Since you're almost at 12 reviews for the Illegal Fantasies book, I thought I'd toss you a bone. (read that as tease.)
Here you go....
Here you go....
© Copyright 2015 by Morgan Kelley LLC All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or in an information storage or retrieval system without written consent from the author. All characters are fictional and any similarity to real life or individuals is coincidental.
Killing definitely wasn’t for the faint at heart.
It takes a special kind of person to take another’s life. The entire process is a bloody mess and often makes you wonder about your sanity. It makes you question everything you’ve ever learned in life.
Is it right?
Could it be wrong?
Then, when it comes down to it, there can ultimately be only one judge. In the end, God Almighty is the only one who has the final answer for those questions. Even for him, life was all about balancing right and wrong.
Good and evil.
Sinner and saint.
That’s why God picked him.
Gazing down from the heavens, the Lord must have known that he was the perfect person to do this type of job.
He was chosen because he was a dutiful follower who didn't question God’s word. There were people in life who thought first, and then there were those who jumped right into action.
He was the latter.
Yet, taking a life shouldn’t be done easily. It needed to be balanced in careful consideration and judgment. Without that, it would be a bloody mess.
After all, who decided which men and women were destined to die?
When the time came and their number was up, someone had to make the final decision.
Who was strong enough to do it?
There would be no choice, because he was doing the Lord’s work. When one pictured the great power above, wielding the sword of justice alone to balance the scales, it was nothing more than fallacy.
To believe that God saw and handled everything on his own was ridiculous. He may continually have a watchful eye on everyone, but deliverance of justice could be slow. After all, the Lord was a very busy deity.
So, he had enlisted a little help.
There was nothing wrong with picking one of your creations to do the dirty work. Everyone needs a little assistance now and again, or someone to make spur of the moment calls on the fly.
Well, he was it.
He would watch, pray, and then make the final decision. God understood, because he was overburdened. Let’s face it; mankind is a vile, hideous lot who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about their fellow humans.
Now, he was helping God keep the sinners from corrupting the saints.
It was his calling.
From his childhood, he knew he was destined to handle it. He always wanted to be special, and what better way than to hold the life of another in his hand?
This was the ultimate gift from his Lord. It was something only given out to a few special angels, who he picked to do his bidding.
It was his job to do what he knew to be right.
With the slightest inclination, life was stolen or preserved. It was as close to being holy and God-like as he would ever get. Don’t get him wrong, he knew that he wasn’t even close to being worthy of worship, but with this offered power, he was a marked man.
He was holy.
As long as he remembered who the boss was, he would be fine. To think otherwise would be blasphemous. Instead, he liked to think of himself as the Grim Reaper of sorts. It was his job to listen to God and make his move.
It took planning.
It took patience.
It took cunning.
That’s why he was the chosen one.
The Lord has his plans, and he was destined to be his right hand. Forget Jesus. He was going to be the sword that smote the sinner and saved the saint.
It was his duty in life.
As a child, his mother always told him to remain holy. There were hours spent at church, long periods of bible study, and so much time spent molding him into the precious vessel of the Lord.
It wasn’t wasted.
She always expected holiness from her family. They needed to be above the law of God, living and sinning as little as possible. In her home, you either were on the Lord’s side or you were asking for his wrath.
The choice was easy.
Wouldn’t she be so proud to know that he’d finally reached this pinnacle? Where she never believed he could do it, God had other plans.
He was on top of the world.
Now, nothing could stop him from making his mark on the people he was sent to judge. With this new found power, he was above reproach. Anyone who saw him doing his work would know the truth.
He was meant to be the Angel of Death.
It sent shivers through his body at the mere thought of the title. Where some people lived their lives in a bubble, he didn't. As a follower of God, he was firmly rooted in his faith.
Nothing escaped him. He saw it all, and it was his job to keep track of it. Maybe it was a good thing that he blended in so easily. He could watch, learn, and handle any situation that arose.
Well, just look at the woman on his prep table.
He was currently cutting into her chest, trying to remove her heart. It wasn’t easy. Who knew the breast bone was so damn thick? After hacking at it for a while, he finally gave up. Instead, with a simple pair of garden tools, he snapped open the ribs, giving himself some space. Now, he had direct access to what he needed.
Oh, she was going to be losing it to him shortly.
After her flagrant actions, there had been no choice.
For weeks, he’d watched her, as she headed in and out of church and town. On the outside, this woman looked pure, but she wasn’t. She’d have her open dalliance with whoever she wanted, only to think she was above getting caught.
Well, she was definitely seen.
He didn't miss any of it.
Oh, and God wasn’t happy.
So, his Angel of Death was called out to do the job. Now, she was dead and ready for the final part of the task.
What kind of hand of God would he be if he killed them and didn't take care of getting rid of the bodies?
A piss poor one, that’s for sure!
This was part of the process for him. He’d take, judge, and then lay them to rest. So, here she was with her chest open and the special jar waiting for her heart. He wanted to leave a message for those who found her years from now. It would be his little clue as to why her life was forfeited.
Yes, he had a flair for drama, but God didn't mind. It was all part of the Lord’s master plan for his creations.
The Angel of Death couldn’t leave a note, because it would disintegrate with time. Yet, a canopic jar would endure! Granted, he stole that little tidbit from the Egyptians, but why mess with something that worked?
Reaching into her chest, there was the sucking sound of flesh and blood as his hand invaded her body. When he felt the squishy sack, he reached in with the knife to cut it free. Once out of the cavity, he stared at it in his palm.
He was in awe of the Lord’s creation.
This one organ helped keep us alive and was said to be the part of our bodies that held love.
It was just one more of his miracles.
Then, he found it all funny. God knew that this woman ‘loved’ a lot of men.
Now, her once beating heart was cold and dead in his hand. It was ironic on so many levels. More laughter filled him. Here was a woman, who bedded so many men, and now she was reduced to a cold, dead corpse.
He shook his head sadly.
None of this would have happened if she had just been better in life. While going to church, she should have paid a little more attention to the sermons on wrath and judgment.
Now that she was being judged, maybe God would take mercy on her, showing her the way.
After all, the Lord was all about forgiveness.
Staring down at her, he saw how that probably wouldn’t happen. Truth be told, some people weren’t worthy of salvation.
Hadn’t he learned that over the years?
Picking up the jar, he stuffed the organ inside before sealing it shut. Staring at the cavity, he brutally shoved the vessel into her chest.
In the afterlife, she would need her heart.
Yeah, maybe she could use it to bribe her way into Satan’s favor. Since she was so accustomed to using her womanly wiles to get what she wanted, Satan just might give her what she deserved.
A long, fire filled eternity.
More laughter came as he prepared the strips. The scent filled his nostrils, giving him peace. It was so familiar and calming that he almost wanted to bathe in it himself. As the aroma filled his senses, he began soaking the strips in the sacred oil. When they were ready, he would wrap her body for burial.
He already had the place picked out.
It was the perfect location.
No one would look there, and if for some reason they did, he wouldn’t be blamed. After all, there would be too many suspects. Then, he could continue his work.
Correction- he would continue God’s work.
One must not forget who was running this show.
Once she was in the ground, the final chapter in her story would be written. God could then forgive her, because she died for her sins. There was still a chance that when she met him in the afterlife, he would let her into heaven.
It would all come down to her repenting.
If that happened, then he’d done his job.
The evil and impure needed to be saved, and he wouldn’t stop until he took care of it.
This calling consumed all of him. If he tried to stop, he’d be miserable. For now, he must carry on and save as many sinners as possible.
Then, he’d get his reward when he too was buried.
All his deeds in life would ensure his heavenly retreat in the afterlife.
He was sure of it.
Returning his focus to the woman, he dumped some of the fragrant herbs and liquid into her chest before he began coating her body with them. Next, he would wrap and transport her.
This sinner’s journey was just beginning.
