Friday, October 16, 2015
DRAGONFLY: PART SEVEN
By Daniel Skye
PART SEVEN: DEVIL IN THE FLESH
“Whoever did that to Fenton Meeks was one sick mother trucker,” Anthony Carter told his brother outside of Joker’s Pub.
“One of these days, I’m going to get you to actually curse,” Richie told him as he lit a cigarette and looked over at Mackenzie.
She was a beautiful young woman with sandy blonde hair and a slim, hourglass figure. The sunlight beamed off her silver, crescent shaped earrings.
Richie saw her wiping tears from her eyes and he walked over to console her.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” was all he could think to say.
“He wasn’t a great man,” Mackenzie admitted. “In fact, he was terrible. But nobody deserves that. Nobody. It reminds me of…never mind.”
“Help us, Mackenzie. Who did this?”
“I honestly don’t know. Whoever it was, they must’ve had a key and used the backdoor. I had one customer all day and I saw them leave myself. They never even went to the bathroom. And they never went near the back office. I swear.”
“Okay, I believe you. But you’re hiding something. I can tell. If I find out it’s related to Mac Wilson, you’re going to be in serious trouble.”
“Mac Wilson? That creep can rot in hell.”
“Do you know where I can find him?”
“God, no. If I did, I’d tell you. What’s this all about? You think Mac had something to do with Fenton’s murder?”
“Possibly. It’s all connected to a tape someone turned in to the police. A young girl, we think her name was Nadia Sanborn, was butchered on that tape. Mac might’ve been one of the men who killed her. We’re not sure.”
“The tape…” Mackenzie said, appearing faint.
“What do you know about it, Mackenzie? You can tell it to me, or you can explain it to my brother Anthony and the rest of the police.”
“It wasn’t supposed to go down like that. Or maybe he planned it all along. I don’t know…I didn’t think he’d go that far.”
“What are you saying?”
“Fenton lent Nadia out to some people for the weekend, not too long before Mac got sent to prison. Mac was one of them. This was back when Fenton and Nadia were an item. Fenton’s never been shy about lending his girls out. I don’t know who else was involved. I’ve never seen the whole tape. I walked in the back office one day and Fenton and Mac were sitting there watching it…the things they did to that poor girl. I’ve been dying to tell someone. But Fenton swore me to secrecy. He could be very persuasive when he wanted to be. And he knew a lot of really dangerous people. Some people, you just don’t cross. But with Fenton gone, I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m glad I cleared my conscience. And I hope this helps you find Nadia’s killers. She deserved better than that.”
“That’s everything you know?”
“And you’d be willing to testify against Wilson in court if necessary?”
“Yes. I owe Nadia that much. We weren’t friends, but I can’t believe I held back for so long. I should have come forward sooner. I’m ashamed of myself.” She started sobbing again.
“It’s okay,” Richie assured her. “You did the right thing. You have no idea what a help you’ve been.”
* * *
Richie was a little late in meeting Garton behind the Jack’s Liquor Mart. But Garton was a patient man. You had to be in his line of work. He was still waiting there when Richie pulled up in his rusty Oldsmobile.
“I’ve got confirmation,” Richie told Garton as he stepped out of the vehicle. “It’s Mac Wilson on that tape. I don’t know who the other three men were, or who was holding the camera. But Mac is going to help us fill in the blanks. As soon as we find him.”
“We’re looking for the wrong man,” Garton told him. “We know my latest employer had a connection with Mac and Nico and Fenton. If we’re going to find Wilson, we should start with him.”
“You know where he lives?”
“He owns a small farmhouse not too far from here.”
The bullet ripped through the air and just grazed Carter’s cheek. He stumbled back, regained his balance, and drew his Colt .45, taking cover on the driver side of his Oldsmobile. Garton crouched alongside him, 9mm Luger in hand.
“Where’s it coming from?” Garton asked.
“No clue,” Richie said, pressing one hand against his cheek.
A second gunshot rang out and shattered his back windshield. A third shot ripped off the side view mirror on the passenger side.
The shots seemed to be coming from the alley behind Jack’s. Garton returned fire and heard a loud thud emanate from behind a dumpster. The shots ceased and after some time had passed, Garton wandered over to the adjacent alley.
