#My52 “Captive Heart, Part VI”

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#My52 – Week 20

Word Prompt – elevator

Word Count – 921

Reading Time – 2 mins, 6 secs

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After dropping off Prentiss and promising to meet up for dinner next week, Mark Kelly headed for home.

Spending time with his family rejuvenated him. His parents’ understanding and wise counsel bolstered his resolve.

Charles Kelly’s expression had been grave.

“In a perfect world, we can do whatever we want, fulfill all our whims and desires.” He clasped his wife’s hand. “We will always support any decision you make and welcome a grandchild with open arms.”

“They will set records for spoiling a kid.”

Trudy covered her mouth to hide her giggles as Charles glared at his oldest son. “No comments from the peanut gallery.” He returned his attention to Mark.

“Follow your heart, son, but remember to listen to your mind… think it through. Marriage is an important step and not a solution to a problem.”

There was a time when he would have moved heaven and earth to have Yvonne as his wife. But loving eyes blinded him to her true character, her personal agenda, and the truth. He was nothing more than an end to the means for her, used and manipulated when needed then discarded.

Those days were over, but his mother cautioned him to not allow Yvonne to use their child as a pawn.

“All too often, children pay the price for their parents’ anger and hostility. I spent years watching my cousin, Chassie, use her son, Lee, to hurt his father. She’d show up at his job, home… family gatherings, always angry and yelling and demanding. He paid more than the required support but it was never enough for her. She wanted to make him pay for not wanting her and made the man’s life hell until he got an attorney and sued and won joint custody. Then, she interfered with his visitations.”

Trudy stared off across the backyard as though looking into the past.

“Karma is never far away though, and Chassie’s caught up to her and her bar-hopping when Lee was nine. She got two DUIs in a month and Lee’s dad sued for full custody and won.” She considered her son. “I don’t want you or any grandchild of mine going through that.”

After meeting with Yvonne and confirming her pregnancy and due date, he’d call the number on the business card his mother gave him. The family law firm had an excellent record in securing fathers’ rights in custody cases and Mark would fight for his.

He slowed as he drove past the front of his condo, curious about the police cars parked on the street. He hoped the McGills weren’t back to their weekend fighting. The management company said one more incident would force them to take legal action against the retired couple.

Rounding the corner, he entered the underground parking, glad to be home. He’d binge-watch the new season of Lucifer on Netflix and sleep-in tomorrow before getting an update on the workweek ahead.

After grabbing his duffel bag and laptop, Mark started for the elevator but stopped, seeing yellow police tape blocking the entrance.

His curiosity increased as he walked up the ramp to the exterior entrance.

Several police officers stood around the door. One stepped forward blocking Mark’s path.

“May I ask what your business is here, sir?”

Mark frowned. “I live here, What’s going on? What happened?”

“Do you have identification, sir?”

He pulled out his wallet and handed the cop his license. “Are you going to tell me what this is about? Is anyone hurt? Is it –”

The cop cut him off. “You live in unit E25?”

“Yes, I do. What is- ”

The cop turned and motioned to another uniformed colleague. “This is Mr. Kelly. He lives in E25. Escort him upstairs.”

“Sir, follow me, please.”

Exasperated, Mark followed the cop into the building and up three flights of stairs. Exiting the stairwell, he froze.

Only two units occupied each floor, and still more police personnel were gathered outside Mark’s condo.

Alarmed, he was in motion, rushing down the hallway.

“What’s going on here? What happened? This is my-”

“Sir?” A man in a dark suit tried to stop Mark but the uniformed cop spoke up.

“This is Mr. Kelly, the resident.”

Looking over the man’s shoulder, Mark’s mouth gaped open. He dropped his duffel and laptop bags.

“What the hell?”

Red paint covered every surface. Someone ripped the upholstery on the sofa and love seat to shreds before dousing them in paint. His flat screen television was smashed and lay in pieces in front of the stand. The African masks he’d spent years collecting were all smashed in the fireplace. Tables were overturned, pictures ripped from the walls… nothing had been spared.

“W-Who did this? When? Why?”

The suited man spoke up. “I’m Detective Lewis, Mr. Kelly and I was hoping you could answer those questions for us.”

Mark tried to swallow past the lump in his throat as he walked into his destroyed home. He turned in circles in the middle of the room, incredulous at the callous violation of his life. He hung his head.

