The Angel's Gambit

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Summary

November - Hawk's Heroes are back trying to solve a set of mysteries straight from the Twilight Zone. Book 3 in the series. The third book of the Robin Oracle psychic detective series starts out in fantasy land and quickly makes a sharp left turn into the Twilight Zone. At 9 PM, seemingly ordinary people suddenly burst into flame, others float into the sky, while others appear to lose their minds. A few people seem to go into a trance and walk out of their homes never to be seen again. Still others suddenly die for no apparent reason. Robin and Hawk's Heroes have to discover who or what's behind the bizarre events. The answer leads Robin to discover why he has psychic powers.

Genre:
Mystery / Fantasy
Author:
Paul David Graham
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
31
Rating:
4.8 13 reviews
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1 – Dreams and Nightmares

Robin and Malissa were sitting in green canvas beach chairs on purple sands, sipping pineapple freezes from fuchsia colored pineapples. The bright blue sun shone in the yellow sky over a foamy pink sea. Freddie had just delivered their pineapple freezes and was loping his way back up the beach to the hotel.

Malissa was wearing a red Hawaiian bikini with a white flower pattern. The bottoms had a dress-like wrap around it. Robin had on his blue Hawaiian beachcomber shorts and a blue with white flowers Hawaiian shirt.

“You know, Robin, One of the great things about this dream beach is that no matter how long I stay out here under this blue sun I don’t get sunburn… and I don’t even have to use sunblock!”

“I prefer your natural color anyway. Suntans are far over rated. Not only that, but they give you rhinoceros skin. Not to mention the ‘C’ word.”

“That’s a lovely thought. Are you feeling okay? You seem a bit negative today.”

“Sorry, Malissa, I’m still not quite over that Katrina business. We came very close to losing the people that are the closest to us… especially you. The one person I absolutely could not live without.”

“Yes, but we gained a friend in Yaneth. Oh! Mom and I talked with Claire and she’s excited about having four weddings at sea. So, there’s nothing to be depressed about. You should just enjoy yourself.”

He looked at his Auburn Angel and smiled. “Of course, you’re right. We should never borrow trouble. Trouble can find you any time – especially in our line of work – so there’s no sense worrying about the past.”

“That’s the spirit.” She heard a ringing sound, “Sounds like someone is calling.”

“Okay. It’s probably time to leave anyway.” He started to get out of his chair.

“That’s okay, Robin. You wait here and I’ll get the phone. I’ll be right back.” With that she disappeared.

Robin leaned back in his beach chair and closed his eyes.

“Robin… Robin Silvers…”

The voice sounded familiar and far away. He opened his eyes, sat up, and looked around.

“Who is it? Who’s calling me?”

There was no answer. He stood up and scanned the beach.

“For that matter, who would be calling me Robin Silvers? That guy died a long time ago.”

Malissa appeared on her beach chair.

“I’m back. Miss me?”

Robin was slowly turning in a circle looking all around. He didn’t say a word.

“Robin?” She stood up and walked over next to him. “Robin? What’s the matter?”

He blinked as if coming out of a trance. “Huh? Oh… Malissa, you’re back.”

“What did I miss? You seemed really out of it.”

“Sorry. After you left I heard a voice. It sounded familiar, but I can’t place it. It called me Robin Silvers.”

“Silvers…? Isn’t that the name..?”

“Yeah, I haven’t heard that in a long time. The strangest part is: he’s dead, so who would know that name? Much less, call me that.”

“Could it be Dr. Noah? Maybe he needs your help?”

“Not likely. It sounded like a female voice. It was probably my imagination. Without you here my concentration must have slipped and my subconscious took over the dream.”

“Most likely,” She moved in close and put her head on his chest. She wrapped her arms around him. He automatically held her close. He put his cheek against the top of her head. “Loving you is the easiest thing I have ever done, my Angel.”

The dream faded and Robin awoke with his arms around Malissa. He was facing her back. They were both lying on their left sides.

Malissa opened her eyes. “I feel the same way, Robin.” She gently rolled over to face him. She smiled sweetly and stroked his cheek. He kissed her. She kissed him back.

“Who was on the phone?” He asked halfheartedly, as he watched his right hand gently comb through her hair.

“Sorry, it totally slipped my mind when you were talking about that strange voice. That was Hawk. They have a case they want us to look into.”

He sighed and said, “You know I don’t mind helping him with his cases – in fact I enjoy it most of the time, however his timing is almost always way off.”

