Yes, yes I can write a novel! Pt. 24

The Just War, Ch. 24

Note: We have reached chapter 24 in my novel, "The Just War." I'm writing this for the NaNoWriMo challenge of 50,000 words in 30 days. This is the rough draft, meant (hopefully) to inspire those who aspire to write novels that, if I can do it, so can they! But since it is a rough draft, there will be continuity, syntax and yes, spelling errors. I hope they don't detract too much. Enjoy!


“His name is Gary Addison and he is not a very bright individual.” It was now noon on Sunday. The time when the twenty four hours would be up was coming quickly.


“That’s a rather harsh assessment, Detective,” Vic said groggily. He was in bed and not going anywhere. His ribs were wrapped; he had a black eye and his right arm hurt every time he tried to move it.


“Perhaps,” Smithers said, looking out the bedroom window. Yesterday at this time the sky had been so dark it was almost night time. Today you could see the individual clouds. But the weather report had predicted more rain and heavy winds. “We’ve been talking to him. He’s actually been pretty cooperative. He’s not very tough.”


“Not too smart and not too tough,” Jan said, sitting in a chair in a corner and also looking out the window. The rain had seemed to lessen when she and Sue had helped capture Gary Addison, but now it seemed to be picking up again. She had a cup of tea in her hand but had let it grow cold after only a few sips. “What good would he be?”


Smithers drank his own hot coffee, savoring the taste and the heat. “He met the real kidnapper at a job they both had for a while. As you might expect, the real kidnapper thinks he’s smart, smarter than anyone else. And Gary is a classic case of a man who’s not very smart and has little self confidence. The kidnapper cultivated him as a worshipper who would do just about anything he said.”


Vic was fighting hard to keep listening but it was difficult. Still, he was trying to keep it together. “Forgive me, Detective, but it still doesn’t make a lot of sense.”


“I know,” Smithers replied. His hand was in his pocket, fingering the almost empty packet of cigarettes. “We think it’s because this is a first offense for this man.”


“The gateway, huh?” Vic asked.


“Something like that,” Smithers replied.


“So, do you have a name?” Jan asked.


“Yes, but it’s useless. He told us that his friend is named Jay MacIlhaney, but we can’t find anyone with that name anywhere in Central Indiana.”


“Addison doesn’t know where Jen is being held?” Vic asked from the bed.


“Obviously he knew where your daughter was taken. He was with her when he called us and set the whole situation in motion last night.” Smithers sighed, and then continued, “And I’m sorry to say that he still had the bottle of Risperidone on him when started questioning him.


Vic was fading, but before he went back to sleep he croaked out, “I’m sorry.” As he nodded off, a tear ran down his cheek.


Jan got up and wiped his face, studying his jaw line. She touched him, stroking his cheek and jaw. Still looking at her husband, she said to Smithers, “I’m guessing they’re not still there.”


“No, IMPD SWAT team busted into it and found it empty. It’s a rental and the name given to the owner is a fake.”


“I assume that he paid in cash every month,” Jan said.


“Yes,” Smithers replied, “That would be about the size of it.”


“You know, Detective,” Jan mused, partly to Smithers and partly to herself, “it’s hard to escape the conclusion that this took a lot of planning.”


“Yes, a lot of planning,” Smithers answered.


“But someone who took the time and had the money to do all this picks as his assistant someone who is so willing to cooperate?”


“We thought about that,” Smithers said. “We’ve checked into Addison six ways from Sunday and he checks out to be pretty much what he said he is.”


“And what’s that?”


“A working class stiff who never caught a break,” Smithers replied.


The front door opened. Jan got off the bed and went to the bedroom door, cracking it open. She looked down the hallway at the top of the stairs. “Is that you, Barry?” she called down.


“Yeah, Mom. Stacey’s with me, is that okay?” came Barry’s deepening voice from the bottom of the stairs.


“Sure, Honey. Are you two hungry?”


“Yeah, a little,” Barry said.


Jan could hear them putting stuff down on the floor, though she didn’t know what it could be. “I’ll be right down in a minute to fix you two something.”


“Thanks,” Stacey’s voice cam lilting up from the living room.


“Hey Mom?” Barry called up.


“What is it, Barry?” Jan answered.


“Is it okay if the youth group comes over and prays for us?” Barry asked.


