Christopher, Craig & Co.
Part 121: Meanwhile, Back at Kampas.
My ears were ringing again.
Craig was lying on his back. He had stopped crying.
The gun was on the floor behind his head.
The chair was on the floor to the left of him.
There was a hole in the ceiling tile.
“Sir? Sir?” I could hear from far away.
I looked around and found my phone on the table.
“Yes. I’m here.”
“Are you injured, Sir?”
“No. I knocked the gun out of his hand. I think he’s unconscious? But nobody got shot that time.”
“Sir, the police should be arriving there any moment.”
“Are they on their way to Leatherman’s?”
“Ok. Good.” I looked around. “I don’t feel so good.” Things were going in and out of focus. I saw a chair by the table and stepped toward it. I heard my name behind me. I turned around. Then I felt like I was falling.
I opened my eyes and saw an old guy with a big red nose leaning over me.
“He’s coming around now.”
I tried to sit up. The old guy placed his hand on my chest.
“Just lie there while I get a look at you. What’s your name?”
“That’s good, Wade. It looks like when you fell you bumped your head. Do you have a headache?”
I shook my head. “Not really. No.”
I looked around. I was in the breakroom. Two men were leaning over Craig and I couldn’t see what they were doing.
“Where’s Austin?” I asked.
“The guy who was going to tell you where we were?”
“I think the police might be talking to your friend. We’re going to take you to the hospital and get you checked out.”
I shook my head again, noticing that it actually did hurt. “I don’t have time for that.”
“Are you refusing medical treatment?”
“What?” I asked. “I don’t know. I have to get to Leatherman’s Club.”
“I don’t think going to a club is what you need right now. You’re a little confused. Let’s get you into the ambulance and see what we see.”
“Austin!” I yelled. “Austin!”
Austin came running down the hall. He dropped to his knees beside me. “Wade! I was so scared when I saw you like that. Are you all right?”
“Yes. Is your car outside?”
Austin nodded. “Why?”
“We have to get to Leatherman’s. Right now.”
“Wade, you need to see a doctor. I thought you were shot.”
“Shot.” Then I remembered, “Craig! Is he ok?”
“The police are going to want a statement from you,” the old EMS guy said. “Are you sure you want to refuse medical attention?”
I got to my feet. I felt a little sick to my stomach. The guys around Craig had put him on a stretcher and lifted him up. They started down the hall and I followed, with Austin right beside me.
There were police in the bar. I saw Tom standing talking to two of them.
He saw me and started to say something, but I shook my head and waved my arms desperately. Luckily Tom got the message and he kept talking to the policemen while I followed the EMS guys out of the bar.
Outside was a scene. There were police cars, a firetruck, a couple of ambulances and a bunch of cars with the blue lights that the first responders get.
All the lights hurt my eyes.
There was a crowd of people who looked cold standing at the entrance to the small parking lot. I turned to Austin. “Please tell me you’re not parked in the lot.”
He shook his head. “I’m about four blocks away.”
I grabbed his arm. “Come on!”
“Where are we going? Why won’t you let them take you to the hospital?”
“Because Craig was sent here to get me. Chris and Scott are in danger. They might be dead already.” Saying it out loud made me freeze in my tracks.
Austin placed his hand on my arm and steered me toward him. “What’s going on, Wade? You have to tell the police.”
“I did! Now are you going to drive me to Leatherman’s or do I have to drive myself?”
“You look pale, Wade. I just think you should get checked out.”
“Fine.” I marched away from the crowd and the police and the ambulances down the block to where I had parked before work.
Austin ran up beside me. “You shouldn’t drive. You hit your head.”
I ignored him and kept walking as fast as I could.
“Ok! You win. I’ll drive you to Leatherman’s.”
We reached his car, got inside, and Austin turned the heat on full blast. It was cold and I didn’t have my coat. It was then I realized I also didn’t have my phone.
“Can I use your phone?”
Austin looked at me out of the corner of his eye as he drove. He reached into his coat pocket, swiped the screen and handed it to me.
I dialed Chris’s cell phone. Please answer, I prayed. After several rings, Chris’s voicemail kicked in. I disconnected and dialed Scott. His phone went straight to voicemail.
“Fuuuuuuuuuuuck!” I whined.
“What’s the matter?” Austin asked.
“Neither Chris or Scott are answering. I can’t lose them. They have to be ok.”
Austin patted my left leg while he drove. “I’m sure they’re fine.”
We turned onto Fox Street and could see lights. A cop was directing traffic away from the club. Austin came to a stop behind the line of cars.
I leaned over and kissed Austin on the cheek. “I’m sorry, but I have to go.”
I tossed his phone in his lap, flung the passenger’s door open, and jumped out of the car.
I slammed the door and jogged down the sidewalk. There was a sort of barricade set up and I could hear sirens in the distance. How was I going to get inside?
To be continued in Part 122...
Christopher, Craig & Co.
Part 122: Boldt vs. King
“Freeze!” Scott commanded. He had his gun leveled and pointing at me.
The prerecorded track of Richard’s induction droned on in the basement dungeon. It crossed my mind how grating his voice was.
