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 her troubled past and the death of her son and a fractured psyche, forcing her to see her son Brandon as well as others. With the help of her late son and her mentor, a former police officer named Sean, she runs her service, helping people in trouble.
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's brother-in-law Mike and his son Scott come for a quick visit before taking a long trip. Janice's estranged father sent a letter hoping to put their past behind them before he died.
Three years ago, weeks after the death of her son Brandon, Janice was on the brink of a breakdown when she starts to see visions of her dead son. The visions begin to terrorize her as Brandon changes from a screaming toddler to the twelve-year-old just before he died.
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. Ava wants Janice dead for her part in chasing her out of the States, to her Island near Cuba. Ava sent several people to try and kill Janice from her assassin lover to a band of bumbling thugs. The last attempt happened by a con artist running a scheme with an end of the world cult. Terrence Stamps' effort to have Janice killed was forted by an unknown strange.
Janice confronts a man she was hired to follow about his past and why he's hiding it from his worried wife. After a confrontation with a client, Jance went home to find Bill confronting the new scholastic norm.
Ava continues her obsession over Janice, leading to a confrontation between her surveillance team and Janice, where she shoots and kills two men.
- Private Voices: Part 26
A surprise find changes the direction of the chapter. Ava starts to Question her staffing.
Sean called in a few favors and was able to have Janice's statement taken back at her office.
He said, "We'll go back to your office and use that fancy camera to record your statement, then the two of you are staying with me tonight."
In the many years, Janice has known Sean, she had never been to his house.
Bill said, "We can't do that to you, we'll get a hotel room."
Sean replied, "I have a steel door, a top-notch security system, and enough guns to defend the Alamo. Is there a hotel in this part of Ohio that can say the same?"
Sean pulled an old policeman's special Smith and Wesson revolver from a holster on his leg.
He gave the gun to Janice, "I think that you would feel better if you had this."
Janice took the gun and stuffed it into a pocket of the gray hoodie she was wearing. They quickly packed a bag and started to leave. Janice noticed that Brandon was gone. She hadn't seen him since the car. She felt like that day when she learned he was dead, and she would never see him again. On the way to the house, she called JG and told her to either make herself scarce or go to the bar.
They made their way down a side road to a large wall in a suburban neighborhood. A gate opened, and an old Victorian came into view. The house was a contrast to the surroundings with its vibrant colors, almost every shade of purple with white trim. The roof was some sort of slate that shimmered in the light.
Sean said, "Brenda picked the colors, and she lived just long enough to see the house finished."
Brenda was Sean's wife, she died fifteen years ago. Her picture was in the bar next to an image of his two estranged children. He never spoke about them. On the way inside, Sean stopped at an old well and pulled a panel open. Inside was a keypad.
Sean said, "Wait a minute, I have to unlock the house."
He put in his code, and something beeped. Janice could see something moving away from the windows.
Sean said, "Brenda wanted to open the house up as a bed and breakfast, but after she was attacked. The scars made her unwilling to leave the house. She also wanted to feel secure, so I had this installed and gave her a gun. Brenda liked the gun so much we just started buying more."
Inside they found a house full of antiques giving it a museum-like quality. Near the door was a large ornate gun safe. Sean opened the safe to show what must have been twenty stainless steel or nickel-plated revolvers. They also had more than a few semi-automatics and rifles.
Sean said, "We have four other safes just like this."
Bill asked, "I know this might be pushing it, but what happened to her?"
Sean lowered his head and replied, "I'm too sober to answer that question. Maybe one day, we will sit down and talk about sad times and things long ago and best forgotten, but for now, just please make yourselves at home."
Sean handed Janice a Glock-19.
He said, "This was the last pistol I carried as a police detective, and it served me well."
Bill said, "I don't believe in guns."
Sean replied, "Well, just look in front of you. They are very real."
Looking over the collection, Janice pulled an old Uberti reproduction of a 1960 Army Colt.
