From the journals of Mark Kendall.
I’m not really good with keeping up with journals but my therapist told me this would be good way to air out of my feelings. Okay here goes. Where do I begin?
I guess getting over the tragedy of that incident hasn’t really gone away. How can it when you already know that two people that you know and love died and there was very little you could have done to prevent it? The nightmare still haunts me to this day. Those painful memories feel like it occurred just yesterday.
I had dropped off some files at my brother’s company, Kendall Conglomerate International, when I noticed him not his office that evening. It was rather strange because Jason’s always in the building and usually when he’s not going to show up for work, he’d tell me.
Not thinking anything of it, I was about to head to work early at the warehouse in Guillermo. Since taking over Sherry Deville’s spot as assistant manager, I adjusted well with handling the daily routines and managing the employees. Ricky usually shows up later so it gave me a couple hours to fax over some of the paperwork to corporate headquarters so they could see what our quarterly ratings were doing within the company.
I can happily say that we were still number one within the company as far as getting shipments out on time to their designated areas.
Heading into Ricky’s office, I decided to use his computer to pull up the files of our facility’s productivity report when I accidentally clicked on his e-mail icon on the desktop. Apparently, he was such in a rush to leave work this morning that he completely forgot to shut down his computer. I was going to do it for him when I noticed a few messages in his inbox.
Being the nosy person that I am, I clicked on it. A slew of messages of appeared directed at the twenty three year old. I clicked on one of the attachments. What I saw made me nearly fall out of my seat.
In every single photo, my brother and Ricky participated in various forms of BDSM behavior. I quickly deleted each one and sent it to trash but not before reading each of the notes.
Hope you like the pictures fucker!
Hope you like the pictures fucker!
Hope you like the pictures fucker!
Each remark was spiteful, bordering on harassment. I read the sender’s name to realize it was Alex. Somehow he discovered Jason’s penchant for secretly videotaping his sessions, stole the footage and began posting it online. I immediately grew worried.
Grabbing my phone, I called my brother. He didn’t answer. It immediately went to voice mail.
That’s weird. Jason usually answers when he knows that it’s me. I said to myself. I decided to text him instead.
Jason, call me.
I then contacted Ricky. Again, no answer.
After an hour with no response from either person, red flags started to form inside my head. I had to get to the bottom of my fears so I called Sherry in her office in Imperial Valley.
“Sherry?” I greeted.
“Mark, baby!” The African American regional manager laughed. “How you doing?”
“Not too good.” I lied. “I’m feeling a bit under the weather and I can’t get a hold of Ricky. I was wondering if you cover my shift tonight?”
“No problem, hon.” Sherry agreed. “You know I’d do anything for you and Ricky. I should be there in forty minutes so I can relieve you. Wait until I get there.”
“Thanks, Sherry.” I said. “See you soon.”
Forty minutes rolled by and Sherry came strolling in the building and hugged me. I thanked her for helping me out.
“It ain’t nothin’ baby,” she smiled. “You and your brother, the big bossman, gave me a great position. I owe you a lot. Besides, it’ll be good to see my peeps again in Guillermo.”
As usual, Sherry went right into her former position as if nothing had changed. In a way I envied her. She knew how to balance handling people and meeting her expectations. I wished I had her skill set.
Gathering my things, I headed to my car, and once again tried to get a hold of Jason and Ricky. No one answered their phones. At this point, I knew something was terribly wrong.
Grabbing my laptop next to me, I began hacking into the Las Padres police department files. I thanked God that despite being born in the wrong gender growing up, God gifted me with the intelligence of understanding computer programming. I’ve been breaking into the law enforcement database for a while in order to learn more about the Anatoles’ whereabouts. It helped to update Jason’s and the Zagreskis’ knowledge of their enemies.
I was well aware of Detective Morrisey’s growing suspicions of me and my brother so I began my research there. Pulling up her computer files, I noticed her checking out one of the Anatoles’ thugs, Olav Kazay. He was a rough looking gentleman, with a shaved head, a nasty scar on his left cheek and was wanted for murder, rape and kidnapping in several countries. It seemed that the Las Padres investigator had taken a special interest in him as she made contact with a suspect named Boots Lorca who recently posted bail and was free. She had scheduled a meeting with Boots at Paloma Beach which was located on the westside of the city. I decided to start there.
