Jack In The Box

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Chapter 33

Riley

One of the two brothers could die and I needed to do something. I tried to look in the car for a key, in case Ezra had left it in the car console and forgotten to take it with him but of course he was smart, he wouldn’t make such a juvenile mistake.

I leaned towards the car door and brought my restrained hands to the car lock. I flipped the lock and it gave away easily. I threw the door open and flung myself out on my feet. The clouds began hiding behind the mountains. I walked towards the barn slowly and opened the door to it.

I let myself inside the barn and closed the door behind me. I stayed hidden behind a stack of hay. The place was creepy and smelled of cattle. Standing there amid the dusty old junk were the twins. Ezra was facing Jack, who had his side facing towards me.

“You look like a dead man walking.” Ezra said to Jack.

“Why, Ez, thanks for the compliment. You don’t look bad yourself.” Jack said in a voice that was almost good-natured. Jack’s voice, his presence made my heart beat faster. “Where is Riley?”

“Why is there blood on your shirt?” Ezra asked him, his voice was eerily calm. Their voices were so similar to each other; it was becoming hard to understand who was talking unless I kept looking.

“You promised me that if I showed up, you’d let Riley go. Here I am where you want me to be, you have no use of that woman. Let her go.” Jack said. “I did as I was told and left my gun in the car.”

“I never promised anything. I told you we needed to talk first.”

Jack rubbed his temples; I could tell he was loosing his patience as well as his temper. “What do you wanna talk about?” Frustrated, Jack laughed. “Wait, are you even real, or perhaps you’re a figment of my imagination. Maybe I finally lost all my marbles.”

“I can hear the sarcasm.” Ezra said. “You have to understand. I had to pretend to be dead. There was no other way. You see, I’m—”

“An FBI Agent.” Jack completed for him. “I gathered as much.”

Ezra’s eyes widened. His cover had already been blown. Jack knew of his real identity. Jack continued. “What I don’t understand is why you would go to such lengths to pretend to be me? Unless you have a hidden agenda. What is it, Ezra? What do you want? Name it. I don’t have the time or the inclination to play childish games.”

“I want the truth from you. That’s all I need.” Ezra said.

“You tell me. You’re the FBI Agent. I’m the criminal, remember?” Jack mocked him.

Ezra’s expressions turned hard. “I know you killed three people. I didn’t ask about that. I want to know if you killed the others.” Then his eyes focused on something else. “The blood on your shirt. How’d you get it?”

A long pause. “I went to the mansion.”

“You what?!”

“You heard me the first time. I went to the mansion...”

“And?”

A phone began ringing. Ezra reached for his pocket and pulled out his phone. “Agent Wolfe speaking.” A beat later, “Yes?”

A long pause. The silence was getting suffocating. “What?” And then, “But how’s that possible? There has to be a mistake!” Ezra’s eyes rested on Jack.

He cut the call and turned to Jack. I thought Ezra’s vein would burst, “What the fuck did you do, Jackson?” The cool persona that he’d maintained until now was evaporating. “Why were you at the mansion? Did you do it?”

“What if I did?”

Who did what? What were they talking about?

“Hell and damnation!” Ezra swore. “I got a call from the P.D. The maid found a body ripped apart in a bed that’s soaked in blood. The walls are painted red, Jack.” He was breathing hard. Anger was giving away to grief. He lunged at Jack and caught the collar of his shirt. “You! You’re so driven by your lust for revenge that you didn’t even consider the consequences of killing Brady Wolfe in cold blood.”

Jack didn’t even blink at the outrageous insinuation; instead he produced a gun from the waistband of his jeans and offered it to his brother. “You think I killed him? Well, guess what, I’m not going to attempt to convince you otherwise. You can tell the officials that I was carrying a gun and that you had to do what was needed.”

A moment caught my eye. Two people were positioned in two different hiding places, their guns pointed at Jack.

My blood ran cold. I didn’t think before I stood up and walked towards them. The sound of my shoes scrapping against the ground made Jack turn.

“Jack.” I called out.

“Why did you get out of the car?!” Ezra growled.

I stepped towards Jack. His dark eyes holding my gaze as I walked towards him as if he were a puppeteer pulling the strings. His eyes flicked towards the restraints and his jaw hardened.

“Take these off Ezra.” Jack said in a menacing whisper.

“No.”

Jack glared at his brother. “Take these off. I won’t ask you the third time.”

Ezra probably heard the dangerous tone in Jack’s voice. It gave me the idea that although Ezra was strong, he was still scared of his brother. He pulled out a pair of keys from his pocket and tossed it towards Jack who caught the keys in mid-air. Without a word, Jack unlocked the cuffs and let it slid to the ground.

