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H&K: Path of Knowledge

Book 1 of the H&K Series: Chapter 11

By Shawn David KelleyPublished 2 years ago 16 min read
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Chapter 11

Tess watched as Tristan and Shannon swam in the basement indoor swimming pool of the Dude Ranch main building.

She couldn’t keep from glancing at anyone who was in the pool area or came in. She was suspicious of everyone since all the turmoil began. Bob had left a few minutes earlier to make a phone call, telling her he needed to check in with a friend to find out what was happening. Katharine had stayed in her room to catch up on sleep since, at night, the three of them were taking turns keeping watch just in case someone found out where they were.

Tess pulled her cell phone from her purse. She knew Hank had warned them about using their cell phones. He had even told them to leave them behind, but she needed to talk to someone who would just listen without making any comments or suggestions.

“It’s Liam. Leave a message,” the voicemail message stated

“Hey,” Tess said in a whisper so no one would hear her. “I just wanted to say that I will be out of town for a few weeks but didn’t want you to worry. I’ll catch up with you once I get back.” Tess hung up, but the call trace had been successful for those monitoring her cell activity.

Tess thought about what had been happening over the past week. Then she remembered something Katharine had once told her while out drinking one night. Katharine had confided that she had been part of the International Medical Aid and Relief Foundation and that they had connections in the intelligence community. Tess used her smartphone to look up the International Medical Aid and Relief Foundation to find their phone number. Incredibly, the foundation was still operating. Once she acquired the phone number and information, she called the number. The waiting was nerve-wracking as the phone rang.

“Thank you for contacting International Medical Aid and Relief Foundation. How may I help you?” a man asked.

“I am not sure if you can help me. My cousin has talked about working with the foundation for years. Someone by the name of Graff recruited her. I doubt if he still is associated with the foundation, but I would like to see about volunteering,” Tess explained.

“May I have your name and phone number so that I can have someone contact you?” the man said.

Tess gave the man her information. He asked who her cousin was as well, and Tess reluctantly gave the man the information. As the connection terminated, Tess wondered why she hadn’t joined the foundation before. Then Tess remembered all the times that Doctor Martin had downplayed the foundation. She had allowed him to influence her decision to join the foundation. Well, that had all changed. She was more than ever determined to join the foundation now.

As Tess sat thinking, her cell phone rang. “Hello?” Tess answered.

“Tess Roy?” a male voice asked.

“Yes, who is this?” Tess asked.

“I am an associate of your cousin Katharine. My name is Jason Graff. I understand that you would like to join the International Medical Aid and Relief Foundation,” Graff replied.

“That would be correct,” Tess replied.

“Has Katharine explained what the International Medical Aid and Relief Foundation does in general?” Graff asked.

“Yes, they do international medical relief in war-torn and third-world countries. And the benefit of assisting the Foundation is that you assist in solving a problem I have.”

“Has she confided in how she joined the foundation?”

“Not exactly.”

“When can we meet? I would like to explain what all the foundation does and allow you the option to decide if you want to join.” Tess thought about it for a few moments then gave him the location of the Dude Ranch. They planned to meet the next evening when everyone was asleep. Tess smiled after she terminated the connection. She was determined to erase every bit of influence Doctor Martin had on her. She decided that she would eventually tell Katharine but after she had met with Graff.

*****

Hank pulled up to the long-abandoned riverside warehouse. A shell company owned it legally, but he knew no one would be using it anytime soon. The warehouse had been soundproofed years ago due to local noise ordinances. Within the warehouse, various rooms were scattered along all the walls. There were three floors inside that one would never have noticed from the outside. Catwalks led to offices and workrooms. The center was wide open with an inoperable crane in the middle, the use of which had long been forgotten. There was a panel on the far wall and a drain in the center of the floor. A ventilation tube hung from the ceiling.

Hank opened a small vehicle access door with an app on his phone before pulling the Volvo in. The door creaked as it rose and then lowered into place. Vast and solid, the door was eight feet wide and fifteen feet tall and had to weigh nearly three tons. He stopped at the far end of the warehouse near the farthest room. It was a ten-feet by ten-feet room. The only furniture in the room was a recliner and an office chair on wheels. A metal ring was bolted to the floor and another ring was suspended from the ceiling with a pulley attached to it. A cable with a snap on the end dangled from the pulley, running to a winch next to the door.

He turned off the vehicle before he exited it to retrieve the human cargo in the trunk if you could call it such. Martin didn’t struggle as Hank lifted him out of the trunk of the vehicle and then dropped him onto the concrete floor. Martin let out a loud grunt from the impact.