Driving toward the deserted beach at ten o’clock at night, I noticed how dark it was as I quietly parked my car a few feet away to see Detective Morrisey’s vehicle just a few yards from where I was situated. She appeared to be alone but something in my gut told me to be prepared. Usually, my hunches are never wrong. Opening my glove compartment, I pulled out my small pistol, got out and snuck behind the policewoman’s car to observe two figures coming to meet each other in the sand under the crescent moonlight.
One was Lauren in her casual blazer, t-shirt, and jeans and the other looked like Hispanic gang member as they met each other. In the quiet of the darkness, I snuck in closer to eavesdrop on their conversation.
“You got my money?” Boots asked the detective.
Lauren reached into her blazer and produced an envelope of bills and plane ticket. He handed it to the thug. “It’s not much. Just five hundred and a plane ticket to Mexico. It should be enough to start a new life as long you provide me the information you promised me.”
“Why are you helping me?” He asked defiantly.
The blue eyed brunette sighed. “I don’t think you’re a bad kid. You just got a raw deal in life. It’s about time you get a chance to start over. The money and the plane fare should get you out of Las Padres and away from the Russian mob.”
“Thanks.” Boots huffed. “You didn’t bring any of your cops friends with you?”
She shook her head. “No. I came alone, as promised. Now tell me what I need to know.”
The tide rolled in with a loud calm sound as the Latin thug started to speak.
“I heard on the streets that this Alex Quinn guy was a big dealer for the Anatoles.” Boots informed her. “He used to be tight with the other Russian mob, the Zagreskis, until he stole a copy of their Hard Rock formula and began selling it to their enemies. Usually when I get supplied by my connection, I don’t know what’s really in it. I don’t think Hard Rock is as pure as they say. It’s mixed with other stuff. That’s why anyone that uses it goes cray cray, you know what I’m sayin’?”
Lauren nodded. “I know exactly what you’re saying. Go on.”
Boots continued. “Well, I don’t mess with that shit! They could be puttin’ rat poison for all know! Anyway, my connection found about the shit Alex was pullin’, you know playing both sides, that they went loco and threatened to kill him! That asshole got in too deep and now he’s wanted by the Anatoles, the Zagreskis, and the cops!”
“Can you prove that the Zagreskis are involved with the drug market in Las Padres?” She asked.
“Nah, they’re too classy for that!” The thug explained. “They know how to hide their shit well! They even have some guy working for them. Some rich fucker named…”
“Jason Kendall?” She questioned.
“Yeah! That guy!” Boots agreed. “He’s been their fucking gopher boy for a while! That’s why my supplier has been causing some shit! They want to get even with this Jason Kendall guy!”
“So who’s this supplier?” She asked him.
“I told you before when you brought me last time.” He confessed. “Olav Kazay. Mean fucker too. Scar, bald head. I even got an address of his new hideout. It’s…”
A shot rang out. I ducked behind Lauren’s car and slowly lifted my face to see a bullet hole right in the middle of Boot’s forehead. Blood poured from the wound and the Hispanic keeled over dead. Two more shots rang out. Then another. I couldn’t tell who was firing as the female detective began shooting back into the darkness as she ran for cover to a lifeguard tower a few feet away.
Two shots echoed, this time coming from Lauren’s gun, as she fired at the shadowed figure racing toward her. Due to the darkness blinded her vision, she missed her target and in order to compensate for her safety, she kept shooting until she was completely out of ammo. Helpless and out of bullets, she was now a sitting duck. I knew I had to do something.
From my vantage point, I could see the assailant smiling wickedly as he finished the last bullet from his barrel. It struck the lifeguard tower, splintered the steps of the wood but luckily missed the female detective. I breathed a sigh of relief that the female law enforcement officer was all right.