Slumped over beside the dumpster was Dolph Hendricks. There was a pistol beside him, but he no longer possessed the capability to use it. Garton’s shots had blown off several of his fingers. Another bullet had pierced his lung.
Dolph, choking on his own blood, reached out for help with his one good hand.
“Sorry, old friend, but you crossed the line.” Garton fired one deafening shot that echoed through the parking lot to finish the job.
“We have to go, now,” Garton said, walking back towards Richie.
“Well, we can’t take my car. It looks like it’s been in a shootout.”
“It has. But we can’t leave it here for your brother and his pals to find.”
“Fuck, you’re right. Okay, follow me out of here. I know a place.”
* * *
Richie had a buddy who ran a parking garage. And for the right amount of cash, he wouldn’t ask any questions or say anything to the police. That’s where Richie stashed his Oldsmobile and tended to his wound.
He had surveyed the damage in his rearview mirror when he parked his car in the back of the garage. There was minor tissue damage, possibly some permanent scarring. But the wound was mainly superficial and had already stopped bleeding.
Could’ve been a lot worse, Richie thought as he cleaned the wound and patched it with a bandage he took from the medical emergency kit under his seat. Then he left his car behind, paid the fee, and met back up with Garton outside.
“Why would Dolph try to kill us?” Richie asked, now riding shotgun in Garton’s car.
“The question isn’t why. The question is who put him up to it.”
“I’ll bet you dollars to donuts it was Mac Wilson who paid him off. I’d venture a guess he paid Jacob Price off too. Good help is apparently hard to find these days.”
“You want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
“Where are we heading?”
“We’re going to pay Kirk Warwick a little visit.”
Richie’s phone rang. He checked it, expecting it to be Anthony. But it was Dominic Cirico, calling for an update.
“What’s the latest news?” Dominic asked. “Have you cleared my brother’s name?”
“Afraid not. But I have confirmation. The girl on the tape was Nadia Sanborn. And I have it on good authority that Mac Wilson was one of the men on that tape. I hate to say it, but it’s likely that Nico was involved in this. I’ll have more for you soon. I’m going to see a man who knew Wilson and your brother.”
“Kirk Warwick. Name ring any bells?”
“Nope,” Dominic gulped. “Can’t say that it does. Call me when you have more information.”
Dominic ended their conversation rather abruptly. But Carter didn’t think anything of it. He didn’t even put two and two together when Dominic called him back not too long after and told him he had a line on Wilson’s whereabouts.
The Blue Parrot, Dominic had told him. He said Wilson had called and tried to ask for money. And he warned Richie he was most likely armed.
* * *
As soon as Dominic hung up with Richie after the first call, he dialed Warwick’s number. It took him a few rings to reach the phone, but Warwick eventually answered.
“He’s coming to see you,” Dominic warned him.
“The private detective I told you about. The one who found the tape. I paid him to find out if Nico was really on it to cover our tracks. I never expected him to make it this far. Mac was supposed to take care of him back in Fairview. Instead he hired some greasy amateur to do the job.”
“Well, Mac is clearly a liability,” Warwick pointed out. “This needs to end here. No one can find out the truth. Tell him where Mac is hiding. Either Mac will kill him or he’ll kill Mac. One way or another, our asses are covered.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive. It’s him or us, kid.”
“Alright, I’ll call him back in a little bit. Don’t want him to suspect anything.”
“Have your people heard anything from Garton? Has it been destroyed?”
“Garton is MIA. Don’t know where he is. But I’ll look into it.”
“Dom, we can’t fuck around here. You don’t know what this thing is. What it’s capable of.”
* * *
The Blue Parrot was a bar-slash-motel on the other side of town. It offered the cheapest rates around. So it came as no surprise to Carter that Mac was holed up there.
“I should’ve thought to check this place first,” Carter said as they pulled up to the front office.
The Blue Parrot was another of the late Fenton Meeks’ establishments. It was all o to come together now. Carter even wondered if Meeks was one of the four men on that tape. Is that why someone had silenced him?
They visited the front office. It wasn’t hard to convince the desk clerk to give up Wilson. All Richie had to do was flash the mini police badge his brother had given him. It wasn’t a real badge. Just a souvenir that was pinned to the inside of his wallet. But it looked authentic enough to pass at a cursory glance. The clerk was young, naïve, and she didn’t want any trouble.
