Read Taken! Alphabet Series - 26 Original Taken! Tales (Donald Wells' Taken! Series Book 14) Online

Authors: Donald Wells

Tags: #Thrillers, #mystery, #suspense, #women sleuths, #detective

Taken! Alphabet Series - 26 Original Taken! Tales (Donald Wells' Taken! Series Book 14) (2 page)

BOOK: Taken! Alphabet Series - 26 Original Taken! Tales (Donald Wells' Taken! Series Book 14)
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“Hanna Jones! Where have you been? And just who was that young man?”

“His name is Jeffrey, and he’s my new boyfriend.”

“Don’t you walk away from me, young lady, now just what—”

CLICK

Virginia placed her phone back in its cradle and smiled at the ordinariness of her sister-in-law’s life, as outside her home, police and emergency personnel arrived and attempted to bring order to last night’s chaos.

She closed her door with a sigh and walked into the kitchen to make coffee, and waited for her husband to come home.

TAKEN! C – THE MALL

(The events in
TAKEN!
C take place eight years after the events in
TAKEN!
5)

––––––––

J
essica smiled at him as he took a seat on the bench.

They were at the mall with her fourteen-year-old sister, Gabriella, shopping for the perfect dress for Gabby’s first high school dance. He had tagged along just to be near Jessica, as the demands of her medical training and the responsibilities of his growing business left them little time to be together.

However, today they both had the day off and planned to spend every moment of it alone together, but things rarely go as planned.

“Are you sure you don’t mind?” Jessica said.

“Of course not, with your schedule, when else would you find the time to do this?”

“I promise to make it as quick as I can, and then the rest of the day is ours.”

Gabby was standing nearby and gazing into the display window of a clothing store. She had recently gone through a growth spurt and looked more like her big sister every day.

He glanced over at Gabby and she sent him a wave and a smile. He smiled back at her, while noticing the man with the camera who was taking pictures of her.

He looked back at Jessica.

“Take your time in the store. I’m sure that Gabby misses you too, and afterwards, we’ll all go to lunch.”

Jessica leaned over and kissed him.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

As Jessica and Gabby entered the store, he went back to watching the man with the camera.

The man was middle-aged, pudgy, and had acne scars on his face. The subjects of his camera lens all seemed to share the same traits; they were all girls, all very young, and all blond.

Two girls came along, they were both blond, not likely any older than eleven or twelve, and both were dressed in shorts, as the weather was warm. The man’s eyes followed them as his tongue crept out to moisten suddenly dry lips, and as the girls drew even with him, he took their picture.

“You two are beautiful,” the man said. “Have you ever thought about being models?”

The two girls giggled at the man and kept walking.

“No, really, I can get you on TV.”

The girls’ laughter grew louder and the man stared after them with a foul look that bordered on hatred. After muttering a curse, he began to follow them.

He rose from his seat on the bench and walked over to look through the display window. Inside the store, Jessica had half a dozen dresses draped over her arm as Gabby pulled yet another one from the rack.

They would be awhile yet, good.

He followed the man with the camera as the man followed the girls, and he soon found himself near the ladies’ room.

As he stood behind a pillar, watching, the girls headed for the bathroom, however, just before they entered, one of the girls grabbed the other one by the arm and pulled her excitedly toward the display window of a store that specialized in posters, and the two girls squealed with excitement and hurried inside the store.

To his surprise, the man with the camera had taken his attention off the girls and was now staring at the door of the ladies’ room.

After two women left the bathroom, the man walked over and gave the door a tap.

“Building maintenance! Is anyone in there?”

A smile lit the man’s face as he realized the room was empty, and after looking around, he slipped inside.

As he headed for the bathroom door, he looked over and saw that the two little girls were busy gazing up at the posters on the walls and he decided that he had time to do what needed to be done.

He entered the ladies’ room as if he had every right to do so, and once inside, he found the man hiding in the last stall. The man was naked and his clothes sat neatly atop the toilet seat.

The man sent him a crooked smile.

“I can explain.”

Behind them, the bathroom door opened and a woman came in.

