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Thursday, August 18, 2011


There's always so much blood. Exiting the basement Carl headed up the stairs. He needed a place to hide out for a while and Rico's wife (rest his soul) was kind enough to offer. He would clean up the mess in the basement later. Right now, he needed to wash up and change his clothes. He got the information he needed out of his contact but it wasn't easy. Not that he was complaining. If things were easy, he would be dead ten times over. His hand absently rubbed his chest before realizing what he was doing. Damn pain was back. Having an objective helped relieve the tightness, but whenever Carl had a minute to think - to feel... Hell, you don't have time for this, Carl.

Entering his room, he slammed the door closed behind him. He needed to keep his mind focused. He one step closer to his goal. One step closer to Esmeralda.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cold Turkey

He missed his Cairo deadline. Not a big deal, just didn't get paid. His two week desert detour waylaid his plans. Carl got his strength back but there was a deep ache in the middle of my chest. If he had anything left of his heart, he’d blame that. He was sure it would go away soon. Being back in the Tonga Islands had put him in touch with his contact for a new job. Carl was on his way to meet with him now. Unfortunately for him, Carl feel like being difficult.

A yellow cab dropped him off in the old industrial part of town. Most factories were now abandoned or run down. Looking across the street Carl saw a man leaning against a white van. His smile felt fake and a little feral as he made his way toward the man. At his approach he began to hear the light coo'ing coming from the van.
Damn, he was gonna do something stupid, he could feel it. Carl felt his body tense up, making his motions jerky when he reached for the clip board stretched out for him. Signing his name 'Fuck You', Carl quickly stabbed the pen into the guy's left thigh. The guy’s scream snapped the tenuous hold Carl had on his emotions. Pain exploded over his knuckles as the guy’s lifeless body hit the ground. Son of a bitch that hurt. Shaking out his hand Carl looked over the guy at my feet. Out cold.

The smell hit me in the face as soon as he opened the back of the van. Damn doves. Carl hoped sleeping beauty enjoyed the ride. Tossing him without a care, his body smashed several dove crates. Birds and feathers poured out the back. Tossing the clipboard on the guy's chest, Carl closed the doors. It was time to go someplace nice and quiet. This guy was gonna spill all his secrets before Carl was done with him.

In the game of connect-the-dots, you gotta start somewhere.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How Hot Do You Like It?

"Who is Esmeralda?"

The question so innocently asked brought back memories of that betraying smile. "My dead wife." Carl’s voice, roughened from lack of use, sounded more gruff that he mean it to. Her young face creased in a frown. She told him her name was Akila. She and her family were traveling to Cairo and came across his corpse. Apparently Akila thought differently. She convinced her family to take Carl with them and had been tending to him since.

"You say her name often, in sleep. When did she die?"

It was too bad Akila had learned to speak English. He lucked out there. The only one in her family, which apparently was a point of pride for her. Childhood arrogance made him sick.

"Two years ago." Short answer. Hopefully that would end it--
"You talk about her as if she is alive. You say, 'I will get the answers I need from you.' and 'I will find you.'."

If he had his strength back, Carl would walk out of here. If the world wasn't so fucked up, he would laugh at his situation along the way. A kid, interrogating him. Maybe if he closed his eyes she would go away.
Fat chance.

"You are not sleeping, Mr. Carl."

He wished he was. But there was too much that needed to be done. Too many questions that need answering. He was gonna find Esmeralda. And when he did, he was gonna rip those pretty wings of hers off and make sure she could never fly back to heaven.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Am I Awake or Still Dreaming?

Something stinks... and damn, I think it's me.

Carl was laying on something hard and his eyes just didn’t want to open. Either that or they were open and he was dead. Shit, if he were dead it wouldn't feel like a two-ton flying elephant just crash landed on his head.

"You're awake?"

Was he? Hell if he knew, but that voice... It sounded familiar. Carl tried to open his eyes again and grunted in pain. A bowl was pressed against his lips and he instinctively opened his mouth. Cool liquid ran down his throat. More. He wanted more. His eyes strained to open as his salvation was taken from him.

"I will give you more later. Rest now."

Finally he managed to get his eyes open but the image was blurred. Shadows and light. Movement to his left had Carl turning his head only to have pain sear through his brain. He must have made an audible protest because that familiar voice came back.
"Do not move. Rest now." Her irritation clear.

A small image floated in front of him. Dark hair and chocolate eyes on a young girl's face. Carl don't know her. He wanted to ask questions. Find out who she was and where he was but he could feel his eyes growing heavy. Her last command to rest was whispered and distant as sleep took him.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Esmeralda paced her hotel room like a caged tiger. It was happening again. Everything had come full circle and she was hurting him all over again. Damn it.
She could feel the world pressing down on her. The weight on her back threatening to crush her.

She didn’t say goodbye to him when he was dumped in the desert. Didn’t shed a tear. It would not be the last time she saw him. There was no doubting that. She just had to make it look convincing to the others. Just make it look like she wanted some sort of revenge on him rather than just killing him, outright.

She would keep him safe. That’s what she did two years ago and that’s what she would continue to do.

Even if it cost her her life.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sun and Sand

Looking out across the vast expanse of sand and heat, Carl felt sick. His bruised and battered body couldn’t take much more of this. When he arrived in Cairo last night he expected trouble. He expected those bastards to be waiting for him at his hotel. He expected to have to fight his way out; spraying blood and shell casings along the way. But what he never expected was to see his dead wife sitting on his bed without a care in the world. Smiling up at him as Carl entered, he never saw the fist that was thrown. Never even tasted his own blood as his lip split or felt the boot kick that knocked the wind out of him. All sensations were trained onto one target. Esmeralda. Her smiling face was the last thing he saw before the butt of a gun knocked him into sweet oblivion.

His footsteps faltered in the sand as the image came back to him again. That smile. The dimple on her left cheek in harsh contrast to the dangerous glint in her eyes. And there's the grand mystery of it all. Who was that woman Carl had mourned for two years?

Swallowing had become a chore as his feet moved automatically to carry him across the sand. Tying his shirt around his head provided small relief from the sun but nothing could relieve the deep ache in his soul. Those bastards left him in the middle of the desert with nothing but the clothes on his back. He’d been walking for two days. Exhaustion pulling at him from all directions. He wouldn’t last much longer.

Her smile was the last thing he saw as the ground rushed toward his face. The sweet embrace of darkness welcomed Carl home...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Good Night in Hell

Sometimes the night can play tricks on the senses. You lie awake in bed and see shadows creeping across the balcony outside. You hear the snick of a lock being picked with quick efficiency. You smell the stink of hot sweaty bodies on the breeze created from an opening door. If you close your eyes, you can almost feel the sweet caress of a bullet gliding across your cheek - and the hot sting of fire blooming in it wake. It's a good thing the night swallows the screams of pain that erupt, like a lovers kiss in the heat of ecstasy.

Reality set in when Carl realized that his arm had already grabbed the gun under his pillow. Firing in quick repetitions, he was vaguely aware that the screams were not his own. The weeping coming from the corner of the room was not his inner child crying to be heard in a world without ears. The blood splattered on his bed was not his life spilling forth in a gruesome effigy.

They were all dead. Why hadn’t the weeping stopped?