Seeing You – Part Twenty-three #NaNoWriMo2016

The door-to-door search wasn’t going well. Rick’s team concentrated on the area within the triangulation of the kennel, junk yard and church center. He felt that would be their best chance, but they weren’t having much luck. Two hours in, they’d already knocked on close to fifty doors, only to discover most of them were families. No lone loons, as one of the police officers had described it. People were friendly though, allowing them in to do quick searches. They’d had little to no resistance so far. Only one man had refused and it wasn’t because he didn’t want to let the police officers in; he had an ill daughter who’d just fallen asleep. He’d let them in the next day. They’d had a lot of no-answers, but that wasn’t unusual. People were probably at work and kids were still in school. Tomorrow, they’d come later in the day to those homes.

Rick leaned against his car, sipping a lukewarm coffee, and thumbing through his iPad. Although he hated the tablet, he’d been using it to coordinate with Trip, Troy, and Captain Jakes. They were still on radio-silence in case Kent Percy was smart enough to have a police scanner. Neither of the other two teams were having any luck either. This canvassing was a long shot. It always was in these cases. Simply put, unsubs just wouldn’t answer the door and how could you tell if it was their home or just some businessman’s home who was still at work?

Rick sighed as he remembered what his trainer at Langley had once said. “It’s not like they have a neon sign on their door stating that they are the unsub.”

It was true, but they had other ways to find out. They’d searched the alleys for cars and trashcans for evidence, too. Sometimes they’d get a break. Today was not one of those days though. This stretch of houses had a lot of attached garages with no windows. Percy could easily hide his car and van in one of them, and since it was not a trash pick-up day, there weren’t many trash cans out. They carried on though for another two and a half hours, and as the sun began to set, they stopped for the day. Captain Jakes put out an APB for the car and van, but since they had no license plate numbers and Trip had verified that there were no vehicles registered under Percy’s name, there was little chance that would bring in a lead. One fact had become clear, knowingly or unwittingly, Percy had an accomplice.

By the time Rick and Troy joined their team back at the Fairfax County Police Station, exhaustion had set in. Rick placed his briefcase on the table, took off his jacket and loosened his tie. Troy just sat down and hunched over the table.

“That bad?” Jenna asked as she placed a cup of coffee on the table in front of each of them.

Rick shook his head and plopped down in a chair. “Worse. I don’t think this is how we’re going to catch this guy.”

“Maybe not,” Troy said as he lifted the cup to his lips, “but what else do we have? Nothing. Not one damn clue.”

Rick glanced over at Rayne who was curled up in a chair in the corner of the room sleeping. That gave him some comfort and he smiled. He then turned his attention to Trip who was leaning back in his chair, rocking back and forth. “Any luck tracking down the VIN on that van?”

Trip sat upright and crinkled his face in frustration. “It’s off the grid. No one has registered it since Donny D’Arca reported it scrapped.”

“It’s possible that whoever owns the car is swapping plates with the van when Percy uses it.”

They all fell silent. Jenna re-examined every detail of the case on her iPad while Troy nursed his coffee. Rick tapped a pen on the table and was just about to suggest dinner when a police officer burst into the conference room with flustered cheeks and his mouth agape. His entrance startled Rayne awake and she sat up in the chair, pulling her knees up to her chin.

“What is it?” Troy asked the anxious officer.

“There’s a missing girl, sir. From that church mission. Her mother just called in. Said Miss Fallon would know who her daughter was.”

Rayne’s eyes grew wide and she fumbled in her jean pocket for the dog tag the little girl had given her. “He’s taken her,” she said as she held out the tag for everyone to see.

Rick sighed and stood up. “He said she was too young, but apparently, he’s gotten desperate. We’d better get over to the church.” He paused for a moment and turned his head toward Rayne. “I need you to come with us. Are you up to it?”

Rayne sat her feet down on the floor and rose from the chair. “I told that mother to keep an eye on her daughter. I could sense he would come back for her if we didn’t catch him.” She inhaled deeply. “I’d go even if I weren’t up to it.”

# # #

Maria Sanchez was in hysterics by the time they arrived at the church. Jenna and Rayne sat with her while Rick spoke to the pastor.

“I only lost sight of her for a minute. She was hungry, so I went to get her some cookies and milk. I remembered what you said, Miss Fallon, so I turned around to go back to her and she was gone. The police officer said it might be the man you’d been looking for, but Mia… she was terrified of him.”

“So, you knew this man?” Jenna asked.

“Oh yes, we all knew Arthur. That’s what he called himself. He hung around here all the time. Brought his dog with him. All the kids loved that dog. He was fairly nice then, but after a while, he stopped bringing the dog and began acting creepy.”

“Did he ever show up with anyone else besides the dog?”

Maria’s forehead puckered. “Come to think of it, a younger man came with him sometimes. He was a bit shy though. Always hung out by the door and never said much.”

“Do you think you could describe him to a sketch artist?”

“I can do one better.” Maria stood up and went into a side room. Moments later, she returned and handed Jenna a photograph. “That’s from our Christmas party last year.” She pointed to a young, blonde-haired man standing off to the side of a table filled with food. “That’s him.”