Richard’s arm tightened around my throat, but his other arm hovered in the air, holding the syringe. “You won’t shoot. You can’t hit me without risking Christopher’s life.”
I locked eyes with Scott. I had no idea what he wanted to do, but I was also pretty confident he wouldn’t shoot me.
I struggled against Richard, but he held firm. I tried to pry his arm away from my throat to no avail, digging my nails into the sleeves of his sweater.
“Richard,” I said in what I wished sounded like a calmer tone. “Be reasonable. If you leave now you could still get away with all of this. Go somewhere without extradition and start over.”
“That won’t be necessary.” Richard drew back the syringe again.
I knew this was going to hurt no matter what I did, but I had to do something. If he shot me up with that drug I was done for. The way I saw it I had three options. I could drop forward and try to pull him over me. I could drop backward and try to push him down. Or there was option three...
I pulled my head forward as far as I could with his arm holding my neck and then headbutted Richard as hard as I could.
I heard a crack and was pretty sure I had broken his nose when his arm loosened and I ducked away from him. His free arm went to his nose, which was gushing blood.
“You ungrateful worthless piece of trash!” he hollered. “I made you what you are. And you WILL be mine!” Richard sprang forward but this time I was ready.
Scott let out a yell. “Chris, try to get away from him so I can get a shot!”
Richard was swinging the syringe wildly through the air. One swipe came dangerously close to my chest.
I backed away as quickly as I dared since I wasn’t sure what was behind me. We were already nearing the edge of the lit area of the basement dungeon. I backed into something and glanced over my shoulder, realizing it was a bondage table. I raced around the side of it, placing it between Richard and me.
He moved to his left, but so did I, keeping the table between us.
I could hear Scott moving around, but I didn’t have time to find out where he was or what he was doing.
“I trained you,” Richard was seething. “I taught you how to take men’s wills and bend them to your own. We could have ruled together, but now you will serve me like any other.”
“Do you hear yourself?” I asked. “You sound crazy.”
Richard faked left then moved right, but I kept ahead of him. Once I had cleared the table I started backing away again.
“I’m never going to serve you again.”
“You never stopped, Christopher. I’ve been in your head your entire life. Look at the mess you made of Craig Matthews. Or Michael Taylor. Or who was the one who died in the circus? You are every bit as creative and talented as I could have hoped. And you are the same as I—”
“I could never be the same as you!” I jutted out my chin. “I have a soul.”
Richard chuckled. “You got off on all of it. Manipulating the boys, moving them around like your toys, controlling them, using them. You want to believe you hate me because of something I did to you.” Richard shook his head. “All I did was teach you how to use your abilities. I never taught you to get off on the power. That came naturally.”
I knew what he was doing. I knew he was trying to get in my head and make me question myself. I knew from experience Richard would try to manipulate me. I just didn’t think after all these years it would still work.
“All right, enough!” I shouted. “I don’t want to hear anymore of your twisted view of my past. This. Ends. NOW.”
Richard lunged for me but I jumped back, hitting my leg on the bondage chair and falling back into the seat.
Richard smiled his grimace of a smile as he loomed over me. “Yes, it does.”
A lot happened all at once.
I tried to draw my legs up to get my feet in place to push Richard away from me but he was standing too close, so I did the next best thing I could. I kneed him in the balls.
The lights came on full blast in the basement, flooding the room with light.
Richard let out a roar and reared back, swinging his arm toward me.
The crack of a gunshot echoed around the room.
Richard let out a yelp and dropped to the floor.
I jumped out of the chair to the side.
Scott jogged over, still leveling the gun at Richard. He smiled a real smile at me. “It’s over.”
I wanted to bask in that thought. But it wasn’t true. “Nothing’s over! We have to get to Kampas and find Wade!”
Scott’s smile faded. “Do you think he was making that up to torment you?”
“That isn’t Richard’s style.” I dropped to my knees beside him. Blood was pooling under him. The bullet looked like it was in his chest or shoulder.
I reached out carefully avoiding the blood and rolled Richard onto his back. His eyes were closed, and he was definitely breathing. The front of his sweater was stained with blood. And the syringe was sticking out of his thigh.
I looked at it more closely. There was no way to know exactly how much of the drug had been in the syringe, but it was barely half full now.
Scott put his hand on my shoulder. “What was in that vial? Why did he think you knew what it was?”
“I’ll explain later.” I turned and looked up at him. “Really. But if it’s what I think it was, it causes permanent memory loss.”
Scott frowned. “How much do you think got into his system?”
“I’m not sure. And the dosing isn’t really an exact science.” I looked at the syringe. “All I’d have to do is inject the rest of it into him and Richard King wouldn’t be a threat anymore.” I stared at his unconscious face and stood up.
“I can’t do it. If I cross that line I become him.”
Scott nodded. “Can I leave you here while I go call for help?”
“You should have signal in Leatherman’s office. MY office.”
Scott pulled me toward him and planted a quick kiss on my lips. “I haven’t thanked you for coming to my rescue, but I will.”
He jogged across the basement.
“Send the police to Kampas!” I called after him.
“Way ahead of you,” he called back.