Deceit Among The Pack

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Chapter 15


It took me about twenty minutes longer to get home than usual because even though my neighbors are spaced far between they all must’ve heard or felt some of what was going on so they must’ve called 911 thinking they were helping when in reality it made it worse for us. By the time I was able to get close enough to my drive way and start heading towards everyone with David beside me some newbie stuck his hand on my shoulder yelling at me not to cross the line just seconds before I flipped him onto his back telling him not to touch me. He was too out of breath to stop me and the couple that were close enough to help him saw how quickly I threw him when he was bigger than me as well as the huge bulking man beside me and thought better than to come say something to us. I walked up to the middle of the group that was surrounding my people asking a million and one questions that couldn’t be answered while they continued to get the same answers from my guys which is, “I can’t answer that due to national security!”

It was easy to see that all the LEO’s were getting frustrated and when I walked up and told them to leave and forget they ever got this call, they were even more so. I’m not sure if that’s due to the hour, maybe some of them were woke up, or because they weren’t getting the answers they wanted while military trucks were coming and going with all of their “evidence” while they weren’t allowed in. The first man laughed hysterically at what I said at first thinking I was playing with him and to be honest David had to put his hand on my shoulder to remind me that I couldn’t drop him as well, since he wasn’t my target and I was just irritated. I stopped shaking and pulled out my phone.

I called my brother telling him what was going on at home and he informed the President. Within five minutes all of the LEO’s phones were ringing with either the Sheriff, Captain of the Police, or Captain of the State Patrols calling them all off and telling them to return to their post. I just smiled a pretty nasty smile at them and waved goodbye at the slack jawed croons as they all turned to walk away while asking how I did that and who I called or how I made that happen so quickly and who exactly I was to be able to pull so many strings so quickly.

Once they were all gone the neighbors that walked over continued staring at the aftermath of last night’s battle but none commented or even came too close at first. Gary had directed the construction crews to the pool shed and told them to get on it double time and to be careful because there was a panic room beneath it that had people in it. Though they weren’t sure of exactly who he was, or what rank for that matter, they didn’t question him since they watched him with me and my team and how he was pretty close to being a part of us even though he wasn’t. Gary may technically work for me but all of us knew that was just a technicality because Gary was more like the father I never really had.

The clean-up crews had just finished with all the dead bodies in the house and some came out to take a statement from each of us out there but when they got to me I just gave them an evil look so they backed away mumbling they’d get it later.

It had only taken six hours to get the panic room unburied from the rubble and the construction crews were going full force at getting the damage fixed to all the property. Lord knows I need it done soon, especially if I’m going to catch my ghost before Kristi and Jojo got married and she had their baby, which was going to be very soon, so I could give them this house as a wedding present.

I was mentally making a list of everything that needed to be done and every turn I made gave me ten more things I had to do. I work well under pressure but this was getting to be a pain in the ass. This damn list was never ending. Right when I started getting annoyed the most I heard my babies yelling and I knew they were out and running for me. Even Eliana and Angelo came running at me yelling Momma. I was so overjoyed at seeing my babies ok that my annoyance at everything seemed to melt away. They renew me every day and make everything I’m going through better and bearable.

About an hour after the kids and others got out of the panic room Becky and I went in to get the kids some clothes and toys to last a couple weeks and Becky got her things as well as me getting mine and Logan’s things. Once we were out we watched the kids while the guys went in to get their things. After everyone had their things we loaded the kids up and the body guards took David and the kids to Logan’s house to stay until this one is finished or until the new house is finished. Whatever comes first.

Jojo, Christiaan, Gary and I stayed back to get everything taken care of here. There was lots of debris to go through and get whatever could be salvaged out as well as starting to get the rest of the house packed up while the construction crews fixed the parts of the house that got screwed up. Every hole I passed I thought of my ghost more and more and I realized how deeply rooted my anger is for this man. I’m not sure if it’s even possible for me to hate anyone more than I hated this man. I couldn’t wait to get my hands around his throat and feel his life slowly leaving his body as I squeezed as hard as possible.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

It had been almost 10 days since the fight at my house and Logan was coming home today. The kids and I have been at the hospital every day since he had been in there and though I’m glad he’s been healing well, he can tell there’s something different between us. He hasn’t asked yet and I haven’t said anything, but we both know there’s going to be an explosion between us soon. Today is the kids first day of school so I’m taking them all to school myself, and then I am going to pick Logan up from the hospital.

