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Chapter 6 – A Man’s World

Kay opened the door of her car, and she suddenly felt someone behind her, she turned around and a man was standing there. Kay looked at him trying to recognize him but couldn’t. ‘Do I know you’? The man was hidden in the shadows outside the motel, ‘Miss Winters, you don’t know me’, he spoke in a husky voice, ‘I know you, I know which room you stay in, I know your car, and where you are from. I even know you have a son.’ Kay interrupted him, ‘What’s your fuckin’ point’? The man was unruffled, ‘The point is we know you, but you do not know me. We have been good to you but our hospitality has come to an end’. Kay smiled as her heart was beating loudly, ‘Bring it on, all of you, just bring it on’. The man smiled ‘We will, be ready’. He walked away and sat in a dark coloured car as he drove away. Kay shouted ‘I’ll be waiting ASSHOLE’!!!! Kay felt her temperature rise, she was fuming and knew this was a result of her article. Kay got into her car and drove into town, she stopped outside the station and walked inside to file a complaint. She approached the reception desk and saw Vincent come out from the office behind, he was followed by another man. He was a big, stocky looking man wearing a large cowboy hat. He had tinted glasses, with a moustache and light beard. They walked past her and Vincent smiled at Kay. She looked at Vincent and spoke loudly, ‘Got your message, Mr Sheriff’. Vincent said nothing but the other man stopped and looked straight at Kay. ‘I heard about you lady’. Kay looked at the man, not knowing who he was, then he spoke again, ’I know you have wanted to meet me for a while, I am Reginald Cunningham. If you ever need to see me, ask me questions about how I enjoy stamping on worthless scum and cleaning up my town, feel free to come and see me. I’ll be all alone, we’ll have a ‘private session’’. Reginald smiled looking at Kay up and down, revealing his tar stained teeth and gold tooth at the front, there was an uproar of laughter from the officers at the desk. Kay felt like she was going to be sick, if she had ever met someone more obnoxious than Vincent, Reggie was definitely the senior. Kay felt small, she felt cheap as all the men looked at her and laughed. Kay walked out of the station, disgusted and humiliated. She didn’t mind being threatened by that man outside the motel, but she felt much worse being humiliated by these backward red necks. Kay sat in her car outside the station, she held the steering wheel tightly like it was going to fall off. She couldn’t drive, she was too angry and upset. Kay resented being a woman in a man’s world, she had always worked hard to make a place for herself so people respected her for being a great journalist, a courageous writer and she would be seen as more than just a pretty woman in a suit. She had been a child model, used to hearing people tell her how pretty she is and this continued through college, where she modelled for a local designer store. She was known by all her local town and was complimented for how beautiful she was but she needed more than that and would joke about becoming America’s first lady president. She had graduated in Politics but decided to pursue a career in journalism after getting a summer job for a local paper. Kay thought about one single incident that had fuelled her fire and drove her towards a proper career and the realization that she wanted to be more than just a ‘face’. One of the photographers who liked her while she was modelling, kept asking her to go out with him, this continued until she made it absolutely clear that his fake charm and pretenses had made no impression on her. He reacted in a violent way, calling her a ‘stupid cunt’. Those words appalled her, made her realize that maybe that’s what she was or how men viewed all women. As she sat in the car, she felt similar to that day when a seventeen year old girl went running home and cried as she hugged her father. She never told him what happened, a daughter couldn’t repeat those words to her father, who was also her best friend. She had lost her mother to cancer at the age of five. Kay felt like crying today but life had taught her that shedding tears is for the weak, it’s like showing blood to the predators that prey on the vulnerable. However she decided that she had enough of this shitty, backward town. Kay took out her phone to call her editor, informing him that she would be returning home in the morning. ‘Fuck them, all of them. If these people don’t care what is happening to them, then they can rot in this shithole, I’m done with these hillbillies and their secret society mentality’. Kay was speaking to herself as she rummaged through her bag for her phone, she had a message. Kay looked at the message, it was from the number that Hans had given her. She clicked on the message, which read ‘See me at the Bridge 8.30 2night’. Kay had tried calling this number after Hans passed her the card but she couldn’t get through, it was ringing out so she left a message. She almost forgot and now he had messaged her back. Kay sat there still thinking about calling her Editor and she began to dial Mr Durrani’s number slowly, she thought about Reginald Cunningham and his comments, then those words came to her mind ‘Stupid Cunt’. Kay pressed cancel and looked back at the station, smiling as she thought ‘Ok, Reginald Cunningham, lets clean up your town’.

