The Train: Episode 37

It was a cold night. Thick clouds blocked out the moon as a bitter wind blew scraps of paper through the alleyways. Neon signs hummed and crackled as street lamps cast an eerie glow on the empty streets. Detective Ronald Brewer dug in his pocket for a cigarette then wrapped his coat tighter as the icy wind crept down his back. Finding a crumpled cigarette pack in his right pocket, he pulled it free and saw that he had one cigarette left.  He grabbed it between his lips and worked it out of the pack then dropped the crumpled paper to the pavement. Patting his pockets, he felt his lighter and slipped it out, lifting it to the tip of the cigarette dangling from his mouth. When the cold wind suddenly lashed at him, tearing the cigarette from his mouth, he cursed and scrambled for it as the wind blew it down the street, sending it into a puddle of muddy water in the gutter. Thunder rolled in the distance as the disgusted detective shoved his hands in his pockets.

Outside the club, the crime lab techs examined the scene and the body of Russell Carpenter. Brewer had been told to keep his distance and wait for their analysis. A crowd had gathered behind the police barrier and was looking on, drawn by a ghoulish curiosity. Because of the financial cutbacks, Brewer didn’t have a partner and had to do most of the heavy lifting by himself. As he waited for crime lab to come over and share information, he leaned on the hood of his car and waited in the bitter cold.

“Someone finally cut the head off the snake, eh?” a voice said from behind.

Brewer didn’t bother turning around. He knew who was asking the question.

“Get lost, Chase. This is an open investigation,” Brewer growled.

Douglas Chase worked the crime beat for the local newspaper.

“The great Russell Carpenter dead. And from the looks of it, he didn’t go too fast,” Chase commented, his voice laced with a touch of glee.

“Don’t go printing any of that crap in your article, Chase. It’s early days yet. The last thing we need is a panic,” Brewer warned.

“Panic?” Chase said with a laugh. “With Russell Carpenter dead and Jonathan now giving you orders? What you mean is that Jonathan Carpenter wants this kept quiet so he can take care of it personally.”

“For the last time, you leech,” Brewer shouted, turning on Chase, “I don’t take orders from the Carpenter family. I work for the city, protecting lowlifes like you so you can sleep at night.”

“Detective,” one of the crime lab techs called out.

“Stay,” Brewer ordered Chase, pointing his finger.

Brewer walked toward the tech and asked,


“I won’t know the full details till I get the body back to the lab, but it looks like the victim was bound with tape then hit repeatedly. He’s missing several teeth and his eye is swollen shut. Time of death was approximately 5:30, 5:45.”

Brewer checked his watch. It was almost seven o’clock.

“Looks like somebody dropped him off the roof,” he said.

“We checked the area and found nothing to suggest that the victim was up there. No trace elements on the body. There is one thing, though,” the tech added.

“What?” Brewer asked.

“We found bits of clay and sand embedded in the area of the face that appears to have received the worst blunt force trauma.”

“Does that translate to English?” Brewer asked sarcastically.

When the tech explained, Brewer’s knees went weak.

“I need to make a phone call,” Brewer said and stepped away for privacy.



*          *          *



Nervously chewing his thumbnail, Tommy sat straight up at one end of the Italian leather couch. Matthew leaned back in a nearby chair, his legs crossed, while Richard sipped his drink at the bar and watched Jonathan talking on the phone outside on the balcony. The sliding glass door had been pulled closed, keeping them from hearing the conversation.

“Scale of one to ten. How screwed am I?” Tommy asked.

“I’d say a twelve.” Matthew replied.

“No joke?” Tommy asked, a worried look on his face.

“Relax,” Richard said. “Yeah. You’re a screw up, but Dad was big on family, protecting family, you know? He taught that to all of us, mostly Jonathan. We’re in Jonathan’s penthouse; we got his men downstairs guarding the place. Relax. Nobody’s getting in here.”

“I don’t know. Jonathan looks pretty mad to me,” Tommy said, not convinced.

As they watched, Jonathan hung up the phone and turned to tap on the glass door.

The three men walked over to the glass, slid it open and stepped outside onto the balcony, Tommy hanging back, behind his brothers.

“So what was that about?” Richard asked.

“It was Brewer. He said that whoever killed Dad tied him up first then hit him with a brick over and over. He died just before he fell,” Jonathan explained, looking out over the treetops.

“A brick?” Matthew said. “That takes a special kind of anger.”

“Yeah. That’s right,” Richard added.

“Who did you hit?” Matthew asked, looking back at Tommy.

“Forget about that,” Jonathan said. “Whoever did this was angry at Dad. Had to be a pro. Somebody wanted him to suffer and they wanted us to see the damage. This is a message. Somebody wants us out of town. Well that’s not going to happen.”

Jonathan turned to face them.

“If Dad taught us one thing, it was never back down from a fight. Never give in. We aren’t going anywhere. We’re going to find out who did this and make them suffer.”

“Yea!” Tommy exclaimed.

“About time,” Matthew added.

“Where do we start?” Richard asked.

Jonathan began, “First—”

He was cut off when a rifle shot rang out. His head violently snapped to the side as a bullet tore through his skull and shattered the glass.

Quickly ducking for cover, Matthew and Richard drew their pistols while Tommy ran back inside the room and raced toward the elevator.

“Tommy!” Matthew shouted as Jonathan’s dead body slumped to the floor, his face covered in blood.

Tommy scrambled into the elevator and hit the button for the bottom floor. When the doors opened, he ran to the lobby but slid to a halt when he saw that all seven of Jonathan’s men lay dead in a pile. Each man had been shot in the head, and on the floor in red paint were sprayed the words. . .

You’re next!

Published in: on June 17, 2014 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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