Traces of Evil(Draft): Chapter One: 1923

In the poverty-stricken neighborhood where the Gruener family lived, tuberculosis was a well-established part of life. But in the fall of 1918, something new visited their Frankfurt community that remained until 1920. It began as a fever and sore throat. Headaches, body aches, cough and nose bleeds were common. Doctors advised their patients to take up to 30 grams of aspirin per day. For some, this regime appeared to work as their symptoms improved. Days would pass before this mysterious manifestation returned worse than ever. Aspirin could not help them. In that first October of the influenza outbreak, the Gruener family lost seven of their thirteen children. By the end of 1920, the virus had completed its sweep through Germany and 287 000 Germans had lost their lives.

“Schändlich!” the headline from the Frankfurter Zeitung met Werner’s eyes every morning upon awakening since June 1919. On the wall opposite, tacked there by his father, its coffee-stained appearance bellowed “Shameful!” It was a constant reminder of Article 231, the War Guilt Clause, of the Versailles Treaty. It was deemed a direct attack on Germany. Scrawled on the wall beside it his father had written “November Criminals!” A nickname given to the German politicians who had signed the armistice in 1918. His father’s inebriated screeching voice echoed through his head. “Germany was made to feel inferior, less a country. Why? Because Germany was blamed for the war! I spit on this Weimar Republic.”  

Werner glanced around the one-bedroom, shoe-box-size apartment. The room was empty except for him, but he could still hear the screams of his siblings and his father’s stumbled step as he ascended to their lodging after the tavern closed. Beatings spared no one on payday.

He stretched his neck and glanced at the closed bedroom door. Payback had felt good! he mused. He rolled onto to his side and slowly, very carefully, sat up. Thud! The parallel hardware and serpentine springs gave way. “Ouch! Ouch!” A subdued scream was muffled between tightly compressed lips. His makeshift bed, which masqueraded as a couch during the day, had finally succumbed to the rambunctious trampoline antics of his brothers and sisters. He missed them but for no other reason than they deflected his father’s physical abuse occasionally away from him.

 Barely breathing, more out of fear than the pain which had become his constant companion, Wernerlistened carefully. Except for the occasional snort, snoring beyond the closed bedroom door continued uninterrupted. He combed his fingers through his thick blonde hair and sighed with relief, then slid his lank frame up the inclined cushions until his feet hit the cold, plank floor. Pushing off the couch frame, he stood. Jagged pain stabbed from waist to shoulders. He gritted his teeth and concentrated on breathing while his tongue marked time digging at the freshly punched gap in his upper mouth. Tentatively, his fingers explored the swollen upper lip and cheek before he pulled away.

Boots in hand, he sat at the kitchen table and breathed deeply several times. He glanced around the claustrophobic apartment. Odor of alcohol hung heavy in the air. He laced up his last boot over a stockingless foot and tilted his look toward the bedroom door. A year had passed since his soused mother left with his five surviving siblings. He understood why she left. Why did she not take me? A queried daily ritual that scratched across his mind like a hungry wolf scrapping a tasty morsel from its prey. Neurons flexed their images. He knew his father suspected it was he who had turned him in to police. Jailed fifteen months. That was enough time for his mother to pack up and leave. But why did she not take me?!  The crumbled separation order still lay on the floor where his father had discarded it during one of his drunken rages. A thin wedge of sunlight that slithered between unkempt curtains shone its reminder on it. Werner had learned from a local merchant, that his mother had relocated to Düsseldorf. Information kept tighter than a clam shell within him. Degrees of hate separated him from each parent, feelings sharply skewed in one direction more than the other.

His gaze focussed on the pantry; its scarcity punctuated by blue molds checkered on the outer edge of a half loaf of bread. His stomach rumbled as he put on his cap and jacket. He knew better than to check the ice box for food. Anger ate away at him. Once a good student, the extensive physical violence he suffered at the hands of his father forced him to run away many times. But he always returned to this hellish den. His hand touched his swollen lip and cheek. Not this time. And he knew he meant it. The streets had become his school. He had learned through petty crime how to clothe and feed himself. His home was the streets, and he navigated its nooks and crannies with finesse and purpose. Without looking back, he closed the door softly and descended to the street below.

