Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chapter 25 – “The End for a Ghost”


by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

Chapter 25 – “The End for a Ghost”

Donald Raymond was hanging up the phone when his wife entered their penthouse apartment. Margaret laid a large garment bag and hatbox on the chair in the entranceway. The woman loves to shop, her husband thought.

She turned to give her husband a kiss.

“We have guests,” Donald stopped her before it became more than a smooch.

“Oh, hello,” she said, entering the living room to find a couple sitting on the couch. Both looked tired, nervous, and somewhat scared. It was Mr. and Mrs. Brewster.

Margaret took a seat across from them and tried to hold a pleasant smile. Here were the people that blamed her brother for the death of their daughter. Even though she knew the truth, she wasn’t certain how she felt for them. Mr. Brewster didn’t look so old as he had days earlier when she helped him escape Spade’s warehouse building moments before it exploded.

“That was police detective Monroe on the phone,” Donald said as he sat next to her.

“He wanted to let us to know that city inspectors are going over every construction site where Spade might have had explosives implanted. So far they’ve come across six, but are having no trouble removing them.”

“Thank God,” Mr. Brewster said and put his head in his hands.

“The hardest problem they’re having is keeping it all a secret. No need terrifying the rest of the city. Monroe also says they aren’t finding evidences that would connect you to Spade or his criminal plans.”

“Haven’t yet?” Brewster’s wife asked nervously.

“No, I think he said ‘aren’t’ and I believe he’s making certain nothing will be found to be connected to your husband.”

The woman narrowed her eyes at that.

“Pardon me,” Margaret spoke up, “but I have to ask, what got you involved with such a terrible man?”

“My husband is a good man,” the woman was insulted.

“Quiet dear. She needs to know what caused all this to happen.” Brewster finally looked up at the others.

“I met Spade through some business associates of mine. Guess it was over two years, now. Suggested that Imports would be a good investment. But it soon turned out not to be, but by then I had invested so much that it was hard to get back out without loosing it all.

“So I went to Spade and said I was pulling out my investment, he blackmailed me by telling me exactly what his company had been doing. That if I stopped funding his agenda he would let it be publically known that I was funding a criminal organization. That I was the money behind their crimes, that even though I had never known it, the police and the press would claim my hands were as stained as the rest of his organization.”

“How did Sheila get involved,” Donald asked.

“It wasn’t long before Spade began inviting himself into the rest of my life. Even coming over for dinners. That way there would be clear evidence I had a relationship with the criminal if it ever became public. He was intent of keeping me in his grasp, and my money would keep flowing.

“Both my wife and daughter realized something wasn’t right with our now frequent visitor.”

“We could tell that he was upset ever time Spade would show up,” Mrs. Brewster interjected, “But he told me to let it be and everything would be fine.”

“My wife was willing to remain quiet, but Sheila wasn’t. She didn’t like this man invading our lives. Against my instructions she began investigating him. She got close to discovering the truth a couple of times. I was so happy when your brother Adrian showed up and asked her to marry him; perhaps then she’d stop trying to learn more about Spade. But no, she kept at it. Then one evening when Spade was at the house, she confronted him with what she knew. He simply laughed at her and said ‘what’s for dinner’. A week later, she was dead.”

He lowered his head for a moment, and then looked up at Margaret.

“We should have never blamed Adrian for her death, but we were terrified of what would happened if the police were involved. Spade had already introduced us to Dodds, so we had no idea who to trust. It took a visit from the Masked Ghost for me to realize that.”

They were all looking at him when said that.

“Can you forgive us?”

Margaret didn’t really know how to respond, and then finally spoke.

“I think I would have liked Sheila. Sounds like she really fought for her family. Hope I would do the same, just like Adrian.” She gave them a smile.

“I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to your brother,” Mrs. Brewster said, “did that really happened because of us as well?”

Her husband shifted in his seat, but said nothing.

“Well, the police seem to be slowly investigating that as well,” Donald answered, “though some believe he was killed by the Masked Ghost. Don’t know how they got that idea,” he glanced at Margaret who shrugged apologetically, “but it’s at least a story that no one will be able to prove or disprove. Because that vigilante is gone for good.”

Still feeling uncomfortable, the Brewsters eventually excused themselves. Margaret tried to be as kind to them as she could, “Please, if there’s anything you need, don’t hesitated to call,” though part of her prayed they would never call.

“I need a drink,” Donald said after the door was closed. As he headed into the other room, Margaret picked up her shopping and carried it into the bedroom

After mixing himself a drink Donald walked through the house and found himself staring at the French doors of their penthouse balcony. It was a warm evening, without a cloud in the sky. He wasn’t looking at the weather, but at the doors themselves. How long had it been since that stormy night when the wind blew them open and changed their lives forever?

“What do you think,” Margaret spoke a few minutes later when she entered the room.

He took a sip of his drink and turned towards his wife to see what the latest evening gown was she had purchased.

Donald was stunned and didn’t know what to say. Margaret posed before him in a long, yet fitted, red trench coat and a matching wide brimmed hat.

“It’s nice,” he fails at giving her a compliment, “but they aren’t expecting rain for the rest of the month.”

“It’s not for the rain, silly. Don’t you think this goes much better with that scarlet mask?”

It took him a second to catch on.

“No! No way. The Masked Ghost is gone. I’m not doing that again, and neither are you. It’s over!”

“What about all those people the Masked Ghost helped?”

“That was Adrian. He was able to help them, we can’t.”

“But there are others that need the same time to help.” She pulled off the hat.

“I said no!” He turned and walked away.

Margaret felt hurt; she took off the coat and laid it on the couch along with the hat. She wanted to do something to remember her brother, to keep all his work alive.

Eventually she took a firmer stance and spoke again.

This city is protected

Donald froze in his steps at the sound of the Masked Ghost’s whispery voice. He thought Margaret and the others were back at the taxi when he gave his little melodramatic speech to Spade in the guard shack. He had hoped it would scare the villain from doing such a thing in the future. He didn’t intend to keep running around in a mask, had he?

His shoulders slumped and he looked down at the tile floor where he had spent hours scrubbing away the bloodstains.

Finally, Donald spoke, but couldn’t look at her.

“I promised your father, I promised your brother that I would protect you.”