The man started to struggle as Hank drug him towards another door. The heavy door creaked as Hank pulled it open. he continued dragging Martin until he was just inside the room, closing the door behind them. Hank released Martin as he reached for the controller of a winch that had its cable attached to a pully in the ceiling. He slackened the cable until he could pull the cable to Martin.

Martin lay motionless on the floor. Hank grabbed Martin’s hands, placing metal restraints around his wrists. He then attached the cable to the restraints. Hank turned and took hold of the winch controller once again. Pushing the button on the controller, the cable drew up the slack until Martin was drug across the floor and into the air. Hank released the controller only after Martin was dangling from the ceiling with his toes barely able to touch the floor.

“Let me introduce you to the memory extractor,” Hank said as he drew forth his Tanto blade. “Scumbags don’t deserve shoes or clothes,” Hank said as he pulled the dress shoes roughly off Doctor Martin’s feet. He allowed Doctor Martin to feel the cold steel of the Tanto blade as he sliced off Doctor Martin’s socks and all his clothes. Doctor Martin shivered from the chill in the room.

Doctor Martin hung naked in the center of the room, whimpering through the duct tape over his mouth. Hank lowered Doctor Martin an inch to the floor. He cut the duct tape from his wrists and cut the strip at the back of his head. Hank pulled slowly as the duct tape pulled hair and skin with it as he removed it from around his head to uncover his mouth and eyes. The tape over Doctor Martin’s eyes was the worst so far, pulling on his eyelids as Hank slowly pulled away. Doctor Martin screamed. Hank delivered a crushing blow to his stomach to shut him up.

Doctor Martin finally looked up, blinking into Hank’s face. Hank walked back to the winch controls and raised Doctor Martin to the tips of his toes.

“Now, we’re going to get to know one another, shall we?” Hank began. “First, what is your name?”

Doctor Martin glared at Hank. Hank stepped to the office chair and sat down, toying with his Tanto blade.

“I can slice every inch of skin off your body with this baby. You won’t die from it. You’ll bleed, and it will hurt like hell, but you won’t die,” Hank said in a monotone.

“Doctor Martin,” he replied.

“What’s your first name?”

“Jim.”

“So, what is your name?”

“Doctor Jim Martin.”

“Why do you go by only Doctor Martin, then? Doctor is a title, an honorable title,” Hank queried.

“I like it when women call me doctor.”

“Makes you feel big? In control? Better than your victims?”

“No. No,” Doctor Martin stammered. “I just like the sound.”

“Be honest,” Hank pressed in a monotone voice, spinning the Tanto blade around on the arm of the office chair.

“Okay, it does. Women fall all over doctors.”

“And you feel superior to them and everyone else, right? You have the power of life and death?” Hank asked. “Be honest.”

“I guess. Everyone believes doctors. No matter if they are right or wrong, what they say is always taken as truth.”

“Now we are getting somewhere. Since you’re honest with me, now it’s my turn,” Hank stated with a slight grin. “I will allow you to live only because I promised a charming lady that I will not kill you. But I promise you, I will torture you until you beg for death if you lie to me, try to get away, or in any other way annoy me. Do we understand each other?” Hank said in more of a growl.

“I understand.” Doctor Martin whispered, hanging his head, his chin on his chest.

“From this moment on, you are no longer Doctor Martin. You are simply Martin. Not Jim Martin. Human beings deserve given names. You have only your sick family surname. If you answer to anything except Martin, you will not like the punishment,” Hank told the man.

To emphasize his statement, Hank stood up and with a quick slash, laid bare Martin’s right kneecap. Martin screamed as blood ran down his leg. Hank took the shirt Martin had been wearing and ripped strips out of it. He wrapped it around Martin’s knee to stop the bleeding.

“Now we are going to have a long discussion as we wait for a friend of mine, who just loves men who dominate women. She isn’t as forgiving as I am. Oh, just so you know, I made the promise not to kill you. She didn’t. And she’ll bleed you dry while you are alert and feeling every nanosecond of it. Do you understand this?”

“I understand.”

“Good. Now let’s begin. Why did you target Karen Mitchell?” Hank asked in his monotone voice.

“She would do anything to keep the scandal from ruining her family, her business, and her husband’s standing in his business,” Martin told him.

“How long have you been preying on women?”

“A little over ten years,” Martin whispered. “But my wife got me started. She loves watching.” He tried to shift the blame.

The Tanto blade lashed out, taking a piece of ankle skin. Martin screamed. Hank wrapped the ankle up.

“No blaming anyone. You did these things because you wanted to. If you wish to add something, you may ask permission, but you will take responsibility for your actions.” Hank’s monotone was wreaking havoc on Martin’s nerves.

“Why did you target Tess Roy?” Hank asked.

“She’s beautiful. I wanted her. And my—” Martin stopped himself. “May I add something?”

“Proceed,” Hank said.

“This is all my wife’s fault. She ordered me to pursue Tess. She hates the way Tess looks and how it makes her feel ugly compared to her. And she has been after Bob, Tess’s husband, for a few years now ever since we started hanging out as friends. She has tried everything she can to get Bob to notice her so that he would have sex with her, but Bob is faithful to his wife.”

“Thank you for that information however you are to blame, no one else. You decided to do those things and only you did them. You have been going after Karen and Tess for some time now. Who else? I have a list, so if you miss one name…” Hank waved the Tanto blade. “I want to know everyone and why. Then we will discuss who got you released from custody and Officer Roy framed for falsifying evidence.”

There was a peck on the door and then a hard rap. Hank smiled in Martin’s face, an evil smile.

Adaline Sarasin stepped through the door. She wore a hazmat suit complete with gloves and boots. Sarasin carried the hood under her left arm. In her right hand was a small black bag.

“Martin, let me introduce you to the Angel of Death. You may call her ma’am and only ma’am,” Hank spoke, still in his monotone. “I am going to leave you with her for some get-to-know time. You will notice her attire as you were once a doctor, so you might realize what might her attire protect her from. And since you do not have a protective outfit, you will not be. So be good, do exactly what she tells you to do, answer all her questions, and you’ll be fine. I’ll be back later to finish our conversation,” Hank turned and exited the room, closing the door behind him.

Sarasin had been listening outside the door for some time by way of the intercom system fitted in the wall behind the winch. She set her hood and bag on the office chair before turning toward Martin.

“As my companion stated before, annoy me, and by extension him, you will be punished. Now we will begin with a little demonstration of punishment to get your imagination going,” she said in a monotone that was eerily similar to Hank’s.

Sarasin turned to retrieve the hood that she donned. She opened the bag to produce a can of military CS gas, or tear gas to civilians. The can contained small pellets. She placed the can on the floor. She pulled from the bag a blow torch with a finger trigger. She clicked the trigger causing a flame to erupt forth from the tip. She stepped toward Martin. She ran the flame along the bottom of his right foot, bringing a scream of agony from him.

“First lesson,” Sarasin stated after Martin stopped screaming. “Second lesson.” Sarasin donned the hazmat hood before putting the flame to the can of pellets, causing tear gas to fill the room. Martin started coughing and screaming as his naked flesh, open wounds, and freshly sheared sole of his foot were engulfed in the acidic smoke. Sarasin placed the metal lid on the can. She pushed a button next to the door and the ventilation system sucked the tear gas from the room. Sarasin walked to the far wall to the panel. Opening it, she pulled out a water hose. She proceeded to hose down the whimpering Martin.

“Lesson two complete,” Sarasin stated after Martin settled down from the pain. “Now we know two of the punishments.”

She turned to her black bag and withdrew a plastic bag with a rubber tube. Martin’s eyes went wide.

“Ah, so you do recognize this toy?” Sarasin stated. “I have the backdoor one as well.” She walked toward Martin, removing the urinary catheter from the sealed bag. “Don’t you just love putting these in?”

That was the beginning of a twenty-four-hour ordeal for Martin. He ceased being a doctor, even a human being; he became just a breathing scumbag kept alive due to a promise. He told them everything, like how his wife was bucking for a federal judiciary appointment. He explained how he had been contacted by the CIA to render medical aid at a Syrian refugee camp in upstate Pennsylvania. Things had escalated from there to him providing medical assistance to terrorists who were brought in as refugees and homegrown terrorists. His wife, as an assistant district attorney, had aspirations for a judiciary appointment. Therefore, the CIA saw a potential use for her. As an assistant DA, if the CIA wanted someone acquitted or released from custody, she would be in the perfect position to make it happen. It didn’t matter if they were terrorists, criminals, or nobodies. If the word were to let them go, she would throw the case without seeming to throw the case. They both did as they were instructed and were paid very well for their services.

*****

The twenty-nine-year-old Liam O’Reilly sat in his apartment watching the news. Liam couldn’t believe the things they were saying about Bob. Every third Saturday, Liam would babysit for Tess and Bob so they could go out on a date night. He was Tess and Katharine’s second cousin but had been raised by Tess’s parents after his parents had been killed in a car accident when he was eight. Liam was more of a little brother to Tess than a cousin. Liam had received Tess’s voicemail. Liam decided to call Tess just to see how she was doing and when they would be back. Liam dialed Tess’s phone and listened as it rang.

Tess was in the room with Katharine as Bob took the kids to the arcade. As the cell phone rang, Tess answered it. “Liam, you shouldn’t be calling me,” Tess began as she answered the phone.

