The Art Of Revenge – Chapter Five

Nedward looked at Holly and said “we gave you a temporary name.  We weren’t sure…”  Holly interrupted him and said “you weren’t sure I was going to make it?”  Nedward nodded his head yes.

“Okay,” Holly said.  “What is my name?”

Nedward said “Adeline.  Adeline Forrest.”  Holly repeated it.  “Adeline Forrest.  That’s a good name.  I like it.  I’m going to have to remember it and then I’m going to have to forget it.”  Nedward was confused by her response but didn’t question her about it.

They were meeting Sergeant Foy at one of the safe houses where Adeline would be staying indefinitely.  When they arrived, Foy walked up to her, held out his arms and said “Holly.  It’s good to see you.  You look great.” Holly took a step backward as if to say “no.”  Then she said “please call me Adeline.”

There was no time for niceties or trips down memory lane as she began the conversation, much to the surprise of both Nedward and Foy.  She asked if they had all the necessary paperwork, such as birth certificate, passport, drivers’ license and most importantly…a believable and confirmable past.

Sergeant Foy said “we do.  All we need is your photograph.”  Nedward leaned toward Adeline and said “what have you got in mind?  Being an undercover?”

Adeline said “no.  You are going to teach me to remember my new past and then you are going to teach me how to forget it.”

“So you have a plan?” asked Nedward.  “I do,” said Adeline.

Nedward and Foy listened as Adeline told them about her plan.  She went into great detail and admittedly, Nedward and Foy were simultaneously mesmerized and astounded.  Her plan ended with a phrase that made chills run down their back.

It was at that moment Nedward and Foy realized that Holly had been replaced by Adeline and Adeline had every intention of becoming an unapologetic, cold-blooded killer.

It took a few minutes for Foy to look at her and say “are you sure you can handle it?”  Adeline looked him dead in the eyes and said “don’t ever ask me that again.”

 

To be continued__________

The Art Of Revenge – Chapter Four

The staring man thought he had successfully carried out the execution orders of the Phantom King but he was wrong.  Holly had survived.

Two years later, she had almost completely recovered.  Pure drive and determination had pushed her beyond all expectations.  Her battered body showed only minimal scarring, thanks to the renown plastic surgeon.  He had re-built her face and although she didn’t resemble her former self, he gifted her with beauty.

Defying Dr. Boone’s request, Nedward had remained her stalwart throughout her entire ordeal.  Although they talked, there was never even a moments mention of Bobby, Bobby, Jr. or her unborn child.  She never mentioned her parents.

Nedward often wondered if somehow, mercifully, her brain had erased that part of her life from her memory or maybe it was a defense mechanism. When the body suffers unimaginable injuries, the brain concentrates on those injuries and pain from things such as grief and sadness are subdued.

During those two years of what must have been excruciating pain, Nedward never heard Holly cry out.  He never saw even the briefest hesitation.  He never saw rage.  He never saw defeat…and he never saw her smile.  But he could see that there was something going on behind her hollow, lifeless eyes.  He just didn’t know what it was.

He watched her struggle to walk, first with crutches, then with a walker and finally, holding his arm.  He watched her wrestle with a spoonful of soup, trying to get it into her mouth without spilling it.  He watched her drop a hair brush ten times before she gained a successful grip.

He never offered to feed her or brush her hair and never insulted her by asking if she needed help.  He just watched and ached and hoped.  He took great comfort in being convinced that he was watching a true miracle, as he believed that she had literally come back from the brink of death.

Sometimes he would watch her sitting in front of the mirror, staring as if trying to remember whose reflection she was seeing.  It was as though she had amnesia of self.  She knew who she used to be.  She knew who she supposedly was but she didn’t recognize the face in the mirror.

Nedward had dedicated years of his own life to Holly and had never resented it but it had taken a toll on him.  He was feeling old and exhausted.  Then one day, Holly said “I want you to take me to see Sergeant Foy.”

Nedward cautiously said “okay, kid.  What have you got in mind?”

Holly’s eyes moved slightly down and to the side as she took a deep breath and said “I have unfinished business.”