Thick rolling clouds cast a pall over the late February morning rush while winds swept surroundings with a knife edged chill to its bite. Head down slightly, Werner snaked through the throng of people. His focus on shoes and the threads of the approaching gentry. A few carefully placed bumps later netted Werner four purloined wallets fat with Marks. He turned down an alley and after stuffing the money in his pocket discarded the empty wallets to a trashcan before exiting onto a large expansive courtyard with tenement buildings on its perimeter.

“Werner! ”  Heimrich Schmid, the local dog catcher, waved him over. “What happened to you? Never mind, let me guess. Your old man again. By the way, happy birthday. Nineteen?” Werner nodded. “Nice gift he gave you,” he said, with a scrutinizing glance.    

Reflexively, Werner raised his hand to his face then shrugged it off. “Shut your hole and give me a smoke?”

“Tut! Tut!” Heimrich replied with a smile, passing him a pack of Eckstein cigarettes. “Keep’em . I’ve got more,” he said, patting his jacket.

Werner had befriended Heimrich about six months ago, and often accompanied him on his rounds. The torture and killing of the animals caught was the mainstay of their routine.

Werner lit a cigarette and purged the smoke through his nostrils as he peered at the newspaper under Heimrich’s arm. “Anything of interest?” he asked, nodding toward the paper. He knew it would likely be the nationalist newspaper Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.

Heimrich eyebrows lifted and fell with despair as he held up the paper. The headline read, General Strike in Fourth Week. Below it: Germans outraged by occupation of Ruhr by French and Belgium troops.

He passed it to Werner then came alongside of him and poked his finger at the page. “This here, it says it all.” His words spat out with venom.  “Any great nation that has been driven to despair has always found the ways and means for its revenge.”  He stared at Werner.

“We were stabbed in the back by those who stayed at home and a passive government.” Pensively, he gazed over Heimrich’s shoulder. “Beware of the dog, the beast has spikes.”

“Yours?”

“You really must learn to take in your surroundings, Heimrich,” he chuckled with a hint of distain. On the poster behind you.” He flicked his forefinger to direct his attention. “Boy! Am I famished! Breakfast is on me.”

Heimrich peered at him with a tilt of the head. “Should I be alarmed? Your meagre wage from me and the amount your father steals leaves little to nothing for you.”

“You worry too much,” Werner replied. “Today’s my birthday! I’m celebrating!” Arm across Heimrich’s shoulders, he began to lead him away. His gaze fell on the poster again. “Can I stay the night with you? I’ve got an early start tomorrow.”

“An early start?”

“I’m travelling to Düsseldorf.”

“Düsseldorf?”

“We’ll talk over breakfast,” Werner replied. “Do you mind if I keep this paper?”

“I’ve read all I needed to. But why?’

He winked. “Curiosity killed the cat, Heimrich. You’ll find out soon enough.” 

Numbed by war and its aftermath, many Germans perceived predictability as an ill-wind of illusioned comfort wrapped in a blanket of false security. Only the monied people, the powerful, would have seen it differently. Soon the chaos in the streets would melt into something far worse.

Niflheim, ruled by Hel, next to the Shores of Corpses, where the giant snake Nidhogg resided, was about to cast its long dark shadow across Germany.

Two articles had caught Werner’s attention, one an opportunity, the other a necessity.

When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow: Chapter Seven

index

When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow is written by B. B. Wright

Ethan said nothing for a long time. His back pressed against the kitchen counter, he scrutinized the three of them at the table as he crossed one foot over the other. Where the fuck do I begin? He had no idea whether Jeffrey and John had anything to do with that bullet that came through the living-room window earlier; but, he knew he had to establish an answer to that one quickly. As for Louise… well… he knew she knew more than she was letting on. The question was: “How the hell to get it out of her.” Working for two masters is a BITCH! He lamented. He bit his upper lip and let loose a long sigh. How close should I play my cards? Since he and Tom took on this assignment, he had gone from trusting some to trusting none. And now, he was looking at two people-Jeffrey and Louise-who use to be among the some. Too long in the fuckin’ sewers of this world, he thought.

