Disclaimers ~ This is an original work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places or events is purely coincidental. These characters belong to me, if they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author.

Bad language ~ A fair bit.

Disclaimers ~ This is an original work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places or events is purely coincidental. These characters belong to me, if they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author.

Bad language ~ A fair bit.

Love/sex ~ Romance between men and women and between women. Sex between consenting couples.

Sickness & death ~ There are some deaths in this story. If that's not for you, I hope you enjoy reading something else.

Author's note ~ Questions, comments & thoughts all welcome. Loves_to_write_fic@yahoo.co.uk

© June, 2006 Cam Taylor


Chapter Twenty

H olding a glass of water, Franklin walked back into the office where the women were being held. He watched Chris warily, very aware of the gauze pad he'd taped to his shredded cheek. Chris smiled sweetly at him. "What's the matter, Franklin? Don't you trust me anymore?" she mocked.

"Shut up!" he snapped at her, irritated that she got to him.

Chris laughed. "Ahhh... I'm no fun. I fight back and make you feel small and pathetic!"

"Shut up!" he hollered. He stopped next to Janet and after undoing her gag, held the glass to her lips.

She gulped down half the refreshing liquid before looking over at Chris. "Are you all right?"

"Chris nodded. "I'm fi-..."

"No talking." Franklin put the glass down on the floor and started to tie the gag back into place.

"No, please," Janet protested. "I have a blocked nose. The gag makes it hard to breath," she begged, playing up the helpless woman role.

"I don't care. You have to be quiet."

"I will be. I promise."

Franklin looked unsure, wondering if he'd get into trouble with Judge. I don't want her suffocating. I'm sure Judge wouldn't want that, either. He slowly nodded and bent to pick up the glass. Stopping in front of Kate, Franklin undid her gag, then held the glass for her to drink from. Putting the now empty glass down, he started to put her gag back on.

"Please, can't you leave mine off as well?" Kate asked politely. Frowning, Franklin started to shake his head. "I won't talk. I wouldn't want you to get into trouble."

He smiled then and dropped the gag. "Okay, but..."

"FRANKLIN? WHERE ARE YOU? COME HERE," a booming voice called out from somewhere else in the warehouse.

"Your master's home, Franklin. Go wag your tail like a good boy and he might give you a treat," Chris teased.

"Shut up!"

"Why? It's the truth isn't it? He's the boss, the brains; you're just the lap dog."

Franklin walked over to Chris. "I've had just about enough out of you!" He punched her hard in the face, sending blood spraying as her lip split.

The chair she was tied to tipped back as she stretched out her legs to tilt it. Her plan backfired. She cracked her head on the hard concrete floor and moaned in dismay as her world started going black. Damn!

"Chris!" Janet screamed, fearing the worse.


* * * * *

Joey reached Kate's house in record time. The two men jumped out of the car and raced over to the front door, waiting impatiently for someone to answer their knock. Patrick finally opened the door and they followed him into the living room.

"Boss, anything?" Charley asked, desperate for news, desperate to do something that would get the two missing women back. Driving Chris' car back to the Levens' house, he had felt strangely uneasy, knowing something had happened to Chris and that there was nothing any of them could do at that moment to help her.

"No, not yet. What else did Bear say?"

"The guy had a visitor," Joey started.

"Yeah. Our mysterious boy racer with the funky paint job," Charley finished.

The house phone rang. "Yes?" James answered, as soon as he picked up.

" Is Charley there? " It was Madelyn, the Colonel's eldest daughter.

"Yes, he's here."

" Bryan rang looking for him. Says he has the info he asked for. "

"I'll tell him. Thank you, honey. How's Laurie?"

" A little bummed that the guys couldn't get over to see her, but with what's happened she said to tell you to kick butt. "

James chuckled. "We'll see what we can do! Bye." He replaced the receiver and looked at Charley. "That was Madelyn."