When I got to the hospital Logan was up and moving around and grumbling about the crappy food hospitals served. I laughed a little as I watched from the crack in the door while he walked back and forth with his ass sticking out of the hospital gown. When he heard me chuckling he spun quickly thinking I was someone else and Eddie came running to the door in a hurry to make sure whoever it was didn’t get in. When he saw me he stopped short and smiled a little while opening the door the rest of the way for me. When I walked in I sat the bag of clothes down on the bed for Logan to go through and get dressed as well as shave his facial hair back down to something manageable. Once he was dressed he was sitting on the bed tying his boots when the doctor walked in to do a final check of him before he was released.

After the doctor was done and Logan was ready to go we headed down to the car with Eddie. When we got to the car and started heading out of the parking garage Logan looked at me with such…curiosity is the only word I could think of to describe his look. No other word seemed to fit. I knew what he was curious about, but I wasn’t ready to have this conversation with him yet.

We pulled into our driveway about forty minutes later and we started heading in when Logan stopped me. Eddie stopped to see what we were doing but as soon as he saw us standing there in front of the car he turned around and kept going. I stood there looking at Logan with a blank expression on my face waiting for him to say his peace. When he didn’t start right away I turned to walk away but as soon as I did Logan stopped me again.

When I turned to him a second time he began his approach. “Rain, I know you’re upset at me for what I did that night, but I was scared of him getting away. I thought I could take him myself and I didn’t want Madison to get hurt. I know you hate what I did but I still think I did what was best.”

We stood there looking at each other for a couple of minutes and when he realized I wasn’t planning on giving him an answer he kept going.

“Rain, will you please talk to me?”

“Logan, we have nothing to talk about. You know you shouldn’t have done what you did but you did it anyway, even after you were told not to butt in when it came to him. You were told to let me and my team handle things, and you didn’t listen. And since you didn’t listen you not only got yourself stabbed but you hurt Madison in the process. And she’s pregnant!”

Logan looked extremely startled and even more beside himself than I would’ve thought when I said that to him. I hated making him feel so bad for hurting Madison but he needed to know that he shouldn’t have done what he did. I was so furious at him for almost getting himself killed and for butting in when he shouldn’t have letting my ghost get away. The longer I stood there looking at him the more and more he seemed to look extremely sick at the notion of not only hurting a woman, but a pregnant woman.

I know I should’ve said something to him to ease his regret, but I couldn’t. Not right then. I was still so angry at him for what he did. So much so that I couldn’t even ease my husband’s pain. Instead I let him stand there in his sea of misery without so much as throwing a life raft to him. The truth is, at that very moment, I really didn’t know how to ease his pain. All I knew was my rage.

After standing there for a couple more moments I turned around and walked away from him and into the house. About another minute later Logan walked in. As soon as he did he started coming towards me like he was going to say something else but before he could my phone rang. It was Berdina calling. Berdina had gone back to work at the Winters Building the day after the incident at my home.

I had to go into the office because something happened last night but Berdina wouldn’t tell me what. All she said was that I needed to get in there as soon as I possibly could. Oh, great. Now what?

When I got there, there were Police, Homeland Security and Military all over the place while most of our workers were standing behind the barrier watching the Feds and Military go in and out of the building while the police simply managed the barracade.

Berdina was standing there talking to everyone and looking extremely pissed off. She was directing traffic there, so to speak. When she noticed me she came over to meet me in the middle to fill me in on what was happening.

Apparently, someone decided to break into our building and killed all of our night guards, as well as taking all of our hard drives on the top floor. What they didn’t know was that I installed my program on all of our hard drives and anyone who tried to upload anything from them when they didn’t have the correct override code, or tried to hack them; that hard drive would delete everything as well as all of the others, in one move. All of our data gets stored on my portable hard drive at the end of every night.

So basically they stole very expensive, empty, hard drives. I wonder how long it took them to figure that out.

As I was starting to go inside one of the Homeland Security men walked up to me and started bitching about me coming around the barricade and how I couldn’t be in there. I gave him a nasty look and told him that I owned the company and would do whatever the hell I damn well pleased. I guess because I was in a tight pencil skirt and four inch stilettos he thought he would be able to man handle me since that was exactly what he tried to do. Only, he moved too slowly and I already had him on the ground with my shoe on his throat and his arm twisted while he screamed in pain.

“I don’t like to be touched! I’ll do whatever the hell I want to do here since I own this building, as I said, and as far as what happened here being classified, well, I have a higher security clearance than you do, so mind your business and stay the hell out of my way! Is that clear?”

I got a lot of disgruntled mumbles and begging for me to let go. There were a few different people standing there watching the exchange between me and the government lackey on the ground. The people that worked for Logan and me were standing there with their mouth open and eyes wide.

After a few moments I let the man up and finished walking inside with Berdina. I was mortified at the depravity of the torture that was done to my security guards. They were blitz attacked with a blow to the head, then tied up and skinned alive. When they were done being skinned they were strung up and put on display in the windows for everyone to see. The Medical Examiner figured the first one had been dead for just over two hours for the last one killed and over seven hours for the first man killed.

I stooped down and looked at the bodies. I was walking around the deceased employees as well as where they were killed and where they were strung up. I was looking at the crime scene intently trying to figure out what could’ve possibly needed this level of cruelty. I couldn’t think of anything that could’ve possibly called for this. Even if this man wanted to kill me or even wanted me to suffer he had no need to do this to innocent people.

As I was standing there I could see there were a few people that were walking up to me but I didn’t acknowledge them right away. I was still running through a million different scenarios trying to figure out why this level of depravity was necessary to send me a message when killing them all was message enough as it was. I stood there for another couple of moments contemplating what evidence they could’ve left behind that CSU may have missed, or even something they may not have missed that I could still use to find this animal and put him down.

A moment later I was asking Berdina to track down the CSU tech and have them email me a copy of their report as soon as they finished it. When Berdina started walking away the agent in charge of Homeland Security’s investigation came up to me to take a statement before he left. As it turns out the agent is Logan’s section chief. He seemed a little surprised by the fact that I didn’t know who he was but that I knew that Logan was a Homeland Security Agent while I, on the other hand, was not.

“Mrs. Winters, do you have any idea who would break into yours and Logan’s building to steal the Company’s hard drives and kill all the employees?”

“Do I look like an idiot? Of course I know who did this!”

“Mrs. Winters, I meant no disrespect when I asked that question. You don’t look like an idiot to me either. It’s just a question I have to ask since your husband is who he is and you are who you are. There are a lot of different aspects at play here and we need to know whether you two have been compromised or if this attack was on the company itself.”

“Look, Agent Smith, this attack wasn’t on Logan, Homeland Security, or the Company. This attack was on me and my team, and us only. There are certain elements to this investigation that have some things to do with Homeland Security but it’s not what you think. This man is after me, my team and my family because we know who he is, what he’s done and what he wants and until we catch him and kill him, or he catches us and kills us, he will never stop.”

“Please then, Mrs. Winters, by all means, tell me who this man is so I can catch him and bring him in so this can stop.”

“Are you serious? You have to be a special kind of stupid to think you can just waltz up and grab this man and bring him into custody for what he’s done when you have no idea who he is or what he’s capable of. Hell! It’s taken me and my team years to get enough on this man to be able to bring him down and that was after having to figure out who he was. If we haven’t been able to bring him down yet then you won’t even get close, because let’s face it, my team is better than anybody you have, and that’s not me being cocky, that’s me being realistic. You need to just take a few steps back and let the Army handle this, because I can assure you, we will handle this and it will be done before the week is up. If you want to help then you can get this investigation taken care of quickly, get your men out of here, release a statement to the press claiming this was a random attack to try to steal data from the company and let us open our doors again by the end of today so we can set our plan in motion to get this man caught and off the streets. Oh, and make sure you have CSU and your investigators send me a full jacket on this investigation and everything that was discovered here so I know every detail about this crime scene. It’ll help me get to Mr. Tressler that much quicker.”

After standing there and looking at me for a minute Mr. Smith said a quick ‘Yes, Mam’ and walked away taking the rest of his men with him while they all whispered back and forth about the way I talked to their boss and how he agreed to what I asked of him. Once they were about ten to fifteen feet away I knelt down beside the skinned body of my security guard and said a small prayer for him. Then I moved on to the next one and did the same. I repeated the process until all of them had been prayed over. Once I was finished the Coroner came up and started loading the bodies into the body bags to take them away.

I looked up the personal info for all of the murdered guards so I could get the home addresses and family histories of them because I was about to do the hardest things in the world. I was about to go tell their families that their loved ones wouldn’t be coming home. The local PD and Homeland Security offered to do that for me but I refused. These men and women worked for me so it was my responsibility to tell their families.

Just as I was getting ready to leave Madison walked in. She said Berdina called her. Berdina knew I would be notifying the families personally and she didn’t want me to have to do that alone, and she wasn’t able to leave because she had to stay there and take care of things until everything was complete. Madison walked up to me and asked if I was ok. I just shook my head no. There was nothing okay about the way that man did all those innocent people just to get back at me. Before I left to notify the families I walked out to address the other workers I had. They deserved to know what was going on so they could take precautions themselves.

“Everyone that works for me I ask that you follow me to the parking garage so I can fill you in on what exactly is going on and let you know what you need to do.”

Everyone followed Madison and me to the parking garage including some reporters we had to weed out. Once that was done and we only had employees there I made my statement.

“Okay everyone, I know you’re all wondering what’s going on so I’m going to fill you in. I ask that you not ask questions until the end so we have time to get everything out. Late last night or early thing morning the company was broken into and all of our security guards were murdered. We know who did it and for those of you that don’t know, I am military. And my team is here with me and we will catch this mad man and we will make him pay for what he did to our family. I say family because that is exactly how Logan and I think of all of you. You are all our family and we won’t let this go unpunished. I ask that none of you call or go to the victims’ families until tomorrow because when I leave here I will be going to their homes to notify them personally and to see what we can do to help. We will also be putting on a benefit to help out the families of the fallen employees in a few days, so keep that in mind. Alright, does anyone have any questions?”

Katelynn asked a question. “Why did this happen? I mean what exactly were the men after?”

“You all know I’m military, as I said, and the man responsible for this heinous crime thought there may be some national secrets on our databases so he thought if he stole our hard drives that he could then get those secrets and get a better advantage.”

John commented, “Did he get what he wanted?”

“No, John. I installed a program that uploads the entire data to my personal cloud at the end of business day, and randomly throughout the day, and anyone that tries to access those hard drives wipes the contents immediately. Everything we have is safe.”

Krystal commented next. “So I know it’s none of our business but what happened in there exactly?”

I hesitated for a few moments before answering. “Honestly, the men that broke in killed all of our guards, you don’t need to know how. You don’t want that image in your head, trust me. If there are no more questions, then I do ask that all of you keep this information to yourselves until tomorrow so we have a chance to tell the families personally and they don’t hear it on the six o’clock news like everyone else. As far as today goes, you all will be receiving paid time off for today and tomorrow. We’ll reconvene Wednesday at normal business hours so enjoy your time off and have fun. I do forewarn all of you though, until we catch the man responsible, all of you need to be vigilant. Keep your eyes open and if for some reason you see something suspicious or think someone is following you, then please feel free to call myself, Berdina, or any of the Homeland Security agents in charge of the investigation today and we will make sure we get to you immediately to check on any threats. As I said, we consider all of you family and we have every intention of keeping our family safe. If you call Homeland Security tell them Mrs. Winters told you to call in case of an emergency. Again, I want to remind all of you not to talk about the situation here until at minimum tomorrow so we have plenty of time to notify the families of the deceased and make arrangements. Thank you everyone, and be safe. I’ll see you all on Wednesday”

When I was finished everyone started walking away and getting into their vehicles while Madison and I got into the Bentley I had just bought a few weeks ago. This was really the first time I was getting to drive it since buying it. I can’t fit all the kids in here and I definitely can’t fit my whole team in here so I can only drive it when I’m either by myself or when it’s just me and a couple other people. I loved this car, though I think I just paid for the name since there are plenty of other cars that are just as nice and far less expensive.

Oh well. Thirty minutes later I was pulling into the driveway of the first guard’s family. Dave had been in the company as the head security guard for more than thirty years and he was only six months away from retirement. When Madison and I got to the door and rang the doorbell I started getting a little morning sickness. Maybe it was just nerves since I hated having to tell someone their loved one was dead. A gentle grandmotherly old lady answered the door with a nice smile and ushered us in right away.

Once inside we sat down and the nice old woman sat there looking at me and waiting for me to say something. I wasn’t prepared for what came next.

“Mam, my name is Rain Winters and my husband and I own the company your husband, Dave worked for over the past thirty years.”

Immediately the woman lost her smile. “What do you mean ‘worked’? And what could have possibly happened to bring the owner of the company into my home?”

“I’m so sorry to have to tell you this mam, but last night, your husband was murdered in the building. It seems someone broke in to steal some things and your husband tried to stop them. The men rounded every one of the night guards up and killed them all. Your husband died trying to protect some of the younger men. I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, but I thought you would prefer to hear it from me instead of some stranger.”

The old woman sat there for what seemed like forever. Then out of nowhere she started screaming and crying. She was shaking so bad that I thought she might have been having a seizure. All she kept screaming was ‘No’ and ‘Dave’ over and over. I rushed over and hugged the old woman. I held her for over an hour while she wailed in pain. When she was finally able to control her emotions she had a blank stare on her face.

“Did my husband die quickly, or did he suffer a lot?”

“No mam, your husband didn’t suffer. He was killed quickly with a shot to the heart while standing in front of the other guards trying to protect them.”

She smiled a little when I said that. “That was Dave. He was always willing to protect anyone, whether he knew them or not. I don’t know what I’m going to do without him. My social security check won’t cover all of the bills here each month, let alone his funeral.”

“Well mam, you don’t need to worry about that. We are personally covering the cost of the funeral and burial, and after thirty years of loyal service your husband earned his retirement. We will be having our legal team file the necessary paperwork so you get Dave’s retirement he worked so hard for. And you are also the beneficiary for his life insurance policy as well, so you’ll be receiving that within the next couple of days.”

The poor old lady sat there looking at me dumbfounded. “I can’t let you cover the cost of Dave’s funeral. You’re already doing so much with his retirement and life insurance.”

“Please, Mrs. Anderson, please allow us to cover the cost of your husband’s funeral and burial. You can make all of the arrangements, we’ll spare no expense. We think of our employees as family and Dave died protecting that idea. It’s the least we can do. Here’s my card. Just tell the funeral director to send the bill to me. Do it as extravagant as you want, and by all means, if you’d like you can also make the arrangements for yourself as well for when it’s time and have them send that bill to us as well. We want to help. The company is also going to be putting on a benefit in honor of those who died to help the families out. The benefit will be done on Saturday so please let us know if you need anything. I’ll be sending a car service here to pick you up around 1 P.M. Saturday to bring you to the benefit. Please, let us know when you have the funeral arranged so we can be there.”

The old woman just shook her head. We stood up and started walking towards the door but when Madison and I reached the door the old lady stopped us. “All of this, what you’re doing, is all well and good and way more than I expected I might add, but I don’t understand why you’re doing this. You see, I know Dave didn’t have a life insurance policy. We had to cut back on expenses a few months ago because my medical bills were getting to be more than we could afford. So again, I’m going to ask, why are you doing this?”

“Mam, I know your husband dropped his insurance policy, but we didn’t let it lapse. We continued paying it out of pocket as well as adding a second medical insurance carrier for you two. We knew you guys were struggling and we didn’t want you guys to suffer if there was something we could do to prevent it. Speaking of medical coverage, though just a heads up, your coverage won’t lapse because of what happened to your husband. You will continue to be covered by my company. You have my card so please, please, please, do NOT hesitate to call me for anything you could possibly need; Even if it’s nothing more than a shoulder to cry on or help cleaning. I’m available to you 24/7 and if by chance I can’t help then I have plenty of people that would be more than willing to help you.”

The old woman cried some more and hugged me again saying there aren’t many people like me left in this world, that nowadays everyone is in a hurry to get where they’re going and don’t have time for anyone. I hugged her back and Madison and I started back to my car so we can make the trip to the next guard’s home to inform his family.

Eight hours later we had finished informing all of the families and they were all grateful for the personal notification and the help we offered but all of the families were devastated. Especially the parents and fiancée of the younger guard we had. He had been working with the company for almost six years as he worked his way through college. Damian was only a week away from receiving his Doctorate in Criminal Justice and had an offer to work for the FBI. He also was supposed to be married in a month and has a baby on the way in six months. When Madison and I informed his family we ended up having to dial 911 because his mother fainted and his fiancée ended up having a severe heart arrhythmia causing her to almost pass out from her heart racing.

It was now almost five thirty and we were headed back to the Winters’ Building to see what was done and what wasn’t. When we arrived all of the LEOs were gone and Berdina had the Military Cleaners finishing up with cleaning the crime scene. She also had the CSU report and the Homeland Security investigative report ready and waiting for me when I walked in. I also had a stack of messages waiting and had a million phone calls to make. Though those phone calls were going to have to wait because I was emotionally exhausted from everything that had happened today. Hell, it had been an extremely long few weeks!

I gathered my things and told Berdina to Call Jenni, Kellan, Jamie, and Nick to come stand guard of the building for the night until I could get more guards hired. They arrived forty minutes later just as I was getting ready to leave. I gave them their instructions and told them to keep their eyes open so we didn’t have a repeat of the prior night. Berdina had already filled them in on what happened when she had them on the phone so they knew most of the details. I did have to give them a heads up that I had ordered more hard drives along with some other things and told them they were supposed to be there sometime that evening or the next morning early. Then I gave them the necessary codes to have access to the entire building and Madison, Berdina and I headed out to our cars to start heading home.

Once I was in my car heading home I was thinking about the events that took place over the past couple of weeks and especially today and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what could have possibly called for the level of violence that was used on innocent men and women that were just trying to earn a paycheck to support their families. Obviously this man knows that we think of our employees as family, and if someone messes with our family then we will avenge them.

No matter what way I thought about it I still couldn’t figure out why in the hell this man would be so gruesome with my guards. What could they have done to antagonize him and push him to this level of cruelty? No matter what scenario I ran in my head I couldn’t figure out why this level of cruelty was necessary. When I was back at Logan’s home and inside I kissed my babies and checked on what they were doing for their homework.

Although Logan’s house wasn’t much different than mine there weren’t as many rooms in it so everyone was sharing rooms or camped out on the floor of one room or another. I really couldn’t wait for the new home to be finished, which was supposed to be in a couple of weeks. When I walked into the home office I sat down my briefcase and took the files out so I could start going through them in a few hours after the kids went to bed. Then, I headed to the kitchen so I could see what Hazel was cooking for dinner since I hadn’t ate all day and I was a little hungry, although I wasn’t sure I would be able to eat much since the morning sickness was kicking in hard in both me and Madison. Luckily for us it was a light stew and homemade bread so it did ease our stomachs some.

A few hours later everyone was done with dinner and the kids had their baths for the night and were playing in the living room with some toys and coloring while the adults all were sitting on the couches and chairs talking. When Logan asked about what the emergency was that I needed to head into the office so quickly this morning, Madison, Berdina and I stopped short and all sat there looking at each other. Logan didn’t miss the look we gave either and was immediately put on edge. When he started getting a little antsy I asked Becky to watch the kids while we all went into the office so I could fill everyone in on the day’s events.

Becky didn’t miss a beat in noticing something was wrong either. She quickly agreed but looked very concerned. When the bodyguards, Logan, Gary and my team were all in the office I closed the door and began telling them what had happened over the past twenty-four hours. Logan went pale white.

Logan said, “I don’t understand, they didn’t have anything to do with your team. Why would he have killed them for the hard drives? He had already knocked them out.”

I said, “Logan, he didn’t just kill them. He skinned them all alive.”

I swear it looked like everyone was going pale then. Logan just shook his head and said something about having to go notify the families personally.

“Logan, I have already notified the families as well as telling them we are going to be having a benefit for all of the families on Saturday and that we will be covering the costs of the funeral and burial as well as their medical coverage until they are able to find something they’d want instead. Jojo what are you thinking? I see the face you’re making.”

“I don’t understand what those guards could have possibly done to make them stoop to that level of depravity for innocent people.”

“Ha! That’s exactly what I’ve been wondering all day and I can’t figure that out myself. I have the CSU report as well as Homeland Security’s investigative report, well preliminary report, and everyone’s full cooperation so we can get this finished.”

When we were finished talking, we all went back in the living room so we could be with the kids for another hour before they had to go to bed and then we were all planning to dig into the files I had to try to find something.


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