Aiming her empty gun at her attacker and hoping she could bluff her way out of the situation, she searched for the shooter. No one appeared. Convinced that the coast was clear, she got up from behind her hiding spot and carefully observed her surroundings. Except for the sand, the rolling tide, and the dead body of her contact, there was nobody in sight. She dropped her guard down, began to sheath her pistol and that’s when the murderer made his move.
A double knotted cord came up from behind her, restrained her neck and pulled her back. She flailed and struggled for a bit as the killer tried to strangle her but she fought back. Slipping her fingers underneath the cord, she made a self-defense move by stomping on the sniper’s toes and elbowing him in the ribcage. The assailant howled which gave time for Lauren to make her move. She kicked him the groin which disabled him and released the rope from her neck at which point she to make a break for it! Unfortunately, her opponent was much faster. He quickly recovered, grabbed her arm and punched her hard in the face. She went down in the sand.
Now defenseless, the killer made his final move. He straddled her chest, pinned her arms to the sand and began wrapping his hands around her neck. Lauren struggled for air as she tried to fight her enemy to which point I ran from my hiding place behind her car, aimed my pistol and fired three rounds into the man’s back. He fell on top of her like a sack of potatoes.
Lauren grunted and shoved the dead man off her. I offered my hand to which she slapped it away.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” She questioned me angrily. Rubbing her sore neck, she pushed herself off the sand.
My eyes rolled as I responded with sarcasm. “It’s good to see you too. Thanks for the gratitude of saving you.”
She patted the sand from her clothes. “How long have you’ve been following me?”
“I got here a few minutes ago.” I said. “I hacked into the police files to see that you were meeting a contact so I went to check up on you.”
Her face displayed anger. “You hacked into our department? You do know that’s a criminal offense?”
I exhaled. “Look, Lauren, you can arrest me later but right now we have bigger problems. My brother and Ricky are missing! I’ve tried calling and texting them and they’re not responding for several hours. I’m worried something must have happened!”
She curled her mouth and rolled her eyes. “Maybe the lovebirds needed some alone time. Ever think of that?”
I grabbed her arm. “Look, Lauren. I’m sorry you’re hurting. Whatever this thing my brother and Ricky have is real. I’m sorry you got caught in the middle of it but I know deep down you still care for Ricky. I care about him too and I’m concerned about Jason. Please help me.” I hoped my pleading would sway her.
“Fine!” She snapped. I was relieved. “But on one condition!”
“Name it.” I said. At this point, I was willing to do anything.
“You tell me everything I need to know about the Zagreskis!” She offered.
Leaving me with no choice, I agreed. “Deal.” My face turned to the dead man. “Before we do that, let’s check out the guy who tried to kill you.”
She helped me roll the body over so that we could see his face. A shaved head, scar and ugly looking face appeared for his and we both instantly knew who it was.
“Oh this is bad!” I noted. “Real bad!”
“What do you mean?” She asked me. “You know this guy Olav Kazay?”
I nodded. “He’s the cousin of Yuri Anatole. You could say he’s his right hand man. Jason had been tracking his actions all over town. He’s the one that I killed one our employee, Carl Lamb.”
Lauren’s eyebrows rose. “I knew it! So Carl Lamb was involved with some illegal dealings with your brother?”
“Sort of.” I corrected. “He didn’t sell Hard Rock. He was more as a spy. Despite what you think, the Zagreskis don’t sell junk. They know how to manufacture a pure form of the drug where you get a high but not the nasty side effects afterwards. Think marijuana with the giggles and munchies afterwards.”
“Even still. It’s a dangerous narcotic.” She emphasized. “It’s still illegal.” She continued to press me for more info. “What’s the difference?”
“Our Hard Rock doesn’t create violent hallucinations and psychotic behavior.” I answered. “That stuff being told on the news is from the all the other crap that the Anatoles having putting in their ingredients. That’s why they want a copy of our formula to manufacture the pure stuff. With that said, the Anatoles will do anything to get it including committing murder.”
“If that’s the case,” she remarked. “Why won’t the Zagreskis step in stop them?”
“You know the Zagreskis are wanted by Interpol and the local police,” I said. “You of all people should know what happened with the incident in Miami where the drug war became so violent between them and the Cuban drug dealers that innocent bystanders were killed in the crossfire. They don’t want the same thing to happen here. They’re keeping a low profile.”
“And you and your brother are their personal lackeys,” she clucked. “No wonder you’ve manipulating everyone including poor Ricky! You have your own necks to look out for!”
“Think what you will.” I snorted. “Right now, my only concern is making sure that my brother and Ricky are safe. If Yuri Anatole sent Olav Kazay to do a hit on during your meeting with your contact, then I think he has something to do with their disappearance. We need to check out another location just to be sure.” I took her hand and dragged her with me. She took it back.
“I’m not going anywhere with you!” She shouted. “How do I know I can trust you?”
I scowled. “You don’t. But if anything happens to Ricky, you know deep down you’ll never live with yourself. We can form a truce and help find them or let the Anatoles murder them and live with that knowledge of guilt for the rest of our lives. Your call!”
The detective pause for a minute to think. Then she exhaled and finally spoke up. “Fine. Be warned though. I’m staying armed.” Inwardly, I was happy she accepted my proposal.
“Good.” I said. “You’ll need it for this rescue mission.”
I escorted her to my car to which I made an anonymous tip to 911 about the discovery of two dead bodies on the beach. Police and EMTs would be arriving in a couple minutes. Once we got inside, I drove toward Jason and my mansion in Oceanview.
“Why are we heading to your place?” She asked on the drive there.
“I want to be sure if Jason is really missing or that he’s at home.” I said.
Lauren didn’t object and I pulled into the driveway of the Kendall manor. Immediately, my eyes turned to the lights that were left on. Obviously, somebody was home.
My partner pointed toward the door. “Look, someone left the front entrance open.”
“That’s not like Filomena to leave the door unlocked.” I noted.
We leaped from the vehicle and raced inside. The inside of house was overturned. Chairs were upside down, priceless antiques smashed, and tables thrown about. It looked like there at had been a scuffle. Already two male bodies lying in a pool of blood caught our attention. It was my brother’s two bodyguards.
“Sam and Harry!” I gasped. “They work for Jason! They’ve been shot!”
The female policewoman checked the kitchen. “Mark! There’s another body here!”
I headed into Lauren’s location where I saw our housekeeper Filomena lying face down in puddle of her own blood. She too had been shot.
“FILOMENA!” I screamed. I could feel the tears falling. The older Filipina woman didn’t deserved to be murdered in such a callous way. My blood boiled with anger as I wipe my eyes.
Kneeling down, Lauren noticed something on the floor and picked it up. It was a bloodied business card that perhaps one of the killers had dropped. She showed it to me.
On the card it read: Kendall Conglomerate International’s Cannery Co. Wharf Cannery Row. Warehouse 18. Oceanview, California.
It suddenly dawned on me. “Oh my God! I know where my brother and Ricky were taken!”
Lauren waved her head from side to side. “Where?”
“My family owns and old cannery warehouse here in Oceanview. We rarely use it but as a storage facility for fuel for the shipyards. The Anatoles must’ve taken the two there!”
“How long will it take us to get there?” She asked.
“Fifteen minutes of a drive.” I said.
We ran out to my car and drove toward the pier where the cannery buildings were. Parking in secluded area near a chained link fence, we noticed a trio of cars parked near Warehouse 18. Lauren and I reloaded our guns and headed toward the building.
The moment we reached the back alley, two gunshots echoed from inside. I heard a loud scream and feared the worst. Lauren grabbed her cell to call her colleagues.
“This is Detective Lauren Morrisey!” She said through the receiver. “I’m here at a deserted warehouse at Wharf Cannery Row in Oceanview! Gunshots have been fired. Send back up to Warehouse 18 now!” She hung up the phone.
“They won’t get here in time.” I remarked.
“All we can do is pray.” She noted.
“How many cartridges do you have for your gun?” I asked her.
“One.” She answered. “You?”
“Same.” I nodded. “We’ll have to make this quick! We don’t have enough ammo between us if things get heated.”
“Let’s go!” She instructed. We ran to the rear of the building.