He shoved the man against the back wall while silencing his mouth with his hand, even as he shut the door on the stall with his foot. As they waited for the woman to leave, he reached over and grabbed the camera that was still hanging from the strap about the man’s neck. It was one of the new digital models.

When he got to the pictures of Gabby, he erased them, and then found further proof of the man’s depravity among earlier photos of under-aged girls. Just as the woman was leaving, the two girls came in while talking excitedly about the posters they had just purchased.

After the girls went on their way, he released the man and stood back.

Again, the man sent him a crooked smile.

“No harm done, right?”

This time, he smiled back.

“The harm starts now.”

He left the ladies’ room thirty seconds later with the man’s screams still ringing in his ears and walked into the men’s room a few feet away, where he dumped the bundle of clothes he was carrying into the trash.

He made it back to the bench in front of the store and, minutes later, Jessica and Gabby exited carrying packages.

He smiled at Gabby.

“Did you get the dress you wanted, honey?”

“Yeah and it’s so beautiful, and Jessie bought me matching shoes too.”

Jessica gave him an apologetic smile.

“I hope we didn’t keep you waiting too long; were you bored?”

“I kept myself amused. Now, why don’t we go to lunch?”

As they ate lunch in the food court, the entire mall seemed to be talking about the naked man found in the ladies’ room.

“They say he had two broken arms,” Gabby said.

Jessica shook her head in disagreement.

“I heard the woman sitting over there say it was his legs that were broken.”

“It was both,” he said.

“Are you sure?” Jessica said.

He smiled. “I’m sure. Now, who wants dessert?”

TAKEN! D – THE BET

(The events in
TAKEN!
D take place a year after the events in
TAKEN!
5)

––––––––

H
e was on a bus headed to Springfield. His van was back in Boston with a dead transmission and Jessica needed her car to get to her part-time job after her classes were done for the day.

If he’d been normal, he might have had a friend who would have given him a lift, or would have loaned him their car, but he was not normal, had never been thus, and other than Jessica White, he had no one in his life.

“I wish I could go with you, but I can’t miss class,” she had said, and he assured her that he’d be fine taking the bus.

Not for the first time, he wondered why she stayed with him. Jessica was beautiful enough to win any man’s heart, but she gave her heart to him.

He was headed to his first championship bout as a Premium Fighter. The purse for the winner would be fifty thousand dollars, more money than he had ever seen.

He needed money.

If he was to ever be worthy of Jessica, to give her the life she deserved, he needed money and the money he earned from fighting was only a steppingstone towards someday starting his own business.

Although Jessica could not accompany him, he was not alone.

Sitting beside him was a southern boy named George Carver. George was a classmate of his and also a fight fan.

“The way you beat Joe Tyler in that last bout was something, where’d you learn to fight like that?” George said.

“One of my mother’s boyfriends taught me some judo, but I’ve always been able to handle myself.”

“Well, you may not have it so easy this time. This tournament is for the best of the best, fighters from as far away as California are coming here for this, plus, you’ve got to make it through four rounds.”

“I’ll do my best.”

George stared at him.

“You’re not nervous at all, are you?”

“No.”

“Why not? I mean, some guys get really hurt doing this, and you’re tall, but you’re not very big, and some of the guys you’ll be facing, like Murphy, are monsters.”

“Like I said before, I can handle myself.”

“You’re so damn confident that I’m tempted to bet on you, but I really need to bet on the winner and I’m thinking that it’ll be Murphy, no offense.”

“No offense taken,” he said, and then he smiled at George. He barely knew the boy but there was something about him that he liked.

George removed a picture from his wallet and handed it to him.

He looked at the picture and saw that it showed a huge farmhouse surrounded by green pastures.

“That’s my family’s farm; it’s near Atlanta. We’ve owned it for six generations, but when my daddy died last winter we learned that we had to pay inheritance tax or be forced to sell it to get the money.”

“How much do you need?”

“We’re about sixty thousand short, and that’s after selling everything that wasn’t nailed down, if I can just win every bet today, all four rounds, I’ll have enough to save it.”