Unbeknownst to Holly, Sergeant Foy and Nedward had officially “killed” her on that cold January night. They gave her a mock service and her name was added to the list of “fallen eagles.”

That tactic was sometimes used as a protective measure when an undercover officer was exposed or wounded. They would then assume another name and move to another precinct.  In a sense, Holly no longer existed…but it was clear.  She wasn’t going away.

As they drove to the station, Nedward explained the measures they had taken.  Holly sat in silence as she listened.  Then she looked at Nedward and said “what’s my name?”

 

 

To be continued_______________

 

The Art Of Revenge – Chapter Three

Nedward gasped when he saw Holly open her eyes.  The nurses told him that it was just an involuntary movement and was very common in patients who were in a persistent vegetative state.

Then they noticed that she had an almost crazed look as her eyes darted back and forth, scanning the room as if trying to find an escape route.  She immediately began to fight the breathing tube down her throat.

One of the nurses said “go get Dr. Boone…stat!”  Seconds later, Dr. Boone came into the room and asked Holly if she could hear him.  She stared at him.  He said “if you can hear me, blink.”  Holly blinked.  Looking hopeful, he said “okay, if you can understand me, blink once for yes and twice for no.”  Holly blinked once.

He told her that they were going to remove the breathing tube and for her to cough as they were taking it out.  “Do you understand?” he said.  Holly blinked once.

When the tube was removed, Holly choked as she desperately tried to form words.  Dr. Boone told her that she was okay and to just calm down.  “Your words will come.  Just give it time.  You have to learn to talk again.”

Dr. Boone asked “do you know who you are?”  Holly blinked once.  “Do you know where you are?”  Holly blinked twice.  Dr. Boone told her that she was at St. Joseph’s Mission Hospital.

Pointing to Nedward, he asked “do you know who this man is?”  Holly blinked once.  Nedward couldn’t hold back his smile after she blinked.  “Do you remember what happened?”  Holly turned away and closed her eyes.

Dr. Boone told the nurses that a downstairs trip was not going to be necessary.  He looked at Nedward and whispered “I think she’s back.”

Nedward and Dr. Boone stepped out of the room and Nedward asked what would happen next.  Dr. Boone said “I would say that if she doesn’t slip back into a coma, she is looking at intensive, long-term rehabilitation and certainly plastic surgery.”

Nedward flashed back to Holly’s face before it had been literally pulverized by what could only be described as a monster.  “Plastic surgery?” asked Nedward.  “Can she…be put back together?”

Dr. Boone said “one of the best plastic surgeons in the country is in residence here but even he can’t perform miracles.  If he has some pictures, he will do the best he can, but look at it this way.  You might have a beautiful porcelain plate that is shattered into a thousand pieces.  Some of those pieces can be put back together but other tiny fragments that used to be part of the whole, can never be fixed.  Therefore, it will never really look the same.  Do you understand?”

“I understand,” said Nedward.  “What can I do to help?”

Dr. Boone said “you need to leave things to medicine now.  You have done your part by being here for her.  The excruciating pain she is facing will be almost as brutal as the injuries that put her here and I don’t think you want to see that.”

“I can handle it,” said Nedward.  “Besides, it would help if she could see a familiar face, don’t you think?”

Dr. Boone said “yes, you might be able to handle it, but can she?  And it might help to see a familiar face but it may also humiliate her.  She knows that you knew what she once was.  Can you hide the expression on your face when you are watching her struggle?  Can you hide the expression on your face when you look at the face that is no longer her face?  I’d ask you to consider her feelings and the long, hard road she has ahead of her. I’d ask you to think on it.”

Nedward said “I will, but….”  Dr. Boone said “think on it.”

 

 

To be continued___________

 

 

The Art Of Revenge – Chapter Two

Days, weeks and then months went by.  Holly continued to lay in a state of limbo, not really being alive and not really being dead.  Dr. Boone could see how difficult it was for Nedward to see what was happening to her and more than once, had told him that there was no hope and it would probably be easier if he stopped coming around.

