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Domination of the SPOOKS – Chapter 10

I'm launching my first fiction series this month with the SPOOK & GOON Space Adventures. I'm writing the fourth book right now and the first three will be released over the next few months.

While I'm waiting for the official edits, I'm uploading the short-story prequel, Domination of the SPOOKS, chapter by chapter over the next two weeks. This is the unedited version so please forgive any errant wording.

If you'd like to receive advance notice of special one-day-only fan pricing of 99 cents, join my Sci-Fi Reader's Group.

Chapter 10

The line at the drive-thru window of Cafe Press stretched nine cars back. The man in black glanced at his watch and then over at his semi-comatose companion in the passenger seat. Dom’s head flopped around as drool pooled on his chin. The drug worked quickly, and he didn’t have much time left before Dom was out cold.

“Does everyone on this edge of town need coffee right now?” he snapped to himself.

He finally made it to the order window. “Two extra-large drips with heavy cream.”

“Do you want triple pump espresso or caramel shots or vanilla soy whip with either of those?” the clerk asked, tugging the brown cardboard visor perched over her bushy caterpillar eyebrows. “They’re only a quarter more each.”

“No,” the man in black answered abruptly. “Heavy cream will be just fine, thank you.” He longed for the days when coffee was coffee.

The clerk handed him his order, though the cups looked more like tankards of ale than coffees, and he suddenly had no idea where to put them. The cup holders in the Audi weren’t nearly big enough, one drawback to German automotive design. He could almost see the motel in the distance, so he made do by putting them between Dom’s legs.

***

The man in black pulled into the motel parking lot, the damp leaves spinning behind him as he slowed to a stop outside the door. He rechecked his watch, only a few minutes left to get Dom inside.

He opened the passenger door and reached in to grab the coffees. Once again he had nowhere to put them so he put them on the roof, hoping the scalding liquid wouldn’t ruin the finish. Dom was fading fast, so he leaned back in to pull him out. He slung Dom’s arm over his shoulder as he stumbled across the lot, wet leaves slopping up his shoes. Dom’s shiny boots dragged along the damp pavement.

He fumbled with the key, trying to remember which pocket it was in. Of course, he led Dom with his right arm, and the keys were in his right pocket. He quickly let go of Dom, hoping he’d remain upright for a few seconds. Dom wobbled and smiled a creepy dead smile, his brilliantly white teeth dazzling in the fading sun. The clouds were moving closer, blotting out the light.

He shoved the key in the lock and opened the door, grabbing Dom before he wobbled over to the ground. He quickly shut the door and grabbed a chair, sitting Dom down before he could tie things up. He grabbed a footlong zip tie from his coat pocket and wrapped it around Dom’s wrists. He pulled a black cloth bag from his other pocket and slid it over Dom’s head.

He stepped back and looked at Dom’s lifeless body in the chair. Judging from his size, he figured he’d be out for about eight hours. That was the one problem with doing it so early. He’d waste a perfectly good day sitting around waiting for him to wake back up. Doing it at night wasn’t an option since there’d be too many people around at that point. Oh well, he thought, he’d make do with it.

With Dom secured, he slowly opened the door, making sure no one was watching. He’d left the coffee on the roof of the car and needed to get it while it was still hot. He stepped outside and grabbed the two cups, carefully wiping the roof with the sleeve of his jacket.

He took a sip of one as a craggly old woman appeared out of nowhere.

“Oh, there you are!” Mrs. Maxwell said, toying with her silver-streaked dirty blonde hair. “I saw you a few days ago when you pulled in, nice car.” She smiled a toothy grin stained by years of too much coffee, clearly flirting with him.

He didn’t want to deal with her, fearing she'd soon start talking about the weather. He smiled and winked at her. Away she went thinking of the next things she’d need to do in her day, forgetting all about the man in black.

He set the coffees back on the roof and rubbed his tongue along the front of his teeth, wondering if they'd end up like her's someday. He shrugged and made a mental note to drink more water every day. He tucked Weisman's papers under his arm and grabbed the coffees, again wiping down the roof with his sleeve.

With his hands full, he gingerly tapped the door with his right foot and went back inside. He closed the door behind him, flipped the lights on and sat down to read.

***

He spent the rest of the day flipping through notes on Dom. It wasn’t the most exciting thing to do because he already knew most of it. He had the same files from his superiors. He was merely cross-referencing his records with the information that Commander Weisman gave him.

It was a huge challenge to find every little bit they could, but they relied on surveillance footage from the beginning of time. Everything was cataloged, no matter how insignificant.

One extra tidbit he discovered through Weisman’s offerings – Dom had given up taking the winning shot in a basketball game to another player who was in a better position. Somehow something small and inconsequential from years back slipped through the cracks for his investigators.

That was a turning point for Dom and the last few years hinged on this selfless act. The kid he gave the ball to never ended up playing again, and Dom went on to many more glories than even he could remember. The other kid, though, never forgot that day the rest of his life, or at least that’s what the records showed. He looked up to Dom and gave him credit and defended him whenever anyone called him a showoff or worse.

It was the best thing Dom had done to that point. One unselfish moment had huge implications down the line. Or they would; they didn’t know how all that would play out in the grand scheme of things.

He set the papers aside and flipped on the TV. As he scanned through the channels on the TV, he couldn’t believe how much junk was on during the day. Even with 500 channels he still couldn’t find anything interesting.

He settled on a cooking show. A mountain of a man stood in a smoky haze with giant slabs of ribs and brisket, slowly smoking them to death and slathering vats of red sauce over the top. The coffee with cream hadn’t done much for him, and now he was even more hungry after watching that. He flipped over to the Weather Channel and tried to ignore the rumbling in his stomach.

From the forthcoming short story, Domination of the SPOOKS: A Man Meets His Mission.

Copyright © 2018 Chad V. Holtkamp.

All rights reserved.

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