A Race To Save A Family
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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: January 23, 2020      Views: 21
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Chapter 9 of the book Punchinello
Code Name Orange
"Punchinello Chapter Nine" by Brett Matthew West

End Of Chapter Eight:

The Assassin drew a settled breath then cursed Jebediah's bad luck, "Roast in Hell!"

He loosened his building anger and felt he was on a carnival ride. Smiling obsequiously, the Assassin esteemed the suspense and savored the melodrama as the scythe flashed again gashing Jebediah's throat. He toppled to the ground straddling Bartholomew.

Soaked with perspiration, the Astatula Assassin converged beside the grill and wiped the blood off the stiletto onto his pants leg. His trusty wood chipper at the ready seemed to underscore the madness of the moment. Pamela Landa's feet were his alone to feast on.


A melodic chime sounded and a ferocious German Shepherd snarled out a warning. That feature of his doorbell always appealed to Sheriff Daniels and added a touch more security. An enthusiastic animal lover, the alarm also infatuated Cody. The hobgoblin constantly rang the buzzer each time he passed by the gong.

The sheriff opened the front door of his bungalow. His meeting with Buzz Cochran succeeded in outlining a new strategy for his re-election campaign. He expected a handful of fellow law enforcement officials, all close associates. Sheriff Daniels knew his visitor would be one of them.

Smart as the tip of a single-tail, and tough as a nine penny nail, Texas Ranger Justin Carter could easily rise all the way up the ranks in his organization, or so Sheriff Daniels reckoned. Complex problem solving capabilities venerated him to the unit. Fellow Rangers Gil Osbourne, Russell Negron, and Carol Rhodes stood beside Carter on the porch. No slouch herself, Carol was the newest Ranger in the Lubbock region. Captain Osbourne and Lieutenant Negron kept her tightly under their wings.

Closing the door behind him, Sheriff Daniels led the group to the backyard. He offered them patio chairs. Sipping Patron, Buzz Cochran sat under an umbrella and waited their arrival. The Los Diablos Tejanos did not seek to create friends in low places. Those already existed. The shady characters they pursued filled the seedy side of life.

Once the tabs on cold Coors cans were pulled, Carol Rhodes asked, "How's Beth?"

They all knew her well.

Sheriff Daniels replied, "She's upstairs resting. Got quite a goose egg on the back of her noggin."

"Beth tell you anything about who attacked her?" Gil Osbourne wanted to know. The tapered trendils of his horseshoe mustache extended below his jawline. A third hung down from his chin.

Sheriff Daniels knew what Osbourne would do if he got his hands on the perp. But, that would be child's play compared to what the sheriff ached for. With a cool head, he answered, "Only that he had orange hair. Beth told me she didn't get a real good look at him otherwise."

"Ring any bells?" Justin Carter asked.

"Just one," Sheriff Daniels bluntly stated, "and, if he's the one behind this assault it'll be the last thing he ever does!"

The group had unofficially met for about six weeks to discuss the murders committed by the Astatula Assassin and agreed, though no patterns linked the slayings, they were the handiwork of a serial killer.

Seated at a redwood picnic table, Russell Negron noticed a conspicuous absence and asked, "Where's your deputy, Fred Taylor? Shouldn't he be part of this little powwow?"

"He left a while ago to place roses on Elaine's grave. She's interred in Astatula Gardens. Today's their anniversary," Sheriff Daniels responded.

"Such a tragedy," Gil Osbourne stated recalling the events of Elaine's passing.

'What's that?" Carol Rhodes asked. Being the newcomer, she wasn't aware of the situation.

"Granted, Taylor's a fast rising pillar of the community. But, I'd like to see him lose the grudge he's held all these years," Russell Negro admitted.

"Clue me in," Carol Rhodes encouraged.

"Taylor attended one of those comic book conventions over in Laredo. While out of sight, out of mind, Elaine suffered a fatal heart attack," Justin Carter provided the details.

"We tried every way we could to get a message to Taylor. He wouldn't answer the telephone in his hotel suite or his cellphone. We even emailed him, to no avail," Russell Negron added.

"When Taylor arrived back to Astatula, there was a burying party in the graveyard. Taylor drove over to see who'd died. We stopped our proceedings and informed him it was Elaine. Now, Taylor doesn't believe any of us that we did everything we could to notify him, or that nothing could be done to save Elaine although Doctor Morrisette confirmed what Taylor had been told. All Taylor does when the matter comes up in discussion is become enraged. Each their own, I suppose," Gil Osbourne concluded the story. His words painted a clear mind photo.

Sheriff Daniels shrugged his shoulders and said, "My profile on the Astatula Assassin shows he's taken a lot of risky chances."

Itching for action, Justin Carter commented, "Fill us in, Brock. What are we working with?"

Picking up a pad he'd scribbled some notes on, Sheriff Daniels replied, "What I've called Code Name Orange."

Curious, Russell Negron asked, "How did you come up with this profile?"

Sheriff Daniels grinned, "I never give my trade secrets away, nor do I think he's a brilliant killer. But, he is good enough to avoid capture, so far. He's organized and I doubt if we'll find he has any prior convictions. He's probably a family man caught up in some sort of fantasy, maybe even forging a new identity for himself. Most of all, I'm sure he's not through killing by any means."

"You're the resident delineater. Any hypotheses about this crackbrain?" Gil Osbourne inquired.

"He probably hates himself and everyone else. He may be ready to abandon all close ties to causes he's previously supported. He's killed using a variety of methods and knows a lot about how to murder somebody. This includes using different weapons in his attacks," Sheriff Daniels replied. "But, one thing in particular stands out for me"

"What's that, Sheriff?" Carol Rhodes asked.

"He's living dangerously and that makes me believe he may be on a fast track for a self-destructive kamikaze mission. And, if that be true, he could care less who he takes out with him," Sheriff Daniels answered her.

"The question is who's he?" It was Beth doing the talking. She looked at the four Rangers sitting there with questioned expressions on their faces and vowed, "I'm in this for the long haul."

The book continues with Punchinello - Chapter Ten. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Los Diablos Tejanos is another name for the Texas Rangers

This is Evan, by Lilibug6, selected to complement all my Cody Schroder stories.

So, thanks Lilibug6 for the use of this remarkable picture that provides Cody such an easily recognizable face on FanStory.
Pays one point and 2 member cents. Artwork by Lilibug6 at FanArtReview.com

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