“Ethan?” Jeffrey asked, a smile taking shape from the corner of his mouth. “Do you mind?” He nodded toward the entrance to the dining room. “Maybe I might come up with something,” he suggested with a slight shrug. Receiving only a cold stare and no answer he continued. “I knew Tom was working undercover. It wasn’t until about 6 months ago though that I learned he had also been working for CSIS.”

CSIS is the acronym for Canadian Security Intelligence Service. It was created by an Act of Parliament on June 21, 1984. Its headquarters is located in Ottawa, Ontario. CSIS works closely with the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. Though initially its emphasis was combating the activities of foreign intelligence agencies operating in Canada, it has broadened under the CSIS Act to include the worldwide collection of security intelligence related to threats to the security of Canada.

“Tom?” interjected Louise.

His head tilting slightly downwards, Jeffrey turned to Louise, took in a deep breath and nodded. “It was a big surprise to me too,” he replied softly.

“But…how would you even know that?” she retorted. “I sure didn’t! And, if there was anyone who should have known it would have been me. We never kept secrets from each other. NEVER!” She folded her arms tightly across her chest and looked away.

Biting on his upper lip, Jeffrey watched Ethan’s reaction to this exchange between Louise and him from the corner of his eye. “Louise, how do I answer you?  I…I thought you knew.”

“Hang on there for a moment, Jeffrey,” Ethan interjected, pointing the Glock at him. “How did you find out about his CSIS connection? Only a select few including me knew that. It was a closed group and I don’t recollect your name being on that list.”

“You forget that he reported directly to me,” Jeffrey retorted, thrusting out his lower jaw.

“But, only on matters that related to law enforcement. Not national security! So, again, I ask: “How did you find out about his CSIS connection?””

Louise’s jaw dropped. “National security? My Tom? Ethan…what are you talking about?”

Ethan ignored her query and kept his eyes fixed on Jeffrey.”Well?”

Looking at Louise and then John, Jeffrey shifted forward in his chair, folding his hands together on the table “Let me dig out that bullet in the wall first. If my hunch is right, that bullet should have a lot to tell us.” Seeing Ethan’s askance look he felt compelled to say more but decided to hold off and just wait for his reply.

Ethan rolled his tongue around the inside of the front of his mouth as he thought about Jeffrey’s request. “You and John must have brought cuffs with you. Right?” Jeffrey nodded. “Cuff them to the chair and slide both sets of keys across the table.” Once they were cuffed and he had the keys, he shifted to a better location to keep an eye on all three. “Now, you can go ahead and dig out that bullet.”

A few minutes later, Jeffrey was rolling the bullet back and forth in his palm. “Hmm!” he repeated several times as he continued to examine it. “Notice anything unusual about it, Ethan?” he asked, holding it up for him to see.

“You’ve got to be kidding? I’m suppose to see something from this distance?”

A wide grin formed on Jeffrey’s face: “Aren’t you CSIS boys the crème de la crème, the exceptional of the exceptional, the…”

“I get it smartass! No need to continue. Let’s have a look.”

Jeffrey dropped the bullet into Ethan’s hand and returned to his seat and sat down, stretching out his legs and crossing his arms.

For a few minutes Ethan said nothing as he scrutinized the bullet. “Well it’s definitely a 9 millimeter.

“And, what else do you notice?” Jeffrey asked.

“It’s both longer and heavier than I expected.”

“And?”

Ethan rolled the bullet between his thumb and forefinger as he looked at it more closely. “Well, I’ll be damned! It has a hardened steel penetrator as its core.” Jeffrey nodded his agreement. “Did either you or John hear the shot?” Seeing a blank stare from both Jeffrey and John he knew the answer was no. “Then they used a silencer.”

Jeffrey straightened up in his chair. “Whoever it was meant business. That bullet was designed to pierce military issue body armor.”

Ethan slid the keys to the cuffs across the table to Jeffrey. “Would you and John be up to checking if the sonofabitch who shot this left behind a cartridge.”