She gave him a puzzled look. “What do you mean?”

“This.”

He pulled her close in a hug. His cheek was close to hers. He turned his head slightly and put his nose against her cheekbone; just in front of her ear. She smelled of Jasmine tea, sweet honey, and all the things that always made him feel euphoric. Tilting his head toward her, he gently kissed her neck, slowly moving up to her ear.

He paused there only long enough to whisper softly, “I love you my sweet Auburn Angel,” and then moved on to kiss her cheek. She slowly turned her face to his and smiled. He kissed the place where her cheek ended and her smile began. Then down towards her chin – moving slowly, kissing around her face to the other side of her smile. Her eyes were closed so he kissed his way up to her left eye, the tip of her nose, and finally over to her right eye. He pulled his face away slightly, she opened her eyes, and he kissed her lips. It was a long, gentle, warm kiss of absolute love. She kissed him back.

When their lips parted, their eyes met.

“If you stop now, Mister, I’ll….” The rest of her thought was lost because her mouth found something better to do when he pressed his lips to hers again.

Two hours later, Robin and Malissa were on their way to meet Lt. Hawk.

Robin looked over at Malissa sitting in the passenger seat. “I am so glad I gave up the psychic line. It gives me more time to be with you.”

“Not entirely, though. You kept a few special clients.”

“True, but I don’t charge them anything anymore. I do it because they were loyal to me. They also don’t call very often so I gave them my cell number.”

“That’s our turn, Robin,” she pointed as she said it.

He pulled his Mercedes SLK into the San Diego Sheriff’s Department parking lot. He parked and pressed the button to put the hardtop back on.

“It’s not that I don’t trust these guys, but there are a lot of questionable people that come here.”

“You mean like lawyers?”

Robin laughed, “Yeah, like lawyers.”

An officer passed them through the security doors. A short walk led them into the detective division. They passed several desks. The officers who were not out investigating cases all looked at the famous couple as they walked by. Some nodded their heads in acknowledgment; some merely raised a hand, palm out, in greeting. Robin nodded and raised his hand in answer. Malissa smiled and waved.

They all knew Robin and Malissa by sight, and even though they didn’t all believe in psychics, they respected the fact that Robin was never wrong. The couple had solved numerous cases – some deemed impossible by the best detectives in San Diego.

Every Monday at nine am, Robin and Malissa had come to the office to view the unsolved case files. He solved every one of them, even though many were impossible to bring to a conclusion because the perpetrator was either dead, or there wasn’t any hard evidence to convict. Robin had started this Monday ritual not long after meeting Lt. Hawk. Malissa started going with him shortly after they met.

As they reached his desk, Lt. Hawk stood up and grasped Robin’s arm, his hand around Robin’s forearm. Robin did the same. Lt. Hawk pulled Robin to him and gave him a hug. The other Detectives knew Hawk didn’t shake hands with anyone easily, much less hug them, but they also knew Robin was an exception.

Lt. Hawk was born Elias T. Hawk. His father was a full blood Iroquois Indian; His mother pure Irish. He held true to Indian tradition that the handshake is sacred and reserved only for tribal members and very special friends. Detective Lieutenant Hawk was an honest, honorable man. He never said or did anything he didn’t mean.

He looked at Malissa and bowed, “Princess…” He had started to call her this ever since the Punky Night Ball when she showed up as a beautiful blue fairy princess.

Malissa hugged him. “Nancy sends her love. She’d be here, but she has some kind of flu. She said, ‘It wouldn’t do to have Elias and half of the Homicide department down with this thing.’”

“She’s right about that. We already have a few out with it…. and some of them had the shot!”

“Yeah, that shot always seems to give me the flu,” Robin said. “So, what’s up?”

“Have a seat. This is going to take some time.”

The two psychic sleuths sat.

“Four days ago, between nine and nine fifteen p.m. something weird and unexplainable happened.”

“Weird and unexplainable…well, that describes us, anyway,” Robin chuckled.

Lt. Hawk ignored him and continued, “Forty-three people, all from different areas of San Diego, had some sort of episode… Oh, Hell, I can’t even find proper words for it.”

While Hawk paused and shook his head in frustration, Robin spoke up, “Well, that’s gotten my attention. I’ve never known you to be at a loss for words when it came to your job. Maybe if you’d just tell us what happened to those people?”

