Authors: Michael C. Grumley
Amid the Shadows
Copyright © 2013 Michael Grumley
All rights reserved.
To Mikayla and Amber, two perfect girls to
whom I want nothing more than to be your daddy.
And to Linda and Shannon, we miss you both
Special thanks to Susan, Kim, Gail, Bryan,
Dennis, Karen, and Dan for all of your expert help.
York City – 1871
They were being followed again.
He could feel it.
The man squeezed his son’s hand and quickened
He pulled his coat tighter,
feeling the cold morning chill penetrate through his thick wool coat.
Above them, the rising sun was obscured
behind the thick layer of smoke from the sea of chimneys dotting the horizon.
The man looked over his shoulder and spotted the
large figure behind them.
He was getting
This was not the first time Dean
Kelly had been threatened.
as one of New York’s largest merchants had made him and his family a common
target by those less fortunate.
time was different though.
person was, he had been following Kelly and his son for some time and always
watching them from a distance.
Behind Kelly, the dark figure quickened his pace
as well and began to close in.
feel his heart rate increasing rapidly, and his hands were beginning to shake.
It was growing nearer.
He kept his head
down and mostly hidden beneath his coat’s large collar.
As he drew closer, his eyes narrowed.
He splashed through a deep puddle without
Fifth Avenue was busy with
people walking back and forth, all trying to avoid the water-filled potholes in
the dirt road.
A large, horse drawn
carriage passed unnoticed as the man’s vision and hearing began to tunnel and
zoom in on the Kellys ahead of him.
Dean Kelly did not know, however, was that it was not Kelly in whom he was
It was his young,
Kelly and his son walked faster.
He knew the man behind them was getting
They neared a large construction
site where dozens of men worked in the drizzling rain, shaping large stones for
the foundation of a building behind them.
The ringing of their metal chisels could be heard far down the busy
As they neared, one of the large men put down his
tools and stood up.
He spotted Kelly
approaching by his dark hair combed straight back and, after locking eyes with
him, Kelly gave a firm nod.
workman put his hands inside his overalls and nodded back.
He then turned and motioned to several men
behind him, who all stopped and followed, heading for the road.
The shaking intensified as the figure was now
within fifty feet of Kelly and his son.
It was going to happen.
He could feel his body flushing
A large man dressed in work clothes suddenly
stepped in front of him and put his hand up.
“Ah, where ya goin’ there, laddie?”
The stranger pushed past him without a word but
was stopped by the workman’s hand around his arm.
“Hold on there, yeah?” Another man approached from
behind and grabbed him from the other side.
“You wouldn’t be following the Kellys now, would ya?”
The figure looked to each side then back to Kelly
and his son.
His crystal blue eyes widened
as they began to move away from him.
pulled his arms free and tried to run, but was caught again.
This time by more men who crowded around him,
grabbing his coat firmly.
“We can’t have that now.”
Without warning, the workman to his right
slammed a fist into his stomach, causing him to lurch forward.
But the stranger still barely acknowledged
He quickly rose to his feet and
surged forward, pulling the other men with him.
His blue eyes now began to show signs of panic.
The other men were surprised by his strength and
delivered two crushing blows to his back and kidneys.
The stranger fell again, this time onto a
The shaking in his hands became
looked away from the boy and turned to the men around him.
When he stood up, he did so with incredible
strength, pushing the surprised men back in an instant. When they tried to grab
him again, their hands now met a much greater force.
The figure seized one of the arms around him
and snapped it at the elbow, causing a large man behind him to scream out in
The others instantly jumped on the stranger,
beating him savagely, but this time he did not fall, or even kneel.
Instead, his body moved like a whip, spinning
and kicking the largest man square in the chest, lifting him off the ground and
sending him crashing into a nearby wheelbarrow.
The stranger’s arm lashed back and forth, almost too quickly to
He struck one man in front, and
another behind him, in nearly the same instant.
Both men stumbled backwards with blood streaming down their faces.
“Get his legs!”
Dozens more workmen were suddenly upon him as
others fell to the ground.
The figure in
black spun again and two more men collapsed to the dirt beneath them, one
unconscious and the other slowly dying from his smashed throat.
In a fury, Kelly’s men crowded around.
Their constant blows raining down on the
stranger, but with little effect. Many of the strikes were blocked, or missed
entirely, as the man in the middle seemed to move faster and faster.
Flashes of metal were seen as long weapons
appeared from under his thick black coat.
They instantly found their targets and two more workers collapsed.
Another shrieked blindly feeling for his
Finally, one of Kelly’s largest men launched
himself at the figure in the middle and struck him hard with a large heavy
The stranger reeled back,
dazed, trying to find the weapon.
Another sap was quickly pulled and slammed against his head.