I led her toward the back alley as I unlocked the door slowly with my keys. Quietly, we crept in as the entire structure surrounded us in darkness except for a bit of light coming from an overhead fixture and shining a scene on to a metal platform that connected to three flights of stairs on the main level. Up above six people engaged in a heavy conversation.
Two were Russian thugs, heavily armed and guarding the corners of the railings while a drugged out Alex Quinn sat in the near edge rocking himself. To the left, Nick Iacona stood next to his boss, an older gentleman in his late fifties, wearing a wool suit and sporting completely white hair. It was Yuri Anatole no doubt and they both tormented a helpless and bound Ricky with a ball gag in his mouth and his wrists tied up with double knotted cord behind his back. His face streaked with tears and I soon realized why.
Down below on the ground several flights from the high rise metal platform laid my brother, Jason Kendall. His face was concealed in darkness but a large pool of crimson surrounded him while a big splotch of red drenched his back. It became apparent he has been shot from behind and he wasn’t moving. Seeing my brother motionless and thinking the worst, I nearly lost it and almost revealed Lauren’s and my location.
“Jason…” I whispered.
I was about to erupt but Lauren clasped my mouth and pulled me back. She pressed her fingers to her lips to signal me.
“Not yet.” She said quietly. “We have to wait.”
Helpless and upset over the killing of my brother, all we could do now was observe the exchange taking place upstairs.
“Da, so you’re the new slave of Mr. Kendall?” Yuri Anatole. “Your brother think you no good. Alex good slave to me. He show you.”
Unzipping his pants, the Russian mobster took out his small dick and beckoned the younger Quinn forward. Alex, looking pale and dead in the eyes, crawled over and got on his knees. Yuri’s bodyguards looked away in disgust while Nick Iacona cringed and averted his eyes.
“Suck me!” The mobster ordered.
Alex grabbed the flaccid prick and began sucking it. It grew slightly in the nineteen year old’s mouth to which the Russian mob boss suddenly pulled out quickly and ejaculated all over the young man’s face. Streaks of cum splattered on the junkie’s mouth to which he wiped it away with his hands.
“See, Ricky?” Yuri cackled. “Your brother good slave to me. Da. He left old Master to be mine. I know how to treat a slave real good. You watch.” Ricky continued to weep but due to the ball gag in his mouth could only making a few grunting noises. The mob boss then grabbed his younger’s brother’s hair and tossed him to the floor. With fingers clutched on his tiny, flaccid dick, Yuri Anatole let a stream of piss all over Alex’s face. The nineteen year old happily caught it in his mouth before listening to his Dom give him further humiliating orders. “Lick my piss. Lick it and drink it off my shoe.”
Everyone, including myself and Lauren cringed at the sight, as the drugged out nineteen year old kneeled down and began lapping up his Master’s urine. Then his tongue cleaned the tip of the mobster’s footwear before letting out a large gulp. Witnessing that made all of us want to throw up. Alex had reached the lowest level of Sub degradation. He was lost to us all.
Please with his slave’s obedience, Yuri grabbed a small vial of liquid from the sports coat that he was wearing and handed it to the young man. Like an anxious child, Alex accepted the bottle as he pulled a syringe from his pocket and extracted the contents. Dashing toward the corner of the platform, he rolled up his sleeve, found a vein and injected the substance into his body. Within seconds, the Alex began to shake.
Yuri Anatole laughed. “See, Alex?” He zipped himself back up. “How good slave your brother is? Maybe you be good slave to me too.”
Ricky grunted. Nick Icaona stepped forward and removed the ball gag from the twenty three year old’s mouth. A think line of saliva caked the oral restraint with the dark haired man’s spit.
“FUCK YOU MOTHER FUCKER!” The twenty three year old hissed. “YOU KILLED MY MOTHER!”
Raising his hand back, Yuri slapped the prisoner across the face. A small welt began to form on his cheek.
“You be nice to Yuri!” The Russian mobster. “Or else I get real mad! I didn’t kill your mother. Your brother did.”
Ricky’s eyes opened wide. “That’s a lie!”