"And she was looking for me?" Charley asked in confusion.

"Your brother rang looking for you," James told him. "He has news, the info you apparently asked for."

Charley walked over to the phone and picked it up. Everyone watched and waited as he punched in a number and waited for someone to answer. "Bryan, what you got for me?"

" I spent the night going through old records, I hope you appreciate this, Charley! Anyway, I did the job and even wrote down the number on the license plate. Want it? "

"Yeah, give it to me." Charley took out a pen and wrote down the number on the pad next to the phone. "Okay. Thanks, bro. I owe you." He hung up and turned to look at the other men. "Bryan did the paint job. He found it in his records and even got a name and license plate number."

"The name could be fake," Joey pointed out.

"Give me the details and I'll ring Walter back," James said.

Charley handed the pad over and went to sit back on the sofa. The phone rang before James could pick it up. "Yes?"

" James, it's Walter. I brought a team out to where you say Chris was taken. I found a patch of blood. We're taking samples to see if it's hers. "

"I see. How long will it take for the results to come through?"

" Too long. I'll try to rush them along, call in a favour or two, but... "

"Okay. I have another name and number for you. It's one of those personal ones, so shouldn't take long to find."

" You're right. Give it to me and I'll see what I can do. "

"Okay, J. Zingler. License plate, S14 TUD." James paused, then. "I'll wait."

"What's going on?" Patrick asked.

"Walter's checking out the details." James listened, then said, "Yes, I'm still here."

" The address that came up is 1248 Oceanshore Road. "

"That can't be right. That's an address for the harbour!"

" I know, but that's what came up. Good luck. "

"Thanks, Walter." James hung up and looked at his investigators. "We've got to get to the harbour."


* * * * *

Chris was trapped in her dream, held firmly in place by a massive chain. "Get out of that, Branagon! Ha-ha-ha," someone in her dream said. There's that guy... what was his name? Frederick? Francis? Franklin? Yeah. That's it. I tried to help him and he knocked me out. Chris shook her head slightly, the movement sending jolts of pain through her skull. What the hell did he hit me with? Wait a minute... he hit me... twice. Once by the car and...


Chris frowned, still half-unconscious. Janet? Why's she here?

"Chris? Come on, baby. Wake up."

Always worrying about me. Comes to the house to see if I'm all right. But... I'm not at the house. I'm... I was...

"Ahhh, Chris Branagon. Coming back around, I see."

That voice! I know that voice! Chris opened her eyes to find her chair was back in an upright position. Still groggy, she searched the room for the source of the voice. Her eyes fluttered. "Ja-..." she tried to talk.

"No, don't talk," said the voice. "I'll do the talking from now on, I think you've done enough!"

Chris scrunched her eyes tightly shut, her head throbbing hard. She could feel the dried blood caked on her face and desperately wanted to scratch it away. She tried to focus but was slipping back into the peaceful blackness.

"Apparently, you've been tormenting my poor accomplice, Franklin Howard."

"Judge! You told them my name!" Franklin whined.

"SHUT UP! I'm not talking to you, am I?" Franklin shook his head, his lips tight together, thoroughly scolded. "It doesn't matter, anyway. They're not getting out of here alive... are they." A rhetorical question. Franklin opened his mouth to say something, then wisely shut it again. "Just like you, Chris. A pain in the arse until the end!"

Chris tilted her head back, trying to fight off the advancing wave of unconsciousness. "Janet?"

"I'm okay, Chris," the policewoman reassured her.

Judge laughed cruelly. "Ahhh, yea. The new lovers! You didn't think anyone knew, did you, Chris? I wonder how poor Charley will feel? He is so in love with you!"

Chris looked at Judge and laughed, seeing the owner of the voice clearly for the first time. "Jackson. What the fuck are you doing, you idiot?"

His amusement faded and was replaced by anger. "I am Judgement and you will not interrupt me!" That made Chris laugh harder. "STOP IT! RIGHT NOW!" Jackson yelled at her.

Chris kept laughing. "Going to throw a temper tantrum and stamp your little feet? Ahhh, there, there, baby."

Jackson strode across to Janet, a strong hand wrapping around her hair and yanking her head back. He pulled a wickedly sharp hunting knife off his belt. "If you don't stop," he said across to Chris, "we're going to see what your girlfriend's throat looks like on the inside!"

"Go on then. She doesn't mean anything to me. It was just a quick fuck while on the job."

Jackson smiled and dug the knife tip into Janet's neck. A small dot of blood appeared and trickled down her throat. Janet whimpered.

"All right. I'm sorry," Chris said anxiously.

"See. I knew it was more serious than just a quick fuck."

Chris nodded. "You're right. I shouldn't have lied."

"Very good, Chris." Jackson laughed as he looked at Kate. "At you glad to hear that, Doctor?" He turned his attention back to Chris. "Now, who's in charge?"

Chris let out a deep breath, knowing she had to play along for now. "You are."

"That's right, Chris. You know, you really are quite smart. Not smarter than me, of course..."

"What's this all about, Jackson?"

Anger flashed across his face. "Judgement. And don't..." He crossed the space between them, "...interrupt me." He hit her across the face with the back of his hand. "Are you just not listening, or are you deliberately disobeying me?"

Chris spat out blood from her bitten tongue, as more blood from her split lip dribbled down her chin. "I was just curious. I just wanted to know why someone as... brilliant as you is interested in a small-town doctor?"

Jackson smiled. "Want to know what makes me tick? Very well. I am judgement," he said, spreading his arms out wide. "And the doctor has been judged."

"Judged? What did she do?"

Jackson hit her again. "Don't interrupt!"

"Chris, please!" Janet implored, hating what she was seeing.

Chris looked over at the brunette, seeing pleading eyes looking back.

"I'd listen to her, Chris," Jackson said laughing. He suddenly stopped, his face going hard. "The good doctor here took away the one person who ever cared about me. She killed her. Murdered her!"

Chris frowned.

"I was young... so young. People hated me. My parents hated me, neighbours hated me, children despised me. She was all I had. The only person who would talk to me, listen to me talk, patch me up when other children beat the shit out of me." Jackson spun around to glare at Kate. "And you killed her!" he said accusingly.

Kate shook her head, not knowing what he was talking about.

Jackson stormed across to her, just about to lose his control, reality slipping away.

Have to keep him talking, have to come up with a plan, Chris thought, watching Jackson closely. "Jac-...Judge." He stopped and turned, looking back at her. I can pick my cuffs, just gotta keep him talking. "Who? Who did she take from you?"

"My sister, of course. You see, Chris. Me and you, we're alike. We've both lost a doting sister, someone we both cared about."

"My sister was murdered," Chris said quietly.

"Are you not listening?" Jackson snapped. "So was mine..." He spun back around. "By her!" He slapped Kate across the face.

"Hey! You can't do that!" Franklin cried out from his corner position. It was one thing that Judge hadn't acknowledged his capturing of Janet, which he thought was a good thing because the policewoman was going to try to rescue Chris and Kate and call in help; and that he continually yelled at Franklin, but it was quite another thing when Judge started slapping his love! He wasn't going to stand by and let that happen!

"Why, Franklin? Who's going to stop me? You?" Jackson laughed. "Do you really think she's going to fall for you? Is she going to willingly let you fuck her? You're half pig! Look at you. Do you really think she wants you wiggling about on top of her, your fat gut crushing her as you grunt and oink?" Jackson started laughing again. "This was never about giving you the bloody doctor! You're here to take the fall, Franklin. The obsessed little man who killed 'cause she said no."

Franklin charged him, an animal cry of rage escaping his lips. Jackson stood his ground until the last minute, then side-stepped and stuck up a leg, catching Franklin hard in the gut. The little man went down wheezing.

"Try that again and I'll kill you."

"Uhm... Judge."

Jackson stood up straight, shoulders squared. "Yes, Chris?"

"I never knew you had a sister. The boss does a deep background check on all of us. Why didn't he find out?"

Jackson smiled, his cool composure back in place. "I wasn't always a Valmont. My slut of a mother married Doug Valmont, a poor, common, mechanic. My real father died suspiciously when I was young. She got all the money, of course. That's why I live so well. My real name is Jackson Zingler the fourth." Kate groaned, shoulders slumping in recognition. "You know who I am now," Jackson snarled at the doctor. He looked back at Chris. "And despite what all you investigators think, I did have to work hard once, I worked out intensely to look like this." He swept a hand down his body. "Hours in my gym, surgery on my nose and chin. And was it worth it, you ask? Yes, of course it was. Now women fall over themselves to sleep with me, to be seen with me, and I allow them to think that I am with them."

Chris cleared her throat. "Well, now that you've sorted your life out, why don't we let Doctor Levens go and forget all about this revenge thing?"

Jackson chuckled. "Nice try, Chris. Always the little hero 'til the end, huh? Enough talking. Now you get to watch me kill your new love's mother, then your new lover." His lips curled up in a twisted smile as he walked over to stand in front of Kate. "I'm going to enjoy this."

"Hey, Jackson..."

He turned around, sighing. "Chris, it's been fun, but now I just want to get on with it. Don't worry, it'll be your turn soon."

"You know those handcuffs your accomplice put on me?"

Jackson smiled. "Is this what it's come to? Stalling? Do you think Charley or Joey are going to come running through to save you? Okay, I'll play along. The handcuffs?"

"He didn't tighten them like you would have."

"So? Is that a complaint? Or maybe a compliment?"

Chris laughed. "Just wanted to let you know..." She jumped up and swung her hands around to her front. She had not only picked her handcuffs with the assistance of a paper-clip, but managed to loosen the rope that tied her to the chair. "I've picked them," she finished, the rope falling free as she dived at Jackson.

"Franklin, get her!"

Franklin, having gotten up off the floor, stood staring open-mouthed at the diving Chris.


* * * * *

"Jesus Christ! What's taking so long?" Charley yelled from the backseat. The men were all in James' Mercedes, the road ahead blocked with traffic. "Rush hour was four hours ago!" Charley growled, anxious and impatient.

"Joey, jump out and see if you can see anything," James said, before looking over his shoulder at Charley. "You need to calm down!" he told him forcefully.

"I'm not getting anything, boss," Patrick said in a panic. He had his mobile phone in his hands and had been trying to get in touch with Janet.

"She's not answering, or there's no signal?" James asked.

"I don't think there's a signal, or maybe she's turned it off. It just keeps saying the call can't be connected."

Joey ducked his head back in the car. "I'm going to jog down there. I think there's been an accident."

They watched him walk alongside the other stalled cars until they lost sight of him. He soon came running back, a grim look on his face. "We're going to be here a while. A car's flipped over up ahead."


* * * * *

Franklin watched as Chris flew into Judge, knocking him to the floor. As she started raining blows down on him, Franklin snapped out of his frozen shock. He ran over and pulled Chris off Judge, flinging her to the floor. "Are you all right, Judge?"

Jackson started crawling away. "Put her back in the chair."

Chris reached out and grabbed the discarded hunting knife. Again, she lunged at Jackson, this time stabbing him deep in the leg. Jackson screamed in pain, as Franklin made a flying leap at Chris, landing on top of her heavily. Chris released her hold on the knife as she heard something within her crack. "Ahhh! Jesus!"

"Chris!" Janet's voice, scared. Oh, God! Chris, please be okay. I just found you, please don't leave me now!

Franklin was on top of Chris, his hot breath washing over her, his sweaty hands pinning her arms against the floor. "Judge... I've got her, Judge."