Jeffrey looked across to John as he un-cuffed Louise. “No, I don’t think that will be a problem. Do you have any idea within what perimeter we should scour?”

“Considering the weight of this bullet, I’d say no more than a 400 meters radius. When the trajectory is factored in, it will narrow it down to only a few locations. By the way, you still haven’t answered my question.”

“What question?” Jeffrey replied, over his back as he un-cuffed John.

“About how you knew that Tom had been working for CSIS?”

Jeffrey slowly turned to face Ethan. “Why don’t we leave that for later? Eh? Let’s find that cartridge. It may tell us about what kind’a weapon was used. Unless…Huh!…Unless you already know?”

“A Vinovka Snaiperskaja Spetsialnaya,” Ethan replied.

“Russian?” Louise interjected.

Ethan nodded: “VSS Sniper Rifle.”

“But how would you know that?” asked Jeffrey.

“I don’t. It’s just a guess. You know one of those playing the odds sort’a thing.” Ethan held off Jeffrey’s next question. “You’ll understand later. In the meantime, let’s try to find that cartridge.”

“If that’s the way it’s gotta be then that’s the way it’s gotta be. Later it is. Still…” Ethan’s cold stare stopped him dead and he decided to redirect his attention. Rubbing his hands together, he looked around the kitchen. “Is there any coffee? I could sure do with a cup right now. It looks like we’ve got a long night ahead of us.”

“I’ll make a fresh pot,” Louise piped in. She turned to Ethan with a scowling look. “I think you can put away that gun, don’t you think? And, once you’ve done that put the leftovers from supper in the oven to warm up while I get a coupla flashlights.” She saw Jeffrey eyeing the wine rack. “Are you sure you don’t want something stronger, Jeffrey?”

“Maybe once we find that cartridge. You know… to celebrate,” he chortled, winking at them and shaking his head. “In the meantime, your flashlights along with mine plus coffee to go should do the trick.”

When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow: Chapter Six

holding GlockWhen Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow

by

B. B. Wright

“Whoa!”  Jeffrey Deaver’s outstretched arm stopped the forward motion of his companion in his tracks. For a moment, the two of them stood frozen in the door frame facing down at Ethan’s Glock pointing up at them from under the kitchen table. “Ethan?” Getting no reply, only a cold stare from him, Jeffrey let his revolver dangle from his forefinger. “I’m going to put my revolver on the floor and kick it over to you.” Turning to his companion he said: “You do the same, John.” The two revolvers slid across the floor, stopping a few inches short from where Ethan continued to keep his gun trained on them.

“Both of you take two steps in. Jeff, you turn to the right and you there, directing John with the tilt of his Glock, to the left. Now face the wall and take the position.” Arms outstretched, Jeffrey and John leaned into the wall in front of them and spread their legs apart.

Louise gave a slight tug at Ethan’s arm lying across her. “Ethan. The captain’s here to protect me.”

The bridge of Ethan’s nose pinched together as he glanced over at her. “Protect you? Protect you from what?”

“From you asshole!” bellowed Jeffrey. “Who else?”

“From me?!”  He turned and glared at Louise. “Do you know what the hell he’s talking about?”  Getting no answer, he nodded for her to follow him as he slipped out from under the table and stood up. When she was standing beside him, he turned and faced her. “Well? What in heaven’s name is he talking about?”

Louise pursed her lips and looked down at the floor. “Ethan…I…”

Ethan rolled his tongue around the inside of his mouth before pushing it against the inside and bulging out his lower lip. He looked over at Jeffrey and the other man. Biting on his lower lip, he let out a long sigh before turning his attention back to Louise.

“Look. Ethan. This position is getting kinda uncomfortable,” complained Jeffrey. “Do you mind?”

“Yes, I do mind! So, stay put!” Ethan stepped away from Louise to scrutinize the living-room through the opening to the dining-room from the kitchen side.  A spider web configuration around a hole in the upper corner of the large living-room window left no doubts in his mind that a bullet had entered through it. Maneuvering slightly to obtain a better view and not diverting his attention from the two men except for seconds at a time, his trained eyes followed the bullet’s trajectory from the window through the chandelier in the dining-room and into where the mirror had been on the back wall. He reflected on where he and Louise were standing when the shot rang out. He felt a cold chill travel up his spine as he looked at the now empty wall and then down at the shards of mirror on the floor. He murmured under his breath: “Jesu…the shooter saw me…my reflection … in that goddamn mirror.” He glanced over at Louise. “They were shooting at me. They had to be.”