Her muscles had begun to atrophy and she was drawing closer to the fetal position with every passing day.  “We’re moving her downstairs tomorrow,” Dr. Boone said.

Nedward asked if he would still be allowed to visit.  Dr. Boone said “I don’t think you want to do that.  It’s almost like a morgue down there.  Very cold. Very dim lighting and only the sound of beeping monitors and the whispers of machinery helping them breathe.”

“I don’t care about that,” said Nedward.  “What time are you moving her tomorrow?”

Dr. Boone said “we usually move them around noon.  Are you sure you want to be here for that?”  Nedward said “I’ll be here.”

Nedward sat beside Holly and started talking to her just as he had done for the last several months.  Deviating from his usual staid demeanor, he began.  “Did I ever tell you about my very first drug bust?  It was around Christmastime and we got what we believed was some pretty reliable information from one of our CI’s.  At one of the flop houses, run by “Big Doggy’, there was supposed to be a huge ‘come one, come all’ Christmas party, which we believed translated to a huge drug deal.”

“Anyway, Leanne, my then partner and I rolled up to the house, pretending that we wanted to come to the party, with the intention of buying some blow.  We threw out the name of a local dealer and said they had sent us. I’ll never forget it.  We walked in and there was this huge Christmas tree in the corner of the room.  It was decorated with beer cans and the garland was made of the pop-tops and all the candle holders were empty liquor bottles.”

“As soon as Big Doggy spotted us, he wanted to know who told us we could crash his crib.  We told him we were told by ‘so and so’ that we could make a deal and score some blow.  He looked us up and down and said ‘I don’t know you from Adam and there ain’t no deals to be had here.  Now get the hell out of here’.”

“I offered a weak ‘sorry bro.’  Big Doggy got in my face and said ‘I ain’t your bro, bro’.  I held my hands up in mock surrender and started backing toward the door.  I was a little pissed that we had obviously been given bad information.”

“As we were about to leave, Leanne happened to take a closer look at the tree.  She flashed her badge, pulled her weapon and yelled ‘hands in the air’.  She smiled and said ‘come over here and look at this, Nedward’.”

“There were all these little clear balls that were half full of white powder. There must have been more than fifty or sixty of them hanging on the tree. Turns out, they were filled with blow.  It was perfect.  Who would have thought to check out Christmas ornaments?”  Nedward, who rarely smiled said “you have to admit, it was pretty ingenious.”

The smile left his face and he looked down as he said “anyway.  I just thought you might like that story.”

He stood up, looked at her pulverized, disfigured face, then bent down and kissed her forehead.  “See you tomorrow, kid.”

True to his word, the next day he was there when it was time to take Holly down to the “farm.”  He was holding her hand as they counted 1-2-3 and began to pull her onto another bed.

At that instant, Holly opened her eyes.

 

 

To be continued_________

 

The Art Of Revenge – Chapter One

Robert (Bobby) Martin Morgan was laid to rest just three days after his End Of Watch.  His young son, Bobby, Jr. was laid to rest beside him in the Haven For All Souls Cemetery.  It was a private ceremony and only Nedward, Foy, Earl and Rachael were among the mourners.

A perceptive eye would have noticed an almost seething rage rising in Nedward as the words of Senior Chaplain Phillips hovered over the caskets like a fine mist.

Holly Redmond Morgan did not attend nor was she laid to rest beside them.

Nedward had been right when he thought he heard a faint moan as they lifted her body onto the stretcher.  Initial assessments by the paramedics were grim.  They warned Nedward that most likely, she would not survive the trip to the hospital but Holly seemed to be clinging to life with her last ounce of strength.

The paramedics had experienced patients before who fought death with uncommon valor, waiting for a loved one to arrive.  Sometimes, it seemed that death granted a reprieve.  Other times, it didn’t.

Holly’s loved ones were gone, including her unborn child.  She had been kicked with such force, the fetus was prematurely expelled, ending another life before it ever began.

