The Exile: Episode 14

“Hospital?” Carmen asked, confused and frightened. “Why the hospital? Is my grandpa hurt?”

“Calm down, Carmen. We need to get to the hospital because there’s someone there who can help us,” I explained.

Half an hour later, we stood behind a parked car across the street from the hospital.

Still confused, Carmen asked, “But what about my grandpa?”

“Whoever’s after me will probably go after him, but to rescue him, I’ve got to get you safe first,” I pointed out.

“I’m not leaving you,” Carmen protested.

Ignoring her, I scanned the area and said,

“I don’t see any sign of them. Let’s go.”

Quickly we slipped out from behind the car and hurried across the street. Just as we stepped up onto the sidewalk, I heard a voice behind us say,

“If you go any further, Grandpa Ross will die.”

I turned to see a young man in a double-breasted suit, the silk glistening in the afternoon sun. He calmly drew from his cigarillo then tossed it to the pavement.

“Leave him alone!” Carmen snapped, suddenly leaping at the man.

When he reached into his pocket, I grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

“What do you want?” I asked.

The man removed his empty hand from the pocket and pushed his sunglasses through his bleached hair until they rested on top his head.

“Just you,” he said.

“Why me?” I inquired.

He smiled as his bright blue eyes twinkled. “My predecessor didn’t enjoy jokes. Don’t assume I’m any different.”

“Your predecessor?” I asked.

“Yes, the man you outmaneuvered at the apartment building. He won’t be joining us,” the man said. “My name is Jackson, and I want to be your friend.”

“Why are you people hunting me?” I asked.

“Now, sir, don’t lie. It’s not the way gentlemen behave,” Jackson said.

“I’m not lying,” I protested. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Jackson looked deeply into my eyes, and after a moment his eyes lit up.

“You’re telling the truth,” he laughed as he flicked away the collected ash on his coat from the discarded cigarillo. “Oh this is delightful.”

“Leave Mr. Ross alone,” I said.

“On one condition,” Jackson replied.

“What?” I asked.

“You come with me now, no arguments no fighting,” Jackson explained.

I paused, looking from Carmen to Jackson before finally agreeing.

“All right.”

“No!” Carmen snapped.

I held up my hand and said, “Wait, Carmen.”

When she quieted down, I continued. “I go now and you leave them alone, deal?”

Jackson regarded me for a moment then said,

“Deal. Shall we?”

“What about Mr. Ross and Carmen?” I asked.

“They’ll never hear from us again,” Jackson said. “I promise.”

I nodded my understanding and turned to follow him. He headed for the corner where a black limo was waiting. When he reached the car, he opened the door.

“Last chance to run,” he said with a cocky smile.

I turned to Carmen, “Take care of your grandfather, and take care of yourself.”

“Don’t do this,” she begged, her eyes pleading.

“I have no choice,” I said as I climbed into the limo.

Published in: on March 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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