“Ethan? What did you say? Are you alright?”  Louise asked, somewhat flummoxed by his appearance.

“Nothing important…I said nothing important. Here.” He said holding out his gun. “I hope Tom taught you how to handle one of these?”  Acknowledging that he had with a smile and nod, she took it. “Good!  Now, shoot the sonofabitch who so much as twitches.” And, he walked over to Jeffrey and began to pat him down. “You know Jeff, I think that bullet was meant for me. So, obviously there’s some kinda flaw in your reasoning, don’t you think?” Finished, he quickly moved across to John and repeated the process.

“What makes you think it was meant for you?” Jeffrey growled as he watched Ethan pat down John. “Maybe you set it up to look that way.”

““Look that way”?” Ethan rolled his eyes. “Look you overstuffed retired fathead, all you have to do is follow the trajectory of the bullet. If I had been two steps that’a way it would have hit me square in the middle of my forehead. Whoever it was, thought it was me not my reflection.”

Slightly flustered, Jeffrey replied: “I’ve only got your word on that.”

“There was a time, Jeff, when my word carried weight with you.”

Jeffrey shrugged: “Times change.”

Louise interjected: “Jeff, I think he’s telling the truth.”

“Maybe…you’re right…still, I need to see it for myself.” He motioned to straighten up. “So do you mind, Ethan?”

“Huh?”

“Do you mind?” he asked again, emphasizing his intent with the wave of one of his hands.

“Yes I do mind!  So stay the fuck there!” Satisfied that John wasn’t carrying any concealed weapons, Ethan stepped back and shook his head in dismay. “It wasn’t me who burst in here with guns drawn, Jeffrey.  As far as I know it could have been you or your sidekick who laid down that shot.”

“Really? Now, come on. Do you really believe that?”

“Like you said, Jeff: “Times change.””

“It’s getting fucking difficult standing like this,” Jeffrey replied, not trying to conceal his frustration. “By now you must have established that John and I aren’t carrying. Huh? So what’d ya say?”

Ethan turned to retrieve his Glock from Louise but found it aimed at his head. “Aah, I think Louise will have to make that call.”

“Louise? What the hell are you talking about?” Jeffrey glanced back over his shoulder. “Oh!.” He began to change position when a bullet from her gun slammed into the wall centimeters above his head. “Fuck! Okay! I’ll hold it!”

“Ethan, get over beside Jeffrey! NOW!” she commanded.

Pepper rounded the corner from the hallway barking and jumped up at Louise. The distraction was long enough for Ethan to twist the Glock from her grasp and regain command of the situation.

“Please sit there,” he directed her, pointing to the far end of the table as he backed up slightly.  “As for you two, stretch yourself out and join her. And, keep your hands flat on the table.”  Once the three of them were seated, he reached down and patted Pepper’s head. “Good boy! Louise? Where do you keep his treats?”

“In the pantry behind you, top shelf,” she replied.

Backing up he opened the cupboard with his free hand, found the box of treats and lifted it down and poured some into Pepper’s bowl. Ethan watched as Pepper gobbled it up. “By the way he ate it, it must be pretty good stuff.” Louise smiled back and nodded. He then looked at the three of them with a long, hard stare. “Well, I think it’s time to discuss what just happened and…why I’m here. Don’t you think?”

When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow: Chapter Five

Part Five Brown Envelope

My apologies to those of you who have been following this story. I had hoped to get it out sooner but I am presently undergoing radiation therapy for cancer and as a result my energy and concentration levels have not been up to par. If all goes well Part Six should be up by the end of the weekend. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Now, I introduce for your reading enjoyment  When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow: Chapter Five by me, B. B. Wright.

