This retro diary is a supplement to The Demon Chronicles series, Volume I through Volume V.
This diary goes back four years to a time when Franklin Marsh, Kevin Ap-Rhys and Marcia Landon barely knew each other. Kevin and Franklin have just started working for their FBI supervisor, Don Padre. They prove to be a handful when they team up as partners for the first time. They are led into dark places they never wanted or planned to go into.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The Retro Diary: Part III
This is a serial mystery thriller. Look for a new installment every Wednesday! Enjoy.
“What the hell is Percival Windsor trying to
do? He tied Barbara Bain and a horribly mutilated male to a pile of pitch
soaked railroad ties. Oh Gahh... they... they are drenched in gasoline. Both are
still unconscious, but they move and groan from time to time, indicating that
the drug or gas is wearing off. Percival Windsor obviously plans to light them
up and then escape, using the burning lumberyard as a cover. I just feel sick.
We could go up in flames trying to help them. Now that’s a cowardly thought and
I need to stop. Just do it, Franklin. Come on. You’re a Marine.”
summarizing the situation and trying to prepare himself for action. He did not
want to move.
he scrambled onto the pile, followed by two SWAT team members who followed his
at the ropes that bound Barbara Bain to the pile, wondering when the whole pile
was going to burst into flames. In desperation, the SWAT team leader hacking
away at the ropes binding the severely mutilated male, screaming as he tried to
avoid further injury.
blanket on this... uhm... man!” The team leader screamed after he cut the
“Where is Agent Ap-Rhys?” Franklin yelled.
He got no reply. “I can’t use my radio! It would send us all to hell.”
He knew that someone fired several shots, but who
did it? “Talk to me!” he screamed as he frantically sawed the remaining ropes
and hoisted Barbara Bain off the wood. He carried her well away from the pile
and handed her over to the team.
her down now! We all have gasoline on us, but she is soaked! We need a hose...”
was not far away when he regained consciousness. His body felt frozen, as if a
giant boulder landed on him and smashed every one of his bones. He knew that
something nasty was stuck in his upper back. He glared at the advertisement, rolled
his eyes to the right and saw a figure moving in the dark. It was Percival and
he was carrying a gas can.
“He will pour that gas into the trench,”
Kevin’s mind was screaming at him and his stomach took a nasty twist. “What
have I done with my life? Am I ready to die like this, alone and useless? I
can’t do this. I can’t let him do this to me.”
He already knew that the trench was sloped
to make the gas flow quickly and meet up with the woodpile and had severed the
trench in one place.
“I almost stopped him! I have to finish
this before I die,” He was in shock now and felt nothing, not pain or sadness.
Percival seemed to be unaware that Kevin was
Kevin moved his right arm and managed to
get his radio to his mouth. He pressed the button, "SWAT... Don’t shoot
yet! There is gasoline everywhere." He hissed into his radio.
"Y see a for... lift? Any..?”
The radio squawked. Percival did not
Kevin lifted his head, trying desperately not
to vomit or pass out from whole new waves of nausea. He saw the cumbersome, heavy-duty
“I see...!” he hissed. The forklift was
only five feet away, but it may have well been ten miles away.
“Get someone over here... cut... trensh!
He... fill ... petrol!” He took a deep breath and squirmed around, each move
sending new waves of nausea and pain through his body. He hissed into his
“Cover m... me! Shoot... in the arms... do
not hit trench. I... I... go for fork... lif..!"
He prepared to blast into movement,
knowing that he would have to keep going once he started. There could be no
stopping. His left arm was useless, so he used his right hand to grab a leather
glove and jam it into his mouth. He took a shallow, hitching breath, and slithered
over to the forklift. He dragged himself up and into the driver's seat and turned
the key. Percival still could not see him in the dark.
The forklift failed to start. Moaning
softly, Kevin tried again and the electric motor caught. Thankful for power
steering, he managed to turn the balky machine 180 degrees and bear down
on the trench.
"Kevin! What are you doing?" Franklin had dashed around the woodpile in a
desperate search for his partner. He was about twenty feet away when he saw
what was happening.He screamed into
Kevin could barely talk. His mouth was
full of leather glove. He snatched the glove out of his mouth.