And he couldn’t wait to send her on her way.
It was another job well done.
* * *
Three Hours Later
In the silence of the night, he continued digging the hole. It was right beside the last three that he’d buried out in the middle of nowhere. For him, this was the plan all along.
This spot was ideal.
It stood just outside the church cemetery, oblivious to the living. This one spot spoke volumes of the people buried there.
See, they weren’t worthy of a proper plot.
God had yet to forgive them. Maybe when they were discovered and interred somewhere else, they’d be ready for a tombstone and flowers. For now, they were still impure. God would decide when it was time for them to have their moment. If they didn't ask for his forgiveness by now, here they would remain.
As he got down three feet, he hit rock.
Well then, this would have to do.
Dragging her body, wrapped in plastic sheeting to the hole, he said a prayer before dropping her in. The sick thud of skull hitting rock made him giddy. The sound brought happiness to him in some perverse way.
God would forgive him.
He knew it.
Once more, he had done a darn good job. Now, he could cover her up and get the hell out of there. The rains were coming, and he didn't want to leave too many tracks in the dirt.
No, he needed to stay invisible.
The Angel of Death couldn’t be effective if he wore a sign giving away his calling, now could he?
God demanded he stay in the shadows, and he was fine with that. How could he watch those who were to be judged if they knew it was their time? He couldn’t.
Then, they would be good.
No, he needed to remain hidden to be fair. They all had a choice in their destiny. If they made good decisions, they’d live longer.
If they didn't…
Yeah, well, she was a testament to her choices, as were her three companions in the ground.
There was a major lesson here. It was simple enough. You shouldn’t test God, because you won’t like the outcome.
With the last shovel of dirt, he finally finished the back breaking task. Grabbing all his things, he loaded them back into his truck.
Now, it was time to escape.
Tomorrow was another day, and certainly there would be more sin to find. God would point him in the right direction. Before long, these four would have another friend to keep them company. Since there was an endless amount of land, there could be an endless number of sinners.
It made him giddy.
“Forgive me, Father, for taking joy in my job,” he prayed.
When he heard the whispered words, he smiled satisfactorily.
All was forgiven.
Inside his truck, he stared into the mirror and couldn’t help but admire his power.
Yeah, being an angel was tough work. Yet in the end, it was worth it.
Not all of God’s helpers were meant to spread joy and peace to his followers.
Someone had to do the dirty work.
And he didn't mind at all…
* * *
Two Days Later
Black Mountain Indian Reservation
Getting out of his rental, he crossed the grass to the meeting house. Everything in Callen Whitefox was on edge. Mostly, because this was his first assignment away from the people he loved.
After returning from Salem, Elizabeth, Ethan, and he went back to living. Just a week ago, they found out that their woman was having a girl. The family was about to get another precious daughter added into their midst, and they couldn’t be happier.
Maybe that wasn’t a good enough description for all of their emotions. They were ecstatic!
Now, Callen was back on the road doing what he did best. As liaison to the Native community, it was his job to mediate. Maybe he was good at it because it was his nature, or it was all due to his ethnicity. It didn't really matter, because either way, this one job was going to be a rough one.
He could already tell.
When Native Americans were forced onto reservations hundreds of years ago, they took it badly. No one wanted their land stolen from them. Instead of what was promised, they were given poor living conditions, disease from the white man, and ultimately their death.
What he was facing down there was very reminiscent of years long ago.
There were more land issues brewing, and it was going to be damn ugly. Already, the Natives were restless, and he’d yet to start the mediation process.
As much as Callen was sympathetic to his people, it was his job to see both sides of the story. In fact, being in love and ‘married’ to an outsider gave him plenty of perspective for his job. His biggest obstacle wouldn’t be the land being ‘poached’, but the attitude that was sure to follow.
Pissed off Indians were a dangerous lot. Once backed into a corner, they were likely to do something irrational, and he needed to nip that in the bud.
Yeah, it was going to be a long one.
Before entering the building, Callen took a moment to look around, taking in his surroundings. Black Mountain was a dense reservation. The land was filled with trees, lush backdrop, and plenty of wildlife. The indigenous Natives here loved to hunt, build cabins, and try to have a normal life. From the looks of the space, they took pride in their greenery. The small two hundred square mile thatch of land was their pride.
Now, it was in danger.
While lush and lovely, this was home and prison all at the same time.
It gave them both pride and anger.
Being from the Rez, he totally got that.
Now they believed that the white man was moving the land borders without them knowing it. It was the ultimate insult. First you trap them, then you make the cage smaller and smaller.
It was adding insult to injury.
This was going to be a big battle, especially since the tribe wasn’t exactly sure who was doing it.
No, that wasn’t true.
They had a suspect.
It just seemed… unlikely.
After doing this job for nearly two years, he’d seen many accusations haphazardly tossed around. Yet, this was one for the record books.
A part of him still couldn’t believe it.
This particular Native land butted a cemetery. Inside the wrought iron gates were the graves of deceased Christians. The Natives were accusing the church of trying to steal what wasn’t theirs.
Honestly, he found it funny.
Ahhhh, once more religion had reared its ugly head. While so many crimes were based on faith and beliefs, his job was often pretty cut and dried.
Oh, not this time.
The heathens and Christians were about to butt heads.
Now, Callen had to calm the Natives, reassure the Christians, and soothe so many tempers. There were times he wished there were two of him. With each case of encroachment, it was getting harder and harder to find a middle ground. Maybe it was because being Native, he was having a hard time extracting himself from the situation.
After all, he grew up on a Rez. His perspective was already tainted. Where he was from, poverty was rampant, food was scarce, and honestly, he didn't even see a doctor until he was a preteen. Looking at the empty stares of the Natives, he knew how blessed he was to escape. Yeah, that may have given him a tiny bit of bias.
Hey, he was only human.
Then again, all that changed. Callen had a decent job, a home that a Native could only dream about, and a family who loved him. His long tedious days in old shoes, broken down vehicles, and abject poverty were a million miles away.
This was why he loved his job.
It made him humble.
How could he come to work every day, see where he came from, and forget?
There was no way in hell he could become jaded. This daily experience made him want to work harder for the Natives, and the generations which were coming up behind him.
At the entrance to the meeting house, he was met by a simple looking man wearing jeans and a jacket. Dakota Molala was the epitome of Native. In his late forties, he stood there with his arms crossed, trying to look imposing.
Yeah, it wasn’t working.
In all honesty, Callen was more terrified of Elizabeth when they stirred her up.
“Brother Whitefox! Thank you for coming to our reservation,” he said, holding out his hand in welcome. As customary, the man’s hand was adorned with turquoise and bracelets fashioned by his people from silver. His braids were long and indicative of his people.
In that moment, Callen missed his hair.
He couldn’t help it. Pushing it down, he tried to focus on the issue at hand.
“Chief Molala, thank you for your invitation to your land. I look forward to assisting you with your problem.”
The man sincerely hoped so. His people didn't trust the FBI as far as they could throw them. There was so much bad blood brewing. “We heard that you’re the best mediator, and we’re glad that you could come. I’ve arranged for you to stay on the reservation while you’re here. We have a few empty cabins. I hope they’re to your liking. I’ll give you the address and keys later.”
Callen was appreciative. Although, he’d rather be at home, sleeping in his own bed beside Elizabeth and Ethan. Oh well, this was work and duty called.
Going inside the meeting house, Callen took in his surroundings. It reminded him of the traditional decorations on the Rez at home. The colors called to Callen, giving him a sense of belonging.
“I appreciate your kindness, Chief. I hope that I can help you with your situation.”
The man hoped so too. “I’ll be honest with you, Director Whitefox. We’ve never had this problem before,” he said, taking a seat, as he offered one to his visitor. The minute he sat, Chief Molala signaled to the woman in the corner. She rushed over with tea and something to eat for their guest.
Callen wasn’t hungry, but to not accept it would be an insult. Nodding, he spoke to the woman in his Native language, hoping they were similar.
When she replied, he relaxed. This was the first step in gaining their trust. His ethnicity would only go so far. Now, they would watch to see if he practiced what he preached, so to speak.
The chief was impressed. “So, you are one of us. Too many of today’s Natives don’t take the time to learn things from our ancestors. Your family must be very proud of you.”
Callen hoped they were. “I’m very much a Native to the core, Chief. In fact, my whole family is very entrenched in our culture.”
“Please, call me Dakota. I’m not really this formal,” he stated, sipping his tea. I just need to know that the person who will be representing us has our best interests at heart. When I heard they were sending a Native, I was wary. How can one who knows the atrocities of the white man still work for him? I’ll be honest, I was definitely worried.”
Score one for the FBI. Two minutes in and they were on a first name basis. “Please call me Callen. As to the ‘working for the white man’,” he began, “I’ve found that it’s best to judge each one by their actions and not the color of their skin. Like many Natives, you get the good and the bad.”
The man smiled warmly. “That is very wise.”
Whew. Okay, so far, so good. Callen began to relax.
“My people will be happy to know that we will be understood.”
Callen knew this was all part of the very intricate dance. “We may not be of the same tribe, but we share the same goals, Dakota. In fact, my boss is also Native. I can assure you that he cares about your issues.”
The man ate a cookie. “Yes, I’ve seen him on the news after his abduction. It was a shame what they did to his hair. It’s a very big part of us,” he said, touching the braid.
Callen agreed there. Every day he missed it, longing to get it back. No matter how hard he tried, Callen felt lost without it.
“I see that you cut yours.”
Ah, the man did his research. It wasn’t like it was hard. The day the media saw him and Elizabeth with shorn hair, it was like a maelstrom of publicity. Everyone and their brother assumed it was because of what the killer did to Ethan.
Well, they were absolutely correct. They had sacrificed their hair for his heart.
“Yes, I did. It was to stand with my brother. Your blood matters most in life.”
The man seemed to appreciate that. After all, they were all one.
“Now, what seems to be the issue, Dakota? You mentioned that there were land encroachments from your eastern neighbor, but that’s all I know.”
When his body language changed, Callen couldn’t help but notice it. The smile was gone, the arms were crossed, and his demeanor was tense.
“Someone has been burying their dead on this Rez.”
That had Callen’s attention. “I’m sorry, what?” There was no way that he had heard that correctly. There had to be some sort of mistake.
“Let me start at the beginning. To our east is a cemetery, which is owned by a local town church. We’ve never had a problem with them before. Yet as of late, we’ve discovered their dead are spilling past the wrought iron fence to find their final resting place on our land.”
Callen found that odd.
Who buried people in the woods? Already, the hairs on the back of his neck were standing. It didn't seem right to him.
“Please continue,” he offered to the chief, trying to get to the bottom of this.
“We had a few of the tribe out scouting the area. We’re looking to expand the camping grounds for local tourism. That’s how we make our money in the off season. The little shops and stores on the Rez don’t supply our people with enough income.”
He understood so far.
“So, we went to the furthest part of the Rez to work our way in. We wanted to be respectful of the cemetery and not have a campground right beside it. It would become a place where our guests would undoubtedly wander. You know how old cemeteries garner attention. They draw in the ghost hunters and riff raff.”
“I’m with you so far, sir.”
“Once arriving at the gate, the scouting group found that some ground appeared to have been messed with. Immediately, they came back to report the situation. Had it been a small patch of dirt, it may have gone unnoticed.”
Callen didn’t like where this was heading.
Disturbed land was one thing, but the chief already knew that there were graves. That could only mean one thing…
“So, I headed out there to investigate.”
Callen was finding it hard not to jump to conclusions. Being in the FBI, you dealt with a lot of crazy shit. This was beginning to sound very familiar.
“We need you to stop this before it escalates. The bodies must be removed from our land and returned to their side of the fence.”