_______

Louise nibbled on a small piece of garlic bread as she watched Ethan clear the table and load the dishwasher. A pleasant enough dinner, she thought, but… uneventfulDefinitely not what I expected. Putting down her garlic bread, she picked up her half filled wine glass and, sitting back in her chair, she folded her arms across her chest.  “Ethan?”

“Uh-Huh.” Placing the last dish into the dishwasher, he picked up his wine glass from the counter in front of him and turned to face her. “I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far?”

“I have! Very much!  But…Ethan…I think you’re here for more than just feeding me a great meal and talking over old times. Huh?  What’s the real reason for your visit?”

Ethan bit on his lower lip and looked at her long and hard before finishing the wine in his glass. “I kind’a hoped we’d get through dessert before…we discussed that.”

Taking a sip from her glass, she smiled and, raising her eyebrows, replied: “Then, maybe we should have started with dessert.”

He breathed deeply and let it out slowly. “Maybe… we should have.”

Placing his empty wine glass on the table, he disappeared into the living room and returned a few seconds later with a large brown envelope tucked under his arm. Sitting in the chair opposite her, he placed the envelope beside him and offered to refresh her drink from the partially finished wine bottle in front of him.

She waved off the refill and, with haunting undertones, asked: “Is it that bad that I need a drink?”

He poured an ample portion of wine into his glass and slid the envelope toward her and began massaging his chin as he watched her reaction. “In a word…yes, I think it is.  I’m sorry, Louise, for what’s about to happen.”

“What’s ‘about to happen’? What is this?” Her eyes narrowed as she scrutinized his face looking for an easy answer. Seeing none, she abruptly sat back in her chair as if the envelope was a viper about to strike.

“It’s an autopsy report. To be more precise, it’s Tom’s autopsy report.”

Bug eyed, she retorted: “Tom’s?  Why? How? There was no autopsy report. I would have known.  He…died from complications due to his prostate cancer. No! Whatever you’re about to show must be a lie.” Tears swelled up in her eyes as she stood up and walked into the kitchen for a tissue. “Why are you doing this to me, Ethan? Maybe you should go. NOW!”

He wanted to comfort her but at that moment he knew it was best to keep his distance. Too many unpleasant questions had to be asked and if he hoped to crack open his investigation some of them had to be asked tonight.

“Louise…please…Come back. After you’ve read it, you’ll understand why I can’t just pick up and leave.”

Several moments passed in silence before Louise returned to the dining room with a box of tissues and sat down. Dabbing her eyes with a balled up tissue, she eyed the envelope that lay a short distance from her. Her hand crept across the table and her fingers touched its edge tentatively.

“Ethan, how did I not know there was an autopsy report?”

“It was arranged through CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) working with the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police).”

“What was Tom working on?”

“He had been working on some highly classified stuff before his death. I know that doesn’t answer your question but in time you’ll learn.”

“You’re one sonofabitch, Ethan. You know that, don’t you? Once I’ve read it, I want you out of here. DO YOU HEAR ME? OUT OF HERE!”  She pulled the envelope toward her and spilled its contents onto the table. Picking up the report, she had barely started to read it through her teary eyes when she looked up at Ethan quizzically. “What’s lethal polonium-210-induced acute radiation syndrome?”

“It means that Tom was murdered,” he replied, dolefully.

“Murdered?” Slack-jawed, her mind agonized over what she had just heard and the questions she knew she had to ask; her eyes feverishly skirted the room looking for readymade answers only Ethan could supply. “Are you telling me he didn’t have cancer?”

“No…Louise, he had cancer. I’m telling you that…someone wanted him dead before he had a chance to talk to me. And, whether you know it or not, you may have the clue to who did it.”

“But…murder?”

“What twigged us into the possibility that Tom was murdered was the Alexander Litvinenko case a few years back. I don’t know if you remember it because it got scant coverage on our news.” She shook her head in the negative. “Well, he escaped persecution in Russia by obtaining asylum in the U.K. It turned out he had been working for British Intelligence, namely for both MI5 and MI6. Litvinenko wrote two highly controversial books accusing the Russian secret service of staging Russian apartment bombings and other terrorism acts in order to set the stage for Vladimir Putin regaining power.

