The Black Butterflies: Chapter six
December 18th, 1992
Four days later.
I was in the house waiting for everyone to return. I had paced the area of the study, my room and the living room enough times, and I was sure the floor was wearing away under the soles of my feet.
I heard the cars pull into the driveway then and tried to remain as calm as possible.
I walked to the window and watched as they eventually arrived. Like everything that you wish would go faster, the dreamlike mode kicked in. I noticed also that two other cars had followed Patrick and Cassius who was now driving Arlene’s car.
Within minutes they were taking positions all over the yard and peering into the flowers and plants on the compound. Two men remained by the gate. A total of eight men, all obvious officers, had now taken up residence at the house.
I guess that meant that my walks in the garden were now off-limits.
They finally got out and I opened the door for them. I had thought about a thousand things to say before the arrival, but all that I could mutter was:
“Lady Arlene, welcome home.”
She was in a wheel chair still and Patrick rolled her in, as I closed the door. Cassius and Jayson stood closely, while taking it all in. She looked pale but other than that I guess she was fine.
The bullets had actually hit her on the bulletproof vest that she was wearing. One had actually grazed her in the shoulder hence the reason for the blood on me.
I knelt on the ground before her.
“I am sorry that I left you.” I said and held her hands. She smiled and shook her head.
“I gave you an order,” she answered.
“I should have disobeyed. I was never good at following orders,” I replied, forcing a smile of my own.
“It was either that or un-do all the work we have done so far.”
“You did well enough, under the circumstances,” Jayson said.
“How did you get there?” I asked him.
“I followed you after you sped out of here. Lost you for a while in the airport, and then saw you and Arlene heading for the parking lot.”
“Bit of luck on our part I guess.” It was all I could think of to say.
“And stupidity too I imagine,” Jayson added and I winced.
“He’s right to an extent,” Patrick intervened.
“There was no time to think. No chance to debate cowardice over bravery. Arlene needed my help and I responded in the best way that I could think of. I meant no harm.”
“Well done lad.” Cassius said speaking for the first time.
“I guess in future we need to put better security measures in place, as it seems they are willing to get to any and all of us if need be.”
“What was the point of attacking Arlene? As it stands I am supposedly dead and gone. What does Arlene or anybody else have to do with this now, for that matter?”
“Good point,” Patrick admitted.
“Unless the attack was unrelated to this present matter. Arlene might have enemies of her own,” Jayson pointed out.
“I want to thank you both for being there,” Arlene said changing the topic. “I am not easily scared, but on that day I was.”
I could think of nothing to say.
“All in a day’s work.” Jayson said and saluted. “If you guys don’t mind I need to check in with the security detail outside.”
With that he left, but not before he and Arlene exchanged looks, that seemed to discuss matters unspoken.
To say that I felt a slight hint of jealousy is an understatement. I could only conclude though, that he had saved her and me for that matter. And from time immemorial, knights in shining armor always got special treatment and the ladies too.
The losers like me got the dungeon or worse, the opportunity of looking on, in front row seat, as love develops.
For me though the guilt would not go away, no matter how much they all claimed that I did the right thing. Arlene had spent three days under heavy Police guard and last night Patrick discussed the plan to take her out and bring her home.
She would be safer here he surmised, as two men were already arrested for lurking around her ward. They claimed on the day they were lost and so they were eventually released.
The report in the press stated that an attempted kidnapping had failed at the airport, because the brave Arlene Stewart was determined not to be taken. It was also reported that the two would be attackers, were killed by Arlene herself.
Like before I had to agree that if the dead could not answer the phone, then they could not shoot back at the living either. They also quoted her as saying that she was disappointed that security at the location had failed to respond in time and failed to be of any real assistance.
That was a comment that she had thought about but had not actually made. At this stage it did not matter, she was alive and that would do for now.
“What did I miss?” She asked.
The guys started undressing and packing things away. Patrick said that he would start dinner as it was already after six. Cassius said he needed a shower and left us. I wheeled her to the window and pulled a chair up next to her.
“Are you okay?” I asked earnestly.
“Could be better,” she admitted.
“Are you aware that you are speaking slower than normal?”
“Yeah I have a killer headache.”
“Maybe you should get some rest.”
“No I have been resting for the last few days, I am okay really.”
“I am so …” I began, before she cut me off.
“Daniels it’s okay. I am okay.”
“What if you had died? I left you there, thinking that you had died.”
The tears were so close now that I looked away.
“What did I miss?” She asked again and waited for me to answer.
I cleared my throat and thought about the last few days.
“Well you know that they got Scarface and his accomplice. His accomplice died on Monday. Peter Salvary was found hanging from a belt in his cell. Scarface was released on Wednesday because there was nothing to tie him to.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well he claims that he was just making a drop off for a friend. The real issue is what should be the next smart step to take with Officer Brad Brebnor? And what exactly is Scarface to be charged with?”
“It would mean telling a story about your death and the set-up that was made.”
“Well I think that we should come clean on some of the issues. It would also be fair for the memory of Anderson,” I reasoned.
“We need to discuss this over dinner. We need a way though, for Scarface to talk about who hired him, but how?”
“I say keep him in custody and charge him with all you can. The story should remain as is, except that I remain dead.”
“So what do we charge him and Brad with, your pretend murder?”
“We need to come clean with some aspects of this like I said. We could say that Peter Nurse is guilty and he is dead so it does not matter.”
“But Daniels, once we start talking the cat’s out of the bag. Our element of surprise would be gone.”
“And what about Brad?” I questioned.
“I need to find a way to keep him in custody. Once he gets out he’ll fly.”
I hated to admit it but she was right. We were in a no win situation. Antonio ‘Scarface’ Mendez had to remain free, until we had all the loose ends tied.
After dinner we all went up to the study. Arlene took her time getting up the steps and I was on hand aid her. She got the tapes set up and her yellow pad as usual. Patrick had a thick folder in his hands and started flipping through it as we took our seats.
“Has anyone of you ever heard of Scarface, before all this began with Daniels?”
“Besides the movie?” Cassius asked.
I noticed that even in his so-called relaxed state he always wore shirts and dress pants. Strange little English culture. I was somewhat surprised that he was not a regular tea drinker. Actually he claimed that he was allergic to tea. He was probably the only Brit, who could say that.
“Well like the movie but our local version.”
Arlene and I nodded.
“Notorious gang leader, suspected kidnapper, arms dealer, you name it this guy has done it,” Arlene added.
Patrick nodded and opened the folder.
“Meet Mr. Antonio Mendez, aka Scarface.”
“You got to be kidding.”
It was more a statement than a question; his file was a few inches thick.
“Came to Trinidad eight and a half years ago and set up his illegal activities in the East. Leader of a gang called the Vikings. He’s actually wanted still in Puerto Rico for gun running. Has at least twenty gang members officially, but the records state that it is almost to a hundred unofficially.”
“And his associate Peter Salvary?” Cassius asked.
“I was just getting to that. Peter’s body was found hanging in a cell in the state prison. However he was dead a long time before he was hung up and left swinging. Peter, who was the possible second in command of the Vikings, died due to multiple stab wounds. We believe that Scarface had him killed, to make sure that the talking would not continue.”
We stayed silent for a while clearly lost in our own thoughts.
“The only person left to betray him is himself,” Cassius concluded.
“So what do we do next?”
It was a question that had been bothering me for some time now.
“Well what do we have?” Arlene asked.
“For starters, we have possible pictures of a drug deal going down on a beach. And faces that Daniels saw are clear enough to see. We have his burnt out apartment after. We have an attack in the city and two dead men. John Mc Kenzie and Michael Bennett, both members of the Vikings, ages twenty two and twenty three respectively.”
Arlene was writing furiously.
“We have an attack on Daniels and another burnt out apartment in Manzanilla. We have the dead bodies of Greg Anderson and Peter Nurse. We are still following up on the female driver, Natalie Yorke, who we think is involved with Antonio ‘Scarface’ Mendez. We have confirmed reports that they have a daughter three years old. We have a missing Dale Scott and we can confirm that the other Officer Franklin Ward has no connection with the whole matter, at least so far. We have seven dead SWAT officers and two others still in critical condition. We have possible implications of the Attorney General and a High Court Judge, who are both related directly to two of the officers involved. We have Officer Brad Brebnor, implicated as the one who helped orchestrate the possible murder of Daniels and the murder of Greg Anderson. And Antonio Mendez as his accomplice, along with the now late Peter Salvary. On the last two they claim to be simply deliverymen. But they are men that conveniently forget their boss’s name.”
“Then we have the attack at the airport,” Cassius continued.
“Right and two more dead Vikings.”
“How do we know that they are indeed Vikings?”
“Police intelligence,” Patrick said and left it at that.
“That brings us here.”
“And right back to my question as to what we do next?”
“We put Antonio Scarface under surveillance. If we get lucky he will stick around and we would be able to get his girl, Natalie Yorke. If he makes any attempt to leave the country we bring him in.”
“On what charge?”
“The murder of Greg Anderson and Peter Nurse.”
We all nodded.
“He is an accomplice. If he does not give us luck or his boss in one week he takes the fall. We have enough evidence on him with that one,” Arlene continued.
“We also charge him with the attack at Woodford Square and the one at attempted kidnapping at the airport.”
“Enough to keep him on ice.”
“And without bail.”
“We need to put out all we have, to bring in Dale Scott and we need to re-interview his father and the AG.”
“The file here has all that I just mentioned except Daniel’s pictures, and the tapes that we have made so far. The burning questions are after all this is who do we take this file to, how big is it going to be in the end and who’s going to be alive, or part of the dead bodies picture section on the inside?”
No one answered those questions. The last one I think was the one which haunted us the most. It was the one we all wanted to avoid at all cost. It was the one that gave me nightmares and kept sleep away.
“There is one more thing that we keep forgetting.” Cassius stated as a matter of fact. “We still have to find the main players behind this all. As we speak now, all the characters on the board are pawns, with maybe one or two big players, but my good friends, we still need to bring in the King.”
It was the first time that I did not feel like killing the old English detective after his statements. As long as the key players remained in the game checkmate remained impossible.
It was time that I told them the truth. I knew who the King was.
Arlene and I went out onto the patio again, after the meeting in the study. We got our blankets and settled in the chairs. She was in more pain than she wanted to admit and I had caught her grimacing occasionally.
It was 11:35 pm and we could see the outline of two of Patrick’s men in the yard below.
“So you were worried about me?” She asked first.
“Yes,” I admitted. “When I left I thought that you were dead. I was in shock and even while I spoke to Patrick I felt strangely detached from my body.”
“I thought that I would die to,” she said and looked away to the sky.
It was dull and all the stars and the moon were missing. More rain for certain.
“Promise me that you will never put me through something like that again.”
“Okay,” she said and half smiled.
“I needed to use Patrick’s sleeping tablets to get me through those nights, and even then sleep never hung around for more than five hours,” I confessed.
“I know how it goes.”
“Every time I went to sleep, I kept hoping to wake up and it would still be Saturday and you would still be okay before your trip.”
We were silent for a while.
“All I did was pray, and I was wrong about something the last time we talked.”
“I was not ready to die.”
I saw the tears slowly roll down her cheeks and her lips quivered ever so slightly. I drew my chair closer to hers and cautiously held her hands in mine.
“We were not ready to let you. I prayed a lot for you too and I cried.”
“Why?” She asked.
“The tears or the prayers?”
“Because it was not your time to go,” I admitted.
“And you would know?” Arlene challenged.
She turned and faced me then. She was indeed beautiful and in the light that was just enough for me to see the very curve of her face, she smiled.
“We were lucky,” I said backing down. Her hands felt warmer now and I could feel the warmth of her breath, so close to me.
“What do you dream?” She asked suddenly.
“You always ask the strangest questions,” I admitted.
“And you always half-way answer.”
I released her hands. I knew that I had danced closer than ever to a strange connection with her. I had looked at the line and instead of crossing it, I had backed down. I had no idea why but I was in the habit now of following my instinct. It had served me well so far.
“You asked me the last time if I believed in God and I said yes. How was that a half-way answer?”
“I believe in him. At times I wonder about him, how he thinks, how certain actions make sense to him and not to anyone else. How he decides who lives and who dies and when and how? You know? Where is he at times and why do we call him and it feels like we are shouting into emptiness?”
“At times he answers, yes?”
“Yes. He does.”
“I guess my grandmother was right. I had asked her questions like that before and she had said that God wonders the same thing about how we think, how certain actions make sense to us and not to anyone else. How he shows us so much of his magic, his wonder, and his genius seemingly screaming at us to recognize that he exists and all we do is leave him in the silence.”
“Makes him sound human,” she said solemnly.
“Maybe he feels more than we think. Maybe he hurts like we do. Maybe the part about us being in his image and likeness runs deeper than we imagine.”
We simply took in the silence then. It was not uncomfortable, just the type where the brain needed the few seconds of quiet to soak, to understand, to believe.
“What do you dream?” I asked.
“Before, that I died leaving daddy alone, crying in the darkness, afraid of what the next day would bring.”
“That I die and leave you alone.”
“Crying in the darkness and afraid?” I asked seriously.
“Yes,” she admitted.
We said nothing more to each other for the rest of the night.
Editor’s Note: Wired868 has been authorised to publish excerpts from Kirk A Inniss’ maiden novel, The Black Butterflies for readers. Click HERE to read from Chapter One, Part One.