Yep, it was very familiar indeed.
“Chief, you know for sure that there are bodies?” Callen crossed his fingers, praying that the man was just assuming. After all, he could have found some disturbed dirt. Maybe this was a case of overactive imagination.
“Yes. We dug them up.”
“WHAT?” Callen wasn’t quite sure he heard the man correctly.
He stopped him. “I know what you said. I’m having a big problem with the last part. You dug up bodies?”
“We were going to drive them back to the church and leave them there. Then, we got word that you were coming and opted to let you see what we found.”
Callen couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “You actually disturbed a grave?” That was a big no-no for most Natives. They didn't like to bother the dead after they were buried. To them, the deceased needed time to cross over.
“Yes, we dug all of them up.”
Yeah, this whole conversation was getting worse by the minute. “How many is all?”
“In total, we found four bodies. As you can see, it’s beginning to be a big problem. If they’re burying their dead here, eventually it’s going to spread. I’m assuming it’s people who couldn’t afford a proper burial, and that’s why the unmarked graves.”
Callen was getting that sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. “Why do you say that, Chief?”
He shrugged. “They’re not in caskets and their bodies are wrapped in these makeshift shrouds. It’s kind of creepy.”
Okay, this was all wrong. No one buried bodies without a casket. There were laws and regulations in the United States. Callen may not be aware of all of them, but he knew that even Natives had to use a vessel to house the remains. No one wanted contaminated drinking water.
The idea made him want to gag as he stared down at his tea.
“I need to see them. Where are they?”
The man stood. “I’ll drive you out there. I sent a few of our people out to wait with them while you and I had our meeting. We were certain that you would handle it once you heard of our issues.”
Oh, he’d be handling it alright.
If it was what he suspected, it didn't look like he was heading home anytime soon. In fact, he was going to be getting some back up on this one.
Four bodies screamed full FBI investigation.
Getting into the chief’s beat up truck, he buckled in. Sending a text to his brother, he told him he thought they had an issue. Now, he’d need to make sure before he said anything more. There was no point working Ethan up if it was nothing.
Yeah, he wasn’t that naïve.
Where there was smoke, there was fire. Four corpses pretty much equaled a five alarm blaze.
As they drove on in silence, the chief finally pulled over. “We need to walk from here, Callen. I hope you don’t mind getting your boots dirty.”
He didn't. All he wanted was to get clarification before he contacted base. Right now, his pulse was pounding in his neck.
Fortunately for them, the walk was a short hike into the wooded area. Despite the situation, it reminded Callen of home. The dense forest always called to him.
Ironically, it still was. Only this time, it called to the FBI agent in him instead.
Once they arrived, Callen weighed the situation. Standing there were three Native men, all holding shovels.
“They’re still in the holes,” Chief Molala said, pointing into the shallow graves.
Callen carefully moved toward to the gaping holes. Stopping at the first one, he was immediately hit with a familiar scent. It reminded him of Christmas.
He found that odd.
The hole wasn’t deep and inside was the first body. It was wrapped in a white cloth and tied with strips of torn material. All he could think of was some scary old move.
“Are you serious?” he said, moving toward the other holes. In each one, he found similar remains. “Is this how you found them?” he asked, glancing over his shoulder at the men.
“Yes, it is. Now, what should we do?”
Callen almost wanted to start laughing. If they thought they had a big problem before, it was about to get a million times worse. His suspicions were right.
This was definitely FBI worthy.
Callen hated to break it to the man, but the chief didn't have someone interloping on his land. He had someone sneaking onto the reservation to do something far worse.
In fact, it was sinister.
“Chief, I have to call this one in. These bodies aren’t that old. You don’t have someone stealing ground for graves.”
“We don’t?” he replied.
“No, you have someone hiding bodies. You have a killer using the reservation as a dumping ground.”
He looked surprised.
“That can’t be good,” he stated.
Callen laughed. “Yeah, trust me. It never is.”
I hope you enjoy! When it's available, you'll find the link here!