Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Three

This week’s episode features Chapter Twenty Three of Black Brick. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I rubbed my ears and tried yawning. I could hear, but it felt like cotton had been rammed down into them, forcing me to partially rely on lip reading. Perhaps that was why I wasn’t guarding my tongue as closely as I should have been.

Beltran stood at the front of the conference room, red in the face, gripping a whiteboard marker in a fist that was turning purple. At any moment, steam might start coming out of his ears. On any other day, that thought would have made me chuckle. It was just as well that I wasn’t in that kind of mood, laughing at Beltran might push him over the edge, and I wasn’t sure that I was prepared to face that today.

Tom and Cherry sat to either side of me. Cherry was looking away from Beltran trying to pretend that she was somewhere else. Tom was just as avidly avoiding the conversation by concentrating on his tablet.

“You left,” I said, repeating my accusation for the third time.

“What was I supposed to do?” Beltran asked, with his teeth bared and lips tight across them. “We only had moments to get out. How can you of all people question me about the casualty count? You’ve racked up the most collateral damage of any of my agents. Think of that before you accuse me.”

“I didn’t walk away from people I could save.”

“I could have been killed as well and then where would we be? If we die, who will be left to hunt Martinez and Payne? Our responsibility is greater than the life of any single individual.”

“Forty-three dead and over seventy wounded. That’s a lot more than a single individual.”

“I don’t need to remind you of the considerable effort it’s taken to keep the lid on your involvement in the train bombing, Bruce Andrew’s murder, your rescue of Shannon, and the mess you guys made running from the cops! I protected you. All of you. On top of that, I now have your shooting at the mall to contend with which I wouldn’t mind so much if you would have killed him.”

“Us?” I snorted, standing up. “You protected Black Brick. We’re supposed to be saving lives, not ruining them.”

War of the Fathers – Chapter Seventeen up on youtube

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Two

This week’s episode features Chapter Twenty Two of Black Brick. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I tapped my fingers on the wheel while I waited for our parking receipt to print. I had a bad feeling about today, and I couldn’t do anything to shake it. I was afraid that Martinez had planted the evidence that had led us to the bookstore in the mall. I’d tried convincing Beltran that it was a trap, but he was insistent that we would be careful. Once the ticket appeared, I grabbed it and proceeded into the mall parking garage. It had been close to forty-five minutes since Peck had called Beltran. Payne was due to leave soon.

“You going to keep your head on straight?” Beltran asked as I parked. It was the first time Beltran had accompanied me on a mission in some time. While he hadn’t said as much, I believed it was because he didn’t trust Shannon to not shoot Payne as soon as she saw him. She was waiting a block away and would pull up to the mall once we’d grabbed Payne. Beltran probably figured it would be safer that way, but I wouldn’t put it past her to blow him away once we had him in custody.

“I was wondering the same thing about you,” I said, ignoring his gaze as I parked. I refrained from slamming the door as I left the car and headed up into the mall. Beltran would follow me in a few minutes.

This was insane, and Beltran knew it. A takedown in public like this wasn’t going to be a smooth process. Especially because we were dealing with a madman who’d already proven his ability to kill indiscriminately.

War of the Fathers – Chapter Sixteen up on YouTube

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty One

This week’s episode features Chapter Twenty One of Black Brick. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I paused outside the door to the classroom, not wanting to go in. We were ten minutes late, and my inclination was to skip it altogether. Shannon shrugged her shoulders as if to say that the decision was mine. There was a world of difference in her appearance now versus several days ago when I’d rescued her. Much of that was due to makeup, but it was nice to see her doing better even though she was keeping her distance from me. The scar was scabbed over and unfortunately it was wide enough that I figured she’d have a hard time covering it up with makeup. Perhaps a plastic surgeon would be able to do something about it for her.

Nothing would have made me happier than to skip class, but I didn’t want to give Beltran any additional reasons to be upset with me. He’d been furious that I’d gone after Shannon alone.

I opened the door and walked in. Heads turned our way, and I immediately thought better of it.

“Mr. Chever,” Peck said. The entire class turned their attention to us. Kris smiled and gave me a little wave. Normally, Shannon would have bristled at the attention, but she didn’t react. “I haven’t seen you in some time. Have you been well?”

