I slam the pen down my desk as a huff of frustration pushes past my lips. Pinching the space between my eyebrows, I try to concentrate on the files laid in front of me, but the throbbing sensation on the top of my head was relentless and refused to let me focus.
I had been in the office all day long trying to piece together everything I knew about Rick Wright and his men, yet everything still seemed fuzzy. It was as if some parts of the puzzle were missing, and I wouldn’t be able to figure anything out until I had all the game pieces.
Glancing back down at my desk, various faces stared back at me as I scanned the faces of every person that had ever been associated with Rick Wright. My desk was scattered with files dating back to nearly a decade ago, and I still had yet to come to a conclusion. I knew it would eat at me until I felt satisfied with the information I had found, but I wasn’t there yet.
I could barely focus in class knowing that this case was connected to me more than I had thought it was. It was like a flip had switched within me, and all I could think about was how to bring Rick Wright to his knees.
My eyes grazed every face once again before stopping on a familiar one. She stood out like a store thumb amongst tattooed men with dark expressions lining their faces. Isabellas’s soft brown eyes illuminated in the sunlight as strands of her dark hair flew in the wind. Her eyes were cast downward, and her hands were shoved into her jacket, something she still did constantly regardless of how warm it was out. She looked so young, and so innocent in the photographs, and it was still difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that she was affiliated with Rick Wright.
I had been notably silent in class earlier, and there was no doubt that Isabella knew something was up with me. I had gone to class thinking I could put on my usual facade, but right as I came face to face with Isabella, all that flooded my mind were images of her father. It wasn’t long after that dark thoughts began to invade my mind about my brother and how he had wound up with the same men in Rick Wright’s crew. I felt physically sick in that moment and the only coping mechanism I had was to completely shut everyone out. Though it wasn’t the smartest way to act in terms of my assignment, I was determined to get things back on track the next time I saw Isabella.
I didn’t know how long I sat in my office staring out the window behind my desk, but I was pulled out of my thoughts by a loud knock sounding on my door. Swirling my chair around to face my doorway, I instantly tensed as my eyes locked onto my boss. Glancing over at the clock which read that it was a quarter till eight, I furrowed my brows in confusion. He rarely ever stayed in the office later than 5pm. He was typically the first person in the office at the crack of dawn, and made it a point to be back home by sundown. I watched in silence as he stepped into my office and took a seat in the chair in front of my desk. He scanned the papers lying on my desk, before looking up at me. Dark eye bags sat prominently on his face as lines crowded his forehead. Exhaustion was transparent on his face, but it was a price that had to be paid when it came to a job like this.
Clasping his hands in his lap, he finally spoke up, “I’m probably the last person you want to see, but at the end of the day, I’m still your boss. Dodging my calls and ignoring any messages is unacceptable behavior for an agent ranked as high as you are. There are expectations I have for my employees, and I expect them to be met by each and every one of my agent no matter what.” He firmly stated as I nodded my head as an answer. Despite the anger I still felt regarding the information he withheld from me, he made a valid point. He was my boss, and I was his employee and that was a boundary I was not allowed to cross.
Before I could answer, he spoke up once again, “Nonetheless, I didn’t come here just to reprimand you. I have this for you.” He stated before pulling a folder out from inside his coat. Placing it on my desk, he faced me once again, “I hope you know my reasons for withholding this information from you was purely to protect you. Yes, you are my agent, and you are my employee, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t also see you as one of my own. You were not ready to see this when we first recruited you, and I still don’t know if you’re ready to see this now, but I can’t make those decisions for you anymore.” He explained as he stood up from his seat. “Read that file at your own expense, son. Once you see what’s in that folder, you cannot go back.” He warned before standing up from his seat. I watched as he buttoned the jacket of his suit before making his way out of the room as I stared at the file.
Before he stepped out of the room I finally spoke up, “Thank you, boss.” I simply said, hoping the gratitude in my voice came across to him. With a hint of a smile on his face, he held his hand up in response before heading out of my office. I could feel my heart thudding rapidly as I grabbed the file with shaky hands. Though I didn’t know what exactly was stored in that file, I knew that this was one of the files that only the highest personnel had access to, and I finally had it within my reach.
Taking a deep breath, I braced myself as I opened the folder. Immediately, my eyes flooded with images of deceased men and women. I frantically flipped past photographs containing graphic images of dismembered body parts, gunshot wounds, and lifeless bodies. Pages filled with long descriptions describing the way each person had died were typed after every photograph, as I continued through the file before finally stopping at a blank page with three words written on it.
Nicholas James Reed
I could barely hear anything over the sound of my heart as it thud loudly in my chest. Every motion and sound around me faded into space as I turned to the first page and my eyes latched onto the images of Nick’s lifeless body. A gut wrenching sting shot through my chest as my eyes remained glued on the images of my younger brother’s lifeless body. Stab wounds littered his abdomen as dark bruises were visible all over his arms and legs. I scanned his whole body before finally staring at his innocent face. His eyes were pinned shut as his hair messily fell over his forehead that still had remnants of dry blood on it. I could feel my body growing numb as my eyes remained glued on the photograph. Before I could stop myself, images and memories of that night rushed back to me as I felt myself being brought to that night that still haunted me.
“Where the hell are you going this late at night? You don’t think I’ve heard you sneaking out the house nearly every night these past couple of days?” I yelled from the top of the stairs as I watched Nick slip his jacket over his head. He ignored my comments as he continued to get dressed before sliding his shoes on. Just as his hand reached the door knob, I rushed down the stairs as I pulled him back. I could feel Adelyn’s eyes on us as she silently watched us from the top of the steps, but I ignored her as I forced Nick to face me. Irritation was visible on his face as he glared back at me, “It’s none of your damn business, Mason! Go hang out with your girlfriend or something.” Nick shot back as he sloppily shoved my hand away. Looking closer at his face, I furrowed my brows as I came to the realization.
“Are you high?” I hissed at him quietly so that Adelyn wouldn’t hear us. I watched as he rolled his eyes at me before answering, “What? Like you’ve never gotten high before?” He sarcastically said as he turned towards the door once again. Letting out a loud sigh, I warned him once again not the leave the house, but he ignored my threats, and left out the door, completely deaf to whatever I had to say to him.
Jogging back up the steps, I had every intention to go through Nick’s stuff and find out exactly what he was up to so that I could bring him back home. My mother was out of town for the weekend, and she had asked me to come back home for the weekend to watch over Adelyn and Nick.
“See, I told you he’s been acting different lately.” Adelyn worriedly said to me as I reached the top of the steps. Pressing a kiss to her forehead, I pulled her into the hug before ushering her into her room, “Go to bed, I’m going to go look for him.” I reassured her as she nodded her head, before heading into her room. I could tell she had questions, but it would have to wait until after I brought Nick back home.
Quickly making my way over to Nick’s room, I stepped inside and instantly began rummaging through his drawers. It was completely unlike Nick to do drugs and go out so late at night, but I had been so busy with college, that I hadn’t been paying attention much until I got home this weekend. Adelyn had mentioned it couple times over the phone that Nick had been acting strange the past couple of weeks, but I had ignored it and blamed it on teenage mood swings.
I had looked through nearly every drawer in his room, when I finally came across a pouch shoved beneath a pile of clothes underneath his dresser. Pulling the zipper open, I felt my stomach drop as I pulled out bags filled with different types of pills, marijuana, and what appeared to be coke. Along with the drugs were notes scribbled with different addresses that had been crossed off. My mind felt like it was spinning as everything began to make sense.
Nick was dealing drugs.
Dropping the pouch on the floor, I picked up the paper filled with addresses, and found the only address on the paper that hadn’t been crossed off yet and took a photo of it. Quickly shoving the pouch underneath his dresser to hide it from Adelyn, I quickly punched the address into my phone as I rushed down the stairs. There was no way in hell I would allow my brother to get involved with the wrong crowd, and I was determined to bring him back home and get him back on track. Settling into my car, I tried calling’s Nick cell as I sped down the road, but finally gave up after going to voicemail each time. It was close to one in the morning, and the roads were relatively empty as I sped in whatever direction my phone pointed me to.
I could feel my heart racing as I finally reached the destination and made my way out of my car. The directions of my phone had lead me to an abandoned building right outside of town, and it looked to be empty as I glanced down at my phone to make sure I was at the right place. I nearly turned back around to my car, when I heard the sound of someone groaning.
“Nick?” I questioned as stepped closer to where the sound was coming from. I felt my heart racing as I followed the sound and rushed around the corner of the building before stopping in my tracks. I felt my world freeze as my eyes landed on my brother who lay on the floor, blood seeping through his torn clothing. He laid eerily still on the floor as he gasped for air. Running towards him, I dropped to my knees as I pulled him into my lap. I felt something take over my body as I pulled my shirt off and pushed it down to place pressure on his wounds.
“Stay with me, Nick! I’ve got you, just stay with me!” I screamed as I patted his cheek softly to keep him awake. Dialing 911, I yelled for help and recited the address before tossing my phone aside, and taking Nick’s hand in mine.
Tears leaked down my cheeks as I watched my brother gasp for as sirens wailed in the distance.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I didn’t pay moree attention. Please don’t leave me. I love you so much, just stay with me.” I begged him as I watched him grow weaker by the second.
It was all my fault.
Nick wouldn’t be dying if I hadn’t done my job as an older brother.
If only I had paid attention sooner, then maybe he wouldn’t be fighting for his life.
It was all my fault.
My brain kept chanting that over and over again as I helplessly watched my brother’s grip of my hand loosen as his body went limp in my arms. I couldn’t hear or feel anything around me as paramedics rushed towards us, not knowing that they had been too late.
Just like me.
I was too late.
You guys FINALLY found out what happened to Mason’s brother, but there is still much more to come!
Thank you all for your kind comments on my last chapter, I love you all!
I hope you all have a great weekend and thanks for reading!