“Yeah, Okay. We’re not even sure the incidents are related; other than the fact they happened during the same quarter hour. Eleven of the victims seemed to start shaking as though they were having a seizure: four foamed at the mouth and fell over catatonic, the doctors say they have lost all of their higher brain functions; three others began mumbling to themselves as if talking to invisible people in the room. One family reported that the wife kept yelling, ‘Shut up!’ and ‘Please make them stop!’ just before she went completely mad. Four others just fell over dead. The autopsy discovered that their brains had turned into liquid mush.

“Another seven of the forty-three cases suddenly burst into flame and died in a bright burning fireball.”

“Spontaneous combustion…?” Malissa sounded excited at the prospect.

“We don’t think so. While that would be strange in itself, these people not only caught fire, but the rooms they were in burst into flame as well.”

“Yes,” Malissa explained, “Usually spontaneous combustion only involves the body that it happens to. Very little of the surrounding areas get affected any more than scorch marks. This really is interesting.”

Hawk looked at her incredulously, “Interesting? Okay. Yeah. Now for the really loony part: Another Five of the victims seemed to just float up into the sky and disappear like a helium balloon accidentally freed by a careless child.”

Robin looked at Hawk just to make sure he wasn’t playing a joke on them, “Floated away? How is that possible?”

“No idea, I was hoping you’d have an explanation. According to the eyewitnesses – twenty-five people attending a birthday party by a pool in one case – they just said the victim felt ‘funny’ and suddenly began to float up into the sky. One guy was inside his house. He floated to the ceiling. They called nine-one-one, but had a very hard time getting them to come to the house. He was finally picked up by an ambulance. They got a few feet from the house when he floated up – gurney and all to the roof of the ambulance. Then the ambulance started to rise. The attendants were lucky enough to jump out before it rose too high off the ground. It didn’t rise more than a hundred feet before it came crashing to the ground again. The man inside was dead; apparently crushed by the weight of trying to lift one and a half tons of metal.

“Another floating victim was in the hospital for tests. When he began floating, they strapped him to a bed, but he and the bed floated to the ceiling. Whatever the force is that made him float was so strong it tried to push him through the floor above. Unfortunately, it also crushed him. It appears that as soon as he died the whole mess dropped to the floor.”

“How awful!” Malissa commented. “But I wonder what happened to the other three ‘floaters’?”

“We received a report from a rancher in East County that he saw something fall from the sky. It landed on his equipment storage roof and broke through. When it hit the cement floor it shattered into pieces – evidently it had been frozen solid – I won’t describe what it looked like, but from preliminary medical reports we’re pretty sure it was one of the missing victims.”

“Frozen solid?” Malissa asked, “What in the world would cause that?”

Lt. Hawk took a deep breath. “The current theory from forensics is that since this person ‘floated’ into the sky, she must have attained an elevation cold enough to freeze her entire body.”

Malissa looked puzzled, “Not to appear flippant, but wouldn’t she have thawed out on the trip back down?”

“Apparently not,” Lt. Hawk began, “the…uh…‘trip back down’, as you put it, is faster than the floating up, so like hail, she would remain frozen.”

“I read once,” Robin offered, “that an airline accidentally jettisoned the entire contents of one of its toilets. The liquid froze when it hit the high altitude air. It fell to earth as big blue chunks of ice. It was quite a mystery until it thawed.”

“Now that you’ve said that,” Malissa recalled, “I remember that story. It was pretty funny at the time, but that poor woman…”

“Certainly nothing to laugh about,” Lt. Hawk agreed.

“What about the last twenty victims?” Robin asked, “Not that I’m into gruesome stories, but you might as well tell us.”

“We don’t know…”

Malissa perked up, “Don’t know? What does that mean?”

“Well, according to the families of seven of the twenty, they sort of glazed over in the eyes – like a trance. They stood up, without a word, calmly walked out of the house, and headed down the street without even looking back.”

“Didn’t anyone try to stop them – or at least follow them?”

“Funny, that… The thirteen family members who tried to stop them – or follow – are currently in a deep sleep in the local hospital. They aren’t drugged. They aren’t comatose. They’re just sleeping and no one is able to wake them up.”

“A natural sleep?” Malissa asked.

“Not likely. The monitoring devices: EEG, breathing, heart rate, etc. all show abnormal patterns which are totally different from what we consider ‘normal’ sleep. Yet, none of these patterns fit the criteria for a catatonic state either.”

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