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 three-year separation, Janice and her estranged husband Bill are back together and expecting a baby.
Bill worked as a teacher in an ever-progressive school system that seems to want to teach victimhood rather than history. When a student makes false accusations against Bill, he finds himself out and most likely blackballed from the profession.
Janice’s assistant was one of her biggest saves. As a child, Jennifer was kidnapped, and when no one could find her, Janice did while exposing a human trafficking ring. Jennifer, now known as Jenny, went through an awakening as she starts to evaluate where she is, who she is an what she wants out of life.
Janice’s mentor and friend is a former police officer turned private detective turned bar owner named Sean. After a trip to Miami, where he was almost killed, Sean came back with a new love interest. Sean took the young man named Lance, who was sent to kill him back home to help him rebuild his life.
On what should have been a routine case, Janice made an enemy of Ava, a long time criminal. Ava ran an island like a private country running lives and murdering for fun. Ava was hired by a shadow organization to install a program into the federal reserve and other financial institutions. Ava was told she was going to destroy American, but the organization really wanted to control the west and its money. With the help of Janice, Ava lost her island, her victims, and her assistant named Yara, who escaped to the west coast of Mexico with her sister. Now all Ava has is her need for revenge.
- Private Voices: Part 45
Bill comes to terms with his career while Janice has a visitor.
Janice struggled to get the pill out of her mouth as Ava kept singing the song The Morning After in reference to the tablet used as emergency contraception. As the pill dissolved, Janice could taste mint. Ava started to laugh. She let Janice go and backed away. Janice tried to spit the pill out, but her face was too numb. Janice could hear something shake.
Ava showed her a little package of white mints and said, “Don’t worry, it was just a mint.”
Ava put one of the mints in her mouth.
She said, “I think I’ll do the little girl first. I know this guy that likes them thin and loud. She will scream and scream.”
Janice struggled against the tape.
Ava went on, “I want to do your husband myself as well as that stupid mick downstairs.”
Ava showed Janice a switchblade.
She said, “I think I’ll keep the fun parts as a sort of trophy, although the real fun is when I take them.”
Janice could feel the numbness fading away and more profound pain in her face building. She also felt cold. Ava put the blade down on Janice’s stomach. She put her hand down between Janice’s legs and brought her hand back up into her view.
She said, “Don’t worry, I already took care of this one.”
Janice could see blood on Ava’s hand. Her pelvis felt cold and wet. All Janice could do was try and scream.
A gunshot rang out, then another. The third shot hit Ava, and the round expanded, creating a softball-size red splotch on her shirt over where her heart should be. Ava fell over onto the floor. Janice could move her head a little, and she saw Bill with her gun. He had this manic look on his face. Then he walked up to Ava and turned her over. He pointed the gun at her head and emptied the revolver into her face. He clicked on more than a few of the expended rounds before he stopped. The last thing Janice saw before she passed out was Bill taking the knife and cutting her free.
Sean came into the room, along with several off-duty officers from Akron PD.
Sean looked at the ruined face of Ava, then to Janice, “Holy shit.”
He took the gun from Bill and passed it to one of the cops.
Bill looked at all the police in the room and said, “Help.”
They put Janice in the back of Sean’s old van, and she got a six police car escort to Akron City Hospital. There they took her into surgery with more than one doctor saying how it didn’t look promising, but they would do their best to save her. Bill raced through what he saw in the room. Ava standing in front of Janice with blood on her hand laughing. Blood on the floor and table. All the blood on Janice. He wondered just how could so much blood come from one person. A doctor came out and told him something about puncturing and tearing. Bill felt like he was on the outside of himself, watching everything as it unfolded. He could see the doctors coming out and saying she didn’t make it, just like he could see them saying she survived. He heard the police in the room saying something about the shooting and how he shouldn’t worry. He woke up when a member of the summit county sheriff’s department told him to stand and put his hands on his head. Three of the officers from the bar stood in their way. The deputies said they were told to place him under arrest until this whole thing could be figured out. Sean and one of the officers tried to explain what was happening, but it didn’t seem to matter. About the time they had the cuffs on Bill, an FBI agent arrived and ordered them to stop. They had an order of protection for both Bill and Janice and were taking charge of the scene.