“Mr. Kelly? Do you know who would do this to you? Mr. Kelly?”

He turned to the detective, shaking his head.

“You’re just getting home. Where have you been?”

“F-Fresno. Visiting my parents.”

“When did you leave town?”

“Wednesday.”

“Who knew you were leaving town?”

“My job. And my brother, but he was with me.”

“No one else?”

“No. I didn’t talk to -”

Mark clenched his fists as realization dawned on him.

Yvonne knew.

********

Who vandalized Mark’s condo? Yvonne?

To be continued…

 

Part IPart II   |  Part IIIPart IV  |  Part V  |

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

The Devil You Know, Part X #52weeks52stories

Intruder

#52weeks52stories: Week 20

Word prompt: mania

Word Count: 1570

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Part I    |     Part II    |    Part III    |   Part IV   | Part V

Part VI   |   Part VII   |   Part VIII   |   IX   |

(All links open new windows.)

Adrenalin and exhaustion warred inside Sally Bennett. She was dead tired. Just a few hours ago she was a patient in this same hospital, making deals with her doctor to escape the confines of her hospital bed and go home.

To face life without her husband; to understand why he’d attacked her and Graciela Ramirez; to understand how he ended up dead on the floor of Graciela’s bedroom.

Now everything had changed.

Frankie wasn’t dead, nor was he her attacker.

But according to this doctor, she could still lose him.

Fighting the mania in her mind, Sally swallowed deeply, pushing the burning bile back into her empty stomach.

“Dr. Stanley, please. What does that mean? How serious are his injuries?” She clutched at her stomach. “How did he get injured?”

“Mrs. Bennett, I cannot say for certain how your husband sustained his injuries. I can tell you from the bruising on his hands and face he was involved in a physical altercation—a fight—and ended up on the floor. As he tried to stand, he was hit with a large, heavy object twice, fracturing his skull.”

Sally swayed and teetered on her feet.

Carolyn screamed out, “Mom!”

All the detectives raced to catch her, but Brian Holland reached her first.

She struggled to stand on her own but found she couldn’t and leaned against the brawny police officer. Tears streamed down her face as she turned to Gavin Marks.

“The man. The man in the morgue. Did he do this to Frankie?”

Wary of admitting how little information they had in the case… now cases, but knew she deserved the truth.

“We don’t know ma’am, but it is the leading theory due to his resemblance to your husband. He must have been trying to switch identities but until we can find out who he is, it’s just a theory.”

She turned back to the doctor. “Take me to him?”

“Of course, just understand his appearance is unsettling.”

He opened the door to the critical care suite behind him and Holland escorted the distraught woman into the room, closely followed by the Bennett children.

Sally froze in her steps at the foot of the bed, covering her face with one hand in horror.

With the head of the bed elevated, Franklin Bennett appeared to be napping, but the large pressure dressing covering half of his head and dipping to just above his right eyebrow told a different story.

Purple bruises near his left eye and on his chin stood out against his ghostly pale complexion.

Officer Holland tried to maneuver Sally around the bed to the only chair in the room, but she pulled free, navigating around humming and beeping medical equipment to get to her husband’s side.

She bit her lip to muffle her sobs as she slid her hand under the snapped sleeve of the hospital gown and pulled it free.

Her chest heaved in a combination of relief and agony seeing the crossed rifles tattoo on his upper arm.

Sally raised her hand, tentative at first, but then smoothed his right brow.

The sebaceous cyst was there.

This was her Frankie… and he didn’t even know she was in the room.

She looked across the bed at Dr. Stanley, her eyes full of sorrow.

“There’s nothing you can do?”

He responded, keeping his tone low and even.

“It is a life-threatening injury, and to be honest with you, Mrs. Bennett, I’m surprised he’s made it this far.”

He motioned to Frankie’s hands and face.

“The coloring of his bruises leads me to believe his injuries were sustained seventy-two to ninety-six hours ago.” He paused. “He… lost a lot of blood. But I believe the position of his body and the cooler seasonal temperatures played a part in keeping him alive. That and he has the heart of a lion.”

She looked down at the love of her life in awe. The heart which almost failed him two years ago was now the only thing keeping him alive.

She reached out to caress his cheek before realizing Dr. Stanley was still speaking.

“Excuse me, Dr.?”

“I said his blood pressure is the issue. It’s far too low for your husband to make it through surgery right-”

“What? Surgery? For what?”

He sighed, glancing over his shoulder at the three detectives standing in the doorway before continuing.

“As far as we can tell, Mr. Bennett’s brain activity is normal and that’s a miracle in and of itself. But bleeding in his brain has caused swelling and pressure. If we don’t get that pressure released soon… there will be brain damage and it will be permanent.”

Sally swayed on her feet and sagged against the bed. Brian Holland was ready this time, having moved the chair to the side of the bed.

Gently gripping Sally by the shoulders, he pulled her backward until he had her in the chair.

Darrin, Carolyn, and Joanie were huddled at the foot of the bed, each with a hand touching their father. The officer got Carolyn’s attention, gesturing for her to take his place with her mother before he stepped away, joining the detectives in the doorway.

Sally didn’t notice the activity around her. With her gaze focused on her husband’s face, she addressed Dr. Stanley again.

“Is he scheduled for surgery?”

“No. We’d lose him on the table.”

She slumped in the chair and suddenly realized Carolyn was at her side. She gripped her daughter’s hand, looking for strength.

“So, what’s going to happen to my husband? He’s just going to die?”

“That’s not going to happen if we can help it, Mrs. Bennett. He’s made it this far because he’s a fighter.” He pointed to the multiple I.V. poles attached to the bed. “We’re giving him fluids, antibiotics, vitamins, and that is his third unit of blood. We have three more on standby. Once we get his blood pressure up and stabilized for one hour, he goes into surgery. The two top brain surgeons in our area have examined him and are just waiting for our call.”

A spec of optimism began to bloom in Sally’s chest.

It wasn’t the end of them… yet.

“Dr., I’d like to donate blood for my dad.” Darrin didn’t bother wiping the tears from his face.

“Yes, all of us will,” Carolyn added after exchanging looks with her sister.

“Of course, I’ll get someone to take you down to the lab for typing and matching.”

He stepped back from the bed and pulled out his phone, but Sally stopped him before he could dial.

“Until then, Dr…. until then what happens?”

“We wait, Mrs. Bennett, and pray for the best.”

She stood. Returning to Frankie’s bedside, she slipped his limp right hand between both of hers and bowed her head. Carolyn moved closer bowing her head too.

Darrin and Joanie joined hands at the foot of the bed and followed suit.

Dr. Stanley brushed past the detectives in the doorway and they followed him into the hallway.

“Doctor, what are Mr. Bennett’s chances?”

He turned to Gavin Marks.

“Det., I really-”

“Just tell us what we’re working with…please.”

The doctor removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes before responding.

“I’m being cautiously optimistic when I say 25-30%, Detective”

“Damn.”

“But he has a lot going for him… no life support needed and he’s not in a coma.”

“What? He’s not?”

“No. Mr. Bennett has responded to testing in every way… except for waking up. I’m encouraged by his strong brain activity and strong heartbeat. But the clock is ticking and the window of opportunity to save him is down to 6-8 hours.”

“Thank you, doctor.”

Brian Holland stepped back down the hall, peering into Franklin Bennett’s room. His family still stood around him with their heads bowed.

Pete Hill scrubbed his hand through his salt and pepper buzz-cut.

Gavin Marks leaned against the wall, hands shoved deep into his pockets. Marks’ head was also bowed, but he was deep in thought.

Ganson finally said what they were all thinking.

“If he doesn’t make it, we may never find the answers we need to solve our cases.”

“It’s time for some good old-fashioned police work, gentlemen.”

The law enforcement officers all exchanged knowing smirks.

“Your trial by fire continues Holland. Tell Lothern to do another search on the name Gary Sievers but include a search for the last name alone too. Ask him to pay special attention to smaller towns and to put names on the info requests… make someone sit up and take notice.”

Holland pulled out his cell and stepped away.

“What are you thinking, Marks?”

“The answers are staring us in the face. I think once we confirm the identity of Sievers or whomever he is, everything will fall into place. We’ll solve our case, your case, and there’s a real chance we could learn the identity of the Senior Citizen Rapist.

Let your captain know we’re working together, Ganson, then we need to pay a visit to your crime scene.”

*

The detectives never got back to the apartment where Franklin Bennett was found that night.

An alert patrolman spotted a late-model Ford reported as stolen abandoned two blocks from the Ramirez home.

A routine retrieval and impound became evidence when an inspection of the vehicle’s contents turned up a name on the priority list.

Sievers.

 

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved