Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ten Little Spies: Episode 3

Episode 3: The Midnight Hour
~ Chapter Three~
by Toni Walker
Dyan Ransom pushed her way into Franklin Fairchild's office. She was not the type of woman who sat back and waited docilely while others ran roughshod over her civil liberties. She rested both hands on the edge of the director's desk, and gave Franklin the evil eye.
"I have the right to see my sister!" Dyan said the words calmly yet firmly. Everyone in the room knew she seethed inside.
Franklin Fairchild, the Director, stood. He rose to a height that made Dyan and Adrian Zeller both look up at him.
"I agree, you do have that right. But we also have a duty here," he said "There is an investigation going on, Mrs. Ransom. Your sister is in our safeguard. Her condition is guarded, but we expect that to change soon bearing no unwanted interruption in her care."
"If she is in no physical danger, I must insist you allow Mrs. Ransom to see her sister," Adrian couldn't help but interject.
"You must insist?" Franklin stared at the billionaire as if he had lost his mind. "Alison Corday works for me and is currently being protected from whomever has harmed her. Think of it as protective custody. Until we know that the danger has past, we will keep her here with us."
Franklin was about to usher Dyan and Adrian from the premises when a loud, piercing squeal sounded, echoing through the building. A short blond woman ran down the hallway, her high heels clipping at a rapid pace. She nearly collided with Franklin as he stepped into the corridor.
"Oh, Mr. Fairchild," Melanie said, nearly out of breath. "We have a security breech in the infirmary."
Franklin shoved the secretary into his office with Dyan and the man dressed in the pin striped suit. "Get them out of here," he whispered "Take them out the back way."
Melanie started to complain about the assignment, "But..."
"I don't care what you do, just get rid of them."
Melanie nodded, her short blond hair moving with the swish of her head. Franklin then closed and bolted the three of them into his office.
"Sorry about that," Melanie said, shrugging her right shoulder. She now appeared much calmer. "There is a problem in Sector 5. Mr. Fairchild apologizes, but asked me to show you out."
Melanie reached under the desk and pushed a hidden button. The fireplace to their left yawned open revealing a secret passageway.
"This is a short cut. I use it all the time. Easy as pie." She walked through the opening then motioned for them to follow.
"What is going on?" Adrian wasn't venturing anywhere near the passageway. He grabbed Melanie by the elbow knocking all the papers and folders from her grasp. They fell to the floor, flying in all directions. "I insist you tell us why we've been locked inside this office."
"Chill," Melanie hissed. Adrian didn't stoop to help her pick up the papers he had knocked from her hands. But considering who he was, she knew he wouldn't.
Adrian's eyes fastened on one paper, an inter office memo. He stepped on it, hiding it from the secretary's view. He wanted to get a better look at it.
"I'm not locking you in this office, although I might like to. Mr. Fairchild asked me to take you to safety, and during a crisis, this is exactly how we get you out. Now please follow me."
Melanie gathered the last paper then shuffled them in her arms walking into the passageway. Dyan followed. Adrian bent to pick up the memo and skimmed its contents, before following.
"Interesting," he quipped. " Very enlightening."
"What is that?" Dyan and Adrian fell back a few steps behind Melanie. "You took that from Fairchild's office. You really don't have any morals at all, do you?"
"Ever heard the notion of finders keepers?"
Dyan rolled her eyes.
"Hello. You up there." Adrian said with a sly smile. "You neglected to pick up this paper and I thought you might need it."
"Thanks. I always seem to drop things when people grab my arm. But thanks for thinking of me." Melanie took the memo from Adrian and stuffed it into the stack.
A warning sensor began to pulse with a more rapid urgency. "We have to leave NOW! Move your butts. They've compromised this sector!" Melanie waited for the two newcomers to pass her before she pressed them to move forward quickly.

