Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chapter 7 - "Clues to a Ghost"


by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

Chapter 7 – “Clues to a Ghost”

What windows there were in this basement room had been painted over so that none could see into the hidden lair of The Masked Ghost.

Margaret and her husband Donald Randolf found themselves enraptured with curiosity as they explored the hideout of the vigilante she had only hours before discovered to be her brother and who now laid dead several feet above their heads.

But down here Adrian Brown didn’t exist; there was only The Masked Ghost.

Here were the secrets he had kept from them, from the world. Everything seemed so chaotic in this cold dungeon chamber, and yet the more they explored they found order in everything.

Finally the couple looked to one another.

“What are we suppose to do with all this?” Margaret asked.

“He wanted us to find his killer.”

“But how?”

“He directed us to come here. Cabbie knew we had to come here. So there must be clues in all this,” he gestured to everything around them, “Seemed quite certain we’d be able to find the answer.”

“But what if we can’t?”

“We will, honey,” he hugged her, “we must.”

Margaret looked about her. “Where do we start?”

Donald moved to the table and the wall hangings, “these are rather impressive blueprints. Maybe he thought I could make something out of them. Why don’t you look through those journals? Maybe you’ll see something only a sister could.”

He watched as his wife went over to the shelves of books and pulled one down. Margaret was trying to be strong but Donald knew she was hurting on the inside.

Looking down at the paperwork before, Donald sorted through sheets of notes. Adrian was obviously a stickler for order and research; he had his very own form of the Dewey Decimal System. Each sheet of paper had markings at the top corner, whether they were news clippings, photographs, city documents, or his own hand written notes. Through the pages were references using those letters and number that cited other pages in his collection. Here was a location, here a photo of that location. Here a news article about a gang land killing, here the bios of each victim and the suspects, and even the police involved in the investigations.

Donald turned to blueprints. They were of a building that would dwarf the Empire State Building, and having worked on it this struck Donald’s pride. He hadn’t heard of any such building, but then he had been away from construction for some time now and lost contact with most of the men he had worked with. Again he realized how different a world he lived in now. He loved Margaret deeply and was starting to feel like part of her family, but it was so different from world he had come from.

He shuffled through more pages, and came across a list of names.

“I know some of these men,” he said quite surprised.

He dug through a pile of photographs and found the codes that matching names on the list.

The first that he recognized was Herbert J. Wolf of the architectural firm of Salmon, Wolf, and Dallas. The firm’s name was stamped on the blue prints. Donald’s construction company had once put a bid in with them, but they weren’t willing to pay what he asked.

Next was Philip Eken’s of the city’s development agency. Donald hadn’t worked with him but knew he had replaced their government go to man back from when he was working.

The third was Jacob Saul who was currently leading a unionization battle of several construction sites. Donald had nothing against the labor movement, but didn’t like Saul’s tactics when he approached their company.

Beneath Saul’s name and description was listed Petras Nikolas who had worked for Donald before he got married. The man’s family had emigrated from Greece. Not only was he a good worked, he understood running the company. So Donald expected the man to do quite well for himself.

There was a hand written note next to Nikolas’ name. ‘Must find a way to ask Donald about him.’

But his brother-in-law never did get the chance to ask him about his former colleague. Now Donald wondered exactly what Adrian had been thinking.

He kept reading through the names and descriptions. There were a lot of other names he knew vaguely from the construction industry, but a lot more he had no idea who they were. But there was one that he knew, not personally or from business, but a name that had gotten more press then the ‘The Masked Ghost.’ Joe ‘Crackers’ Castella a local mob boss the police hadn’t been able to pin anything on but the press loved to talk about. Beneath ‘Crackers’ name was a hand written note: Needs to be taken care of, but not connected to primary investigation.

For the next hour he read through all the notes related to the planned Wolf building and the associated names. It was too much. Donald worried that all this was part of another novel Adrian was writing, but he knew too much about the underpinnings of the New York construction trade just to be making it up.

“Dear,” Margaret spoke, but had to say it a second and then a third time before Donald finally looked at her. He had been so deep into his thoughts.

“Think I found something,” she held up a red binder different from the rest, “It’s Adrian’s journal… or I guess, the Masked Ghost’s journal about Sheila’s death.”