At the hospital, Holly was put into a medically induced coma.  Otherwise, she would never have been able to withstand the pain.  Almost every inch of her body was invaded by tubes, drips, braces and wraps.  She was on a ventilator which rose and fell with an eerie cadence, imitating imaginary breathing.

She was Dr. Boone’s patient, who did his obligatory rounds every morning and every afternoon, checking resps, blood-pressure and heart rhythm.  His orders were always the same.  “Call me if there is any change.”

Nedward visited as much as his time and the hospital would allow.  Dr. Boone had cautioned Nedward that the prognosis did not look promising.  “Most likely” he said, “she will pass in her sleep.”

Nedward was not one to accept defeat.  He argued “but there is a chance, right?” Dr. Boone put his hand on his shoulder and said “there’s always a chance but in her case, I would say there is less than a 1% chance.  You have to understand that the torture this woman…”  Edward interrupted him and said “Holly.  Her name is Holly.”

Dr. Boone continued.  “You have to understand that the torture Holly endured would by all rights, kill even the strongest man.  Almost every bone in her body has been broken.  Almost every internal organ has been severely damaged.  Every bone in her face has been fractured as well as her skull.  She suffered a massive head bleed, which required a craniotomy…shall I continue?”

Nedward shook his head and asked if he thought Holly could hear him if he talked to her.  Dr. Boone said “that’s something we don’t know.  I would say talk to her the same way you always did.  Read to her.  Tell her about your day.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other patients to see.”

When Dr. Boone got to the door, he turned and said “you have to be prepared.”

“For what?” asked Nedward.

Dr. Boone looked regretful as he said “if she should live but stays in her vegetative state, she will ultimately be taken downstairs.”

“Downstairs?” Nedward asked.

“To the body farm, as we call it,” Dr. Boone said.  It’s where we send the ones who are gone but their bodies, for whatever reasons, are not yet ready to surrender.”

Nedward looked at Dr. Boone and said, “Holly’s not a quitter.”

Dr. Boone said “Of course,” turned and walked out of the room.

 

To be continued________________

 

 

 

 

End Of Watch – Chapter Fourteen

His name was Robert (Bobby) Martin Morgan.  His End Of Watch came on a cold, snowy January night.  As the snowflakes gently fell onto his still warm body, they lay quietly as did he.  His still open eyes, glistened as the melted snow streamed down his face like tears.

Across from him lay his pregnant wife, Holly Redmond Morgan and their two-year old son, Bobby, Jr.  They lay on a bed of soft pink snow, colored by their life’s blood.

The deafening sound of silence was interrupted by a car revving its engine in the distance, followed by the ear-piercing, haunting wails of sirens responding to Bobby’s desperate last words…”officer down.”

Firefighters were the first to arrive on scene and stood motionless as they gazed upon the carnage that lay before them.  Despite the freezing temperature, the engineer paramedic took off her turnout jacket and cried as she gently placed it over the tiny, bullet-ridden body of Bobby, Jr.  She was unconcerned about being reprimanded for having potentially compromised the crime scene.  As she moved toward Bobby, she could see that his throat had been slashed almost to the point of decapitation.

Police officers arrived seconds later.  After assessing the scene, Sergeant Holbrook immediately called for the Crime Scene Investigators.  Lieutenant Foy, who never silenced his radio, heard the call and immediately had an uneasy feeling.  He had always called it “gut crawl.”  He made a quick call to Nedward and they were on their way.

Foy, never one to obey rules, tore through the familiar yellow tape and was trying to bully his way past the guarding officers, with Nedward close behind.  Holbrook knew Foy, and although he didn’t care for him, he told the officers to let him through.

“What have we got here?” asked Foy.  Holbrook said “we’ve got three bodies…or what’s left of three bodies.  This is one of the worst massacres I have ever seen.”

When Foy saw who it was, his lips tightened and the look in his eyes was frightening, almost like the look of a crazed killer.

Holbrook said “this was personal and somebody was sending a strong message.”

“Yeah, and I think we got the message,” said Foy.

“What do you mean?” asked Holbrook.  “Nothing,” said Foy.  Holbrook looked at him and said “if you know something about this, you need to tell me.”  Foy, true to character said, “I don’t answer to you and I don’t have to tell you anything.”