Emily walked into the house, and heard voices from the lounge. She walked in and saw Vincent and Kevin. Reginald was standing up as he talked to both of them, ‘you boys have messed things up here, this angers me a lot. It will take time for matters to calm down and for this thing to blow over, so Kevin you will not return until I tell you’. Emily stood at the entrance as everyone in the room looked at her but Reginald continued talking, dismissing her presence. ‘If you need anything, you tell Vince or call me but there is no need for you to come here until I say’. Kevin was still looking at Emily, they hadn’t seen each other since the day of the shooting. Emily had driven into town to pick up some canvases from the local store that day. She paints in her spare time and sells her work to art dealers from across the bridge. This was when she heard the commotion and saw Mike and Kevin fighting. She had never liked Kevin because he was a shallow person who didn’t even have the sense to pursue any direction in life, he didn’t even have the evil intelligence of most of the ‘Cunninghams’. He was the son of Reginald’s sister, and she only sent him here because he was upto no good and she couldn’t control him. The problem was that even Vincent had little control over him.

Reginald walked out of the room straight past Emily without even giving her a nod of acknowledgement and began calling someone on his cellphone. Emily stood there with fiery eyes and Vincent stood up, ‘Get him something to eat before he hits the road’. Vincent said this to Emily as he also left the room. Emily walked straight into the kitchen, finding the leftovers of potatoes and meat from the night before. She started heating it on the stove as Kevin quietly came into the kitchen and sat down. He seemed different today from his normal self. Kevin was normally outspoken and boastful, giving off energy and basking in his own over-estimated worth but today he was quiet and sullen. Kevin was sitting in the kitchen dejected as he nervously checked his jacket pockets. Emily had her back to him as she continued cooking on the stove, she wished she had some rat poison in one of the cabinets, which she could slip into his food and watch him choke on the kitchen floor. Emily’s hair was tied up in a ponytail and she was worn down as much as the Martyns were since Becky was hospitalized. Emily put the food onto a plate and banged it down hard in front of Kevin. He looked up at her and she noticed the fatigue in his eyes, like he hadn’t slept for days. His hair was a mess and he had dark stubble, she had never seen him like this before. Emily walked out of the kitchen passing Kevin’s packed bags on the floor. She went and sat into the lounge as she heard Reginald and Vincent talking in the study. Reginald didn’t visit very often since moving away with his wife, he spent a lot of time traveling since retiring. His wife was not Vincent’s mother, his mother had divorced him when Vincent was still young. Reginald married again and bought a farm where he spent most of his time. He also cared for his sister, who was a widow and he took responsibility for her only son; Kevin. Kevin’s father died in mysterious circumstances, many believed he had gambling debts which he was unable to repay. Some people in the town also whisper that those debts actually belonged to Reginald and he killed Kevin’s father because of them. Emily walked towards the stairs and stopped to face the kitchen. Kevin came out of the kitchen as Emily stood in the entrance, he looked up ‘thanks Em’. Emily glared at Kevin, fire was leaping out of her eyes as her look was burning Kevin right down to the bones, he looked down as his look met Emily’s stare. As he walked past her slowly, she spoke to him in a cold and slow manner ‘Don’t you ever set foot in my house again’. Kevin heard what she said and carried on walking.

