Chapter 8

Written by: E L Russell


During the drive to meet with Deputy Harmon at the bridge, Marcus laughed at the red herring he tossed to Jonas. Half a mil, my ass, he thought. Near the bridge he noticed Harmon’s squad car by a detour sign. He parked his car and slid into the front seat. She handed him a cup and said, “Marcus, coffee?”

            “Thanks. What’s the agenda?”

            “Don’t like loose ends.”

            He sipped some coffee and burned his lip.

            “Careful, Marcus. It’s hot.”

            He nodded and wiped his mouth.

            “So who’s Marcus Howard?”

            He stalled, “What do you know about him?”

            She cocked her head. “I had a productive chat with Clara, Melissa’s step sister. She let slip a few things.”

            “Such as?”

            “You didn’t come to kill her.” She stared.

            Marcus felt like a rat stumbling on a snake. She’s on to something? “Marie?”

            Her eyes remained fixed. “We’ll do this your way,” she hissed. “Your target was the bot and someone else offered you real money to do Marie, or should I say MarieMother? Did they think they were dealing with Marcus Dawson?”

            “That makes no sense.”

            “Sure it does. You’re after MarieBot, someone else is after MarieMother, you shoot the bot, and they shoot Marie.” She raised a finger. “You may not have liked her, but wouldn’t kill your mother.”

            “Thanks for the confidence.”

            “Hold on. You’re willing to take money and the claim.”

            He toasted her. “I’ll hand it to you. All I did was to add credence to my cover.”

            She nodded. “Assume you killed a clever machine,” and gave him the reptilian stare. “Why would you want to do that?”

            “For the money.”

            She shook her head. “No way. There’s money in bots but there’s more money in what the locals would pay to kill MarieMother.”

            “What’s your problem?”

            She got angry. “There’ll be more killings.” She shook her finger, “But not on my watch.”

            “What do you plan to do about it?”

            “I can think of twenty ways to put you in jail. Unless you think about what we will do about it.”

            “Hey, I’m not –”

            “Right now you are the problem. Problems spend time in jail. Do you get me?”

            “Okay, I’ll work with you but understand, there are some things I can’t say or face more jail time than you can provide. Deal?”

            She nodded and whispered “Deal.”

            He rubbed his hands in thought. “Right. Can you get Mellissa, Clara, and the Chief out of their house on some pretext?”

            She said quietly, “I can do that.” Nodded then said, “When and for how long?”

            “Thanks. How about tonight? I’ll … we’ll need about three hours. You pick the time.”

            “Will do. I’ll call you when it is set up. Together, right?”

            He nodded.

            “Tell me something?” what exactly was MotherBot to you?

            “In my business she’s called a Shadow. She’s my second one and if everything works out I’ll get one more tonight.”

E.L. Russell (USA)


Enos, I was wondering who was going to tie the story back to the title. Excellent job! With only two chapters to go, there still so much to resolve! Can't wait to see how this inbred mess comes out. No one is exactly who they think they are in this town! Great stuff.  
This story has more weird twists than my brain can handle. I might survive until the next serial. Applause, applause  -  or is it Clunk click, clunk click?