Rather than start a pissing match, Holbrook let it go.  He figured it was just Foy being Foy.  He had always been a hot-head and Holbrook made sure he heard him when he said “you’re still an asshole.”

Then he quickly turned and said “we need to notify next of kin.”  Foy looked at him and said “you just did.”  Holbrook gave him a quizzical look but again, let it go.

Nedward, kneeling beside an almost unrecognizable Holly, quietly fought back tears as the paramedics told him they needed to load her body for the coroner.

“Just a few more minutes,” he said.  The paramedics tried to be respectful and gentle when they said “I’m sorry, but we have to move her.”

Foy came over and told Nedward that they needed to go.  Nedward said “This shouldn’t have happened.”  Foy looked at him and said “hey.  Bobby knew what he was into.  Holly knew what he was into.  Don’t turn this into a guilt trip for yourself…or me.  Shit happens.  You know that but rest assured that we’re going to get the son-of-a-bitch who did this and I need you to stay focused right now.”

As they maneuvered Holly’s mangled body onto the stretcher, Nedward thought he heard a faint moan.

 

 

Te Nutunga.

End Of Watch – Chapter Thirteen

After a secret whirlwind romance, Holly and Bobby were married.  It was a simple affair, with Nedward, Lieutenant Foy, Senior Chaplain Phillips, Earl and Rachael in attendance.  Instead of the traditional wedding dress or facsimile, Holly wore her “suit of arnor” in memory of her late father.

There had been some playful banter before the wedding about Holly keeping her maiden name.  Bobby jokingly told her that he would leave her at the altar if she didn’t take his name.  When he struck a pose and said “my name is powerful and classy,” Holly would laugh and say “you have so many.  Which one are you talking about?  Nobody even knows your real name and I don’t want to be known as ‘Mrs. Who Are You Today’?”

Playful banter was all it really was.  In fact, Holly was proud to carry Bobby’s name.  She was proud to be his wife and they were the perfect couple.  Six months after they were married, Holly was pregnant.

Although she was elated beyond words, she knew that she was nearing the end of her career.  She would never be a Captain but somehow, it didn’t matter anymore.  She was going to be a mother and her hope was that she would be the kind of mother that her mother had been to her.

Just as Nedward had warned, Bobby was often absent, sometimes for weeks at a time.  Holly took it in stride and Nedward kept a close eye on her.  He was her stalwart and tried to keep her spirits up as much as he could.

They would talk about the baby and he would smile as she giggled and said “oh, Nedward.  I just can’t wait!”

The day finally came for Holly to deliver and Nedward was the one who took her to the hospital.  Bobby was furiously trying to get to her but was stuck in traffic.  He called Nedward and told him to tell Holly to “hold on.”

Nedward told Bobby to park his car and a patrol officer would come get him. Lighting it up, the officer got Bobby to the hospital just in time to see his little one come into the world.  The pride on his face said it all.  “Hello, my precious son,” he said.

Bobby had been orphaned when he was a little boy and Holly’s parents had been killed, so there were no bragging grandparents on either side but it was clear that this child was going to have several very attentive “uncles” in Nedward, Earl and even Foy.

There had never been any question that if it was a boy, it would be named after Bobby.  When Lieutenant Foy arrived, even that hard-edged, no bullshit man got misty-eyed, but only for a moment.  He walked over, patted Holly on the shoulder and said “it was good working with you.  Keep in touch, okay?”

Holly had told Foy that after the baby was born, she was dedicating her life to her child and her husband.  Before he left, Foy handed her a gold Captain’s badge.  “Put this in your memory book,” he said.  “Dreams do come true, you know.  Sometimes, they’re just different dreams.”

The next few weeks were almost blissful.  Bobby immediately took to calling Bobby, Jr. “little dude.”  He tried to be around as much as he could but his determination to bring down Roi Fantôme’s empire was still paramount.  Holly knew that and understood.  She leaned heavily on Nedward, Earl and Rachael and their bond was stronger than ever.