Percival definitely did not expect to see
Kevin, alive, filthy, bloody and bearing down on his trench! He dropped the
gasoline can and froze at the sight. He recovered and reached for his weapon just
before both of his shoulders exploded into gouts of bone, tissue and blood. The
rooftop snipers had followed Kevin’s order and hit Percival solidly, nearly
severing his arms from his shoulders.
Percival let out an inhuman scream of pain
and rage, yet still managed to drop and squirm under his SUV. The distraction
allowed Kevin to lower the tines of the forklift and sever the trench. Kevin
went back and forth, breaking up the trench until the connection was
irreparably broken. Then he spat out his glove, screamed in pain, lifted the
tines and aimed the forklift at Percival's SUV.
Stop!” Franklin had
climbed into the forklift. He was horrified to see the state of his partner.
"May... as well... kill two birds... “Kevin
screamed just before the forklift crashed into the SUV, lifting it and turning
it over. The last thing he remembered seeing was Franklin and then a starry night sky.
The Crazy Wee Hours
"He what? What was he thinking? If I had a stick,
I would beat him right now. I will beat you also, Special Agent Marsh! You get
some painkillers into him NOW! You do it if you have to pull your weapon."
Franklin had never heard Don Padre scream. His and
Kevin’s FBI supervisor was only half a mile away from the TaylorCountyHospital trauma center. He could have waited, but
Don Padre was unhappy wit Franklin and Kevin's rogue ways. He needed to prepare
them for his wrath.
Kevin was face down on an emergency room
gurney. He was strapped down and in agony. His exhausted screaming made Franklin wish he could puncture his own eardrums
with a pencil.
“This is unbearable! I can’t stand to hear
Kevin scream like that,” Franklin thought. “Why did Agent O’Donnell order
him not to get the morphine? I am ordering you to do it NOW or I will do it
myself!” he screamed.Still no one
moved. He pulled a prefilled needle out of his field pack and injected morphine
directly into Kevin’s IV. A nurse attempted to interfere and Franklin drew his weapon on her.
“No other FBI gets in here until Agent Don
“He was hit with an armor-piercing round
that is partially embedded in his back. It pierced
"The problem is this," a horrified
chief of surgery tried to calm Franklin down. "The round is an explosive
device that can detonate at any time. If it does explode, it will blow that
kid’s body apart! We have procedures for this, so you stay with him. Let the
nurse clean him up, OK?”
“You...” he yelled at the crowd surrounding
Kevin’s cubicle, “Get that surgery set up and get that special staff in here with
special body armor and shields. Give me that...” He carefully accepted then
examined Franklin’s needle. “Good! Get the anesthesiologist
in here now! Get him ready... "
The chief of surgery had children who were
older than Kevin was. Anyone younger than age 30 was another kid.
Kevin let out a brief wail and then stopped.
His chest was hitching and his breathing was becoming irregular.
“What the hell is going on here? Get some
morphine into this patient! Oh. You did? Good.” The anesthesiologist was a
former halfback for the 49ers. He used his bulk to clear unnecessary people out
of his way before checking Kevin’s vital signs.
“His heart rate and blood pressure are all
wrong! Stabilize him with...!” The anesthesiologist gave orders for the next
half hour. Kevin’s vital signs were plummeting from blood loss and shock to his
system. A new disturbance arrived. It was Don Padre, yelling at a nurse. The
nurse was the one who prevented Kevin from having the morphine.
"Now look... the government wanted
security people present before he could have painkillers.”
“Who the hell gave that order?”
“Some FBI agent named Brendan O’Donnell!”
“I countermanded that order an hour ago!
He arrived with security, lady. Didn’t you see that? Ah. I see he’s resting.
The surgical chief yelled, “Now, get him strapped
and stabilized, then prep him for surgery. From here on out, he’s MINE! NO one
gives any more orders but me! Am I clear?”
The surgeon barged out of the cubicle and ran
into Don Padre. “Look, Supervising Agent Don Padre is it? SA Marsh gave him the
morphine! I can't believe you have people who would make him suffer like
"Who gave an order not to give him
morphine, Doctor? I want a name!”
“Brendan O’Donnell... Read headed little jackass.”
Look. No one else gives orders but you and me. Do we have a deal? Nurse! Get me
a wet towel. I want to talk to this young man. You haven’t even cleaned him up."
A nurse gave him a wet towel and he
approached Kevin's narrow bed. He gently wiped the tears, snot and dirt away
from Kevin’s face.
"Thank you f’ comin... sir.” Kevin
was barely able to speak. “I hate bein’... collec...ted. I do..." Kevin had
another job where he did some highly classified work under MI6. Don Padre knew
about it and understood that Kevin required supervision when under the
influence of drugs.
“His wound and his suffering are
sickening! Yet he is still Kevin. I cannot believe the strength in this kid. The
rules never should have gone this far, and I am about to kill Brendan. He did
this out of revenge and I will track him down.”
Aloud, he said, "It's all right, kid.
You did good. You saved the woman. Percival is in surgery and will probably die.
You tipped his SUV over onto him. The surgeons are going to get this bullet out
of you and you will recover. When you are better, I am going to beat you with a
stick. Do you like that plan?"
"Yes sir," Kevin sobbed.
"Why are you happy with my plan,
"Because William is not here to kill
m..." Kevin drifted off into oblivion.
“Get Brendan O’Donnell now!” Don Padre
screamed into his cell phone. “I will kill that punk! Get him in front of me
within the next ten minutes!”
Don Padre did not stop. He made a phone
call to Washington. The other party must have picked up
right away because Don Padre started speaking in rapid, clipped tones. Franklin managed to pick up a few words...
“Utah! I want his badge and gun. He can get
them back when he is in Utah. He works for the Borsini gang. He falsely
accuses a Basque tourist. He harasses the man’s lawyer and now he’s here,
making medical decisions? I will take
care of him here. Yes. Suspended.”
He cut the call and spun around to face Franklin. “Have you been checked out?”
“I’m fine, sir.” Franklin protested. This is Kevin’s blood or
Percival’s blood. It’s not mine. I wasn’t hurt at all. We can’t lose him, sir.
“It’s an explosive round and it does not
look good, Franklin. Let’s get out of their way since Kevin is under. You have
done all you can. Let us go and talk somewhere quiet. Then you go to your motel
and clean up.”
“Right now, there is nowhere quiet, sir. Even
my brain had too much chaos going on.”
No One is Expendable
“Sheriff, when did the Chief of Police come to TaylorCounty?” Don Padre, Franklin and the Sheriff were in the
early waiting posture. The exhausted threesome sat in upholstered chairs outside
of the surgery that was set up for Kevin. A stainless steel rolling cart was
set up with a coffee maker, napkins, donuts and Styrofoam cups. Someone had
contributed coffee, a gallon of bottled water and real cream in a bowl of ice.
They refused to budge or leave Kevin alone for a
second and they generally behaved themselves. Franklin had taken a shower and changed clothes. He returned
looking guilty and uncomfortable in a sweatshirt and jeans.
A team wheeled Kevin past them and into the specially
prepared surgery. Kevin was hidden behind a curtain of Kevlar armor. The
surgical team wore bulky body armor and their grim faces showed through Plexiglas
face shields. They all looked as if they had done too many special operations
like the one that might save Kevin.
The sight made Franklin break down. The Sheriff was not much better off. Don
Padre showed no emotion. He never broke down, except in anger. He gave Brendan
O’Donnell an earful of wrath that culminated in a humiliating escort, in
handcuffs, from the hospital to the airport.
The Sheriff was miserable because it all happened on
his watch. He had no idea why the Taylor City Chief of Police would try to kill
Kevin and neither did the city government. Political chaos had broken out and
the press was in frenzy. Don Padre, the hospital director and the Sheriff
banned all nonessential personnel and visitors from an entire wing of the hospital.
Don Padre asked question after question. He wanted the
facts about the man who might have killed Kevin Ap-Rhys. His people were never
expendable. Suicide missions were compromises made by people who could not come
up with better plans.
“I have lost only one subordinate in my entire 15 year
career. I will not lose this talented young man, even if my faith is tested to
its limits. Perhaps I have taken on too much pride in myself and God is telling
me something. I pray that Kevin Ap-Rhys is not sacrificed to teach me
The Sheriff collected his facts before he spoke. “The
Chief was here when I came home from Iraq. The Mayor personally recruited him to clean up after
the Taylor City Theater Group scandal. He came in from Newark,
New Jersey and he had very impressive credentials. We were not
happy that an outsider was chosen, so you had better believe that we scoured Newark for dirt on him. We didn’t find a thing. The man was
a hero back east.
