A Section from a Novel by edRogers
Chapter 20. A New Plan
As Tom pulled down the drive to his house, he felt a warmth come over him. It had been almost a month and a half, but it felt like years since he was home. This was the first time he had thought of this house as his home. In his mind, it had always been the place where he lived, but now he understood what it meant to come home. Mary must have given him these feelings. He wondered what else he would find that Mary had changed about him.
Tom parked the car and leaned against the door. He felt at peace looking at the shadows from the setting sun – yes, it was good to be home. He also felt the deep pain of being alone.
Tom closed the car door and went into the house through the kitchen, where he sat his bag on the counter, intending to go on to the living room. The one thing that had sold him on buying this house was its big living room with the large fireplace. And he wanted to go in there right now and start a fire.
A voice from a dark corner of the kitchen said, “Mr. Warring, don’t do anything you’ll regret and you will live to see tomorrow.”
Tom froze. His mind began racing to find an idea what to do, but nothing made good sense, and every option ended with him dead.
The voice said, “Sit down in that chair. I’m not here to hurt you. If I were, you would already be dead.”
Tom was not feeling all that heroic at the moment and quickly decided that sitting would do just fine since he was having a hard time standing. His legs were suddenly weak and his stomach felt as though it were tied into a knot.
Tom pulled out a chair from the kitchen table and sat, with his elbows resting on its arms. His could hear footsteps moving around from behind him. The first thing he saw was the gun – it was big, and a black hole of death was aimed at his head.
“You can call me Pete if that will make you feel more at ease.”
The voice pulled Tom’s attention away from the view of pending death and he saw a well-tanned man with black hair and cold blue eyes. He was an over-dressed, handsome person who looked more like a banker than a killer.
“Okay, Pete, what’s this all about?”
“It’s about the story you think you have. You see, there is no story.”
“There is a story,” Tom said, “and I know what it is. And so do a lot of other people.”
“If there were a story you would be dead, killed the second you entered the house. However, your death now could cause your paper to rethink discarding what you have told them. Certain people would not like that. You see, you’re the only one alive who wants that story told. No one will be willing to corroborate your allegations. So, like I said, there is no story.”
Tom asked, “Just who are these people you think won’t corroborate my story?”
“Well,” laughed Pete, “there was the pilot in Finland whose plane crashed in the mountains. There’s the professor here in the States who died in a house fire. Then there were the two Russians who both died in explosions. Then there was the German couple – but I don’t think you knew them, they were friends of the Cahill girl, who ran off the road and died.”
Tom was on his feet again, his blood coursing.
“Now, now, Mr. Warring, sit back down…unless you wish to join your girlfriend.”
Reluctantly, Tom sat down.
“Let me see, is that all? Oh, that’s right. I almost forgot your friend Jake in Vietnam. Hell of a thing. His whole house blew up. Then I understand that a General Wainwright was killed by friendly fire while on a tour of Iraq.” Pete spoke with a contemptuous sneer. “There may be more. But you get the idea. You are alone in this, and because of that, we are going to let you live. It would only draw more attention to your story if we killed you. We know your paper has refused to publish it. It is better if we just let people think you’re a drunken fool. How many people do you think are going to believe that the President of the United States would be part of a plot to take over the government?”
Pete looked closely at Tom to see what effect his words were having on him. “I should warn you: don’t start feeling too safe – the vote to let you live was a close one.
“I’m here to tell you to stay out of our business, and we’ll forget any of this ever happened. Your problems with the police have been resolved – we don’t need outsiders poking around. Now we can all just get on with our lives.”
“What kind of men are you?” Tom asked. “You kill all these people, and yet you can talk about getting on with our lives. What about the lives of those you killed? They have to count for something.”
“What you need to ask yourself, Mr. Warring, is how many more could die because of you?”
Pete stood up and pointed the gun at Tom’s head. “If that many people died because of how stupid I was, I’d want someone to pull the trigger on me.”
“If you’re going to kill me,” Tom replied, “then get it over with. I’m tired of listening to this bullshit.” As Tom waited for the bullet, he was thinking that Pete was right – death wasn’t such a bad thing. But he was now gripping the arms of his chair tightly.
“I would love to put you out of your misery, but I follow orders. This time they’re to talk to you. Maybe next time I’ll be lucky and they’ll order me to kill you. Until then, remember what I told you: stay out of our business.”
Pete stepped toward the kitchen door. “Don’t get up. I’ll see myself out.”
Tom heard the door close but he didn’t make a move to stand up. His mind was running ninety miles per hour and going nowhere. His eyes were fixed on the back kitchen wall in front of him. He still had a death grip on the arms of the chair.
He spent the night sitting there reliving the love, hate, and fear that had become his life. It was one long nightmare, which ended only as the warm morning sunlight came in through the kitchen window.
[Editor’s Note: The novel from which these excerpts are taken can be ordered from Amazon, as either a paperback or a Kindle book.]
Chapter 20 was serialized on Moristotle & Co. on June 13, 2017, at https://moristotle.blogspot.com/2017/06/fiction-unwanted-president-chapters-19.html.