Shadowland: Out of Sight by Bill Capron
7:00 a.m. – then-now – February, 2012
Diane and I prepare breakfast as the girls straggle in half asleep. The smell of pancakes puts some life in their faces.
We sit at the table, Cami is poised to cut her pancake, but Audi words stop her fork; “Dad, what about Diane?”
“Diane is staying with us, Audi.”
She asks Diane, “For how long?”
“For as long as you let me.”
She looks to me. I say, “Forever, Audi. You and Cami and Diane and I are a family.” I laugh. “And of course Espadrille.”
From my phone, “Jake?”
Diane is moving to get the scrambled eggs; she stops short.
“I know who sent the five assassins to your house; and, Jake, you are not going to like this.”
I say, “Hang on, Espadrille,” and turn for back of the house.
Diane motions to the girls to take the eggs and follows on my heels.
We make the left into my bedroom; the sheets are on the floor; it smells of sex. Diane closes the door.
I set the phone on the night table; we sit on the edge of the bed; she wraps her hands around my bicep; I talk at the phone; “OK, Espadrille, tell me the story.”
She starts, “The hit-men were Venezuelan and trained in Russia by the mob. And they were hired by Janet Netross to kill you and bring her your head; and …”
Wherever Espadrille learned this approach of pausing to evoke a response from me, it has to end. “Out with it already.”
“… the last communication to them said to kill Audi and Cami and Lit’t. So it was after you escaped from The Jenner. That means Attila was watching the shootout.”
This killing of mine, not merely me, is new. “When was it made?”
“While you and Lit’t were driving to your house.”
“Was it really Netross, or her synthesized voice?”
“It was synthesized.”
“So it was Attila who made the decision?”
“Yes, a computer decided to take you all out, but why? As retribution? Oh, and Jake?”
“There’s a new crew of killers coming for you now, as in right now.”
Diane leaves the room. I hear her talk to the girls. I say to Espadrille, “Find me a safe place and a way to get there.”
“I am thinking the cabin on Hood. I’ll work on getting there.”
I start throwing our things on the bed; I will put the sheet into the trunk of the car.
Diane comes in. “The girls will be ready in five minutes.”
I touch her forearm. “You should stay. It’s not you they want. I don’t want you dying.”
“Jake, I’m with you and the girls. You said it before, we’re a family.” She kisses me and says, “Let’s get the Hell out of Tombstone.”
I punch in a text to be sent to Billy Thornton in four hours; the message, “Billy, safe house is not safe. We are going dark, Jake.” To the air I ask, “Espadrille?”
“Remove your functions from the Mac and destroy the hard drive.”
“Jake, I haven’t used it in a month. I live in my cloud, but I will fry the disk.”
“Alright, let’s roll.”
~ ~ ~
7:00 am – now-now – May, 2012
Diane’s bump shows; she turns at the bathroom door and arches her back; she is naked; she is beautiful; she is pregnant; and she is proud.
I say, “Six more months to Jake Jr.”
“Not a chance, Jake, she’s a girl.”
We haven’t been to a doctor yet. “And you know this how?”
She walks seductively in my direction. “My mother had two girls,” stops, turns, points at her bump, “her mother had six girls,” stops, turns, points, “and my grandmother had seven girls,” stops, turns, points, “and not a boy in the mix,” She puts her finger on my chest, “and so far you have one girl.”
We have come a long way in three months …
~ ~ ~