House of V (Unraveled Series) (26 page)

BOOK: House of V (Unraveled Series)
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“Awesome,” he said before he took a
swig from his cup. The smell of Vodka stung my nose. “I’m just so glad you
came. Everyone is going to be so thrilled to see you. They really are a great
group of guys. You’ve got to trust me on this one.”

What was with trusting everyone? There wasn’t anything trust-worthy about this
situation, but I nodded my head anyway. “I’m sure they are.”

“Good, good,” he said as he stopped
just short of the living room. I heard a buzz of soft voices talking and
laughing just a few feet around the corner. “Just to warn you, there’s going to
be a fair amount of questions, if that’s all right? Hopefully nothing too
jarring, but just, you
some questions about
Holston and that day. The guys here have read a lot about your story and have
followed it from the beginning. This is their chance to explore a living

“No problem.” I shrugged my
shoulders and followed his lead toward the light.

The room fell dead silent the
moment we walked in and every head turned toward me all at once. I felt the
eyes of fifteen men dressed in black, some wearing fedoras, studying me as
Jeremy handed me a red Solo cup to match the rest of the crowd. It bothered me,
not the black, but the fedoras. I wanted to flip each and every single one of
those hats on the ground and smother them beneath my boot. I never wanted to
see another fedora again.

I scanned the room and took stock
of the replaced wing-backed chairs and new couch in the same places I
remembered from that day last year. I leaned over the couch to see a pristine
surface; there was no red stain from James. My eyes travelled to where
Holston’s body once laid in a pool of blood. The rug was gone and the floor was
scrubbed clean as far as I could tell in the dim lighting. Two men were sitting
in the chairs where I had seen my mother and sister sitting as they had been
held against their will by Holston. The memory was still there, festering in my
mind like an open sore. It all came flooding back to me in a wave that made my
head foggy and my vision blurred. I blinked hard, not once but a dozen times
until the room came into sharp focus again.

“HP Chapter, I would like to
introduce our guest of honor,
Parker.” Jeremy stood
tall next to me, grinning like a proud parent. He put his arm around my
shoulder and gave it a tight squeeze as if we’d been friends for years, not the
mere acquaintances we had become in the last twenty-four hours.


I could have sworn I heard the
gunshot echoing in my ears and the smell of gun powder and blood wafting
through my nose, the shriek of my mother and the moans of James on the couch.


I felt my legs buckling beneath me,
but my head forced them to hang on and stay straight. So I did what any normal
person would do in this situation. I held my cup in the air and said, “Cheers.”

A loud “Holy shit” rang through the

And that’s what did it. The men
erupted in a small round of clapping and hollering as they took turns patting
Jeremy on his back.

By now, I only maybe had ten
minutes to find out any information. I had to do it fast.

“I’m happy to answer any questions
that you have,” I said, raising my cup once again in a joyous salute. I still
didn’t take a drink. Instead, I dropped the cup against my thigh and scoped out
a good place to set it down. I wanted both my hands available.

I scanned the shadowed faces of the
men, trying to profile each of them, but the light wasn’t bright enough to make
out all their features. However I recognized the two men in baseball caps,
still wearing the same hats from the night before. And the older man in the
glasses. He was one of the men that wore a fedora. That left nine unknowns.

“What was it like? I mean killing
your father and everything?” The question came from an unknown in the back with
a thick southern accent.
Kentucky, maybe.

“Jerry, you asshole, he wasn’t her
real dad.” The guy next to him elbowed him in the side.

“Well, whatever, you know what I
meant. What was it like? And is it true that you aren’t really his daughter?”
Jerry asked the question again.

Remember, Holston took her and raised her as his own, but he
actually took the wrong kid.” The guy hit Jerry in the chest and then shook his
head. “Sorry for Jerry’s question. It’s been a long day. We drove up from
Kentucky, left at five this morning.”

Count these two assholes out on
taking Sister Josephine.
Down to seven unknowns.

All eyes moved to me.

“No, I’m not his daughter. And
killing him was like the best sex you’ve ever had,” I replied with a straight
face. I knew this was going to get these guys going. The group busted out in a
short-lived laughter that was followed up with another question.

“Be honest, how long did you know
that your father was a vigilante?” This question came from one of the guys in
the baseball caps.

“About an hour before I shot him,”
I said coolly.

“How long were you planning it?”
Another shout-out from the back of the room.

“I didn’t plan it,” I said
carefully, finally shifting to put the cup down on the sofa console ahead of
me. I felt the tape that secured my microphone pull against my chest. “It was

There were a few snickers
throughout the room that were quickly followed by a heated discussion between


“No way.
There’s no possibly way. It was too planned.
Too calculated.”

“Where were you anyway on your
hiatus? You came back for a reason, didn’t you?”

The talk swirled around my head as
I tried to pinpoint one question to answer, but they were firing questions too
fast. I couldn’t keep up with them all, so I stood there instead, assessing
each and every one of them. No one was standing out as a person of interest,
and I had little time left. This wasn’t going anywhere.

Damn it.

Jeremy leaned toward me and
whispered in my ear, “That’s a huge point of contention for the group. They all
think you planned it. You had to plan it, right?”

I shook my head no.

“All right, all
Settle down,” Jeremy said, talking over the group. “I think this
is a bad way to do this. Why don’t we let
around, and we can talk in smaller groups. Let this party roll a little more
freely. You can get your questions answered one-on-one without the noise of the
group. After all, she didn’t really sign up to be a speaker at this event.

I nodded my head, thankful for
Jeremy’s interruption. This might give me the chance that I needed to get
closer to some of these guys. I needed real information, fast.

The men agreed and went back to the
small groups they had been in before we walked in. The laughter and buzz of the
room immediately started again.

“Thanks,” I whispered to Jeremy. I
maybe had five to six minutes left, and I wasn’t getting anywhere. The Appleton
Police Department would come barreling in here before I had a chance to find
anything out. I scoped out the room and scanned for targets. There was a loner
in the back. The two baseball caps that looked relatively harmless. None of
them screamed to me, but I knew I had to start somewhere. I headed toward the
loner in the back when I was cut off by the guy in the glasses and fedora from
the other night.

Parker,” he said as he held his hand out. I dug my fingernails into my palm to
prevent myself from flicking off his hat. I shoved my other hand into his
sweaty palm.
“Pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise,” I said, studying his
eyes behind the glasses. There were bags around his eyes and deep set wrinkles
beginning to form. He was most likely in his fifties, maybe even pushing his
sixties. Neat in appearance with that same slicked to the side hair that he’d
had at the bar. Accountant, I guessed. Or maybe Engineer. Someone I wouldn’t
necessarily pick out of a crowd.

Killers are just that, though, you
don’t pick them out of the crowd. The good ones that get away with it are
“normal”, somewhat average-looking individuals that are so-called socially
adjusted. They’re calculated and know how to work the system. My mind raced
back to the picture of Holston and Sister Josephine. The other boy in the
picture would be around the same age as Holston. I let my arm fall to my waist
as he started talking.

“I’m such a fan of yours,” he said,
pushing his glasses further onto his face. “Your father was an amazing man. A
true visionary with plans, but I understood your need to kill him. He did
deserve it, after all. Had it not been for those poor boys, it would have been
a different story. It’s a shame really, that something so early had to ruin the
rest of his career.”

The word stuck like the rot of a corpse.

“Vigilantism is a call to action, a
career in ridding the world of evil. It was his career to take out the bad
seeds one by one. And you, in turn, were mentored to take on the role.
Although, it appears that you haven’t been fulfilling your role, lately.”

This guy had definitely gotten
under my skin and fast. It had only taken him a mouthful of words to get him
there. He was talking about Holston as if he were a Financial Planner. Killing
people like Holston had
a career. It was
psychotic. Even
, the girl who killed her own
so-called father, knew that. The fact that I killed the people I
had to
make me a vigilante; a visionary, according to this sick bastard. It made me a
survivor, a
, and too stubborn
to give up on my life, even though it was a crappy one at best.

“Oh yeah?”
I said, glancing around me. Jeremy was just off to my right, talking with one
of the baseball caps.

“Where have you been?” he asked. “I
thought maybe you had disappeared for good. It sounded like you had fled the
country, but there weren’t any traces of you. I see you’re back now. Was there
a particular reason why you came back?”

“I can’t tell you where I’ve been,”
I said, glancing at the sweat dripping down his brow. “But I will tell you that
I came back for a funeral.”

“Oh yeah?
Whose funeral is that?” His face lit up with an uncensored surge of excitement
that I wanted to scrub off with an abrasive kitchen pad.

“A lifelong
friend of mine.
A mentor, I guess, really. Father
died of a heart attack a few days ago,” I replied, feeling my heart begin to
pulse against my chest. My fingers twitched, ready to grab the gun.

His face fell in disappointment as
he wiped his hand against his shirt, “Oh, I hadn’t heard that.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t catch your

“Doesn’t matter,” he mumbled before
he slipped his hand in his front pocket. I jerked my hand to my chest about to
pull out the gun when he retrieved a small, folded piece of paper from his
pocket. He briefly looked at it before he turned it toward me. “I wanted to
know what you thought about this.”

I looked down at the list;
Holston’s clear handwriting stung my eyes. I pulled the paper closer to me to
see that it was a photocopy of the TBK list that Sanchez had shown me yesterday
except this list had a thick black line through Fred Sullivan’s name. And
Griffin was checked off. I looked down to see my name with a question mark
behind it. The man pulled the paper back out of my hands.

“I didn’t know where you were,
until now,” he said as his lips quivered into a crooked smile. “I’m so lucky to
have met you. It was a surprise to say the least.”

“Where did you get this list?” I

He shrugged his shoulders in simple

“The list.
Where did you get this list?” I asked again. I tried to steady my voice, but I
could feel it rising, the anger in my throat cased my words.

“The world is a vast place,
,” he responded with a tip of his hat.

“Why is Fred Sullivan’s name
crossed off?” I asked, keeping my eyes on him as I pointed to the list in his

“I thought you would be pleased,”
he responded as his eyes searched my face. He was taken off guard, completely
surprised with my anger and accusations.

I felt it then, the realization
that the man standing before me had killed Fred Sullivan, but he was wrong
about how I felt about it. I didn’t give a shit about the fact that he’d
murdered Fred Sullivan.

“Where is she?” I shoved the letter
back into his chest.

“Where’s who?” he asked, stumbling
backward with the thrust of my hand.

“Don’t act like you don’t know, you
bastard,” I hissed before I held up my hands. “I’m here. Take me if you want
me.” This was it. I knew it, I could feel it.

“I don’t know what you’re talking
about. Who is she?” he asked again as he folded the paper carefully and put it
back in his pocket. “I don’t know who you think I am, but
- ”

And then it came. I couldn’t stop
it. I reached inside my jacket, pulled out the gun, and pressed the barrel into
his chest.

“Whoa, what the hell,” he said. He
put his hands up and stepped backward. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw
Jeremy lunge toward me from my side. I flung my arm out and attempted to block
him, but it gave the man enough time to make his move. He turned and sprinted
through the crowd and out the back of the living room as Jeremy pulled down on
my arm. I spun toward him and aimed the barrel at his forehead.

BOOK: House of V (Unraveled Series)
8.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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