Jenna examined the photo and then passed it to Rayne. “Do you recall his name?”

“Larry? No, Leo. That’s what Arthur called him. Do you really think he took my Mia?”

Jenna and Rayne exchanged glances and then Jenna cupped Maria’s hand with her own. “If he did, we’ll find him. Did you see Leo in here tonight?”

Maria nodded as tears streamed down her face. “Oh, Dios mío. He was. Mia would have gone off with him. They were friends.”

Jenna squeezed Maria’s hand. “You’ve helped us a lot. We’ll find them, all of them.”

Maria continued to weep. “Gracias, gracias,” she said repeatedly.

Jenna and Rayne stood up and walked toward the center’s front door. As they stood there waiting for Rick, Rayne stared at the photograph for a few minutes and then handed it to Jenna. She snapped a picture of it and sent it to Trip, hoping he could identify the man.

“Did you sense anything about Leo?” Jenna asked.

“A little. He’s scared.”

“Of Percy?”

“I think so. Did you see the bruise on his arm in the photo?”

Jenna looked down at the photo. “I hadn’t noticed that.”

“I think he’s being abused. I can sense fear, shame and…” she trailed off because Rick joined them.

“Who’s that?” he said glancing down at the picture.

“Leo. He’s Percy’s accomplice,” Jenna informed him. “Rayne says he’s being abused by Percy, too.”

“That’s not surprising. Percy endured abuse as a child. Abused children sometimes become abusers themselves.”

Jenna grinned. “How’d you get to be so smart, Dr. Harris?”

“Been hanging around Martin too long, I guess,” he said with a wink.

Rayne leaned up against the doorframe and listened to Jenna and Rick’s banter. She suddenly felt Leo’s pain and realized she was standing where he usually stood. She moved a few steps to the left and cleared her throat. Finally, she asked, “What did the pastor have to say?”

“Not much. He said it was a typical evening. Lots of homeless in for a meal and some warm clothes.”

“Maria said Leo was here tonight and Mia would have wandered off with him.”

They walked out of the center and headed toward the car. Rick’s mind spun with possible scenarios. Kent Percy wasn’t a very attractive man and those scarred hands would have scared anyone, especially kids. But Leo… he was younger and attractive.

As they approached the car, Rick stopped and turned to Jenna and Rayne. “It all makes sense now. Leo does the ‘snatch and grab’ for Percy.”

“He must be in some twisted relationship with that creep to do that for him,” Rayne said as she opened the car door and got inside.

Rick nodded. He went around to the driver’s side, opened his door and got inside. “Undoubtedly. We had a case in Baltimore a few years back where a woman helped lure other women to her boyfriend so he could rape them. The woman had been physically and sexually abused by the guy for decades. She’d also been emotionally brainwashed into helping him.”

“We’ve had dozens of cases like that,” Jenna concurred as she slid into the car.

Rick settled behind the wheel and let out a long sigh before starting the engine. He turned in his seat and looked back at Rayne. “I’m really sorry that you’ve had to discover all of this, Rayne. Someone like you… well, you shouldn’t have to know all this ugliness in the world.”

Rayne smiled faintly at him while Jenna nudged him on the arm. “She’s stronger than she looks, Rick.” She winked at Rayne. “You are holding up remarkedly well.”

Rick nodded his head and shrugged. “Of course, she is. I’m just saying… I’m impressed, that’s all.” He turned back around and pulled out of the parking lot.

They’d only gotten a few blocks away when Rick’s cellphone rang. He motioned for Jenna to get it.

“Rick’s phone. Jenna here,” she said into the phone.

“Hey Jenna, it’s Trip. Put me on speaker.”

She did so.

“Guys, I got a hit on Leo. His full name is Leo Decker. In the system for male prostitution.”

“You wouldn’t have an address, too, would ya?” Rick asked.

“Not a helpful one. New York City. And get this, he has a register white Ford Fusion.”

“In Virginia?”

“Are we ever that lucky? It’s registered in New York too.”

“Damn it,” Jenna muttered.

“We do have a license plate number though. Captain Jakes has added it to the APB.”

“Good work, Trip.”

“Thanks, Rick. See ya.”

The line went dead and Jenna turned the phone off. Rayne sighed and folded her hands in her lap. They were closing in on Kent Percy. She just hoped those girls would live long enough to be rescued. She leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes.

Seeing You (a working title) is the story of Rayne Fallon, a witch with the power to see into the past and future, although not always accurately. She gets tangled up with FBI’s SA Rick Harris and SA Jenna Styles as they search for an 8 year old missing girl, thought to have been kidnapped by a Serial Killer.

Seeing You ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.