Nick Iacona curled his mouth upwards. “No, it’s true. Alex offered Mr. Anatole the Hard Rock formula in exchange for putting a hit on your mother.” The bald mustache man held up the double knotted cord and waved it in front of him. “Remember this? Your lover has a thing for tying you up? I broke into Jason Kendall’s mansion and stole some of his personal belongings like this special cord. I then gave it to Olav Kazay who broke into your mother’s house to find the formula and to strangle the bitch with these piece of rope! Let’s just say Alex was very happy when we gave him the news!”
Ricky eyed his sibling with hatred. Alex’s drug induced haze made his confess everything.
“Yes…I killed…the bitch…” The young man admitted. “Had…the cunt…put a hit….put a hit…on her…Master Yuri…made me happy…” He laughed uncontrollably. “She made…my life…miserable…She deserved to die!”
“SHUT UP!” Ricky screeched at his sibling. “I HATE YOU!”
Alex ignored him and flopped around as he let the drugs absorb into his system. Yuri reached for a leather whip that he had next to him and handed it to Nick.
“Strip off his shirt.” He told the bald headed man.
The former regional manager got behind the twenty three year old who struggled with his binds. Grabbing a hold of the front buttons, he tore open the material until my brother’s lover was bare chested and kneeling in front of the Russian mob boss.
“It’s nothing personal.” Nick smirked at Ricky as he threw the torn material off the metal platform. “Mr. Anatole sought me out and offered me a lot of money to spy on you and gather information. I was the one who broke into your apartment to look for the Hard Rock formula. I was the one who snuck into Jason’s mansion and stole the photographs. Consider it karma for ruining my life.”
The dark haired man scowled. “Go to hell! You were a prick for the company and you’re still a prick now!”
Nick’s face contorted. “I’m going to enjoy hurting you.”
“Whip him!” Yuri Anatole instructed.
“With pleasure.” The former regional manager smirked.
Uncurling the whip, he struck Ricky’s back with the first lash. It made a huge red mark across his spine as the twenty three year old gritted his teeth and refused to shout. Then came the second strike. SNAP! This time Ricky’s skin broke as a trickle of blood poured down his back. The dark haired man grunted in pain and Nick Iacona continued. SNAP! The third attack made an even deeper slash as blood poured into small puddles. Ricky screamed. Lauren couldn’t stand the sight anymore and impulsively rushed in. I tried to stop her but it was too late.
“Police! Freeze!” She aimed her gun at the group above. One of the thugs got his rifle ready and aimed it at the female detective. I knew I had to act fast.
Noticing the fuse box in the corner across me, I dashed for it. I could hear the click of the rifle and I quickly opened up the metal lid and slapped my hand across all the lights. A shot fired. It ricocheted off a wall, sparked and plunged the entire warehouse into darkness. Another gunshot rang out and I covered my head to protect myself as I crawled for cover. Amid the confusion, footsteps padded down the stairs of the metal platform. Voices murmured in the darkness and the sounds of scuffling could be heard as Yuri’s Russian accent screamed through the blackness.
“FIND THEM AND KILL THEM!”
Lauren disappeared somewhere in the building. Then my ears pricked to hear some struggling occurring above on the platform above. Shouts and hollers surrounded me as I heard a loud protest of fear.
Something or someone fell off the railing, plunged a few levels below and cracked their head on the concrete pavement. Even in the darkness, I knew he or she didn’t survive the fall.
Placing my hand against the wall, I used it to gain my bearings as I memorized the layout of the warehouse. I followed the path with my fingers and slowly walked the entire length until I felt the corner of a hidden spot and concealed myself. Through the dim shadows of the moonlight that showed through the windows above, I saw a tall figure holding a rifle and searching the main floor. I got my gun ready to fire before another figure crept up behind the thug and smashed his head in with a blunt object before disappearing into the darkness.
Another shot fired and once again I remained hidden. The clanging of something large boomed as it hit the floor and startled everyone. A few more shots fired as I noticed some sparks fly in the building. The large object rolled across the floor and the sound of liquid splashing on the floor caught my ears. I inhaled the aroma of something strong in the air and realized with horror what it was.
It was gasoline.
One of the fuel barrels must have fallen and now was emptying into the building. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that one spark of a gunshot would lit up the entire place into a ball of flame. I knew I had to get Lauren, Ricky, and myself out of here fast.
I crossed out of my corner to see someone igniting a lighter in his hand in order to see where he was. It was one of the thugs. Though the dim light, he saw me in the distance and aimed his rifle at me. I tried to get my pistol ready but I wasn’t fast enough. His finger pulled the trigger.
And a gunshot went off. The thug fell to the ground with a bullet through his neck. Behind him, Lauren held the smoking weapon that saved me. I would have been grateful except my eyes had noticed my assailant holding the lit lighter in his hand. It tumbled down and hit the ground when he fell, immediately igniting the gasoline. Soon the entire building erupted into an open flame. I rushed at Lauren, grabbed her hand and yanked her away from the cackling heat as the fire started to quickly surround every corner of the building.
“This place is going to going up in fast!” I shouted. “We have to get out of here!”
Violent smoke instantly gathered and we began to cough.
“We…can’t!” She choked through the haze. “We have to find Ricky!”
We darted around the aisles as the fire blinded us and tried to avoid being burned. Through the smoke, we noticed three bodies lying on the floor. Yuri’s two thugs dead. One that Lauren killed and another who was bludgeoned to death by my mystery rescuer. On the other side near the metal platform, Nick Iacona’s smashed face remained lifeless as evident from his fall from the high rise. It was the sound that I heard earlier. I could only assume that he slipped and fell off the platform or he was pushed. Missing in this whole equation was Yuri Anatole, Ricky, and Alex. My eyes then shifted to the area where my brother’s body was. A pool of blood stained the ground but Jason, himself, was nowhere to be found.
Was he moved or did he get up and walked away? I didn’t had time to think about that as an enraged figure flashed before us near the fire. In a drug induced rage, Alex brandished a switchblade and roared. The Hard Rock in his system caused him to have a violent outburst and he attacked.
“I SEE…YOU…RAPISTS!” He screeched incoherently. “VIOLATING THE CHILD…NO LOVE FOR ME…THE VICTIM! I’LL PROTECT THE INNOCENT…KILL THE CUNT LIKE THAT BITCH OF A MOTHER! KILL!” He slashed his blade in the air and lunged at us.
Lauren and I steadied our pistols, aimed and fired. Shots vibrated through the smoke as each bullet made contact with Alex’s chest, gushing a mist of blood on the ground. We didn’t stop until we completely emptied the barrels of both our guns. The nineteen year old convulsed, dropped the knife, and collapsed to the ground.
Alex Quinn was finally dead.
Clicking our pistols, we became aware that we were completely out of ammo as a frightened cough was heard in the distance. Through the gray haze, two figures emerged as Lauren and I adjusted our eyes to see Yuri Anatole dragging a captive Ricky toward our direction. The young man’s hands were no longer bound but the Russian mobster still kept him prisoner. The corners of the warehouse continued to become engulfed in flames as we coughed and finally saw the gun grasped in the Russian mobster’s hand. The point of the pistol was pressed against Ricky’s temple as Yuri’s other arm clutched his neck. Lauren and I raised our hands and backed away.
“Don’t move!” Yuri warned in a thick Russian accent. “Or else I shoot friend!” He shook Ricky hard. “This slave killed my worker, Nick Iacona! He pushed him off rail so I’m taking him as hostage! I need him to escape through back door! Nobody follow or else!”
We both agreed. That’s when the mobster took an interest in Lauren.
“Where’s Olav?” He asked. “You should be dead! I put hit on you!”
“He’s dead.” The detective replied bluntly. Police sirens could be heard outside. “It’s over, Yuri! Surrender! You’re surrounded!”
The Russian sneered. “You killed Olav? Well then, I kill you!” He raised the gun away from captive and pointed to Lauren.
“NO!” Ricky shouted. With his hands not free, he tried to grab gun away from Yuri. A shot fired on the floor and the mobster twisted his fist and struck the young man in the jaw. Then with the pistol lifted, Yuri fired a shot to the dark haired man’s side.