“Been visiting family.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re here because I haven’t had a chance to follow up with you on our topic last time. Did you read the articles I sent you?”

I remembered that he’d given me a personal reading assignment at the end of the last class I attended, several weeks ago. Peck had sent the email, but I had never opened it. Enough had happened in the meantime that it felt like months had passed.

“Never got around to it,” I said sitting down beside Shannon at the back of the class.

“I see. Please have the reading prepared for next time.”

I nodded my assent and pulled out my tablet and stopped paying attention.

“She’s looking at you again,” Shannon said a few minutes later. “It’s time you did something about this.”

War of the Fathers – Chapter Fourteen up on youtube

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty

This week’s episode features Chapter Twenty of Black Brick. Here is an excerpt from the show:

The sun had long since reached the middle of the sky and was on its way down by the time we returned to Black Brick. It had been hours since we’d last seen a cop and I hoped that we’d completely left the chase behind.

While Cherry had driven like a mad woman, I’d bandaged up Tom’s leg so we could move to another car. His wound wasn’t bad, and I was relatively certain he would be on his feet in no time. We had changed vehicles twice in the last couple of hours and had finally decided it was safe enough to return.

“Five dead found at the scene,” Cherry said. I looked over from the wheel. I’d told Cherry she was risking our lives with her crazy driving and had taken the driver’s seat when we had switched cars.

“They give any details?” I asked, thinking about the two people that I’d shot—the woman with the tattoos and the man at the front of the van—and hoping I’d only killed two. I couldn’t remember if Tom had used his weapon or not, but if he had, he hadn’t used it much.

“Yep. Four men and one woman. Strange I didn’t see a woman. Must have been a bystander.”

I shook my head. “She was in the Toyota that sideswiped us.”

“I see. Looks like I got two with the car because they were run over.” She didn’t sound pleased or bothered, it was just a comment. I knew her well enough to know that it was a facade and that she was dealing with some inner turbulence. As far as I knew, it was the first time she’d killed on a mission.

That left two for me in addition to the woman, assuming Tom hadn’t gotten off a shot.

I tried to avoid thinking about the woman and found I couldn’t. It had happened so fast, and I’d acted out of instinct.

War of the Fathers – Interlude One up on YouTube

Black Brick – Chapter Nineteen

This week’s episode features Chapter Nineteen of Black Brick. Here is an excerpt from the show:

IN THE PARKING GARAGE of the hotel, Cherry gave us a final admonition to be careful before getting into her black Chevy Suburban. Like the rest of us, she was gasping for breath. We’d covered the distance between our room and the garage in such a fast time that I doubted that we’d ever be welcomed back. I couldn’t remember how many people we had to dodge around, but it hadn’t been a few.  

By the look in Cherry’s eyes and the way her lips were tightened, I could tell that the guilt I’d used to convince her to come had turned to anger. Whether she was mad at me or the situation, I didn’t know. I just hoped she’d be able to channel it to good use.

Tom took the wheel of the Dodge Charger while I jumped into the rear passenger seat. I hadn’t even closed the door by the time he’d started the engine and was moving. I slammed it shut as he sped away. I’d chosen the rear because I’d have access to the windows on either side.

Pulling up a rectangular case from between the seats, I checked the rifle that we kept in back. It was an FN F2000. The bullpup design would make it an ideal weapon for the type of close quarter situation we were likely to run into.

I loaded a magazine and chambered a round before setting it on the seat. I wouldn’t bring it up until we were closer to our quarry and knew more about the situation. I didn’t want some concerned citizen calling the police and reporting men with guns speeding through traffic.

The sun hit our windshield as Tom pulled out into the morning traffic and I squinted from the glare. The traffic was heavy, but hopefully, it wouldn’t keep us from catching up. I could just make out Gurley’s van turning the corner several blocks down. I caught my breath and restrained myself from telling Tom to hurry.

It took us forty-five minutes to catch up to Gurley’s black van. It had been a tense drive, and we’d lost sight of it several times, only to find it again as if by luck.

War of the Fathers – Chapter Thirteen up on YouTube

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