“Room twelve,” she told them.
“Gracias,” Carter said. Garton tipped his invisible cap to her and winked in her direction as they walked out.
Room twelve was a stone’s throw away from the front office. So before they made their move, Richie wanted to talk strategy.
“So how are we going to do this?” Carter asked.
“I’m going to kick the door in, point my gun at his head, and he’s going to tell us everything we want to know. Or I’m going to beat it out of him.”
“Good plan,” he nodded and watched Garton work his magic.
He kicked the door to splinters and busted in, 9mm Luger in hand. Wilson was sprawled out on the bed, half dressed, flipping through the pages of a porno magazine.
He glanced at the nightstand, where his gun was. “Don’t even think about it,” Garton shook his head.
“What do you want?” Mac asked.
“I want to know about Kirk Warwick.”
“And I want to know why two people tried to kill me,” Richie said as he walked in. He had removed his Colt .45 from his holster for good measure.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Jacob Price and Dolph Hendricks. You know them?”
“Alright. I hired Jacob Price to kill you. It was a good idea in theory, but a mistake on my part. I don’t know anything about Dolph though. I mean, I know him, but I don’t know what you’re talking about there.”
“Sure,” Richie said, rolling his eyes. “Look, somebody found your little home video. We know it was you and Nadia Sanborn on that tape. We just want to know who else was on that tape with you.”
“Blow me,” Wilson said. “That whore got what she deserved.”
Carter turned briefly and noticed that Garton had vanished. He slipped out when Carter was preoccupied with Wilson.
But he returned momentarily, carrying the jar under his arm. He held it up for Wilson to see. Even as a hit-man, Garton had never seen that look of sheer terror that Wilson displayed when he saw the dragonfly.
“Get that thing away from me!” Wilson shouted.
“What is it?” Garton was right in his face. “What is it about this thing that Warwick fears so much?”
“Warwick fears nothing. He’s a great man. I was on a path of self-destruction and he pulled me from the fire, taught me to value my existence.”
“Did he teach you how to rape and torture helpless women?” Richie inquired.
“I won’t let you disparage his name in my presence. Warwick taught me to believe again. I’ve seen the darkness, and I’d rather bask in the light. I’ve kept a low profile since I got out of prison. And I don’t plan on ever going back.”
“I don’t see any alternative,” Richie said.
“Enough about saviors and being born again. I want the truth about Warwick, about the dragonfly. What is it about this insignificant creature that rattles his cage?”
“It’s the devil!” Wilson proclaimed. “It’s the devil in the flesh. A demon spawned from the depths of hell. It’s the collector of impure souls. Satan appears in many unassuming forms.”
“I’ve heard that line before,” Garton said.
“So have I,” Richie said. “It was written above the door of Fenton Meeks’ office, in blood.”
“Fenton Meeks is dead?” Wilson asked, sounding surprised.
“I’m sure you don’t know anything about that, either.”
“I don’t. I swear, man. I don’t know what the fuck is going on here anymore.”
“Maybe this will help you remember,” Garton said, preparing to unscrew the perforated lid of the jar.
Wilson shook his head defiantly. “I’d rather die,” he muttered. He reached for the gun on the nightstand, but Garton refused to fire. He wanted Wilson alive. And so did Richie. He had to know the truth. He had to know who else was involved.
Wilson grabbed the gun, jammed it in his own mouth, and pulled the trigger. He did it so fast they never had a chance to stop him.
“Another one bites the dust,” Garton sighed.
“I don’t get it…if Wilson didn’t hire Dolph to kill us, who did? And who killed Meeks?”
“Who was that friend of yours that tipped you off?”
“Dominic Cirico. He’s Nico’s brother.”
“Then he probably knows a lot more than he told you. This isn’t over yet.”
“I have to call this in. Wilson turns up dead and my brother finds out, he’s going to wonder what happened. Don’t worry, as far as I’m concerned, you were never here.”
“But your car–”
“I’ll tell him it’s in the shop. Now go. I’ve got this. How do I reach you later?”
“You won’t. I’ll find you. Right after I have a chat with Dominic Cirico.”
To Be Continued