She gave it to Bill, "This is a single action, so there will be less of a chance you will shoot anyone, and it's heavy enough to work as a club."
Sean showed them to a room on the second floor. The room was connected to the turret with a fourposter bed and antique Victorian furniture.
Sean said, "That door leads to a bathroom with a fridge, but it hasn't been used or even plugged in. Just outside in a door across from yours is a linen closet with towels and well… linen. Please make yourselves at home."
The upper level had a dusty, disused look that was most likely the case. On a wall near the door was a picture of Sean in his police uniform. He was maybe twenty-three and just out of the army.
Janice said, "There is so much I don't know about him. I've never even met any of his children."
Bill went to hug her, but she pulled away, putting up her hands. She made a sorry motion with her shoulders, but no with her hands and eyes. Bill walked over to the armchair in the turret while Janice went to take a bath.
Janice started the water into the tub. It was discolored with a smell for a minute or two, then it went clear. She looked at the door and the chair where Bill was sitting. For a second, she could see herself going out to him and asking if he wanted to make this a bath for two.
A voice came from behind her saying, "go for it. I won't watch."
Janice looked over and saw the five-year-old Brandon standing by the tub in his Sponge Bob pajamas.
He said, "stop pushing him away."
Janice turned back to Bill and said, "he won't understand."
Janice turned back to Brandon, only to see he was gone. She shut the water off and got in, but she left the door open just in case Bill wanted to make a move on his own. As she got into the water, she looked at the bruising where the man held her down. She knew she was about four pieces of cloth away from being raped and had they came earlier, she would have been in just a nightshirt and robe.
Janice looked down at what was left of her fingernails. She wasn't a girly kind of woman except for her nails. She kept them manicured and painted. She was also proud that they were all-natural, but now most of the length was either cut away or broken off in the guy's eyes. The sound they made when she pushed them through his eyes, tearing at the lids. His screams when his world went black. The look on the other man's face when he saw what happened and what was about to happen. Most of all, that man's face when he went down with four shots to the chest. He had that, "this wasn't supposed to happen to me" look. Janice got out of the tub and reached for a towel. She stopped and looked over at Bill's chair. Part of her wanted to forget the towel and go to him, but another side wanted him to stay in another room.
Janice put on a nightshirt she packed and got into bed. She noticed that the top posters had what looked like scrape marks like maybe from handcuffs. For a second, she thought about the Stephen King book Gerald's Game and being cuffed to a bed for days. She rolled over onto her side, facing the door with her hand under the pillow. Bill got up and stripped down to his boxers and a t-shirt. He slipped into bed, staying on his side. Janice felt him get in as the old bed creaked. What she felt the most was the separation between the two of them. While they lay inches from each other, the divide felt like miles. Janice moved over until she was touching him. He was warm and inviting, and the opposite of those men she killed.
Bill said, "you know I love you, and I always will no matter what."
Janice replied, "I love you both, and I can't see any other way to live without that as my fact."
Bill thought about how she said both, but he also believed that this wasn't the time for questions. Janice put her hand under the pillow and on the gun.
About seven-thirty, in the morning, a red light came on, and some sort of steel mesh shutters closed over the windows.
From the hall, they heard, "stay inside. Someone is coming up the drive, and the security system doesn't recognize the car."
Bill mimed, "recognize the car?"
Janice grabbed her gun and went down the stairs. She found Sean in what had to be the oldest pair of pajamas with a bandoleer of shotgun shells and a riot-style shotgun. He was watching a monitor as an SUV rolled up the hill.
Janice said, "that's JG and her new car."
Sean put the gun away and turned off the security system.
Sean looked at what he was wearing and said, "I'm going to change."
He started to pass Bill on the stairs when he stopped him. Bill was holding the gun by the barrel like a hammer. Sean took the gun and de-cocked the hammer.
Sean said, "Maybe I should hold onto that for now."
The Next Part
- Private Voices: Part 28
Ava calls for a truce offering up a significant prize hoping to send the heat against a friend/rival.
© 2020 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron