As always, thanks to my friend PapaKilo14 for his help in editing. The good stuff is his and the mistakes are all mine. Thanks to my readers for their patience while some stuff is happening in my life.
She came ghosting down the sidewalk like a cat. She was keeping in the darkness of the shadows, avoiding being seen for some reason. Whatever, it wasn't my concern. I was there to kill a man. He was the man that took the most precious thing I had, and he wasn't going to keep it. He was the man that was fucking my wife. I didn't want her anymore, but he wasn't going to have her either. In fact, he wasn't going to have anything at all. He'd made a fatal mistake.
They came boiling around the corner, obviously looking for the girl beside my car. She saw them and started to run. She wasn't going to make it. I wasn't in my car; I was about twenty feet up the sidewalk in the shadows between two buildings. When she came even with me I snatched her and pulled her in. Shit, the asshole was going to live for now. She fought like a wildcat as I put my hand over her mouth and whispered fiercely in her ear.
"I'm going to help you. Stay behind me and keep quiet no matter what happens or what you see. Nod if you understand."
Her little curly head nodded. When they ran past I stepped out onto the sidewalk. They didn't go far before realizing they'd lost her. When they turned around they saw me. I had on a black leather jacket, dark pants and a black leather snap brim hat. I was holding a silenced .22 automatic behind my back. She came scurrying out and got behind me. She was doing what I told her. Good girl. They were a little stumped. They didn't know what to make of me.
"Joselyn, your mother is going to be very angry," one of them said. "You need to go back home right now."
"No," she said. "You can't make me watch that anymore and I won't be part of it and you can't make me."
"You want us to hurt your Mom?" one of the other ones asked.
She was crying behind me now. I could hear her sobs. "Mister, you said you were going to help me. They will hurt her if I don't go back. What should I do?"
"These men won't be hurting anyone," I told her.
"Why not?" she asked.
"They're going to be in the hospital," I told her. "Do you want them dead, or do you want them to live."
"I want them to be hurt, but alive," she said.
I shot all three of them in the leg. They went down screaming and I went over and gave them another in the knees.
"Are you hungry?" I asked her.
"Starving," she said.
"Do you trust me?"
"Yes, you're helping me. Thank you," she said.
"Will you let me buy you something to eat?"
"Yes, I'd like that. Where do you want to go? I don't have any money," she said.
"That's okay, I do. We'll go to the truck stop over on 35," I told her. "They're open all night and we'll get breakfast, okay?"
She nodded and all those curls bounced. I opened the car door for her and we went to the truck stop. After we ordered we sat and looked at each other for a while. She was a gorgeous little thing. Her hair was a wild mop, all dark curls and about a foot long, standing up and sticking up all over. If framed the face of an angel. I could tell she had quite a mixed racial heritage. There was some black in there, I could tell by the hair, white and maybe a little Hispanic mixed up in her too. She was dark complected, not black but not white either, sort of a creamy brown. Her eyes were huge, almond shaped and not quite brown. There was a hint of green to them and maybe a little hazel too. She had the cutest little nose and full, puffy lips.
I knew what she saw when she was looking at me. I'm no Adonis or fashion model. My hairline is receding, even though I'm only 26. I keep it cut to just stubble. My nose has been broken twice and I had stubble on my face too. I keep it there by design. I look like a mechanic or a machinist or something. Blue collar; that's me.
"What's your name?" she asked.
"Matthew Brown," I told her.
"Okay, that sounds fishy to me, but okay. Mine's Joselyn Adams."
"What was going on back there, Joselyn?" I asked. "Do you want to tell me?"
"Not really, but I'm going to," she said. "My mother is a whore. Those men were fucking her and making me watch. They said when they got through with her they were going to fuck me and make me lick my mother clean. One of them told me to get them beer and I ran away."
Jesus Christ! "How old are you, Joselyn?"
"I'm fourteen," she said. "What am I going to do? You helped me tonight but there's going to be a next time and you won't be there."
"What do you want to do?" I asked her.
"Will you keep helping me? I want to stay with you," she said. "I want to grow up, go to college and become something. I think I want to be an attorney. I don't know how I'll do that, but that's what I want. I don't want to be a whore," her eyes filled with tears. "Tell me what you were doing there."
"I was getting ready to do something bad," I told her. "Are you sure you really want to know?"
"Will you go to jail for it?" she asked.
"If I get caught I will. I don't plan to get caught. I'm not a good person, Joselyn."
"I don't believe it," she said. "I don't care anyway. You helped me. I'll always love you for that. Can I?"
"Can you what?" I asked.
"Can I stay with you? I don't have a future unless you help me. Will you?"
"What's in it for me?" I asked her.
"You get to have me in your life," she said. "I'll be very grateful, totally loyal and very responsible. I'll be the best friend you've ever had. Plus, it doesn't seem to me like your life is very good. You skulk around in dark places waiting to do bad things to bad people. Wouldn't it be nice to think about coming home to a nice place, a hot meal and a hug from someone that loves you? I'll make that happen."
"You make it sound like a good deal," I said. "I thought I had that a week ago."
"What happened?" she asked.
"I found out my wife was sleeping with her old boyfriend," I told her.
She got up and came around to push me over in the booth. She put her little arm around me. "I'm so sorry, Matthew. Are you okay?"
"Not yet," I said. "I'm going to make him wish he had never been born. When I met you I was going to kill him. You kept me from doing that. I'll go back. Then I'll be okay."
"Are you still going to kill him?" she asked.
"No, I've decided that would be quick," I said.
"What about her?"
"Her punishment is being what she is," I said bitterly.
"Are you going to divorce her?" she asked.
"Yes, the papers are going to be served in," I checked my watch, "six hours."
"Joselyn, I'm leaving this city tomorrow. My house is going on the market. I'm never coming back here again. Is that what you want?" I asked.
"That sounds good to me," she said. "Will you help me get my things from my house? I don't have much but I want my birth certificate and my medical and school records. I'm afraid to go there alone. I need my clothes too."
"Yes, I'll help you." I said. "I could use a friend. Let's go check you into a hotel and get some sleep. I'll go back home and pick you up tomorrow. We'll get your stuff and leave, okay?"
"No, I'm afraid you'll leave me," she clutched my arm tightly.
"I won't leave you," I told her. "Do you have a passport?"
"Yes, I went with the band to Toronto last year," she said. "I'll get that too."
"I'll give you my passport and my wallet," I told her. "You can hold them until I pick you up. Is that okay?"
"Yes, I'll do that," she said. "I swear to God, Matthew, if you leave me and something bad happens to me or I die I'll come back as a ghost and haunt you. Besides, if you abandon me you'll go to hell."
I laughed. "They've been warming up my chair there for a while, kiddo."
"If you keep me, we'll trade it in for a cloud," she smiled. That smile lit up her face like a beacon and I decided I was going to make that happen a lot.
I had started off the evening with a cheating slut wife, a plan for revenge on the asshole she was fucking and a lonely, miserable future. Before I knew what hit me, I had a beautiful little friend, a new life to look forward to and maybe it wasn't going to be so shitty after all. I had a lot to do.
I checked her into the Hilton and went home. I don't know what time Emily came home, I was sleeping soundly and she was quiet. She slipped into bed without waking me. Emily teaches third grade. When I met her and she agreed to marry me I thought I was the luckiest man on earth. I can be a nice guy when I try and Emily never saw the nasty side. When she asked me what I did for a living I told her I was a freelance troubleshooter for large corporations. She never really asked again. I'd taken her with me from time to time to different cities when she was off in the summer and she seemed to take my work for granted. My description of my profession was not inaccurate, but not complete. I did work for major corporations, but I also worked for rich individuals and occasionally governments. If company A is being left behind in development by company B, my services are available to get the development designs from B to A. If a millionaire has a cheating wife, I can arrange for her and her lover to pay. I can get the dirt for a nasty divorce, injure one or both parties or just make them disappear. I occasionally make business rivals become involved in major scandals or lose facilities or assets. Emily never knew or cared to know what I actually did. I was gone in the morning before she woke up.
.... There is more of this story ...