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Doubles

by LaJuan

 

 

 

Just who are those men in the hospital?  No one seems to know for sure, but someone is definitely interested in permanently silencing them!

LaJuan, who has written numerous Emergency! stories has a sure fire winner on her hands with this Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea entry.

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

Darkness. Darkness, velvet, soft, quiet and painless.

He had left his beach house that morning for a day of exploration.  Dressed in jogging shoes, blue jean shorts, white T-shirt and a blue pull over windbreaker; he felt he was prepared for a nice day off.  His long lanky form, dark complexion, and black curly hair had been seen and appreciated by many bikini-clad women on the beach. It had been a warm day with the humidity of the morning chased away by the mountain breezes pushing their way toward the water. Now, as nightfall was coming on, he was ending his explorations of the Huntington Beach cliffs.

He had been running and needed to stop to retie his shoe. As he straighten up and took a drink of water from the sports bottle he carried, he heard the rattling on the gravel pathway and started to turn toward the noise.  He could still feel the imprint of the hand on his back, the sudden push and the awful knowledge that he could not prevent his body from falling from the cliff edge into the crashing waves. Instinctively, he had stretched his body out into a swimmer's dive, trying to minimize the damage of the rocks below.  His luck was bad; he felt the scraping of his left side from arm to leg as he met the sharp outcropping of rock under the wave.  Darkness claimed him as the waves smashed his head and hands into the sharp rocks and the night tide washed him out to sea.

He remembered the pain and the agony as the black velvet deepen into unconsciousness and claimed his soul.

 

 ************

 

The just married couple had contracted with the fishing vessel to take them out into the ocean for some night fishing.  Since the captain had planned on some night trawling, he had no qualms about picking up some extra dough.  He knew he would have to warn them to stay away from the starboard side, so they wouldn't fish into his net.

The boat was well lit as the couple threw their fishing lines over the port side.  No sooner had they sat down in their deck chairs then the wife felt a tug on her line.  She began to reel the line in and watched as her pole began to bow.  Knowing they had something heavy on their hook, the husband lent his strength to her efforts.  Slowly, they pulled and pulled as the object of their line emerged.  Attached to their hook was a dark-haired man dressed in a dark blue windbreaker, T-shirt, and blue jean shorts.

Their yells brought the Captain of the boat racing to their side.  He dispatched deck hands to fish the man from the calm ocean waters.

"He's alive, Captain!" hollered one of the hands.  "Better call the Coast Guard."

While waiting for the Coast Guard to arrive, the first aid kit and spare blankets were taken from the main cabin and brought up on deck. The dark-haired man was unconscious with head and hand wounds and a scraping wound on the left side.  The crew did what they could to stop his bleeding by applying pressure bandages where needed.  They quickly wrapped the blankets around him in an effort to stave off shock and to warm up the water-soaked man. They didn't have to wait too long as the Coast Guard had a boat cruising nearby. The man was carefully transferred from one boat to another and whisked to the nearest hospital for treatment.

 

************

 

It was refreshing that morning in the hotel to feel the stress wash off his body as he relaxed under the hot shower.  As he got out, he wrapped the thick bath towel around his waist and grabbed another one for his hair.  He rapidly rubbed his hair dried and threw the towel over the door of the shower.  Taking his comb out of his kit, he quickly groomed his thick black curly hair into shape.  Looking in the mirror at his lean, tall body, dark complexion, and amber hazel eyes, he shook his head, ruefully.  He had lost weight again and this time it showed in a different way.  He couldn’t keep his ring on his finger.  Every movement of his hand threatened to shake the ring off.  Quickly taking it off and putting it into his kit, he took out shaving supplies and finished getting ready to go out. 

It was promising to be a good day with sunshine and a pleasant sea breeze smelling of fish and kelp coming off the beach below his hotel. Deciding to take advantage of the free time, he left his room, strolled down to the lobby and left the front door in search of a strong cup of coffee.

By early evening, he had a peaceful time strolling the shops, nibbling the food at a local deli and taking in the sights.  As he wandered in his car, his mind chewed on a stray thought that was insisting on staying in his brain. It was just a tune from his youth, but one that wouldn't go away.  He was stumbling over the lyrics to the music. Looking around for a music store, he gazed at the building ahead with Huntington Beach Public Library on it. On a whim he pulled into the parking lot and went into the building to look for the words. Utilizing his past experiences, he quickly located sheet music that included the tune that was haunting him.  He went to the copying machine, fished out a quarter from his blue jean pants pocket and made his copy of the music. With satisfaction on his face, he left and went out to the library parking lot to find his rental car. 

He really had wished that his sports car had been repaired by now. It wasn't major work that had to be done, just some dings pulled out and a repaint job.  He chuckled at the memory of the look that had crossed the woman's face when her loaded grocery cart had escaped her clutches and plowed into the side of his freshly parked sports car.  She had insurance and was making good on the repairs, but he still wasn't happy to have to drive a granny car: a light blue sedan.

