but at the moment I would really like to be taken to a hospital because I think I might be suffering a head injury.”


            “Okay sir.” The officer said getting out of his car with his hand on his side arm. “I’m officer Jim Jefferies of the State Police. I’ll need to check you for weapons. Would you step over to the car and put your hands on the hood please?”


            “Oh, yeah, sure. That’s fine.” I said walked to the car putting my hands on the hood. “I don’t have anything now, but if you find a Marley thirty-eight or a Webley-Fosbery automatic revolver around here, those are mine and both valuable antiques. There’s also at least one silenced pistol that has my prints on it, maybe two. I think they’re Ruger twenty twos, but I could be wrong.”


            He went over me quickly, running over me with his flashlight and checking the two holsters with his hands. Having decided I was clean he walked to the car and opened the door to the back. I looked at him and decided that this guy was trying to be just a nice guy.


            “Listen, I’ve hurt my head and I’ve had a long day. If I sit in the back I might lie down and if I lie down, I might go to sleep. Would it be okay if I sat in the front?”


            He looked at me for a long moment and then at the situation around him. I tried to look pathetic and tired, which was not a stretch for me. He then decided that he probably shouldn’t take too long to decided anything.


            “Yeah.” He nodded, “That’ll be fine.”


            He helped me get into his front seat and drove me to a hospital, keeping me awake by asking me all about the case. I told him as much as I would like to have the police know, which was pretty much everything beyond the very personal details. For example he didn’t need to know who I’d had sex with, either today or any other day, so I left details like that out. Still I’d nearly fallen asleep by the time he got me to the hospital, where there were lots of people who could keep me up.



This is part fourteen of twenty-three, come back next week for part fifteen and every Thursday until we’re done to see what happens next. If you get lost, one of the tags here should help you. The Liberty tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here

June 24, 2009 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

Welcome to Corneria. I like swords.

Next month a new pair of Highlander katanas comes out. I’m actually interested in the Connor sword since it actually has more than a passing resemblance to the movie prop for once. There is also a new Duncan sword too, but I’m less interested in that.

Now if they’d just make a proper vesrion of the Macleod Claymore, rather than that crappy… thing they’ve been trying to pass off then I could die a happy highlander fanboy at last.*

*No, I couldn’t really. No Highlander fan can ever be truly happy. No matter how they try to chop or change it, Highlander 2 still happened. It was still done to us. The Renegade version was no salve to our wounds either. Star Wars fans don’t know what disappointment is. Episode One was fucking Citizen Kane when put up next to The Quickening. Midichlorians? Try Ziest motherfucker! Yeah, the immortals are all aliens now! I watched those two movies for the first time back to back.

…You don’t know what pain is. Part three and four didn’t help much either.

June 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oh, okay.

So Sanford wasn’t eaten by Cthulu, he went to South America. Not kidding. Evidently everything his staff said was wrong. Appalachian Trail. Argentina. VERY easy to confuse the two. They both begin with A after all.

Still, why does a guy go to South America, on Father’s Day Weekend, doesn’t tell his wife or four kids, or anyone on his staff, or anyone in the government, for a week? One question answered, so many opened.

June 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment