Reckless Revenge Pt. 2

They arrived at their next stop just after night fell. Jaynes grabbed three duffles from the back while Terrah carried her only one. They walked up a few flights of stairs and knocked on a door numbered 1735. It didn’t take long for it to open. A tall, thin woman stepped aside to let them inside.

“Thanks for letting us stay here, Ash.”

“Always happy to help out a friend. Go ahead and put your things in the guest room.”

Terrah knew this area like the back of her hand, spending most of her early adulthood in that very guest room. It looked much the same. Ashley had finally thrown out the gaudy bedspread that used to occupy the full sized mattress. Hideous shades of orange, green, and brown sewn together in a patchwork mess that had no rhyme or reason.

Though she declared her hatred for the blanket often, Ashley claimed she loved it. To which Terrah always replied, “yes, but not enough to have it on your own bed.”

Her duffle bag was put next to the lounge chair in the room. She headed back out to the living room, knowing Jaynes would take a little longer than her. Ashley was in the kitchen, pouring drinks for the three of them. They always drank when they were together.

“Do you guys need any food?” she asked, back still turned to her.

“We ate before we came.”

Jaynes joined them. Arms wrapping around her waist. A gentle kiss pressed to the top of her head. Terrah let her guard down in his embrace. “Could I have a double, Ash?” he asked.

“Sure. Go ahead and make yourselves comfortable.”

They always compensated her for putting them up. And for how much alcohol they drank. Jaynes steered them to the love seat a few feet away. They sat down, the plush cushions far more comfortable than the leather seats in the rental.

Ashley handed them their drinks a few moments later before getting her own. Terrah put the glass to her lips, but didn’t drink.

“How’s life on the run treating you? You two have been off the radar for almost a year.” Ashley asked as she sat down on the couch across from them.

“Fine,” Terrah answered. “They’ve been pouring more resources into their search so Jaynes and I have been separated for a few months.”

“So what’s the next step?” she asked.

“Sorry, Ash. Can’t tell you this time. The less you know, the better.” Terrah gave a small smile, hoping her friend would understand.

Her friend changed the subject. They chatted about most of the events that occurred in their absence. Ashley had gotten herself a new girlfriend who lived out of state and was seriously thinking of moving in order to be with her. They congratulated her.

Keeping in touch would be difficult, but they’d make sure to stop by if and when that happened. Hours passed before Ashley declared it was time for her to go to bed. She was an upstanding citizen now—well, aside from her currently housing fugitives.

Terrah gets ready for bed first. Jaynes is busy—as always. “Your turn.” He locks the encrypted tablet before leaving the room. A kiss pressed to her lips quickly.

She puts her clothes inside the duffle. And notice that Jaynes left one of his opened. Terrah moves to close it when black and white photos catches her eyes. Masked men armed with assault-style weapons. Her breath caught in her throat as memories of that day came swirling back.

Pain ripped through her body. She fell to the floor, clutching her side. Gunfire echoed loudly around her. “Terrah!”

She could feel hands gripping her. Blinking several times, she could make out Jaynes. Not just him, but Ashley too. A broken sob escaped her throat as she reached for her husband. He pulled her near.

“Why?” she asked, voice breaking. “Why do you have those photos?”

“I need to know,” Jaynes answered. “I need to know who did this to us, to you.”

She pulled away from him. “I don’t want you to look for them. They…did enough. Just forget about them.”

“I can’t,” he whispered.

Terrah moved away and stood on shaky legs. “If you go after them, I won’t go with you.”

“I’m going after them. I can’t let them get away with this.”

She stumbled toward Ashley. “I’m going to sleep elsewhere.”

Her best friend said nothing, but helped her into the master bedroom. Terrah couldn’t understand why Jaynes would give up the final step of their plan for something that didn’t matter. They hadn’t succeeded.

Once they took care of the main threat, the two of them could live in peace. Could make their clean break from the life that had given and taken so much. She laid down on the bed and turned to face the wall.

Memories of that day plagued her throughout the rest of the night.

Morning came far too quickly. She felt Ashley leave the bed. Terrah knew that she should get up. They had planned to leave earlier in the morning. She couldn’t bring herself to move. The sound of her alarm going off gave her the final push to get up. The door to the spare bedroom was open.

As she walked into the living area, Terrah noticed Jaynes was nowhere in the apartment.

“Is Jaynes waiting outside?” she asked quietly.

Ashley turned around, a frown on her face. Her eyes darted toward a piece of paper. On it was all capitalized letters.

            I’m sorry, Terrah. This is something I have to do. Proceed with your half. I’ll meet you later.

The ink on the note smudged under a water drop. Her stomach churned, forcing her to run to the bathroom. After emptying her guts, she curled up into a ball on the floor. Tears flowing freely now.

Ashley entered the restroom. A glass of water in hand. “Hey, it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. You two will always find each other.”

Terrah shook her head, wanting to tell her friend the weight of the situation. She couldn’t. Jaynes had abandoned her.

“I’ll call in sick today. Seems like we’re going to need a girl’s day.”

She didn’t say anything. Her mind raced with the idea of what she would have to face alone. Before, everything seemed less daunting. Jaynes was by her side. He had promised to be by her side forever.

Now, their wedding vows felt hallow. After what happened, she had spent several months apart from her husband. He had kept himself busy in putting together their final plan. They reunited about four months ago, promising that they were done forever.

Revenge wasn’t part of that plan.

Terrah wanted to forget everything that had happened.

Once the tears stopped, she moved out of the bathroom and in to the living room. Ashley was eating breakfast and watching a sitcom. Terrah noticed a plate set out for her, but she couldn’t bring herself to eat. Not right now.

Instead, she remained still and tried to figure out how best to explain what had happened last night and this morning to her best friend. Ashley deserved an explanation at the very lease.

The words were harder to say.

“Hey, you don’t need to tell me anything you don’t want to.” She looked at Ashley. Terrah nodded in understanding, grateful to have a friend like her, but the truth needed to be told.

“Jaynes and I got married almost a year ago,” she whispered.

“Congratulations!”

“The day we got married is also the day I almost died.”

To be continued…

Reckless Revenge Pt. One

As she watched across the activity across the street, Terrah couldn’t help but smile in satisfaction. Her freshly dyed brown hair air-drying as she followed every movement closely. Despite the mass of black vehicles in front of the run-down hotel, she had a perfect view of the operation.

Her hotel room sat two floors above ground level. The individuals at the center of all the activity wore bulletproof vests with rifles as their preferred weapon of choice. Two people stood out from the uniform, both wearing finely tailored black suits. Four groups had gone in beforehand and now were trickling out of the front doors with more people than they started.

All of them in handcuffs and most of them men. Frequent reports of fights, drug use, and prostitution all lent to a high probability of police raids. The hotel wore its seedy reputation as a badge of honor. Anyone looking for illegal substances knew where to go. The city’s police chief worked hard to shut it down entirely, but a final decision remained in limbo for years.

Today’s activity, however, might be enough to shut the place down permanently. The police was the last thing the owners had to worry about. This organized operation had nothing to do with local law enforcement, but federal.

Throughout all the masses of drug dealers, arms dealers, and pimps—a blonde haired woman was escorted out of the front entrance. Skinny, pale, and eyes dilated. Her body shaking as she came off the high from her drug of choice. Everything mirrored Terrah’s usual appearance.

The agents dressed in suits approached the woman, who barely responded to them. She was taken to the back of their black SUV and taken away. The remaining FBI officials spent several more hours clearing the scene. The street reopened to traffic in the early hours of the afternoon.

Terrah sent a text message on a burner phone before picking up her pre-packed bag and exiting her luxurious hotel room. The conclusion of the raid would be on the news later.

Dressed in designer labels and a new hair color, Terrah looked vastly different than just 24 hours ago. With her shoulders back, head held high, she checked out of the room and thanked the staff for a wonderful stay.

She walked out of the hotel and began trekking across alleyways to reach her destination. A few blocks away, she waited outside an abandoned building with an entrance hidden away from the main streets. No one owned the structure so there was no need for security cameras.

Terrah leaned against the brick siding, her mind running through the next steps of her plan. Nausea bubbled in her stomach. So much was at stake—and not just for her.

A red sports car turned down the alleyway, Terrah tensed at the sight of an unfamiliar vehicle in her proximity. Within seconds, the car pulled up next to her, a man behind the wheel. Sandy hair and hazel eyes that could charm anyone.

“You look like you could use a ride.”

The accent was unmistakable. British in origin and hadn’t faded despite living here for nearly ten years. Terrah rolled her eyes.

“I thought we were going to keep a low profile.”

The man smiled, revealing perfect teeth. He was the textbook definition of a model. “This is a low profile. You’re wearing Chanel. I needed a car to match.”

Terrah opened the back seat and threw her bag in there without regard. The duffle contained clothes mostly—ones that had been worn down and ready to rip at the seams. They resembled nothing akin to her current outfit. The change was intentional for the time being.

Eventually though, she would need practical outfits.

She got into the passenger seat and the man leaned in. Terrah gave him a quick kiss. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too, Terrah.”

“We better get going if we’re going to make our next destination.”

The man shifted the car into gear. “Yet another reason why this car will come in handy.”

The blonde woman sat a bland-looking room. A faux mirror on one of the walls. She had been left alone for several hours now. The remaining drugs in her system finally wearing off, leaving her shaky and anxious. Her mind raced through the possibilities of the future.

A few minutes later, the door banged open. Two people in tailored black suits walked in. One a woman, the other a man. The woman had dark hair and eyes, athletic in nature, and sharp features. Her face severe as she carried herself with confidence.

The man slumped his shoulders slightly, but he had beady eyes that thinly veiled his contempt. His muscles were accentuated in the suit and were an obvious product of many hours at the gym.

They glanced over her appearance, but neither of them addressed her current state. There wasn’t much to say for someone whose clothes were stained and torn from repeated use. The crooks of her arms covered in needle marks and hair greasy and unwashed.

She didn’t give a damn about what they thought.

All she wanted to know was what they expected from her.

“Are the remaining drugs out of your system, Terrah?” the female agent asked.

She didn’t answer. Her legs shaking underneath the table.

“Your cooperation is important, Terrah.”

The woman scoffed at the statement. “There’s nothing in it for me.”

With those simple words, the air in the room changed. The female agent forced a smile. “Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s a lot I can offer you. You’re looking at years in prison for drug possession, drug paraphernalia, assault, conspiracy to commit murder, illegal possession of a firearm, and aiding and abetting a fugitive.”

A small smirk stretched across her face. “You can’t prove half of those charges.”

“I’m willing to work out a deal to where you serve a reduced sentence.”

“But only if I tell you where Jaynes is.”

“Exactly.”

The woman pretended to think about the offer. Of course, she had no intention of revealing that information.

“I don’t know where he is.”

The female agent sighed heavily. “My patience has grown thin, Terrah. I know he tells you everything. Now, tell me where your husband is.”

Her eyes widened. “How do you know about that?”

“We have our sources. We’ve kept the information tight-lipped. We want to bring in Jaynes ourselves and can’t do that if one of his many enemies comes after him first.”

The woman didn’t respond. The feds weren’t supposed to know about their marriage. They had done it in secret and out of the country. No one was supposed to find out.

She let out a laugh in the small room. “And you think that because we’re now married that I’d sell out my husband?” Her response caught the others off-guard. “I’ve never betrayed Jaynes in the twelve years I’ve known him. What made you think that I would start now?”

The stunned silence didn’t last long. The female agent recovered much quicker than her male counterpart. She straightened her posture before speaking. “Terrah, let’s be reasonable, you know what a danger your husband is to society. The people have been terrorized by his hands. Lives have been torn apart because of his actions. We can’t let this continue.”

She leaned forward, closing the gap between her and the agent. The other woman pulled away slightly to create more distance between them.

“Let me make one thing clear, Agent Corbin. I will never help you catch Jaynes McConnell. I’ll die first before that happens, she growled.

The door to the small room opened. A flash went off followed by smoke. It covered the entire room. She coughed and tried to cover her nose and mouth. Then, several rounds went off. One of them hit her body, tearing through her body.

More shots were fired and soon all the sound that remained was the blare of a fire alarm.