 

************

 

Driving through town, the assailant, dressed in a loud Hawaiian shirt and khaki slacks, was congratulating himself on doing a good job by pushing his victim off the cliff.  The black-haired guy's research had uncovered secrets that could not be revealed. "And I did stop him!"

Turning onto the avenue that housed the library, the assailant was shocked to find his lights revealing the man he had just killed opening the door of a light blue sedan in the library parking lot. He pulled into the lot and screeched to a halt directly behind the sedan blocking it from leaving.  He slammed open his door, ran over to the black-haired man, pulled him out of the sedan, and begin to punch him.  Not surprising, the fight was over quickly, as the assailant out weighed his tall lanky opponent by one hundred fifty pounds.  Boxing experience from his youth didn't hurt his well-placed punches.  Swiftly throwing the black-haired man against the brick wall of the library, he heard the satisfying crunch of a head hitting hard and watched as the hands left a trail of blood on the brick as the man's body crumbled to the ground.   

Looking around, the assailant determined that his assault had been carried out with no witnesses.  He quickly went through the man's clothes and pocketed his billfold.  Not wanting to take a chance of being seen, he rapidly walked to his car and continued his journey with a self-satisfied smirk on his face.  "I got the man for sure this time and no one will be able to identify him," he thought to himself.

 

 ************

 

Rounding the corner of the library building, Dana saw a fight between two men. It was mainly one-sided as one man soundly pounded the other.  Being a petite woman of 5'2" and 115 pounds sopping wet, she quickly hid from the giant bully.

When the assailant had driven off, Dana ran over to the collapsed man to see if he was still living. She checked his neck pulse and found it weak.  Shifting her body to his other side, she caught sight of his face and gasped.  "Oh, why did he do this to you?" She ran into the library and yelled for someone to call the police and an ambulance. Turning, she hurried back to the unconscious man.  She began to pray that the emergency vehicles would be there quickly, as she was greatly concerned for the injured man.  Time stood still or so it seemed as she waited.

The police arrived at the library parking lot before the ambulance. They found Dana McClain kneeling beside a dark-haired man by the building's wall.  She had taken off her light jacket and draped it over the man's chest and was dabbing the blood running down his cheek with tissue paper she had found in her purse. One of the two police officers went up to Dana and put his hands on her shoulders to help her up.  "Ma'am, let my partner take over until the ambulance comes. We need to get some information from you."

Standing up, Dana turned to the officer, walked a short distance away and stated, "I can't believe this is happening.  I saw him yesterday," indicating the man on the pavement.  "The library staff was closing up and I left the library with them. He was leaving also and he waved at us as he got into his car.  He gave us a big grin as he left." Looking around, she said,  "That's funny.  His car isn't here. You can't miss it. It's a red sports car."  Shaking her head, she returned to her original train of thought.  "This was suppose to be a safe area, so I was surprised to turn the corner and find him being beaten up. Why would anyone want to do this to him? You just don't expect this to be happening at a library. How can you make enemies at a library?"

"Believe me, Lady.  You can make an enemy anywhere these days.  Do you know his name?"

"No, I don't know him."

"Yes, Ma'am.  And you are?"

"I'm Dana McClain.  I'm a part-time clerk for the drug store across the street.  I usually work the front cash register checking out people."

"What is your phone number?  Both work and home numbers."

Before she could answer, the ambulance arrived and the attendant took over from the officer's partner who had been performing first aid.

The questioning continued.  "Your phone numbers?"

She gave him both her home number and work number.

"Your home address and driver's license number?"  

She reached into her purse, brought out her billfold, and gave her license to the officer.  He wrote the information down in his notepad, handed it back to her and continued with his questions.  

"Ms. McClain, exactly, what did you see?" he asked.

Dana took a deep breath as she watched the men finish their preparations to transport their patient to the hospital and loaded the dark-haired man in the ambulance.  She could hear the siren as they left. "I was leaving the library.  I turned the corner of the building to go to my car.  It's parked over on this side of the blue sedan. I saw two men fighting between the cars.  Well, rather one of them was fighting. The other kept getting punched in the face and in the chest.   There was a black Chevy parked behind the blue sedan blocking it in the parking place.  The Chevy's lights were on and they were bright enough to see what was happening.  The other guy was a giant.  I mean he was the same height as this man, but he was so heavy and strong. He was gray-headed with a military haircut.  He was wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt with khaki slacks and brown lace up shoes.  Frankly, he scared me, so I hid around the corner.  He never saw me when he left."

"Good description."

"Thanks.  My boss is always setting up training sessions for us and the police department did a session on safety recently.  They taught us to look for colors from the head down."

"Did you see his car tag?"

"No, he was flying when he went by me."  

"I'll need you to come to the station tomorrow to talk to our police artist.  Do you think you can help us get a sketch?"  

"Sure.  But can I leave now?  I need to get home to my family."

"Yes.  I'll call you when I have the session set up with our artist."

Dana, under the watchful eyes of the police officers, went to her car, got in and started her engine.  When she turned on her lights, she shuddered as they revealed bloody vertical streaks on the building.

 

 

 

Chapter Two
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Contents
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