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Nathaniel Alexander

A graduating high school

0 · 260 views · located in Cartwright Falls

a character in “Cartwright Falls A Psychological Horror Story”, as played by cretetts

Description

Nathaniel is the type of person to stand out of a crowd, he stand as 6’2 and he is about 180 pounds. He was gifted from the start; he is good looking, low in body fat and super athletic. His dad always told him how he got his mom’s eye, beautiful hazel colour eyes. “I always said you would get lost in her eyes if you looked long enough.” His dad would always tell him. The rest of his features he got from his dad; winning smile, chiselled chin and a small dimple on his right cheek.
His hair is a dark blonde colour with a natural windblown look. He needs to go into the hair dresser fairly often because of how think his hair is, if he leaves it for too long it gets too bushy.

Skills- He is a top athlete, he plays hockey at the highest level available to his age group and he is the team captain for the cross country time. His father and he go to the shooting range together whenever they go to city so he is fairly competent with a pistol

Mental State- Nathaniel attended the same school but never came into much contact with either of the victims, never the less he is worried about the prospect of high school aged students being targeted as he and all his friends are similar ages to the current victims. He has not been facing any odd side effects such as headaches that others have been reporting thus far.
Image

Personality

Nathaniel is not your typical pretty boy athlete type; he is the bubbly silly guy that just likes to get along with others. His father taught him growing up to respect his elders and mind his manners so Nathaniel tries his best to always be on his best behaviour and show respect to those older than him and those in positions of authority. Among his friends he exudes confidence, but he is often criticized for being cocky.
One unfortunate thing is that at times Nathaniel can act without thinking, driven by emotion, he is known to have bouts of extreme anger that he really struggles to control. When he gets like this he has trouble thinking critically and will act on whim.

History

Born on 1974 March 13th in Toronto Ontario to his parents Maurice and Leslie Alexander. Nathaniel’s childhood was tough, his father was a professional hockey player and as such would go weeks, sometimes months without being able to come home to his family. Nathaniel’s mother was diagnosed with lou gehrig's disease when Nathaniel was eight and she died a year later.
That was a tough year for Nathaniel, not only had he lost his mother but in the same year his was traded from Toronto to Washington, meaning that they had to leave the house Nathaniel grew up in and he would be in a different country than the friends he had grown up with.
They moved to the small town of Cartwright, just outside of the city. Maurice couldn’t stand to live in a city after losing his wife, the small town suited him better and he believed it was good to place his son in a close knit community after losing his mother. Nathaniel continued played hockey while he attended school, making the varsity team in his first year.
Currently in his final year of high school Nathaniel has been offered a hockey scholarship to multiple schools and is trying to keep his marks up so that he can get into the best school that he possibly can. His father is in Sweden playing hockey overseas, Maurice believes that Nathaniel is old enough to live by himself and trusts the housekeepers to keep an eye on Nathaniel.

So begins...

Nathaniel Alexander's Story

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Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Nathaniel sat up in bed; his alarm had just pulled him from the land of dreams. He pushed his hand through his hair and got up to start his day; day in and day out he had the same routine he followed in the mornings.
It all starts with grabbing his towel from the chair beside his door and wandering down the hallway towards the washroom, he passed the house keeper Maria on the way.

“Morning Maria, how are you?” Nathaniel said flashing a smile at the old house keeper.

Maria turned around and dipped her head in Nathaniel’s direction. “I’m just fine hun, I’m going to go out and get groceries later. Do you need anything?”

“No I’m fine thanks.”
Nathaniel then stepped into the washroom and closed the door behind him; he turned on the shower and looked into the mirror as he waited for the water to heat up. He couldn’t help but think about the current events going on in his town, the murder of two high school kids, it was hard to swallow. He had been to parties with both the victims; while he was not good friends with them he certainly counted them among his acquaintances. It was hitting the school hard, they were well liked students and everyone was taking it pretty hard, Nathaniel had even joined in the search parties with his friends.
After eating breakfast he talked with his father on the phone for a bit, his father called every other day to make sure Nathaniel was doing ok. In these crazy times it was nice to hear his dad, Nathaniel wanted him to come back, but he would never tell his father that. He knew how much his father loved hockey, it was a love they shared, and Nathaniel did not want to get in the way of his father’s career.
He decided that he would go out for a run, he didn’t have school today and hockey practise was cancelled so he had the time. He changed into his gear and took off down his driveway, while he was running he thought of Julian. He had a twin sister that had been in mourning, Nathaniel never knew her very well, and he could count the amount of times they had talked to one and other. But he knew what she must be going through; when he lost his mother he didn’t talk to anyone for weeks, it was like someone had ripped his beating heart out of his chest. He thought the very least he could do is at least go to her house and offer his condolences, so he ran in the direction of her house hoping that she would be at home.
As Nathaniel approached the house he saw a bronco in the driveway and recognized it as the sheriffs car, he slowed his pace on seeing this and thought to himself ‘Maybe I should come back later… they may be talking about something personal.’ But as he was about to pass the house he felt compelled to at least talk to the sheriff, so he walked part way up the driveway.
“Hey Sheriff, how are you? Is everything ok?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: John Masters Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Juliet listened politely to the man. "Hmm, yes, I guess it is morning, it's been difficult to identify the time of day lately... For some reason it seems the days are growing darker." He appeared to snap out of a trance, then apologised and introduced himself as Jon Bernard, the priest of their church.

He entered and gazed around thoughtfully. "The purpose of my visit was to first offer my condolences at your brother's passing. His death is a loss to the entire community. To die so young is truly a terrible fate, and while you and your mother shall never recover from his loss, remember that you are not alone. I hope that there is something we can do to help you, but with such dark tidings, I imagine all you truly want is some peace and quiet."

Juliet's lips tightened. Of course it's a loss! she wanted to shout. How could you possibly talk about it so casually?! However, she controlled herself and kept her mouth shut. The second part, however, was much more comforting.

"I sometimes do wish that people would stop pointing and muttering," she admitted softly. "I still miss him - Julian."

As soon as she said that, rain started pattering lightly down, as though mourning Julian. Juliet gazed out the window longingly, missing him. However, her thoughts were interrupted by someone knocking on the door.

"I'm sorry, please excuse me for a minute." She excused herself and went to the door. Opening it, she found the local sheriff and a boy she recognised as Nathaniel Alexander standing in the driveway.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Kyle Renner Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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#, as written by Bosch
Nathaniel Alexander made his way up the lane towards the Bishop house under the watchful eye of Eli Carter. He knew the kid only through his father who had cost Eli fifty dollars a couple of years back when he spent ten minutes in the sin bin costing his team the game and Eli fifty big ones.

“Hey Sheriff, how are you? Is everything ok?” The youngster said.

Eli nearly laughed at the question. He had one dead kid, one missing kid, no real leads and little reason to hope apart from a couple of FBI guys.

“I’ve had better days son. Come to pay your respects?”

Before he could reply the door swung open to reveal Juliet Bishop.

“Miss Bishop. I’m Elijah Carter, The sheriff. I think we spoke briefly on the phone earlier. I’m here to see your mother. I’ve got some news the FBI are here and want to help us find whoever... hurt, your brother.”

Eli then realised he was still wearing his hat which he quickly removed and held awkwardly.

#

Kyle Renner or at least whatever was wearing his body was driving the Hi-lux towards Cartwright Falls when the voice in his head started again.

“You gotta get ‘em all now, Kyle. Gotta make ‘em pay, Kyle.”

“Make ‘em pay.” Kyle repeated weakly.

“Now this is important, Kyle. You gotta go cover up my tracks, Kyle. I believe in you though, Kyle, Nobody else did, did they, Kyle?”

“Nobody else...” Kyle repeated weakly.

“Next, right , Kyle.”

Kyle pulled the Hi-Lux down into the street containing the Bishop house.

“Stop now, Kyle.”

Kyle stopped the car.

“The gun, Kyle.”

Kyle rolled down the window and lifted his rifle. He brought the scope up and pointed it towards the Porch of the Bishop house. The first person he saw was a girl. He could see her death or rather the death of one very similar to her.

Eyes Open.

“Not her, Kyle, We’re here for a man.”

The crosshairs lazily drifted towards an athletic looking boy.

“A boy Kyle, not now but soon.”

The crosshairs finally found the hat holding Sheriff.

“Bingo, Kyle.”

Kyle didn’t want to fire but he didn’t have a choice it was a compulsion, like breathing.

“Please...” He whimpered.

“Kyle, squeeze.”

Kyle squeezed.

#

Eli heard the shot which was good because it meant he wasn’t dead. He stumbled forward and crashed into Juliet Bishop. Another round sailed into the door frame while he looked up and realised he was inside the house. He kicked to door closed and tried to get to his feet which immediately slid out from under him. He looked down at his shirt which blooming with a bloody rose.

Then the pain came.

He was gut shot and screamed in agony before grabbing his wound and going into the foetal position. He cursed himself for not wearing a vest.

Then he realised his mistake, he’d also just kicked the door closed on Nathaniel Alexander's face leaving the boy outside with whoever had shot him.

“The kid... He’s still out there!” Eli shouted as he pulled his pistol out and again tried to stand. This time he made it to his feet before falling over on his ass. He landed with a thump and sent a stray round into the hallway floor but Eli didn’t notice over the pain.

#

Outside Kyle Renner was still taking potshots at the kid on the porch.

“You should have worked with me on this, Kyle, fighting me is stupid. Now we have to get our hands dirty.”

Kyle aimed for a transformer box affixed to a telephone pole and sent a few rounds through it until it sparked and exploded. The electricity was now cut off to the house meaning there was no way to summon help.

“It’s time, Kyle, need to be quick though. Kill ‘em all.”

Kyle smiled and grabbed his berretta. The Hi-lux roared as he accelerated it towards the Bishop house, firing his pistol at Nathaniel the entire way.

He was there to kill.

#

Inside the house Eli had given up on standing and instead was trying to set himself up defensively. He was aware his elevated heart rate was pumping more blood onto the floor and was trying to calm himself but he could still hear shots being fired. He could only think of Nathaniel Alexander.

“Run! Now!” He screamed at Juliet as he dragged himself towards the staircase figuring he’d get a clean shot on anyone coming through the door.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Kyle Renner Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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“I’ve had better days son. Come to pay your respects?” The sheriff answered Nathanial in his stern but calming tone. As the sheriff finished his response, the door was opened and revealed Juliet Bishop, the sheriff addressed her and as he did Nathaniel walked closer to the house with a smile and a little wave directed at Juliet. ‘I hope I’m not intruding on something important.’ Nathanial thought to himself as he continued his slow approach.

A car turned onto the road that the house sat on, as it pulled to a stop the window rolled down and a barrel of a rifle came out. Nathanial took no notice to the silent killer attempting to pick his victim; he had his back turned.

That’s when a gunshot rang out in the air, out of reflex Nathanial ducked down with his hands covering his head, as if that would protect him from the bullet. Nathanial’s attention darted to the sound of the shot, the shooter seemed to hesitate, not shooting again or driving away, they just sat there still. That’s when Nathanial began to run towards the house, he saw the sheriff clutching at a crimson stain that was developing on his shirt, he looked shocked. As Nathanial made it closer to the house the sheriff jumped to life, and ran into the house… Closing the door behind him.

“Oh shit!” Nathanial exclaimed out loud as he watched the door close in front of him, and the tires of the car screeching behind him. He turned to see the car coming closer to the house, as he was doing this, his foot hit the stairs to the patio and he was sent flying through the air. The assailant in the car then proceeded to open fire on Nathanial, who was now pulling himself up off the ground. A gunshot rang out from in the house and this caused Nathanial to dart sideways to avoid the bullet that may have been coming that way. Bullet shots began to hit around him, connecting with the house and the patio and causing splinters of wood to erupt outwards at Nathanial. The shooters focus turned towards the electric box outside the house, the bullet connected cleaning and was met with an array of sparks pouring out from the box, and this would mean that the power inside the house was cut off. With that momentary distraction Nathanial made for the door now, it was really his only hope; the sheriff may be able to protect him if he got inside.

As he reached the door the fire against him had resumed and a bullet connected with him, the feeling of the bullet ripping through his skin shot up through Nathanial’s body instantly, he yelped out in pain and he slammed against the door. Nathanial knew he couldn’t just sit there and leave himself for the shooter; he gathered himself up and got his hand on the door handle. He turned the knob and pushed the door open enough to slide his body through in an attempt to not expose those already on the inside. He then turned to Eli sitting on the stairs.
“Please don’t shoot me! Its Nat!” He slammed the door behind him and ran towards the stairs holding onto his hip where the bullet had hit him.
“We need to think up something quickly, he shot out the power by the looks of the electrical box. We need to defend ourselves with what we have.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: John Masters Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Juliet stared at the man standing at her doorstep. “Miss Bishop. I’m Elijah Carter, the sheriff. I think we spoke briefly on the phone earlier. I’m here to see your mother. I’ve got some news; the FBI are here and want to help us find whoever... hurt your brother.” Juliet remembered. The local sheriff.

"Sheriff." She greeted him, told him the same thing she'd told the priest. "I'm afraid my mother's not at home right now. She's gone to the hospital, probably won't be back until evening." She was tentative about inviting him inside, but she was sure that the sheriff wouldn't want to stand outside in the rain. "Would you like to come in?"

As she opened the door wider, again, she noticed something over the sheriff's shoulder. A rifle was poking out of the car that had driven up behind. She would scream, but it was too late. The shot rang out and the sheriff stumbled forward into her with a sudden splatter of blood. Though she wasn't strong, Juliet managed to hold the man up. The sheriff jerked forward again, and fell over the threshold of the house. The door was kicked shut.

Juliet looked down, half-pinned under Eli's body. She could see the blood spreading over his shirt; red poppies when there had only been white. Scrambling to his feet, the sheriff tried to fire at the door but missed, falling over again. Juliet turned and yelled in the general direction of the living room, where the priest was. "Father! Please, help!"

Juliet could still hear shots being fired outside, and feared for Nathaniel's life. With another shot. The lights went out. Luckily, the curtains hadn't been drawn, and sunlight still streamed into the house.

The sheriff turned to scream at Juliet. "Run, now!" Juliet didn't answer, too busy trying to scramble to her feet. The blood had pooled at the bottom of the staircase, making the floor slippery. Yet, Juliet had no intention of running. How could she leave these men to die, right on her doorstep? No, she would stay and defend.

The door was pushed open again, just as Juliet had finally managed to get to her feet. It was Nathaniel, bleeding but still alive. “Please don’t shoot me! It's Nat! "Thank the Lord!" Juliet managed to gasp. She was still slightly winded from being pinned under the sheriff's weight.

“We need to think up something quickly, he shot out the power by the looks of the electrical box. We need to defend ourselves with what we have.” Juliet cried, "There's weapons and medical supplies in the basement, a couple of pistols and maybe a rifle. Nathaniel, are you okay?" Already she had hurried over to examine his side.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: John Masters Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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#, as written by Bosch
“I’d like to know more about the body, so lets go to the autopsy room. I want to know more about the symbols on the body. If there’s an occult angle to this the Agency can help out. They have profilers for this kind of thing. Usually some lonely nutjob but this feels like it might be part of something bigger. We might have a serial on our hands.” Deacon said to Deputy Montgomery.
“You drive.” He said with a smile as he shot Barton a wave.

Hayden and Deacon set off for the small town hospital.

#

Eli was getting paler with each passing second, he’d be unconscious in less than twenty minutes if he didn’t stop the bleeding but he had to get out of the situation first. Lots of things were being said around him but focusing on individual conversations was becoming difficult.

“Please don’t shoot me! Its Nat!”

‘Who the fuck is Nat?’ Was all Eli could think. Then he saw the Alexander kid.

"Father! Please, help!" Eli’s grip on the pistol tightened but then he realised what she meant. Not that Father, not dear old Dad.

“We need to think up something quickly, he shot out the power by the looks of the electrical box. We need to defend ourselves with what we have.”

"There's weapons and medical supplies in the basement, a couple of pistols and maybe a rifle. Nathaniel, are you okay?"

“Shhhhhh!” Eli said as he held his finger to his lips. “He can hear you.” Eli whispered.

“Do not go into the basement. He’ll have you cornered. If we go upstairs we can exit via a window. If it comes to that everyone run a different way. I’m going nowhere, he tagged me good. How you help me is by getting help. No offence but you guys aren’t exactly cut out for this. We need police with guns not the cast of the breakfast club.”

Eli groaned with pain that may have been from the gunshot wound or the lame joke as he pulled himself to his feet using the banister and staggered up the stairs. His trousers were soaking with blood and his legs felt heavy. Finally he made it to the top of the stairs. He found a table piled high with a mixture of medical books and high school texts. He pushed the table over lay down behind, it wouldn’t stop a bullet but at least it was some form of concealment.

#

“LITTLE PIGS LITTLE PIGS! LET ME COME IN!” Kyle Renner yelled with a laugh. He was walking around the perimeter of the house which had suddenly gone silent. They were either hiding or preparing something. Of course Kyle had an advantage over them, he wasn’t scared and wasn’t shot while at least half inside the house were both. He liked the fear and he could smell it in the air, it’s what drove him on. No need to sweet talk Kyle now, he was too strong.

That’s when an idea started to form.

#

In the car with Hayden, Deacon was feeling a little out of his depth. He was never that good with people and preferred to talk shop instead.

“You’re studying psychology? Do you think it’ll come in handy out here?” He regretted his words almost immediately they sounded arrogant and patronising. ‘Smooth move special agent’ Deacon thought.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Kyle Renner Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Nathanial was in a daze, it was a lot to take in for such a short amount of time, next thing he knew Juliet was beside him, replying to his exclamation.
"There's weapons and medical supplies in the basement, a couple of pistols and maybe a rifle. Nathaniel, are you okay?"

He lifted his shirt to examine the wound, at first glance there was a lot of blood and it did not look good. But in further examination it turns out that the bullet had not made a full connection, it had grazed Nathanial pretty well, but it was not as bad as a full blown gun shot, and while it wasn’t bleeding as much as a normal gunshot wound it was still bleeding quickly enough to make Nathanial fell light headed. But before he could reply to Juliet the sheriff spoke.
“Shhhhhh!” Eli said as he held his finger to his lips. “He can hear you.” Eli whispered.

“Do not go into the basement. He’ll have you cornered. If we go upstairs we can exit via a window. If it comes to that everyone run a different way. I’m going nowhere, he tagged me good. How you help me is by getting help. No offence but you guys aren’t exactly cut out for this. We need police with guns not the cast of the breakfast club.” After his little joke the sheriff pulled himself up the stairs and knocked over a table to hide behind. Nathanial gestured for Juliet to follow him up the stairs, he began to advance but then he heard his assailant from outside the house.

“LITTLE PIGS LITTLE PIGS! LET ME COME IN!” Coupled with an evil sounding laugh. Nathanial then made his way up the stairs with his hand over the wound while keeping his head low. He got to the sheriffs makeshift barricade and knelt down beside him.

“Sir in all due respect, this is a stupid plan, look at yourself, if that person gets in here… you don’t stand a chance.” Nathanial tried to explain. “Look, all of us can try and make a break for it, through the window. At least that way I don’t need to walk away knowing I have left a man for dead.” He then put his free hand on the sheriff’s shoulder. “Look, when this is over and done with we will still need you, there is still work to be done, and by trying to be a hero here you are condemning those missing kids just as you are yourself. We can at least try and get out of here with all of us alive. Trying to be the hero right now isn’t the smart answer.” Nathanial then looked over to Juliet and back to the sheriff.
"You need to get her out of this, her mother does not deserve to lose both children."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: John Masters Character Portrait: Kyle Renner Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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#, as written by Bosch
The assailant was outside roaring threats into the house while Eli got into position.

He lifted the pistol and noticed the pronounced shake in his hand. He grunted with annoyance and placed his wrist on the upturned table for support. His vision was becoming blurrier and his field of vision started to tighten. They called it a grey out and the only other time he’d experienced one was the night he’d nearly died.

“Sir in all due respect, this is a stupid plan, look at yourself, if that person gets in here… you don’t stand a chance.” Nathanial tried to explain. “Look, all of us can try and make a break for it, through the window. At least that way I don’t need to walk away knowing I have left a man for dead.” He then put his free hand on the sheriff’s shoulder. “Look, when this is over and done with we will still need you, there is still work to be done, and by trying to be a hero here you are condemning those missing kids just as you are yourself. We can at least try and get out of here with all of us alive. Trying to be the hero right now isn’t the smart answer.” Nathanial then looked over to Juliet and back to the sheriff.

"You need to get her out of this, her mother does not deserve to lose both children."

Eli tried to give the kid a stern look but couldn’t be sure his eyes weren’t crossed.

“Kid, I won’t make it half a block. I’m losing too much blood f we know he’s in the house at least I can keep him bust long enough for you kids to get...”

The wooziness kicked in and the gun clattered to the carpeted floor.

“...away.”

Eli blinked slowly before slumping over as he slipped into unconsciousness.

#

“...You take away the biggest part of me...”

The truck radio was playing an old song, a song Eli hadn’t heard in a long time.

He knew the truck too it had been his Dad’s a long time ago.

He looked at himself in the rear view mirror. His hair was long and his face was fresh.

Eighteen years old.

He looked to his right and saw a girl with flame red hair.

“Lizzie?”

She didn’t respond, she was looking out the window at the dark woods.

“It’s creepy out there at night. Don’t ya think Eli?”

“For me maybe but you’re ok.” His young voice said but they weren’t his words or rather they were his words from long ago.

“How’s that?”

“You’ve got me to protect you, who’s looking out for me?”

Lizzie laughed and Eli’s heart ached at the memory.

“Its about to happen.” He thought but couldn’t say.

“Look at the road, Jesus Christ, just look at the road.” Eli begged.

His young self just kept looking at Lizzie hit up until he saw the flash of headlights, heard the crash and felt the impact. In that second she was her most beautiful as she turned a single look of shock played across her youthful face.

Then the horror.

Blood and glass was smeared over the dashboard and Eli was looking through a cracked windscreen at an upside down forest illuminated by a single headlight.

He looked over at Lizzie and knew she was dead. He struggled in his seat but the pain in his leg wouldn’t let him do much. He could hear the crunch of leaves and twigs underfoot.

“Help!” He cried.

Eli didn’t remember this part. The first people on the scene were the cops at least the way he remembered it.

A dark figure slowly emerged just beyond the periphery of the car headlight.

“Help.” Eli pleaded. “She’s dying.”

The shadowy figure watched before seeming to melt back into the woods.

#

Kyle raised his rifle and smashed the kitchen window. He made a beeline for the stove and brutally yanked the gas line from the wall. He took a deep breath of the gas and smiled. The he produced a Zippo lighter and lit the drapes. He watched the fire spread for a few seconds before slinking back out the window.

“See how those fuckers like this.” He mumbled to himself as he climbed back into his vehicle and tore out of the street.

“Good Kyle, that should get people thinking.”

#

A few minutes later the whole town heard the explosion.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Kyle Renner Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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“Kid, I won’t make it half a block. I’m losing too much blood f we know he’s in the house at least I can keep him bust long enough for you kids to get...”

Eli replied to Nathanial with a stern look.

“...away.”

With the Eli’s head slumped down into his chest and his gun clattered to the ground, he had passed out from the amount of blood he had been losing.
Nathanial stood over the police officer frozen, suddenly the only person keeping he and Juliet safe from a psychopath was unconscious and dying, it was now up to him to act, he needed to try to get Juliet and himself out of this situation, and while doing that he had to get the sheriff to safety.
---
There was a crash down in the kitchen, Kyle had broken into the house through a window. He made a bee line for the stove yanked the gas line, he then lit the drapes and with that he left the house, leaving its inhabitants to burn alive inside.
---
Nathanial bent down and retrieved the sheriffs gun, the handle was slick with the sheriffs sweat. Nathanial put the gun into his bent and then ran back to Juliet.
“We are going to break out of the house from upstairs, just like the sheriff said. Just stay with me.”

It was then that he smelt the fire; the smoke began to seep out from under the kitchen door into the main hallway. Nathanial turned back to Juliet.
“We have to go now.” He said as he grabbed her hand and lead her up the stairs. Once at the top he opened the door closed to him, he ran over to the window and looked out to the back yard, there was no one there.

He took the gun out from his belt and used it to break through the window, after clearing away the shards of glass he carefully stepped out onto the roof, gun raised looking for any signs of movement, it seems that the assailant was not near them for now, maybe he had left.
Nathanial returned to the body of the sheriff and put the unconscious man’s arm around his shoulders, he lifted the man up with a grown and stood shakily
supporting the weight.

“I opened a window Juliet, from what I can see the backyard is clear, we have to go right now.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Juliet cried out involuntarily as Eli passed out. She grasped his arm, checked his wrist to find a pulse. Her mother had taught her well, and Juliet thanked the heavens that Cassandra Bishop had thought to teach her basic medical skills. She tried her best to staunch the bleeding, and breathed a sigh of relief as the bleeding slowed.

She jumped as something in the kitchen broke, but didn't make a noise. The shooter had most likely got in, she realised with a scrunching of her face and a prayer. She hoped that they would be able to survive this encounter. Allowing Nathanial to pull her forward by the hand, she tagged along behind him while he found an escape route.

As he broke the window, Juliet thought that he might try to escape without the sheriff, and started to make a noise of protest - he was still alive, after all, and it was against Juliet's morals to leave a man to die - but then Nathanial returned to Eli and heaved him up. Juliet tried to relieve some of the weight by looping the sheriff's other arm around her shoulders, but as she was small and skinny, it didn't do much.

They reached the window. Juliet suggested, "I'll go out first, and you heave him through." She tried to concentrate on getting out, and not on the psycho that was probably in her home. Just as she had put a foot over the window sill, the house rocked with an explosion. Juliet was thrown out of the window by the impact, landing on the ground below. It hurt badly, and Juliet wondered if she would pass out from the pain, like Eli had.

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Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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They reached the window. Juliet suggested, "I'll go out first, and you heave him through." Nathanial was concerned about letting Juliet step outside first, the shooter may still be there. But at this point they didn’t have the time for being careful, so he gave her a quick nod.

Just as she had put a foot over the window sill, the house rocked with an explosion. Juliet was thrown out of the window by the impact, landing on the ground below.
The explosion had come from the stove, it was not a large out but it did serious damage to the house, and to the survivors of the shootout. It sent Nathanial sprawling into a wall with Eli’s body landing in the opposite corner of the room. Nathanial was dazed, his vision was blurred, his head was pounding and there was a buzzing in his
ears. The smoke was engulfing what was left of the house and Nathanial was finding it hard to breath.

He thought about leaving the sheriff, Nathanial wasn’t sure how much strength he had left in him, but he had to try.

He limped across the room to the sheriffs limp body. Nathanial stopped for a second to stop his head from swirling and then he bent over to pick up the sheriff. It was now tougher than ever, his side was burning in pain from the gunshot and in the explosion his arm had taken some damage as well, he couldn’t see his head but he knew he was bleeding. He struggled to his feet under the man’s weight. When he finally had them both up he made his way over to the window.

It was not a long walk, but under the circumstances it felt like a millennium. Nathanial’s entire body was aching from the pain, the smoke stung his eyes and made it harder to breath, at this point Nathanial wasn’t sure the sheriff was even alive, his breathing was laboured before, and with the smoke it was that much worse.

They finally made it too the window. Nathanial pushed the sheriff out onto the roof first and followed after him, the fresh air was a shock to his system after being in the smoke. He carefully made his way to the end of the roof and lowered the sheriff down as far as he could before dropping him. The sheriffs body hit the ground with a dull thud, but compared to everything else they had gone through, it wasn’t that bad. Nathanial then lowered himself off the roof and fell the remainder of the way.

The landing jarred his ankle but it was a minor injury, he managed to limp over to the sheriff and drag him further away from the house. After getting away from the house he slumped down beside Juliet he put his hands on either side of her face, she looked like she was half asleep.
“Juliet, are you ok? Can you hear me?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Barton may not have exactly enjoyed the car ride to Chopper's, and didn't like the sudden downpour, but he would rather have dealt with all of that, and a bar fight as well, than hear the explosion that he heard. Speechless, he followed Connor to the car, feeling for the pistol beneath his coat. He had that, and an extra magazine, but had left his Ruger in the car at the Sheriff's station. "I don't like this at all," he muttered. "That explosion cannot be a coincidence. I have no reason to think it anything but a coincidence...it's too random. But I have a feeling. This is related to Julian. It must be."

He was silent for the rest of the way back to the site of the fire. He got out of the car before it was even off, hesitating to draw his pistol at what looked by all accounts to be a horribly-timed accident. "Must be gas," he muttered at the sight, before approaching. He called back to Connor, "Who lived here?" A second later, he dismissed the question. "Never mind; it doesn't matter. You get the fire department here; I'm going to see if anybody made it out. The whole house isn't on fire yet; we might have some people still inside." He sprinted towards the house, defying every sensible instinct in his body that told him to run away. He had to see if anybody was alive: as long as the house was not completely consumed there was hope. He ran up to the house, then around its perimeter. Behind the house, he found three people, all clearly injured. Only one of them appeared fully conscious.

Barton slowed as he approached. "I'm here to help," he shouted over the roar of the fire. "We need to get you away from this house, then we can start-" He stopped abruptly as he recognized Sheriff Carter. Was he dead? He was certainly shot. "Oh Jesus Christ," Barton muttered to himself, then tapped the only conscious person on the shoulder, a tall young man, probably a student at the high school. "I'll get the Sheriff, you get the girl. We can't stay this close to the house." Without waiting for an answer, Barton heaved the Sheriff's limp form over his shoulders in a fireman's carry, bitterly happy that he could hear the man moan. So he was alive after all, but probably not for long.

Barton let instinct take over as he half-ran away from the house, hoping and trusting that the others were following.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: John Masters Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: Cassandra K. Bishop
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Through a thick fog in her mind, Juliet could see Nathanial and the sheriff hitting the ground. Juliet registered that Nathanial was limping; he must have hurt himself in the fall. He moved over to where Juliet was half-slumped on the ground and placed both palms firmly on her face. "Juliet, are you okay? Can you hear me?"

Juliet forced her eyes open, fought her way through the fog. "Nathanial," she murmured, "my mother's at the hospital. Cassandra Bishop. She'll know what to do." As an afterthought, she leaned in close and brought her lips closer to his ear. "Cassandra Bishop. Ask for her at the hospital." She knew it was silly to ask specifically for a nurse, but she was sure her mother would know what to do.

As Juliet struggled to regain full consciousness, she realised that a man was coming up to them. "I'm here to help. We need to get you away from this house, then we can start - " The rest of the sentence ended in a murmur. He approached Nathanial. "I'll get the Sheriff, you get the girl. We can't stay this close to the house."

Juliet tried to stand. It was then that she remembered something. "The priest!" she called weakly. "There's another person inside the house - the priest!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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"Dispatch, this is Deputy Adams", Connor said into his radio as he and Thomas exited the car, and the Agent began searching around the house.
"Send EMS and an Engine to the Bishop household".
"Roger that, Adams. Two ambulance, and an engine are enroute, ETA 3 minutes". Came the female voice over his radio.
"Roger, I'll keep you posted, Adam's out." Connor's stomach dropped when he looked up and noticed Sheriff Carter's cruiser in the drive way.
If they got out, why is his cruiser still here?, Connor thought to himself as he sprinted up the porch to the partially open door.
He didn't bother using his hands, he planted his shoulder into the door, swinging it inward as he attempted to enter the house, but was defeated by the flames in the living room and intense heat escaping out of the opening he had created. Again he attempted to enter the burning house, making it in just a bit further, but a flaming beam that had been weakened by the explosion broke off and swung down from the ceiling, clipping Connor from shoulder to hip on his left side as he attempted to leap out of the way and spinning him into the wall adjacent to the door.
The Deputy managed to drag himself out of the house, struggling to breathe from the smoke and the impact he had taken.
Connor looked down to inspect the damage he had inflicted to himself, and noticed the side of his uniform was on fire, so in a half-panic, he quickly patted the flames out as he limped back to his Cruiser and waited for Thomas.
A few moments later, The FBI Agent came around the corner of the house, carrying an unconscious and bleeding Carter, while behind him, an injured teenage boy was half dragging a girl probably of equal age. Connor began to relax, until he noticed he gunshot wounds on the young man and the Sheriff.
Without thinking, he drew his service revolver and turned the safety off, crouching behind his car enough to keep in cover, but out enough so he could cover Thomas and the survivors. When Thomas got to the Cruiser, Connor let his body slide to a sitting position, relaxing his injured hip.
"EMS and A fire engine are on their way, just a couple of minutes out...looks like this place just turned into a crime scene". He said as he dropped his revolver to free up a hand to put pressure on Eli's still bleeding wound and used his other hand to check for a carotid pulse. He then turned towards the young man.
"How're you holding up, kid?".

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: Cassandra K. Bishop
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"Nathanial," she murmured, "my mother's at the hospital. Cassandra Bishop. She'll know what to do." She then leaned in close and brought her lips closer to his ear.
"Cassandra Bishop. Ask for her at the hospital."

Juliet then began to fade back into the land of unconsciousness. Nathanial cradled her in his arms while he tried to think what to do, his entire body was screaming out in pain and he couldn’t think clearly, he had gotten the three of them out of the house. But now he needed to get them to a hospital, something that he was not in the state to do.

Suddenly a man walked around the corner of the house yelling towards them, Nathanial put a hand on the gun in case this was the assailant. "I'm here to help. We need to get you away from this house, then we can start - "
The man looked to the sheriff and froze mid-sentence, taking in his wounds Nathanial supposed. "I'll get the Sheriff, you get the girl. We can't stay this close to the house."

It was then Juliet tried to stand. "The priest!" she called weakly. "There's another person inside the house - the priest!"
Nathanial held onto Juliet so she wouldn’t fall, he held her in a protective grip.

“Juliet I think he is gone… It’s a miracle that the sheriff and I survived the explosion, anyone else would surely have been killed.”
He then nodded to the man and supporting Juliet followed the man towards the road. As Nathanial got to the front of the house he saw the deputy brandishing his gun, he then spoke to the group.

"EMS and A fire engine are on their way, just a couple of minutes out...looks like this place just turned into a crime scene".
Nathanial let out a shy of relief on hearing this news, he needed to readjust his grip on Juliet so she wouldn’t fall. The deputy then turned to him.
"How're you holding up, kid?"

Nathanial looked to the man and forced a smile.
“I am just happy that most of us got out of the house alive… Juliet said another man was in there, he would be dead for sure by now, if not by the explosion the fire would have gotten him.” He then put his free hand over his bullet wound. “The faster we get medical attention the better, those two are worse off than I am from the looks of it. But at this point I’m running on adrenaline.”
---
After a short wait, the ambulances began to show up, the sheriff and the deputy were shepherded into one and Nathanial and Juliet went into the other. It was a short trip back to the hospital, and once they were there they were rushed into emergency, the sheriff had a swarm of doctors on him before he was even in the doors. As Nathanial was set up on a stretcher he turned to one of the orderly’s.
“There is a nurse here, Cassandra Bishop. Her daughter is the girl over there. Make sure you let her know as soon as possible.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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After the examination of Julian's body at the morgue Hayden and Temple had agreed that maybe a visit to the library would be beneficial to their investigation. The librarian had a bit surprised to see the pair enter the building, commenting how she hadn't seen Hayden in a few years. The young deputy had tell the elderly woman that she was in the middle of an investigation with Temple in order for the lady to leave them alone. Of course it took more than one attempt for the librarian, Mrs Smith, to actually get the hint which Temple found to be a bit amusing.

They split the work accordingly; Temple taking the research of the symbol since he already had experience in this department, and Hayden dredging up every last bit of info on the history since the founding of the town.

"This sucks." Hayden muttered to herself as she flipped through another book. She had just finished raiding through a copy of an original settler named 'Ellie Finnegan' and was rather disturbed by what happened at the beginning of Cartwright's founding. Cannibalism had always been an interesting topic in psychology and cultural studies. There were really only two reasons humans would begin eating each other, religious purposes or starvation, and considering the writings of the woman from the late 19th century it was stated why it had been done. Even still, Hayden could never see herself eating another person, but as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Find anything interesting?" Temple asked has he made his way over to the deputy. His search had come up fruitless for the weird symbol. He couldn't find it on any occult websites or the FBI databases. There was no record of it beyond Cartwright.

"More like creepy..." Hayden said, closing the book she was skimming through. "The only thing I could actually find was a supposed name for the area before it was settled by the original town founder, something like 'The Forest of Eyes'. That was it though, you know beyond the crazy of the first settlement group. Apparently they were murdered by Natives and the three survivors were found insane, all of which happened after they succumbed to cannibalism because of starvation." She had also read repots by a Captain Dale Cooper who discovered those still alive in Cartwright.

"That's…nice." To Temple it would appear the sunny, good ol' American town of Cartwright held more secrets than one would thing. Suddenly Hayden's walkie talkie went off, a flutter of static and loud voices. The library was dead silent at this time of the day and the words spoken by Deputy Adams were clear. Within moments the two were out of the building and into Hayden's cruiser.

________________


By the time the duo arrived at the Bishop household the scene was filled with people; firefighters, police, and even curious neighbors. It was chaotic and loud, the smell of smoke filling the air as the firefighters continued to combat the blaze.

Hayden rushed ahead of her assigned FBI partner and all but interrogated one of the other officers on the scene. Apparently when the Sheriff came to interview Juliet there was a shooter and the two, along with another teen, were forced to seek cover in the house before the assailant essentially blew up the house and fled the scene. After a few more moments of talking, Hayden decided that she was going to the hospital; to interview the victims and check up on Eli. She'd have to give Justine a call as well to make sure the woman was doing ok considering what was happening.

"You okay?" Temple asleep as the two made their way back to her car.

"I'm fine…it's just things like this aren't supposed to happen in Cartwright." She sighed heavily as she plopped into the driver's seat. The brunette rested her head on the steering wheel, her eyes closed as she took a deep breath. Temple frowned.

"Not to sound like a jerk kid, but you need to get yourself together. You have a job to do and this isn't the time for you to lose focus." Temple said seriously as he watched Hayden. The car was silent as he sat in the passenger seat and the deputy didn't move. When he was about to say something else she sat up and looked at him before giving a nod and started the car back up.

As she was pulling away they were flagged down by Agent Barton. Hayden rolled down her window and asked the man if he needed what was wrong. "I just need a ride to the police station." The five minute right to the police station was quiet, but as Barton left the vehicle Hayden spoke. "I just wanted to say thanks, for helping the sheriff." The silence continued for another fifteen minutes as they drove to the hospital.

The Cartwright hospital was never a chaotic place, but with the explosion there was a little more activity than usual. Temple was silent behind her as Hayden made her way to the from desk. "Hello, I'm Deputy Montgomery and this is Special Agent Temple of the FBI. I was wondering where we could find the two kids brought in from the Bishop house. Also, is Sheriff Carter alright?"

The nurse gave her wide eyes and nodded her head. She was young and petite, her black hair up in a neat ponytail "Of course officers, right now the sheriff's in surgery so I don't have the most up to date information on his condition but Juliet and Nathan are this way." The nurse stepped out from behind the counter, leading the two down a hall to where the two teens would be.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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#, as written by Bosch
Doctor Lawson looked down at the unconscious Eli Carter and frowned. The Sheriff was covered in bandages and tubes connected to an array of machines and bags. The shot had ripped out some of Eli’s intestine which had caused the dramatic blood loss, he’d also broken his right ankle and a couple of ribs in the explosion in addition to suffering a perforated ear drum that Lawson assumed was due to the percussion wave.

The Sheriff was a very lucky man Lawson thought as he patted the plaster on his forearm. It wasn’t the first time Lawson’s O Negative blood kept someone in the game. He checked Eli’s charts and shook his head slightly.

“Gonna be a couple of months till you’re back on your feet.” Lawson sighed and replaced the charts.

At least Lawson had gotten him a private room, he figured someone like Eli wouldn’t have wanted to be seen in his current condition. Of course that didn’t stop people calling anyway. Lawson had made it clear they were to be turned away until Eli regained consciousness.

#

Temple and Montgomery were looking at a pair of beat up teenagers and trying to piece together what had happened. The boy Nathaniel Alexander was destined for small town hero status after his efforts to get Eli Carter to safety also he was a new member of the I’ve been shot club and like Falco said Chicks dig scars.

So far the story seemed pretty sketchy, a guy just pulled up and started shooting cops and blowing up members of the clergy. There had to be more.

“Did the guy say anything? Maybe one of you got a look at him? Did you recognise the weapon he was using? Even if you think it’s stupid maybe that’s the thing that can help us.”

He worried he’d come on too strong and now the kids found him intimidating. He wished he’d left the rifle in the car but by the time he realised he was still holding it he was introducing himself.

He looked at Montgomery with a pleading look, perhaps the heavily armed FBI agent wasn’t the one for to be speaking to two traumatised teenagers. He hoped Hayden had been paying attention in her classes.

“Is there anything you would like to add Deputy?”

Before Hayden could speak a nurse entered the room. She had coffee coloured skin and a beautiful smile or at least Deacon thought so. Her hair was held in a loose bun and she carried herself with a happy go lucky demeanour. Nice smile or not she was interrupting his interview.

“Uh... excuse me, we’re conducting an interview here.” Deacon said to the intruder.

“Don’t mind me just have to give Mr Alexander his pills.” She turned to Nathaniel. “Painkillers sweetie, you’re going to need them later. Remember no more than two every four hours.” The woman’s voice was wholesomely sweet the kind of voice you don’t get in cities. “You’re free to go now... I mean from Hospital... not the FBI.” The nurse smiled awkwardly and left.

“Unbelievable.” Deacon muttered while he rubbed his eyes. “Deputy Montgomery, anything else you’d like to add?”

#

The nurse made her way down the corridor towards reception.

“Excuse me, can I speak to you for a moment?”

The Nurse turned to see Doctor Lawson hurrying after her.

“Yes Doctor.” The nurse said with a smile as Lawson approached.

“I’m sorry I don’t think we’ve met.”

“We haven’t Doctor I’m Emily Dempsey. I was sent to help pick up the slack after the accident.”

“Oh I see, so sorry I didn’t introduce myself. Doctor Joseph Lawson, Joe.” He always wished people called him Joe but nobody ever did. He clocked it up to an age thing.

“Pleased to meet you. Is there anything else you need Doctor Lawson?” She asked while inwardly Doctor Lawson sighed, he’d even settle for Doctor Joe.

“Oh no I just like to make a habit of checking out any strange nurses wandering around the hospital.”

“Rightly so, you never can be too sure about people.”

#

She spoke for a few more moments with the Doctor but left before running into anymore staff. She trudged through the snow to the black jeep sitting in the parking lot. She got into the passenger seat beside a man with goatee.

“Do it?” He asked.

“Done it.” She replied in a voice completely devoid of wholesome sweetness.

“I don’t like this. It’s unstable. Are you ok with going off the plan?”

“I’m ok with being paid. They want it done this way I do it this way.”

“Fair enough.” He said with a shrug before turning the key and setting off into the night.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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“You really took a beating didn’t you son?” The doctor said as he examined Nathanial. “But under the circumstances you made out remarkably well.”
Nathanial smiled at the doctor as he too looked over his injuries. “Considering that I managed to survive it is a miracle in itself… I am just worried about Juliet and the sheriff; they looked worse off than me.”

“I am sure they will be fine, we have our best looking after them.” The doctor said with a reassuring smile. “Now I am going to freeze you side and I can get this wound stitched up.”
---
After some time the doctor took a step back. “There we go, that’s the last of your cuts, thirty six stitches in the bullet wound, four in the arm, and about ten in all the other nicks.” The doctor offered a hand to help Nathanial off the table. “Most should heal without any noticeable scarring, most are dissolvable but I’ll need to remove the ones in the arm and in your hip myself.”

Nathanial thanked the doctor as he left the room and took a drink from the glass of water that had been left for him, after about a minute a nurse entered the room.
“How are Juliet and the Sheriff? Can I see them?”

The nurse gestured for Nathanial to follow her. “The sheriff won’t be taking visitors right now, but Juliet is up, ill take you too her.”
---
After the nurse brought Nathanial to Juliet’s room she continued on down the hall leaving the two teens on their own. Nathanial sat on the end of the bed that they had been treating Juliet in. He forced himself to smile at her and let out a sigh of relief.

“We are ok, we made it!” Nathanial said to her in disbelief. He then looked to the ceiling and ran his hand through his hair. “I didn’t think that we would be able to get out of there…” He then turned back to her. “How are you feeling now? You look pretty good for someone who was almost blown up.” He said while flashing a smile.
---
After a bit longer the young deputy and an intense looking man walking in together, they introduced themselves and deputy Montgomery and Agent Temple. The two stood in the doorway examining the teens until Temple finally spoke.

“Did the guy say anything? Maybe one of you got a look at him? Did you recognise the weapon he was using? Even if you think it’s stupid maybe that’s the thing that can help us.”

Nathanial took a second to think.
“Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in.” Nathanial repeated the words that the assailant had yelled at the group in the house. “That’s all I remember him saying, pretty sadistic if you ask me. I wish I could say that I remember anything else but my back was turned when the shooting started and from that point on I was either ducking my head so I didn’t get shot or I was already in the house and out of a good view point.”

Temple nodded “Is there anything you would like to add Deputy?”

Before the deputy could speak a nurse entered the room.

“Uh... excuse me, we’re conducting an interview here.” Deacon said to the nurse.

“Don’t mind me just have to give Mr. Alexander his pills.” She turned to Nathaniel. “Painkillers sweetie, you’re going to need them later. Remember no more than two every four hours.” The woman said. “You’re free to go now... I mean from Hospital... not the FBI.” The nurse smiled awkwardly and left.
Nathanial downed the pills with a quick swig of water and turned to look over at Juliet with a reassuring smile.
“I don’t mind staying until you’re allowed to leave as well.” He then turned back to the deputy and Agent Temple who was looking after the nurse with a frustrated look on his face.

“Unbelievable.” Deacon muttered while he rubbed his eyes. “Deputy Montgomery, anything else you’d like to add?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: David Blake
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#, as written by Bosch
Hayden looked Agent Temple and thought the man looked tired, the case was having that effect on everyone. She could only imagine how it must have felt for the FBI agents tasked with clearing up the mess.

“Deputy Montgomery, anything else you’d like to add?”

Hayden looked at the two battered kids and tried a half smile.

“Guess you two must be pretty tired? The other deputies are trying to organise some accommodation for you and your Mom, Juliet. It looks like she’s going to be tied up here for some time though.”

“Yeah and wherever you end up we’re going to post two deputies in a Bronco out front. Just until we understand what’s going on here.” Temple thought it looked like the girl was about to protest. “This is non-negotiable, at the moment your safety is paramount.”

Hayden produced a large brown paper bag. “I figured you’d want a change of clothes so here’s some stuff we were able to scrounge from around the station. It’s all Sheriff’s Department stuff so don’t expect it to be terribly flattering but I suppose you’ll want to get changed.”

“Alexander, best for you to go home and when you do move bring someone along with you.”
Temple produced two business cards from his wallet. “This has my pager number. Feel free to page anytime day or night. If it’s trouble add 911 to the page and I’ll get to you as soon as possible. Obviously call the Sheriff’s Department first.”

Hayden patted her uniform and found a pen she scribbled the Sheriff Department’s number on the back of Temple’s business cards before handing them over to the kids.

“Remember call me day or night if you remember anything.” Temple said with a forced smile. Witnesses weren’t really his thing.

“Deputy, lets go.”

#

Hayden and Temple approached the Reception just as Adams was finishing up his plan.

“…what do you say we grab you're partner, Hayden and a few other volunteers, gear up at the station and head out on a man-hunt?".

“Man hunt? You have a lead? Those kids didn’t see much, guess they were too busy trying to survive.”

Hayden returned to the group as she had been speaking to Justine to organise the Deputies to look after Juliet.

“They’re pretty shook up. That poor girl.”

Temple nodded. “So what’s the story Bart?”

Before Barton could answer Doctor Lawson emerged from behind a pair of double doors.

“Ok folks it’s starting to look like an NRA meeting in here. Can you take it outside? We need some room.”

#

The city was a dot in the distance now and all Blake could see was miles of wilderness below.

“Pretty big eh?” The pilot crackled in his headset.

“Yeah lots of places to hide.”

“Telling me. I work with the Volunteer Mountain Rescue team that works the woods. Lost hikers are like a needle in a hay stack.” He was complaining but he
sounded cheery.

“Mountain Rescue eh? What’s your name?”

“Bradley Vickers pleased to meet you.”

“Yeah likewise. Bradley do you know what a secondment is?”

“Uh not really.”

“It means you work for me now, Brad. How long ‘till we arrive at Cartwright Falls?”

“About Twenty Minutes.” Bradley said the cheeriness gone from his voice.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Juliet was just sitting up when the door opened and Nathanial came in. She smiled weakly. "Hey." "We are okay, we made it! I didn't think we would be able to get out of there." He smiled at her. "How are you feeling now? You look pretty good for someone who was almost blown up." Juliet laughed. "Okay, considering I fell out of the second story window, nearly passed out, and had my house blown up, I'm great, thanks."

Two officers came in then, saying they wanted to take their statements. Juliet spoke up. "I saw him from over the sheriff's shoulder. He had a rifle - I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with firearms - and was driving this large silver car." She ran a hand through her hair nervously. She was upset that she couldn't provide more information. "I'm sorry I can't really give you much, Sir. I just - everything was such a blur, I don't really remember much."

A nurse entered and passed Nathanial some pills. Juliet wondered if she'd have to take some too. The doctor said she was lucky. Although she'd hit the ground pretty hard, there wasn't a concussion. Small wounds from the explosion were easily treated, however she was in shock. Juliet didn't feel like she was shock - she just felt numb. No fear at all, just numb.

Juliet answered the deputy. "Uh, yeah. There's nowhere to go back to, unfortunately, so I guess I'll just be staying here. Me and Mom both." "Yeah and wherever you end up we're going to post two deputies in a Bronco out front. Just until we understand what's going on here." Juliet frowned, but he interrupted. "This is non-negotiable, at the moment your safety is paramount." Juliet said nothing, but resented him silently for putting her in such a situation. All privacy would be compromised, and she wasn't even sure when this would end. Something very wrong was going on in Cartwright Falls.

She accepted the clothes from the deputy, thanking her quietly. Tucking the business card inside a pocket, she headed for the toilet to change into the clothes. Coming out, she turned to Nathanial. "Thanks for everything. Take care of yourself, okay? I'm going to look for my mother."

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Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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After Juliet had given her statement Deacon and the deputy took their leave after giving their contact information out and reassuring Juliet that wherever she was she would have protection. Juliet got up to go get changed into some regular clothes but she turned to Nathanial before leaving the room.
"Thanks for everything. Take care of yourself, okay? I'm going to look for my mother."
Nathanial smiled at her and got up and walked after her to the door.

“If you need a place to stay, my house has plenty of space. But whatever you do you need to be careful, let the police take care of you.” He was about to leave but then he decided to say one more thing.
“Julian was always a great guy… I am sorry that he is gone. That’s what I came around to say earlier today before this all happened.”
---
Nathanial then went to the front of the hospital and called his housekeeper to come get him, after about ten minutes she pulled up with the car and ushered Nathanial in.
“Oh my goodness, I have been trying to call you ever since I heard about the explosion! What happened are you ok?”
Nathanial tried to reassure the distraught housekeeper.

“I am fine don’t worry, to be honest with you I don’t fully understand what happened. It was just a blur to me.”
As they drove home Nathanial told his housekeeper all the details he could remember about what had happened, he struggled to remember some of the events and at the end of his summary he turned to his housekeeper.

“You cannot tell my dad. If he hears about this he will want to come home, I don’t want to get in the way of his career again.”
The housekeeper looked at Nathanial and was about to voice her rebuttal when he put up his hand.
“Listen to me. I do not want my father knowing about this. Like I said, I will not get in the way of his career again, and whatever is happening here is not something I want him to be a part of, the less he knows is the better. Once things settle down then I will personally call him and let him know, but until then I need you to keep your mouth shut.”
---
When Nathanial got home he went upstairs to clean himself up and put on new clothes, after that he went downstairs to the safe that his father had down there, he punched in the combination and opened it to reveal the guns his father had bought, they owned three guns, a Glock 22, STI Lawman and Beretta Laramie. Nathanial grabbed the STI and the ammo that went along with it, in its place he put the sheriffs gun.
“Once he is back on his feet I can return it to him.” After closing the case he walked up to his room and loaded the gun, he put it in his bedside table his the ammo.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Kyle Renner Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: David Blake
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#, as written by Bosch
David Blake glanced out the window at the small town below him.

“Jesus it’s tiny.”

“Yeah, real small town America.”

Blake didn’t comment, he’d seen places like this before. They all seem like nice communities but scratch a little deeper and you soon find it’s full of dark secrets. Just like everywhere else.

“Put me down near the Sheriff’s department and then find somewhere to land this thing, you’re sticking with me.”

“The only place near the Sheriff’s Department is the street.”

“Then put it there.”

“Uh....”

“I’m the FBI and you’re helping me in a murder investigation. Put it down in the street and then find somewhere to land permanently.”

Brad nodded and started his descent.

#

The radio was playing loudly in white van.

“Jesus Christ, can’t you turn this rubbish off?” The woman said as she reached across and flicked the radio over to a talk radio station.

“Hey! I was listening to that.”

The man with the goatee flicked the radio back and continued listening to Bing.

The woman groaned and returned to the headphones she was listening to. There was no point having the commercialisation of Christmas discussion again.

“Once he is back on his feet I can return it to him.” A tinny voice said in her headphones.

The bug she had hidden inside the blister pack of Pain medication she had given Nathaniel was working perfectly.

“He’s back at his place, sounds like there’s at least one other person there, not the Bishop girl.”

“Good let’s go pick up the little shit then.”

“Patience, grasshopper. First we need the OK from the old man.”

The goatee man sighed.

“Whatever...” He brightened when Christmas Wrapping by the waitresses followed Bing.

“Score!”

“It’s only friggin November!”

“I love Christmas.”

The women shook her head and turned up the volume on her headphones.

#

Blake recognised Barton immediately and gruffly shook the man’s hand. Blake knew Barton and although he was technically the man’s senior their career paths were the inverse of each other, they were simply passing as Barton made his way up and Blake went down.

"Good evening, David. Hell of a way to make an entrance." Barton said.

“I guess they needed to get someone competent out here quickly.” Blake deadpanned. “I’ve been briefed but why are you tooled up? Do you have a lead?”

Blake didn’t break his stride as he made his way towards the Sheriff’s office.

#

Renner was cold and alone somewhere in the dark.

“Kyle?”

The snow was billowing outside but that’s not what was making him cold.

“Kyle, don’t be like this we had fun today...”

Renner dropped his head and thought of his dead wife and the Sherriff he’d shot. He thought about the homicidal rage that consumed him in those moments. He thought of the voice which he knew wasn’t of his own invention, he knew that now.

“Kyle, don’t ignore me. You know what happens when you do that, I’ll send you back.”

“No please! Not that, not that!” Kyle begged while snuffling.

“Only a few more hours more Kyle, then I promise I’ll leave you.”

Kyle pulled his knees close to his chest and began to gently rock.

#

The radio in the Woman’s pocket bleeped which told her someone was on the line. She turned off the radio and answered.

“Go.”

“Boss says take the Biscuit outta the Barn.”

“Understood, we’ll be in touch. Over and Out.”

She put the Radio away and turned to the Man with the Goatee.

“How long to get to the Alexander kid’s place?”

“In this town about everything is less than five minutes away.”

“Good, we’re taking him.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: Cassandra K. Bishop Character Portrait: David Blake Character Portrait: Claire Saunders
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#, as written by Bosch
“Why so glum Partner?”

Eli turned on the stool to see a tall man wearing what to Eli looked like a brown Stetson or other type of cowboy hat and a long black duster. The hat obscured the man’s face with shadow. His dirty, naked feet were resting on the table in front of him, muck seemed to ooze from the man’s pores and land with thick splats on the table. He produced a cigarette along with a lighter seemingly from thin air and while he lit the smoke his face was illumined showing a craggy face with dark eyes that seemed to suck in surrounding light.

“I’m having a strange night.” The man’s bizarre appearance put Eli on edge so he turned back to the bar.

“I suppose you are, Eli.”

Eli spun in his stool and faced the man.

“How’d you know…”

“Eli please, let’s not ask stupid questions.”

Eli didn’t know what to say it was like the cogs in his brain were barley turning.

“You’re dying, what does that feel like?” The man was talking to Eli but also thinking aloud.

“I’m not I’m…”

“Ticket sir.”

The man with the “Staff” badage was standing beside Eli with his hole punch at the read. “It’s time to punch your ticket.”

Eli handed over his ticket and with a quick click the bald man punched a hole in Eli’s Ticket.

“If you’ll follow me sir your party is waiting.”

“My party?”

“Yes Miss Elizabeth Button.”

“Lizzie?”

The car crash and the girl with the flame red hair came flooding back to him.

“Little lizzie? She finally got invited to the big party. I had fun with her.”

Eli looked at the man in confusion.

“You were there when I came for her. How she screamed your name.”

“Sir please.” The bald man said as he gently took Eli by the elbow. “Just follow me.”

Eli stood and followed the man toward the Dining room. The large imposing doors swung open and Eli found himself engulfed in a white light.

#

Lawson was moving as soon as the siren started to beep and the voice over the PA system announced a code blue in room 142.
Eli’s room.

“Jesus I need a crash cart. 142! 142!”

Lawson took the elevator as he knew his old bones would be much slower on the stairs. By the time he made it to Eli the nurses were already starting in intubate
and Lawson immediately took over. Eli was asphyxiating on his own vomit which was pouring out of the Sheriff’s mouth. Lawson needed to get past that open and airway or else the Sheriff would surely die. Time was critical as the longer Lawson took the less of Eli’ mind there would be left to save.

Suddenly Eli’s body was wracked with spasms and Lawson felt the tube tube slip from his grasp. The vomit turned red telling Lawson that the tube had damaged something. The nurses tried to secure Eli while Lawson prepared a muscle relaxant. The spasms were costing seconds that should be spent getting oxygen to Eli’s brain in addition to wasting whatever oxygen was left in Eli’s body.

Lawson cursed softly.

#

She was in a red dress and sitting alone stirring the ice in her drink with a muddler. The blad man showed Eli to his seat which he collapsed into.

“Lizzie?” He croaked as his throat felt scratchy.

“I wasn’t expecting you so soon but I’m glad you’re here.”

“Where is here?”

“Don’t be dense. Whats the last thing you remember before arriving?”

“Getting shot.”

“And now you’re talking to your dead high school sweetheart.”

“So I’m dead?”

“Oh yeah.”

Eli didn’t have any strong feelings about that which scared him.

“It alright though Eli you still have a job to do.”

“I thought heaven was supposed to be a relaxing place.”

“This look like heaven to you?”

She had always given him a hard time, in fact it was something he loved about her.

“So where are we?”

“Let’s call it Limbo. You met the cowboy out there?”

“Yeah he said he knew you.”

“That’s… We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about getting out of here.”

“Ok how do we do it?”

“Him, the Cowboy he’s keeping us here, we keep him alive but not well fed.”

“Fed?”

“Fear, he needs fear, but the dead provide much at least not here in Limbo.”

“So what’s he doing?”

“We have a lot to talk about before we can get into that.”

#

“Time of death 2015 hours.” Lawson said with a shake of his head.

Finally Eli was at rest. The spasms hadn’t stopped until the Sheriff’s heart had finally given out. Only a nurse remained scribbling some final pieces of paperwork
while Lawson cleaned up Eli. He closed the Sheriff’s eyes and wiped the blood and vomit from the man’s chin.

“Are you alright Doctor Lawson?”

It was Nurse Oldman, a young man with sandy blonde hair.

“I’m fine Tim. I knew his father, he was a good man like his son.”

Lawson turned and Tim noticed the red rims around the Doctor’s eyes. He knew Lawson found it hard to remain detached from his patients but he’d never seen the man so open with grief. For a brief instant Tim saw Lawson as an elderly man and not the brilliant Doctor with unlimited energy he usually saw.

“Doctor I’m going to call the on call. I think you shoul take a few hours it’s been a really long day.”

He thought Lawson would argue but the Doctor just clapped Tim on the shoulder and walked off toward his office.

Tim made his way to reception and after filing the paperwork related to Eli’s death he picked up the phone and punched in the on call Doctor’s Phone Number.

“Hello, I’m looking for Doctor Saunders.”

#

Adams was explaining how he had arrived at the decision to start a man hunt to Hayden and Temple when Blake and Barton entered.

“So Hank Phillips ran into a hunter out in the woods took his name and gave the list to the Sherriff. With… everything that’s happened the Sherriff never got to see the list. Agent Barton and I only discovered it when we got back here.”

The phone rang and Justine answered as Blake and Barton joined the conversation while Deputy Adams continued his brief.

“Ok so with the weather the way it is Renner will need shelter and there are a few places the Guy could have gone. There’s the mine not far from where he was found and the Saw mill is pretty close too. He’ll be wanting to keep off the roads because of the police presence so I reckon he’ll be hiding somewhere till the storm lets him make a move.”

“Yes he’s shot a cop there’s no way he’ll use the Hi-Lux again every badge in the state has that description.”

“Oh my God… Yes thank you, of course…” It was Justine. She hung up the phone and glanced over her desk and the assembled group.

“Sheriff Carter just died in Hospital.”

A stunned silence fell on the group and Blake recognised now was the time to introduce himself. He cleared his throat and addressed the room.

“The death of Sheriff Carter is a tragedy and we will avenge him but the way he would have wanted. I didn’t know the man but he died saving two kids and from what I’ve heard he was fine Lawman, he’d want this motherfucker brought to justice and that’s exactly what we are going to do. Renner will be taken alive and will face his crimes, there will be no reprisals against this man because it will fuck the case we clear here?” He let his words settle before continuing. “Remember we have a missing girl still out there.”

He nodded at Deputy Adams who continued speaking.

“So I think we should hit the mine first then try the Saw mill.”

Blake looked at the map Adams was using as a visual aid. “Ok make it happen. Barton and Temple liaise with the locals and go get this bastard.”

#

Cassandra Bishop watched her child stir in her sleep before she drifted off. Confusion was wracking her, she was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to sleep but she knew it wouldn’t come. For months her dreams had been invaded with dreams of Benson and the dark man, then Julian disappeared. She knew he was dead before they found the body Benson told her in a dream, he taunted her with the knowledge for how her child had died, in agony surrounded by dark figures.

Benson let her hear his screams.

Now all she had left was Juliet and nobody was going to hurt her.

#

The woman approached Nathaniel’s door and gave the door a quick rap. A short house keeper answered the door.

“FBI. I’m Agent Burrows and this Agent Martin. We need to speak to Mr Alexander.”

She flashed the bogus FBI ID and barged into the house. The housekeeper said something about the boy being asleep.

“Well go wake him.” Agent Martin said his goatee twitching with annoyance.

The pair remained in the hallway waiting for Nathaniel to show up. It was unfortunate the housekeeper had seen their faces.

It meant she would be the first to die.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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“FBI. I’m Agent Burrows and this Agent Martin. We need to speak to Mr. Alexander.”

Maria looked over the two people standing in the doorway claiming to be FBI.
“Master Alexander is sleeping; he has had quite the time.” She said looking upstairs towards Nathanial’s room.

“Well go wake him.” Agent Martin said his goatee twitching with annoyance.
Maria shook her head and walked up the stairs muttering about people and their lack of politeness. She got to Nathanial’s door and opened it quietly and shook his shoulder lightly.
Nathanial woke fairly easily, he was never a deep sleeper and after everything it was hard to keep his mind from racing. He turned to his housekeeper and propped himself up on his elbows.
“What is it Maria?”
The housekeeper bowed apologetically.
“Sorry to wake you, but two there are two FBI agents waiting downstairs asking for you.”
Nathanial eyed the card that Agent Temple had given him.
“Is one of them named Temple?”
The housemaid shook her head in the negative.
“Alright, thanks for waking me. Do me a favour, I want you to run out and buy me some Tostito chips and salsa. I have been craving them for a while now.” As Maria left the room Nathanial rolled over and opened up his bed side desk, he took the gun concealed there and put it in the back pocket of his sleeping pants. He walked down the stairs where he saw the two so called agents, but they were holding his maid by gun point.
“Now we can’t have you leaving now can we?” The woman said to Maria. Nathanial looked in shock at the scene and then realised that she was the nurse from the hospital. Nathanial took out his gun and pointed it at the man.
“If you even attempt to shot I will kill her.” The lady said plainly. “Put down the gun and come with us, and then we will let her go.”
Nathanial had no choice, he nodded and placed the gun on the ground between his feet and walked forward to his captors.
The woman pushed Maria to the ground and grabbed Nathanial and shoved him towards the door. It was then that the man who called himself Martin turned around and shot Maria in the back of the head.
“Can’t have a witness to a kidnapping can we?” He said as he patted Nathanial on the head.
Nathanial let out a growl and dove forward grappling the man, the two fell to the ground in each other’s grip. Nathanial landed on top of the murderer and landed two solid punches. Martin reciprocated with a knee to Nathanial’s ribs, this caused Nathanial to sprawl back off of the man and land near the stairs. The man dove forward and got in a solid punch to Nathanial’s head, it was then that Martin realised Nathanial had managed to grab the pistol he had dropped when he was first tackled. Nathanial put it to the man’s temple and pulled the trigger, killing him instantly.
Nathanial pushed the body off of himself and shakily brought himself to his feet, but he had lost sight of the woman, Nathanial thought she had fled. He turned to investigate the house, it was then he caught a glimpse of the woman pointing a Taser at him, the pain ripped through his body instantly and he fell over unconscious.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: David Blake
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#, as written by Bosch
"Almost done, just one last thing. We have one more lawman with us now, though we have lost one as well. Blake, we've got two teenagers who survived Renner's attack; Juliet Bishop and Nathaniel Alexander. Alexander's at his house; Juliet's in the hospital. Can you get them both to the same place and keep them safe? We cannot yet rule out the possibility that Renner was targeting them. With that taken care of, though, we are done here. Let's get to stakeouts. I'll drive myself and Adams."

Blake felt anger rise in his chest. He had been sent to oversee not to take orders but he swallowed his anger and let out a single controlled breath.

“Sure Barton, I’ll go check it out but then I’ll come back here to coordinate, make sure we don’t end up with another bloodbath on our hands.”

Blake too noted the change in Adams demeanour but was unsure if Barton had.

“Agent Barton can I have a word before you leave.”

Out of ear shot of the others Blake expressed his concern.

“Keep an eye on Deputy Adams, He’s seething. We need this done right, no Rodney King bullshit. Keep him on a short leash.”
Blake waited to see if the Agent had any other input, while he may not have liked Barton on a personal level he understood that personal feelings had no place in an investigation. The man could get a job done and that was all that mattered.

#

Temple reviewed his weaponry, he had a Grey six shot revolver on his hip, a Glock 17 in a concealed carry holster and the AR-15. After his years of military service the weapons felt extensions of his own body. He checked the sights on the AR-15 and could feel adrenaline trickle through his body. They all would be feeling it, hunting a cop killer in the hills during the dead of night, it would be impossible not to.

He glanced outside at the snow lazily drifting down and realised his suit wouldn’t provide enough protection from the elements. He went out to his car and from the boot produced a Black Jacket with the letters FBI on the back in large white letters. Before he put it on he stopped and pulled out his Second Chance Body Armour, again with FBI printed on it bust this time on the chest. He had a wife and kid and there was no way he was ending up like Carter.

Back inside he approached Hayden while he pulled on the Armour and his jacket.

“Ok Deputy looks like we’re hitting the Saw Mill. This is your neck of the woods so you’re driving.”

He tossed her the Keys.

“You got everything you need here? I think we have a spare set of body armour in the car.”

#

The kid was still twitching a bit as the woman injected him in the neck with a clear liquid. It was a simple drug that would keep him down for the drive to the base, she produced a pair of Flexi cuffs and snapped them shut on the youngster’s wrists. When she was done she sighed.

“Fuck, that escalated quickly.”

She would have to work fast as she didn’t know if the gun fire would attract interest. First she dragged Nathaniel’s unconscious body out and into the van. Next she did the same with the Man with the Goatee who Nathaniel had killed. His name was Keith and he’d been something or other in the Canadian Military. Now he was dead.

She dragged Keith’s body out to the waiting van and dumped him beside Nathaniel. The kid would get a little blood on him but that’s what you get when you start shoot shooting people in the head.

She was panting now from the physical exertion of the lifting and dragging. Despite being in good physical condition she was still much shorter than the two men. That’s why she left the tiny maid till last.

Once she’d the bodies and Nathaniel in the van she returned to the house and collected the shell casings before wiping down everything she could remember touching. Satisfied the place was clean. She went outside and insured the door was locked before smashing the living room window that was on the front of the house.

The clues would suggest a home invasion gone wrong and maybe the story would hold up or maybe not but it would cause enough confusion to make sure nobody came looking for Nathaniel in the right place.

She got into the van and started driving.

#

Eli had no idea where he was. He was still getting used to the power he now had.

Suddenly he was looking at a girl with blonde hair.

Juliet Bishop.

He felt like he was walking through treacle but Lizzie said it would be difficult for him at first.

“Juliet?”

He was unsure if the girl could hear him as she gave no reaction but he continued regardless.

“You need to be careful… looking for you… Mother… nobody never trust…”

Then he was back in the hotel sitting at the table with Lizzie.

“Did you speak to her.”

“Not really, more at her. I told her though. I don’t know what she got.”

“In time she’ll become more open. At least you tried to warn her.”

Eli sat glumly.

#

Cassandra jolted awake from another bad dream and looked down at her daughter. Benson was gone from her dreams now the Dark Man was the focus of all her dreams. His dirty coat and grubby hands stuck in her memory while she was sure she could still smell his breath, taste it in her mouth.

It was the smell of Decay, the taste of pestilence.

She stood and went to get a glass of water and splash some water on her face. For a brief instant she could see him watching her from the end of the corridor but then he was gone. She shook her head and tried to get a grip.