Then another, and another.
The stranger’s vision began to blur, yet he
continued taking his attackers down, one at a time.
But the saps continued to find their
He stumbled and managed to grab
one of the weapons, striking the sap’s owner with it harder than any of them
would have imagined.
The man was killed instantly.
More blows caused the stranger’s vision to
He could barely make out Kelly
and the boy in the distance.
desperately tried to push out of the circle and run after them.
Just as he finally managed to get through the
group of men, a gunshot rang out.
He lurched sideways as the bullet ripped into his
A second shot immediately pierced
his thigh, destroying a lateral wall of muscle and causing the stranger to fall
onto his left side.
His entire body was
shaking now as his eyes desperately searched past his attackers for Kelly and
He pushed himself up onto his
right leg and managed to hobble two small steps forward when the next bullet
dug into his back, toppling his body forward, onto his chest.
Kelly pulled his son, Ryan, forward.
He tried to keep him from looking back at the
commotion, but when the shots were heard, the boy pulled away and turned back
He saw the strange man fall to
the ground, his piercing eyes finding the boy and staring straight at him.
Their eyes locked for a moment as the man
continued crawling forward with his hand outstretched toward Ryan.
Frightened, the boy suddenly stumbled backward
over a large stone.
He slipped beyond
the grip of his father, falling backwards into the crossroad behind them.
“Ryan!” Kelly yelled, and reached for his son
just as several passing horses snorted. The boy fell directly into their path
and was trampled beneath them.
Seeing the boy trampled, the stranger, still
trying to drag himself forward on the ground, let out a gut wrenching
His entire body convulsed and his
eyes rolled up into their sockets.
eerie howling continued until the final blow to his head, and his body
collapsed into the thick mud.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral was one of the largest
and oldest in the entire city.
accommodate over twenty two hundred people, its decorated Neo-Gothic spires
towered three hundred and thirty feet above the street below.
, sculpted by William
Ordway Partridge, was three times the size of Michelangelo’s
the cathedral’s combined organs numbered over nine thousand eight hundred
It was also the seat of the
archbishop of the Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of New York.
cathedral was a national historic landmark and a popular tourist attraction,
bringing tens of thousands of visitors every year.
The architecture was so impressive that few
could resist taking a picture on the steps of its giant entrance and, with the
warm spring weather, today was no exception.
Hundreds of visitors milled in and out of the cathedral, setting off a
continual stream of flashes from their digital cameras, then visiting the gift
shop on their way out to take home a souvenir and a piece of the city’s history.
the street, hundreds more stood back to snap pictures of the entire
Outside a nearby café, people
dined on a late morning snack of scones and coffee while enjoying the view.
of the outermost tables sat a man in a suit, taking in the scene.
His hair peppered with small amounts of gray,
he looked more like a local businessman than a tourist.
Sitting calmly with his hand wrapped around a
cup of coffee, he watched the mass of people entering and exiting the church.
young, attractive barista with round glasses approached with a hot pot.
Seeing his cup was still untouched, she
continued on to the other customers.
thought it odd that he had been sitting there for almost an hour and not even
taken a sip.
She gave him a curious
glance before heading back inside.
newlywed couple giggled and ran past the man’s table. The young husband pulled
his bride in for a quick kiss before they turned and trotted across the street,
newlyweds were soon followed by a small group of Japanese tourists who crossed
to the other side where they stopped and took pictures of each other, beaming
in front of the church.
looked down at his Rolex and calmly looked back up to the cathedral.
He did not want to miss this.
minutes past eleven, the bombs went off.
A deafening explosion could be heard from within the church, and smoke
burst through the giant front doors.
Everyone screamed and started to run when part of the ceiling began to
Huge sections of the beautiful
stained glass windows broke apart and fell onto the people below.
The force of the collapsing roof pulled the
west wall inward and down upon itself.
screams were muted by a thunder emanating from the cathedral’s enormous
One began to move, wobbling from
side to side until cracks appeared.
too collapsed downward, pitching at its base, and causing it to lean and smash
into the second spire.
came down in a deadly heap of smoke, dust, and rubble.
came streaming out of the café in horror, including the barista.
No one noticed the well-dressed man stand up
and walk to the corner.
continued to watch the carnage as people ran screaming in all directions.
Many of them bloodied, and covered in dirt
later sirens could be heard in the distance.
The man took one last look and began to turn away when something caught
He looked back to the
smoldering building where, among the confusion, a mother was whisking her young
daughter away to safety.
She ran, pulling
her daughter behind her.
girl was not looking at her mother, nor the terrible scene behind her.
The young girl was looking across the street
and directly at
her for a long moment as the girl continued staring at him.
feeling uneasy, the man turned and walked quickly down the street, disappearing
into the chaos.