We were aware that Tom had prostate cancer, Louise, but we were also aware that it was not life threatening. Two weeks before he suddenly got sick, he alerted us that he had come across some highly sensitive material. Based on the symptoms exhibited in your doctor’s report and comparing it to Litvinenko’s death, the clandestine autopsy was ordered.” Feeling the tension gathering in his neck and shoulders, he stood up and stretched.

“Did you ever find out what the sensitive material was that Tom had discovered?”

“We went to his usual drop-off location with the hope of finding it there but came up empty. So, either someone else got to it or else Tom hid the information in a different location.”

“But Ethan, how would I have the clue to who killed Tom? Or to anything else? How?” Standing up, she began to pace back and forth. “I don’t understand. How could I possibly know such a thing?” She stopped and glared at him.

“Louise, no matter how I looked at it, unraveling this puzzle always came back to you.”

“Ethan, what are you saying?” She rounded the table and headed toward him.

“I’m saying…”

A bullet shattered the ceiling fan light in the living room on its way to its mark and within seconds the frame splintered at the bolt of the outside door to the kitchen sending the door smashing against the wall.

When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow: Chapter Four

Country Home B

When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow by B. B. Wright
Chapter Four

It was 3:20 in the morning when Louise switched on her night-table light and sat up in bed. Placing her pillow and the one beside her at her back, she picked up the novel “The Light Between Oceans” by M. L. Stedman from the table, leaned back and tried to read.

Disturbed by her movement, Pepper stood up, circled a couple of times before plopping down hard against her and resuming his sleep.

She struggled to finish the chapter she was reading but her mind kept drifting back to her conversation with Ethan the previous day. Inserting the bookmark, she closed the book and placed it on the table. Pepper was now snoring beside her. The running shoe he had retrieved from the rocks at the beach lay beside his head.

Though she and Ethan had spent three hours over lunch catching up on old times, she had been unable to elicit any information about what he knew about the case Tom had continued to work on shortly after he and Ethan had gone their separate ways.

Or did they go their separate ways? I never thought about that possibility until now, she mused.  “Hmm.” Tom became so distant then. Why?

Uncharacteristically, Tom never discussed anything related to his new position in 33 Division even when he returned home one day with a badly bruised cheek. Often, he would disappear for weeks at a time. “It’s police business,” he’d say. “So don’t fret, dear, it’s not another woman. But, I can tell you this. When this case breaks wide open there’s going to be a few high level heads rolling.” It was the only time she remembered him breaking his silence.

Louise recalled how thankful she had been that Sheila, Ethan’s wife, had continued to be friends. Sheila’s friendship had been a boon during Tom’s long absences. Not a day went by that the two of them hadn’t been out on some kind of an excursion whether to buy new clothes, attend live theatre in Toronto or Thursday morning breakfast at the nearby Tim Horton’s. Then, one day—a year later—it had all ended with a call from Sheila. The conversation on the phone had barely lasted twenty seconds. No explanation! Caput! Finished! Nothing!

Consternation and remorse still easily bubbled up in Louise whenever she thought about that day. Friends, she thought, don’t just pick up and disappear like that…unless… she really wasn’t a friend.

Begrudgingly, she had come to accept that for all of the time she and Tom had spent with Ethan and Sheila she had really never known them. A conclusion easily reached when she learned that Sheila had run off to Vancouver with Ethan’s new partner who became the head of the newly formed Drug Investigative Unit there.

She reflected: How does that John Lennon quote go? Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Her conversation with Ethan the other day about that time troubled her because he had treated the whole thing so nonchalantly. He had been unwilling to divulge so much as a modicum of information that might have shed some light on what had happened. When she had pressed him on it, his demeanor changed dramatically and he became quite defensive. So much so she had to quickly back off. Their conversation had remained strained for a time afterwards but by the time they parted any hint of it had clearly subsided. His reaction, though, continued to confuse her and—to her way of thinking—there was something that just didn’t add up. But, what it was, for the moment, eluded her.

