Chapter 29 – Wild Courses

Chapter 29 – “Wild Courses”

March 15, 1974 – Eli’s apartment, Greenwich Village, New York

The door had swung open before he entered the room. She was standing there, obviously drunk, leaning against the jamb. He hoped she was listening.

Uncharacteristically, Eli spoke nervously and more than a little apologetically and humbly. Much of that, especially the last, was a rare thing.

“You can come in if you want. Or, just stay there if you want. It’s probably easier to say this… Um…

“Well. I’m sorry. Your happiness means more to me than anything. If you’re happier with Braden, then, of course, that’s fine. He deserves good things as well. I won’t stand in the way.

“I’ve got a lot of things to work on. School and inventions…all that stuff. You know, help mankind and all that. Make a million bucks, too!

“And I was thinking of what you said before. You’re right. There’s no point in fighting men like Roarke. They’ve already won. People don’t want to know, to realize that. And that’s fine. Ignorance is bliss and all that.

“So, I’m hanging it up. It was a stupid, silly idea anyway. What have we achieved? We set him back a little, cost him some money… But he’s got more going on, more powerful allies than we could ever hope to…”

She hadn’t moved the entire time. Not even a nod. Had she passed out standing up? And what was that smell? Reminded Eli of roast rabbit.

“You okay?”

He walked over.

“Maya?”

Now he could see her clearer. Her face was torn and bloody, swollen. There were obvious welts as well as a bite. A dog probably.

Her legs were burnt…

Reflexively he went to grab her, to lay her down. Her hands wouldn’t let go of the door jamb.

He glanced outside. Her right hand and arm were nailed to the jamb. The left ones were as well.

He ran and grabbed a hammer and started pulling the nails out, cursing that he had no choice but to hurt her further digging into her skin as he did do. She fell before he got the last nail out.

“I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to drop you. Sorry, baby, sorry… sorrysorrysorry…”

He was still sitting there forty-seven minutes later, holding her dead, broken, beaten, chewed, nailed, raped corpse when Braden arrived.

Braden said nothing. Somehow, he also felt nothing. It somehow just wasn’t real. It couldn’t be real. Maybe if he stood still and waited, it would go away.

Eli did not look up, as if he didn’t realize Braden was standing over him. Eventually he spoke, causing Braden to shudder.

“I don’t know what to do, Braden. I don’t know… Tell me what to do, buddy. I don’t know…”

Braden walked to his room. He wiped away a single pair of tears. Then he calmly put on his uniform… his costume. He threw on a coat over it.

He picked Eli and Maya up and carried them inside. He pulled a bottle of scotch off the shelf, opened it, and put it within Eli’s reach. Then he walked out the door.

It was time he took the fight to Roarke directly. The man would not live to see tomorrow.

—–

©2011 Christopher C. Knall

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