Charley Kane relaxed in the stiffly comfortable leather chair behind his desk, and quietly mulled over this morning’s events. In all his years’ as a gumshoe, he had never been in a shakedown of this magnitude. The irony of the situation gave him perverse pleasure and he couldn’t hold back from smirking. Despite his hubris about the cleverness of the job, there was one lingering wild card. Over and over his brain was plagued with the thought “I’ll be damned lucky if she doesn’t figure out the end move before the game’s up.” As a trusted henchman in his former life, Charley told Sal to off her, but to no avail. “Looks like I’m not the only stubborn ass in this chess game. And, now, that’s a good thing. ”, Charley smugly realized.
“Come here Rosey”-he called over the intercom to his trusty gal, Rosa Budde.
As the fumes quietly wafted in Charley’s office, miles away, Anika lingered near the smoke of the crash. The timing of the distraction had been perfect, and the risk paid off. But now that the deed was done, Anika found an unbearable heaviness on her heart. She began to harden herself and the process was familiar yet, this time…so painful. Anika began to forget the bliss of their wedding way, the respite of their domesticity, their tender intimacy. As she waked on, so did the memory of Harry until he became a tiny dot in the sunset of Anika’s mind.
Thankfully, Vince’s cell phone also survived the crash and she wasn’t surprised to hear
What met her was not the adulation of her lover, but two slaps in the face, and a punch in the stomach. She crumbled onto the floor, and tears began to stream on her face. Charley kicked Anika again for good measure. “I knew that Harry loved you more than anything, and I knew of yours and his checkered pasts”, Charley sneered, “Once Bob set the wheels in motion, it was easy to manipulate you both”. “I knew more about the cryptex than you ever realized. And all this time, you thought you were working for me!” Anika, bloodied, nearly passed out, and desperate to save her life asked “I loved Harry but I did what you asked! I thought that you loved me. Who are you? I never understood why you told me to kill Harry when you were his best friend?” Charley snarled, “I am not his friend, I’m his brother. I love nobody but Rosa Budde, you stupid bitch. Checkmate.” And the last thing Anika knew before she descended into darkness was the faint smell of vanilla and the gentle click of a loaded Derringer. The full extent of the betrayal was revealed.
Part XIII brought to you by Lady Jane Scarlett
Up Next: The Grand Finale