Margaret moved around him.

“When did you promise Adrian?”

He didn’t have an answer for her. Couldn’t tell his wife that her dead brother had visited him in a dream and made him promise to look after her. In the same dream Adrian seemed intent that Donald would remain the Masked Ghost. It was only a dream. His head was getting beaten in after all. Yet, was his subconscious telling him something? Was he supposed to be the Masked Ghost? He didn’t want to be the vigilante. No one should want to do the type of thing.

“It’s wrong and far too dangerous. We’re not talking about this again!” He dropped into his chair and snatched up the evening newspaper as if to create a barrier between them.

Margaret wanted to yell at him, but couldn’t. In a huff she sat on the couch across from. She stared at him, as if she could burn holes through the paper. It felt oddly familiar, like a night only days ago, as she scanned the headlines of the paper he held up to ignore her.

The Masked Ghost had all but vanished from the papers now. The terrible fire at the import house on the side of the river was now a small story at the bottom of the page. The main stories were about Roosevelt’s attempt at economic recovery and how others were opposing him.

There was also one other story.

Above the fold was a headline that read:


The story told of how the police had a ‘lack of evidence’ in the death of one of Mr. Castella’s ‘business rivals.’

“Hey, wasn’t that man’s name in Adrian’s notes?” Margaret said aloud, “Yes, I remember now. Once he knew Castella wasn’t involved in Sheila’s death he put the name aside to investigate later.”

Donald tried to ignore his wife, but curiosity finally won and he turned the paper around to read the story she had indicated. Margaret was right, ‘Crackers’ Castella had been listed in… in the Masked Ghost files.

The news story left little doubt of the crime. The victim’s skull had been crushed like a handful of crackers. Which was Castella’s trademark. However, the gangster was either good at covering his tracks, had some very well paid lawyers to get him off, or there was police officers on his pay role. After what the Raymonds had just been through, that was very likely.

He stared at the paper for a couple of minutes more, not really reading, then looked up at his wife. She was sitting on the edge of her seat, very anxious, but not saying anything. He knew what she was thinking, because he had the same thoughts, and it scared him.

Donald slowly folded up the newspaper and laid it on the side table, his drink long ignored. Decisively, he stood up.

“Margaret,” he said sternly.

“Yes, dear?” She joined him.

“Get your coat.”

In the next edition of the newspaper, the Masked Ghost was once again steeling the headlines, as was his beautiful and allusive companion, the Scarlet Spirit.

Only the beginning.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chapter 24 - "Funeral For A Ghost"


by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

Chapter 24 – “Funeral For A Ghost”

Margaret Raymond was screaming, and she couldn’t stop.

Only seconds before she had witnessed the warehouse of Spade Imports and Exports explode in a massive ball of fire. Inside was her husband Donald dressed as the Masked Ghost.

Days ago her brother Adrian had been killed while wearing the costume of the vigilante and now Donald.

She started running towards the burning warehouse. Cabbie and the police detective Monroe grabbed hold of her and pulled her away.

“Wow, girl, you’ll get yourself killed.”

“Sorry, there’s nothing we can do for him now.”

Brewster just stood off to the side, unable to do anything for anyone.

Margaret glared at them in anger and struggled to get loose. She was nearly free when the remaining front wall of the warehouse burst into flames and collapsed towards them.

They all dove into the guard shake for cover. Miraculously the little box withstood the blast. As the smoke cleared, they stepped out and looked at the burning remains of the building.

That’s when they saw it.

Something moved among the flames. A dark shape grew and became a figure. A ghost emerged from the burning wreckage: The Masked Ghost.

He struggled to climb through the debris while dragging the unconscious body of Spade behind him.

“Donald!” Margaret ran forward wanting to throw loving arms around him. But he held up a hand to stop her as he dropped Spade in a relatively safe place and than pulled off his still burning overcoat. Once that was tossed aside he took his wife into his arms and kissed her. It was a kiss neither wanted to end. They were alive, and at that moment nothing else in the world matter.

When they finally broke apart, but not letting go, they found one of the other masked men kneeling over Spade’s body.

“He’s still alive,” Detective Monroe said, quite surprised, “What happened to Dodds?” The guy was a traitor to his uniform, but he was still a fellow cop.

“He was pretty messed up, and started shooting wild. I had just gotten the fat man to cover when one of his bullets struck just the right crate and everything went up,” Donald paused for a moment and then turned to the others.

“None of you ran back in after I gave orders to stay out.”

“No, why?” They all shook their heads in the negative.

“Nothing I guess,” Donald turned back to the burning building and wondered exactly what happened in there. From there he looked down at the bodies of Spade and his hitman.

After a moment he turned back to the others with resolve.

# # #


Spade awoke to find himself tied up. Next to him, his hitman remained asleep. He didn’t even know the man’s name; he did the job he was paid to do.

They were inside the grungy guard shack; through the door he could see the smoldering remains of the warehouse, of his company.

“Look! See the ghost that is all you built with your evil and greed.”

The Masked Ghost stood over him. In this light there was no way of knowing which of the masked men it was. Sirens wailed in the distance.

“The police will be here soon. You are being left for them. They won’t like finding the body of one of their own. If you survive them I’d suggest you get out of New York and never come back.”

“This city is protected!”

# # #

Two days later there was a funeral for Adrian Brown.

Margaret oversaw a lot of the preparations so her mother wouldn’t have to, but at the service the woman was very strong. She broke into tear over the loss of her son, but she showed great strength for her family. However, it was Margaret who became the backbone for the family as her father remained cold and distant. You could see it in his eyes; the son is not supposed to die before the father.

Dozens of people showed up at the church and at the cemetery. Family members, friends, fellow writers, and editors; even a few publishers who had printed his stories. As horrific as it was, his books were selling more now as people learned that the author had died so tragically. There were even a few ‘celebrities’ whom Adrian had interviewed in the past paid their respects.

Donald had even noticed that Mr. and Mrs. Brewster stood a distance away from the gravesite. They couldn’t bring themselves to approach the mourning family, not after what they had accused Adrian of. Plus Brewster knew the truth, even if his mind hadn’t solidified the idea yet. Donald would have to talk with him later.

“Raymond,” Margaret’s father came up to him when the graveside service had concluded.

“Yes, sir,” Donald said. He kept an eye on Margaret with her mother as they talking with others who began to disperse and head for their cars.

“I expect you in the office Monday morning.”

Donald was stunned that his father-in-law would think of work at a time like this, but it was so much like him. Holding in all that emotion.

“Of course, sir,” he replied. He’d be at work as requested, just to prove his commitment to the company and the family.

“You need to be strong, Raymond,” the older man sounded harsh, but then his voice broke, “I need you to be strong, Donald,” he never called him by his first name.

Donald remained silent.

“I need you to be strong. Be strong for Margaret,” suddenly he was breaking and was doing his best not to cry, “be strong for her. She’s all we have now. Promise me you will protect her.”

“I will, sir. I promised Adrian I would, and I promise you. I will do everything I can to see that Margaret is safe.” He had never seen the old man emotional, and this was the closest he’d ever get. It was a shocking sight, but he would never see it as a weakness.

That night Cabbie drove Donald and Margaret back to Adrian’s neighborhood, a pub less than a block away from his apartment.

The bar was full of people, nearly as many as those who were at the cemetery. Most of these people didn’t know Adrian Brown or anything about his family. As Margaret and Donald would find out, these people only knew the Masked Ghost. In one-way or another, he had saved them all.

One by one, or couples, or small families, they all approached the Raymond’s and told them what the Masked Ghost had done for them.

A Jewelry story owner who had been robbed of thousands of dollars worth of diamonds, told how the next morning the gems were back where they belonged and the thief tied up out front waiting for the police.

A woman with a little girl, holding her hand tightly, told of how the mystery man had run into their burning apartment and rescued her three-year-old daughter before the firemen would arrive.

A man said that he had been distraught after loosing his job, and attempted suicide, but the Masked Ghosted dragged him from the rapids of the river beneath the bridge. The man now had a new, better job.

The people kept coming, each new story as heroic as the last.

Margaret couldn’t hold back her tears as she saw just how many people her brother had helped, even if wearing a mask, in only one year.

When the last person came up to them, and the last story was told, the party (for that was what it was, a wake for the dead,) ended and the crowd headed out into the street. Each going their own way into the darkness of the city.

The bartender was cleaning the last mug (he himself had been saved from a protection racket who wanted him to pay for just having his store open) as Cabbie escorted Donald and Margaret back out to his taxi.

Before they got in, Margaret spoke, “Cabbie, I have to ask, what did Adrian… I mean the Masked Ghost do for you? How did he ‘save’ you?”

The driver was silent for several moments. Margaret glanced at her husband.

“I’m sorry. You don’t have to say anything,” she said as they climbed into the car.

“That’s okay,” he started the engine, “the Masked Ghost save me from killing my wife.”

The Raymond’s were stunned silent.

After a few minutes the taxi reached a stop sign and Cabbie turned in his seat and looked back at Donald.

“Where to now, boss?”

To be concluded…

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chapter 23 - "A Ghost Goes to War"


Chapter 23

“A Ghost Goes to War”

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

“Come on, Mr. Brewster, run!” Margaret Raymond grabbed the man’s arm and pulled him away from the fight. She experienced the same problem her husband did with the mask; her peripheral vision was slightly blocked as she searched for an exit from the warehouse. Once found, Margaret dragged the older, distraught, man outside.

Halfway across the yard Brewster’s legs gave out from under him and he fell to the ground. Tears began to flow. The terror of the night had gotten to him.

“We have to get out of here,” Margaret said, feeling small inside her brother’s costume.

He looked up at her with confusion, “I thought the Ghost was…”

She could see it in his eyes, he had known the Masked Ghost was her brother, but Adrian was now dead and four other people were running around in the costume.

Margaret knelt in front of him, and pulled off the hat and mask, “Look. Everything is going to be okay. But we have to move--”

“Sheila?” He said in confusion, looking into the face he saw as his own daughter, “I’m so sorry. There wasn’t anything I could do to stop them. I tried. You shouldn’t have screamed at Spade. I’m so sorry. So sorry.”

Margaret felt for him as he thought of his dead daughter. He wasn’t going to move any further, so she held him and looked back towards the warehouse as gunshots echoed and she prayed none would strike her husband.

That was when she heard a crunch of gravel behind her. Slowly looking over her should, she found a tall man in black pointing a gun at her. His face bloody from a beating the Masked Ghost had given him less than an hour before. Margaret didn’t need to know this was the man who had killed the accountant and attacked her husband. She did know he would not hesitate to kill them both.

= = =

Chaos ensued with in the warehouse. As the three masked men pursued the criminals between the crates of explosives, the echoes of their footsteps and their shouts made it sounds like an army had invaded the building.

Donald Raymond didn’t like to fight, but had done so in the past. As a kid he got into many scraps with the neighborhood bullies, and later, on the construction sites, fought off those who would threaten his men. He didn’t always win, but none of those battles had ever involved gunfire.

His fist struck one of the guards, who went down after multiple poundings. That’s when the guns got involved. Donald turned to find Detective Dodds’ revolver pointed at his head.

“You should have left it alone, Raymond,” the detective cursed at the man under the mask, “my job was nearly over. Working for Shade would just guarantee a quite retirement with a little extra money. You’re destroying all that.”

Donald had no response as the trigger of the revolver was pulled back.


Dodds fell to the floor with a thud.

Donald looked around to find another Masked Ghost holding a large plank of wood now broken from where it had struck the back of Dodd’s head.

“There you go boss.”

“Uh, thanks.” Donald said and then smiled, as he now knew whom this Masked Ghost was. That accent was unmistakable. But he still had no idea who the other one was. The one who was quite ready to use his guns.

“No guns!” He shouted across the warehouse, he ran towards the third Masked Ghost and Cabbie followed in his own mask.

“These men wouldn’t hesitate to use their own,” said the other Masked Ghost as Donald tried to figure out who it was, “your brother wasn’t opposed to the use of weapons.”

That disturbed Donald, but he couldn’t waste time on it now, “I’m here in this mask now, and I say no guns. Besides, there’s so much explosives in this place that one stray bullet could send us all to hell!”

