Live Wire

By: Bijou Hunter


~ Brad ~

The Past Rears Its Ugly Head

The decorative white gift box rests in the middle of the king sized bed. I stand in the small hallway at the entrance of the hotel suite and stare at the present left for me. I can see the name "Evan Motley" printed on the nametag. I shiver at the sight of my character's name from the short-lived and rather popular TV show I starred in over a decade ago. Trouble has returned for me.

I remain stuck in my spot. My cell hums in my hand, but I don't answer. All I can see, hear, and feel is the package on the bed. I stare at the wet, red spot under the package as its contents leak.

I'd convinced myself the demon worshipping cult was gone. Or they no longer cared about me. I honestly believed I'd hidden for long enough. All my lies feel childish now. Of course, they waited for me to resurface, and now they left a gift.

My mother enters the room, pushing past me while complaining about Houston traffic. We've remained locked away in the distant suburbs for so long that the city feel foreign to us now. Much like the painful fear in my chest, I'd forgotten how the real world works. The package on the bed brings everything back to me.

"What the...?" Mom says, pausing a foot from the bed.

Our financial manager, and mom's live-in partner going on twenty years, enters the room next. Nell gasps at the sight on the bed.

"This could be a good thing," she says without thinking.

Always ready to say something positive, Nell can't finish because nothing good can come out of whatever is bleeding all over my pristine hotel comforter.

The police arrive quickly while I sit in Mom and Nell's hotel room. One officer after another asks me questions, but I don't know the answers. The detectives who arrive an hour later straight out ask if the bloody gift is a publicity stunt to promote my new autobiography. They clearly believe I'm a Hollywood idiot pulling a ploy to increase buzz about my tell-all.

I learn later the box is filled with a human heart. The police suddenly take me seriously. Not that I care what they think. The authorities have proven useless in the past.

When two cultists abducted me from a Hollywood party, the police blew off my disappearance. They told reporters I was off partying, and my mom/manager was too protective.

Unable to separate my character from reality, the cultists believed I was the half-breed son of a demon. They intended to sacrifice me and bring forth their demon god. One of them even went so far as to carve arcane symbols into my back. All while I bled and suffered, I waited for the police to arrive.

When reality caught up with me, I chose to save myself. In the process of gaining my freedom, I took the life of the male cultist. The police didn't find me, even after I used the cultist's phone. Instead, a nice old couple took me into their home and finally found me help. Hell, even when the police stumbled upon the woman cultist injured by the side of the road, they failed to get information from her. She hung herself in her cell without telling them a single thing.

Now in Houston, I realize we're on our own again. Looking at Mom and Nell, they've hidden away with me at our ranch for over a decade. We've lived safely until I decided to write a book about what happened those years ago. An author named Marx Hearton emailed me for over a year before I agreed to meet him. His persistence paid off when I agreed to work on the book. My long time therapist even thought the process might be cathartic.

"We need to hire someone," I tell Mom when the police leave us alone in her room. "I walked into that room without even fucking checking. I've forgotten how to be afraid. Someone could have been waiting for me, and I was standing there like an idiot."

"I'll ask around," Nell mumbles, and I see genuine fear in her hazel eyes.

I stare into my mother's soft gray eyes. She's a strong woman, and I rely on her too much. We've been in this place before. A decade ago, I left Hollywood and my new career. We bought the ranch and kept to ourselves. Soon the world forgot about me. After a few years, I returned to writing songs for country musicians. I used a pseudonym, wanting to remain hidden from the world and the leftover cultists.

No longer hidden, I need a way to end the threat. Ten years and they're still waiting.

"I heard of a security firm capable of handling a situation like this one," Mom says, and I instantly think of the neighbors gossiping about a recent high profile case. "I don't know if they'll take the job, but I can track down their info."

"No," Nell whispers. "That firm is full of killers."

"Those are just rumors."

"Why take the chance?"

"Because the rumors might be true," Mom says, giving me a steely gaze.

Nell says nothing, fearing the solution is worse than the problem. Mom and I understand though. The cultists don't play by anyone's rules. They don't fear the law or society. They think a demon is on their side. How can the law argue with such insanity?

When faced with a group unwilling to follow society's laws, we need a weapon just as prepared to step over the line. Ramsey Security promises to be just such a weapon.


~ Saskia ~

All I Need is Comfort

Wealth feeds weakness. Hoarders buy too many things. Substance addicts snort, shoot up, or swallow their fortune. Wealth makes weak people feel strong. Losing wealth can make the powerful fall to their knees.