He stared at the photo while wondering what it was like to know the history of your family. He didn’t even know the name of his own father.

He handed the photo back to George.

“It sounds like a risky plan.”

“I know, but it’s all I got. If I don’t raise that money in three days, it’s bye, bye farm.”

They soon learned that they shared a love of baseball, and spent the rest of the trip talking about the sport.

He found himself laughing at times while talking with George, a rarity for him, in fact, the entire act of talking casually with another person was a rarity. Other than Jessica White, most people found him off-putting to at least some degree, but George chatted along with him as if they had known each other for years.

Before he realized it, the bus was pulling into the terminal.

George grabbed a backpack from the floor between his feet.

“Well, buddy, this is where we part company. I’ve got to get to the bookie before the fights start.”

“Are you betting on Murphy?”

George sent him an apologetic look.

“Yes, I’m betting on Murphy. Look, you’re a hell of a fighter, don’t get me wrong, but Murphy’s stayed undefeated for nearly a year and I think he’s my best chance at saving the farm.”

“Good luck, George.”

George smiled.

“Hell, you too, and be careful in that damn cage. I’d hate to see you get hurt.”

As they left the bus, George sent him a wave and walked off, heading east.

He began walking towards the arena on the west side, but after only six steps, he turned and ran after George.

George was startled by his sudden appearance and clutched tightly onto the straps of his backpack, where he undoubtedly kept the money he’d planned to wager.

“George.”

“Yeah?”

“I won’t lose. I’ll win every round, Murphy or not.”

George stared at him for long seconds.

“I can’t risk it, buddy, I’m sorry, but I gotta go with Murphy.”

He nodded.

“I understand.”

He then turned and began walking towards the arena, as behind him, George watched him depart, with his confident words still ringing in his ears.

***

H
e made it through the first three rounds easily. Other than the multiple bruises marking his arms from blocking blows, his sole injury was a small cut below his left eye, and that had only been acquired as he feigned fatigue, while luring his last opponent to become overconfident.

Now, the fourth and final round of fighting was to begin and it was the indomitable Murphy who was to be his opponent.

Murphy was, as George had put it, a monster. Ralph Murphy was a twenty-eight-year-old ex-Marine who stood six-foot-nine and weighed nearly three hundred pounds. The weight was muscle, and despite his massive size, Murphy was both quick and agile. He was as likely to knock you out with a kick as a punch and seemed to have no weaknesses.

Murphy outweighed him greatly, but the fledgling sport had yet to institute weight classes, and so for now, it was every man for himself.

Murphy had dispatched his first three opponents as efficiently as he had beaten his own, and the arena was wild with anticipation while waiting for their fight to begin. As they entered the octagon-shaped steel cage, Murphy’s name was shouted loudly, however, through the noise and tumult he heard his own name called out.

He looked up into the crowd and spied Jessica smiling and waving at him.

She had come after all. She must have called out sick at her part-time job and rushed to be with him.

He smiled up at her, while thinking for the thousandth time what a miracle she was.

If Murphy had any chance of victory before her appearance, it had just evaporated to nothingness.

He was not about to lose before the woman he loved.

At the sound of the bell, Murphy let out a yell and rushed towards him like an enraged bull.

He ducked beneath the charge and struck him in the ribs, then, as Murphy turned to face him, he struck him again on the nose and followed it with a left to the man’s stomach.

Murphy kept coming as if nothing had happened and this time he stood his ground. Both men began throwing a series of punches as they stood toe to toe and soon the blood was flowing freely, as Murphy’s nose broke and he suffered a gash behind his left ear.

Two minutes into the bout, he caught Ralph Murphy with an uppercut that lifted the man off his feet and onto his back, four seconds and twelve punches later, the fight was over, as Murphy lay unconscious at his feet.

As he smiled up at Jessica, he again wished that George had heeded his advice and placed his bet on him.

He was a three to one underdog going into this, and with his victories, George would have won far more than enough to save his family’s home.

BOOK: Taken! Alphabet Series - 26 Original Taken! Tales (Donald Wells' Taken! Series Book 14)
10.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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