Ndrangheta

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Chapter Nineteen

On the flip side of the universe


Dani wandered around outside Ellen’s apartment on Tuesday morning. She stood outside the building and tried dialing her friend’s number several times with no answer. She had also tried calling her over the weekend but still no answer. Dani was starting to get worried. She shoved her phone into her pocket and went inside.

On the way up, two men dashed past her on the staircase. The elevator was out of service. She stood to the side and allowed them to pass. They were dressed in police uniform and guns holstered. Dani ignored the gnawing in her stomach and hoped that everything was okay. Sadly, she wasn’t met with that reassurance. Her friend’s apartment door was wide open and police were filtering in and out.

She stood by the door, looking frantically around the living room. The only thing she picked out was a few drops of blood on the carpet. She clenched her bag tightly. Two police officers were standing by the study desk with Ellen’s books neatly stacked. In fact...Dani looked around the room. Nothing was out of place. The blood was the only sign of danger.

“This is a restricted area,” a strong voice spoke to her.

She turned around a faced a slim detective. “I’m sorry, I was looking for my friend”

“Kal Henry, DA’s office” He introduced. Dani smiled uneasily.

“Is your friend Miss Ellen Walker?”

Dani nodded.

“Well, your friend is an accomplice to an escaped prisoner” He glanced around the room, “and now a missing person”

Dani stared at him for a few second then suddenly laughed. “What? Ellen? No, you’re kidding.”

“I’m afraid not. She was caught on camera at the airport with one of our missing prisoners, Ekon Grace. Have you seen this man with her before?”

Dani looked at the picture he presented. “I’ve never seen this man before. Neither has Ellen. She spends half her time at that study table and the remainder with me. If she had a man in her life, I’d know.”

Henry put the picture back in his files.

“Has she been in contact with you?”

Dani shook her head.

“Well, is there anything you can think of to help us?”

Dani shook her head again. “I’m sorry but no. I don’t know where she is but it’s probably important. It’s her final year and we had upcoming tests this week. If she’s missing out on this then she was forceably taken. I know her long enough to vouch for that”

Henry frowned.

“And you are?”

“Danielle Lee, freshman at University of Miami”

Henry made note of her information for future use. He wanted to believe her friend, he really did but it was too off. He’d checked Ellen Walker through the database and she was clean. Her parents were good lawyers and their reputation was straight. She was also a 4.0 GPA student and barely anyone in the building said she caused trouble. Her driving record was empty too. But even with all this, he was still put off.

Seeing her on the airport camera records with a missing prisoner was a big red flag. Even more so, the footage of his escape wasn’t caught at the prison. The cameras went blank for thirty minutes and he couldn’t fathom how or why.

“Do you know where your friend was last week Friday?” He questioned.

Dani brushed through her hair with her fingers. “No, should I?”

“She was recorded at FDC Miami Prison at 6:50PM. Her signature isn’t there but her name is logged. Explain that”

Dani glared at him.

“That could have been anyone. No signature. Did you get her on camera?”

Henry frowned again, even deeper. “No, but it’s too conincidental”

Dani straighted her posture and started walking to the door. “When you have something concrete with the right questions, feel free to call my cell. But my friend is not a murderer. She’s innocent, I assure you.”

With that she left.

Judge Martin stepped up to Henry as he watched her leave. “She’s a dead end, isn’t she?”

Henry nodded. He turned back to focus on the room as Martin spoke.

“I’m worried about my daughter, she’s still missing. The man who came to see me assured that she’d be returned but I haven’t gotten any word.”

Henry waved him to follow him out into the hall. The remaining officers were now finishing up their questioning with the other tenants and heading out.

“Is Sheila okay?”

“My wife is fuming. She hasn’t spoken to me in almost a month. She’s moved in with her mother until I can get Lily back to us”

The sad look on his face deepened. Henry truly felt for him but if Lily went with who they were both thinking of, then it was likely chance she could be dead.

“Jude, I feel sorry for you in this situation, but you have to consider that Lily could already be dead. What if she never returns?”

Jude Martin started to cry for the first time in front of his friend. Henry breathed in deeply.

“I hate to say it but this is going to take some time. Visit your wife, try to reason with her. She has to face the possibility that Lily may never return. Fix this. Let me focus on the case”

Judge Martin nodded, wiping the tears away quickly.

“Now, I should probably tell you also that my prison guard is missing. Garrett Stein. He was apparently shot in the leg during the escape.”

Judge Martin whipped his head to him. “What!?”

“I had him transported to Mercy Hospital and within tweleve hours he was gone. I have to reason to believe he’s involved in this as well. I need you to grant access to your past files so I can have someone search your records too.”

“Why? Do you think he has a major role to play in this?”

“It’s a possibility. After a filing a few claims to the SuperIndent and liasion with the NYPD, Garrett Stein is wanted for identity theft and three DUI’s”

Judge Martin’s face turned into shock. “Was this overlooked? How was he even hired? How did he even manage to leave New York?”

Henry scowled. “No clue but I should get some info soon. This is turning into something bigger than we anticipated”

The last few officers were now gone. Henry and Judge Martin walked down to the lobby.

“If there’s anything I can do, let me know” Martin offered.

Henry smiled. “Sure. I also need to talk to you about your little impromptu meeting with Marcus two months ago. I’m glad you didn’t go through with it because then you’d be a suspect too”

Martin nodded with regret.

“But I understand you care about your daughter and would do anything to protect her.”

Henry waved him off and headed to his car. He had a lot of calls to make and a desk full of reports to check. Ellen Walker was his number one suspect right now. Marcus Williams, Ekon Grace and Garrett Stein would be next. Something wasn’t adding up and he intended to find out. Judge Martin watched him leave and breathed easy once the vehicle was out of sight.

He had a reputation to uphold too. Breaking off the deal last minute was his wife’s decision but it backfired. He blamed himself just as much as she did. But sitting around wouldn’t get Lily back. Ellen’s parents were lawyers which meant they would be registered in Miami Registry.

He had to find a root of his own to start from. He ran to his car and started for his office.

Dani watched from the cafe across the street as the two men departed. She had planned to leave but was curious. She managed to listen in on most of their conversation in the hall. Though she understood nothing, it was something. She pulled out her phone again and tried dialing Ellen. This time, it went straight to voicemail.

“Hey El, please call me when you get this. I’m worried about you. I know we haven’t been friends for long but I atleast thought you’d call me if you left. If you’re in trouble...I want to help...please...just call me”

She hung up the phone and dashed out to grab a cab.
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