An hour into the surgery, a doctor came out and said they would have to do a complete or radical Hysterectomy. Ava used her knife to murder their unborn child while making sure Janice could never have another. Bill looked at the door, and for just one prolonged second, he imagined walking out and letting all this go. He could see himself finding a quiet corner and just letting it all end without him. Getting Janice back after Brandon’s death was the hardest thing he ever had to do, and now he just might lose her for good. In the van, on the way to the hospital, Janice had said something about Brandon and how he can’t be left alone. Bill felt the same way about her. He knew that she would never recover from this loss, and she would push back everyone away. Bill decided that he would push his feelings aside and let her say whatever she needs to say so he can be there for her. She needed him more than he needed his ego.
Sean sat next to Bill and told him that he didn’t have to worry about being arrested, “That was just the prosecutor covering his butt. A man shot a woman, news at eleven. Once everyone knows who she was, this will all blow over, and you will be exonerated, but for now, the FBI wants to protect you from being harmed.”
Bill tried to make sense of what was happening.
He asked, “Why are the FBI involved with us?”
Sean tightened his lip and said in a sort of angry disgust, “They have been watching you and Janice ever since Ava left the country. They know they could have stopped this from happening, but no one tried.”
Sean pointed to one of the agents using his head.
He said, “That one over there. He is the agent in charge, and he ordered his man to stand down, thinking Ava was just going to abduct Janice. They wanted to take whoever she was working for, not just her.”
Bill got up and walked over to the agent.
The agent said, “I’m special agent Sampson and.”
Bill didn’t wait for him to finish, he interrupted him with a fist to the face then another shot to the gut. Two agents pulled Bill off Sampson, who put a hand to his face and pulled it back with blood on his fingers.
Agent Sampson said, “Yeah, I probably would have done the same thing.”
Janice woke up in a hospital room after what felt like a very long night’s sleep. She felt hungover and wondering what happened. She remembered Ava and being tied to a table, but not much else. Bill was in the room in a chair next to the bed asleep. Everything below her waist was numb. She tried to move, but her head was just swimming in whatever they had her on. That was when she thought about the baby. She wondered if the drugs would hurt the baby. She looked back to Bill, who was awake and next to her.
He said, “They did what they could, but they couldn’t save the baby.”
From the corner of the room, the five-year-old Brandon said, “Good, I don’t want any smelly girls in my house.”
Bill turned to Brandon and said, “That’s not nice, B. Don’t act like that.”
Janice looked to Bill then back to the seat where he was still asleep.
Another voice said, “I can’t believe an old white guy killed me.”
Ava walked out into Janice’s view. She had a red stain where the round mushroomed in her heart.
In an office building in New York City, a group of men sat around an oval table watching a series of screens as they talked about the events on the island as well as in Ohio. They also covered the market and how several stocks seemed to do better than anyone could have predicted. Of course, everyone in the room knew just how well those stocks would do because they used their costly program to game the market, and the returns were rolling in.
One of the men said, “This worked out well. We need to expand to other markets.”
The men in the room started to tap on the table.
Another man said, “Let’s set the market for the morning so we can recoup all are expenses by noon.”
A programmer in one of the corners of the room said, “Sir, there seems to be a problem. I can’t access the program.”
As soon as he said he couldn’t access the program, the monitors went black.
A simple message came across the screen, “Loyalty is cheap in comparison to the alternative.”
The screens went blank, then another message said, “A reflection on how you treat those you don’t need is also a reflection on just how much you are worth.”
A screen went blank then the final message, “I saw this betrayal coming, so I wrote a little worm into your program that would activate if I died. The worm erased access to the program, making it useless. Just like you.”
A Video of Ava appeared.
She said, “I win.”
The man at the head of the table pulled out a golden revolver and shot the screen then the programmer in the corner.