Marian Noble glanced over at her employer, Alexi Kassoff. She wanted to impress him, but to know exactly what it was that would turn his head was hard to guestimate.
"I'm leaving tonight to meet the source who claims to have a manuscript stolen from the Vatican." Alexi's accent was Australian but he was born in Russia. His accent was an odd combination of both. He spoke Russian as fluently as he did six other languages.
"Are you sure you don't want me to assist you?" Marian wanted to attend the meeting, but she didn't dare tell Alexi that. She knew he was protective of her and that these meetings could be dangerous.
"No, I'm not quite sure my mystery caller is completely reliable. And you are due for a week off. So, we'll be killing two birds with one stone."
"It was generous of your sister, Octavia, to invite me along on her holiday in the mountains. I do love to rock climb and ski." Marian's accent was British.
"I know she'll enjoy seeing you again. I can't remember the last time she took a day off much less a vacation. It will be good for both of you." Alexi gathered his supplies, waved a final goodbye and dashed out to greet the taxi.
Marian felt an emptiness after he was gone. She wished she could be there when he acquired the manuscript that revealed the location of the Inca idol he had searched many years to acquire.
A helicopter whirled above the estate reminding Marian to hurry and gather the remaining items she wanted to take with her to the lodge. A blonde woman exited the craft. Her hair blowing in all directions.
"Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime?" Octavia Kassoff yelled, trying to keep her voice above the squeal of the helicopter blades. She was a beautiful woman, even bundled in layers of clothes.
Marian smiled. She'd never actually been on a holiday before. At least, not in the last few years, maybe once when she was ten.
"Maybe next time we could talk Alexi into it. That brother of mine needs to be reminded what fun is." Octavia grabbed one of Marian's suitcases and ushered the British woman toward the helicopter.
"His idea of fun is trying to figure out where a treasure has been hidden by a culture centuries ago." Marian lugged the second suitcase. The pilot helped her load it in the craft. She hesitated a moment before climbing into the helicopter.
"Alexi told me you were afraid of heights. I never realized that." Octavia said, then motioned for the pilot to lift off once they were both safely secured inside.
"I'm not fond of them, no. I've been trying to conquer my fear by rock climbing, but I'm afraid it still unnerves me."
"Don't worry. Irish here is the best pilot in the fleet. If he can't keep you safe, no one can."
Marian didn't know what had happened.
First, they were flying smoothly over the mountains, then they were careening toward the earth at an amazing speed. She looked around to Octavia hoping to hear that this was some sort of bizarre mistake. They weren't about to crash in a fiery ball and die.
"Octavia? Octavia? Where are you?" There was no response. Marian poked her head into the cockpit where Irish Quinn was trying to slow their descent. "What happened?"
"Explosion in the back compartment. Didn't you see it go off?" Irish couldn't focus on Marian and the fear he knew she was experiencing. He had to save them.
"No, I was sleeping. I felt a jolt and when I opened my eyes Octavia was gone and everything was smoking. Smoking is not a good sign, is it?"
"Gone? What do you mean, gone? She's not back there?" Irish's rough face turned ashen. "The explosion must have knocked her out of the helicopter.
The aircraft made a faint scream as they hurtled faster toward a building atop a snow capped mountain. They were going to die!
"People are disappearing under our noses. Doesn't that concern you?" Bobbie Sullivan paced frantically while searching the database for any clues to where the kidnappers might have taken Jared and Alison.
"Sullivan, we have everything under control. Don't concern yourself with this scenario. It would do either of them any good." Franklin Fairchild turned on his heel to check with his secretary that his two visitors had made it out of the building safely.
Bobbie couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Don't concern myself? You've got to be kidding."
"That's an order, Sullivan," Franklin warned. "Proceed any further with this and face major jail time, or worse."
Bobbie watched as Franklin walked away, as if nothing important had taken place. "Sorry, chief," he whispered to himself. "Jared and Alison are my friends, and I can't leave them out there vulnerable and alone." He pushed his chair closer to the computer and searched the security archives a little closer.
Maxie Demarco had been a nurse for a long time, and she'd been concerned about her share of patients. But this patient had a strange hold on her. She couldn't get him out of her mind.
It was funny because before he came to the hospital, she had never once talked to him. In her mind, she had imagined what he would be like. Would he be tough and brash or sweet and kind? Her sister, Jazz was certain he was a stand-up guy. He had saved a group of people from a monastery in Bulgaria He was the real thing, a true hero.
Her hand quivered as she dipped the damp cloth into the water basin. Maxie had washed him many times, knew every inch of his perfect body. But today there was something different, something more intimate about the task.
After she washed him down, she set her mind to shaving the beard that shadowed his face. Her hands glided the green gel across his cheek watching it as it turned into white puffy foam. She took her time shaving him, making his face perfect, but from what she could see, even with the beard, he was beautifully made. Handsome as sin.
Maxie kept wondering what he sounded like. Was his voice gruff and manly; she thought it might be.
With one last swipe across his cheek, she rinsed the razor off and set it on the rolling table Kevin Fairchild had never once used. He'd been in a coma since he was admitted three years earlier.
"Are you ever going to wake up?" she whispered in her husky alto. She wiped the last remains of foam from his cheek, then grabbed the stainless steel bowl filled with dirty water and readied herself to attend to her next patient.
It was in that moment something bizarre happened. Kevin moved. First his leg twitched, then his body convulsed. Maxie jumped up to move away from him and call a doctor, but his fingers closed around her wrist and tugged her closer with muscles that should have atrophied with disuse.
When she was pressed close to his chest, Kevin's eyes popped open and presented her with an intense pointed stare. "Your sister is in danger," he rasped. "You have to call her right now. Do it now!"
It was cold.
He could feel the wind tugging at his hair, swirling his dark mane in the frigid air. But he couldn't figure out how he had come to be outside. As he rose up on one arm, a pain lanced through his shoulder. The pain and the cold were unfamiliar sensations. He could have sworn he had been inside, but now he wasn't so sure.
His dark eyes opened to blue skies and puffy clouds which would have been a grand sight if he hadn't been seeing them through a giant hole in the ceiling. Pushing through the pain, he managed to stand and survey the scene.
"What in the hell?" he muttered. The room was trashed. Bits of the ceiling were scattered all over the floor. Something massive must have crashed through the roof, he reasoned. As he walked around, testing his balance, he found two other people lying on the floor. And they didn't look good.
He didn't recognize either of them. The body closest to him was male. He looked like the boy next door. Plaid shirt, jeans and boots. Like a good-ole-boy had fallen off a turnip truck. Lying not far from the man's left hand was a gun, a Baretta 9mm. It was strange, but the Baretta was the only familiar thing in the room.
He checked the man for a pulse. It was faint, but there. The woman was in worse shape. Her blond hair was matted with blood, whether it was hers or his, he wasn't sure. Her pulse was thready, and she was in severe need of a doctor.
Lights flickered in the room, making him wonder if the power was about to go out. He needed the lights to stay on of he was to help the strangers. A creaking from the ceiling that hadn't been noticeable earlier, suddenly became a yawning moan. There was something on the roof. Something just out of his sight was threatening to collapse the entire roof of the small cabin. He quickly moved both bodies to a more secure location, then ignored the pain in his shoulder and crawled up onto the roof to investigate the noise.
What he found wasn't what he expected. A helicopter teetered near the edge of the hole. But it wasn't the helicopter that garnered his immediate concern. It was the woman moving around inside the cockpit. It seemed she was unaware of her precarious situation until the aircraft shifted unexpectedly and she screamed in horror.
"Oh, God! Oh, God!" he could hear her chanting. "Don't die, mister!" The woman focused her concern on the pilot instead of saving herself. He ran towards the aircraft attempting to get the woman's attention, but she was more concentrated on the pilot.
"Get out of there," he yelled.
She looked up, finally seeing him. "Help me! The pilot's injured."
The helicopter lurched. "Stop moving!" he yelled. "The aircraft is about to fall through the roof of this building."
The woman froze in place, her face horror stricken. "I have to get him out of here. What am I going to do?" Her voice rose a few octaves indicating her fear.
"Come toward me. Stay on this end of the helicopter. First we'll save you, then we'll save him."
"NO! she screamed. "First we save him! I'm not going to leave him here."
The roof shuttered under the helicopter's weight, knocking him off his feet. The woman fell backward into the large compartment at the rear of the craft. She screamed and fell out of the massive side door. Her hands managed to grasp the edge before she fell out, hanging by her fingertips, dangling through the hole in the roof.
"Help me! Help me!" she cried, all thoughts of the pilot's injuries had vanished from her mind. He moved to assist her when a male voice stopped him in his tracks. "Don't come any closer, Fairchild."
The pilot's eyes were red and swollen. He must have been seeing things, because he wasn't Fairchild, was he?
"Fairchild? Who's Fairchild?" A pain in his head throbbed. Was that his name? He didn't know because he couldn't remember. He couldn't remember anything.
"He's a killer, Marian. Don't trust him." The pilot grunted in pain as he reached for his weapon and prepared to fire on the man he called Fairchild.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cloak & Dagger - Episode 9

Athena Kassoff and Ian Fairchild in Cloak & Dagger.

Cloak & Dagger
Episode 9: Infiltration

The air was stale and humid. The farther they traveled into the tunnel, the harder it became to breathe. The tunnel on the left took them around the perimeter of the house. Fergus was struggling more than Daniel Fouts and Faith Fairchild. His breath came quickly as he rapidly sipped the air. He leaned against Daniel. Fergus knew there was an exit. He just wasn't sure how long it would take to find it. 

Daniel pondered the same thing. But Faith was as true as her name. She was going to find that door come hell or high water. 

But none of them had to wait. The tunnel just came to an unexpected end. Daniel felt the wall moving his hand from top to bottom, but the door was flat. 

"There's no door handle," Fouts said as his own breath was becoming more labored. "We need to get out of here as quickly as possible. The CO2  levels are rising."

"Security precaution." Fergus leaned against the side of the tunnel. "I'd forgotten about that little detail."

"Do you seem to know how to open this secret door? I'd like to do it before we loose all consciousness."

"I knew the tunnels were here, Mr. Fouts. I didn't exactly traipse around in them."

Faith rolled her eyes. Dealing with these two was like watching old reruns of Abbott & Costello from her father's secret DVD collection. 

"Oh, stop babbling and move out of the way." Faith pushed the two men apart. They were no better than her brothers. They left all the heavy lifting to the females of the species. 

 She felt along the joist and framing. There were no hinges so the door either had a catch or it simply slid open. She tried to move the wall to one side or the other but it sidn't budge. She glanced around the last few feet of the tunnel looking for something that was out of place. 

The light was fashioned under an elaborate hurricane lamp. That was indeed odd, she thought silently. The rest of the lights in the passageway had been small circular lights in the ceiling. She studied the hurricane lamp and found a key jutting out of the base. 

If this lamp had been in a room, she would see the need for a key. It made the light turn off and on. This light had been turned on the moment they entered the tunnel. So, there would be no need for a key. 


Faith reached up and turned the key. The far wall at the end of the tunnel slid opened. A whooshing of fresh air hit them like a much needed drink of water for a thirsty man. 

The open door now revealed a darkened room. This had to be the library because the light in Chandelor's room had been on. The three if them filed out of the passageway and into the library. Fergus was the last to exit, as he did the door slid closed on its own. 

"Must be some sort of pressure plate in the floor. Cool " Only Faith would find pressure plates cool. 

"Let's just hope we can open it again when we need to leave." Fergus was the master of understatement. 

"We'll worry about that when the time comes," Daniel said. "Right now I want you to take us to your staff. I want to hear from them what Liz Hunter has been up to since you've been gone."

"There's a hallway out this door that only the staff uses. Mr. Knight doesn't like seeing the help."

