Authors: Kathryn Thomas
“If the other clubs do?”
“Object? We’re going to do it anyway, but it’s good to know where you stand, and whose fences you may have to mend later.”
“And what of the women?”
“We’re going to cut them loose. They will be free to go. If they decide to stay, I assume they will join up with the Triple-Ds if they are young and pretty, and possibly
Cuernos del Diablos if they are skanky.”
“You treat them like property to be traded.”
“No we don’t. I told you, they are free to go. Nobody will try to stop them if they want to leave the trade and they will have our protection for a while. But we can’t control what they do of their own free will. I’m sure some of them have nothing else.”
“I still don’t like all of this.”
“Neither do I, but it’s something that has be done. We owe them and we made an agreement with New Jersey. If it makes you feel any better, if they give up the killer and their colors, all but the killer or killers can walk away unharmed. New Jersey wouldn’t give them that option.”
“Do you think they will do it?”
their colors...by whatever means necessary.”
“Even killing them?”
He paused, clearly not wanting to tell me. That was answer enough and I wondered if he would tell me the truth. “Yes,” he finally said.
“Thank you for telling me the truth.”
“I told you, Alex. I would never lie to you.”
I changed the subject to something less frightening and we spent the rest of the drive, and most of the meal, discussing our future. I could tell he didn’t want to give up the Hounds, and I didn’t press him. I decided to wait and see how the Hounds handled the Bulls. If it appeared they turned the confrontation into a bloodbath for no reason, then that would weigh heavily in my pressuring him to leave the club. But if they held back and didn’t kill the Bulls for no reason, then perhaps I could be persuaded that maybe the Hounds weren’t as I feared they were. But I kept that to myself, not wanting to influence the events so that I could see how they would play out.
Our lunch was almost over, and I had all but forgotten about the Bulls, when the check arrived. “I have to go,” I whispered across the table.
“Again?” he asked, his voice lilting up in mock surprise and annoyance.
“Just you wait. It’s going to get a lot worse. You try having a six pound weight sitting on your bladder, then talk to me,” I teased as I rose.
“You don’t have a six pound weight on your bladder,” he objected.
“Not yet. But I will. Then I will be going every ten minutes. So quit your complaining.” I gave him a quick smooch on the way by to let him know I didn’t mind his teasing.
As I walked toward the bathrooms, I noticed another woman headed the same way. I increased my speed a bit to make sure I got there first in case there was only one stall.
As I entered I could see there were three, all unoccupied, and I relaxed a little. Cain was right, though. This having to pee all the time was damned annoying. The door hadn’t even closed before the other woman entered behind me.
I took care of business and was washing my hands when she emerged from another stall. There were two sinks and, as she stepped up to hers, I turned to the towel dispenser to dry my hands. When I turned back, she was holding a folded piece of paper out to me.
“Here is something I think you should know, Alex.”
“I’m sorry, but do I know you?” I asked as finished drying my hands.
“No, but I know you.”
She continued to hold the paper out, and the moment I took it, she turned and walked out, not bothering to wash her hands. I unfolded the note.
The Hellhounds killed your parents. We have the proof. 214-555-0178
I stared at the note a moment before I tucked the paper into my purse and opened the restroom door. The woman was walking quickly away and was nearly out of the restaurant.
During the trip back to the clubhouse I fretted over the note and whether to tell Cain. I finally decide to keep to myself what had happened in the bathroom. One nice thing about being pregnant, you can blame almost anything on your condition, and when he questioned my sudden change in my mood, I blamed it on hormones. He seemed to accept my excuse without question.
When we arrived at the clubhouse, I excused myself and retired to one of the guest rooms, claiming I was tired and was going to lie down for a while. Cain expressed some minor concern but I shooed him away to attend business.
In the room I pulled the paper from my purse and stared at it. I started to tear it into shreds and flush it down the toilet but then folded it and put it back in my purse and lay down on the bed.
What can it hurt to call? They already know my name. But what if it is some kind of trap?
I wondered. I tried to think of how calling the number could possibly lead me into danger, and finally decided that it couldn’t. I
I got up and plucked the paper from my bag and dialed the number.
“Hello?” a woman’s voice answered. The phone distorted the voice some but I recognized it as the blond that gave me the note in the bathroom.
“This is Alex. You have proof?”
“My father knows who was working with your father to bring down the Hellhounds.”
“You father was a cop?”
“No. A Hellhound.”
That rocked me back on my heels. “Your father was a Hellhound, and he was working with my dad? That doesn’t make any sense. I don’t believe you.”
“Suit yourself,” the voice said. “But like I said, I have proof.”
“What kind of proof?”
“Can we meet somewhere? I will bring it and show it to you.”
I thought it over a moment. “I don’t think that is a good idea.”
“We can do it in a public place. I have no interest in hurting you, Alex. You have my word that nothing will happen to you. We show up, I show you my proof, and we leave. Then you can decide what you want to do.”
“What do you get out of this?”
“What kind of justice?”
“The kind of justice that is best served cold. My father was tossed out of the Hounds for doing what he was told. For twenty years, he has had to bear the shame of that, of being thought that he had turned on his brothers. And it has eaten him alive.”
“Who is your father?”
“That’s not important now. What is important is that you know who you are involved with. How the Hellhounds, with their high-handed tactics, run the rest of the motorcycle clubs in Dallas like their own little kingdom. But they are not all they seem.”
“Is your father a Bull?”
The voice was quiet for a moment. “Yes.”
“Why should I believe anything you have to say? Why should I believe you over the Hellhounds?”
“Have they offered proof of what they say? I’m prepared to offer proof of what I say.”
“No. But they can’t prove they didn’t do something, now can they?”
“Maybe not, but I can prove they did.”
I paused as I thought it over. It was a lot to take in. Just when I thought I was coming to terms with Cain and the club, this pops up. I wanted to just end the call and pretend none of this had happened. I wanted to go back to feeling comfortable and protected by the men Cain called brothers. But I couldn’t. Not now.
“Can you send me the information?”
“Send it how?” the voice asked.
“Email. Dropbox. Something electronic.”
sweetheart, kept in a folder.”
“Every heard of a scanner?”
The voice huffed out a sigh. “Okay, fine. But it will take a little time. There are a lot of papers.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” I gave her my email address and had her repeat it back to me. “Send them there when you are done. I will look them over and call you back.”
“Expect it tomorrow.”
The promise of information that the Hellhounds had killed my parents had a chilling effect on me. Despite my efforts to hide it, I knew I was acting differently around everyone. They noticed, as Cherie and Eva both asked if I were okay, but, once again, being pregnant saved me from having to explain.
“Are you ready to go?” Cain asked me later that afternoon.
“Yeah,” I mumbled and rose. I kissed him, wanting to feel that spark, but it was missing.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah…just tired. Being pregnant sucks,” I murmured.
“We’ll get you home. I’ll order takeout.”
“Thanks,” I said as I turned away. I just wanted to get home and get the day over with, all my thoughts on what tomorrow would bring.
I awoke early the next morning, before Cain, and checked my email. Nothing. I was still debating on what to do when he stirred. I curled up in his arms and lays still, listening to him breathe as he swam up out of the darkness of sleep.
“Good morning,” he mumbled as his embrace tightened down. “Feeling better?”
“Some.” I had claimed last night that I was feeling out of sorts, which was true as far as it went. I just didn’t explain my turmoil was emotional more than physical.
“Can I get you anything?”
I wanted to tell him that he could get me away from the Hellhounds, that he could come back to New Orleans with me, but I didn’t. “No. I’ll be better later.”
“Nothing serious, I hope?” he asked.
“I hope so, too.”
We pottered around his apartment and I had to resist the temptation to check my phone every thirty seconds. It would chime when an email arrived, so I forced myself to wait.
We were on the way to the clubhouse when I heard my phone chime in my purse. I wanted to snatch it up and look, but with Cain sitting so near, I didn’t dare, so I ignored it.
As Cain and the rest of the Hounds finalized their assault plans on the Bulls, I had a few minutes alone. I checked my messages and there was one email. I opened it and there was only a link to an online file storage site. I followed the link and began to browse through the pages and pages of documents.
The evidence was circumstantial, but damning. There were pictures of men in Hounds colors loading crates into a van, more pictures of them unloading crates from a different van, and pages and pages of handwritten notes. But most damning of all, was a ten page narrative, neatly typed and signed by my father and another man, which described the Hounds illegal activities. All in all, it looked like a packet of information that I imagined a cop would use when building a case to present to the District Attorney.
There was no proof that the Hounds had actually killed my family, but it was clear that my dad was closing the noose around their neck. What I didn’t know was who Thomas H. Kendrell, the other signature on the paper beside my father’s, was. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t figure out how to ask a Hound without tipping my hand that I had something I didn’t want them to see.
I picked up my phone and dial the number from the paper.
“Hello, Alex. Did you get my email?”
“I did. Who is Thomas H. Kendrell?”
“That’s the man that was going to sell out the Hounds.”
“I thought you said your father was selling out the Hounds.”
“No. I said my father was a Hellhound. Kendrell was the man that the Hounds worked through to import the guns.”
“Where did you get this information?”
“My father got it from Kendrell.”
“By doing what he was told. My dad was just a junior member of the club at the time. He had been a member for only a year or so when the club found out they were under investigation. He and two other members of the club killed Kendrell, and your father, to stop the investigation.”
“I asked Thad about my parents. He said the Hounds didn’t do it. Nothing in this packet shows that they did either.”
“Come on, Alex! Open your eyes! Your dad was a whisper away from shutting them down! Do you think that the Hounds wouldn’t kill to protect their turf?”
I knew they would. They were planning how to do that very thing in the other room right now. “No, I know they would. Why are you telling me this? There has to be more than just revenge. Why not go to the cops?”
“Because, Alex, despite what the Hellhounds may have told you, the Bulls don’t rat. But when we found out that you were mixed up with your parents’ killers, I thought you deserved to know the truth. And if it hurts the Hounds, so much the better.”
“So what do you want from me?”
“Nothing. I want you to leave. I want you to hurt Cain by leaving and, by extension, hurt the club when he finds out
“What if Cain leaves with me?”
“Even better. Without Cain, the Hounds won’t have such a lock on the gun business.”
“And you want to take that over.”
going take that over. We have a new supplier that supplies better arms at lower prices.”
I almost smarted off that the Hounds were onto them, but held my tongue. I trusted Cain to not hurt me, but I wasn’t ready to give the rest of the Hounds a pass on that if I were to truly fuck them.
“So you told me all of this so I would leave, and maybe take Cain with me?”
“Yes. It makes our job that much easier. Now, if you wanted to tell me what the Hounds are up to, I can make it worth your time.”
“We can help you with your…condition. You need money, right? Would, say, twenty-five thousand dollars be useful right now?”
“You would give me twenty-five grand to tell you what I know about the Hounds?”
“If the information were worth it. This is a high-stakes game, worth a lot of money. It is worth the twenty-five if you can help us cut the Hounds out.”
“If you have this all sewn up, why do you need me?”
“Never underestimate your enemy, Alex. The Hounds aren’t going to go quietly. We know they are working against us. Our customer has delayed the pickup of his next shipment. We don’t know why, but we suspect it is the Hounds. If you could tell us what they are planning, we can be ready for it.”
“What if I don’t want to get involved?”
“Then Godspeed to you.”
“I’ll think about it,” I finally said.
“That’s fine. But don’t take too long. This is a limited-time offer.”
“I understand,” I said before I punched the button to kill the call.