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Mystery and Crime
Evil in Paradise - Part 9
by Begin Again
| Category: || Mystery and Crime Fiction |
Posted:|| July 7, 2010 Views: 265|
Mick - the ring leader and oldest brother of three - trying to fulfill an impossible promise he made as his mother lay dying
Rufus - a definite follower involved in the smuggling and distributing of cocaine in the Smokey Mountains
Colin - the deeply disturbed brother secretly sheltered in cage in an abandoned mine - his oldest brother brings him women as playmates but Colin's darker side tortures and murders them
Hank - a Park Ranger with a gambling habit. Caught deep in debt, he was forced to become a "pick-up" man for the "boss" and Mick.
Darryl Stafford - FBI Agent in charge of the serial killer case.
Carrie - a beautiful young woman on an annual sorority sisters outing at Paradise Lodge, high in the Smokey Mountains
Taylor - Carrie's sorority sister
James - a well respected businessman with a dark side. After several meetings in Atlanta, he takes time off in Myrtle Beach while his fiance, Carrie, begs for him to join her at Paradise Lodge.
Lifting the jug to his lips, Mick let the last few drops of moonshine trickle down his throat, savoring the warmth in his stomach. Threatening storm clouds lie in the distance, but nothing compared with the cyclone of thoughts whipping through his mind. He needed to think, clear his mind of the anger, and find a way out of this mess.
Tossing the empty jug, he started up the gin. This might be his last opportunity to taste homemade shine, especially if he made the decision to leave the mountain. California beaches and half-naked women sounded tempting. Quite a bevy of sweet morsels to choose from for both his brothers and himself. On the other hand, if he was on the run, they would simply slow him down. Maybe it was time to think of himself. He'd promised Mamma, but things were different now. He needed to save his own skin.
Rummaging through a pile of empty jugs, he dusted two off, one for him and one for Colin. As he filled them, he decided his little brother should have one last party. A bloody bash. He might even enjoy a piece of the action, too. Anger bubbled inside as he thought of James and his refusal to entertain any thoughts of his proposal. The man had money to burn. He'd only asked for a small drop in the bucket, yet James had callously denied his request and Carrie's only chance at survival.
A plan began to take shape in Mick's demented mind. He imagined the taste of Carrie's young, succulent body. His throbbing manhood pressed against his jeans. Thoughts of punishing her for James's insensitivity heightened his desire. Lifting the jug to his mouth, he chugged the moonshine. The fiery liquid scorched his throat and the excess spilled down his chin.
Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, visions of Carrie danced in his head.
The hairs on the back of his neck bristled. For one brief moment, he'd let his guard down and the sound of a snapping twig warned him of his mistake. Swaggering like a drunk, he turned, his eyes quickly scanning the perimeter for the intruder. He couldn't see him, but he knew he was there.
"Caught me red-handed, Mr. Revenuer. Yep, got this good ole boy havin' a taste of white lightning." He lifted the jug to his mouth, pretending to drink, but his mountain skills were in high gear as he searched for any threatening signs.
Suddenly, a flock of birds took to the sky. Mick spun to his left. Sweat trickled down his back. He'd learned long ago that one mistake could cost a man his life in these mountains. He wondered if he'd just made a fatal error. Assessing the situation, he knew the hunting knife tucked against his leg wouldn't be of any use at this distance. He'd never felt the need to carry a gun. He regretted the decision now.
Raising his hands in the air, Mick tried to draw the intruder out into the open. "I ain't doin' no harm. Just imbibing a bit of shine. Heck, whoever you are, come on out and have a swig. Take the edge off."
Another snap of a breaking branch told Mick the enemy was on the move. His heart beat sounded like drums in his ears. His best defense, until he knew who or what was out there, was to remain calm.
"Nice still, Mick."
Dropping the jug, Mick spun around, totally surprised by the voice behind him. Their eyes met; each one sizing up the other. The intruder's smirk told the story. He'd won this one hands down.
Perspiration poured off Mick's body as he stared down the steel barrel of a .357 Magnum. He highly doubted the owner was a government man, but he had no other choice but play the scenario out.
"Am I under arrest?"
"Not likely." A low throaty chuckle rolled off his lips. "The boss isn't big on souvenirs."
A flash from the end of the gun exploded and Mick crumpled to the ground. The shooter stepped closer to the body, kicking it with the toe of his boot. He shot one more bullet between the dead man's eyes. Satisfied, he disappeared into the woods.
Three agonizing hours had passed since Taylor spoke with James. His lack of concern only heightened her own. She'd convinced Peter to join the others for dinner while she waited for word from Carrie. After numerous comments from her sorority sisters of being a mother hen, they'd promised her a doggie bag and left her alone, impatiently pacing and worrying.
Picking up the phone for the umpteenth time, Taylor finally decided to call Agent Stafford.
Who cares if I make a fool of myself. I'm worried about Carrie. This isn't like her at all.
After the sixth unanswered ring, Taylor started to hang up the telephone.
He's probably at the Lodge enjoying his off duty time with his friends. Something she probably should be doing as well, but it just didn't seem right at the moment.
I know something's happened, but what?
Bemused, she missed Darryl's first hello. The second time, the voice penetrated her thoughts.
"Hello ... anyone there?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't hear you answer." She felt like a child, caught not paying attention in class. The feeling was quickly erased by Darryl's concerned voice.
"Is that you Taylor? Is something wrong?"
"Yes, it's me. I'm sorry to bother you." An unexpected sob escaped her trembling body. "Forgive my paranoia, but with the murders, well, I'm worried about Carrie. I haven't heard from her."
"It's my understanding that she went to Myrtle Beach." The same empty feeling he'd felt when he'd listened to her phone message engulfed him again. Shaking it off, he continued, "She's probably soaking up the sun and simply forgot to call you."
"No, I called and spoke with James. She hadn't arrived, but he didn't seemed concerned either. He thought she might have been delayed at the airport."
"Highly possible, Taylor." His trained mind was calculating the possibilities; plane delays, weather, even a change in Carrie's plans.
"She'd still call and tell me. She knows how I worry."
"Let me make a few calls, Taylor. I'm sure everything's okay, but we'll play it safe and check it out." He didn't allow his own nervousness to show, but he was surprised by it. The usually calm, collected and fully-in-charge FBI agent felt a cold chill run down his spine.
"Oh, that would be great. I really thank you."
"No thanks needed. It's my job to follow up any thing that might have to do with the case." He sounded official, but he knew his concern went far beyond the case. His heart had taken an unexpected detour and he could see himself falling in love with Carrie.
Reassuring Taylor one last time and promising to call as soon as he had any information, Darryl disconnected the call and placed another one to his team. After setting things in motion, he called a college buddy in Myrtle Beach, Detective Roger Eggleston.
Thirty minutes later, Roger and his partner were knocking at Room 418. A blonde wrapped in a towel opened the door, surveying the two beefy men outside.
Her husky voice dripped with innuendoes, "How can I help you, gentlemen?" Her tongue flicked across her lips and she let the towel loosen ever so slightly, exposing two soft mounds of flesh.
Clearing his throat, Roger reminded himself he was happily married. "We were under the impression that this room belonged to James Wheaton, ma'am."
"Honey, this room and the entire hotel belong to Mr. Wheaton."
"He's signing on the bottom line as we speak."
"I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name."
"The soon-to-be Mrs. James Wheaton."
"I'm confused. I was under the impression that Mr. Wheaton was engaged to a Miss Carrie Underwood." Roger watched for her reaction.
""Carrie? That twit! She's yesterday's news." The blonde smiled, a well-satisfied Cheshire cat smile. "James tired of her long ago."
"Do you know if he's seen or heard from Miss Underwood lately?"
"We've been way too occupied to concern ourselves with her, if you get my drift." An elderly couple walked by, obviously stunned by the half-naked woman adorning the doorway. "I really need to finish my bath, gentlemen, unless one of you would like to scrub my back." She started to close the door.
Roger's size eleven shoe wedged it open. "You're sure Miss Underwood hasn't been here or called?"
She sighed, obviously irritated by their persistent questioning. "Her friend, Taylor or Tyler, something like that, called, but James said he had no idea where she was. He hasn't had any contact with her." Pushing the door closed, the lock clicked, leaving the two detectives standing in the hallway.
"None of this adds up, Rog."
"Yeah, I think I better make a call to Darryl. I think there's more to this James guy then we know."
The two men headed for the elevator, one wishing he'd had the opportunity to wash her back and the other already dialing his friend's number.
The elevator door opened, allowing a cocky James to brush by the two officers, totally unaware of their existence. Riding the high off another completed deal, his adrenalin was flowing and he intended to use it to his full advantage, savoring a certain willing woman's body. Thoughts of Carrie never entered his mind.
High in the Smokey Mountains, an extremely nervous Park Ranger headed back home with the shipment of cocaine. His sweaty palms gripped the steering wheel as he promised himself he was finished with Mick and Rufus. He'd paid his debt and more. Besides, if they threatened him, he could easily help law enforcement discover their hideout; then who would the law believe - a well respected ranger or two disgusting criminals.
In Taylorville, an impatient and highly excitable Rufus watched two elderly men unload their fishing gear and head toward the lake. Moments later, he hot-wired the old Chevy and slowly slipped out of town, headed for the safety of home. It wasn't like Mick to leave him alone for long in public unless something was wrong.
An agitated Darryl gripped the telephone receiver as he listened to one of his agent's updates.
"Okay, Ward, just let me know if anything else turns up regardless of how insignificant it is. I want her found ... alive."
"Right, I'm on it, boss."
Another agent burst into Ward's office without knocking, slamming the door against the wall. "Sorry, Ward, but I thought you'd want to hear this right away."
Darryl could hear the other voice through the phone. "Ward, What's going on? Is it Carrie?"
After a quick discussion, Ward directed his attention to Darryl again. "They found the burnt-out shell of a car in the dump. Appears as if they can trace the partial plate number back to a rental agency. Jack is contacting them as we speak."
"Did they say if it's a convertible or not?"
"Yeah, it's a convertible. Looks like they dumped her car. No signs of a body so she could still be alive."
"I'm on my way." Slamming down the telephone, he stormed from the cabin.
The FBI is closing in but will Carrie live to see it?
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