Jan was startled by the request. As Detective Smithers watched her, she seemed unable to respond for a few minutes. She looked over at her bedside table, seeing the lamp and the phone with the digital answering machine. She also saw the Bible that had sat, unopened, since before Jen was kidnapped. With her voice catching in her throat, she called down, “Sure, Honey. That would be great.”


Turning from the door, she walked back over to the chair she had been sitting in and looked out the window again. She thought for a moment about her daughter, and her son, and her husband. She thought about all the people from church who were praying for them at that moment, and ever since it happened she was sure. She thought about her own parents, and Vic’s, who were anxiously waiting in others cities and even other states for word of their granddaughter.


What was Jen thinking? Was she calling out for Mom, or Dad, or Brother? She must be terrified, and she hadn’t had her Risperidone for over twenty four hours.


Jan sat in the chair, looking at the rain as it ran down the window, and she sobbed. A little one at first, but then it broke through, coming in waves that just wouldn’t stop. The next thing she knew was that Barry and Stacey were both hugging her fiercely; both crying along with her She put her arms around them and the three just let their emotions go.


Finally they made their way downstairs, where Smithers and Officer Yoder were checking their computers. Smithers was watching the news feeds on internet news sites like CNN, NBC and even the BBC and Reuters. Yoder was scanning the blogosphere, seeing what people were saying about the case. There was a lot of speculation, that was for certain. Barry had read some of it, but only to himself. Stacey hadn’t wanted to know, neither had her dad. And Barry didn’t want to tell his mother some of the things he had read, people speculating in bizarre and disturbing detail about what they thought the kidnapper was intending to do. Some of them seemed to get a lot of enjoyment from it, almost as if they wished they had been the one to do the crime. Yoder was still young and idealistic enough to not engage in the sort of rough, dark joking that often characterized men who had been on the force long enough to become thoroughly cynical.


Jan was perfectly capable of imagining what the bloggers were writing and had no desire at all to read any of it.


The cell phone the kidnapper had provided sat on the table next to Smithers. Jan just happened to glance at it when it rang, startling her as well as the two teen agers. She just stared at it, but Phil picked it up and brought it to her, saying that she should answer it. Nervously, she clicked on the button that opened up the communication channel.


“Good afternoon,” the distorted voice said. Then it waited for a little before saying again, “Good afternoon.”


“Uh, hello,” Jan replied. Her heart was racing a thousand miles an hour and her mouth had gone dry.


“Hello yourself,” came the cool, measured response. “Well, he’s certainly no Archie Goodwin, is he?”


“What?” Jan asked. For a moment she had no idea what the kidnapper meant.


“Addison, he’s certainly no Dr. Watson. You know, most people still think of Watson as this Nigel Bruce character,” at this Barry and Stacey looked confused. Even Jan couldn’t really place the name. Smithers had no such difficulty. “You know, Bruce played Watson to Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes.” Faces lit up with recognition. “Bruce played Watson as a kind of doddering old man, but in fact Watson was supposed to have been an army surgeon who had served in combat theaters. Not a stupid man, except when compared to Holmes. By the way, I know the police are listening to this.” Smithers put his finger up to his lips. Yoder nodded. “No response, eh?” the voice inquired. “It doesn’t matter. I know you’re there. Archie Goodwin was Nero Wolfe’s right hand man, a clever and intelligent man of action but no match for Wolfe’s genius.”


Barry started to say something but Smithers shook his head.


“Has anyone ever told you people that you have no sense of humor? Well, whatever. How many states have you lived in? I’ve only lived in one besides Indiana, myself. It was the 34th state to join our fair union. Do you have the money?”


Smithers nodded and Jan answered, “Yes, we have it. It’s laid out just the way you wanted.”


“Excellent!” the voice came back. “I’ll call you in a few hours with instructions on where to drop it off.”


“Wait, first I want proof of life,” Jan hurriedly said, before the kidnapper had a chance to hang up.


“Really? Don’t you trust me?” the voice asked.


“Should I?” Jan retorted, a little angrily in spite of her attempts to control herself.


“I’m afraid you’re going to have to. I had to give her something rather strong to keep her from bashing out her own brains against my floor. Just keep listening, I’ll call you back.” Then the kidnapper clicked off.


Jan, Barry, Smithers, Yoder and Stacey all just looked at the phone. In the distance, lightning flashed, but they didn’t see it. They did hear the thunder though.


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