She glanced over at Stedman’s novel on her side-table and let out a long, forlorn sigh. Tom was the name of one of the main characters in her book and she couldn’t help but feel that her life, similar to that of Isabel’s, Tom’s wife in that novel, was about to unravel. She wished she hadn’t agreed to have supper with Ethan this evening. But, curiosity had got the better of her. Unfortunately, she remembered what curiosity had done to the cat. What bothered her the most occurred when Ethan had admitted their meeting in the park had not been an accident. She wondered what was up his sleeve. Would he drop it on me during the main course or during dessert? She mused. She guessed dessert. Life’s short, eat dessert first, she thought with a smirk. For me, it’s the time of greatest flavour.

Easing herself out of bed so as not to disturb Pepper, she headed downstairs for a glass of milk and the last slice of chocolate cake from a bridge party she had hosted the previous week.

As she sat at the kitchen table looking at her reflection in the window, she wondered what it was that Ethan needed to show her and why he felt it was so important that it be shown in privacy. Picking up her fork she cut through the triple layered wedge of chocolate cake and savored the morceau in her mouth before downing it with a drink of milk.

She glanced at the wall clock. It was 4:30. Getting up, she walked over to the cordless phone and brought it back to the table along with her address book and sat down. After she finished the remainder of the cake and milk, she opened the address book, found the phone number she wanted, punched in the numbers on her phone and waited for the pickup at the other end. She didn’t have to wait long.

“This had better be good Louise,” said the gruff, groggy voice of Jeffrey Deaver, the recently retired Captain of 33 Division, who picked up on the first ring. “You know what time it is?”

Louise smiled: “Of course I know what time it is.” She quickly discerned she was talking to empty air.

“Good! You didn’t wake up Meredith! Now what’s up?”

“I bet you were snacking in the kitchen like me. Old habits don’t die easily even in retirement,” she sniggered. “How’s that wife of yours handling you being underfoot?”

“Meredith’s doing just fine. But, why don’t you just cut to the chase and tell me why you called.”

“Do you remember Ethan Cranston?” She shifted the telephone to her other ear and stood up and walked into the living room. “Your silence is deafening Jeff.”

“Yeah… I remember him. So?”

“He’s in Meaford and it’s no accident.”

“Fuck!” He mumbled under his breath. “He’s always been a lose cannon. And Tom knew that especially…”

“My sentiments too, but you have such a poetic way of saying it.” She opened the candy dish and popped a chocolate in her mouth and sat down on the couch. “What were you about to say?”

“Nothing, nothing important. Did he tell you why he’s there?”

“He says he’s investigating a murder, if that’s what you’re asking?”  She turned on the table lamp when Pepper came down the stairs and jumped onto the couch and settled in the corner opposite her.

“Hmm… Did he say what murder?”

“I guess I’ll find out this evening.” Patting her side, she looked over at Pepper to invite him to snuggle against her which he readily acceded to.

“This evening?” Jeffrey queried with more than a hint of astonishment in his tone.

“Uh-Huh. He’s coming here for supper. Even bringing it,” she replied smugly as she ran her hand softly along the top of Pepper’s head and down his back. “By the way, how’s retirement?”

“Okay…I guess.”

“Just okay? What the hell does that mean?”

“I’m going to bed,” he retorted.

“Wait! Help me out here. Ethan hanging out here has opened old wounds. Whatever happened between him and Tom?” Silence greeted her ears. “Nothing? You’re saying nothing?”

“Are you okay with inviting me to supper?”

“It depends.”

“Just say yes or no.”

“Yes,” she replied, unable to hide a tinge of reluctance.

“What time?

“Six.”

“You’d better tell him to bring lots because I’m bringing Meredith, too.”

 

 

Welcome to Betrayal of Trust

What if everything you ever believed in turned out to be a lie?

Betrayal of Trust, indiepub, amwriting, amreading, crime, thriller, suspense, fictionWhen Edward Slocum, executive vice president of KemKor Pharmaceuticals, sees armed men at Building 3C on the company premises he becomes suspicious of his organizations operations. Before long, he finds himself propelled on a dangerous rollercoaster ride of events that will irrevocably change his own life and endanger the future of his entire community.

This is just the beginning! Check back frequently for update, tidbits, information regarding my new book, Betrayal of Trust.

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