*Language alert-one swear word and just so Dani knows….its not the F word.
It was worse than I imagined it to be. My picture and the news about my fake firing due to taking bribes from the criminal element was in the news papers, on the news stations and found on the news websites.
I hunkered down at home with the family for five days hoping the media attention would die down and the paparazzi would jump onto another lead ending my isolation from the world. I needed to get out there and start accomplishing my goal but it also gave me a lot of time to think about what I was going to do next.
Cameron and Caerul were more than understanding, considering they couldn’t leave their house without being bombarded by camera flashes and screaming voices asking for interviews or information about me. Cameron had immediately jumped to my defense, refusing to believe that I could even take a bribe however Caerul had been slightly more quiet so I worried there was a part of him that had doubt. Neither one of them asked me directly if I was guilty and I was grateful, to say the least. I didn’t want to start bold face lying to the two people who meant the most to me.
Once the media coverage died down, I began to execute my plan to find out who was involved in the scheme. I had turned in my cell phone, which was police property and was given a high-tech device that was used for communication for under cover police. My boss had to discretely dig it out of storage because it had been that long since they needed any such equipment. I found it hard to believe that devices such as these had ever been required in this sleepy town.
I’m sure at this point you are very confused about what my mission truly was. While crime in the city was down, we did have an increase in missing persons, mostly homeless people and so they were never investigated. At first the bosses were convinced the homeless people were leaving town to find another more prosperous town. That was all well and good, till a few well-known residents also went missing, then it became apparent all was not what it seemed.
Then we discovered we had another problem. Zombies had always been apart of our culture, no matter what city we lived in. Luckily we don’t have them on the island back home for to be honest, they seriously creep me out. However, the zombies as of late, are not the same zombies we have always seen. They are less cognitive, more dangerous and lately, we are seeing zombies of different tones. Some that are so dark green that in the dark, they almost look midnight black. They no longer have any conversation skills and they appear to wander with no real sense of direction or path. They had also started fighting among themselves, as if they were fighting for territory. Yet they drifted from place to place with no pattern to their arrival or destination. One day they could be found in the center of town, yet the next time, they could be found close to the edge of town. What was most alarming of all, was that once the morning sun rose, the zombies simply disappeared, never to be seen again till the following full moon. Zombies are just people…..what happened to the people?
During my five days of seclusion, I had a lot of time to determine how I was going to attack this investigation. I started with a list of people I thought could be involved based on their personal and professional back grounds. But that was basically as far as I could go. I didn’t have enough information to put together any kind of flow chart to help lead me to the top person in this scheme.
I didn’t feel I could do this from the outside looking in. So I had decided there was only one logical step. The idea was simple enough except finding the time wasn’t as easy as I thought. I spent three days hiding in the shadows until finally, my chance came.
She yelped when I grabbed her hand and pulled her behind the diner.
“Katie, it’s Jin. I need to talk to you. I need your help.”
“Jin! We can’t do this, we may be seen!”
“Shhhh, Katie. We are just a couple making out, like any other couple does. I need to ask you to do something for me,” I whispered in her ear.
“I need you to persuade your father to give me a job at the science center.”
“Why? (Gasp) You didn’t do it did you! I knew you wouldn’t have taken those bribes!”
“No matter how badly I want to, I can’t tell you what is going on. I’m trusting you Katie. Trusting you to keep my secret. No one can know what is going on. As far as anyone is concerned I did what they are reporting in the news and it’s important that everyone keep believing that. Do you understand?”
I felt her nod her head against my cheek. “So without letting your father know we have spoken or met, I need you to find a way to convince him to help me get that job at his work place. Can you do that?”
“Yes,” she replied
“Now close your eyes and kiss me, then keep them closed after and count to 20 before moving.”
As I turned to disappear back into the trees, I heard her whisper “I miss you Jin. Stay safe!”
I know you are wondering witness, why I trusted Katie. I don’t know if I can put it into words. I just knew. I knew because she was scared, scared for herself, and for her family. But most importantly, even though she knew deep down her father was involved, she was scared for him too.
A few days later, my trust paid off. I was offered a security guard position at the science center, which was exactly what I wanted.