"Sounds like a real peach." Fouts let Fergus lead the way and Faith followed closely behind.

No one really knew Chandelor Knight. He was the elusive head of the Knights Foundation and the High Council. If someone could get to him, they could literally get to anyone in the whole organization. Fouts had yet to meet his employer. So, convincing him Liz Hunter was manipulating him wouldn't be easy.

"My head housekeeper, Agnes Edgington, sees and hears everything that goes on in the estate," Fergus said. "If you want answers, she might be a place to start."


Ian Fairchild wasn't the only one who thought he was Ethan. Even some of Ethan's enemies were convinced.

Athena Kassoff easily made it into the mine tunnels below the shack her father had his men guarding. She wasn't certain why she was doing something so stupid,but her father, Isidor, hadn't raised her to be someone who stood by and let the world lead her down the wrong path. If she was going to take the wrong path, she wanted to make the decision on her own.

Her blond hair was pulled back into a loose pony tail but strands came loose whipping into her face like invisible cobwebs on Halloween. The farther she went down the rabbit hole, the louder the voices became.

But these voices were weaker, different. When she came to the end of the tunnel, she knew why. Her father wasn't secretly drilling in the abandoned mine. He was holding prisoners. Many were unconscious or too weak to move. The ones who were awake called out a chorus of 'help me,' 'save me,' 'get me out of here.' Only two prisoners were halfway lucid and neither had noticed her approach.


"Who do you think is behind this?" Ian asked.

Franklin wasn't the one who answered. It was Athena.

"My father may have brought you here, but Julian Black is the one keeping you here. He has a mysterious plan I don't even want to contemplate."

Ian couldn't see the woman very well but there was definitely something familiar about her.

"Do I know you?" he asked. "Who is your father?"

"Isidor Kassoff."

A visible gasp came from Franklin's cell. "You're Octavia's sister?" The stress of speaking made him gag. He coughed and hacked until he had to lie down from exertion.

"If he finds you down here, he'll lock you up with the rest of us," Ian said.

"I have protection." Athena showed them her stun gun

"You think that's going to protect you from men with automatic weapons?'

"I can't believe my father would do this," Athena said.

"You're father's not working alone," Franklin told her. "Octavia brought the man in the next cell. You are in danger if you stay around them."

"How do I know i can trust you?" She held the stun gun tightly in her right hand.

While they conversed, two men dressed in cammo heard their muffled voices and came to investigate. They held guns in an active position. The men quietly came up behind Athena but they couldn't hide from the eyes of Franklin who had the best view of the long tunnel from his cell.

"Behind you!" Franklin shouted.

Athena turned but not in enough time. One guard slammed her against Ian's cell. She fumbled with her stun gun while Ian reached through the bars to assist her. As his arm came out, Athena shoved the stun gun toward the guard. Somehow she shocked both Ian and the guard in one fell motion. Ian fell backward landing awkwardly on his cot. 

The guard who had received less of the voltage growled and threw Athena roughly toward the second guard.

"Your father is not going to be happy you've discovered his dirty little secrets," the guard retorted in a threatening voice.

"I can't believe my father is involved with a low life like you."

"He has to keep you in your rich lifestyle, doesn't he?"

"I make my own money." Athena elbowed the man in the ribs but the guard barely grunted. "LET ME GO!"

"Yeah, buddy. Let the girl go."

The guard looked with surprise over his shoulder. Ian had somehow escaped his cell and recovered from the stun blast. He wrenched the guard's hands off Athena and threw him across the room. His body hit the rough, rocky wall with a hollow thud and he crumpled to the floor unconscious.

"How did you do that?" Athena asked gasping for breath.

Ian stared at his hands as if he'd never seen them before. "I have no idea."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ten Little Spies: Episode 2: True Lies

Episode 2: 
True Lies

~ Chapter Two~

"Hey Alison. They need you down in crypto-analysis."

Bobbie Sullivan walked up to the petite blond and tapped her on the shoulder. She didn't turn around, instead she grabbed his forearm and heaved him over her shoulder. Seconds stretched to hours as he thought he might meet his maker sooner than he realized. His body hit the ground and before he could regain his breath, her hand captured his windpipe in a vice-like grip.

"You're not Alison, are you? Bobbie croaked.

"What was your first clue, hot shot?" Her voice was more high-pitched than sultry, more child-like than adult, but there was no doubt as to whether she could kill him or not. Kaye Corday was not someone people messed with, which is what made her such a good operative.

He massaged his throat as he backed away from the blond wonder. "I think it was the super-human strength."

Kaye didn't seem like she was big enough to bench press more than 60lbs, but she could flatten a 175lb man like he was no heavier than a feather.

"Remind me to never sneak up on you again, and to not get on your bad side."

Bobbie rubbed his throat, sure there was an ugly bruise forming.

"Was that really necessary?" His throat struggled for air making his voice sound raspy.

"In my line of work, if you don't react with intention and force... you die."

"I'll remember that." He introduced himself to Kaye. He was sure he had never met her during a mission before, and he would have remembered since she looked exactly like Alison."You don't happen to know anything about crypto-analysis, do you?"

"Sorry, sport. That is her gig. I'm more of an action kind of gal." It was obvious Kaye had been down in the gym working on her boxing moves. Her hands were still bound with tape.

"I see that." He breathed deeply, finally feeling like the air had returned to his lungs, but his heart beat a rapid-fire rhythm.

"If you do see her, tell her I'm looking for her." He edged around Kaye making sure not to touch her or even accidently brush against her. He didn't want to experience that feeling of helplessness ever again.

Bobbie scurried from the hallway and to his office in Com. When he was alone again, he breathed a sigh of relief. How could he have mistaken Kaye for Alison? They may have looked alike, but as people, they couldn't be more different.

"Alison," he whispered to himself. "Where are you?"


"I'll let you get back to your fascinating, yet incredibly shallow existence." Jazz Demarco didn't mind putting off her customers. She knew they would come back for more. Everyone always came back for more. The Wolf's Den was the most popular club in Europe.

While the bartender went on break, Jazz took the opportunity to slide behind the counter and interact one-on-one with the fray of London.

"Well, if it isn't my favorite blind, nowhere man." Jazz smiled at Ethan but her grin was lost on him.

"Jazz. There is no mistaking that throaty purr." Ethan Fairchild said, sliding onto a barstool.

"A curse of genetics," she said with a laugh. What will it be tonight?"

"A beer in the bottle and a side dose of twenty-twenty vision."

She sat a dark ale in front of him. He could hardly hear her set the bottle down. The club was noisy which was per usual during the weekly rush. She leaned in closer to pickup his low baritone a bit better. The blue lights of the club's interior slashed across his face in horizonal stripes making Ethan look more like a Smurf than a spy.

Jazz didn't have much time to look upon Ethan's handsome face before two known Black Council operatives came in through the back door while three entered from the front. She knew Ethan's vision was not a good as it could be, so she dragged him into the back room toward her office.

"What's going on, Jazz?" Ethan asked as he stumbled along.

"You've got to get out of here!" Jazz tried to pull him toward the back room, but he chose that moment to stand his ground. She stepped in front of him and pushed on his chest. "You're nearly blind for God sakes! Now is not the time for this macho crap!"

The danger man still stood his ground awaiting the BC troopers. "Ethan Fairchild does not run away from a stand off." His voice held a hard edge that said he was ready to go down fighting.

"You may not usually run away like a frightened girl, but you do now!" Jazz motioned for her bouncer to head off the three BC operatives angling in from the front while two of her regulars approached the men in back.

"You can't see, so I'll be your eyes." Jazz grabbed his hand and led him to the exit next to her office. They weaved in and out of narrow hallways until her office appeared, brightly lit. Ethan winced at the sudden illumination.

"Jazz, what am I going to do when they eventually come in here? I had more room to fight out in the nightclub. It's not like I can race out the back way and hop into my sporty red convertible." Ethan motioned toward his eyes. "I'm nearly blind!"

"Don't you think I know that, you idiot? I'm not going to hide you in my office. I'm going to get you out of here." Jazz grabbed her purse and Ethan's hand. They had made it to the alley when a lone BC agent stepped into the single pool of light staining the alleyway. A red laser sight painted Ethan's chest.

"It's over." The operative aimed his gun at the two people. The man's unexpected voice halted both of them. Two single shots flew in their direction. It sounded no louder than a puff of air. Jazz and Ethan both crumpled to the ground in front of the stranger.


By the time the emergency vehicle had arrived at the apartment building, Jared Quinn had inhaled enough of the noxious gas to render him helpless. The EMTs found him unconscious slumped in the doorway to the bedroom with the phone still in his grasp.

The Legacy cleaners arrived shortly after the ambulance, taking in the scene and extracting any clues about what had transpired inside the bedroom. One item they extracted was the still smoking blue candle.

Hours later, Jared was roused when a man's shouting disturbed his slumber.

"You've got to let me in there," the voice shouted. "I need to see her."

The sound of busy feet scuffled to intercept the man. "I'm sorry Mr. Sullivan. But you can't go in there. Miss Corday's condition is grave. We don't expect her to live."

"No!" he said with a strained voice. "She has to live. You have to save her!"

To Jared the conversation sounded far away, as if at the far end of a hallway, but somehow he knew they were closer than that.

"We're doing everything we can, but we have a similar situation with another operative. It must be pretty hush-hush because even the Director himself was down here an hour ago."

Jared struggled to gain complete consciousness. He needed to know what was going on and where exactly he was. From the smells in the room, he guessed it was some sort of hospital environment. It was then the name Sullivan registered in his head.

"Bobbie," he said with as much effort as he could muster. Something had really knocked him for a loop. "Bobbie Sullivan!"

It took every effort Jared had to focus on the doorway anticipating Bobbie's entrance. The noise level in the corridor quieted when the door to Jared's room opened. The form filling the doorway appeared blurry. Jared blinked to clear his vision.

"What happened," he asked the man, assuming it was Bobbie Sullivan.

"Thank God you're all right." Bobbie Sullivan, Legacy controller and resident genius, pulled up a chair to Jared's bedside and sat down.

"You have to tell me what happened." Jared asked slowly, the words falling from his mouth like molasses. "Is Kaye alive?"

"Kaye? Of course, she's alive. I think she's pretty upset at the moment because the doctor's won't let her in to see her sister, Alison."

Jared released the breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. "Then she's okay? What happened at my apartment didn't cause her to die?"

Bobbie was confused and his face mirrored his emotion. "I think you must have the twins confused. Lord knows even I did that earlier today. But Alison was the twin at your apartment, not Kaye. Kaye is perfectly fine. Alison, however, isn't fairing very well, I'm afraid."

His heart hammered in his throat. "It was Alison and not Kaye?"

"Right," Bobbie said slowly. "Didn't you know that?"

Jared didn't answer, instead he asked a different question. "What happened to her -- to us?"

"We've only had a few hours to research it, but from what we can tell, someone sent you a message via a candle calling card."

"The candle? The candle did this?" Jared's head throbbed.

"Yeah, we're pretty sure. Besides the noxious fumes pouring out of the candle, the jerk who sent it left you a little note."

Jared leaned up but Bobbie pushed him back down onto the bed. "There is nothing either one of us can do for her now, so try to rest, and I'll try not to strangle Nurse Lurch in the hallway out there." Bobbie laughed as he left the room.

"Calling card?" Jared whispered to himself. "I have to get out of here and find out what is going on." He tried to sit up, but his body refused to cooperate. A few moments of exertion drained all his energy. It took only a few minutes for his body to surrender to the exhaustion.

"What is she doing here?"

Bobbie Sullivan wasn't exactly sure how Dyan Ransom had located her sister in the secret Legacy infirmary, but he wasn't about to confront her on the issue. She looked as mad as a hatter and twice as mean.

"Where is she?" Dyan spoke with a low, firm tone, as if some sort of evil was bubbling up from inside her soul. "Where in the hell is my sister! If someone doesn't start talking..." She let the threat hang in the air. Everyone, including Nurse Lurch, was pretty sure she could make good on any promise. Bobbie backed away from the scene but Nurse Lurch approached the woman, she obviously didn't have a similar respect for herself and her own preservation as he did.

"I'm sorry, but only authorized personnel on this level. Please leave before I have you forcibly removed." The nurse may have been twenty years older than Dyan, but her age didn't effect her confidence. She had that in spades.

From behind Dyan appeared a well built man wearing a designer suit, silk shirt and shoes that cost more than the nurse's weekly pay. His eyes were stern and it was obvious that he expected the nurse to comply with his wants.

"You must not know who I am --" Adrian Zeller attempted to dip into his usual spiel about how his money could buy anything, even entrance to cordoned off areas, but Nurse Lurch would have none of it. It seemed money wasn't a motivating factor for her.

"I don't care who you are, how much money you have or what fancy duds you wear. Unless you have access to this level by permission of the Director, I suggest you turn around and go back the way you came."
Dyan's eyes blazed liquid fire. "Listen to me, Grandma. I'm not leaving here until I see my sister with my own eyes and make sure she's alive."

"Miss Corday's condition is critical. And as I've told everyone else today, she must not be disturbed." The nurse stood her ground blocking access to both Dyan and Adrian. "Now please leave the premises. I'm sure you don't want me to call in the tactical unit."

The nurse picked up the phone and started to dial, then Dyan turned on her heel and marched in the opposite direction.

"You haven't seen the last of me," she spat, before disappearing behind the security door.
Adrian stopped Dyan in the hallway near a security check point they had managed to by pass earlier. His face was contorted with a controlled rage. His grip bit into her arm.

"Never do that again." His ice blue eyes were cool and deadly. "I don't appreciate being made to look a fool in front of the service sector."

Dyan stood up to his overbearing manner. "Do you think I didn't want to wrap my fingers around that nurse's neck and squeeze? I'm not an idiot. I don't want to be thrown in jail for assault." She began to walk toward the Director's office. "I know a better way."


"We've already got Rudy Kent," Jared heard a woman say. He was still feeling a bit groggy, probably due to a sedative given to him by a nurse at the infirmary. He struggled to regain consciousness once again.

"Two more and we'll be set for the time being." The voice was close to him and there was something familiar to its ring and cadence. "I'll get him. You get the girl. Then we're outta here."

There was a man's voice speaking to the woman in low tones. He couldn't see the newcomers. Jared's eyes felt almost glued shut.

"What..." Jared attempted to speak, but his voice wouldn't cooperate either.

"He's awake," the man said. At that moment, someone entered the room and Jared felt a sharp pin prick in his arm.

"That should keep him docile for the time being," the woman said.

"Time for a swift exodus," the man said. By the time both beds were wheeled to the end of the hallway near a bank of elevators, Jared was able to see both kidnappers more closely.

Jared could feel the drug working its magic on his system. Immediately, he felt loopy. But he managed to open his eyes a fraction before the drug took his body completely over. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. His captors were Dare Ransom and Kaye Corday!

Ten Little Spies: Episode 1: A Candle For A Corpse

Episode 1: 
A Candle for a Corpse

~ Prologue ~

The man named Ezekiel sat at his desk humming an off key tune while he created and formed ten single candles. Each was unique and deadly. Each served a different purpose in the higher plan. He made sure to put his stamp on the bottom. He always did that with all the candle creations he sold in his shoppe.

He packaged each of the candles in separate boxes. Ten little candles for ten little spies, little nuisances. All headed up by the biggest nuisance of all, Franklin Fairchild.