The problem was that we had experienced officers who
worked hard to qualify for that position...” He stopped. “I’m sorry.” he said,
“You don’t need to hear this.”
TaylorCountyHospital had one of the best trauma units in the state, given
the shootings, farm and vehicle accidents that happened along the I-5 corridor.
Three surgeons and several other specialists were rushed in from San Francisco, Sacramento
and Los Angeles, and not just because Kevin was a hero on that Friday
Football night. Calls came in from very high places instructing the hospital
executives that only the best would do for Kevin. He was apparently an FBI
legend who had brought some very bad people to justice. So was his partner,
Special Agent Marsh.
all three men turned their heads and stared as a stranger approached. They were
slow to react because the man should have had a good reason for being in the
area. They were shocked when the stranger turned out to be a national network personality
who somehow got past the heavy line of protection. He had the nerve to come in
with a camera operator...
"Ken Sterling... C...", the arrogant idiot
barked out orders as if his press card was a badge. He barged over to the
observation window into the surgery. "Now here’s what I need. Film that!”
He spun around to glare at the three most powerful men
in the area. I need to know what is going on here. Do any of you people have
anything to say about the..."
Both men were on the floor, handcuffed and in great
pain before they could even start whining about their press credentials.
"What part of ‘restricted area’ don't you
understand, Ken?" The Sheriff screamed. The Sheriff pulled out his radio
while Franklin videotaped the incident with his smart phone.
"Deputy Daws! Get in here and take these guys to
lockup for trespassing. Then you tell me how they got in here. And lock this
entire hospital down! Clear all nonessential people out!"
A group of deputies hauled the reporter out and police
officers after a few smacks to the head convinced him to keep his mouth shut. The
Sheriff recalled more staff to secure the hospital. Franklin requested State Police support. He had a special SFPD
arrangement where he could make such requests. Don Padre did nothing. He was
waiting for reinforcements and he had other issues to deal with.
The Sheriff left the area to exact his revenge. He
found out that the police department was at fault for the security breach. A
Sergeant named Bando Fransworth brought the celebrity news personality to the
surgery, bullying and fast-talking his way past anyone who got in their way.
Sgt. Fransworth was relieved of his weapon and badge and ejected from the
hospital. The acting chief took him to the county jail and held him for
The acting Police chief was a solid veteran who took
command of the situation.
"Hey, Sheriff. Look. I am putting my people in
place." He stopped to address a group of hand picked officers.
“Look sharp and don’t tell anyone anything! You know
how gossip travels in this town!” He turned back to the red-faced Sheriff.
“Come with me, Dan. An FBI chief needs to hear from
you. Then we can make some plans together.” He escorted the chief to Kevin’s
surgical waiting area. After introductions, the acting police chief spoke.
"I do know that Percival Windsor
established an organization in TaylorCounty, so we can only trust our old timers now. I recalled
all department reserves. I won’t let any more trouble happen."
continued. “You want to know about the Chief. He never should have gotten the
job in the first place, but the Mayor insisted on hiring him. Excuse me.” He got
up, poured a cup of coffee, returned and settled down before he resumed his
“I’m so sorry. We are all in over our heads on this.
Now. Uhm...” he took a deep breath and said, “The Chief had some very big
connections. We’re talking multi billionaires here. That theater group had more
going on than kinky sex on weekends. They were doing some witchcraft or
something. The Chief shut down the investigation because we had the killer, but
some of us wanted to go farther. I have nothing to go on, but I suspect that
Percival Windsor had a connection there.”
“Chief, you did well. Thank you for this information.
In fact, you all need to remind yourselves that you did all you could. You did
well. You saved some lives tonight.”
Two more heavily armored doctors and one of Don
Padre’s own explosives experts rushed through the waiting area and into the
surgery. A new doctor came with them. He was wearing a white medical coat and a
badge. He strolled up and joined the group.
