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Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Four

This week’s episode features Chapter Twenty Four of Black Brick. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I looked up from my tablet and noted that I still had ten minutes before I needed to get off the train. I had too many questions and what Kris had said to me about my parent’s killer was eating away at me. Beltran had insisted everybody take the day off and I’d been only too happy to have a break.

I’d looked for pictures of Stanley Redder online, but the only one I’d found had been of him being led from the courthouse. His face had been covered. I should have been able to find his mugshots, and it bothered me that I hadn’t.

Had my parents been killed so Beltran and Peck could recruit me? I didn’t know of a single agent who didn’t come from a background like mine. Redder had called somebody else the day he and his partner had murdered my parents. Who? Peck? Beltran?

If I’d learned anything during the last couple of weeks, coincidences shouldn’t be ignored. When Kris turned up while I was alone in the library wanting to talk, I should have seen through that right away. Something in the back of my mind told me that this led to paranoia, but I refused to pay it heed. Paranoia was a useful asset in this business.

After the incident with my parents, I’d never been interviewed by the police about what had happened. As an adult, I’d just chalked it up to shoddy police work, but I couldn’t deny that it was yet another coincidence tied to that day.

I shook my head. This was taking me nowhere. And to what end would that serve? It was unthinkable that Peck and Beltran had been involved in the murder of my parents, but the coincidence nagged at me like a hanging nail.

 

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Four was originally published on DAN DECKER

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Three

This week’s episode features Chapter Twenty Three of Black Brick. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I rubbed my ears and tried yawning. I could hear, but it felt like cotton had been rammed down into them, forcing me to partially rely on lip reading. Perhaps that was why I wasn’t guarding my tongue as closely as I should have been.

Beltran stood at the front of the conference room, red in the face, gripping a whiteboard marker in a fist that was turning purple. At any moment, steam might start coming out of his ears. On any other day, that thought would have made me chuckle. It was just as well that I wasn’t in that kind of mood, laughing at Beltran might push him over the edge, and I wasn’t sure that I was prepared to face that today.

Tom and Cherry sat to either side of me. Cherry was looking away from Beltran trying to pretend that she was somewhere else. Tom was just as avidly avoiding the conversation by concentrating on his tablet.

“You left,” I said, repeating my accusation for the third time.

“What was I supposed to do?” Beltran asked, with his teeth bared and lips tight across them. “We only had moments to get out. How can you of all people question me about the casualty count? You’ve racked up the most collateral damage of any of my agents. Think of that before you accuse me.”

“I didn’t walk away from people I could save.”

“I could have been killed as well and then where would we be? If we die, who will be left to hunt Martinez and Payne? Our responsibility is greater than the life of any single individual.”

“Forty-three dead and over seventy wounded. That’s a lot more than a single individual.”

“I don’t need to remind you of the considerable effort it’s taken to keep the lid on your involvement in the train bombing, Bruce Andrew’s murder, your rescue of Shannon, and the mess you guys made running from the cops! I protected you. All of you. On top of that, I now have your shooting at the mall to contend with which I wouldn’t mind so much if you would have killed him.”

“Us?” I snorted, standing up. “You protected Black Brick. We’re supposed to be saving lives, not ruining them.”

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Three was originally published on DAN DECKER

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Two

This week’s episode features Chapter Twenty Two of Black Brick. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I tapped my fingers on the wheel while I waited for our parking receipt to print. I had a bad feeling about today, and I couldn’t do anything to shake it. I was afraid that Martinez had planted the evidence that had led us to the bookstore in the mall. I’d tried convincing Beltran that it was a trap, but he was insistent that we would be careful. Once the ticket appeared, I grabbed it and proceeded into the mall parking garage. It had been close to forty-five minutes since Peck had called Beltran. Payne was due to leave soon.

“You going to keep your head on straight?” Beltran asked as I parked. It was the first time Beltran had accompanied me on a mission in some time. While he hadn’t said as much, I believed it was because he didn’t trust Shannon to not shoot Payne as soon as she saw him. She was waiting a block away and would pull up to the mall once we’d grabbed Payne. Beltran probably figured it would be safer that way, but I wouldn’t put it past her to blow him away once we had him in custody.

“I was wondering the same thing about you,” I said, ignoring his gaze as I parked. I refrained from slamming the door as I left the car and headed up into the mall. Beltran would follow me in a few minutes.

This was insane, and Beltran knew it. A takedown in public like this wasn’t going to be a smooth process. Especially because we were dealing with a madman who’d already proven his ability to kill indiscriminately.

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty Two was originally published on DAN DECKER

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty One

This week’s episode features Chapter Twenty One of Black Brick. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I paused outside the door to the classroom, not wanting to go in. We were ten minutes late, and my inclination was to skip it altogether. Shannon shrugged her shoulders as if to say that the decision was mine. There was a world of difference in her appearance now versus several days ago when I’d rescued her. Much of that was due to makeup, but it was nice to see her doing better even though she was keeping her distance from me. The scar was scabbed over and unfortunately it was wide enough that I figured she’d have a hard time covering it up with makeup. Perhaps a plastic surgeon would be able to do something about it for her.

Nothing would have made me happier than to skip class, but I didn’t want to give Beltran any additional reasons to be upset with me. He’d been furious that I’d gone after Shannon alone.

I opened the door and walked in. Heads turned our way, and I immediately thought better of it.

“Mr. Chever,” Peck said. The entire class turned their attention to us. Kris smiled and gave me a little wave. Normally, Shannon would have bristled at the attention, but she didn’t react. “I haven’t seen you in some time. Have you been well?”

“Been visiting family.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re here because I haven’t had a chance to follow up with you on our topic last time. Did you read the articles I sent you?”

I remembered that he’d given me a personal reading assignment at the end of the last class I attended, several weeks ago. Peck had sent the email, but I had never opened it. Enough had happened in the meantime that it felt like months had passed.

“Never got around to it,” I said sitting down beside Shannon at the back of the class.

“I see. Please have the reading prepared for next time.”

I nodded my assent and pulled out my tablet and stopped paying attention.

“She’s looking at you again,” Shannon said a few minutes later. “It’s time you did something about this.”

Black Brick – Chapter Twenty One was originally published on DAN DECKER