Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Take a Minute...

It was all that she had seen for days. Ellie couldn't tell where she was or what was happening, she only wished for one thing, freedom. It was not the kind of freedom that would pop into most people's minds. She wasn't a captive of anyone but herself and her ... 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Take a Minute...

It was all that she had seen for days. Ellie couldn't tell where she was or what was happening, she only wished for one thing...

Friday, May 11, 2018

Take a Minute...

Over the next few post take a moment to see what type of story you would make, or continue mine from the following picture...

Monday, May 7, 2018

Chapter 4 - Part 4

“I’ll be fine,” she knew that he was worried. Not about the job at hand, it was something else, “With any luck we will have some good leads in a week and we’ll finish early. Time is everything in this mission and getting in will be easier for me than it will be for you.” Jan watched as he turned away and looked out the window. He watched the lazy life-style that they had grown accustomed to and the people, carrying their small bags of groceries, going by. A few school kids in their uniforms were on their way home, and he watched them laugh and joke with each other. Jan was picking up on
Hidden Promises 45 his thoughts and was unsure of what she was reading. It seemed to her that he had no doubts that he could easily get into the underworld. For a moment, Jan wondered just how many times he had done this before. Ward interrupted her thoughts, “Don’t get too many ideas, okay. Eddy and I have a few friends,” the last word was emphasized.
Unsure of who thought of it first, they suddenly both looked at the ring on her hand. Even though they both wore the wedding bands on their right hands, not the left, they also knew that Jan couldn’t leave hers on. Jan looked back at Ward, and in an instant knew just what she wanted to do. Carefully she removed the bracelet from her arm and the necklace from around her neck. It was a matched set that Ward had picked out for her. The bracelet Ward had given her on their wedding day, and except for one really bad time in her life she had never had it off her wrist. The necklace, that was an anniversary present, but it had ended up as a late present because of her and the PED department. Ward watched her hook the two together with great care. She then carefully removed the wedding band from her finger and threaded the chain through the ring. Placing her arms and the chain around his neck, she hooked the chains together again at the back of his neck, and slid the ring inside his shirt gently pressing it to his chest. She felt the warmth of his chest under her hand, and the warmth of his breath on her cheek. The beating of his heart quickened. Ward felt her warmth from the ring against his skin and he moved closer to kiss her, softly at first, and then they let the kiss deepen and their minds mingled making the most out of the last minutes they would have together for awhile. It was only seconds before he pulled slightly away from her lips knowing their time had come to an end.
“Take care, Babs,” was all he could whisper in her ear before she slowly pulled away and got out of the car. Jan started to walk over to the bus depot, stopped and then started again.
She hated ‘Good-byes,’ so she had always chosen not to say any, ever. In all the time she had known Ward, she had never once said good-bye to him, not even on their first unofficial date. At first it had been just a bad habit of hers, and then after joining the PED she intentionally never said good-bye to anyone. She never even said good-bye to Rob, her old partner, when she knew it was most likely the last time she would ever see him. Jan thought that goodbye’s were for those who were trying to close doors, and hide behind them. She preferred to leave her doors open, just in case. Or was it that she just never had the nerve to say the word? The only time she had ever said goodbye to anyone was to another agent. On the next job he went out on, he was killed. Now was not the time for her to struggle with those issues. Right now, not saying the dreaded ‘good- bye’ word to Ward was more of a superstition, a habit she didn’t intend to break. If they never said it, they would have to be back together, and if not, then there would probably be only one of them left with regrets. With any luck it wouldn’t be her.
Even for Jan it was a silly superstition, but lots of silly things keep people going through life, and this was only one of hers. Don’t step on a crack, don’t walk under ladders, don’t break a mirror or it will be seven years bad luck, none of these she believed in. She smiled inside at the times she had broken a mirror and had never once associated it with bad luck. Most of the time luck was what you made it. Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don’t. She began to read the people around her, truly leaving herself behind now. This would be a necessity, throughout the entire job, to survive.
The engine of the Explorer started up. She heard the transmission engage, and didn’t stop. The sound was present for only a second. Jan turned, just so slightly, as Ward drove away. Jan watched Ward from the corner of her eye. Ward never once turned back to look at her. This was his superstition. He silently smiled at her in his thoughts. She held onto it as long as she could, and then slowly lost her connection with him. She stared at the road filled with cars, the smoke, the dirt, and the commotion, not seeing any of it. It was time to start the game, and to play for keeps. Jan turned back toward the benches made of old half painted wood, and she picked up on the thoughts of those around her. Slowly, she walked closer and closer to the benches leaving the persona of Jan behind her. With each step that she took, anyone that could see inside her head would know that she had become Isabel. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Chapter 4 - Part 3

She had taken the time to hide the other items in both the straps and in the lining of the bag that she was carrying. They would not be things easily detected, found, or if found, that anyone would care about. In one part she had put her favorite item, a small package of rat poison. It had gotten her out of quite a few fixes in the past, easy to hide, easy to use, and easily replaced. Inside the bag she had included her favorite lock pick that she had once loaned Ward. When Ward had returned it to her, she had placed it in her apartment and left it there. On her last assignment she was almost sure she had lost it forever, but somehow, Ward had gotten it for her. To anyone else it would look like an old pen, but it had been a lifesaver for her many times, and a keepsake given to her by an old, and dear friend. Jan had taken the time last night to haphazardly sew the bag with one package of dental floss, twenty-five feet long, which only added to the authentic look of the bag as well as adding to her supply of tools that she may need. She had been careful not to cut the floss, as she never knew just how long of a piece she might need. After glancing at the bag, Jan gave Ward a quick affirmative nod to let him know she was ready. Before he put the car back into drive, Ward leaned over and let his finger gently trace her face and then cup her chin with his hand. His hand rested there for only a few moments before his hand moved farther down her body and at the same time he kissed her with a passion that she could feel deep inside both her mind and her body. Then, pulling away from her, he put the Explorer back into gear and drove back onto the road without a word. The transformation between lovers into working partners was just getting started.
Ward and Jan pulled into the small town of Hermosillo early in the afternoon. Hermosillo was where they had decided that Jan should catch the bus up to Nogales, the border town in which she would try and hire the right coyote to take her across. Being dropped off in Hermosillo would cause less suspicion than if he dropped her off in the border town itself. This way she looked as if she was on her own, and alone. It made her a much better target. It had been a long ride from the cool Pacific coast of the Baja to the warm dry mainland of Mexico, but a necessary trip that they both hoped would prove profitable.
As they pulled up to the small, old and dirty building that served as the bus stop, ticket booth, and information desk, she turned to look at Ward. His thoughts were open to her. She could tell that there was a plurality in his thoughts. This was not a new feeling. The one problem all mind readers faced was that people could, and often did, think of many things at once. It wasn’t something that was planned, but weeding through it was the skill, not reading the thoughts as some people presumed. He was beginning to prepare himself for his transformation into his legend, character, as well. Ward was both exhilarated and worried about what was going to transpire and it wasn’t something that Jan was surprised to read from him, she had the same feelings. The idea of working again was intoxicating to her in one way, but on the other hand it would mean that the person she most loved and trusted would be in danger. She had the same plurality going on in her head. His thoughts were also busy going through his plans for the rest of the day, wondering if he would make the small, informal border crossing he used before the officer he had become the most friendly with went off duty. They sat stopped for a few minutes watching the people around them before Jan got out of the Explorer. Leaving the personality of Jan behind, and adopting the role of Isabel completely, she walked the ten feet up to what was left of the old iron bars of the ticket window. Ward watched as she talked to the man on the other side of the barred and glassless window. Ward listened in to both Jan’s and the attendants thoughts, and quickly knew that all was going well. The guy on the other side of the window had already decided that she was in a business type relationship with Ward, the oldest business most likely by his thoughts, and now she needed to get back to where she worked out of most of the time.

Jan’s thoughts were predictable, focused on duty. She was amused by the attendant’s thoughts, but careful not to let on. She was also glad that they had decided on this as the drop off place rather than the border town where they would have drawn even more attention, and suspicion. After she completed the transactions for the ticket, she then placed it all in her bag.

Jan turned and returned to the Explorer. Getting into the passenger side of the vehicle she wore the little smile on her face that Ward knew so well. It was the smile of satisfaction of being on a job. What was on her thoughts she didn’t say out loud, but she did share them with Ward and found out that he had picked up on the entire conversation she had had at the ticket window. She could feel the eyes of the man who had sold her the tickets on her, so she leaned over to Ward and French kissed him. Not wanting to waste the moment Ward returned the kiss, and after a couple of minutes they pulled away. They stared at each other lost in the moment. It only took a couple of minutes before Jan broke the silence, her voice sounding just a bit out of breath.
“The bus will be here in twenty minutes,” she didn’t finish the thought out loud, she didn’t need too. Jan leaned back on the seat, mentally preparing to step out of the Explorer and into the world of Isabel until the job was complete. Ward turned to look at her and what he saw never ceased to amaze him. They had learned how to blend into any situation, or any environment, when they had been trained, but Jan had always had a special knack for it, and he loved to watch her prepare for her role in the moments before she left. He didn’t know if it was her college studies that had made her so good at this, or if it was just a talent she had. What he saw before him was not the Jan he knew. She was there, but buried deep inside, keeping her feelings safe from others, and only barely accessible to him. Of all those people that could and would see her, all would truly believe she was a native of Mexico. She looked the part, her clothes, her hair tied back into a ponytail, and although she would be considered a light skin Mexican of mostly Spanish decent, he knew that when she got out of the car, she would put on the rest of the act for all to see. There would be no question if she was authentic or not by anyone outside of this vehicle. By reading the minds of those around her, she could change her actions, mannerisms, and expressions all in a split second to fit with the area or to adjust the character as needed. She could tweak her role to fit anything she would need. That was one of the many reasons why mind readers were so valued, and a top-secret commodity within the government. The government had put a lot of training into each of them and wanted to reap the benefits of it. With the training each reader had received and continued to get, they could work with any military or clandestine service that had access and knowledge of their department, maybe not the skills, but the department. That’s one reason they were not happy to have two leave the fold. The numbers of readers weren’t that great to begin with, and the years of training a costly investment.
“You know my number if you need me. My phone number is the same as always and I’ll keep it on. Don’t hesitate to use it,” he knew she wouldn’t need it. She was as good as he was at this, if not better, “If you need to contact any of the departments or local authorities, remember to go through my friend, it will keep your identity safe. If you aren’t in Phoenix, give me a buzz and I’ll see if we have anyone friendly near,” with that said, he took a good look at her. He looked through her facade and reached back into who she really was. Their minds touched and what was expressed could never have been said with words. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Chapter 4 - Part 2

“I don’t plan on getting caught, and with any luck, the name I’m using will give me just enough cover if I do. Most of the time the border patrol just sends you back without getting your prints completely processed first, or at all. Not a good policy, but with the amount of traffic that crosses the border here, and is caught, it is understandable,” the conversation was over as quick as it had begun, and they drove on in silence. Jan’s mind wandered back to the arrangements they had made if she were to get caught. She was going to use the name Isabel Garcia Lopez. If there were any problems, the phone number she would give them would be Manuel’s cell phone, in Mexico, or a phony address in Hermosillo. Ward arranged this when Manuel had dropped off the clothes, and then later shared it with Jan. He was to pose as her brother if she called. Most importantly, he was not to let Mama Garcia know what was happening, they didn’t want to worry her anymore than necessary. Manuel would be good cover, and would come to meet the bus if necessary. Ward left a vehicle available for him to use for just such an event. Ward and Jan tried hard not to involve the Garcias at all if possible, but sometimes they would use Manuel as back up.
The drive through what could only be described as a dusty, sandy, low scrub desert was fairly boring if one was not in love with the desert. They didn’t talk for hours and barely shared their thoughts. Jan watched the scenery as they traveled down the nearly empty roads through the countryside. As they passed through the small towns she would watch the locals walk along the streets and glance unnoticeably at the Explorer. She drifted in and out of a restless sleep, and when it was about noon they stopped to grab a couple of sodas and a taco with everything, from a vendor on the corner. The place looked as if it was well kept even though the wood that held the stand together was well worn from the years of weathering, and the paint was almost nonexistent from sun and wind. There seemed to be a lot of people enjoying the food and just as many waiting to be served. They finished eating quickly and got back into the Explorer. As they got back in, Jan and Ward started a small conversation that had nothing to do with the job they were about to embark on. It was just simply small talk. The small talk seemed to loosen up their minds as well as their muscles. As they talked about nothing of importance, the tension seemed to drift off on the wind that passed through the vehicle. Most of the drive was done, but they needed to get to Hermosillo before the last bus left for Nogales. Jan had printed out the schedule yesterday to make sure they didn’t miss it. One more day could mean that they would lose a lead. It could also mean that there would be more people preyed upon and lost. On this job, time was everything. They also knew that the full moon was tonight, and for the next couple of days crossings would be favorable, and frequent.
Ward drove for another hour and a half. He then pulled over to the side of the road on a dusty and sandy turnaround that barely existed. Off to the side there were the remains of a table and what might have been a trash container at one time or another. The Explorer jostled to a stop and he turned to look at Jan. They were just outside of Hermosillo. Ward wanted to ask Jan if she had everything she needed, but he already knew she did. Words would not serve his purpose right now. Instead he just stared at her and she returned his strong gaze with one that was equally as strong. Knowing what he was thinking without even reading his thoughts, she allowed her thoughts mix with his to let him know that she was feeling the same. To ease the tension and create a diversion, in her thoughts she went over what she had in her bag, and going over the premise of the legend, or persona she was about to adopt.
Jan had placed two thousand dollars in the bottom of the bag, and had a bit of extra cash sewn carefully into the straps of the bag where it would be hard for anyone to know it was there but her. It was a less likely place for someone to look, and even if they did, she had it well disguised within the folds of the fabric. She had carefully packed the bag to look like it contained nothing important. A couple changes of clothes, a few bread rolls bought from the local bakery, a bottle of water, a ragged old pad of paper, a pen, and an old rosary that Manuel had tucked in the bag before he gave it to her. The bag looked old, shabby, and lacking in the many items she may be in need of to protect herself, but in all reality it contained all she would possibly need or want. Ward had always been baffled by her choice of items. It wasn’t standard equipment, but it always seemed to get her out of trouble when she needed it.