Kay drove over the bridge, her phone beeped, it was another message, ’Go over the bridge onto the highway’. Kay continued and then another message came, saying she needs to go onto ’Lincoln Avenue’. These messages continued as Kay was constantly following this ‘treasure hunt’, being directed by this mysterious assistant of Hans. Kay began to have second thoughts once again, as she was being led deeper and deeper into this suburban area within the notorious ‘East Side’. However she had reached the point of no return and knew that whoever this man was, he may have the clues to this puzzle. Finally she reached a set of high rise apartments, then a message came ‘Stop, come out and walk down this road’. Kay stepped out and looked around, it was chilly and these apartments were deserted. Kay locked her car and began walking, checking her messages, which told her to come onto the next street and walk towards a section in the center of two apartments. Kay stopped and looked around, there was nothing to see. It seemed deserted, a lonely place where it’s hard to imagine people actually live. Kay crossed her arms as she shivered, half expecting someone to come out and shoot her. This is how she believed one day her journey would come to an end, she crossed the line one too many times, pissed off too many ‘Vincents’ or met too many ‘Reggies’ along the way. Just like a doctor who is treating disease day in and day out, one day he is sure to catch something and fall ill. Suppose it’s better than dying in your sleep at the age of eighty after spending your life as a housewife.

‘Hi, you Miss Winters’? Kay turned around, a man was standing in the alley way leading into one of the apartments. Kay tried to focus on this man in the dark, he was tall, well-built and was standing in the shadows. ‘Yes, I’m Kay Winters’. The man gestured towards her, ‘follow me’. The man turned and walked into the alley as Kay looked around for a moment and followed him down the dark and narrow pathway. This man led her up a flight of stairs, and opened the door of what looked like a derelict apartment. Kay stopped as the man looked at her, ‘come inside’. Kay walked in and this place definitely wasn’t habitable, and it wasn’t his apartment. ‘I can’t stay too long, this ain’t my place’. Kay once again shivered, ‘I don’t want to keep you but Hans told me that you can help’. The man looked at Kay, it was still dark and she could barely make out his features, he had a chin beard, smart looking. ‘I can’t really help you but I know you need some dirt on the cops on the West side’. Kay nodded, ‘I need answers, about those men who disappeared, and how the department were involved’. The man was silent for a moment, ‘I think you can work it out, you don’t need me’. ‘If I could work it out, then I wouldn’t be here’. The man looked at Kay, ‘Miss Winters, the cops got rid of these men, all of them and you know that and so did the FBI’. Kay interrupted him, ‘There’s no evidence, I can’t write something and implicate the police department in a crime without evidence’. The man walked towards the other side of the room, ‘there is evidence, the FBI had it, testimonies of cops who agreed to testify if they were given immunity’. Kay took out her pad, ‘Which cops, do you have these testimonies’? The man looked at Kay with an expression to say ‘Are you kidding’?

Kay looked at him, ‘What, I am asking you a question, where are these testimonies’?

The man smiled, ‘they never got submitted because filth is on every level’.

‘Can you get these accounts’?

‘Do you know why I asked you to come here, I could have met you anywhere, I was watching you as you left your car to make sure you aren’t being followed’.

Kay looked at him, confused ‘What can you give me’?

The man laughed, ‘Nothing, whatever I got is the reason I am still alive. I got papers, which are in a safe place, if I don’t show up one day, they get delivered to the D.A Office. That’s the arrangement, and that’s why I am still breathing’.

Kay looked away, knowing how close she was to the truth but still so far, ‘We can blow the lid off this thing, trust me, I can get this to trial’.

The man was unconvinced, he walked upto Kay, ‘I’ll take my chances with what I got’.

Kay snapped, ‘Then you are no use to me, I have heard all this many times, Hans has wasted my time and so have you’. Kay put her note pad inside her handbag, and walked towards the door.

‘Miss Winters, there was a war, there were executions’. Kay turned to face him, his face looked darker and stranger than before,

‘What war’?

’This war was between different sides and the cops were executors, and these men you care about were all criminals anyway. No-one is innocent because he exists and gets to every man, you know’.

Kay looked at him and tried to focus on his expression, which seemed twisted and his words were becoming even stranger, ‘Who exists’?

The man looked back at Kay, ‘The devil’!

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