He dropped the gun down on the table and asked, “Now what do we do?”
Epilogue...... Six Months after the attack
Jenny opened a suitcase and started to pack for a trip back to Ohio. She still felt like it was home even after living in Ontario for the last six months. This wasn't a trip she wanted to make. Janice told her she was closing the office, and she would never go back to the job. After losing her job and means of support, Jenny decided to move in with Tasha. She moved to Canada, and in her six months, she was able to find work as an actor and find happiness with Tasha. But none of that mattered right then. Sean died after a quick battle with cancer, and she was packing for the trip to go back for his funeral. While there, she would see the man that kidnapped her when she was a child. He was just denied his last appeal and was going to be executed by lethal injection in six months. She wasn't sure she would try and see Janice. She had said some things that couldn't be forgiven even after what happened. She felt that this might be her last trip back to Ohio, and her life left behind.
On the table was a plea agreement for the assault of a federal agent.
Bill's lawyer told him not to sign, "The officers that where there are willing to say he was in the wrong and a couple are willing to say he struck first…... just like Han."
Bill shook his head, "They say it won't affect my ability to keep the bar, and it will put an end to all this nonsense."
Bill then tilted his head and asked, "Doesn't that make me Greedo?"
His lawyer said, "No, what is making you this stupid for thinking about signing this piece of crap. This is designed to keep you from suing them."
Bill signed the paper, then he told his lawyer to hold on to it for a while and see what they say.
The lawyer asked, "Do you want to sue over their handling of the whole Ava thing?"
Bill left the lawyer's office and drove home. The outside mural was finished, but the inside was and would be unfinished. Sean's funeral was going to be in a couple of days, and he told Jenny she could stay at the house, so he prepared a spare room for her. On the way to the room, he walked into what was supposed to be the baby's room. The room was all unfinished white walls and bare light bulbs. Bill turned off the light and locked the door. Sean left his house to Brenda, who planned to open the Bed and Breakfast Sean's wife had planned all those years ago. She hired Lance hoping to keep Sean's promise and help him straighten his life out.
The curtains swayed in the breeze of a cold February morning. After watching her sit next to an open window all during that winter, Janice's neighbors stopped asking if there was something wrong with her. She sat staring out into the fall chill than the winter snow, quietly contemplating something off in the distance with a glass of whiskey in one hand and the bottle in the other. None of them knew her or knew that the cold and whiskey helped her ignore the people in the room. She closed her office and fired Jenny. She broke it off with Bill and moved out to this small motel room in the middle of nowhere in Green township. She told him then she would never be alone; she won't ever be with him. The two-year-old Brandon was in his fifteenth hours of nothing but screaming. Ava was sitting in a chair with the one-year-old Brandon reading him the Stephen King book The Shinning. At the same time, the twelve-year-old Brandon was staring into a mirror messing with his hair. Worst of all, Bill and Jenny were I her bed on their third day of making love. She knew the real Bill thought of Jenny as a daughter. That didn't stop imaginary Bill and Jenny from having sex in front of the many ages of Brandon.
Six Months Later....
Janice walked into her new office away from the bar and Bill. Sitting in what would be a receptionist desk was Ava with her hair in a bun wearing a Victorian style dress with horn-rim glasses. In the office near the door was the twenty-year-old Brandon in a three-piece electric-green suit typing at an imaginary typewriter. The twelve-year-old Brandon was sitting in his seat in the bowtie playing his Gameboy. Sean was having sex with Jenny off in the corner. Bill sat nearby, taking notes. Janice went into her office to find the six-year-old Brandon and Top Hat Panda playing a board game. Top Hot Panda saw the look in Janice's eyes.
He said, "Let's take this outside."
Janice replied, "Send my partner in. We have a new case."
A few minutes later, the twelve-year-old Brandon came into the room and sat down.
Janice said, "If I can't get rid of you, then you are going to earn your keep. If all of you are here with me, then I'll never be alone."
© 2020 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron