Blood Borne Connections – Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

‘My transformation – Taťána to Tatiana’

 

When I was fifteen, I used to help the teachers in the orphanage teach English and History to the children. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher and I hoped to take some examinations and train as a teacher. My little sister, Tereza, was eight years old and had long ago forgotten our parents. I tried to remind her with photographs but she would shake her head and call me her mother, “Matka Tata”, I tried to get her to call me sister but she would shake her head and say, “No Sestra Tata, Matka Tata” – she reminded me of my mother – strong minded.

The orphanage was a good and safe place managed by Mrs. Izabela Svobodová. She was like a guardian angel – she really cared about us children and never hid her feelings. We used to hear horror stories of different orphanages in Europe where the children were treated very badly. Some had terrible buildings where children would literally freeze in winter and some had buildings with no windows so that when it rained, inside would get wet. We heard stories of girls driven out of orphanages when they were sixteen and ending up as prostitutes. We heard stories of overcrowded orphanages where the children were not cared for properly, not educated and were bullied or beaten regularly by the workers. We didn’t have any of that at our orphanage. We were treated well, given respect and love and told to treat other people respectfully and with love (to love our neighbor as our self).

Mrs. Svobodová would not stand for bullying or ill treatment of the children by any worker and for this I loved her as I would a favorite aunt if I had one. The day she was suddenly taken ill and had to be taken by ambulance to a hospital in Prague was a sad day for all of us. We had a new woman come in to manage the orphanage called Mrs. Mertle. She told us that she was from Poland and had lived in Czechoslovakia for over twenty years. She said she had so many new ideas for the orphanage which she would immediately implement because she didn’t think that Mrs. Svobodová would survive her illness. The first thing I noticed about her was what I can only describe as bleak ‘hollowness’. Maybe I am wiser now and I am looking back in hindsight and this makes me critical of her actions. The truth is if I am critical of her actions then what should I say about my own?

It was on a Wednesday that the lady from America came to the orphanage. She came in a big car that most of us had never seen before and she wore a big hat that none of us had ever seen before. Her blonde hair shone in the sun and her clothes looked like she had stepped off the page of one of the contraband American fashion magazines which Mr. Kovář, our head gardener and security man kept in his shed. Tereza said – ‘she looked shiny and new and not real’. Wise words from a little girl!

“She wants to take five girls who can speak and understand English very well back to America and give them a chance of a better life, a life free from communism.”

Even now those words still haunt me. They still manage to pierce my soul, to unpick a healing wound in my heart and lay it bare for all types of infections to invade – to shatter me! I wish that I had never heard those words spoken by Mrs. Mertle that day. I wish that the American lady had never come to the orphanage. With all my heart I wish that Mrs. Svobodová had never taken ill and had to leave the orphanage. But what good is wishing? I could wish until I was blue in the face and nothing would have changed.

Back then, I thought I was one of the chosen, one of the selected few. All five of us went around looking down on the other children – we acted like we were better than them. There were over ten girls between fifteen and sixteen who could speak and understand English but I had been chosen because in my head I was special. My mother had talked about leaving Czechoslovakia and going to the West and I was going to live her dream. The American lady told us that we would either be adopted by a good American family or be able to live in an American orphanage. She said that she had a lot of contacts in America; she knew people in modeling agencies and wealthy people who were looking for European nannies or au pairs who would be happy with us because we were all pretty and once we were eighteen we could get jobs. We would be able to help our brothers or sisters by sending them money for a ticket so they would one day join us in America. At the time I didn’t think it strange that the five of us selected all had a brother or a sister in the orphanage. In fact Mrs. Mertle said that this was an added bonus as we were securing a bright future for our siblings. The thought of leaving Tereza broke my heart but the thought of having a better life in America and one day sending for her to come and live with me consoled me. I told myself that I was not only doing this for Tereza, I was doing this for mama and papa as well.

Within days our paperwork was organized and we were set to go. I asked my best friend, Leona, to look after Tereza for me and promised to write to her every week. Leona begged me not to leave the orphanage, she said that she had had a dream that the communist regime would end before 1990. She also said that she had a bad dream about the American woman but I refused to listen to her. Leona was always having dreams; we sometimes teased her and called her ‘Leona Josephina the dreamer’. We often told her she was like Joseph in the Bible who was always dreaming and annoying his brothers and like Joseph she had been sent to annoy us. She would retaliate by telling us that Joseph’s dreams came true and that God speaks to people through dreams. She was so serious when she told me that I should stay in Czechoslovakia and wait for a few more years. She insisted that things would get better, we would be older and wiser and then we could all go to America or England or Canada, anywhere we wanted to go. She reminded me that we were the four musketeers, me, her, Tereza and Eduard, Leona’s little brother. We had made a vow that we would always stay together and I was now breaking that vow. She cried and begged me for two days but I wouldn’t listen. In the end to get some peace and quiet I told her she was just jealous that she hadn’t been chosen. You should have seen her face; it was like I had hit her with a baseball bat. I have been hit with a baseball bat in America several times so I know what it feels like. On the day I left Czechoslovakia I begged Leona to forgive me. I knew she would take care of Tereza but I didn’t want to leave in the middle of a fight with her. She is a good Christian and she said that she had already forgiven me. We hugged and cried and hugged some more. I kissed and hugged Tereza and hugged Eduard (he tried to be a brave little boy but I saw the tears in his eyes). My own tears blinded me as I climbed into the bus that would take us across Europe to our ultimate destination – America.

 

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Blood Borne Connections – Chapter 11

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Chapter 11

 

‘Tat’ána’

I was born Tat’ána Nováková in Czechoslovakia in March 1970. My parents, Jakub and Kateřina were both schoolteachers in a small town not too far from Prague. My father, he taught History and my mother, she taught English. In the 1970s Czechoslovakia was under a communist regime and had been for many years. There was a lot of unrest as many people were against the communist regime. I remember my father telling me of a time when things were not so severe and most people were happy. I was about six years old at the time. When I asked him why all the people were not happy, he said that ‘you cannot please all the people all of the time’. That is the closest translation of what he said in my language into English. As a historian, my father had studied the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 and taught about men like Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk who became the first President of Czechoslovakia in November of 1918. He often told me how the Czechs and the Slovaks united to form the country despite the cultural, historical and religious differences they had. I used to love listening to my father talk about my country and how proud he was to be a Czechoslovakian. I think my mother shared his love for the country but not for the government of the country and was very verbal about this. My father often joked many times that she was strong minded in her ways. During that period, many people had been arrested for trying to oppose the communist government and my mother often said that she thought we should leave for the West and live in a Democratic country, where the people were free and had a voice.

What are my earliest memories of my home? At three or four years of age, I remember the green grass of summer and the fresh fruits. I remember running in a field near our home and thinking that I could run to the end of the world because the field was so big and no matter how fast or how long I ran, I never got to the end of it. (Looking back, I must have been running in circles). I don’t recall many children in the area I grew up in. I had no cousins that I visited; there were no grandparents who visited us. My parents seemed to live a life where they were the only person in each other’s life and I was part of both of their lives. At three or four I didn’t notice how isolated we were because my parents were sufficient for me. Sufficient is a new word I learned not long ago; it means enough. I think it is because of my mother’s vocation that I have grown fond of learning new English words and using them in the right fashion. Sometimes I have problems because I use words that people here in America do not fully understand. One of the men who guards us calls me ‘Little Miss Big Words’. I will come to the men who guard us later. So back to my early life—when I was seven years old my mother had a baby girl. She was born on the fifteenth of October and called Tereza, which is her name day on the Czechoslovakian calendar. I don’t know if you are familiar with how children are named in my country. Let me explain how it works. There are three hundred and sixty five days in a year and each day has a name attached to it. If you have a child on a particular day you have to call it the name attached to the day. A special permission form is required from the authorities to give a child a name that is not on the Czechoslovakian calendar. Let me think for a few moments . . . yes that is correct, I have explained it how it was explained to me. My sister Tereza was like a little fat ‘moving’ doll that ate and ate then slept and I loved her. I couldn’t wait for her to grow up so that we could play. For some reason I thought that she would grow up and I would remain the same age then we would both be seven and would play outside in the green field together. Why did I think this? It is strange looking back that I would think this—they say innocence is a buffer that protects you from harm. Life, while I waited for Tereza to grow up, was the same. My parents loved us both equally and they showed their love openly. I spent time with my father learning about the history of my country while my mother took care of Tereza. My father loved our country and he loved to teach me the history of our country and other countries of the world. He was not always in work because of the conditions of the country and because of a lot of mistrust among people. A number of small groups tried to oppose the communist government but they were quickly squashed. I remember how happy my parents were when the first organized opposition called Charter 77 appeared in January 1977. Even though it wasn’t a political party as such it had many people sign their names to it and it posed a threat as it offered independent thinking, which opposed the communist rule. Many of the people who had signed their names to it were arrested, interrogated and dismissed from work. The government closed schools and churches that they thought were teaching anything which contradicted what they dictated. Communism says that everyone is equal and should live in a classless society. It dictates that there are no wealthy people and no poor people but communal ownership among all people. It not only says this, it stops anything that contradicts what it says from contaminating the minds of the people it controls. Television, radio and newspapers are either banned or controlled. Is it good? I’m only fifteen and haven’t lived long enough to make a decision on that. What I can say is what I saw: communism takes away the individuality of a person. It strips them of their voice and it strips them of their thoughts; it tells them what thoughts to think and how to think those thoughts. In a way it can leave a person without responsibility for their actions and free to do things that are wrong and free not to do the things that are right. To some people it is good and to others it is not good. As my father said ‘you cannot please all the people all of the time.’

My parents were killed in a car accident when I was ten years old and my sister was three years old. We had no family to take us in so we were placed in an orphanage

 

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Blood Borne Connections – Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

 

Inside Interrogation Room 15 LAPD

 

“Mr. McKenna, can you hear me? Nigel McKenna, I need to know what drugs you took last night,” the doctor on call asked. Pen poised to write, he waited for Nigel to tell him.

Nigel didn’t answer.

“Mr. McKenna, I’m asking as a doctor. Just tell me so that I can fill out my paperwork. I’m not going to report you.”

Nigel heard the voice as he slowly floated back to earth. The effect of the ‘spiked’ Indian hemp he had smoked last night coupled with the sedation the paramedic had administered was fading. He knew that he was sitting down but for some reason he couldn’t feel his legs. He saw his hands searching for his legs but couldn’t feel anything. “Maybe the aliens took them,” a voice mockingly whispered. He looked around the room to see who had spoken but the two men in the room were looking at him, waiting for him to speak.

“Doc, will you excuse us a minute?” Detective Kowalski asked. He walked over to the door, opened it, and indicated with his head that the doctor should leave.

“Detective, I need to fill out my paperwork-”

“Doc I need to find out where this man’s wife is. Go talk to the inspector if you’re not clear on what is more important at this stage, a human life or your paperwork!”

“But-”

“Come back later, Doc,” Kowalski told him as he gently shoved him out and closed the door.    “Now Mr. McKenna, it’s just you and me. My name is Detective Kowalski and I need to know where your wife is. Do you remember what happened to Dorothy?”

“Who?” Nigel asked.

“Dorothy, your wife, Dorothy, where is she?”

“The aliens took her,” Nigel replied, smiled and closed his eyes as he continued to float.

Detective Kowalski kicked at the chair Nigel sat in. Nigel’s eyes flew open as he fell back. He cried out in pain as he hit his head on the wall behind him. Kowalski pulled him up and kicked the chair out of the way. He grabbed Nigel as he tried to back away and pinned him up against the wall. “You’re not so tough now are you? I hear you like hitting women. What say you and me go out back, one on one, right now! You think you can take me on? Or is it just defenseless women that you like to hit?”

“I don’t know where my wife is, the last time I saw her was last night before I went to bed. I went to sleep and when I woke up this morning I saw signs that the aliens-”

“Ah, ah, ah, ah, no bull, I don’t want to hear about your drug induced aliens. Did you hit your wife last night?”

“Last night?”

“Yes last night, did you hit her?”

Nigel frowned as he tried to remember, “Last night?”

“Did she decide that enough was enough and she wasn’t going to put up with you beating her anymore? Did she stand up to you? Is that why her blood is all over your bed sheets? Did you stab your wife to death? Did you dump her body somewhere?”

“What? No! I didn’t stab her!”

“But you beat her?”

“I don’t remember beating her last night.”

“But you remember beating her on other nights?”

“I don’t really beat her, I just give her the odd slap now and then to keep her in line, let her know who the boss is.”

“I hear you like being the boss. According to our records you’ve fractured her ribs, broken her arm, and you beat her whenever you pretty much feel like beating her.”

“I don’t remember beating her last night, in fact I’m sure I didn’t beat her last night, maybe I slapped her the night before but not last night and I didn’t stab her!”

Detective Kowalski pushed him against the wall and turned away from him, disgusted. He had two daughters and the thought of one of them marrying a man like this filled him with dread. He turned back quickly, raised his hand and slapped Nigel across the face. Nigel staggered backwards and he grabbed him and slapped him again. “Is that how you used to slap her in the past to keep her in line? Did you go too far this time?”

The door swung open; both men turned.

“Can I see you out here for a second, Kowalski?” Inspector Carter Goodman said and waited for him to walk out of the room.

As soon as the door closed Kowalski braced himself for what he knew was coming.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Kowalski?”

“Trying to do my job, Sir.”

“By hitting him? By pushing him around? How does that constitute doing your job? Once his lawyer gets here, sees the bruises and talks to him, he can get him to file an assault charge against you.”

“Sir-”

“Listen, don’t you think we have enough trouble with lawyers and journalists accusing us of being violent and in bed with the Mafia? I’m sick and tired of the stories written about the men in blue being just as corrupt as the Mafia and just as brutal as well. I’ve lost a number of good men who made bad choices. I don’t want to lose you, Kowalski, but I won’t stand back and let you do this. As your boss, I’m telling you now, question him with your mouth and not your hands, do you hear me?”

“Yes Sir.”

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Blood Borne Connections – Chapter 7

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Chapter 7 of Blood Borne Connections below – Thank you for all your support, Gladys

 

Chapter 7

 

They had tried to kick the door down with their feet. They had tried to force it open with a battering ram. The door refused to budge. It refused them access to the man inside and to what they feared was his dying or dead wife.

The negotiator had failed to establish contact because Nigel McKenna would not answer the phone. Outside, the police, the paramedics and the firemen waited.

 

Inside, Nigel McKenna sat hidden under his protective fort. He had seen a UFO program once (more a cartoon than a program) that had informed him how to protect himself in the event of a possible alien invasion and abduction. In the program he had learned that aliens were able to locate humans using certain radio-like technology but blue material blocked their transmissions (the program was also geared more towards children than adults). Fascinated, he had watched as the silver aliens sent radio waves from their spaceship to earth and some of the caricature humans were captured whilst the smart caricature humans who had hidden under blue blankets were saved. Nigel, being smart, had pulled down all the blue curtains from the living room and draped them over two chairs. He sat under his makeshift tent and waited to be rescued. He had heard the police banging on his door but he didn’t trust them, they could be alien-possessed and would try to change him into one of them. There was only one person who was loyal and whom he trusted. He thought of her and cried as he rocked backwards and forwards. “Dorothy,” he whispered over and over again.

***

“Why would you think that I killed my husband?” Dorothy asked Julius. She had a comical, perplexed expression on her face as she stared at him.

“You said that you got up early to kill your husband and then you came in to work. You said that there was so much blood.”

“So much blood! Did I really say that?”

“Yes, you did. We were coming up the stairs when you-”

“Oh yes, I remember. I had a lot on my mind.” She looked at him and offered no further explanation.

***

 

Juanita Ortega looked at her wristwatch and moved towards the people on the street in front of Dorothy’s house. Dorothy’s words were still directing her as they had done since Nigel had started screaming.

 

“He will wake up at about 6am and break wind. He always does that. It may take a few minutes for him to see the knife, he may pass out after that or he may not. If he does pass out it won’t be for more than ten minutes. He’ll eventually see the room and what I’ve done and will start to scream. Wait for five minutes after the screaming starts then dial 911. Go and stand on the curb with the other neighbors and people who will have gathered there and wait for the officers to come. While you wait, tell someone in the crowd that someone else had said that Nigel might be armed. You can bet that before the police show up everyone will believe that Nigel has a gun and is prepared to use it.”

 

Juanita stood on the curb and watched with the other neighbors as the police tried to force their way into Dorothy’s house.

 

“Mr. McKenna, open the door! We need to check on your wife! Open the door!” Detective Kowalski shouted.

“They took her! The aliens took Dorothy!”

“Mr. McKenna, open the door now!”

 

“When it becomes apparent that he won’t let anyone in tell the police that you have a key to open the metal security gate at the back of the house. Be calm when you talk to the police. Don’t forget to mention how he drinks and takes drugs and he often shouts abuse at me and the reason you hadn’t said anything before was because you figured that it was just another day of him doing what he always does.”

 

“Excuse me, officer, my name is Juanita Ortega and I live next door. I have a key to the gate at the back . . .”

 

“Remember, Juanita, stay calm and stick to script.”

 

“Detective Kowalski, Sir, a neighbor has just said that she has a key to open the gate at the back door. She is friendly with Mrs. McKenna and they both exchanged keys in case of an emergency. She has gone to get the key, Sir.”

 

They unlocked the reinforced metal security gate and gently swung it open, cautious not to make any noise and spook Nigel McKenna. They moved in precision as one unit, each watching for directions from the others. Guns were held abreast; ready to be used if needed.

“Police, do not move! This is the police!”

“Stay where you are! Don’t move!”

Nigel saw the guns pointed at him; he saw men in bullet proof jackets running around calling out for Dorothy. ‘Don’t they know that she has been taken? How can they not know?’ He wondered, as he remained protected under the blue curtains.

 

“By the time they get to him he will be out of his mind and showing signs of delusion, aggression and hostility. I’ve seen him like that before so I know what the police will see. After they take him away they may call on you to give a statement. Remain calm and tell them the truth about his drug use and drinking, Juanita, that’s all I need you to do. He will do the rest. He will nail his own coffin shut.”

 

Nigel was like an enraged bull. The police had removed his blue protection; they had mindlessly just pulled it off the chairs and thrown it on the floor, leaving him exposed. He swung punches at the officers and he kicked out as hard as he could. He screamed and screamed as officers restrained him and a man with a syringe tried to inject him with what looked like silver alien-liquid.

“Mr. McKenna, where is your wife, where is Dorothy?” Kowalski asked him.

 “They took Dorothy, the aliens took her. She’s dead! You hear me? Look at the blood on the bed, she’s dead!” Nigel screamed. He struggled and fought against the police officers who restrained him.

“Keep him still,” O’Hara told the officers as he injected Nigel with the sedative.

Nigel saw the silver alien-liquid going into his arm and screamed. Before he slipped into unconsciousness he bit one officer’s hand and punched another officer in the face.

“Book him for double assault and if we don’t find his wife add possible murder onto the list!” Kowalski shouted.

 

 

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Despite all odds: A Dream Fulfilled Part 2

Truths, Lies And Untold Secrets

Blood Borne Connections

U Murder U (Suicide)

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Blood Borne Connections – Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

 

He farted. All the pungent gases that had accumulated deep within his bowels were released in one loud bellow. He waited for a brief moment and then did what he loved to do: he inhaled the aroma. He savored the carbonated garlic and refried beans and let his senses wander merrily among the toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide. Even though he knew she hated him farting in bed, he didn’t care. It made him feel exhilarated and alive; like a ‘man’s’ man. He rubbed his large, blotchy red belly then patted it in appreciation for a job well done. He smiled to himself at the thought of her lying next to him and covering her nose or, better still, holding her breath until the rich aroma dissipated. ‘This is indeed a man’s world’, he thought to himself as he held back the laughter that bubbled deep within him. He waited for her complaints and moaning but none came. She didn’t even move. All the years he had treated her mean to keep her keen had paid off with interest. She was now like a little mouse – so anxious for a morsel of cheese that she would do anything. He slept around just like his daddy had done and came home reeking of the evidence and she had given in and stopped fighting and complaining. He took her money and spent it on whatever and whomever he chose and she kept quiet. He had trained her well. He sighed contently. Today she was going to get a loan for him in her name because his credit was bad. He told her that he needed the loan to start a business with a friend in San Diego but in actual fact he was planning to take nineteen year old Tatiana, a girl he had just met, to Disneyland in Anaheim. She had not long arrived from Czechoslovakia and had not yet been to Disneyland. She had said on the night he had met her at the ‘Singles’ bar he often visited that ever since she was little she had dreamed of going to Disneyland and seeing the real Mickey Mouse. So far nothing had happened between them but he figured that if he obliged her and fulfilled her dream, she would have to oblige him and fulfill one of his dreams. He had no qualms about using his wife’s hard earned cash or the money she often borrowed for him and had to pay back in monthly installments, to pay for his extra-marital affairs. As far as he was concerned he and Dorothy had taken wedding vows and the words ‘For richer or poorer’ were read on the day – he literally took the vows, well, those four words, seriously. His wife was currently richer than him (because she worked two jobs whilst he only did one part-time job) and on account of him being poorer she had to take care of him and everything this encompassed. He closed his eyes and thought about Tatiana’s young, firm and nubile body. His breathing became shallow as images of her talking dirty to him in her vibrant Czechoslovakian accented voice and pressing herself seductively against him filled his mind and made his senses twirl. ‘First things first’ he thought to himself as he pushed the images out of his mind and concentrated on what lay ahead. He needed to get his wife up, dressed and off to the bank to get the loan or he could kiss Tatiana goodbye. He braced himself, the smell of the fart had faded, she had no evidence to hold on to and he would do what he always did – deny everything she accused him of.

Why do you have to break wind in bed, Nigel?

“I did no such thing, woman. You’re dreaming. It must have been you that farted while you were asleep.” He would say. It often made him laugh, the way she referred to farting as breaking wind – like it was a gust of fresh air.

You’re snoring again, Nigel.

“Woman, I do not snore, it must be you snoring in your dream. As a matter of fact, you woke me up with your damn snoring just the other day. You know you snore like a farm animal, I’ve told you so many times. Next time I’m gonna use my tape recorder to record your snoring ass.”

Treat her mean to keep her keen was his motto, his way of life. It had paid off over the years and he had no intention of changing. He inhaled deeply, turned over and faced his wife. Slowly he opened his eyes. He knew that he would see her lying next to him with her thick, polyester, flower-printed, old-fashioned nightdress on (which he had purchased from a dollar store as a birthday gift), her headscarf adorned like a hill-billy farmer’s wife and a frown apparent; she was as predictable as the rising sun. He needed her money so he had to be nice today; he smiled and opened his eyes fully. The shock hit him hard as he stared at the sight in front of him, his heart fluttered and his tongue struggled to formulate words. He could barely breathe as he started to shake uncontrollably. “Aliens! . . . Aliens!” He whispered before his mind went blank, darkness descended and he passed out.

***

Julius followed Nurse McKenna down a poorly lit corridor. His hand rested on the butt of his gun, which was tucked into the back of his pants. He had still not made up his mind as to whether or not he could trust her. She had now stopped muttering to herself and walked briskly as one did when they had a sure destination. For some reason he couldn’t imagine that she was on his grandfather’s payroll, but he had seen so many things in his life that nothing surprised him now – nothing shocked him anymore. With each step he took he became more and more anxious at the thought of his wife, Cara, and their baby being held somewhere and used as a bargaining tool. He was sure that no one in his Mafia family knew they were married let alone how important Cara was to his very existence. He knew his grandfather wouldn’t harm Cara or the baby, but he had given up on trying to predict Johnatus and the things he did or the reasons behind the things he did.

“They are in here,” Nurse McKenna said as she stopped in front of a large door. She pressed some numbers on a keypad by the side of the door. “This is our old Intensive Care Unit. It became redundant when the new one was built a couple of years ago. Since then we have put private patients in here or patients who we think need an extra bit of attention. Right now, except for your wife and son, it is empty.”

“Why did you move them here?”

“When I came in this morning your wife said that she felt like she had the flu, really hot and then cold. I could have taken her to another ward but they don’t take babies there and she didn’t want to be separated from your son. I figured that right here would be the best place, plus it’s quiet, warm and safe. I hope you don’t mind? Something kept telling me it was the right thing to do. Anyway, I got her started on some antibiotics and I’ve been monitoring her temperature. She is fine now. Did I tell you that your wife is a lovely lady? She is beautiful and kind and she was so concerned that you would go to room 14, not find her there and panic. She made me promise that I would let you know where they were as soon as you came in. She said you might not believe me but I was to get you alone and call you Maxwell, then you would know that I was telling you the truth because she is the only one you allow to call you Maxwell.” She frowned as if the thought suddenly hit her, “I guess I probably should have mentioned that part earlier, shouldn’t I? Then you wouldn’t have been walking behind me with your hand behind you like you have a gun tucked away back there.”

Shocked at her perception, Julius removed his hand from the butt of his gun. “Is she okay?”

“She is fine, they both are,” she told him as she pushed the door open.

He followed Nurse McKenna through the door and into a spacious, colorful corridor. There were several doors situated along one side of the corridor. Nurse McKenna stopped in front of a door mid-way along the corridor and gently pushed it open. She looked inside and smiled. She held a finger against her lips as she turned and beckoned Julius. He walked quickly towards her and looked inside the room. His heart fluttered at the sight of his wife and son, both wrapped up warm, both asleep, on the hospital bed. Tears stung his eyes and his throat constricted.

“Thank you,” he said as he discreetly brushed a tear away and walked into the room.

“You are welcome. I’ll go and put these flowers in water and bring them in later,” she said as she closed the door.

 

Jealousy can wear many hats and display itself in many forms. Anger, hate, fear and resentment are a few of the common ones. As Johnatus walked along the corridor of the Maternity ward of St. Matthew’s Hospital with a big bunch of flowers and some balloons, he felt anger and fear deep within him. He had told himself over the years that he was not jealous of his older brother. He was not jealous of the affection his grandfather openly displayed towards Julius. He could live with being second best as long as he was in the running, as long as there was a chance that he might one day do something to earn his grandfather’s love and respect. He knew that getting rid of Julius was not an option. The thought had crossed his mind many times but he never acted on it. Why? Because Julius wasn’t the problem – Julius had no interest in his grandfather or his grandfather’s business. And, Julius was the only reason his grandfather tolerated him. He had figured out years ago that getting rid of Julius would ultimately mean getting rid of himself. He stopped outside room 14 and pushed the door open. It took a few moments for his eyes to adjust to the darkness the room held. He noted that the room was empty and the bed devoid of covers. There wasn’t a crib in the room either. He stepped back and rechecked the number on the door. He had had his men search every single hospital in Los Angeles for the last 24 hours in order to find this mystery woman that was going to have his brother’s baby, then, thirty minutes ago, someone who knew someone he knew had said that they had seen something strange in this hospital. They had heard a baby crying in room 14 but when they had checked on the computer system to see who the mother was the room was logged on the system as being empty. Johnatus quietly walked over to the nurses’ station. He stood for a few moments and studied the nurse as she typed something onto the computer. He cleared his throat and she immediately looked up.

“I’m sorry, Sir, I didn’t see you there,” she told him.

“The lady in room 14, where is she?” Johnatus asked her.

She looked at the naturally tanned, handsome face of the man in front of her, his dark curly hair and his slim athletic frame. Her gaze wandered back to his dark, cold eyes. “Room 14, let me check the computer,” she told him and pressed a few buttons. “I just came on duty a couple of hours ago and when I got here there wasn’t anyone in that room. I think the heating on that side of the building isn’t working properly so they had to move some of the patients.” She stopped typing and read the information on the screen. “It says here that several mothers and their babies were transferred to St. Andrew’s Maternity. The note here also says that all their families were contacted,” she added.

“Are you sure that the woman and baby in room 14 got moved to St. Andrew’s?”

“They must have been because they’re not in there now are they? Who exactly are you looking for Sir?”

“Ummm . . . the girlfriend of my . . . of a friend . . . of a relative.”

“Well which is it? The girlfriend of your friend or the girlfriend of your relative?”

“Excuse me?” Irritation set in, “who the hell do you think you’re talking to?”

“You’re the only other person that I see here,” the nurse replied as she mockingly looked around. She had no idea who Johnatus was or who his grandfather was.

“Was there a lady in room 14 and is she still in the hospital?”

“No and no, so I suggest that you try St. Andrew’s, I can get you their address,” she turned and pretended to look for the address among the papers and medication cards on her table.

“I know where St. Andrew’s is,” he turned and quickly walked away.

“Sir, you forgot your flowers and balloons, excuse me, Sir,” she called out after him.

“Toss them in the trash,” he said over his shoulder.

 

The nurse waited for a several minutes then picked up the receiver and dialed a number. “A man came in asking for the lady in room 14 and I did exactly what you told me to do. He left a few minutes ago,” she whispered.

“Thank you,” Nurse McKenna told her, “and remember Susie, if anyone asks, you don’t know anything.”

“Don’t worry, Sister McKenna, I really don’t know anything.”

 

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Blood Borne Connections – Chapter 3

Blood Borne Connections - book cover

 

 

Chapter 3

 

“Julius, wait up! Julius!”

Julius ignored his brother and continued to walk quickly towards his car.

“Julius, Bro, please wait!”

Julius stopped suddenly, turned and angrily grabbed hold of his brother, pushed him up against the side of a car and held him there. “The one thing I told you not to tell Don Kempalos, the one thing, Johnatus!”

“You know how he gets, he’s always asking questions about you, always trying to figure out what you’re doing. I just thought that if I told him, he would stop asking questions and cut me some slack.”

“So you tell him the one thing I asked you not to tell him so that he would cut you some slack? You sell me, to buy yourself some brownie points?”

“It wasn’t like that! Come on, Julius, no matter what I do it’s never good enough for him. It’s always about you, ‘Where’s Julius? What’s Julius doing? Why isn’t Julius here?’ Julius this and Julius that-”

“That’s why I don’t tell him anything, so that it will stop being about me. Do you think I want to live like this forever?”

“I messed up. I’m sorry, Julius. It’s not like I had that much to tell him anyway. You only mentioned that someone was going to have your baby; who she is, what she does is still a mystery to me. Come on, let me go, Bro, I didn’t mean any harm. I just need to keep myself in grandfather’s good books. I’m too accustomed to the lifestyle he provides.”

Julius released him, “Why do you want this lifestyle so badly? Can’t you see the damage it does to people?”

“I don’t look at that aspect – I look at the power and control it gives. The money and the power are like a drug. I can go anywhere and people respect me. From cops to judges, from politicians to your everyday Joe – I get respect because of who I am and because of who my grandfather is-”

“People don’t respect him or you; what they feel is an emotion called fear. Respect is to hold someone in high esteem. Do you think that if Don Kempalos didn’t have enough evidence to shut the entire police force down this side of America, anyone would give him the time of day? He has half of the men in blue on his payroll and the other half begging for a spot. He knows all their corrupt, dirty little secrets and he uses what he knows to get what he wants.”

“Everyone knows that dirty cops are worse than us, they are a bunch of crooked vultures.”

“That may be but dirty cops as bad as some of them are have limits to what they can do. They don’t have the same reach and they don’t destroy innocent lives.”

Johnatus studied his brother for a few moments, “You have never gotten over Elaina, have you?”

Julius recoiled slightly at the mention of her name, “I don’t have time to go down that road right now.”

“Look, I felt bad about what happened to Elaina but that had nothing to do with us. We are not responsible for how Vitto and his guys run their operation-”

“So who is responsible, Johnatus? You just said that you like the money and power this lifestyle gives you. Where do you think the money comes from? It’s from people like Vitto and the others out there who run brothels and give a cut to the Old Man. Where do you think the girls who work in the brothels come from? Do you think they actually volunteer their services, free of charge? Maybe we didn’t know it then because we were young but we know now, we know that girls like Elaina are trafficked from their countries in Eastern Europe. They are told that they will have a better life here. They don’t get told that they will be forced to work as a prostitute. They don’t get told that they will have to be on call for twenty-four hours a day, every day of the week. They don’t get told that when they catch a disease like gonorrhea or syphilis or when they become too haggard for the customers they get sold like a piece of meat to the Asians. We were young when we met Elaina and we didn’t know how she came into this country or how she was forced to work for Vitto; we didn’t understand what he did for a living. Elaina was a beautiful person and she became our friend and then one day she disappeared. It was much later that we found out she had gotten sick and because Vitto couldn’t sell her he killed her. He said that she was of no use to him anymore because she had too many diseases. He said she was contaminated and had to be disposed of like trash.” He shook his head, “Sometimes I wonder if you even remember-”

“I remember,” Johnatus said, “I remember how she used to make us laugh when she cussed in her language? How she would play cards with us and the other kids to keep us occupied when a commission meeting was taking place?”

“She was a human being with a family back in Europe. She was only seventeen . . .”

Johnatus nodded; he looked embarrassed. This was the first time they had spoken openly about Elaina since her murder. He never talked about what happened to her because he believed it was a topic that if he never mentioned or revisited, he could make believe it never really happened and he could hide behind the make belief. “What happened to Elaina was wrong; that sort of thing is forbidden in the organization now and doesn’t happen anymore-”

“Look around you, Johnatus, there’s an ‘Elaina’ in this organization everywhere you turn!”

“Julius, you make it sound like everything we do is bad. We help people, we take care of people.”

“For a price! We both know what happens when they can’t pay the price. Do you think I would be here or have anything to do with any of this if my hands weren’t tied?”

“Is that why you’ve never taken a penny from grandfather or the organization?”

“When I found out what the organization did and what it stood for, I vowed never to take anything from it or from him. It would be like benefiting from Elaina and all the other innocent people. I think of the lives lost and destroyed while you think of the lives owned and controlled. I guess we’re just different people, Johnatus.”

“Why are we even having this conversation, Julius? It’s too morbid. I need to get back inside, are you coming back in?”

“No, I’ve done my bit for today. I’m going.”

They both heard footsteps and turned, “Excuse me, Mr. Cabonelli, I was told to come and get you, Don Kempalos is looking for you, Sir,” the man informed Johnatus.

“Tell him I’m on my way in,” Johnatus told him.

“Yes, Sir,” he said then ran back towards the house.

“The Old Man has changed your name from Johnatus Kempalos to Johnny Kempton to Edward Cabonelli – is this new name official?”

“Yeah, I got the paperwork last week. Grandfather said I needed to change my name again; he doesn’t want people coming after me to get to him. You know how he gets he said that as I’m married with a kid I need to be more elusive. Times are changing and word is some of the smaller families may try to muscle into some of our areas.”

“You think that’s the real reason?”

“Of course it is. What other reason could there be?”

Julius studied him for a few moments; he wasn’t sure if his brother was telling him the truth or not. “You’re right, what other reason could there be?” He said, despite the fact that he knew the real reason for the change of Johnatus’ name had nothing to do with protecting him or his family but everything to do with a secret that he had accidentally overheard years ago, on the night before they left Sicily for America. A secret he had never shared with Johnatus.

***

After taking a hot shower, which removed his fake tan and the thick gel from his hair, Julius dressed in completely different clothes and combed his hair differently. He removed his colored contact lenses and blinked a couple of times as his eyes readjusted. He scrutinized his appearance in the mirror; after a few moments he was satisfied that no one in the organization would recognize him. He left his secret apartment and headed to the basement where he kept several cars hidden in a locked garage. The apartment, the cars, his work and his relationships, were things that Johnatus and his grandfather knew nothing about and he aimed to keep it that way. He knew that they had him followed in their attempts to find out what he did outside of the organization and he always outsmarted the men they sent to follow him. He was cautious and elusive – he had to be, he had learned how to be from the best – his grandfather. Although he knew no one from the organization would recognize him, he drove around until he was satisfied that no one was following him then he headed to the hospital.

***

“We followed him when he left here like you told us. We got as far as Santa Monica then he just disappeared, Mr. Cabonelli,” the man nervously reported.

“What do you mean by “he just disappeared”? Where did he go? Which direction did he head towards?”

“We don’t know. I thought east but Tony thought west. One minute we were right behind him at some traffic lights then this truck comes along and he cuts right in front of it and when it passes we don’t see him.”

“You get nothing from the hospitals. He out smarts you again on the road and you both have the front to stand in my presence and tell me ‘he just disappeared’. Get out of here, go on, get out of here before I do something you’ll both regret and I enjoy.”

The men quickly left the room.

***

Armed with a large bouquet of beautiful flowers, Julius walked into the room. He stopped suddenly and looked around. The room was empty. His wife and son had gone. Before the panic could surface, he rushed out of the room to the nurses’ station. A young nurse sat at the station filling in medication cards.

“My wife was in room 14 – where is she and my son?”

“Room 14?” The nurse queried as she frowned and looked in the direction of the room, “I’m sorry, Sir, but I don’t recall there being anyone in room 14 today. Let me check on our new computer system; I only started my shift a couple of hours ago.” She typed some information onto the computer as Julius tried to push the panic he felt rising inside of him down. “No, according to the computer there has been no one in room 14 for three days. Are you sure it was room 14, Sir? Could it have been another room?”

“Of course I’m sure – I was here a few hours ago!”

“This computer is new but we do get the odd glitch now and then, ummm . . . room 14, let me see.”

He took a deep breath then exhaled, “Listen to me very carefully, check your computer system again and tell me exactly where my wife and son are or get someone out here who knows where they are. Either way, do something right now!” His eyes were cold and his expression deadly.

“Let me get the sister in charge. Hold on, Sir.” She picked up the receiver and pressed some numbers. “I need you to come and talk to this gentleman out here. He’s looking for his wife and son who were in room 14 but according to our records that room has been vacant for three days.” She paused as she listened and nodded. “Please come right now, Sister, he’s standing right in front of me and he wants an answer.” She listened some more then replaced the receiver.

“Well?” Julius asked, his patience dwindling fast.

“Hold on, Sir, the sister in charge will be out shortly. As I said I only started my shift a couple of hours ago and-”

They both turned as a door flew open and a woman in a blue nurse’s uniform rushed towards them, “Hi, I’m the sister in charge, please come with me. We had some problems earlier on, two men were caught wandering around the rooms and we had to get security up here and the police. Come with me.” She took the flowers from him, led him to the stairwell then rushed up the stairs ahead of him.

 

Julius felt as if his world was hanging on a fine balance, ready to tip over at any moment. Anxious thoughts, coupled with panic, attached to fear, ran through his mind in no sensible order. He hadn’t told Johnatus the name of the hospital. He hadn’t told Johnatus that his baby had been born. And, he specifically recalled his grandfather telling him that Johnatus had said he didn’t know which hospital it was. But if two men had been spotted loitering around, this meant that Johnatus had somehow found out which hospital it was, lied to his grandfather and sent men here without his grandfather knowing. His heart pounded as he ran up the stairs after the nurse. “Are they okay? Can you slow down and tell me if they’re okay?”

She didn’t answer his question. She continued up the stairs; her face had a somewhat determined look on it. Julius stopped suddenly and looked at her; she could be anyone; she could be leading him into a trap.

She paused and looked back, “Why have you stopped? Come on, we have two more flights to go. I’m sorry I wasn’t listening to what you said just then and I just realized that I haven’t introduced myself to you properly. I have a lot on my mind and I haven’t slept properly for nearly two days now. My name is Dorothy McKenna and I was just thinking to myself how strange life can be sometimes. At 3 o’clock this morning I stood with a knife in my hand ready to kill my husband. I planned that after I killed him I would come into work, so I did. When I got here I saw that your wife wasn’t feeling too well so I had her and your son moved upstairs to be monitored properly. When I got back down to Maternity, Mrs. Clarke in room 7 had a ruptured placenta. Then I saw two men loitering around. They looked like they were trying to steal a baby so I called security who called the police. Then the heating in parts of the Maternity ward broke down. It’s been all systems go since I got here. I know I’m rambling on but just think if I hadn’t been going to kill my husband and then come in early, I wouldn’t have seen those men! I wouldn’t have been here when your wife needed help! I wouldn’t have helped to save Mrs. Clarke’s life! I wouldn’t have organized getting some of the mothers and babies moved to St Andrew’s. So you see it, don’t you? You see it? I was meant to kill my husband and come in early!” Flowers held under her arm, she gesticulated frantically with her hands as she tried to get him to see what she was saying. “You wouldn’t believe how much blood there was. I have never seen so much blood. Come on, let’s go, we have two more flights, we’re nearly there.” She turned and continued up the stairs, expecting him to follow her. Julius was about to follow her when a sign caught his eye. He froze as he stared at the words ‘Psychiatric Ward’ and the arrow pointing upwards.

 

 

Special offer: Get a free copy of ‘Despite all odds: A Dream Fulfilled Part 1’ when you buy any book from the GLL Publishing collection. Contact me at gladyslawson@hotmail.com for your free copy.

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8 year old Shane’s story – Taken from novel ‘U Murder U (Suicide)’

The Tenth Person

Shane Nelson read once that thousands of children under the age of 10 were depressed. He asked his mother why this was and she said it was because they didn’t think of anyone else but themselves. That these children were being raised not to care about anyone but just what they could get from everyone and when they couldn’t get something they became depressed. She said in her day she had one doll and a few colouring books when she was his age and she was happy with her lot. Shane wasn’t sure if he was depressed, he knew he got things his brothers and sisters didn’t get but he was unhappy. His father gave him everything and the rest of the family nothing. He knew his brothers and sisters hated him and his mother was always scared. He was torn, he loved his mother but he also loved his father. He had tried to hate his father for his siblings’ sake but found he couldn’t. His home was a time-bomb and he hated living there. The only thing that made him happy now was talking to Jessy James 6 online.

On The Day Of The Suicide Pact

Shane had tried to get away from his brothers and sisters earlier but for some reason they kept watching him. They made him go on the roof with them and they shared their chicken and chips with him – something they had never done in the past. In the past they usually relegated him to wherever they were not, it didn’t really matter where; he was ‘Daddy’s favourite’ and a snitch, as such he was the enemy.
Robbie, Shane’s eldest brother, gave him some money and asked him to get two bottles of cola from the local shop as there was a ‘buy one get one free’ offer there. Robbie wanted to smoke and didn’t want Shane to see him and take that information back to his father. Eager to leave, Shane took the money and left his siblings on the roof.

Shane Nelson ran as fast as he could with Robbie’s money in his hand. Jessy James 6 had given him specific directions to where she was in the hospital and he was determined to get there on time. He had never ventured further than his school, which was less than a ten minute slow walk from his home, by himself before but today he was going to get to the hospital using the map on his phone for directions.

Shane walked through the hospital reception without being stopped by anyone. Jessy James 6 had said that security wasn’t that tight. He walked right to the back of the ground floor and took the lift to the third floor following the instructions she had sent him. He saw an Indian girl looking at a notice board for directions then he saw her walk with confidence towards the direction of Livingston Ward. Shane waited a few moments then followed her. As soon as he walked into the room on Livingston Ward he noticed that there were more people that he thought there would be. Suddenly he felt scared and wanted to leave. He felt something in his hand and looked down, it was Robbie’s money. He looked around gingerly; the Indian girl he had seen earlier was writhing and withering on the ground, an empty cup next to her.

Jessy James 6 handed him a cup. He looked at her cold eyes and thought that she looked different from how he had imagined her. He took the cup of poison from her . . . . . .

U Murder U (Suicide)

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