Ricky clutched his blood wound and fell. Lauren shrieked.
Yuri was about to finish him off with a gun to the head when a loud rumbling distracted the mob boss. A metal barrel rolled across the concrete ground in front of him, spilling a line of gasoline and cutting off our path. We watched it make contact with one of the flames and then all of sudden a wall of fire streaked across the boundary line and separated us from Ricky and Yuri Anatole. Now imprisoned by a ring of fire and unable to cross toward the emergency exists, the Russian mobster bellowed in frustration.
He cursed a thousand words in his native tongue when a tall stranger came darting from out of the smoke. My brother, Jason Kendall, wounded and bleeding rushed at his enemy with a metal crowbar and struck Yuri in the arm. The blow was so heavy that it forced the mobster to drop his gun. Yuri howled in pain and tried to retrieve his weapon but my sibling was much more agile. Raising the crowbar high, he brought it down on Anatole’s face as screams of agony vibrated through the burning building.
The torture of the mobster brought me no sympathy for Yuri’s plight as we watched in morbid fascination the rising and falling of the metal crowbar as it struck his face and ripped away pieces of his flesh in the process. Blood splattered all over Jason’s skull as he ignored the Russian’s anguished cries and played a symphony of classical gore from the cracking of his enemy’s bones to the tearing of the mobster’s skin being sliced through with the rod. He continued again and again until the flames got closer to him and Ricky and finally finished until Yuri Anatole had no more breath left inside him. Once he reached the final end, my brother dropped the crowbar and bloodily crawled to his young lover.
“Ricky!” Lauren screamed from across the heated flames. She tried to reach out to both of them but I had to restrain her from getting burned. The fire crept closer to the duo. “We have to get you out of here!”
Bleeding profusely and weeping in shame, Ricky scuttled to Jason who knelt exhausted and embraced him tightly in his arms.
“You…came for me…” My brother sobbed as blood poured from his mouth.
Ricky whimpered. “Yes…I had to…We’re bonded…I finally…understand that now…” He coughed through the smoke.
Lauren cried as she shouted across the wall of fire. “RICKY! THE BUILDING IS ON FIRE! I HAVE TO SAVE YOU!”
The twenty three year old glanced toward us through the smoke and raised his hand to protest. “No…I have to stay…with my Master…Jason…Get out! Save yourself! It’s…too late…for us!”
I panicked at what he was saying. I too began to sob and cry out to both them. “NO! WE CAN STILL SAVE YOU!”
Smoke blinded my brother’s vision as he began to cough. “Go Mark! Save yourself…and Lauren…! Go!” He reached for his dark haired lover and held him close. The heat of the flames began to grow intense. Sadly, I nodded and with each tear streaking down my face, I wrapped my arms around the detective’s waist, embraced her tight, and lifted her up. She fought me every step of the way but even with her flailing arms, I refused to let her go.
“NO!” She screamed and sobbed. “WE HAVE TO GET THEM! WE HAVE TO SAVE THEM! WE HAVE TO SAVE THEM…”
The flames increased. The fire streaked near several fuel canisters on the other side of the building. I knew it was too late as I carried Lauren toward the emergency entrance. As the smoke engulfed us, I could the wailing tears of my brother and Ricky as I shifted my back to see them kissing passionately once last time and listened to their adoration of one another.
“Why…didn’t you leave me…to die…” Jason coughed.
“Because…you’re my Master…Jason…” Ricky sniffed. “I belong with you…I…love…you…”
“I love you too…Ricky…”
I heard my older sibling confess. The smoke covered them in black as the flames descended upon them. Kicking the emergency exit door open, I darted outside with Lauren until a loud, booming explosion crashed through the top of the windows. Instantly, the cannery warehouse became one humongous inferno as the police squad and emergency crews arrived to extinguish the flames and to ensure that we both were all right.
Sad to say, we weren’t. Lauren and I sobbed uncontrollably. We have lost the very people we loved and cared about.
Jason Kendall and Ricky Quinn.