“Good morning. I am Doctor Yap. You must be his FBI boss,
Don Padre, and you must be his partner, Special Agent and Inspector Franklin
Marsh. You, sir, are obviously the Sheriff of this county, and you must be the acting
“He produced his identification and then continued to
talk as smoothly as if he had known the men for years.
“I am Sir Kevin’s private physician...”
The Sheriff gawped.
“Yes. Inherited title.” The doctor was slightly irritated
at the interruption.
“If I may continue, I will be treating Sir Kevin after
his surgery, so I am here to observe. Right now, he is in distress. His numbers
are not good enough for surgery yet. The doctors are removing the explosive
bullet right now. Then the surgery will begin.”
Without blinking an eye, he changed track and said,
“Franklin Marsh, you need to call your father. Inspector Marsh is out of
his mind with worry about you two and your misadventures, heroes that you are.”
Franklin got up immediately and started to walk down the hall.
He stopped, turned and looked at the interloper. He shook his head and
continued down the hall.
Dr. Yap was a difficult to classify Asian man. He
spoke in a cultured British accent and appeared to be in command despite the
unusual circumstances. He had the well cared for appearance of a man who had
someone special in his life. Man or woman, it was difficult to tell.
“Is that armor sterile? They wouldn’t use old armor
would they?” Don Padre was concerned about deadly hospital infections.
“The armor was factory sealed and it is clean enough
for the removal. The problem is that Kevin went through great physical distress
from the pain. I hope that you have SA O’Donnell in a special part of Hell for
Don Padre knew better than to interrupt this man and
ask how he got his information. The doctor was clearly an MI6 agent. Kevin was
something beyond MI6, but Don Padre never questioned that part of his life.
“He is an incredibly strong, healthy and athletic young
man, but the doctors must get his blood pressure and heart rate back to
acceptable levels before they can begin.” Dr. Yap helped himself to some coffee
and then continued.
“The good news
is that the general anesthetic and removal procedure should begin at any
time now. He must be paralyzed before the surgeon attempts to remove the bullet.
We have never seen that type of armor piercing round before, by the way…”
“There are no chemical or biological agents and the
explosive is unknown!” Don Padre interrupted.”
“There is nothing unusual in his system. The round
penetrates the armor and explodes inside the body. Hitting any exposed part of
the body would have detonated the bullet and killed him. The resulting
concussive shock to the vascular system combined with brute force tissue damage
would have been enough.”
“So if that thing explodes…” The Sheriff could not
“It is not expected to explode, thank God.” Don Padre
“Kevin’s body armor damaged the round. There are no
guarantees, of course, but the odds favor the explosives expert who will remove
the round, secure it and remove it from the area without a detonation. David
Fanoy is one of the best explosives disposal experts in the world.” He stopped
and pointed at a strange apparatus that looked like a small mailbox.
“Now, do you see that odd looking box on wheels?”
“Yes. What is that?” Franklin had returned and flopped onto a seat. Don Padre
watched him closely, looking for signs of exhaustion. He said,
“That is a new type of containment vessel, Franklin. This model will handle the force of two sticks of
dynamite. David will place the bullet inside and seal the vessel. Then Kevin's
surgery can begin.”
Dr. Yap’s cell phone chirped. It was huge.
“Intrinsically safe cell phone...” he explained. “I must
take some calls. We will transport him as soon as he is ready. I have room for you
and Franklin, Don Padre.” He slipped out of the area.
Franklin rubbed his eyes and let out a long sigh. “Dad is
furious. Don Padre, I already talked to him. You know I never leave Dad
completely out of the loop. He knew that Kevin and I were after Percival
Windsor, but that doesn't matter. He's just furious because Kevin and I are
never supposed to be in any danger, anywhere or at any time. Now I have to... to
talk to Cousin William. I get his wrath, too?” He looked hopefully at Don
“He’s all yours, Franklin,” Don Padre said with a grim
“I will be in the room with you when you call.” He added no offer of help.
have my own Dad to answer to!” The Sheriff refused to make eye contact. He did
not know who William was, but it did not sound good. It was not his job to deal
with any more domineering elders than he had to.
Franklin reluctantly retrieved Cousin William’s phone number.
Cousin William answered just as the explosives technician flew out of the
surgery, grabbed the containment vessel, and dragged it inside.
loud, metallic CRUMP sounded inside the surgery.
