Measure of a Mann

Chapter 3

Measure of a Mann

Chapter Three

Marshall arrived back at home and began to dig through some old boxes that he kept up in his attic. One box carried a lot of old newspapers and paperwork which Marshall had gathered from a case that had taken place when he was just a boy. It was a case that he had gone over and over once he had become a marshal because there was something about it that bothered him ever since he read through it for the first time. However, he was never able to figure it out, until tonight.

Marshall carried the box down into the living room of his house and began to read through the case reports. While he was reading, his phone rang several times. Marshall knew that it was Mary calling to beg him to tell her what was going on. He knew that he needed to talk to her soon, but he needed to figure out what was really going on before he told her anything.

After he read the papers for about an hour and a half, Marshall stood up and walked over to a safe that he had installed in the floor of his study, with the file that he was reading in his hand. The safe was well hidden underneath his favorite chair. Inside the safe, Marshall kept his will in case something happened to him in the line of duty. Only Mary knew where it was and how to get into it.

Marshall wanted to make sure that his will was secure and in order because he had a bad feeling that he could very well die while trying to solve what really happened so many years ago. The man he saw tonight at the gallery died years ago for Marshall, but he has somehow come back into his life. Something terrible had happened then, and now Marshall knew that he needed to try to make things right.

Suddenly, Marshall heard a noise coming from in the living room. He quickly put his will and the file in his hand into the safe, wrote a quick sentence on his computer and emailed it to Mary, and pulled out his weapon. He was grateful that he had forgotten to shut the computer off after he had used it last. He began to walk toward the noise and as he did so, a man came up from behind him as another busted through his front door. Marshall struggled with the man behind him as the other guy ran toward them to lend his friend a hand.

However, Marshall gained the upper hand as he elbowed the first guy hard in the stomach, allowing Marshall to grab his attacker's hand, which held a gun, and fired it at his second attacker. The shot was good, as the guy fell to the floor, but it also allowed the other guy to get out of Marshall's hold. Marshall held the gun for about three seconds before the guy managed to knock it from his hand. They continued to struggle as they destroyed the furniture and tore his house apart.

Marshall had finally knocked the guy to the floor when suddenly two more men came barging into his house. Each of them grabbed Marshall and even though he struggled to break free, they held on to him tightly. The first attacker got up and pulled a syringe out from one of the other attacker's pockets. He walked over to Marshall, stabbed the needle hard into his neck, and injected the liquid into his bloodstream.

Marshall collapsed to the ground as he began to feel dizzy, but he struggled to remain conscious. However, Marshall knew that whatever he was injected with would cause him to fall unconscious within minutes.

The last thing that Marshall saw was a man's face right in front of his as the attacker whispered, "We don't know who you are, but you never should have gotten yourself involved."

Meanwhile…

Mary, Stan, and Eleanor had finally finished looking through the security cameras at the art gallery. After about an hour, they had finally found what they were looking for. The video showed Marshall put his hand down on his gun and round the corner into the next room.

From the camera in the next room, Mary saw Marshall watching someone, but she couldn't tell who it was until she saw her partner lock eyes with a man. She watched as the man spoke to a couple of people around him and turned to leave the gallery very quickly. Then, she saw Marshall take off after them.

Once Mary, Eleanor, and Stan had found the footage they needed, Stan had security make a snapshot of the stranger and his men and they began to leave to go back to the office. Before they did, Mary went to go talk to Jay to see if he knew who this stranger was.

When she showed him the photo, Jay said, "I met the guy three weeks ago. He told me his name was James Moriarty, an art collector from Chicago."

Mary responded, "James Moriarty; isn't that the name of the bad guy from the Sherlock Holmes books?"

Stan answered, "That's right; Marshall was talking about him a few days ago. So what?"

"Then, it was useless drivel, but his obsession with useless facts actually can come in pretty handy," Mary said. "Whoever this guy is, he is obviously using an alias. He doesn't want anyone to know who he really is. Thanks Jay. I will talk to you soon."

The three of them made it back to their office to run the pictures of the mystery men through all of the databases, hoping that whoever this man was, any of them would have a criminal record. Their hope disappeared when no results were found. Mary pounded her fist against the wall and then sat down at her desk.

"Just because we didn't find anything yet, doesn't mean that this guy doesn't have anything to hide," Stan said when he saw Mary's frustration.

Mary responded, "Of course this guy has something to hide, Stan. He is using a fake name for crying out loud. As I said before, neither of you saw his face like I did. Marshall knows who this creep is and he is scared. We have to help him. Dang it, Marshal! Why aren't you answering your phone?"

Eleanor spoke up saying, "We'll figure this out. The three of you are the best marshals that I have ever known and believe me, I have known a lot."

As Mary stood back up, she began to pace back and forth. Stan received a phone call and when he finished, his face became very serious. Mary knew that bad news was coming.

"Stan, what's wrong," Mary asked? "Please tell me it has nothing to do with Marshall."

"I just got a call saying that Marshall's house is on fire," Stan answered. "Witnesses say that they only saw the fires engulf the house, but they have no idea how it began. The fire has completely consumed his house."

As Stan and Mary ran toward the exit, she shouted, "What about Marshall, Stan? Did he make it out?"

Stan replied, "I don't know about Marshall. None of the firemen there have reported anyone coming out of the house. Eleanor, I need you to stay here and keep trying to find out who our lead suspect is. Call in any favors and call all of your contacts. It can't be a coincidence that Marshall saw someone from his past the same night that a fire burns his house down. Keep us updated."

Eleanor shook her head as Mary and Stan sped toward Marshall's house. When they got there, Mary saw that Stan was right. Marshall's house was completely consumed by the fire. Firemen were busy trying to put it out and finally were able to do so after forty-five minutes. Mary ran around franticly hoping to find Marshall, but he was nowhere to be seen.

Firemen were going in and out of the house and Mary was tired of waiting for someone to let her know if he was inside or not. She walked over to the chief and asked if he knew what happened and if his men had found anyone inside.

He looked down at her and sadly answered, "As for the cause of the fire, my men found remains of glass shards from what looks like broken bottles and shreds of burned up cloth. There is also a real strong smell of gasoline. If I had to guess, I'd say that the fire began with homemade fire bombs. It is definitely arson. Also, I am afraid that my men found a body that is pretty badly burned. The coroner is preparing to load it into his truck. I am sorry."

Mary almost collapsed as she broke out into tears. With Stan at her side, she ran over to the coroner's van and asked to look at the body. She afraid to look, knowing that if she did, it would be real and her partner was probably dead. However, when she finally got up the nerve to look, she saw right away that it wasn't Marshall. First of all, whoever this was, he wasn't tall enough. Also, even though the face was badly burned, she could tell from the facial structure and his eyes, which were open, that it wasn't him.

"It isn't him, Stan," Mary cried. "Those aren't his eyes. Marshall is alive."

Stan responded, "If this isn't him, then where is Marshall? The fire chief said that this guy was the only body found in the house."

Mary turned to speak to the coroner and said, "I want to know this guy's cause of death and who he is right away. We have a US Marshal missing and he may be the only clue to his whereabouts."

Mary and Stan stayed close by, waiting for permission to enter the house. Mary knew that if Marshall had the chance, he would have left some clue behind to help them. They hoped that they would be able to discover something that would lead them to whoever was behind this whole mess.

It is obvious that whoever is, didn't want them to find out who they are. They probably kidnapped Marshall in order to stop him from learning too much. Mary would do whatever it takes to find her partner and best friend and to bring down the man who is trying to hurt him.

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