“What are you talking about? I just wanted to know how everyone is doing with all these lies on the news,” Liam began.

Suddenly, the front door was busted in as four armed men with face masks rushed into his apartment. Liam dropped the cell phone as he tried in vain to get away. Tess heard several shots echo through the phone.

“Is this Tess Roy?” a gruff voice came over Liam’s cell phone. “Who is this?” Tess demanded. “What have you done to Liam?”

“Here’s a message for you from Samantha Craig, bitch,” a voice spoke into Liam’s cell phone.

“Please don’t!” Tess could hear Liam begging for his life before another shot ended his begging.

“Your whole family will end up like this shithead,” the voice said before ending the connection.

Tess dropped the phone and fell to her knees. Katharine rushed across the room to her, dropping to her knees next to Tess. Tess was crying.

“What? What happened?” Katharine asked. “They killed Liam,” Tess said.

“Who killed Liam?” Katharine asked with shock in her voice. “I heard gunshots. Liam was begging for his life, then another

gunshot, then nothing. A man said that it was a message from Samantha Craig. He threatened the rest of the family, Kitty,” Tess told Katharine.

Katharine put her arms around Tess as they both began to cry. When Bob and the kids returned to the room, Tess told him about the phone call and hearing the shots. She told him of the man’s threat to the whole family. Bob was even more on the watch for suspicious individuals after the phone call. Bob called Hank on the burner phone.

“Hank, Liam’s dead,” Bob told Hank. “What? How do you know?” Hank asked.

“Tess got a call on her cell from Liam and then heard gunshots. Some guy got the phone, and Tess could hear Liam begging for them not to kill him. The guy told Tess the rest of the family is next,” Bob told Hank.

“Let me check it out first, okay? Let’s make sure what has happened. If it’s true, then your location could be compromised. Either way, I’ll let you know. If I don’t contact you, then I’ll have Sarasin. You can trust her. I wouldn’t trust anyone else to keep all of you safe.”

“I’ll wait for your call then,” Bob said as he terminated the connection.

Tess lay in bed until everyone was asleep before climbing out of bed. She quickly got dressed before leaving the room. Graff met her in the lobby.

“Tess Roy, I’m Jason Graff,” Graff introduced himself, shaking her hand.

“How do you know I’m Tess Roy?” Tess asked.

“Believe me, I know all about you and your family,” Graff said. “Do you know Samantha Craig had my cousin Liam murdered tonight to send me a message?” Tess asked.

“I did hear that. Do you want to get revenge or justice?” Graff asked.

“Isn’t it the same thing for Liam?” Tess asked anger in her voice. “Very true, but are you willing to do almost anything to help bring his killers to justice?” Graff asked. “Whatever it takes, I’ll do it,” Tess said.

“Very well, then let me explain my involvement. I work for the CIA.” Graff explained to her his involvement in collecting information from relief workers to help enhance intelligence from areas the foundation worked.

“So, if I join the foundation, I will be required to pass on information to you that may be of importance to national intelligence?” Tess asked.

“Yes, and I will do everything I can to bring Liam’s killers to justice.”

“Fair enough.” Thoughts of justice for Liam were flashing in Tess’s mind as the killers were themselves killed.

“I will be in contact,” Graff said.

Graff left the lobby as Tess watched. The headlights of his car faded away as he pulled out of the parking lot and into the night.

“So, Graff has sucked you in as well?” Katharine’s voice shocked Tess from behind her.

“I, ah…”

“Don’t worry. I won’t say anything to anyone, but know that I have already contacted him. He’ll use you for every bit of information he can get out of you. He will also help in any way he can. So far, I owe him a lot,” Katharine told her cousin. “Let me tell you the whole story behind joining the International Medical Aid and Relief Foundation.”

Katharine and Tess walked back to their rooms as Katharine related her experience with the foundation. She didn’t leave any part out from the good to the bad. Katharine described every moment to the final moments before Graff had arrived in South America to bring her back to the United States. She told her about the soldier who saved her life and nearly died in doing so. Katharine told her of the time the two had spent in the jungle evading rebels and government troops until they arrived in a town and he was whisked away by a black ops team. Tess saw in Katharine’s eyes that she still had feelings for that soldier. Unfortunately, that was long ago. She never saw him again. The two entered Katharine’s room and sat up all night chatting.

AdventureMysterySeries
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About the Creator

Shawn David Kelley

Prior Service, saw the Berlin Wall dismantled and the aftermath of the Gulf War/ Desert Storm/ Desert Shield. He has drawn upon his unique views of life and science fiction to bring together an alternate reality of excitement.

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