1 comment

Crime Fiction

Caroline should have seen it coming, she should have known, how could she not? She had helped him hide his first body.

He’d promised her he’d never do it again; he’d come to her with tears in his eyes. He’d claimed it was self-defense, which sadly wasn’t hard to believe, their dad was a terrible person, even when he wasn’t drunk.

But now here she was, staring down a list of phone numbers, phone numbers that were labeled with the names of reliable hit men, and professional killers. The paper was worn and numbers were faded, it had obviously been made years ago.

She hadn’t wanted to believe it when things started feeling off about three or four months ago. She’d ignored it at first, not wanting to know, and reluctant to question her brother. Four months later she was here, the list was just the latest in what felt like a never-ending line of lies and deceit.

The had gotten a new house a year ago, a really nice house in a neighborhood that an orphaned nineteen and twenty-one-year-old should never have been able to afford. That should have set off some suspicion, or at least a warning bell, but she’d ignored the small voice that was telling her something was wrong.

Caroline had believed her brother when he told her he’d gotten a really good internship with a well-known business. When she’d tried to call him one day and they told her that they didn’t have any employees or interns under the name of Kaleb, she knew she couldn’t just keep letting things go.

So, she started small, asking him a few questions about work, watching as he skillfully danced around them and never really answering them.

Knowing she’d never get anywhere by asking she decided to just start looking around the house, for things that seemed out of place or that weren’t there originally when she and her brother had moved in. and find things she did.

Receipts in Kaleb’s desk drawer for semi-trucks and cargo ships that he’d seemingly bought in cash. A beautiful set of crystal decanters in the library, all filled with expensive wines, gins, whiskies and more that she couldn’t name. A car in the garage that she had never seen before, its windows tinted far to darkly to be legal. A gun stashed in the shoe cabinet bench that he’d told her didn’t open.

Shirts and pants in the garbage that had faded brown stains, as if someone had tried to wash the blood out and failed. A painting that looked like it cost a fortune casually hanging in the dining room, which also swung back to reveal a safe. A fake wall in Kaleb’s closet that opened to a secret room filled with custom steel toe boots, a wall of computers and screens, and Kevlar body armor.

After that she’d looked specifically for more rooms she didn’t know about. She’d found three more, one filled with guns, knives, ammunition, and a scary amount of sharp and deadly things, her brother had his own mini arsenal, at least now she knew where the other gun had come from.

The other held racks of clothes and accessories, one held designer suits, handcrafted leather shoes, and elegant silk gloves, another with what looked like athletic wear, one held entirely street clothes. And those were only the ones in front.

The last one she decided, scared her the most.

This one had a vanity mirror, clustered with every hair dye under the sun, colored contact lenses, wigs, fake tattoos, and more. Other shelves held fake passports with her brothers face, but not his name. Money from nearly every country in the world rested casually in duffle bags hanging from hooks. She regretted looking at both sides of the room, which were identical, with passports and more duffels and bags, except on this side, the passports were for her.

Caroline finally accepted that just how long her brother left on ‘business trips’, sometimes leaving for days or weeks was because he was leading one of the fastest growing and most feared criminal organizations in almost four major countries. That it had taken longer to piece together, weeks and months spent getting in with local gangs and anybody who might know anything, eavesdropping on government news and picking out the things they weren’t saying.

Everything pointed to a group, a new group that already controlled miles of shipping lanes, owned dozens of cities and held the market on the drug trade. Which was unheard of for something that had only been created with in the last five to six years, and was growing bigger by the day.

After bribing one of her bodyguards, people she’d been too stupid not to notice sooner, with money from her brother’s wallet, which he never said anything about. She finally had a name.

APOLLO. The name her brother had chosen, they called him Chariot, or Sun.

Names that left her wanting to throw up. Apollo and Artemis had been what their mother called them when they were little. She had smiled so brightly whenever they came laughing, filled with a happiness that Caroline couldn’t remember feeling for a long time.

She hated how her brother had taken that name, the name their mother had given him, and twisted it into a name of fear and evil.

She considered calling the police, but that little voice that had warned her before told her not to trust anyone, and this time she listened. Almost a week after she’d considered calling, she found out that Kaleb was working to put his people at almost every level of government, she even heard whispers that he had someone in congress.

She was terrified, she didn’t think he would ever hurt her, but she also didn’t want to give him a chance. She slowly began pulling away from what few friends she had, slow enough that no one would thing it odd if she just stopped talking to them one day.

The only people she allowed herself to keep in contact with were a few members of the gangs she had been able to get herself into.

They trained her how to fight, taught her how to lie, and con, she got so good she could’ve convinced an Eskimo to buy ice.

She stayed because the news kept reporting the same thing every few months. Children in the foster care system, children in abusive homes, children living on the streets, disappearing, with only a golden sun painted wherever they were last seen. Most assumed kidnapping, some said it was china building their own army, but a few said the kids were being rescued.

Caroline knew it was the last one because she recognized the drawing, though the first time she’d seen it was when she was six, and her brother and her were drawing with crayons.

But the day all became too much had come. Her brother had come home, boots covered in crushed rock, bruises on his knuckles, an empty gun on his belt, and his shirt and face splattered in crimson blood. He hadn’t even tried to hide it from her, he just waltzed right through the front door looking like he walked out of a Shakespeare play.

He told her it was time she started coming to work with him, handed her a sheet of paper and left. She heard him on the phone going up the stairs, he was telling the housemaid to come early to get the blood out of the front carpet, as if he’d spilled soda or tracked in mud and not been soaked in red ichor.

Looking at the paper she found the numbers of killers and assassins. She closed her eyes for a moment and wished she was dreaming, but her big brother was gone, buried beneath whatever he’d thought he needed to become.

She stared at the numbers before violently balling the paper into a ball, she lurched forward and tossed into the fireplace. She struck a match and watched it burn, grim determination taking root inside of her, leaving no room for memories of what used to be, only a steadfast burning desire to make things right.  

It took Kaleb ten hours to realize his sister was gone. He wanted to blame her bodyguards or rival gangs and groups, but the two missing duffels and the empty shelf of passports told him a story he didn’t want too hear.

Within years, interference was being run on almost every aspect of his operations, his business deals were ambushed, his cargo stolen, his informants stopped reporting. It didn’t help that he spent every waking moment trying to find Caroline, but no matter what he did it was as if she’d never existed and no one could find out anything.

He barely pulled himself together in time to stop his empire from being taken from him. Years later another group, the group that was trying to destroy his finally started to take shape, and it wasn’t just him, it was any and all underground shadow organizations. The smaller ones were gone within the year, others were slowly and systematically wiped out over time, with not a trace of whoever had done it.

Most called them the crescents, or the half moon. That was all that was ever left, a sliver moon painted wherever they struck.

Then, after years, APOLLO was the only one left and a name was finally given, a name that made him want to claw at his hair and punch concrete.

Because a day before his sister would walk back into their house, her boots bloody and worn. Her hair in a tight braid and her body covered in leather and Kevlar. A gleam in her eyes and a gun her hands. A day before Kaleb, the revealed leader of APOLLO was left in chains on the steps of the white house.

He learned that the crescent moon was the symbol for the group that had opposed him for so long. The group's name; was ARTEMIS. 

February 06, 2021 04:11

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1 comment

17:24 Feb 11, 2021

I love your writing style! And your bio! I also love the rain and sleeping.


Show 0 replies