He walked briskly down the long pier, his strides long and filled with a rushed purpose. He pulled his hat down in an attempt to shield his face even more; his eyes shifted from boat to boat. "Almost there." thought Jack nervously.
Before long, Jack turned down another long stretch of pier and headed as quickly as he could to the yachts section. His stride quickened the closer he got, his heart pounding faster and faster. Jack could finally see his yacht; 'Walk, don't run! Don't give them any reason to come after you!' panted Jack sweat rolling down his forehead, the beads of salted water stinging his eyes.
In his haste, he stumbled up the few steps onto his small motorized yacht. Jack tried to calm his heavy breathing, he just wanted to get out of the dock and go back home to Vancouver.
Jack set about getting his yacht ready to sail; he wiped his sweaty hands on his pants for what seemed the hundredth time. 'What have I done?!' groaned Jack woefully
He was so focused that he couldn't hear the footsteps coming up behind him. The man stopped behind Jack; a cruel smirk rested on his lips. Quietly, he reached inside his jacket. His smirk deepened as Jack stopped what he was doing and stood slowly.
Jack gradually turned around, the blood quickly draining from his face. He swore his heart stopped beating when he saw Luca Romano's right-hand man Leo standing less than two feet away.
Jack's gaze zeroed in on the mobster's hidden hand, he gulped loudly as Leo pulled his hand haltingly from his jacket. When a white envelope emerged, relief flooded Jack's mind! 'At least it's not a gun!' he sighed
"Courtesy of Mr. Ramano." informed Leo sneering, "You know, this isn't the first time I've seen a dead man walkin'..."
With trembling hands, Jack took the envelop and watched the mobster walk away. He knew he held the Kiss of Death in his hands! 'I'm doing the right thing!' sighed Jack as he stared at the creamy white envelope.
He turned and walked solemnly down the stairs to the cabin. Sitting down on the plush cushions, he tore the blood red wax seal open; "Luca still has the knack for dramatic flare, I see..." he muttered briefly closing his eyes
Opening the letter, his eyes reluctantly found the spidery script while his mouth opened and began to read aloud the letter...his heart flew into his throat, making it difficult for him to speak.
"Did you really think you could run without me knowing? You are a dead man! It's probably best to make your peace with death now before it's too late..."
Jack took a deep breath before continuing...
"...Return the jewel and I will make sure you don't wear a nice pair of cement shoes!"
The letter drifted from Jack's hands to the floor, he pressed his hand to his eyes in a weak attempt to block the onslaught of tears.
"Enough self pity...get it together!" roared Jack jumping up from the couch
He threw the cushions to the floor and knelt down beside the wooden bench. Looking at the doorway, he kept quiet for a few moments; he needed to be sure that he was completely alone. Satisfied that he was not going to be interrupted, he returned to the task at hand. Gently, Jack pushed on one of the decorative squares, which promptly revealed a hidden compartment!
Jack reached inside and pulled out a little blue velvet box; reverently he opened the box and smiled when he saw the 1 carat ruby. "Worth eighteen thousand dollars! As long as Luca doesn't catch up to me, I can finally start over..."
He placed the jewel back in the hidden compartment and went back up on deck. He counted the minutes as until his yacht was finally in the open water...the only question in his mind was: How long will I have to keep running?
Getting to the pier hadn't been a piece of cake, they had nearly killed him twice. Luca Romano was the most powerful man in Seattle, if anyone dared to double cross him (which no one had the guts to do) they had pretty much signed their own death warrant! Going to the police was useless as Luca had half the force in his pocket; Jack knew that better than anyone as he had to avoid the police as well just so he could make it to his yacht.
Jack felt like he could finally breathe now that he was moving away from Seattle...although now he was rethinking his plan to go back to Vancouver.
"He would expect me to run back home...question is: Where does Luca Romano's influence end?" wondered Jack gazing at the water in front of him
He rubbed his eyes in frustration. Jack wasn't any closer to figuring out where he could lay low now than he was hours ago. The Romano family had contacts in more places than he had thought. Jack closed his eyes as he tried to think. A few moments later, his eyes popped wide open!
"I've got it!" shouted Jack excitedly pumping his fist in the air
Jack knew that Luca hated being in nature and hopefully that meant that he wouldn't bother to chase him in the mountains. He knew the perfect place!
8 days later...
Jack huffed heavily as he hiked up the mountain to the cabin he had purchased. It was perfect, he could finally live out the rest of his days in peace and quiet...or perhaps he would end his life as a bachelor and settle down.
When he looked up, he could see the cabin was only twenty feet away, with renewed energy, he charged the rest of the way. The smile he wore began to fade, the closer he got to the small building. The cabin was not in the best condition, he would have to do a lot of work to restore it.
"It needs a little more work than I thought..." panted Jack wiping the sweat from his brow, "Well, it's not like it matters...I've got nothing but time on my hands."
The weeks passed by slowly and Jack found that he rather liked living in the mountains. He had never felt so calm before; Jack walked a few feet away from his home to observe the renovation work he had been doing.
His smile grew, perhaps stealing that ruby had been the smartest move he had ever made. When he first arrived at the cabin, he hid the jewel. If Luca ever decided to leave his mansion to find and interrogate him; the jewel would be safe. With hundreds of thousands of miles of land, the jewel would stay safe.
Later that night, he sat in front of his fireplace watching the blazing fire roar. 'This is the life!' grinned Jack closing his eyes
Jack groaned; he slowly opened his eyes; his vision was blurred. Pain ripped through his head; he could hear cruel laughter. The sounds seemed to echo loudly around him.
"Well, look who decided to join the land of the living...well temporarily!" jeered Luca sitting across from Jack
Jack forced his eyes open. He had no words for what he was seeing. The one man he thought he would never see again, was sitting in front of him.
"Luca, I'd say it's a pleasure to see you but well...you know I'm not exactly thrilled to see you." spat Jack glaring at Luca, "So you decided to leave your cushy mansion to try your hand at being a lumberjack?"
"Always the comedian aren't you Jack?" said Luca his voice flat and devoid of emotion, "Your jokes won't save you this time. So, let's get started and not waste anymore of my time...where is it?"
"Your dignity? I have no idea, probably the same place you left your brain." snorted Jack as he prepared himself for the punch that was surely coming
Luca simply nodded his head and just as Jack thought; Leo's fist connected with his jaw. Jack moved his jaw to check that he could still use it.
"This won't stop until you tell me where you hid my ruby...so again I ask: Where is it?" growled Luca clenching his fists in frustration
Twenty minutes later...
Jack spat the blood that was pooling in his mouth out onto Luca's shoes. He knew that he wouldn't last much longer, his body would begin to fail soon. He couldn't give up the ruby, if he did, he wouldn't be the only one to die.
What Luca did not know was that Jack wasn't the only one who stood to benefit from stealing the ruby. Jack's cousin and best friend would fall victim to the mobster's rage. As usual, Luca would get away with murdering more innocent people. 'I might not be innocent but my family is and I can't let anything happen to them.'
"Where's the ruby!" screamed Luca standing up so fast that his chair hit the floor and landed dangerously close to the fire
"I'll never tell you..." whispered Jack chuckling, "You can search this entire mountain and you will never find it!"
Jack continued to laugh even as Leo continued to strike him.
"Enough!" bellowed Luca pulling his gun from his holster and pressing the barrel into Jack's forehead, "This is your last chance to tell me where that infernal jewel is! I will not hesitate to pull the trigger!"
"Well then, I guess you had better pull the trigger because I will never tell you." replied Jack calmly, "I've made my peace with death. Perhaps you should do the same."
Luca cocked the gun and held it as steady as possible; Jack was the only other person who knew that Luca Romano's hand was trembling.
"Where is it?"
"Your asking because if you don't get it back, your as dead as I'm going to be." said Jack snickering, "Well, it's all finally catching up to you...all the murders, all the blackmail...I've done what I needed to do."
"And what's that?"
"Bring you down...now neither of us will have the ruby." said Jack quietly "Well, are you going to pull the trigger or..."
Jack didn't get to finish his sentence, he died knowing that those he loved would be safe. A grin still graced his lips, he was the only one who knew the location of the ruby. A secret that he took with him to his grave.