That round was live!” Franklin yelled.
Ap-Rhys had dodged a few bullets in his lifetime, but they were nothing like
the one that was pulled from his body.
Brendan, Oh Brendan
Barbara Bain woke up in a hospital bed, blinded by
fluorescent light and swimming in a haze of pain and confusion. She tried to
yell, could only make a gargling noise. A crazy woman kept crying out and she
wondered if it was she.
She had a faint idea that the room was full of people.
A Korean rap star was on TV, wearing a red sequin suit and doing a crazy dance.
His background dancers looked like bad cheerleaders. Someone said,
“Barbara! We are here! Don’t worry! The doctors say
you’ll be fine…”
When she was able to speak instead of yodeling, she could only ask, “Wha happen
to Karaoke night and Gigolos in Paris?”
Someone said, “Oh! That must be the last thing she
remembers! Don’t worry, sweetie, I was the same way when I woke up. We all got
gassed with some sleeping stuff, but we’re going to be fine!”
other people were in various stages of recovery, including Deputy Branson. Someone
called the Sheriff, who wanted to be the first one to see his deputy.
Sheriff burst in after a twelve-minute sprint down corridors, through massive
lobbies and up several floors. The gassing victims were in the new north tower
of the hospital. Kevin was in the south tower. Most of the victims were crowded
into regular wardrooms, three to a room. The dead were in the coroner’s realm.
He barged into the deputy’s private room. “Jason! I’m
here. Don’t try to talk. You had a heavy dose of sleeping gas. You’re going to
be fine, but you’ll be groggy for a while. You are a hero. You helped us get
the bad guys and that’s all you need to know right now.”
“Thas goo…all I ‘member is a hinky guy and calling in…
then it was Karaoke nighhh...” This was all Jason could say before he dozed
Percival Taylor’s ravaged remains lay in the morgue,
under the control of the substantial countyCoroner... She had had enough of intrusions from a growing
crowd of FBI agents who brought turmoil to her orderly operation.
“Come on Dr. Jones!” one of the FBI agents yelled. “You
do what we tell you to do!”
Where the hell did you get that? TV? Junior college? You keep the press and the
locals out of here. Do that won’t you?”
I’m Special Agent O’Donnell and...”
Get out here! Move it now!” another FBI agent barged in, red faced and furious.
Coroner yelled. “You sort this out somewhere else! I don’t want to see
O’Donnell in here again or I will shoot him myself! No one gets in here or
touches the remains without my approval and that is that!”
bodies lay in the hospital morgue. Both were in terrible condition. Dr. Jones
said, “Get out! One of you in here at a time! You! Stay!”
last, red-faced agent shooed the others out of the area and barked out commands.
“Yes Ma’am, he said. “I have men posted to help you. I just need to know what
you have so far.”
man was traveling on a Belgian passport," She said.
checked his background. We think that he was Percival Windsor's attorney, but
what did he do to deserve this sadistic nastiness?”
can’t answer rhetorical questions, but this man was expertly skinned alive! The
only skin left on him is on his feet, head and hands. The effect was
similar to what a burn victim would go through. There was catastrophic blood
and fluid loss. He was also left exposed for too long. Of course, the gasoline
“The killer poured gasoline all over him after he
was... uhm... mutilated?”
“Yes. Early results indicate that he had different
drugs than the Blue Lagoon victims had. We can identify some of the drugs, but
not all of them. The man died without feeling a thing.”
“Well, this takes us to a new level," The agent
“I know the
other deceased male,” The coroner moved to the other table. “This is Henry
Barton. He’s a local good... well bad ole boy. I can say that he bears a
remarkable resemblance to your suspect, Percival Windsor, but this is not
Percival Windsor. See that tattooing?” She pointed out a wicked, ugly tattoo of
a snake emerging from a human skull that covered a quarter of Henry Barton’s
“That’s Henry Barton’s ID card. He was one terrible
guy. Local boy. Fourth generation Okie. Meth dealer. Biker. Two strikes
“Uh oh...” The agent said.
“I think we have “The Live Skinner” serial killer
“Oh my God. Didn’t he skin... what seven people while
they were alive?”
“It was more like fifty people and there is even worse