“Riley, walk out of the barn.” Ezra ordered.

Jack caught my hand in his. “Do what he says, Cotton-Candy.”

I shook my head as I leaned in and whispered. “There are people hidden here who will shoot you.”

“I know.” Jack said. “There’s no other way around it. The killer did this on purpose and I walked right into the trap he laid out at my house. Our father was killed.”

“I can’t...I can’t leave you.” I said.

“Riley!” Ezra warned me.

“I trust Jack.” I said.

“It doesn’t matter if you trust him or not. The law will decide the right punishment for him. Step out of the barn, Riley.”

“Promise you won’t shoot.” I said. “Promise me, Ezra.”

Ezra signaled with his hands to the men hidden at the back. “Lower your weapons. Jackson, I’m going to read you your rights. You have the right to remain—”

Bang!

The noise of the gunshot roared through the silence.

Ezra whipped around. “What the fuck?! I told you not to bloody shoot!”

The men appeared confused. They hadn’t shot. The shot had been fired from the top floor. I looked up and there was someone, a dark form moved towards the window and disappeared. Jack staggered and he fell down on his knees holding the wound with his palm.

I was too shocked to even move.

Ezra kneeled beside him, cradling his head in his lap. “No! You can’t die, Jackson...No! Stay with me...”

Jack’s eyes became droopy, but he smiled and touched the bloodied hand to Ezra’s face. “I never once...” he coughed. “I never doubted you.....that you would kill people and frame me for the crimes. I trust you, brother. Even though you abandoned me for years, I trusted you.”

Ezra has tears in his eyes. “I had to do it! For the sake of my job, and for those helpless people! I was never interested in the company you foolish man, I thought you wanted it more than anything.”

Jack laughed. Ezra’s cheek was matted in blood. “If I die, find that sonofabitch and kill him.”

Ezra began shaking him. “Jackson! Stay with me!” He turned to the men who were standing in the corner watching. “Follow that bastard!”

I brushed Jack’s hair away from his face. “Don’t leave me.”

I sobbed as the reality of the situation began to sink in. “Jack...”

Ezra was calling someone and barking orders. Jack’s eyes were closing, he squeezed my hand. “I have to tell you something.”

“What is it?”

He stared straight into my eyes. “I’d called Brady before I went to the mansion. I wanted to talk to him about everything that was going on. I wanted to know…why he hated us so much, I wanted to know if he killed our mother. I…I…walked into the room and saw him… choking in his own pool of blood. I asked him who did it.”

“What did he say Jack?”

Jack stared at me with eyes that were almost haunted. Vacant. “He…he gave me a name.”

“Who did it?”

Jack opened his mouth to say the name and then his body went limp.

“No. No. No. Wake up, Jack!” I cried.

Ezra was beside me in a second, he was handling this worse than me. Ezra was practically bordering to hysteria. He was checking his pulse with shaky hands. “Riley, Jack’s not responding.”

“He’s got a pulse. I think he’s just unconscious.” I told him. I touched Jack’s wound. “Keep the pressure on the wound. I don’t know how far the bullet has lodged in. If he loses too much blood, it could be fatal. We should just take him to the nearest hospital in your car.”

“The road is not safe and the ambulance comes with all the equipment. What if he…” Ezra kicked some dusty old wooden crate that went flying and smashed into the wall. “Goddammit how long does it take for the ambulance to get here?”

It’s when I realized both Ezra and Jack had a temper problem.

Finally there was the siren of the ambulance blaring in the background. I watched the paramedics making their way in. They carried Jack outside the barn on a stretcher. Ezra and I stared at each other. We were covered in Jack’s blood.

“Jack knows who the real killer is.” I said.

“Did he give you a name?”

“He wasn’t able to.”

“It’s my fault.” Ezra said. “If I hadn’t called him here to talk, none of this would have happened. I thought if I didn’t lure him here with you as bait, he wouldn’t show up.”

“You wanted to see him, didn’t you?”

He covered his eyes with his hands. “I’ve failed as a brother. He knew who I was; Jack figured I was with the FBI. I feel so fucking ashamed I’d doubted my brother even once.”

I crossed my arms over my chest. My eyes moistened. “Do you think Jack will…?” I couldn’t even complete the sentence because I wasn’t able to fathom the thought of losing him.

“He will live, Riley. He cannot die when the other part of him is alive.” He pointed towards himself. “He has to live.”


A.N: Hey guys! Sorry for making you guys wait. Hope you all enjoyed reading the chapter. I look forward to your thoughts and theories in the comments section :)

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