Jackson had crawled out of the office, a blood trail slick across the floor.

"Looks like... he left you," Chris managed, having trouble breathing. "You're... gonna go down... Franklin."

"No, I won't."

Chris nodded, trying to get an arm free, her chest hurting with each shift she made. "Yeah... you will. He's gone... you're pinning me down... Janet and... Kate are tied up. How are you... going to explain that?" His grip loosened. It was all she needed. Her free hand went to his face, her fingers digging into his eye.

Franklin screamed as his left eye popped, blood and fluid running down his face, dripping onto Chris. Still straddling her, he reached up and covered his face with his hands, screaming.

Chris shoved at him, pushing him off her, crying out as the pain in her chest got sharper Slowly getting on to her knees, she crawled towards Janet. "I'm going to... untie you. Get your mum... free and get... out. Okay?"

"I can't leave you, Chris. You're hurt!"

"Phone... the guys." Chris got the rope free and collapsed on the floor, the pain too much.

Janet crouched at her side, her hands roaming over Chris' ribs. "I think it's a fracture."

"Get your... mum out. That's... your job!"

Looking unsure, Janet wiped at the blood on Chris' chin. "What about..."

"Go!" Chris almost yelled at her.

Janet stood and rushed behind her mom and began working on the rope that held her wrists behind her.

Chris sat up, then managed to roll on to her knees. Finally standing, she wobbled slightly. "Got to... find Jackson."

"CHHRRRIISSSS!" Janet yelled, seeing Franklin moving out of the corner of her eye.

But Chris couldn't do anything to stop Franklin slamming into her. She crashed to the floor again, crying out in pain. As he started punching her, she curled up to protect herself as much as she could, tears streaming down her face. Pain! Ribs... burning pain! Too much! It stopped suddenly. Chris opened her eyes, blurry from her tears. She saw Janet heaving Franklin off her with her loose rope. She had it around his throat, his one good eye bulging. She finally dropped the strangle hold on Franklin and warily watched him as he slumped to the floor, either dead or unconscious.

"Chris?" Kate slid to the floor herself and crawled over to the blonde. "Chris, I need to get you to sit up." Chris shook her head. "I know it hurts, sweetheart, but we have to do this to protect your uninjured side from any blood that maybe inside your chest cavity. Here, put your arms around my shoulders." Chris reached up and cried out again as the doctor helped her sit up. "We need to get her to a hospital!" Kate told her daughter. "You have to go and find a phone, Janet."

"I can't leave you, mom! Jackson's out there somewhere. This idiot's in here," Janet said, pointing to the fat man on the floor, who hadn't yet moved.

"Tie him up good and tight so he can't get loose, in the event he's not dead yet." Kate took off her jacket and wrapped it firmly around Chris's ribs. "Jackson's leaving a blood trail. Just avoid it. Go the opposite way."

Janet started to tie up Franklin's wrists, knowing he was too heavy to move by herself.

"You're hurting me! That's too tight!" Franklin whined, rousing from his stupor.

Janet was sorry to see he wasn't dead yet. "Too tight?" she asked. "You're lucky I don't cut off your circulation for what you've done!"

"Honey, you have to go and phone for an ambulance. It'll take them a while to get here then back to the hospital," Kate calmly said to her daughter.

Janet finished tying Franklin up, then walked back to Chris and her mom. She knelt down next to the blonde. "Hey, baby..." She took Chris' hand. "I'm going to leave you in the capable hands of my mom. Okay?"

Chris smiled and squeezed Janet's hand. "I'd prefer it... if you'd take... her with you."

"No chance." Janet bent and kissed Chris' forehead softly. "I'll be right back. I promise." She got up and cautiously walked to the door. She looked out at the trail of blood, her eyes following it as far as she could see in the dark. Have to get to a phone!


* * * * *

"Do you know which warehouse it is?" Patrick asked James, his head turning left and right, searching for some sort of sign.