Ezekiel couldn't stop, so he made a few more deadly wax creations. His voice sing-songed as dripping wax flowed over capsules containing various types of dangerous apparatuses.

"Ten little spies, think they're doing fine, one gets dead, then there were nine. Nine little spies, all think it's fate, one gets shocked, then there were eight..." Over and over he repeated the odd melody. He never tired of the ditty. He would only find peace once he had his daughter back and Franklin Fairchild and the Legacy paid for their sins.

The devices on the table top before him were crude but effective. Splashes of candle wax dotted the counter top. Carefully, he submerged each electronic capsule into a wax mold. Ten metal molding forms stood like silent sentinels before him . They were innocuous looking things that usually discharged his charming, aromatic scents. But now, they would mold death into their colorful structures.

Once the wax dried he would have ten very efficient killing machines, all fashioned in the form of an innocent looking candle. He had to admit, it was a genius idea. No one would suspect harm would come from such a pleasing gift. Ezekiel took pride in making the candles elaborately designed, which was almost as important to him as the ticking bomb inside each one of them. Each candle unique. Each candle created to kill.

He was certain, one way or another, one-by-one, by their own hand, each of them would die.

~ Chapter One ~

Dyan Ransom answered the phone saying the words she had uttered at least a thousand times. The voice on the other end of the line was Adrian Zeller, international playboy and owner of Zeller's Specialty Shoppe. His voice sounded devoid of all human emotion. During the call, he informed her he had a few items for her to package and deliver for his father.

It was a very rare occurrence for Adrian to call the shoppe himself. He usually left that task to an underling. He never usually felt the need to make any of his wants about the shoppe made known. It was like he was a stranger in his own business. The man was not a shining example of a CEO. He rarely, if at all, took Zeller's Specialty Shoppe into consideration, except maybe at tax time, and maybe not even then.

A wafting scent of White Diamonds surrounded Dyan as she placed the receiver on the cradle. "Who was that, dear?" An elderly woman parted the curtains that hid the back room from the customer's view. Dagmar Krause was dressed in her usual workday smock, looking every inch the German woman she was.

Dagmar and her husband, Topper, were the only reason Zeller's stayed in business at all. It was because of their love of antiques, quirky knack at picking the best flea market finds, and devotion to Adrian's father, that they pulled in any revenue at all.

"It was Mr. Zeller, himself," Dyan quipped, her violet eyes mirrored how tired she was and it was obvious she hadn't enjoyed the conversation with her playboy boss.

"My, such a sassy tone for so late in the day." Dagmar dragged a broom across the spotless floor. "Was he his usual automated self? I swear, sometimes that man is as emotionless as a walking ice box."

"Apparently, he has a bundle of items he wants us to pick up, wrap and deliver. I guess he forgot how to use the American Postal System."

Dagmar snorted. "That man doesn't know how to do anything for himself."

"And the kicker is that he wants me to personally come over and pick up the items right now. I don't think the man even comprehends that we're short-handed and yet still running a business here."

"I imagine not. The day that man thinks about someone other than himself, is the day hell freezes over."


"I can't believe you're doing this," Rudy Kent towered over the small blonde woman in the confined elevator. The muzak was eerie, and the lights a sickly amber. "He's going to find out. Then there will be hell to pay."

"He's not going to find out."

Her voice was child-like and soft. He doubted she would ever come into a sultry tone that would drive men wild. She'd have to rely on her perfect body to do that.

"He's not going to find out," she said with a conviction of not getting caught. "Kaye is out of town. We look exactly alike. He'll never be able to tell the difference."

"Alison, this is crazy," Rudy was definitely not in favor of putting something this big over on Jared. One could never tell how he would react.

"I know," she chuckled with glee. "And so much fun! I want him, and I plan to have him. Sister or no sister."

Alison smiled wickedly at Rudy. "This is going to work. Now all you have to do is keep your mouth shut."

Minutes later after they exited the elevator, they found a delivery boy blocking Jared Quinn's doorway. He signed for the package, and welcomed them both inside his newly refurbished apartment. Like all proud condo owners, he gave them the two cent tour and pointed out the places he had worked on himself.

"Well, you two. Love to stay and catch up, but I have a date." Rudy sent Alison a stern look but she only smiled playfully at him. He was not going to watch her crash and burn. He saluted them both and disappeared around the corner heading for another apartment in the same building.

Jared closed the door trapping the two of them in his apartment alone. "Do I even want to know who the big guy is dating this week?" He placed the package he had forgotten he was holding on the coffee table. "I swear, he has a girl in every port."

"He's playing the field. What man wouldn't?" Alison smiled at him with a twinkle in her eye. She knew exactly where Mr. Kent was going to spend his night tonight. "And I have it on good authority that he's hot for the Hawaiian gal. What's her name?" She struggled to find the name in her memory.

"Nikki Carpenter." Jared knew what it was to fall for a woman like Nikki. The two of them had dated off and on for years, but they never seemed to be able to make it work since Nikki held onto the hope that her partner, Mackenzie Gray, would eventually see her as more than a co-worker.


"What are you doing here?" Dyan couldn't believe her luck. What was Dare doing here? Why wasn't he off cavorting with whomever his new conquest of the week was? She didn't need this agony. She only had wanted to wash her face and brush off the dirt from her day before joining Adrian at his mansion to pick up the package he had mentioned.

"Dare, you have to leave me alone. We're separated now." Dyan made her way to the bathroom listening to Dare rant on about the reason for their separation and how he was not in favor of it.

"Not by my choice," Dare Ransom said hostilely. "And I still don't know the reason for the turn around. What happened with us, Di?

"You have to ask? she said with disgust. Dyan turned around to leave, but Dare blocked her exit, slamming a hand against the wall in front of her.

"Not so fast. We're not finished here." His voice was low and lethal. He was tired of trying to figure out why Dyan had filed for divorce.

"Yes," she said, sternly. "Yes, we are finished." She marched out of their home, or what she used to think was their home before he ruined it all with his infidelity, and slammed the door and their past behind her.


"Make yourself at home. I'm running a little late, so let me grab a quick shower, then I'll be ready in a flash." Jared disappeared into the already steamy bathroom. She could hear the shower running and giggled to herself. Tonight was going to be the first night of the rest of their lives together. She could see it now. Alison peeked into the bag the delivery boy had dropped off. Inside the cellophane package was a gorgeous and elaborately designed candle. The card attached simply said, "Light me."

"Wow," she commented. "Someone must really like you a lot." Alison noted the familiar EZ on the bottom of the candle. This was an Ezekiel Zeller original. Her sister, Dyan had quite a few similar candles in her own home. She talked to herself as she carried the candle into Jared's bedroom.

"Let's light this and set a romantic mood," she whispered to no one. It was perfect. This was the perfect prop to lure Jared into bed. Nothing could be more perfect.

Alison placed the dark blue marbleized candle on the night stand and lit it. The aroma was amazing. Definitely worth every penny someone had spent on it.


"I'm sorry to bring you all the way out here, Ms. Ransom, but it seems my father has already taken to the matter of delivering his gifts." Adrian Zeller motioned toward a high back chair, elaborately carved. Dyan knew it must have cost a fortune. "Please sit."

"I really can't stay long. Mrs. Krause can only handle the shoppe by herself for a limited time."

Adrian nodded. He leaned back, opening his jacked and tugging at his three hundred dollar tie. "I understand, but since you're already here... I thought maybe we could get to know each other better."

Dyan rolled her eyes. She only knew Adrian by reputation, but she was sure his reputation as a notorious ladies man couldn't be far from wrong. She sighed and fidgeted in her chair. What was it about her that attracted men who would could not commit to a monogamous relationship?

"Mr. Zeller, I've worked for you for three years. Why is it you didn't acquaint yourself with me then?"
Adrian smiled, and she could see his mind working on an answer. "I'll be the first to admit how short sighted I've been, but it's taken a lot of my time to prove my father's innocence and get him released from prison."

"Oh." Dyan didn't know what she had been expecting, but it hadn't been that. She never realized that Adrian had personal problems. Who could fathom that a billionaire could be a devoted son to his father, especially such a narcissistic man as Adrian. "I'm sorry. I didn't know."

"Perfectly all right. We've kept the media attention to a minimum. I just wanted to get my father back. It's hard enough knowing I'll never see my little sister again. So, I'm sure you can understand what motivated me to save him."

Dyan didn't ask the obvious question, but Adrian felt compelled to answer it anyway.

"My sister was kidnapped when she was just a child. It was hard on my family, especially my mother. She died a few years after the kidnapping. It was tough on both of us." Adrian repositioned himself in the chair and loosened his tie a bit more. For the first time since she had known him, he looked uncomfortable. "I need my father in my life, Dyan. And I will do anything to keep him safe and out of prison. Anything."


Jared Quinn let the hot spray of the shower loosen his shoulders. He'd been looking forward to his date with the beautiful Kaye Corday for weeks. It was something he never thought would happen. Kaye had always been so opposed to agents dating one another. He didn't know what had changed her mind, but he was glad she had reconsidered.

Tonight was going to be a very special night. He had to remember to take it slow. Kaye had been hurt by love before. He didn't want to spook her before they actually had a chance to explore what he knew was pulsing between them.

With only a towel slung over his hips, Jared sauntered into the bedroom. He had his gray slacks and black t-shirt lying on the bed. As the fog around him cleared, he could see Kaye stretched out atop the clothes. Maybe tonight was going to be even better than he imagined.

He sank onto the bed and leaned down putting his lips to Kaye's throat. "I never realized you felt this way about me," he whispered. "I know we've worked together for years, but I've always wanted more. I've always wanted you." He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her into him, spooning her back against his front.

It took a few seconds for him to realize Kaye wasn't moving. She looked so alive and vibrant in the soft glow of the candlelight.

"Kaye? Kaye?" Jared shook her. "What's wrong with you?" He shook her again, getting scared now. "Wake up, dammit!"

He put a finger to her slim neck. Her pulse fluttered weakly. "No! No! Not now, dammit!"

Jared reached across the bed to the phone, knocking the candle off the night stand to the floor. It blew out on its way down spiraling wisps of smoke upward. He punched in a series of emergency Legacy numbers into the receiver. "You've got to get here now!" he shouted. "I think Kaye is dying!"