The Walls Will Come Crashing Down
The Truth Behind the Little Black Book
I could hear the shouting of the men behind me as I was running through the forest, my heart pounding. With my backpack clutched to my chest, I finally reached the edge of the cliff. There was a city at the base! I knew it would be a treacherous fall, but it was either that or let my brain be pumped full of lead. So down the hill I went. "WE WILL MURDER YOU AND EVERYONE YOU LOVE IF YOU DON'T GIVE US THAT DAMN BOOK!" the men behind me shouted.
I awoke with a gasp, in bed, covered in sweat, my breath faltering. There was that damn dream again. My pit bull Sadie looked at me with bright yet sad eyes, as if she'd known I’d had that dream. "I don't understand what is so special about this book", I said while scratching Sadie's head with one hand, gently touching the black book on my nightstand with the other. The events of yesterday will forever be burned into my brain. My father handed it to me just a few nights ago after we had dinner at his favorite restaurant, this local Italian place two towns over.
After guzzling down two glasses of wine, he handed me the book and said "Now do me a favor, Alex, and protect this with your life."
"Why?" I asked.
"There are people that knew if you had this they would do whatever they could to get their hands on it" he said.
That night and the next I would remember indefinitely. My mom and I were watching reruns of Mama’s Family, just eating popcorn and having a good time, until the phone rang. We figured it was just dad calling to say he was finally on his way home. It was the police informing us that our father had been gunned down in cold blood. My first instinct was to run for a weapon to go and kill the son of a bitch who did this, but my mother pulled me into her arms and cried hysterically, preventing me from doing anything. Who would want to kill my father and why?
The next day we were called about his autopsy results. According to the person who was conducting the autopsy, my father had been poisoned by a water-borne toxin but then was later shot in the heart by three bullets. Whoever had killed him really wanted to make sure he was dead. A few minutes after that call, my mother and I received one from the police department. I managed to hear a snippet of the conversation.
“There’s another thing you should know here ma’am,” the officer continued. “One of the witnesses said he was shouting “You can’t have it, you can’t have that damn book!” I felt the blood drain from my face instantly.
“What book?” my mother asked. “My husband never owned a black book in his entire life”.
“I don’t know ma’am,” the doctor said. “Perhaps he was frantic and shouting nonsense, just to divert his killer’s attention elsewhere?”
I knew something was very, very wrong. Not only was my father murdered, it was to protect whatever was contained in this book. I hadn’t opened it once since it was handed to me, but I knew I would have to in order to solve my father’s murder. With my hands trembling I raced back to my room and snatched the book. I shakily opened to the first page. All that was written on it were very few words that appeared to be pure gibberish.
Nur Ot Hstee Fllingowo Nidcoorstean.
It took me all but a moment to realize that all I had to do was unscramble the words and they said “run to these following coordinates.” The next set of words were written in an invisible ink that needed a UV light to be legible. I ran to my father’s office upstairs and grabbed the portable one on his desk. Shining the light on the words, I could see the following numbers.
I didn’t want to risk anyone tracking me so I grabbed an old map that was laying under my bed. Examining it I could see that the coordinates were located in the forest nearby. I knew what had to be done. I threw the map, some knives, the book, a couple of my father’s guns, and extra ammo in my backpack. I didn’t want my mother to worry any more than she was already. I lied to her and said I wanted to go to bed because I wasn’t feeling well.
After hugging her and saying goodnight, I locked my bedroom door, opened my window and jumped through to the ground. According to the map I needed to head west for 10 miles into the forest. This was too much to be reasonably done on foot and so I grabbed my bike and into the night I went. I reached the edge of the forest and had to take deep breaths before entering.
“I’m going to find out who did this dad, I promise,” I whispered under my breath. I then pedaled forward. There was a crescent moon in the night sky illuminating the forest floor ever so slightly. Covered in leaves, the only sounds I could hear were the crunching of them beneath my wheels, as well as the occasional hooting of owls. I swear I could hear footsteps behind me, but I figured it was probably just the sounds of nature.
After growing increasingly worried about being hunted, I ditched my bike to detract attention from myself. One mile later I could still hear the crunch of feet on leaves and so I ran with my backpack behind me. Only two miles until those coordinates I thought. All of a sudden, a voice exploded from behind me.
