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!”

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chapter 18 - "Preparing For A Ghost"


by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

Chapter 18 – “Preparing for A Ghost”

“Do you really have to leave so soon?” Katharine Brown said as her daughter pulled on her coat.

“Yes, Mama. Donald won’t know what to do with out me.” Margaret Raymond responded with a joke, but her father grumbled as if it was the truth.

“Bye,” she kissed her mother; “I’ll call later and help you with the arrangements for the service.” As much as she didn’t want to talk about her brother’s death, and upset her mother further, there were some things a family could not ignore. A funeral would have to be planned.

She turned and hugged her father who stood stiff and looked at her with cold eyes. He suspected something. Margaret kicked herself for being too inquisitive about Sheila’s family. Asked too many questions about their financial dealings in construction.

Now Margaret had to get back to the city and tell Donald what she had learned.


Donald Raymond was concerned for his wife as well. For him, the less she knew the safer he felt Margaret would be. Through the entire taxi ride back to the penthouse apartment, his dead brother-in-law haunted his every thought.

No… The Masked Ghost.

Donald had left the construction site worried and upset. His friend, Petra Nikolas, had gotten himself involved with someone that even the Union boss was bothered by. Something was very wrong there, and it was all tied into what Adrian was investigating.

The Masked Ghost.

Once home, Donald collapsed into his chair. Closing his eyes he tried to think about what he should do next. What could he really do with so little knowledge and a lot of suspicion? He certainly couldn’t go to the police because there would be no easy way to explain what he knew and how he knew it. Donald also couldn’t tell them that his brother-in-law was the vigilante they were hunting. Besides, it was possible that the police were involved. That Detective Monroe sure knew something.

Opening his eyes Donald found himself staring at the French doors that lead out onto the balcony. Had it only been a short few days ago that a terrible storm blew them open and the vigilante known as the Masked Ghost had entered their lives?

“I’m not going to figure anything out sitting here,” Donald pushed himself out of the chair and retrieved the box full of the notes and files Adrian had been gathering.

The Masked Ghost.

He pulled out the sheets of paper and folders until he found one labeled: SPADE IMPORT AND EXPORT.

Everything tied back to this company. The construction site, the accounting office and the murder that happened there. Adrian believed it was their truck that had run Sheila’s car off the road and killed her. It all lead to the Spade company’s warehouse that Adrian had first investigated, and where he decided to become The Masked Ghost.

The Masked Ghost.

Donald sighed as he jotted down the address listed in the files. As much as he wanted to put all this away so that Margaret and he could have a normal life, he knew that wasn’t possible, at least not until they finally discovered what had happened to her brother Adrian.

The Masked Ghost.

For his wife sake he knew what the next move must be.

He hated it, but there was no other way.

Donald Raymond entered the bedroom and in to the back of the walk in closet. He pulled out an old suitcase and tossed it upon the bed.

It wasn’t much of a hiding place; he’d have to think of a better one in the future.

“Damn it,” he shouted at himself, “there isn’t going to be another time. No more of this!”

But even as he spoke these words, he had opened the suitcase and removed a man’s double-breasted suit, shirt, heavy shoes, and large trench coat. The hat came next. Then he took out the thing that bothered him the most: the blood red mask.

The Masked Ghost.

Even though he had already worn the mask, all he saw in it was the dead face of Margaret’s brother. He knew that it would always be a horrible reminder to her as well.

That’s why he planned to destroy it when this was over.

Yet even as he hated it, Donald put on each item of clothing. Shaking as he did so.

He found the specially hidden pockets in the coat that held the grappling gun, lock picks, and other paraphernalia that the vigilante uses. It still surprised him by just how prepared Adrian was for all this.

The Masked Ghost.

Then came the holsters and the two loaded handguns. They terrified him. Terrified that he would have to use them against someone.

“I’m no killer.” He said aloud. Donald didn’t want to imagine that his brother-in-law was either. That would simply be devastating to Margaret and her family.

Lifting the mask to his face, he realized that Donald Raymond might not survive the night. He thought of his wife one last time and put the mask on.

The Masked Ghost stepped from the bedroom ready to face whatever the night had prepared for him.