Private Voices: Part 14

Updated on February 6, 2020
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Mike is an amateur writer working on building a hopefully compelling story. He lives in The Village of Lakemore, Summit Country, Ohio.

The Story So Far

Janice James is a Private Detective haunted by the death of her son and a fractured psyche, forcing her to see her son Brandon as well as others. After a ceremony to honor their late son, Janice and her ex-husband Bill prepare to live together again. Janice's assistant, a young woman named Jennifer Gordon, known as JG, while happy to see them together now must find a way to work around the new awkwardness.

Janice was hired to help a man named Stanley Franco find out why his wife Ava is fighting a divorce. During the investigation, she stumbled onto a unique counterfeiting scheme designed to infect scanning machines allowing the user access to a company's funds. When her client was murdered, Janice turned her case over to the local police. She contacted someone from the secret service with help from her mentor, a former police officer named Sean. In the process, she found herself being watched by the FBI and Ava, a woman that isn't who she appears to be.

Samuel Saunders, an old friend of Bill, hired Janice to help his wife, Margaret. A former student blackmailed her using her past and Her bosses Pedophile past seeking revenge for his expulsion for assaulting a student putting him on a sex registry. With the help of Janice, the police, and her husband, Margaret came forward and helped end a pedophile ring and lock up around 65 people.

Ava, the wife, and murderer of her husband, Stanley Franco, while in hiding at Steve's Motel, watched Janice watch the events, wondering if she was seen and what was going on. Ava kills the teenage boy to cover her tracks. Ava Escaped to Mexico.

A strange woman (Bethany) disguised as a man hired three men to destroy Janice's office and kill Janice. The three men known as the Triple Ks or Tre Ks set a bomb to destroy the office and the cop bar beneath. They also Kidnapped Janice's assistant, a young woman named JG (Jennifer Gordon), to either sell or worse. A hidden camera catches the Tre Ks setting the bomb. In a twist, Bethany Kills the Tre Ks but planned on killing JG when one of the Tre Ks kills her and calls for help.

While Waiting for news on JG, Janice runs into her estranged father setting of a series of memories she would like to forget. While honing her future skills as a private detective, Janice found out her father was having an affair with her best friend, Jennifer. Janice lets Jennifer's parents know about the affair, costing her bother her best friends, her mother, to suicide and her father.

Ava goes about her island routine as Janice finds her brother-in-law and nephew in her apartment.

Part Fourteen

Mike and Scott were planning a road trip across the country for the summer. Mike could work from anywhere, and Scott was out of school. Mike bought and fixed up an old motorhome. Together they would see the sights of America. As they talked, a sudden chill went up Janice’s back. Standing on the fake balcony, watching them from the sliding glass doors was the nine-year-old Brandon. This was the first time he was around when Bill was near. Brandon swayed back and forth, then he fell backward. Janice jumped from her chair and ran to the door. She looked down the three stories and saw nothing. She turned to see the shocked faces of the two men and the boy.

Bill said, “You said, Brandon.”

Scott was a few years younger than Brandon, but he remembered him. She turned to see a picture of Brandon near the door.

As quickly as she could, she said, “I thought I saw the picture falling.”

Behind the startled men was the tween Brandon shaking his head in disapproval.

That night while in bed with Bill, Janice asked, “Have you ever thought about having another child?”

Bill looked over at her, but he didn’t say a word.

From across the room, Brandon asked, “Do you remember how you were just after I died?”

Bill finally said, “I thought we were done. I couldn’t see any kind of future.”

Bill rolled over to her and kissed her neck. “Sometimes, while in one of my classes, I swear I can see him there. This last class was filled with kids that were his age and knew him. I think it might be why I stayed teaching even after I was offered a job as a principal than an administrator with a charter school. I wanted to see where Brandon was going. Teaching them is like teaching him.”

Janice reached down below the covers undoing his pajama bottoms. She rolled over on top of him as she worked her nightshirt off. Bill reached over for a condom from the nightstand, but Janice stopped him.

She whispered, “No, I want nothing but you inside me.”

Ava turned the monitor off after watching the two have what she thought of as blah sex. Even with Janice on top, the sex was just dull to Ava. She looked at plans for the apartment, wondering just how much explosives they would need to level the building. The police were guarding the office, so striking there would be a non-starter. She was also under siege by the American government. Ten miles away from the island was the U.S. coastguard. They were stopping every ship, essentially trapping her on the island. Her employer was paying her a fortune to set their plan in motion. Her need for revenge was hurting her ability to do her job. The door opened, and a young woman walked in wearing a pair of white capri pants, a nearly see-through silk top over a white and blue striped bikini top. Yara was from Brazil. Ava bought her when she was five years old from a poor family with nine other children. For the past twelve years, she raised Yara, almost like her own child. Yara walked over to Ava, climbing into her lap and kissed her on the lips.

Yara reached around and pulled the string on her top, letting it fall.

Ava said, “Whatever it is, as long as you can do it on the island, then the answer is yes.”

Yara asked, “When will the old bitch be dead? She ruined our lives.

Yara got up and walked to a window. She could see Ramone, one of the gardeners. As she stared at him, she wondered if she had slept with him yet. This morning she had one of the downstairs maids. She was young, but so was Yara. The girl knew her job, she also knew to keep her mouth shut and do whatever was asked of her. Yara didn’t know or care what the girl’s name was, all she cared about was getting what she wanted.

Ava said, “There are a few new ones on the other side of the island.”

Yara sat back down on Ava’s lap and put her head on her shoulder.

She whispered into Ava’s ear, “Why don’t you join me.”

Janice was on her way to a meeting after getting a call from an old client. She drove to the Café in Stow to talk about a man and a horse. Ester Braun and her family raised horses on their farm for three generations. Her pride and joy was her daughter Sadie, but her other was a two-year-old colt named Tigger. He had a coat that, in the right light, looked like tiger stripes. This horse was supposed to be her daughter’s first horse.

Ester said, “This man showed up on the farm while I was out working the backfield. He told my father he had a bill of sale and took Tigger. My daddy got kicked in the head a few years ago, and he has a hard time understanding things. He signed the paper selling the horse for a dollar.”

Janice looked at the paper then said, “With proof of sale, I don’t see what I can do.”

Ester asked, “How can you sell something that isn’t yours?”

It was clear that Ester never got off the farm. She was from a small farming community called Lodi. It was known for farming, the Amish, and a large outlet mall. What most people didn’t know was that there was a small collection of Jewish farmers living among the Amish. They moved there after the war, hoping to find a place that would leave them alone. Ester wore a star of David around her neck. Most people in the community didn’t go to the authorities, given their history with trusting the wrong people in power.

The police wouldn’t go after the man without arresting the father for theft. His name on the paper was Elias Stroup, but after showing his picture around to the many farms around the small town, Janice found he had several names from Ishmael Felt to Tom Smith. It was a sad fact that there were many people like this using lies and trickery to steal from small communities. What struck Janice the most was just how specific this man was with what he took.

From the back of the car, Brandon said, “It’s like he has a shopping list.”

Janice asked, “Yes, but who made the list?”

Brandon just raised his arms in the “whatever” motion.

Brandon said, “If he is taking such things as horses, then he will need a place to board them and feed them.”

Janice wasn’t sure what to make of Brandon being helpful again, but he was right.

Brandon went on, “He wouldn’t board them near the place where he stole them. He would also want to be near his stolen merchandise.”

Janice said, “Unless the person who made the list already lives nearby.”

© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron


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