Monday morning I walked into the science center, thankful and ready to execute my plan. Here I was able to meet all the employees and add those I felt may be key players to the list. But it gave me the perfect opportunity to keep an eye on Mr. Barton during the day and the freedom to track him at night. I didn’t know why exactly, but I just had this feeling he was involved and would lead me to those who were more important on the pyramid.
Following Mr. Barton turned out to be the right move. Katie’s father was quite the busy man, when not at work, which explained all those hours away from home that Katie mentioned. Not only did I record many after hours meetings that involved the science facility staff, but military staff as well. That was something I had not counted on at all, but it made sense.
The biggest surprise came when I discovered that Mr. Barton……..
was having an affair, with none other than Mr. Monty’s daughter, Bianca. Considering that Mr. Monty was Steve Barton’s boss, that seemed like a very interesting move indeed. Or stupid. Either way, I wasn’t sure how Katie was going to handle the news if she ever found out. Over the course of the weeks, I discovered all their meeting places and saw way more than I bargained for as well. Considering Steve was a married man dating his boss’s daughter, to me it didn’t really seem they were all that discreet. Their favourite spot was the fishing park, where they could be often found after nine at night. The park wasn’t that popular place after dark, but the gazebo was a very well-lit platform that was easily seen from the road.
I considered that as Mr. Monty’s daughter, Steve could be using her for information. But the relationship seemed much more personal to me and to be honest, they didn’t really spend any time “talking” when they were together.
Early one morning I was woken by a phone call from Mr. Monty informing me his mother had died in the middle of the night. I sat there in shock but managed to ask if I could help with the funeral arrangements. Mr Monty clearly stated that this was a courtesy call as he had promised his mother, but that as he saw me only as the hired help, my services to his mother had ended the minute I moved out. “There will be no funeral,” he said. Then hung up. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I sat on the edge of the bed all shaky and working to draw in a proper breath. I couldn’t believe it and had to see for myself, so I dressed and drove over to her house.
The door was locked, as I expected but I had to try anyway. I also knocked, as stupid as that sounds. Something in my gut told me this couldn’t be real. I had just seen her the day before! She was fine, not sick at all. Since Valentine had passed over, we had made a point of getting together for a meal a couple of times a week. She was enjoying her life, dating and spending time with friends. No funeral? That wasn’t what she wanted at all. Which didn’t help how I was feeling.
I felt like I had just lost my mother all over again. But instead of falling apart, I got angry! I resisted the urge to hit the underground club and get myself totally juiced. I needed to stay clear-headed.
I needed to find out just what the hell was going on in this town!
My persistence and patience paid off. One night I followed Mr. Barton to the Moonlight Stroll Park where he met with a man I had never seen before. Not a member of this town as far as I could tell. They both came carrying brief cases and after a brief meeting in a darkened corner of the park where they were both on alert, they shook hands leaving with each other’s case. I kept below the hedge line and crept around to the front of the park to get a closer picture of the man. I got a good shot thanks to the telephoto lense I had brought with me.
“This has got to be him,” I said to the chief when I next met with him. “The head of all that is going on. We need to find out who he is.”
“This is good work Jin. I will do what I can to find out who he is, but since I can’t put this through proper channels, it’s not going to be easy. You need to get closer to this. Got any ideas?”
“Just one,” I replied. “But once I go down this road, there won’t be any turning back.”
“I can’t tell you what to do here Jin, this is your investigation. Just be careful and don’t turn up dead.”
I left that meeting knowing that once I crossed over this line, nothing in my life was ever going to be the same. But it had to be done and there wasn’t anyone else that could do it. So I pulled out my phone and dialed each number weighing heavily on me. It rang two times before she picked up.
“Katie, I need another favour. Can you meet me at our spot?”
“I need to show you some photos. Have you ever seen this man?” I asked her.
“No, never. Who is he?”
“I don’t know. But I think he is the key to all of this. Are you sure?”
“I’m sorry Jin. I don’t know him, but if I see him I will tell you right away. Maybe I can search my dad’s office -“
“NO! I don’t want you involved in this!”
“Jin I’m already involved. I’m living it, remember.”
“It’s out of the question. I don’t want you to get hurt. But there is something I want from you. I need to get closer to this and you are the key.”
“Well, it’s going to turn out that I need a place to live and you are going to provide that for me.”
She smiled at me, and with that I knew I was about to emerge from the shadows and jump into the fire.
CC Used In This Chapter