The inside word was that Bobby had finally cracked the ultimate layer of Roi Fantôme’s empire.  It had taken years for him to get that close and his newly acquired “sources” had given confirmation that the Ghost King did indeed live on an island, accessible only by boat or plane.

For the last ten months, Bobby had assumed the identity of a powerful drug lord, whose demands for product were far greater than his local supplier could deliver.  He had successfully worked his way inside with a promise to the King’s right hand man, that there would be untold wealth for the Ghost King.

He wanted to set up a meeting for a cool million initially and in the future, that amount would be weekly.  The caveat was that he would provide half up front and only after a personal audience with the Ghost King, would he deliver the rest and seal the future deal.

“Impossible” was the answer.  “Nobody meets the King in person.”  Bobby played it cool and asked if he didn’t think he should at least present the offer to the King.  “I mean, what is he going to say when he finds out that you eighty-sixed a potential five million dollar a month deal?”

Angered, the Ghost King’s right hand man said “I’ll get back to you.”  Bobby knew he was in.  He had news for Holly and that was cause for a celebration.  He didn’t know it at the time, but Holly had her own news.

They planned a night out, something they rarely if ever, got to do.  Rachael was going to keep “little dude” long enough for them to have a beer and was going to meet them after, to drop him off.  Bobby, Jr. had never spent a night away from home and although it would be late, Rachael didn’t mind meeting them.

Bobby decided they should go to “Grady’s.”  It had been and still was, the local bar where most of the police officers, active and retired, went to unwind.

It was a little hole in the wall, with a somewhat risqué decor.  The walls were papered with plump, nude women of a by-gone era when full figures were lusted after.  The bathrooms had the old fashioned pull chain toilets, which lent another layer of nostalgia to the place.  An old fashioned slop bucket sat on the bar and the regulars would take turns throwing in a twenty.  It didn’t matter if they drank one beer or five.  It always evened out in the end.

Bobby and Holly found a booth for two and ordered two beers.  When Holly declined the beer in lieu of a glass of water, she couldn’t hide the grin on her face.  Bobby teasingly said “what have you done?”  He knew that grin and it always meant that she was up to something.  She very calmly said “I didn’t do anything.  You did.”

Bobby was gobsmacked when Holly told him that she was pregnant.

“Seriously?” he all but screamed.  “Drinks on me!  My lovely wife is going to have a baby!”

Cheers were all around and now Bobby was the one with the grin on his face.  They held hands, talked about “what it might be” and laughed like they were newlyweds.

After Bobby ordered and drank another beer, Holly leaned over and said “don’t look now, but why does that man over there keep staring at you?”  Of course, Bobby immediately turned around.

“I told you not to look!” said Holly.

Bobby said “I don’t know but I’m sure he’s looking at you.  You are hot, you know.”  Holly said “I don’t think he’s looking at me.  I think he’s looking at you and it’s giving me the creeps.”  Bobby laughed and said “don’t worry about it.  He’s probably just schnockered.”

After she shuddered she said “what was your news?”  Bobby said “I can’t tell you too much you know, but just suffice it to say….I’m in.”

Holly was suddenly a bit pensive when she said “I don’t know whether to say congratulations or be scared.”  Bobby said “there is nothing for you to worry your pretty little head about.  I’ll be fine.  You know that.”

Holly smiled an obligatory smile and looked at the antique clock on the wall.  “Oh goodness.  Look at the time.  I’d better call Rachael and tell her to head up this way.”  She smiled and said “then, when we get home and get little dude put to bed…..”

His arm wrapped around Holly and grinning from ear to ear on the way out, Bobby threw in another twenty.  He looked at Holly and said “for good measure and for good luck.”

After a few minutes, Rachael pulled up.  When she got out of her car, she looked at them and said “oh my God.  You two are grinning like Cheshire cats!  What’s going on?”

Holly leaned over and whispered “I’ll tell you tomorrow.”  Bobby collected a sleeping little dude and they headed for their car.

They didn’t notice the staring man walk out of the door.

 

 

To be continued__________

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