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The Missing Jurors

The Missing Jurors

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The Missing Jurors

Longueur:
323 pages
4 heures
Sortie:
Jul 22, 2014
ISBN:
9781310194467
Format:
Livre

Description

When a jury determining the fate of a corrupt police chief’s wife doesn’t deliver the decision her husband wanted (and paid for), the jurors are gunned down in the courtroom as punishment. But two jurors narrowly escape: Daniel Harrison, a Christian married man with children, and Emma Watkins, a beautiful young single woman. Together, they flee for their lives.

The police chief wants his corrupt behavior hidden, but the man he paid to do his dirty work, The Fixer, has his reputation to protect as well. Both parties search for The Missing Jurors in order to eliminate details proving the trial was fixed—permanent silence is their goal. Daniel and Emma must keep ahead of their many pursuers as they attempt to reach a safe haven.

Sortie:
Jul 22, 2014
ISBN:
9781310194467
Format:
Livre

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The Missing Jurors - F.B. Timmerman

The Missing Jurors

F.B. Timmerman

Copyright 2014  by F.B. Timmerman

Smashwords Edition

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Published by

Parker-Elgin Press, an imprint of Cardamom Publishers

Cover illustration used with permission of Shutterstock.com.

Cover design: Copyright © 2014 Cardamom Publishers

DEDICATION

To my wonderful wife

Table of Contents

Thursday—Day 1

The Escape

Watched

Bus Ride

Where are They?

Donaldson Station

Bernie's Place

Cicero Line

The Locker Room

Blue Line

The Barracuda

P.D. – Greenville

Shangri-La

Off The Train

Granger Reports In

Going For a Walk

Granger's Pursuit

Martha's Despair

Cuffs Bar

A Buggy Ride

Friday—Day 2

Breakfast

Granger on the Prowl

Neighbor’s Report

Tired Of Walking

The Warehouse

Bill and Charlie Talk

Roll in the Hay

Saturday-Day 3

Good Morning

Father Daughter Talk

More Walking

Dark Durango—Dark Sedan

Spotted at a Picnic

The Drops of Oil

Abandoned Farmhouse

Bill’s Confession

Sunday-Day 4

Emma’s Burden

Bernie’s New Target

Monday-Day 5

A Bike Ride

The Walk in the Park

Clayton’s Stakeout

Dog Day for Granger

Getting Ready

Last Day on the Road

Last Night in the Field

Ray Returns

Tuesday-Day 6

Their Final Good Morning

The Fix

Epilogue

Also by F.B. Timmerman

Thursday—Day 1

The Escape

It wasn’t because of her looks, though she was beautiful. It wasn’t because she was so congenial, because she was actually horrible. It was only because she was sitting next to him that he had to save her.

Guns were popping and bullets were shattering everything around them. Wood was splintering then rocketing and stinging against their skin. Blood splattered against the wall and showered down upon them, and the smell of gun powder filled their nostrils. And people were screaming. So without hesitation, Daniel instinctively grabbed her arm and tried to rescue at least one person by pulling her towards the door. It would be against his character to only try and save himself. He pulled her downward as they scrambled, trying to stay below the line of fire. Chaos and smoke from the guns helped conceal their escape as he ran to reach safety.

She was frozen in shock, but he didn’t let go. Opening the door, he kept dragging her as they fell into the hallway, hitting the floor. The hard vinyl shook her up. She cursed, but she always did when she talked. The automatic closer finished their exit and it was suddenly quiet, but just as suddenly bang, bang, bang made them realize they were just ahead of the guns being aimed at them as three dents appeared in the door. It also meant their escape was noticed.

The hallway gave them two choices. To the right, the shorter distance, was the way to the main lobby. The other direction, a distance of at least 40 feet, had the men’s and women’s bathrooms and, beyond there, the jury room. After spending weeks there they knew it had access to another hallway, the back of the courthouse with offices, a stairway and an exit to the outside.

Her original petrified state had abated, and when he stood, still holding her arm, and said, Let’s go! she got to her feet quickly and willingly. They took off running down the hall, Daniel pulling her along. Just as they opened the jury room door, the sound of screaming from the courtroom made them turn their heads to see that the door they just left was now opening and a man with a gun was furiously peering around. Daniel and the girl didn’t take a second look but pushed the door open and hurried into the jury room just as the wall at the end of the hall emitted chunks of concrete from a blast of bullets. They closed the door and tried to find a lock that didn’t exist.

We have to do something, he said in a panicked voice. That guy’s gonna kill us.

They knew they only had seconds to protect themselves, and unarmed against ruthless killers was not a fair fight. Daniel scanned the room. All he saw was a conference table, chairs, a drinking fountain, and the door to another hall for an escape. In an instant he realized that if he turned the table he could wedge it between the door and the opposite wall. He released his grip on the girl and spun the table, sending chairs flying. She saw what he was doing but backed up to the escape door anyways.

The table wasn’t wide enough to fill the distance between the two walls. Just then the door started to open. Without hesitation he shoved the table against the door, closing it again. The gunman shoved again, and Daniel, using leverage from the wall, again pushed back. He knew he had to do something before more bullets flew. Just then, the girl wedged a chair between the table and the wall.

Thanks, he said. "Let’s keep going. We have to get out of here." He climbed over the chair, grabbed her wrist again, and ran for the door.

Not knowing what trouble was on the other side; he opened the door only a few inches. Some officers in uniform were running by to the left. Some people in business clothes were heading to the right, the direction of the exit. A few people were just standing around; the solid concrete block walls had concealed the gunfire and the screaming, making them unaware of the terror around them.

Daniel and the girl ran to the right. He motioned and yelled for people to get out of the building, saying there’d been a shooting in the courtroom; he only got stares in return. But he kept running.

An officer stood at the exit door with his arms crossed but as they got closer, he started to move his right hand towards his revolver. They recognized Officer Harry; he was stationed at the door every afternoon. A dark-skinned older veteran of the department, no longer issued a squad car to patrol the streets, friendly, just waiting for retirement.

As Harry’s hand moved closer to his gun, the two escapees hesitated and slowed down. But Harry was focusing his attention down the hall. His left hand reached backward for the door knob, eyes still fixed forward, and swung the door open.

Harry smiled slightly and said, Good luck. All of sudden a popping sound was heard and Harry was jolted backwards, his light blue shirt revealing a growing dark spot below his right shoulder as he slumped to the floor.

Daniel and the girl kept going, knowing better than to turn around and see what was happening. They now knew at least one of the gunmen had seen them again, it didn’t matter which one. It was just better to keep running and avoid a bullet.

People in the hallway hit the floor when they saw the gun aimed their way. After firing a few shots, the man with the gun raced down the hall. Luckily for Daniel and the girl, the attacker tripped over a woman lying on the ground. In anger he aimed the gun at her but when he saw her face to the ground, with her hands covering her head, he took pity and kept going but not as fast as before. He pushed Harry out of the way with his foot and went out the door.

Daniel and the girl ran down another short hall, then down the double-wide marble stairway and past the guard station where officers usually checked for weapons entering the building.

They burst through the exit doors into the bright sunlight. Lunch hour in the city brought everyone out, so the sidewalks were filled with people. Sirens wailed: police and ambulance and who knew what else. Some stopped and wondered about the noise, but didn’t react by moving to a safe area. Being desensitized to perpetual alarms, most took no notice, unaware that they were so near danger.

A city transit bus pulled to a stop in front of this courthouse entrance. A few people exited the bus, and as they got off, the driver looked at the fleeing couple, not realizing they weren’t running to catch his bus, but were fleeing someone ready to kill them, and threw a questioning glance at them which asked Are you getting on? And so they did.

Daniel pulled out his wallet, his hands shaking so much he could hardly pull the bills out. Even then he dropped them, but eventually paid the fare. The bus door closed and they sat down a few seats behind the driver. They both took a deep breath as if they hadn’t taken a breath in days, but their eyes were focused on the courthouse doors. Just as the driver hit the accelerator, sending out a cloud of diesel exhaust, the man with the gun appeared and rushed out onto the sidewalk. Daniel and the girl sank lower into their seats, unseen by the attacker.

---------------------------

Watched

But they weren’t unseen by Charlie, the attacker’s accomplice, who sat in his car across the street, honking the car horn and pointing to the bus. It took a few seconds for the man with the gun to figure out what his partner was pointing at. When he did, he started to chase them but quickly realized that the bus was well on its way.

Normally, crossing a busy city street in the middle of the block on foot is difficult, but when you’re carrying a gun, the drivers let you through. Turning the car around in a downtown city street was not as easy.

Charlie, how’s Joe, did he get out okay? Did you get the number on the bus? Stan asked as he got in the car. Joe was Stan's partner in the courtroom.

73. And I don’t know about Joe, he was supposed to go out the other side, and Randy hasn’t called yet either way.

Charlie devoted his attention to turning the car around, even yelling out the window and waving his gun as a convincer. The ordeal allowed the bus to gain a little distance.

What a show in there! We almost got them all except for those two, Stan said.

Charlie knew that if there had been shooting, the correct verdict hadn’t been reached. But just to be sure they were on the same page, he asked, So the vote didn’t go the right way?

No, but we made sure jurors think twice before voting next time, Stan said with pride. He snapped a fresh magazine onto his gun as the car spun. The chase was still on, and Stan found it difficult to sit still in the car. Increased adrenaline filled his system, maintaining his high intensity, and like a wild animal not willing to let its prey get away after the first miss, he waited and readied himself for the next chance to strike.

They headed after the bus, but not even running a few red lights got them much closer. Traffic was becoming congested during the lunch hour, but they kept going, constantly switching lanes, honking and cutting off people. Soon they saw the bus a few blocks ahead of them, pulled over for a stop.

If we can get these zombie drivers out of the way, we’ll catch them, Charlie said while stepping on the accelerator and pulling out into oncoming traffic.

------------------------------------

Bus Ride

Daniel and the girl sat quietly trying to process what had just happened. Then a question occurred to Daniel. He turned his head and asked, What’s your name?…Ms. Watkins, isn’t it? The jury foreman kept everything so formal, I don’t even know your first name.

Emma. And you’re Mr. Harrison.

Daniel. Daniel Harrison.

Why the f#*& are they after us? Emma asked, louder than she intended, as emotion caught up with her. Her profane language caught the eye of a few people, but only a few as it was now so common in conversation.

I’m trying to figure that out myself, Daniel said while looking out the window, thankful that a few green lights allowed them to get a couple of blocks away from the courthouse. But a city bus makes many stops, so their hearts raced every time it pulled over.

He saw her rubbing her wrist. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Are you OK?

What were you doing? Were you trying to rip my f#*& arm off? This is going to leave bruises. She muttered some more and then quieted down, giving a slight shudder as a tear rolled down her cheek.

Suddenly she looked him straight in the eyes.

I’m sorry. What was I thinking? You saved my life. If you hadn’t pulled me from the courtroom I’d be…dead now. And then a few more tears fell.

Not again, Daniel muttered as the bus pulled over at the corner, just before the stop lights.

What? Emma quickly asked, now easily startled.

Another bus stop. We’ll never get anywhere this way. If someone’s following us… and he turned, looked over his shoulder out the side window, and saw cars veering out of the way as a car recklessly crossed lanes, coming in their direction, heading towards their bus. Emma saw his panicked expression and looked out the window too.

Immediately Daniel started looking for flight options and spotted a taxi cab letting off some businessmen in suits just around the corner.

Quick, let’s get that cab. Once again he grabbed her arm. After years of raising three children, he instinctively knew that if he was holding onto someone, he didn’t have to look behind to see if they were following him.

The driver started to close the door and Daniel called out, Wait! We’re getting off!

They rushed to the cab just as another couple walked up and opened the back door to get in.

We need that cab! Daniel yelled, and then he tried to think of a reason he could give them. He couldn’t say someone was trying to kill them, they would either never believe him or start asking questions, so he blurted out, She’s in labor, got to get to the hospital! and the other couple backed out of the way.

Emma and Daniel jumped in the back seat and they both shouted, Go! As the door closed, they heard from the sidewalk, Hey, she’s not having a baby! She doesn’t even look pregnant.

That was really lame, Emma said.

That’s all I could think of on short notice.

Which hospital, lady? Their new driver asked.

No hospitals, at least not yet. Just get away from here and fast.

The driver stepped on the accelerator as they turned and looked out the back window. All of a sudden, they saw the same speeding car pull in front of the bus, forcing the bus to the curb. The bus’s right-front wheel went up the curb onto the sidewalk, sending people jumping to get out of the way and leaving the bus sitting at an awkward angle. A man leaped out of the passenger side of the car, gun in hand, and ran toward the bus. As the taxi got further away they saw the man enter the bus.

‘That was close," she said.

The driver asked again, Which hospital, lady? This time he sounded a little irritated.

Ah, where are we going? She looked questioningly at Daniel.

As far away from the city as possible; what about the train station? Can you get us to the train station quick?

Amtrak or the transit trains to the outer suburbs? The driver asked.

I guess the transit trains, Daniel decided.

That’s the better choice. The West Line takes you to Salem, where you can get connecting trains to cities across the state, even other states. The driver, clearly now happy to be the travel consultant, softened his attitude.

Amtrak will probably break down before you get very far anyways. He then asked with a knowing smile, You two running away from spouses?

Emma smiled and replied, You won’t give our secret away, will you?

No, I see all kinds of things, I don’t talk. He pulled his cap a little snugger on his head and continued.

I’ve been in this business too long—I know better. I’ll get you on your way real quick. We’ll be at the station in about 15 minutes or so, depends how the stop lights go. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

---------------------------------

Where are They?

The bus driver sat in his seat in shock. When he didn’t open the door fast enough, the man with the gun shot out the glass, the bullet slicing across the top of the driver’s shoulder, knocking the window out behind him, glass covering him and everything else. When the attacker then aimed the gun directly at him, he quickly opened the door.

By now he had the attention of everyone on the bus; Stan had a way of doing that. But as he walked down the aisle, he didn’t see the couple he was looking for. He quickly ran back to the front of the bus, leaned out and yelled to Charlie in the car.

You sure this is the right bus?

Charlie looked up at the number on the front of the bus.

Positive, number 73.

Stan turned back to the driver, shoved the gun barrel in his chin and said, Where’d they go?

Who?

You know who! he shouted. A guy and a girl from the courthouse!

I pick up people all day long, the driver shouted back. How am I supposed to remember who gets on and off?

Maybe this’ll help. Stan pushed the driver’s jaw a little harder with the gun. I’m out of patience and out of time. Where did they go?

Alright, alright, they got off a couple blocks ago. Crossed in front of the bus and ran south.

Not sure whether to believe him or not, Stan backed away, stepping over the glass, and ran back to Charlie in the car.

They’re not in there. Call it in and let’s get out of here.

He jumped in the car and slammed the door.

Crap, Bernie’s not gonna like this. I can hear him screamin’ already.

Charlie squealed the tires as he pulled away. At the same time, the bus driver wrote down the license plate numbers, unaware that the plates would be changed within the hour.

------------------------

Donaldson Station

The taxi pulled up to Donaldson Station, the transit hub for the whole city; its name changed after every election. Daniel pulled out a credit card from his wallet to pay for the taxi ride. His hands were steadier now, but he still had difficulty swiping the card, taking three tries to get it to read properly. They reminded the driver that he’d never seen them before and then headed up the concrete steps to the station, but they didn’t see him laughing at them.

Amateurs, he said to himself as he held up the credit card receipt. Good luck!

They entered through the elaborate revolving doors and walked past a myriad of little boutiques. Then the ceiling opened up into a huge cathedral-type room. Iron crisscrossed the ceiling with huge glass panes in between. Normally Daniel would be amazed at what the taxpayers were made to pay for, but this time he just kept walking.

Do you know where we’re supposed to go? he asked Emma. I’ve never been here before.

How the f#*& am I supposed to know? I grew up in a small town. This was your idea anyways, Emma retorted.

I’m just trying to save our lives, he replied patiently, and would you keep your voice down a little bit? There are cops walking all around here and I’m not sure whose side they’re on. We learned a lot about this police force in court and I’m not sure what to think anymore, but I do know I’m getting out of this city as fast as I can. If you don’t want to come with, just walk up to one of those guys with a gun at their side and tell him who you are. I’m sure he’ll…

Alright, shut up, will you? I get the point; I don’t need a lecture from you.

Sorry, I kind of got carried away. My wife doesn’t like it when I do that to her either.

Exasperated, Emma sighed and said, I’m not ready to turn myself in just yet. But I’m starting to feel like we’re the criminals in all this.

It seems like that, he agreed, but let’s just try to stay free, or at least alive, a little longer.

They kept walking. The walls were filled with huge electronic signs with ever-changing advertisements, but finally they saw an arrow next to the word, Tickets.

As they approached the long counter with clerks behind glass windows, Daniel asked Emma, What train line did the taxi driver say to take?

The West Line, but I don’t see it listed anywhere.

The station wasn’t busy yet, so they asked the teller.

"Oh, we don’t call it that anymore; it’s the Cicero Line. Named after Tony Cicero, the state congressman, but he’s in jail now so they might change the name again. For now it’s the Cicero Line. It goes all the way out to the station hub at Salem, if you want to go that far. Cost you $7.25 each, leaves at 2:48, that’s in 14 minutes. What do you say?"

Daniel and Emma agreed and he swiped his credit card and got their tickets. The clerk pointed them in the right direction: across the concourse, and look for gate 14 on the opposite wall. This they found with no problem, and went through the doors onto the concrete platform between the trains. Even though it had a look of newness, the cold air and old musty smell disclosed the facelift that it had experienced.

As soon as they walked on the platform, Emma said, Eww, it stinks out here!

They walked on, passing the entry steps to each car and getting closer to the lead engine, ever looking over their shoulders. Daniel glanced at his watch: 2:45.

It’s almost departure time, let’s get in this car, he said.

They took a seat and, right on schedule, the train started to move smoothly.

-------------------------------

Bernie's Place

Two teams of driver and gunman—Randy and Joe, Charlie and Stan—returned to the garage below the warehouse renovation that Bernie Langsdon and his girl called home and place of business. The four men—none too tall or too short, nor too thin or too heavy, from a distance they were indistinguishable from each other or from anyone else, for that matter—took turns at the sink

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