Mystery and Crime Fiction posted February 25, 2018 Chapters: 2 3 -4- 5 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Granite decides to join forces with R.J.

A chapter in the book The Last Nerve

A Call To Action

by mbroyles2

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Chapter 4
Matthew Granite was no stranger to death, having been on both sides of it.  He’d been surrounded by it when he was a homicide detective.  Acts of violence carried to the extreme over jealousy, addictions, mental illness, and sometimes just for the pure joy of watching another person die.  He’d almost been destroyed by it when his wife and son were brutally murdered in front of him over five years ago. The day he threw his badge on the ground and chose a different path to follow.  He’d even found satisfaction in it when he rationalized that some deserved it, and he dealt it.  Like the sadistic killer in Louisiana who murdered members of an entire family, one in Granite’s office, over a secret ledger.  Yet, unlike others, he wasn’t immune to the effects.  Whether he witnessed it, or caused it, pieces of him died with it, and the scars, both inside and out, carved him into what he had become today, and what he’ll be tomorrow.

He sat on the bumper of his Lexus. An EMT dabbed at Granite's nose with a cotton swab.  He was a young man with red hair.  Freckles, the size of Tic Tacs, surrounded his nose and eyes. As he worked, he stuck his tongue out.  He smelled of peppermints.  Satisfied the bleeding had stopped, he rolled up Granite’s sleeve.

“What are you doing?”  Granite asked.

“I will check your blood pressure and treat you for shock.”

Granite’s eye flared, and he grabbed the young man by the jaw and turned him.  “Look,” he shouted.  “You see that?”

Two medical personnel with the county coroner’s office carried a small black body bag and placed it in the back of their vehicle. 

“There’s a little girl in that bag that will never see another birthday cake, or have her father kiss her goodnight.  She’ll never go to a high school dance, swim in the lake, or hear a boy’s voice tell her how pretty she is.  I held that precious child while she begged me to help her, and I couldn’t.  Do you hear me?  I couldn’t.  There’s no treatment for that kind of shock, so you take your toys and go bother someone else.”

“Matthew,” Marko said as he approached.  “He’s only doing his job.  Cut him a little slack and back off.  It can’t be easy for him either.”

Granite released the EMT and sunk his head.  “I’m sorry.  It’s just that little girl deserved better, and knowing someone out there decided better of it, well, it gets on my last nerve.”

“I understand, sir,” the young EMT said.  “I have a little sister myself.”  He packed up his things and turned to go.  “I hope they catch the bastard that did this.  I really do.”

Granite put his head in his hands and rubbed his scalp.  “I felt so helpless, Marko.  It was like Michael and Marie all over again.”

“But it wasn’t your family, Mathew, and you can’t let it eat at you.  You need to get back in the game.”

“Game?  This is no game.”

“Poor choice of words.  Do you think Little Willy had something to do with this, and this is where he was heading?”

Granite lifted his head.  “No, this isn’t his MO.  But that piece of crap still needs to be dealt with.”

“I know.  I called Mario.  He will take over the surveillance while we collect ourselves.”


Mario was Marko’s business partner in the “M & M” security company.  Not as big as Marko, but still a formidable specimen in a dark alley.  A capable replacement to take over the William Dawson case for a while.

“You look like crap,” a familiar voice said from behind him.  Granite turned and saw his old partner, R.J. McBride, approach.  It was like looking in a mirror.  When they were partners they were often mistaken for each other, and just as recent as a few months back, R.J. had been kidnapped by a man thinking he had nabbed Granite instead.  Almost six feet tall, broad shoulders, and hair the color of ground cocoa.

“Jesus, R.J., what are you doing here?”

The detective retrieved a pack of Winston cigarettes from his jacket pocket, removed one, tapped it on the pack, and put it in his mouth.  “I could ask you the same thing.”  He lit the cancer stick and drew the smoke deep in his lungs.  He blinked as the exhaled smoke attacked his eyes, and he swatted it away.  “Anyways, I’m the city’s consultant on this case.  The F.B.I. has been directly involved since this started out as a kidnapping.  The victim---”

“Sissy,” Granite interjected.

“Excuse me?”

“Her name was Sissy.”

“Yes.”  R.J. cleared his throat and took another drag.  “Sissy Henderson, reported missing nearly a month ago.  There have been several children gone missing in the past six months.  The F.B.I. was called in.  I was assigned as their liaison. A kind of courtesy to the Cincinnati P.D.”

“Consultant, liaison, kind of useless terms, don’t you think?”

“Yes, well, it gives me free reign to spread my wings, see what I can find out.”

“But you have to share everything with the F.B.I. right?”

“There is that.  Speaking of which, two of the Bureau’s finest want to speak with you.”

“Aw man, R.J., you know how I feel about talking to the suits.”

“Not up to me, partner.  You better prepare yourself because here they come.”

Two men approached from the coroner’s vehicle, one in a dark blue suit with a matching tie and white shirt, the other in a dark gray Men’s Warehouse special, pastel blue shirt, and crimson tie.  They both had short-cropped blond hair and sharp chins.  Blue Suit nodded at R.J. then addressed Granite.

“I’m Special Agent Rutherford, and this is Special Agent McKenzie.  We’re assigned to this case from the Cincinnati office.  We will need to ask you some questions concerning the discovery of the bodies.”

Granite, eyes narrowed, head cocked, stood.  “Bodies?”

“They found two more bodies,” R.J. offered.

“Boys.”  Agent Rutherford said.

“Excuse me a moment,” Granite said.  He took R.J. by the arm and led him a little distance away.

“What the hell’s going on, R.J.?”

“I don’t know for sure, Matthew, but it’s big.  Kidnapping has now turned into murder and there are several more kids unaccounted for.”

“I’m going after them,” Granite said.

“This isn’t  time for your vigilante act, Matthew.  You need to let the F.B.I. handle it.”

“Is that what you’re doing here?  Letting the F.B.I. handle it?”

“Not exactly.”

“Good, then I think the consultant needs a consultant.  Consider me your not-so-confidential, confidential informant.”

He turned back and addressed Marko.  “Get in touch with Camille.”

“The Shadow?  You sure you need her on this,” Marko asked.

“Yes.  We’re going hunting.”

Marko shrugged.  “O.K.  She’s away taking care of some private business, might take her a few days to get back.”

“Tell her to hurry.  This can’t wait.”  Granite turned back to the Special Agents.  “O.K.  Ask your questions, but make it quick.”  He looked over at Marko and nodded.  “Time to get busy.”


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