The other Ghost seemed to think that was a good argument and put his weapons away, then gave a thin secretive smile which told Donald that he was Monroe, the police detective from Adrian’s crime scene. He wasn’t certain what to think about a police officer that condone the vigilante actions of the Masked Ghost, or one who loved using his guns so freely.

But Donald didn’t have time to dwell on that as he spotted the remaining guard. Moving cat like over a couple of crates and he leapt down on the guard. Slammed into the floor, the guard was no longer a threat.

Looking up at his two masked companions Donald gave an order, “Get out of here now, and make certain Margaret is safe. I’m going after Spade.”

“You’ll need backup,” Monroe said from behind his own mask. Both men looked eager to continue this fight.

“I said go! Now!” The Masked Ghost leapt to his feet.

Cabbie nodded and gave a smile that recognized that Donald was finally taking to the part of the Masked Ghost well. He then pulled on his partner’s sleeve and nodded towards the exit. No more arguments were made.

As they made their escape, the Masked Ghost headed further into the darken pathways between the massive crates.

Coming around a corner, he found Spade moving about as if lost, with a panicked express on his fat face.

“Trapped with in your own maze.”

The Masked Ghost spoke as he approached the crime boss.

“The ghosts of this city will not let you destroy it.”

“Stay away from me,” Spade shouted, scared for the first time in his sorry life.

The Masked Ghost leapt forward and grabbed hold of the man.

Donald had intended to drag him out of here, but now the Masked Ghost was ready to pummel the fat man for everything he had done. For the poor accountant, for Sheila who had stood up for her father, for Adrian who sought justice, and for Margaret—

Wait. Why for Margaret? His wife was safe outside. She wouldn’t want him to do this. Donald’s conscious regained control, this was wrong. The delay in his actions was enough to turn the tide.


Dodds was moving down the corridor, stumbling against the crates, one hand on his head where he had been struck, and the other outstretched with the revolver wavering at the Masked Ghost.

Believing help had arrived, Spade pushed The Masked Ghost away and towards the oncoming instrument of death.

“You are going to die and stay dead, if it’s the last thing I do,” Dodds said.

Donald could see how woozy the detective looked, his eyes weren’t focusing. The blow to the head obviously had caused a concussion.

There wasn’t anywhere for the Masked Ghost to run, so Donald was going to see this to the end.

“You can not kill the ghost that is your guilt.”

He watched Dodds stumble and pause, eyes flickered one way and then the next and then upward as if spotting something.

“You won’t trick me again, Raymond,” the Detective said, “another masked man isn’t going to stop me from killing you.”

He raised the revolved from Donald up towards the top of the crates.

Donald glanced upward wondering if Cabbie or Monroe had disobeyed him and returned, he also prayed it wasn’t Margaret. There was no one up there.

“Come down here and die like a man,” Dodds shouted and swung his gun wildly towards the other side of the corridor. The action nearly caused him to loose his balance.

Donald took the only opportunity he was going to get and dove at Dodds. As he struck, the detective fired and the shot went wild. The sound echoed through out the warehouse as the bullet struck one of the hanging lamps overhead. It caused shadows to dance about around them.

Dodds kicked to get away from the Masked Ghost, but then one of the shadows moved and he fired into it. What he saw, Donald could only imagine.

“Why won’t you stay dead!” The Detective shouted at the shadows.

“Stop you fool, you’re going to kill us all!” Spade shouted.

Donald had to agree with the villain as another shot rang out.

“Move!” He shouted and pushed Spade into a side corridor as another bullet struck one of the crates.

= = =

Cabbie and Monroe made their way out to the yard and saw a body laying on the ground. The night was dark and made it hard to see until they got closer. Both their thoughts were of Donald’s final command to protect Margaret.

Cautiously, they approached and knelt.

“It’s a man.” Monroe said as he examined the body, “and he’s alive. Though just barely.”

“I… I didn’t want to hurt him.” They looked up to see Margaret in her costume stepping from the guard shack. “But had to do something.”

“Never saw anything like it.” Brewster said following her, his head finally clear, “she disarmed and had him down on the ground so fast, I didn’t know what was happening.”

“Where’s Donald,” Margaret asked with panic.

“He’ll be out soon,” Monroe said, removing his mask.

“The Masked Ghost has some unfinished business to--” Cabbie’s words were cut off as the entire warehouse exploded into flames.

Margaret Raymond screamed!

To Be Continued…

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chapter 22 - "To Rescue A Ghost"


Chapter 22

“To Rescue A Ghost”

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Donald Raymond couldn’t believe his eyes, and for a second thought he was still unconscious and dreaming of his dead brother-in-law. Far across the warehouse, in the fringe of the light, stood The Masked Ghost. He appeared shorter, but there wasn’t time to think of anything more when the masked man moved again and spoke.

“No ghost shall die this night, unless you seek to join him.”

It was the same gravelly whisper that Donald had used earlier, but just enough of a higher pitch that he knew at once who was wearing the mask. He chocked back a gasp so not to alert the others. But too late, one of the thug’s pulled out his gun and fired towards the Masked Ghost. The masked man had already dived behind the wooden crates as the bullet strook and splinters flew in all direction.

“Don’t shoot, you bafoon!” Spade shouted at his own man, “Do you want us all to die!”

Donald glanced up at him. That was an interesting statement. But there was no time to explore it. He had to act, and dropped back into his own whisper voice.

“The Ghost is everywhere, Spade. You have not captured me.”

It was enough to distract them, as he hoped the other Masked Ghost would get far enough away from their guns.

“Shut up!” Spade growled at him, then at the others. “Go after him! Kill him, but do it away from the crates!”

The two thugs grunted at him and, with guns at the ready, ran off between the crates and vanished into the dark.

Spade put a hand on each arm of the chair and leaned into Donald’s face. “Your stupid theatrics will not stop me from controlling all of Manhattan. If they will not bow to me, then they can see their city burn.”

Donald didn’t wait to act. He slung his head forward smashing it into Spade who jumped up in pain, but not fast enough to avoid a pair of knees making contact with his groin. Spade let out a child like scream and tumbled backwards, but it also cause Donald’s chair to fall away. In this position he was helpless.

Dodds, that traitorous and murdering police officer, caught hold of his criminal boss.

“Let’s get out of here Mr. Spade. The boys can handle these fools,” he said while guiding Spade away from the chaos.

“No, no, just give me a moment. I want to see them die,” but Dodds already pushing the fat man through an inner door.

Once they were out of site, Donald turned towards the man who remained staining there. Brewster was frozen in fear; he didn’t know what to do or what to make of any of it.

“This is all my fault,” he kept mumbling.

“Mr. Brewster, pay attention,” Donald said from the floor, “snap out of it man. Get me up and untied.”

“You promised me this would all be over,” Brewster looked at him.

“I don’t know what the Masked Ghost promised you, but I’m not him. Get me up and we’ll figure this all out once we’re safe.”

They could hear movement coming from all over the darkened warehouse. Shout’s like ‘There he is.’ Donald tried not to laugh.

Finally Brewster knelt and lifted the chair up and dragged it backwards.

“What are you doing? Untie me!” But Brewster kept dragging him and around some of the crates, hoping to get away from the killers.

Brewster was terrified, but as long as he concentrated on getting Donald into hiding he was doing okay. Donald tried to understand the poor man; he must have begun to loose control when his daughter was killed, to then be haunted by a strange mask-wearing ghost.

Suddenly Donald was falling, his head hit the floor again, and Brewster was screaming.

“Hey, what happened?” He craned his neck to see what was going on.

Brewster was shaking and staring at the second Masked Ghost who had stepped out of a shadow to join them.

“That really doesn’t help us stay hidden,” Donald said.

“Sorry,” Margaret said as from beneath her mask. She then knelt and lifted the chair that held her husband. He looked at Brewster, now slumped to the floor in terror; the man would be of no use to them now.

“I want to scream too,” Donald said as she untied him, “What the hell are you doing here? You could have been shot!”

“Saving your life here, if you hadn’t noticed,” Margaret pulled the last cord of rope away from his legs.

Exasperated, but finally free, Donald couldn’t argue with her. Getting to his feet, he wanted to hug his wife, but didn’t. There’d be time for that later; if they got out of here.

He turned from her and began examining the crates next to them.

“Now, what’s so important about what Spade’s been ‘importing’?”

“Wait,” he read the shipping labels glued to the side, “these are meant to go to Nikolas’ construction site.”

“You’re friend’s site, why? What’s in them?”

Donald wanted to know that as well. He took hold of a corner of the wood and pulled. After a little effort, it splinted and came away to reveal the contents.

“Damn!” There were grey green metal boxes inside. Each marked with an insignia that left no doubt of their contents.

“It’s full of explosives,” he looked around and realized that every single one of these crates was a bomb just waiting for a fuse.

Donald took another look at Brewster who was just shivering.

“The first chance you get, get him out of here.” He ordered his wife. Somehow the mask on her face didn’t seem at all odd right now.

The sound of a gun’s trigger being set came loudly in Donald’s ear. He slowly turned a degree to find Dodd’s standing close with his gun even closer.

“Don’t move,” the detective said.

“So you’ve discovered my little treasure, Mr. Raymond.” Spade said approaching, the two thugs appeared and blocked their only means of escape, “Now you know the power I will hold over this city. Too bad you won’t be able to do anything about it.”

The two people dressed as the Masked Ghost, protecting Brewster between them, were slowly escorted back into the open area of the warehouse away from the crates of explosive.

“Now I get to watch you die. All your obsession with my plans only brought you death.”

Donald hated that ugly smirk on the man with the cottonmouth voice, and he hated the gleam in Dodd’s eye even more. The man really wanted to kill as much as he had killed Adrian before them.

His anger at this man nearly prevented him from noticing something, but when he did everything changed.

“Well, you may kill me, Mr. Spade,” Donald bent over and picked up his hat and put it on, “but you need to realize something. The Masked Ghost is not the haunting obsession of one man.”

Proudly he put the mask back on, and spoke once more with the whisper voice of the Masked Ghost:

“For I am the ghost of an entire city that has been murdered by men like you,

and ghosts of those who refuse to be killed.

For I am LEGION!”

At which point two more MASKED GHOSTS leapt from the shadows. One of them is armed.

To Be Continued…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chapter 21 - "A Ghost For A Ghost"


Chapter 21

“A Ghost for a Ghost”

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

The darkness ebbed and flowed like a thick fog bank rolling over a vast shore.

“Hi, buddy.”


Standing in front of Donald Raymond was his brother-in-law Adrian Brown, dressed in the suit, hat, trench coat, and mask of The Masked Ghost.

“But… but you’re dead.”

“Ya, I know.”

“Does that mean I’m dead?” Donald asked.

“Don’t think so, Donny. You’ve got too much left to do yet.”

“Then I must be dreaming.”

“Looks that way,” Adrian said, his bright smile fading from his face, “I’m really sorry for everything I’ve piled onto you and Maggy.”

“I can’t say that I’m all that happy for being thrust into all this danger, but I know Margaret wants me to find out who killed you.”

“Thank you. That’s why I chose you to become the Masked Ghost.”

“Oh, no. When this is over with, the Masked Ghost will go away forever.”

“Being dead, I won’t argue, but you’re wrong. Whatever happens, Donald, promise me you will look after Maggy.”

“You don’t have ask, I’ll die to protect her.”

“I know you will,” Adrian said, “as I know she would do the same for you.”


“What was that?” Donald asked, surprised.

“It’s time for you to wake up.” Adrian said and faded into the fog and darkness.

# # #

SMACK! The Masked Ghost’s head flung to the right as the massive hand struck his face for the third and forth time. SMACK!

“Wake up, bastard!”

His vision cleared. Donald hurt all over as he looked about. The Masked Ghost was tied to a chair in a massive room filled with large shipping crates. He surmised that it was the warehouse building he had seen while exploring the grounds of Spade Import & Exports.

He was not alone. Along with the muscular thug who got a sick enjoyment out of hitting him, there were five others that he could see. Beyond them, the rest of the building fell into darkness.

“Enough of that!” A pudgy looking man with a pot marked face and swollen cheeks gave the order, “He’s obviously awake now.”

“Whatever you want, Mr. Spade.” The thug stepped away.

“So this is the man that has been giving me no end of trouble for the last year?” It sounded like he was talking through a mouthful of cotton.

Donald didn’t know what to say? What would Adrian’s have said? What did the Masked Ghost sound like? He didn’t know, so just adlibbed the best he could and forcing his throat to make a horse whisper.

“The wicked will forever be haunted by their deeds.”

The man looked down at the masked vigilante who didn’t appear to be any threat now tied to that chair. He began to laugh.

“I don’t know who I should be more angry at, little man. You and your persistent annoyance,” he paused and then shouted at whole room, “or my own men who haven’t been able to swat an insignificant flee like yourself.”

“You promised!” One of the other men started shouting and ran at the Masked Ghost. One of the guards grabbed hold of him. The Masked Ghost recognized the man as the one that arrived in the touring car, and had a pretty good idea who it was. “You promised to stop them. You promised you’d pay them back for what they did to my little girl.”

It was Sheila Brewster’s father. After they wouldn’t speak any longer to the man they blamed for their daughter’s death, Adrian must have paid Brewster a visit as the Masked Ghost.

“Oh, so you were trying to betray me,” Spade turned to strike Brewster.

“Don’t hit him!” Donald shouted, not even attempting to create the voice of the Masked Ghost.

Spade looked at his captive with quiet angry, “so this is how you found out about my plans to own this city. Ol’ ‘Pockets’ here spilled the beans like he freely spilled out the money for us?”

“Not so fast, boss,” police detective Dodds stepped forward. The man, who wore a shield of Justice, now hid no secrets as to was was his real master. “Before you kill him, and I’m all in favor of getting rid of this little vigilante, shouldn’t we find out exactly who he is?”

“I’d rather have him dead now and out of the way forever. That ugly mask can wrought with the rest of him.”

“And it will, but think for a moment. Both your men and my police have been hunting him for months now. There must be some way he’s been able to avoid us?”

Spade thought for a moment.

“Alright, have your fun, Dodds.”

The crooked police detective, in the badly worn suit, turned towards the Masked Ghost.

“You’ve been a thorn in my side for far too long.”

“With your size, how would you notice a thorn,” Donald tried to be flippant to cover up his own fear. He knew he was about to die.

Dodd’s grabbed the side of his face, and yanked the crimson mask away.

They all looked at him in startled wonder.

“Who is that?”

“But… but I thought…” Brewster’s voice trailed off. He didn’t recognize Donald either.

But Detective Dodds did recognized him, and a wide sinister grin formed on his ugly mug.

“So you were simply misleading the police were you, Mr. Raymond?”

“Raymond? Who is this bastard, Dodds? If you knew something about him.”

“Oh, quiet down, Mr. Spade. I didn’t know anything about who the masked man was. That was the whole point wasn’t it, Raymond? You poured that blood all over your own penthouse, to make it look like the Masked Ghost had broken in, then escaped again just before my men arrive. Here I thought he was dead only half an hour earlier, but no. None of us would suspect a criminal vigilante was actually a millionaire playboy?”

“Hey, I’m no playboy. I’m a happily married man.”

The detective slapped him hard across the face once more, “now let’s see how much blood you’ve got to spill.”

Brewster stood frozen to the spoke as he shook in fear as he watch the criminals move in to grab the Masked Ghost. There would be no more delays in killing him now.

Donald knew this was the end, and sent up a silent prayer as he thought of his wife Margaret.

Suddenly the sound of a wind whistled between the crates, followed by the slamming of a heavy metal door.

“No one can kill a ghost!”

It was a whisper, like Donald had attempted earlier, and yet it echoed through the warehouse, as if from everywhere at once.

Spade and his men turned in search of the invading voice.

Donald gasped as The Masked Ghost stepped out of the darkness.

To Be Continued…

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chapter 20 – “Help For A Ghost”


by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

Chapter 20 – “Help For A Ghost”

Margaret Raymond stepped off the train after visiting with her parents. Donald wasn’t waiting for her at the station; she hadn’t expected that he would be. She knew he had been busy all day; whether it was for an assignment at work which she had told her parents about, or off visiting an old friend which is what he had told her, or investigating her brother’s murder. She was certain that the later was what he was doing and it both terrified and gave her great hope.

Desperate to talk with her husband, she road the subway to bring her closer to home. If what her father had said was truth, Sheila’s family may have been financially part of the corruption of the city’s construction industry.

This was something Donald and she would need to talk about before doing anything else.

The sun was just setting as Margaret reached the apartment. Just before turning into the building she noticed a now too familiar taxi parked across the street. Cabbie nodded and she could see his grim expression.

Margaret’s face went pale as fear ran down her back. She rushed into the building and into the elevator needing to reach the penthouse as soon as possible.

“Good evening Mrs. Raymond.”

“Oh, hello, Willy.” The boy who ran elevator briefly startled Margaret. His family was very poor, and standing in a metal box going up and down paid him a couple of dollars each day. He’d get a few tips from the tenants of the building. Willy didn’t have to ask where she wanted to go, and pulled cage door closed, and the little box moved upward towards the penthouse.

He liked to chat, especially with the ladies of the building. But Margaret was in no mood, and if she didn’t know better she would have though he was slowing the lift down. But it was just her being anxious to see Donald, to know that he was okay.

Once the little bell chimed and the gate opened, Margaret dashed for her apartment. Only half way there did she think to shout back, “Thank you, Willy.”

Margaret struggled at getting the key in the door, but once inside she started shouting.

“Donald? Don, are you home?”

No answer.

She ran from room to room. No one was there.

He was still out with his friend; she tried to convince herself, but knew that wasn’t true. Cabbie was parked outside, not taking fares, which meant the Masked Ghost had ordered him to look after her. But her brother was dead, so that meant…

She rushed to the bedroom knowing what she would find, or rather what she would not find.

The old suitcase lay open upon the bed.

The costume of The Masked Ghost was nowhere to be found.

“Don.” She whispered to no one.

She looked further about and found the box with all her brother’s notes spread out on the table. Lying right on top was a sheet of paper with an inked line circling an address.

“Damn you Donald, what are you doing?”

She paced back and forth for a moment, then stormed out the apartment.

Margaret ran to the elevator, but before pressing the button, knew she didn’t want to talk with Willy about why she had run in and out so quickly. Turning she headed for the stairs. It would take a longer, but she had to get downstairs.

It was a good thing she regularly ran between the stores, because she was winded by the time she burst out the front doors of the apartment building. She was nearly hit by a car while darting across the street.

“Take me to the police!” Margaret shouted at Cabbie as she hopped into the taxi with a slam of the door.

The car pulled away from the curb and made its way down the road. Margaret sat back and folded her arms, “not the local station. The precinct near my brother’s apartment, I’m certain you know the way.”

+ + +

“I’ll wait here,” Cabbie said as he parked the taxi out front the police station.

“No! You’re coming with me,” Margaret ordered. He hesitated, but followed.

Inside, approaching the Desk Sergeant, Margaret tried to hold some degree of decorum. “I would like to speak with Detective Monroe, please.”

The Desk Sergeant eyed the beautiful young woman and then suspiciously looked over at Cabbie. His kind don’t come in here with out cuffs on.

“What’s this about miss?”

“It’s Mrs.! You may tell Detective Monroe that I’m here about my brother’s murder.”

That got his attention and turned to another officer, “Get Johnny-Boy out here.”

The officer headed into the back of the station with no effort to get there anytime soon.

After several minutes passed, Margaret became impatient.

“Will someone hurry up and help me,” she spoke loud enough for the entire station to here, “that vigilante The Masked Ghost killed my brother and you’re all sitting around like lazy bums!”

That startled them, and shocked Cabbie.

The Desk Sergeant leaned in towards her with threatening eyes, “what do you know of The Masked Ghost?”

Margaret did her best to maintain eye contact with the man and show no fear, but knew it wouldn’t last.

“That’s enough out of you O’Brien,” came a voice that broke the tension, “what good are you scaring witnesses, and distraught family members?”

They turned to find Detective Monroe strolling up to the front of the station.

“You wanted to see me Mrs. Raymond,” he gave her the most pleasant of smile, and then glanced briefly over at Cabbie.

“Yes, indeed. Though I’m not certain your fellow officers are all that helpful.”

“Ignore them, I do. Let’s go find an office we can chat in with more privacy.” The other officers watched him escort her into a small side office. If it wasn’t for the foreign cab driver, some of them thought, it almost looked like the detective was looking for a place to enjoy some quiet time with the pretty young woman. Several of them would like to.

Once the door was closed, Monroe offered Margaret a seat but she refused.

“Now, Mrs. Raymond, why don’t you calm down and tell me what’s troubling you?”

“It’s about my brother.”

“Well, the police haven’t gotten very far into the investigation of his murder—“

“And you know why!” Margaret said holding her voice down so not to be heard by those who were obviously listening outside the door.

“Excuse me?”

“You know exactly why the police haven’t found his murderer, and won’t. Because you’re covering up facts of the case.”

Monroe glanced over at Cabbie with concern.

“Yes, look at your brother conspirator.”


“You’ve both been in this from the beginning. Knowing the truth of what happened to my brother. Knowing full well that my brother is… was the Masked Ghost.”

“Mrs. Raymond, keep your voice down.” Cabbie said, trying not to show his own fear.

“I’m trying to remain calm, but I won’t be able to until you explain what’s going on here. What did my brother get involved in that made him put on that stupid mask?”

The detective sighed and sat down in one of the chairs, his bright face had dulled, “Please sit down Mrs. Raymond.”

She didn’t want to, but did so as she knew he was about to tell her something important. Cabbie remained standing, guarding the door.

“Your brother put on that stupid mask, as you call it, and became the Masked Ghost because he knew of no other way to solve the murder.”

“You mean Sheila Brewster’s death?”

“That’s correct, but it became far greater than just one accident or murder.”

“The Masked Ghost would go places the police could not, or would not,” Cabbie said looking down at Monroe. There wasn’t a lot of trust between these two men who held such a great secret together.

“After he began investigating the crime, he soon came across other crimes in this city that only The Masked Ghost could solve and make right. Other people that needed help.” Monroe continued the story, “Over the last year the Masked Ghost has become more than just a way for him to express his obsession over his lost love. A lot of use have been helped, saved, or changed for the better by what The Masked Ghost has done.”

Margaret looked at these two men, both could take care of themselves in a fight, and realized that some how her brother had saved them from something far worse.

“He became a symbol of hope, became the people’s protector. This city needs the Masked Ghost.”

“Well, who’s protecting him? The Masked Ghost got my brother killed! What hope is there now?”

“We’re very sorry for your loss,” It was a line the police officer quoted out of habit and immediately knew it was the wrong thing to say.

“Are you going to tell me the same thing when my husband ends up dead?”

They looked at her in silence.

“You both knew what my brother was doing, and did not hesitate to encourage Donald to put the mask on.” She paused for a moment, “it was one of you that left the envelope of police reports at our door.”

Monroe shifted in his seat and gave himself away, then finally spoke; “Adrian knew he was not going to live to see the conclusion of the one case that meant everything to him.”

Margaret gasped at the thought her brother knew he was heading for his own death that night he appeared out of the storm. But what did that have to do with Donald?

“He knew,” Cabbie said, “he knew that he had begun something far greater than himself and that others would have to continue after he was gone. The Masked Ghost would have to live, no matter what happened to Adrian Brown.”

She looked at them as realization struck her, “Adrian wanted Donald to put on the mask? To become the Masked Ghost?”

“You’re bother was very wise and always chose rightly.” Cabbie said, with deeper meaning than she understood.

“Well he was wrong this time!” Margaret leapt to her feet, knocking the chair over.

“My husband is out there and the Masked Ghost is going to get him killed!!”

She looked down at Detective Monroe with anger, “What are you going to do to protect him? Will the police save my husband while they’re hunting a masked vigilante?” She already knew the answer.

There was a long pause.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Raymond,” said Monroe, “as a police officer there is nothing I can do to help him.”

Margaret fought back tears as she looked from the detective to the taxi cab driver.

“Well, if you won’t do anything, I will.”

“Come along,” she pulled Cabbie out of the room and through the station filled with confused police officers, “I need to gather my brother’s belongings.”

To Be Continued…

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chapter 19 - "Fight For A Ghost"


by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

Chapter 19 – “Fight For A Ghost”

“That’s where it happened.”

