Author: Dan Decker (page 1 of 19)

Dark Spectrum – Episode 28

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I WENT TO JOIN HIM, scanning the rest of the area as I did. I didn’t see anything to cause alarm.

I joined him beside a table where he was bent over a cardboard box. When I saw that he’d slit it open with a knife, I cringed. If it were me I would have still been opening it, making sure I wasn’t about to cut a wire that would set off the bomb.

He folded back the flaps of the box. Inside, a mess of dynamite and wires was connected to a sinister looking jar of liquid. It looked to have been assembled haphazardly. The jar had tape around it, presumably to keep it in place.

I knelt and moved the wires. It didn’t have a timer that I could see but there was a cell phone taped to the side of the box that had wires running from it.

“Careful!” Deon said, kneeling on the other side.

“How far out is the bomb squad?” I asked. I’d overheard his conversation requesting them as I’d approached.

“Five minutes. Maybe ten.”

“We don’t have time,” I said, walking over to a trash can and dumping the garbage on the floor. I brought it back and handed it to the cop.

“The explosion will rip it apart,” he said.

I shook my head. “That’s not what we’re going to do.”

Dark Spectrum – Episode 27

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

Sam didn’t appear to notice the terrified looks he received from those around him. He glanced at me before looking at Deon. I saw recognition in his eyes. He knew it was me.

How did he know? My current disguise was among my best.

“He has a gun! He has a gun!” I didn’t see who screamed but everybody in the dining area focused on Sam. Those who weren’t in front of him ran for the exits.

Sam’s finger twitched on the trigger as I tackled Deon. We crashed into a table and chairs, sending them flying. Bullets screamed above us, the hissing sound of the silenced gunfire audible in the emptying room.

“He’ll have no mercy,” I said, shouting to be heard over the din. “Shoot to kill or you’ll regret it.”

The cop grunted as he brought up his pistol. He moved fast but his hand was shaky. He also glanced back at Earl. I was afraid Deon might hit a bystander if he took a shot.

I grabbed his arm and pulled him to a large metal beam that I put between Sam and us. It wasn’t much cover but with the congestion between him and us, we had a few seconds.

“Let go of me!” Deon snarled. He needn’t have bothered, I had already done so as bullets hit the overturned table where we had been moments before. One hit the cement floor right where I had been and made a ricocheting sound as it spun away.

“He killed Earl.”

Dark Spectrum – Episode 26

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

JUST IN CASE DIGGON had decided I was worth tracking by satellite, I detoured through several buildings and took off my jacket. I switched hats as well. As an added precaution, I turned off my smartphone and took out its battery. I’d been careful to never call anybody but Kris with it.

I headed to the DataRader headquarters. I didn’t have a plan but thought I’d stake it out to see if I noticed anything useful. I sat on a bench and pulled out my tablet. I thought about turning it off too but decided it was unlikely anybody could track me with it. I opened my Wi-Fi finder and logged on to an open hotspot.

It wasn’t surprising other law enforcement agencies were getting involved in the hunt.

I’d never before wanted to leave the city so badly but I could not do it.

I would never forgive myself if I did.

The DataRader website listed all their official locations. Two were in the city, the rest were scattered throughout the world. In addition to the DataRader headquarters located in front of me, they had an industrial campus located on the outskirts of the city. I doubted Reed would keep the kids at either one but sitting here in the chill fall air was better than doing nothing.

I furrowed my brow as I studied the guards at the main entrance. No doubt, the garage would have similar security, but perhaps I could find a way into the underground parking structure. Maybe I’d get lucky and spot Reed. I could put a tracking device on his car, hoping to discover the kids. If that failed, I would at least learn where he lived. I’d done some searches to locate his home but hadn’t turned up anything. I missed having support staff that were able to find things I could not.

Dark Spectrum – Episode 25

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

MY BREATH CAUGHT IN my throat as I stared at the letter. I had wanted to believe Ron had told me the truth.

This is why you don’t trust anybody, said the paranoid voice in the back of my mind.

I hated to learn my paranoia was well founded. It made me worry that one day my skewed reality would send me over the edge, into that dark spectrum Sister Bautista had told me about.

It was a problem for another day, but one on which I intended to keep a close eye. If I lost myself along the way, what was the point of all this?

Even though he had said it to manipulate me and the media, Reed’s accusation that I was mentally ill bothered me because there was some truth to it.

I was not far from losing it.

I could sense a mental break coming unless I somehow staved it off. Perhaps Kris’ advice to leave the city was something I ought to heed.

Benji and Margaret.

I would not leave until I’d nailed Reed to the wall for what he’d done to them. I couldn’t go until I knew neither he nor Peck were in a position to recruit more children to be their pawns.

If I lost myself in the process, so be it.

I pulled the acceptance letter from the board. With the exception of who it was addressed to, it was word for word the same as the letter Margaret had received.

Anger flowed through me, I struggled to keep from crumpling it. Rather than take a picture, I folded and put it away in my bag. Nobody was going to miss it. I needed hard evidence I could give to Kris, if it came to that.

 

Dark Spectrum – Episode 24

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I WANTED TO FEEL encouraged as I left Ron Essler’s place, but I couldn’t help thinking he’d been lying to me. I didn’t know what it was that bothered me. Perhaps it was because he’d seemed eager to answer my questions. Maybe it was because he’d believed me about the video when everybody else needed convincing.

His words and actions were effective on a subconscious level because I’d felt guilty when I’d planted a bug underneath his couch while he’d gotten me a glass of water.

Everything he’d done seemed genuine. I had to be careful to not be taken in. There was something about regular human contact I missed. I’d tried telling myself I didn’t need it, but that wasn’t the truth. As I walked away from his apartment building, I reviewed the conversation to make sure my elation from having a real discussion with somebody wasn’t coloring my ability to analyze it.

Ron had never been through any of the training programs at Black Brick–at least, I wasn’t aware of any–and his position had been internally focused. I’d only met him a few times so I didn’t have a solid baseline for comparison. I was left with trusting my gut. My instincts told me he was lying.

As my warped reality settled back down onto me, I reentered my survivalist frame of mind. I had one option. I needed to corroborate everything he’d said.

Just in case Ron watched me leave through his window, I made sure to disappear around the corner before pulling out my radio receiver.

The bug had a limited range but it would still work if I went around the corner to listen.

Dark Spectrum – Episode 23

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

RONALD LIVED ON THE fourth floor and I resisted the urge to run up the stairs. I wasn’t in a hurry. I had plenty of time. The one thing I needed to do now was avoid calling attention to myself. I needed to look like I belonged in the building.

On the first landing, I closed my eyes and took several deep breaths, imagining I’d just got home from a late night at work. It wasn’t easy to put myself into the shoes of an ordinary working man, but I did my best. After a minute, my heartbeat had slowed and I wasn’t so antsy. I slumped my shoulders and went up the stairs. Just another man heading home after a late night at the office.

It was a good thing I’d exercised the self-control because on the second floor I ran into the woman who I’d followed into the building. She was on her way back down with a bag over her shoulder that she had not had before.

We made eye contact, I gave her a mirthless smile I hoped conveyed a sense of fatigue, but she looked away without a word. If she were concerned that I didn’t have the right to be here, it didn’t show on her face. Glad I’d taken the time to relax, I continued past while trying to not think about what she might have done if she had found me pounding up the stairs like I was going to accuse somebody of kidnapping children.

The stairway was a stark affair with white cinderblock walls and metal stairs. The handrails had been painted white recently. Each floor had emergency telephones that were several decades old. I was surprised to see them still in service, considering everybody had a cell phone these days.

I was relieved when I got to the fourth floor without a problem. I stepped out into the corridor as if I belonged and tried to avoid looking over my shoulder.

Dark Spectrum – Episode 22

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

SWEAT TRICKLED DOWN THE side of my head and the small of my back. A sense of horror settled onto me like a net. I held in my hand the smoking gun. This paper linked Margaret to Reed.

Given what I knew of the man, this couldn’t be a coincidence. I pulled out my phone and took pictures of the letter and everything else accompanying it. I had no idea what might prove useful so it seemed best to make sure to have a copy of everything. My hand trembled with fury, so I leaned up against the wall to keep it from shaking as I took the pictures.

It was one thing to have a theory. It was quite another to have evidence. This was how Reed had sifted out who he was going to kidnap. He brought them to his company under the pretense of an internship.

Regret flowed through me that I hadn’t shot Reed when I’d had him in my sights. People who played god with other people’s lives deserved nothing less. Of course, if I had, I might not have come down this path looking for missing children.

After taking the pictures, I spent a few minutes on the documentation. A packet of orientation information accompanied the letter. I scanned it but didn’t find anything useful.

I reread the acceptance letter. Margaret was skilled with the computer as well. The internship was with the software development department. The letter was from a man named Ronald Essler.

I read the name again.

Dark Spectrum – Episode 21

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I FOUND MARGARET’S OLD address by midafternoon. She had lived in a rundown duplex on a tiny lot. Similarly dilapidated housing was on either side. The lawn was overgrown but it was generous to even refer to it as grass. It looked more like a cultivated dandelion patch.

The driveway of the ramshackle home was empty, the concrete cracked and falling apart. I approached the door and gave it a knock, expecting there wouldn’t be an answer. I was planning to pick the lock and slip in but wanted to make sure the place was empty.

While I waited, I thought of Sam, wondering how he’d found me. After my encounter, I’d gone through everything I had with me looking for a tracker but I found nothing. I’d dumped my loose change and turned off all my phones. I’d even turned off my tablet. I’d done my usual routine of taking the long way while going through crowded areas. I’d switched hats three times. Unless there was something I was missing, he had no way of knowing where I was.

But still, I was worried, wondering if they were somehow tracking me while I wore a disguise. When I had a spare moment, I’d research to see if DataRader had facial recognition technology, but I was grasping at straws and knew it.

Dark Spectrum – Episode 20

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

THE MORNING CAME QUICKLY. I spent the rest of the night taking a circuitous route back my apartment. I wanted to believe Shannon had been straight with me about what she knew but couldn’t discount the possibility the whole thing had been a setup to get me to trust her again.

I remembered all too well how Shannon had been willing to go along with framing me for Lane Vargo’s murder, Peck’s predecessor as Diggon’s CEO. She may have thought on the surface it was the “test” Beltran presented it to be, but she’d known deep down it was not.

Especially once Vargo had been shot by Thor, Peck’s hidden assassin.

My mind had hummed as I considered the possibilities, making it difficult to pay attention to anybody who might have been following me. Whenever I’d caught myself zoning out, I doubled back. I never saw a sign of a tail. Over the course of the late evening and early morning, I had done it at least five times. My efforts wouldn’t mean much if they’d tasked a satellite technician to keep an eye on me.

I doubted they’d go that far–I wasn’t that important–but I worried about it still the same and was careful to avoid looking up into the sky. I stayed in the city until places of business started opening. I didn’t head home until I’d gone through some stores and one mall. While at the mall, I changed my clothes in a restroom stall and for extra measure put on a ball cap I’d purchased, just to make sure I wasn’t followed from above.

I was exhausted by the time I returned to my apartment. Just as I shut the door, my phone was hit with a bunch of news alerts. Rather than going through them on the small screen, I pulled out my tablet, which had the same alerts.

Dark Spectrum – Episode 19

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I FELT LIKE AN animal that had been caught in a hunter’s trap. One I’d knowingly walked into. I’d been too bold by half, thinking I could wait around for the backup team to show. I tried to tell myself I’d waited to help Martinez’s girlfriend but it wasn’t the truth. I had hoped Shannon would come.

I shook my head. I was a fool twice over.

But if I had left, I wouldn’t have learned Sam was working with them. Given what I knew about the connection with Diggon and DataRader, I should have assumed Reed’s people would be working with Diggon. Sam’s presence was a complication I could have done without but it was something I should have anticipated.

A part of me wanted to step around the corner and take as many of them as I could, starting with Sam, but it passed. Shannon and the Diggon team were victims. I already had Mike on my conscience, I didn’t need anymore. While Sam was culpable for his actions, I needed to take out Reed. If I shot Sam, that did nothing to help the kids.

Shannon knew me too well.

It was ironic the one person who knew I wasn’t capable of doing the things I’d been accused of doing was using that same knowledge to hunt me down.

I walked backward with great care, moving each foot slowly. I didn’t remember any obstructions other than the empty bottle and that was still a ways back. Despite the cold, the palms of my hands were clammy. The grip of my pistol would have been slippery without my gloves. Sweat trickled down the small of my back.

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