Mike is an amateur writer working on building a hopefully compelling story. He lives in The Village of Lakemore, Summit Country, Ohio.
A Note about this and the last part
The following is the second to the last part of this story. With the final part, this was about a 65,000+ word story. It took about three months to write, and there was a semi-planned second part that would have covered Jenny's kidnapping as well as the events of the end of this story. I will post the last part in the morning on Friday, 2/7/2020. I might do a few short stories with Janice and her work, but as of right now, I have no plans to do another larger followup. Thank you for your time...
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. Three years after the death of their son, Janice and her estranged husband Bill are moving into their new home behind a wall. Bill offered the wall to a creative art class to paint a mural. 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 Jenny, while happy to see them together now must find a way to work around the new awkwardness. After a trip home to see her family, Jenny comes to terms with her new life in Ohio and a disconnect from her family. 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's assistant Yara with the help of her sister Maria plans on escaping the island and Ava's control while the US Navy moves in. Ava starts her plan going between Miami and Fort Myers. She found a hitchhiker named Lance on the way she would either keep or feed to the alligators.
Janice's former partner/mentor took a trip to Miami beach. While in Miami, Ava Sees Sean. Ava sent lance with a fake bomb hoping he would either kill Sean or get killed by Sean.
- Private Voices: Part 44
Bill goes home to find Janice prepping for the baby while Jenny makes plans.
Bill found the stuff from his office in a couple of boxes beside his car. The two guards followed him out and waited for him to go. On the way, he saw that student that question if she had to follow the syllabus. She was with two other girls, and they were laughing and pointing.
One girl blew him a kiss, and the questioning girl yelled, "That's what you get you misogynistic patriarchy jerk."
They started to clap, and the other students first looking to them, then to the school doors began to clap. Bill looked at his students and his school and wondered why he spent so much time and worked so hard for nothing. He didn't want to go home, so he drove to Sean's bar, knowing it would be open, and he could have something that could just put things into perspective.
Bill walked into the bar.
Sean said, "Howes it going, teach."
Bill pointed at him and said, "Don't ever call me that."
He walked over to the end of the bar and ordered a double Irish whiskey neat. Sean poured a double from his own bottle he kept in the fridge.
Sean asked, "So drinking before class?"
Bill downed the drink and said, "Schooling in America is dead."
He then pushed the glass to Sean and said, "Another."
Sean poured a third double, then he went to his wall phone and called Janice, "Say, babe, it's me, Sean, you busy?"
Janice shook her head, then she said, "You don't have to say it's you. No one else calls me babe…… what's going on?"
After a moment of silence, Sean said, "Bill's down here on his third whiskey, and I don't think he's going to stop any time soon."
Janice looked at the clock on the wall.
She said, "It's ten in the morning."
Sean said, "Yeah, no kidding."
Janice got up and went down from her office to the bar. She found Bill at the end of the bar with more than a few glasses in front of him.
She asked, "New school policy?"
Bill said, "Why yes, it is just that, a new policy where they fire accused people rather than defend them."
Janice pointed at the glasses and said, "You know this won't solve a thing."
Bill said, "The heck it won't. It will solve my give a heck because I just don't want to give a heck anymore."
Janice said how he should come up to her office and sleep this off.
Bill asked, "What if I'm not tired?"
Janice said, "Oh well, I think I can fix that."
Janice told Jenny to take the rest of the day off, so she could stay with Bill and help him. Jenny looked to the open door of the spare office just in time to see Bill's bare ass. She went over to close the door when Bill turned around and close the door himself, showing more than Jenny wanted to see.
Jenny grabbed her laptop and asked, "How can someone that drunk be so hard?"
Janice said, "Sometimes, it's best not to ask such questions and just enjoy what nature gives you."
After Jenny left, Janice opened the office door and found Bill passed out face down with his ass in the air behind the desk.
She said to herself, "Well, I guess no sex for me."
She closed the door and went to her office, but something felt off. She brushed it off until she saw the shape. A second later, she felt something cold against her neck, then everything went black.
Janice woke up in bed. It was early in the morning, and there was a light in the walk-in closet. She could see a tile and a mirror. They had made plans to convert that second closet into a master bathroom, but like many of their plans, it never happened. The light turned off, and Bill came out in what Janice called his teacher's uniform a white button-down shirt, charcoal slacks, a thin black tie, and black Converse high-tops. He walked over to her and kissed her on the forehead.
He asked, "Are you feeling better?"
Janice didn't know what he was talking about.
Bill said, "I'll take hair boy to school; you just stay right here and get better."
He kissed her on the lips and left the room. Janice got up and went down the stairs into the kitchen. Sitting at the counter with his back to her was a young man of maybe fifteen or sixteen. His hair had this shape to it that looked like he spent hours trying to make it look like he did nothing to it. A sort of controlled chaos.
Janice walked around and came face to face with her teenage son. It was Brandon, but as a young man rather than the tween they buried three years ago.
He looked up from his cereal and asked, "What? Is there something wrong? Is it my hair?"
Janice looked him in the face. He still had that boyish charm, but she could also see the handsome man he was going to become.
Brandon asked, "How are you feeling?"
Janice said, "Like I'm waking up from the worst nightmare I ever had to find the best possible dream."
Brandon looked at the door. Janice followed his gaze and saw that there was nothing but blackness outside.
Brandon said, "You do understand that this is the dream and that another place is reality. I died. That happened. I won't ever be this person who cares about his hair."
From behind her, she heard a man's voice say, "Or this man who wants to talk to you about this girl he loves and hopes you love her too."
Janice turned to see what she imagined Brandon would look like in his twenties. He was in a dark suit with a thin black tie, just like Bill's favorite style. She felt a tug on her shirt. She turned to find a young girl who looked like Brandon.
She said, "Grandma, you have to wake up."
Janice woke up, but she couldn't move. She was face up tied and duct-taped to a table in her office.
She heard a voice said, "Good, you're awake. I was worried I might have done some damage."
She couldn't see her, but Janice knew the voice. Ava came into her view, wearing an apron over top of a white shirt. Janice struggled against the tape. Ava walked over to her and took her by the head and kissed her ear, then licked her cheek.
She said, "I am so glad you are still around. I wanted you to know what I have planned."
Ava walked out of view then back.
She said, "I had planned on just killing you and moving on with my life, but after a setback, I decided to let you live and just kill everyone you love."
Janice went to speak, but she found her mouth was numb.
Ava said, "Yes, you landed on your face, and it looked like it would hurt, so I used a little something to take the pain away."
Ava walked back up to Janice with something small in her hand. It was small, white in a pill shape.
She said, "The first to go."
She dropped the pill into Janice's mouth and held her mouth closed.
As she did this, she started to sing, "There's got to be a morning after. If we can hold on through the night."
- Private Voices: Part 46
The story comes to an end with Ava taking her revenge. Includes Epilogue.
© 2020 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron