Excerpt from Blackout
"It was late afternoon when Steele drove Shakia to board the train at
30th Street Station. She was not at all happy about suddenly being uprooted and shipped off to her sister's in Delaware. She felt like a child being sent to visit her Grandparents for the summer. Shakia had seen that look in Steele's eyes before. She knew from his tone and demeanor that this was very serious business.
“Call me the minute you get to your sisters, okay?” “Okay baby.” She gave Steele a kiss and forced herself to muster up a smile when deep inside she wanted to break down in his arms and cry. The fear of knowing she may never see her man alive again was almost too much for her to bear. Steele had faced the reality that Shakia was a distraction, one that could get them both killed. He watched as the shiny, steel gray train pulled slowly away from the station. He was sad to see her go but relieved that she would not be around to see him revert back to the cunning, street-wise detective he needed to be to prevent the impending disaster.
It was the day of Bernadette’s funeral, Steele and a few dozen mourners stood in the mud as they watched police pallbearers carry the casket through the pouring rain. Everyone’s eyes were on the casket, everyone’s except Steele’s and the director’s. As the raindrops bounced off the cream colored casket the two men stared at each other from across the gravesite. Once the burial was over the director followed Steele back to his car. Steele exhibited his usual calm when he noticed the director approaching.
“What’s the problem director, you need a ride?” The director shook his head “Mr. Steele we need to talk. Out of respect for Ms. Brown, I waited until after she was laid to rest but you and I still have unfinished business.” Steele pretended not to hear what the director was saying. He got behind the wheel, shut the door and lowered his window. Steele gave him a cold look. “I got nothing to say to you director. I told you the day of the explosion to raid that house but no, you choose to hide behind procedures and protocol. Look at where that got you. Now the house is cleaned out except for the rented furniture and you got nothing. No director, we don't need to talk. Just in case you hadn't noticed I don't play well with others.” Steele raised his window and shifted the car into gear. As he sped off mud splattered all over the director’s shoes and pants.
Later that evening, the director came back to the Inner Sanctum. This time he bypassed the bar, snaked his way through the crowded room straight back to Steele’s table and promptly sat directly across from him without speaking a word. Steele had just hung up his private phone on the wall. Leroy the doorman slash enforcer had just given Steele the heads up on his uninvited guest. The two men stared eye to eye. The director reached inside his jacket pocket, pulled out a small yellow slip of paper, placed it on the table then slowly slid it over to Steele. When Steele recognized it was the cleaning bill for the director’s pants he simply held it over the candle flame until it turned to ashes. Steele took a sip of Pepsi and looked over at the director. His tone was relaxed and calm. “Anything else I can help you with?” The director also showed no emotion, he folded his hands and glanced down at the charred paper on the table. It was clear that neither man was going to back down. It was a battle of wills. Two very different men with the same goal both wanted to stop the terrorist but neither was willing to concede to the others methods. Steele glanced at his watch. “Well Director, it's been fun but I promised a friend I would give him a ride. I’ll be back in half an hour but you can still follow me if you like.” Steele left through the back of the club and slid behind the wheel of his Jag. When he turned the corner onto Stan's block Stan was waiting in front of his house but he was not alone. Three burly men had just jumped out of the side door of a dark blue van that suddenly stopped a few feet away from Stan’s house. The men were all dressed in dark clothing and wore a black ski mask. Two of the men caught Stan off guard. Each of them grabbed one of his arms while the third man punched him hard in the stomach. Stan grunted, he did his best to fight them off but he was clearly outmatched. The men slowly drug him toward the waiting van. Out of sheer instinct, Steele turned the steering wheel toward the men and stomped on the gas peddle as hard as he could. With tires squealed and the engine roaring the jag jumped the sidewalk and accelerated. Steele aimed it directly at the man to Stan’s left and held on tight.The loud rumbling noise of the big man bouncing off the hood sounded like a thunder clap.
He rolled toward the windshield before tumbling to the cold, hard pavement. Now the odds
were even, Steele slammed the gearshift into park and ran toward the man closest to him just
as they were about to toss Stan inside the van. Steele spun the burly man around like a
spinning top before punched him repeatedly in the face. Stan and Steele had been in fights
together before so it didn't take long for the would-be kidnappers to realize they were on the
losing end. Battered and bruised the bad guys backed off, scooped up their friend and made
a hasty retreat back to the dark van before speeding off into the night. Stan tried to get a look
at the license plate but there was none. “Damn! No tags.” A slightly out of breath Steele sat on
the hood of his car. “It doesn’t matter man. We don't need plates.” He pointed down the street
in the direction of the van. “That’s the same van from the house at 4th and Maple in
theory. Suppose your computer friend was involved in the Canadian blackout.” Stan shook
his head, “no way man. He would never do a think like that. “ Steele pointed his finger at Stan,
“ no, not voluntarily. That’s why he’s missing. "
Books > Literature & Fiction > African American > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense