Authors: Charles Anikpe
Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Private Investigators, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Suspense, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages), #Literature & Fiction
Who Am I?
By Charles Anikpe & Barry Ries
As an avid reader, I would often find myself frustrated with books.
I would flick through the pages, and want the story to end differently, I would form bonds with the characters and felt like I knew them and want to re-write their destiny so justice was served or so that they got the happy ending they deserved.
It was this that made me realize, that perhaps I was more than a reader, I was a writer, and taking inspiration from my father, I set about on writing a novel that would change me forever.
And it is to my father I would like to dedicate this book, for without him, I would not have had the courage to venture out into the world of writing and also to my mother, who has brought me up alone since he passed away nine years ago. I would not be who I am today without her tremendous effort and support.
I cannot begin to describe the things I have learnt on this amazing journey and the characters that have been projected from my mind onto the pages. I feel so blessed to have brought Connor to life for people to enjoy.
When I first met Connor in my mind, I instantly fell in love with his charm, his charisma, his boyish wit and the fact that he was able to hold everything together no matter what was facing him. That is a commendable skill that takes great courage and bravery.
He became my reason for living in the weeks it took me to write this book, because I wanted to tell you his story and do it justice.
I now want you sit back, relax and let me take you deep into the mind of Connor Donovan, come share in his triumphs and misfortunes as he battles with demons in a very real struggle between good and evil…
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
–Martin Luther King Jr.
Copyright 2014 by Charles Anikpe
All rights reserved.
- From a Declaration of Principles which was accepted and approved equally by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations.
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The shrill shriek of the alarm awoke me with a startle. I squinted, trying to readjust my eyes to the morning glow that was streaming through the gap in my curtains as I frantically reached for the off button. Morning and I had never gotten along too well, but of late this had become increasingly apparent.
In the past few months, mornings had become a caffeine fuelled affair. My career as one of New York’s top lawyer’s demands that I am in top form at all times. Something I pride myself in adhering to, but I fear without the caffeine I would lose my fierce streak at the moment, as lately I just never feel like I am getting a restful night’s sleep.
My law career had taken me far and wide and I was highly regarded in all of the right circles. I sometimes wondered if my charm had something to do with it, but in my fifteen years in the industry I had never lost a case. I was the only black lawyer in my firm, and thus attracted a lot of black clientele. I never understood why this was the case, but my other main clientele was my favourite kind… women.
I make no secret of the fact that I love women, all women, in all shapes and sizes. Some of my peers would think my behaviour to be inappropriate, but I don’t know a man who would not play the cards the good Lord had dealt him. These women crave attention, and I am happy to oblige. Regularly. I guess I was considered a bit of a player.
I lay for a moment in the bed, running over my schedule for the day in my head. Interviews, hearings, prep. I never really switched off from work. After a few minutes I finally mustered enough energy to get up. I sat up, and swung my legs over the edge of the bed. As I did I noticed a sharp pain in my lower calf, like a burning sensation. I glanced down to see a deep cut, around 3 inches in length, covered in crusty brown blood.
My confusion began to worry me; I could not understand how this cut had got there. I began frantically searching the rest of my body, I was unscathed otherwise. I began to try and rationalize my wound, examining my toenails and fingernails. I knew deep down that that cut was way too deep to have been created by myself in my sleep, but I had to be in court in 45 minutes, so I disregarded the incident for the time being.
I quickly cleaned the cut and put on my black Armani suit and matching black silk tie. I never drove to court. Quite often a drink would be in the cards to celebrate a success afterwards, so I would always order a cab in preparation for this. Today was no different; I was fully expecting a string of successes from today’s work load. Client’s paid me hundreds of thousands to represent them, and if I do say so myself, I was worth every penny.
Within a few moments, my cab was ready and waiting for me outside. I slid my coat over my arms as I headed for the door. I hadn’t even had time for a coffee this morning. I would have to call for one on the way in or else I would be grumpy the rest of the day.
“Morning Mr Donovan,” said the cab driver as I threw my briefcase into the backseat of the car.
“Morning Sam, how are you today?” Sam was the cab driver who had pulled up outside my house on my first ever day at court, and I have personally requested him ever since. He knew me inside and out after fifteen years of ferrying me from one appointment to the next.
“Good my Friend.” He answered in his Italian American accent. Sam was quirky and always cheery.
“Got your coffee.” He continued, handing me a paper cup with my morning fix inside.
“Sam you’re a godsend.” I beamed.
“When you called at this time of morning, I knew you must be running late again.” He chuckled. “Same as usual?” he requested looking at me in the mirror. I gave Sam the nod and opened my briefcase and began to sift through some of the case notes for my first hearing of the day.
My first case of the day was an easy win. I was acting on behalf of a woman who had been drugged by a stranger in a bar. It was all captured over CCTV. It was an open and shut case. I enjoyed starting my day with an easy one; the buzz from the win really set me up for the rest of the day.
We pulled up at the court promptly and I paid Sam his fare along with my usual, very generous tip. When I got inside I was advised we were ready to begin. This was unusual. Normally there were meetings to be had and things to discuss. I guessed the reason for this was the transparency in the case. Everybody took their places and I made my way to my position, giving my client a little wink for reassurance. She smiled like a teenage girl. I knew she had the hots for me, but I would never jeopardise a case by having a liaison with a client. However, after today, she wouldn’t be my client anymore. I smiled inside at my knowing that I could have her at the snap of a finger if I so chose. It made me feel powerful.
“Your honour.” I said dominantly, “I believe in this case the evidence speaks for itself. We have conclusive proof that on the evening of May 12
, the defendant was in the bar, and was seen dropping a pill into the drink of Miss Thomas. On this occasion I feel no further examination is needed on my part.”
The judge nodded at me, allowing me to sit down. Up until this point in I had not looked up to the perpetrator in the stand in front of me. So while the defence began to try and find a way to get their client out of this mess, I took a moment to take in his face.
He was a tall, lean man in his late twenties or early thirties and he had his shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows, but the remainder of his skin was covered in tattoos. A scar that stretched from his forehead to his chin made him quite a menacing looking character. But those eyes…
He reminded me of someone. I struggled to try and recollect the familiarity of that face, and then I realized. Suddenly my mind was dragged back to a place I never wanted to see again. I found myself in the graveyard, near the boarding school where I had grown up. He was there. Johnny Maxwell. There I was laying on my back, looking up at the stars in the dark night sky, with him standing over me. I remember feeling pressure on my chest and coughing and struggling to breath. I remember the sounds of kids, some shouting and some laughing. I remember how I couldn’t feel my feet, or move my legs…
“Mr Donovan?” the judge’s echoing voice awoke me from something between a dream and a nightmare.
“Er… Yes.” I said, trying to gather my thoughts and compose myself quickly.
“Welcome back to the room.” He said sarcastically. Judge Prince took no crap in his court room. People called him the ‘Prince of Darkness’ and with good reason. He completely lived up to his nickname. He did not frighten me, but many a good lawyer had been intimidated by him.
“Sorry your honour.” I sincerely meant it, standing up.
“Do you have anything further to add, Mr Donovan?” He asked as if repeating himself.
“No your honour.” I have said all I need to say. I replied clearly as I graciously sat back down.
“Ok, with that then let’s get this wrapped up.” He said. The jury were sent out to deliberate. I spent this time trying to comfort a very nervous client, however, in truth I could only concentrate on the event’s I had witnessed in my own mind.
It was like some distant nightmare I had packaged up and shipped off somewhere to never be found again. How was it that until now, had I completely forgotten about this event? I did not have long to ponder my past experience, when the jury announced that they had reached a verdict. It was fast, and I prayed that he would receive the harshest possible sentence, and I did not even believe in God. I wanted him punished for what he had done to her and for what he had done to me.
The jury had not taken long to deliberate. Of course he was found guilty and sentenced to 2 years imprisonment. He would likely serve less, and was not ordered to be included on the sex offender’s registry as he denied premeditation in raping her. My client cried with relief as he was handcuffed and removed from the courtroom to begin his sentence. I would have preferred a longer sentence, but a win was a win.
For most people, court is a harrowing experience, whether you’re on the side of the prosecution or the defence, but I thrived on it, the adrenaline, the power, the feeling of putting what’s wrong with the world right. I loved it all, and felt very blessed to have a career that was not only my lifeline but my life.
I still, despite the win, could not get the vision out of my mind. Johnny had not acknowledged me in any way, so he obviously had not recognized me. My head was buzzing with questions, but I knew I needed to be focussed on work, my reputation was at risk after all, and it was the only thing that truly mattered to me. I hurried out of the court building, down to the coffee shop down the road. Maybe a double expresso would calm my mind…