“Stop! You have what doesn’t belong to you. Do not allow us to make you suffer the same fate as your father!” the mysterious voice boomed. I recognized this voice. It was Marco Henson, my father’s work supervisor.
“Fuck you Henson!” I shouted while continuing to run. “You murdered a man in cold blood, you took my father from me, and I am going to uncover whatever other atrocities you’ve committed!” I quickly took one of the guns from my backpack and put a bullet in one of Henson’s legs. Hearing his screams of agony, I ran forward. A few minutes later I finally reached the site, which appeared to be a single headstone that ironically had a shovel sitting next to it. The headstone simply read, “This will send Henson and his men to their early grave”. I took the shovel and began frantically digging. I had fortunately gained some distance on Henson by momentarily incapacitating him, but I had to act quickly.
Once I dug two feet of dirt up, I saw what appeared to be an iron safe. I managed to grab the handle and set it on the ground. I also saw a notecard sitting at the bottom of the hole. All it said was “It’s my birthday kiddo.” An odd statement, but it clicked in my head instantly. That was the combination to the safe. When I rotated the dial to the last number, the door came open to reveal a satchel and camera sitting inside. I nearly fainted when I opened the satchel and saw several thousand dollars packed in it. Twenty-thousand dollars in total! Figuring the camera would explain the cash, I turned it on to find it pulled up to a video. I played it. Even though it was black, I could hear voices. It was my father talking. I could tell he was talking to Henson.
“It’s a darn shame those folks down in Akers suffer daily,” said Henson. “They work so hard to power this company.”
“You know damn well that money you stole was rightfully theirs,” my father growled, slamming his fist. “They live in poverty, without basic needs, entirely off of the grid, under this illusion that you will provide for them. Yet, you steal money that is rightfully theirs? For what purpose? So you and your henchmen can live in luxury, sipping gin while those who actually WORK suffer without food and clean water? You are a sick, sick man, Henson, and your ways will catch up with you. I will make sure of it!”
I took one last look at the map to reveal that there was a cliff just about one mile away. Henson was very close behind me. I threw the satchel and camera into my backpack and continued running. I could hear Henson shouting behind me as he, and now other men, were catching up to me. “WE WILL MURDER YOU AND EVERYONE YOU LOVE IF YOU DON'T GIVE US THAT DAMN BOOK!” he shouted. The dream. This is what my dream was about, and now it was turning into a real nightmare.
I reached the cliff’s edge. The following tumble would no doubt injure me slightly, but I had to either do that or risk being pierced by a barrage of bullets. I heard gunshots as I could see Henson and his men directly behind me. Clutching my backpack to my chest, I rolled my body down the hill. I could feel various sticks and rocks tearing into my skin until I reached the bottom several feet later. After taking a few seconds to catch my breath, I kept running. Squinting my eyes, I could see light from buildings just up ahead. I ran full force, pounding on the door of the first building I approached.
“They’re trying to kill me, they’re trying to kill me!” I screamed frantically while pounding the door with my fists. The door opened and a man wearing only long johns with a white beard nodded at me to come inside. He grabbed a gun sitting right at the doorway and I heard him fire it 6 times. Six. There were six men after me. When the noise ceased, I looked outside to see Henson lying in a pool of his own blood, along with his cronies.
“Thank you sir, thank you for saving my life” I said, nearly breathless.
“Don’t mention it, miss,” the man said. “We knew those bastards were hiding a secret. My wife Myrna here managed to pickpocket one of those fuckers when they were visiting town. They had this ‘cell phone’ they used to communicate with others. We wished we had them too, but we were always told we needed to work harder. It was just like all of those other times we wished for something like better food, water and shelter, that if we worked just a little bit harder, we would one day get what we deserve. Once we saw what was on this cell phone, we knew those fuckers were hiding an entire world from us. We just didn’t know the scope of it.” The man’s wife walked up to me and handed me the phone. There was a video pulled up on it of Henson and his men sipping on cocktails at what appeared to be a fancy beach resort in Maui.
“See, this is what happens when those stupid motherfuckers labor in their shit-shack of a town all day long” Henson said, laughing in between sips. “We get their money, and then we have vacations.” The video ended. Feeling the anger course through my veins, I knew it was time for my dad’s company to come crashing down. I dialed 911 on the cellphone. It was going to be a rough beginning, but it was going to be an end. An end to the exploitation of the people in this town, an end to my father’s company, and a resolution to my father’s murder.