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Black Brick – Chapter Thirty

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

I heaved a small sigh of relief a few moments later when I opened the door exiting the George Washington building and spotted the rental car where I’d left it. As we crossed the parking lot, I surveyed the area looking for any sign of the police and came up with nothing. The whole exchange with Shannon and Peck had taken less than ten minutes, and I figured we still had another five before things would start to be locked down.

Taking a deep breath of the warm afternoon air and ignoring the desire to be somewhere outside enjoying myself, I led Kris to the vehicle. When I’d offered her a ride, she’d readily accepted.

We were a few blocks away from campus when the first police cars started to pass us. Ignoring my desire to speed up, we continued at a normal pace.

“You know Shannon has a point.” Kris had been silent for most of the trip. Her voice had an edge to it earlier when we’d left the classroom, but it was gone now.

“What do you mean?”

“At the end, she said that it wasn’t supposed to be like this. I think you were close to the mark when you were grilling Peck about whether or not this whole thing was your final test. You could probably go back to them, even now.”

I snorted. “I’m going to destroy them.”

War of the Fathers – Interlude Two is up on YouTube

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Nine

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

Taking a deep breath, I let it out and checked the hidden camera on the pen in my shirt pocket. I was outside of Peck’s class, and my insides were churning with fear and trepidation. Shannon would be on the other side, playing the part of my shell-shocked ex-girlfriend Jessica.

I touched the fire alarm panel.

Kris would be there as well. She was so confident that I would do her bidding. Hopefully, today would disabuse her of that notion. Thor would probably be in attendance too, I still didn’t know if he somehow fit into all of this or not. I just wanted to make sure he had left before I went in.

Looking around to make sure the way was clear; I broke the glass that protected the fire alarm with my elbow and pulled down on the lever. A moment later, the alarm sounded, and lights started flashing. It took several seconds before students began to empty out of the classroom doors.

Leaning up against the wall by the door, I kept my eyes peeled for whoever would come through the exit first. Depending on who it was, I’d have to react quickly if they recognized me.

My guess was that Kris or Thor would be the first person I’d spot as the students evacuated the classroom. Shannon sat in the back and would be coming out last, and I was counting on Peck waiting to make sure the room cleared successfully.

As people began to file out, I pulled the ball cap that I was wearing down a little lower. In all the confusion, nobody seemed to notice me.

I was relieved when Thor walked out the door, chatting amiably with another girl from the class. He looked my way, but his eyes went right on past. One day, I’d have to solve the puzzle he posed, but not today.

When Kris came out, I ducked my head a little and hoped that she wouldn’t notice me. One of the major flaws in my plan was the fact that she’d seen me since I’d changed appearances. That’s why I was sporting a ball cap today.

Despite my efforts, she noticed me right away.


Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Eight

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

It was idiotic to return to Kingstone University so soon after everything had gone down. Leaving the country and never returning would have been the smart thing to do. Moving to an obscure part of the U.S. and living in the woods, would have been better. But returning, hoping to find answers or a way to set things right, was not the brightest idea.

I had been used, and I wasn’t going to let Beltran get away with it. In order to do that, I needed to find Kris. If she didn’t work for the government, she might be the only friend in the world that I had right now.

It had been almost two weeks since the assassination of Lane Vargo, and I was certain that classes should have returned to normal by now. I timed my arrival at the George Washington building to coincide with the end of Peck’s history class. As I waited for the class to end, I looked around, expecting to see police officers or easily recognizable government men swarming all over the place, but instead, I found things to be pretty much normal.

I sat on a bench, pulled out my tablet and turned it on but only pretended to use it while I kept an eye on the door to the classroom.

Thor passed by chatting with several people. I’d never paid much attention to the little runt, but with the warmer weather, he wasn’t wearing a coat, and I realized now he was in good shape and had an air of confidence about him that I hadn’t noticed before. Was his interest in me a coincidence or something more?

Did he work with Kris? Was he a federal agent? As Thor disappeared, I wondered if I’d underestimated the little man. I should have been more careful about brushing him off all those times he’d tried to befriend me.

Shannon passed but didn’t recognize me. It made me glad that my disguise was thorough, but it was tough seeing her again, and I had to refrain from staring. I was reminded of all the time we’d spent together, and I had to suppress my desire to chase after and confront her.

War of the Fathers – Chapter Twenty Two up on YouTube

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Seven

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

It was a bright sunny day, but the wind was cold and biting. I zipped up my jacket, wishing that I had a full coat. I was planning to be outside most of the day and already felt the chill creeping in, that wasn’t a good sign.

I didn’t know how long it would be before the authorities would know everything about me, but I figured Beltran would help the process along.

After my escape from the hotel, I’d purchased an airline ticket to southern Florida using my phone and Sam Chever credit card. Afterward, I destroyed the phone and trashed the credit card. That would hopefully throw the police off my scent long enough to figure out what I was going to do. Next, I’d found a small dingy motel and slept for almost ten hours before waking to my new world.

After checking several news websites to make sure that my picture wasn’t being splashed all over the internet, I’d gone shopping using a debit card from an account I’d set up in secret a long time ago. Among other things, I’d purchased black hair dye, makeup, a tablet, and multiple disposable cell phones.

I ducked into a coffee shop, placed an order and took a table at the back facing the door. The place had a decent crowd, but there were still several empty tables. I had a few seconds of panic when I noticed a blonde woman with her back towards me that looked remarkably like Shannon.

Doing my best not to stare, I kept my eye on her until she turned enough for me to see her face and determined it was somebody else.

So far, I hadn’t been able to process Shannon’s betrayal. Because I’d been hoping for reconciliation with her, she’d been able to play me like a fiddle and kept me from picking up any clues about what she was planning to do.

Closing my eyes, I tried to clear my mind and free myself of the hurt. It didn’t work. I suspected it would be a long time before it would heal.

I unfolded a newspaper that I’d purchased earlier in the day and read the main story about Vargo’s assassination. They didn’t have a name or picture for me yet, but it was just a matter of time. I was halfway down the page when I froze and had to keep from looking around warily.

Lane Vargo, in addition to being CEO of Diggon, was also the brother of U.S. Senator, Sandra Vargo Mcculloch. How had I missed that? How many real government agents would be flown in to investigate? How many police would be assigned to the case? This wasn’t going away anytime soon.

War of the Fathers – Chapter Twenty One up on YouTube

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Six

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

Half an hour later, Shannon and I were walking towards a downtown hotel that was next to Martinez’s location. We were going to provide backup while Beltran went in after him. Because of the gravity of our mission and the fact that all the other teams were out on assignment, Beltran had recruited several Black Brick analysts to accompany them as well.

I wondered if Cherry and Tom were with Beltran, or providing backup somewhere else, Beltran hadn’t been clear on what their role was going to be and I hadn’t thought to ask until it was too late.

Beltran seemed to think that having four analysts at his back made up for their collective lack of experience and training.

The analysts knew how to work their guns and occasionally went into the field, but they weren’t ideal companions for a mission like this. If we really did have connections to local police, the FBI, or any other government organizations, wouldn’t Beltran have preferred to have their personnel on hand rather than barely trained analysts who might freeze when the gunfire starts?

As I thought about the past couple of weeks, other inconsistencies began to jump out at me. Beltran had never been able to get us the police file for Bruce Andrews’ murder. Other times, he’d had no problem getting useful information from police. Was that just because he had contacts in some precincts but not others?

Shannon walked slightly ahead of me, pulling her luggage with one hand. The setting sun cast her face into shadow.

Since I was going to quit soon anyway, I decided to take a risk and open up to her. She could be quite levelheaded when the occasion called for it, and I needed to bounce some of my questions off somebody else, or I was going to go crazy.  Speaking quietly, I floated by her my theory that Martinez’s defection had been intentionally planned as part of our final test.

“You’re an idiot,” Shannon said, but I could tell there was something she wasn’t saying.

War of the Fathers Chapter Twenty up on YouTube

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Five

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

Shannon was in the driver seat of our Dodge Charger, and I sat on the passenger side. I wasn’t certain, but I suspected that Beltran had a thing for this type of car because Black Brick had a fleet of the Chargers. After our botched rescue attempt the other day when we abandoned the Charger, he’d almost been more concerned about the loss of the Charger than the fact we’d spent all day evading the police.

I had my rifle, the F2000 on my lap and it was covered with my jacket. It wasn’t my favorite weapon, but the bullpup design was easier to work with in many of the situations we encountered. We’d already been waiting for close to an hour, during which time, Shannon and I had barely spoken.

After trying several times to start a conversation with her, I’d given up and resigned myself to the awkward silence. I missed the way that Shannon had been before the kidnapping.

I should have been able to talk to her about the fact that the wrong man was in jail for killing my parents, but I didn’t know that I could trust her anymore because she’d changed.

Shaking my head, I surveyed the area. We were parked on a road that ran parallel to Diggon’s new headquarters. Cherry and Tom were several cars ahead of us. The space between us and the new building was nothing short of ostentatious. There were flower gardens, art exhibits, and a large amphitheater. My eyes stopped on the zoo.

While the zoo had its own place beside the tower, there were several impressive wildlife exhibits that led up to the massive complex. The closest to us featured grizzly bears in a sprawling habitat. I doubted most captive grizzly bears had it so lucky.

From here, although our heavily tinted windows made it hard to get a good view of them, I could make out several of the bears moving around. It had warmed up in the last few days, and I wondered how recently the bears had come out of hibernation.

I looked past the habitat, and beyond the wide expanse of gardens to the tower rising into the sky. It was my first time getting this close to the new Diggon building. I’d seen it go up from a distance while the construction had been underway because it was impossible to miss the building as it towered over most of the others in the city, but I’d never bothered to get closer.

Martinez was inside the Diggon headquarters and apparently already causing a scene because people in yellow jackets—Diggon Security—were milling around the entrance and had the place on lockdown. Originally, our orders had been to go in after Martinez, but we’d arrived too late and were now watching from a distance.

There was a flurry of activity near the entrance, and several Humvees arrived with more armed guards. Even though there weren’t any roads close to the front of the building, the sidewalks were wide enough to function as such. Diggon was quickly amassing a small army outside.

Had Martinez gone suicidal?

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