In case you missed a part, click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22

or jump ahead to Part 24

I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Each day I will try to write at least 1667 words for a total of 50,000 by the end of November. Today’s total: 1924 words. Total words so far: 38,851

A Free Book Promotion, plus Other Bits and Bobs…

A promotional for a free book. Writers helping Writers.
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Sarah Potter Writes

Desiccation cover (small)From today until this Friday, 25th November, those of you in the US and the UK can download for free the kindle version of my YA crossover science fiction/urban fantasy novel, Desiccation [Universal short link: ]. Sorry to disappoint any bloggers who live outside of the US or UK, but the logistics of creating a worldwide free book promotion are rather complicated and can go totally wrong. It involves authors going to their accounts at KDP on Amazon and individually adjusting the prices down to zero in the different marketplaces. I’ve heard that if you time this wrongly, you can mess up the promotion.

I know that a few of my fellow bloggers have already purchased either the kindle or paperback version of Desiccation. Please, if you enjoyed reading it, could you tell your friends about the free promo, as personal recommendation is still the best way to…

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Book Promotion – The Wrong Stuff by Guy Thair


Book Description

Hannah Meredith has always had a good eye and she’s a veteran bargain hunter, but she isn’t prepared, when she buys the box marked “Stuff” at a mysterious auction, for her world to suddenly unravel into a series of increasingly bizarre and terrifying events.

Soon on the run from a sinister cabal of vengeful corporate villains and their homicidal henchmen, Hannah must foil an evil plan to bring the world to the brink of global economic collapse, all the while keeping one step ahead of her pursuers.

A fast-moving thriller with a sci-fi twist, the plot stretches from chases through grimy backstreets of Victorian London back to the present day, where sudden violence shatters the tranquility of the English countryside.

Following Hannah and her unlikely allies in their frantic attempt to stay alive and save the world from disaster, The Wrong Stuff is exciting and original, with more than a touch of black humour.

Where to Order: Amazon UK | Amazon US

Available soon on Kindle and via Barnes & Noble

Book Excerpt

Extract from chapter one: Part one – A new acquisition.

Ever since her husband had died five years before, leaving her a considerable but not exorbitant inheritance, Hannah Meredith had loved going to blind auctions, just the thought of digging through the piles of assorted junk and miscellany made her heart race. There was something almost magical about buying a mysterious, sealed box for a few quid and then tearing it open to see if there were unrecognised treasures inside.

It wasn’t usually the case of course, mostly you just found third-rate silverware or cracked and faded crockery, old electrical components and obscure mechanical spare parts or, if you were really lucky, maybe some half-decent antique jewellery or a not-totally-dreadful painting.

She was never going to make a living from her lucky-dip bidding, but Hannah wasn’t giving up hope just yet. The Big Score might be the very next lot that went under the hammer, then how bad would she feel?

No, she felt perfectly justified in spending a hundred pounds or so every couple of months, it was hardly an extravagance after all, and she sold most of the items she had no use for online and at the garage sales she held twice a year, to make way for new purchases.

The latest Aladdin’s cave of dubious delights was an auction that had only recently opened in the upstairs room of a pub in a nearby village. She had already been to three others this month, (usually her limit) so she initially resisted the temptation, but the closer the time came to the sale, the greater the feeling grew that she would be missing out on something special.

By the time auction day arrived, there was no question of her not going, so convinced was she that her fortune awaited her, under the taped-down flaps of some anonymous cardboard box.

Hannah arrived early at the pub; a quaint, low-ceilinged place with a roaring fire in the hearth and walls covered in hunting paraphernalia and old black and white photographs of country life in days gone by. She bought herself a drink and wandered around the two small bars, inspecting the memorabilia of a community that had probably not changed all that much in two hundred years.

After a while she noticed people beginning to arrive and head for the stairs in the back corner of the pub, so she drifted over that way until she could hear muted conversations in the room on the floor above…

“…some interesting items…”

“…going to raise serious money with those…”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen one as fine as this…”

Hannah casually strolled over to the bar, finished her drink and placed the empty glass on the oak counter, then turned and followed two more new arrivals up the stairs.

The atmosphere in the large open room was a strange mix of restrained excitement and almost spiritual reverence; voices barely raised above a whisper, small groups of people gathered in tight circles around the half a dozen tables that were the room’s only furniture.

Nobody even registered Hannah’s existence, let alone approached or spoke to her, so she made for the largest, least crowded table in the centre of the room, which seemed to attract only the merest glance from most of the punters as they drifted around, eyeing the sale items and whispering to each other.

“Oh, this is more like it,” Hannah thought as she saw the battered selection of boxes on the table, with things like Bureau, Misc and Basement written on them in marker pen, “there might be some surprises in those.”

Then she saw the box she immediately, shockingly knew with absolute certainty she was going to buy.

It was a medium sized box, the cardboard visibly older than most of the other boxes Hannah could see, but otherwise not remarkable in any way.

About the Author

img_26116834684271-picsayI live in Devon with my wife and daughter and have been writing short stories on my blog for the last couple of years. I use writing prompts from other bloggers to inspire me and, in November of 2015, I began a story based on the single word, “Stuff”.

After reaching the end of the initial post I thought the story was worth continuing, so I decided to use each subsequent prompt to write a new chapter, until to my surprise I had written the book you now hold in your hand.

It may be an unconventional method of composition, but it seems to suit my writing style and I hope you enjoy reading my “accidental novel” as much as I did writing it.

Guy Thair, 15/10/16

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