"1248. But I doubt that will be advertised."

"Won't it be easier if we get out, boss?" Joey asked.

"Wait! Stop!" Charley shouted out. "Isn't that Janet?" he pointed past Joey's shoulder.

"Oh, my God!" James stopped the car and they all jumped out quickly. James raced over to the young policewoman, grey eyes trailing over her to see if she was hurt. "Janet, are you all right? Where's Kate? Chris?"

"Oh, God, Colonel! James! Chris is hurt. She needs an ambulance!"

James looked at Patrick. "Ambulance." Patrick immediately punched in a number on his mobile and wondered off to the side for privacy. James turned back to Janet and put his hands on her arms. "Where's Kate, Janet? Is she all right?"

"She's with Chris," Janet replied. "James, it was Jackson." Joey, Charley and James stared at her in shock.

"Where is he now?" Charley asked, worried about Chris.

"Chris stabbed him with his own hunting knife and he crawled away while we were all distracted. There's this other guy. He's lost an eye."

Joey laughed. "Did Chris do that, too?" Janet nodded. "See, Charley," Joey said to the blonde. "I told you not to worry."

James took control. "Patrick, wait out here for the ambulance. Joey and Charley, search the warehouse for Jackson. Be very careful." The two men nodded and walked off together.

"I have to go back in," Janet said, thoughts on Chris.

James grasped her arm to stop her. "We should wait here, until we know it's safe."

"I... I told Chris I'd be right back," Janet protested.

James frowned in confusion at the emotion he saw on her face. Have you fallen for Chris? "They'll be quick. Charley's been straining at the lead since we left Kate's house."


"She'll be fine, Janet. I promise."

* * * * *

Janet had opened the huge rolling door a crack to slip out. Charley and Joey stood at either side of the opening and peeked in. "It's very dark in there," Charley fussed, adrenalin pumping through him.

"Yeah. That means it'll be just as hard for him to spot us. Come on." Joey slipped inside and stood still, listening to the silence around him, his eyes slowly adjusting to the dim light.

Charley stopped beside him. "We splitting up?"

"No chance. Let's head over to where that light's coming from. I'm guessing we'll find Chris there."

The two investigators walked quietly, their eyes sweeping all the shadows around them. Charley stopped and stuck out a hand to stop Joey. "The trail leads off that way," he said quietly, pointing to the drying blood trail.

"Let's check on Chris first." They walked into the area where the women had been held and found Chris leaning back against a wall, Kate beside her. A sweating, one-eyed, rotund man was tied and gagged on the opposite side of the office. "You gonna live, Branagon?" Joey asked with a smile.

"Course," she replied, not without hurting.

"Good. Who would I team up with when we play football otherwise?" They smiled at each other.

"Are you really all right?" Charley asked softly, as he crouched next to her, taking a hand.

"Hurts to... breathe."

"She's probably fractured a couple of ribs," Kate told him as he frowned. "Maybe even broken them."

"Where's Janet?" Chris asked.

"With the boss. Who's this guy then?" Charley asked.

"Franklin Howard. The stalker."

The two men looked at the man, distaste on their faces.

"Come on, Charley. We've got to find Jackson," Joey said, seeing Charley nod and get up. Joey looked down at Chris. "Patrick's called an ambulance. You wait here. We'll go on and do the dirty work." He laughed as Chris gave him the finger. Walking back out of the office, the two investigators started following the blood trail. It stopped at a side door.

"Where would he go?" Charley puzzled.

"Maybe he had a boat waiting." Standing on one side of the door, Joey pushed it open and waited. Both investigators peeked outside, but didn't see or hear anything. Walking together, they kept following the blood trail, frowning as it suddenly came to a stop. They ran back around to the front of the warehouse and stopped in front of James and Janet.

"He's gone," Joey said. "The trail stopped suddenly. He must have had a car waiting."



Return to the Academy

Author's Page