by Louise Dragon
At the dead end of Peebles Street, on the south side of Memphis, Monks' seedy little hovel crouched in the shadow of the barred and deserted Morelli fortress. An enormous birch tree with limbs like girders dripped red, spade-shaped leaves over a small barn in Monk's tissue-sized back yard. "Ernie's Auto & Engine Repair" was scrawled across a wide plank above the barn door. A Buick grille grinned broken teeth across a mound of old, rusted auto parts.
"Business's has been slow," Monks spoke for the first time since giving Brad the directions. "Why don't you pull her around back and pop the hood? You got a valve sticking in there."
Brad opened his mouth to protest, then decided to do as the man asked. Perhaps if he kept him busy, it would help control some of the fear that rolled off Monks like waves of electric current.
While Monks pulled out tools and busied himself under the hood of the Chevy, Brad walked about the property to get a feel of the layout. He was sure the Wrenge would remain high off the ground. Somewhere partially secluded from where it could begin its evil work without detection. That meant, the tree, the barn roof, or possibly the Morelli place.
"It's getting dark," Monks shouted from beneath the hood. "Shouldn't we go in and lock the doors and windows?"
"Na," Brad said. "Even bars on the windows didn't help your friend, Morelli. I'd rather be out in the open, where I can move around. Got any flashlights?"
"I can do better than that." Monks went into the barn and switched on a floodlight recessed into the eaves of the barn. Night shadows disappeared, leaving Brad an unobstructed view of the surrounding area. "Here's a flashlight too, just in case," Monks said, handing Brad a large red cylinder. "You any good with that thing?" He was pointing at the service revolver holstered just below Brad's left armpit.
"I can shoot a pimple off a wino's ass from two blocks away," Brad said with a nervous laugh.
Neither man noticed the dark stain growing across the fallen red leaves at the base of the giant birch tree.
Continued . . .
Link to Wrenge (1)
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