Donald Raymond hadn’t heard what Cabbie was saying. Sitting in the back of the taxicab on the long drive out of the city, his thoughts kept drifting back to his beloved wife Margaret and wondering why he was doing this. It would be so easy for them to put all this behind them. To forget what had happened and move on with their lives as normal. Safe in their little world that money provided them. But Donald knew he couldn’t let it go, and neither would his wife.

He was certain he would die tonight and leave her alone, and yet it was for Margaret that kept Donald going forwards towards that death. He had to find out what had happened to her brother, no matter the cost.

Cabbie finally got his attention by purposefully hitting a pothole in the road.

“What--? Were you saying something?”

“Yes. Look over there,” the driver responded, slowed the car, and pointed out the right side windows of the vehicle. The edge of the road dropped away into darkness.

“There’s a ditch, runs along the road for about thirty yards until it reaches the turn,” Cabbie explained, “The boss had me drive past here many times… That’s where the truck forced his lady friend’s car off the road. It tumbled down into the ditch. He was badly injured, and well… you know the rest.”

Donald silently nodded. Sheila was killed in the accident that was no accident. So this is where it all began, he thought to himself. Here was where the tragedy struck that turned his adventuring journalist of a brother-in-law into the obsessed and dangerous vigilante known as the Masked Ghost.

Now Donald found himself wearing the same mask and returning to the very scene to find out what truly happened.

Alert now, Donald watched as they drove past the front gates of the property belonging to the Spade Import and Export Company. The yard was fenced in with only one entrance from the road and a guard booth next to it.

A quarter mile further on, the taxi pulled behind an over grown hedge.

“It’s all on foot from here,” Donald said adjusting the mask and opening the door.

“Do you want me to stay here?” Cabbie asked.

“No. Margaret will be home soon. Stay close to her. Keep her safe.”

Out of the car, The Masked Ghost crouched behind the hedge as the taxi drove away.

After several minutes had past, he checked the road, and when there were no headlights visible from either direction he darted across the road. Quietly and slowly he made his way back to the property.

Just as suspected, there was a guard on duty at the gate and if The Masked Ghost’s notes were accurate he would be highly armed.

The vigilante moved around the side of the property and was pleasantly surprised to find that the storm from the other evening had knocked a large broken branch down on to a portion of the fence. It was still complete, but pushed down just enough to allow him to climb over. It was also hidden from view by several storage bins.

Dropping to the ground once more, The Masked Ghost remained as motionless as possible. Other than the gate guard, he couldn’t see anyone else on the property from this position. When the guard looked distracted, he took a run for another corner of the yard.

From here he could make out the rest of the property. There were three main buildings. One was a single story brick building that held the administrative offices, a small storage unit at the opposite side; and a large warehouse building in the center. There were lights on in the administration building, so that would be his next stop.

But before he could move towards his destination, lights appeared at the gate. The guard opened it, and a very familiar truck pulled on to the property.

The Spade logo was quite visible on the side door, even in the low light of the yard. Once parked, a tall man got out the drivers door. From the Masked Ghost’s position he recognized the man Donald had seen at the construction site earlier in the day. As the man headed for administration building, The Masked Ghost noticed how he walked. It too was familiar. This was the same man he had fought off the other day downtown, and nearly killed him on the road.

He’s the killer of that poor accountant, Donald thought with dread.

The Masked Ghost cleared his head and concentrated on the moment. Before he could move another set of headlamps came up to the gate. A touring car similar to Donald’s father-in-law’s was allowed on to the property and parked right in front of the administration building.

Everyone wants to be there tonight.

It was an older man, slightly stooped, who got out of the car. Someone greeted him at the door and ushered him inside.

After fifteen minutes waiting, The Masked Ghost decided that no one else was going to be arriving. The gate guard sat back in his little booth with his eyes facing out to the road. It gave the Masked Ghost the perfect opportunity to dart across the yard, from one shadow to the next as if each welcomed him like an old friend.

He made it to the corner of the administration building and slowly crept around it until he approached the office where the lights were on. Finding an open window, the Masked Ghost crouched low hoping not to make a noise as he listened to the voices inside.

“Why did you want me here tonight,” said an older weak voice, full of fear.

“You came here because I summoned you!” It was a deeper voice, powerful yet sounded as if his cheeks were swollen.

“Yes… sir,” it was not a sound of respect, but of resignation, “but, but what more can I do for you. You’ve already destroyed my family. Taken my little girl from me. Why must you continue to torment me…?”

“Because I can,” came the answer with a wicket yet suppressed laugh, “because of what you can do for me. Or rather, what your money can do for me. You know that. You’ve helped fund several construction sites in the city. Now you’re just funding mine…”

The Masked Ghost listened intently to the voices inside that he didn’t hear the crunch of gravel only a few feet away. A hand grabbed the back of his collar and yanked him upwards.

Mistake number one of the night. He hadn’t counted on the Gate Guard having a partner who was on his way to trade off shifts. Now he held the vigilante high by the arms.

Donald didn’t know what to do, but the Masked Ghost kicked both legs forward against the guard’s chest and was knocked free. He tumbled and hit the ground.

The guard loomed over him ready to kill, but wasn’t prepared when the masked stranger suddenly leapt up and through all his weight into to him.

A moment later both men crashed through the window.

The men in the room leapt back in all directions, startled by the sudden violent invasion of their business meeting.

The guard hit the floor and the Masked Ghost struck once, twice, with gloved fists against his face until he stopped fighting back.

“No, not again!” Came a startled voice.

Adrenaline was flowing through the Masked Ghost when he looked up and saw the man he knew to be a killer. Fire in his legs propelled him forward; knocking two office chairs aside and grabbed hold of the man as the guard had him only moments ago.

“You’re a killer.” He shouted.

“You’re suppose to be dead,” the man shouted full of fear. Honestly believing in ghosts right then.

He was about to smash the man’s face, when something moved behind him. The Masked Ghost didn’t have time to respond when a heavy pipe came down across the back of his skull.

The Masked Ghost fell to the ground.

“Ghost or not!” Came a new voice, “Should have made certain he was dead the first time you killed him.”

The last sight Donald Raymond saw before darkness engulfed his vision was the rotund figure of Police Detective William Dobb.

“This time, do it right!”