Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write for the SUSPENSE and/or THRILLER Genre (10/23/14)
TITLE: The Mystery of Dodge Truck
By Leola Ogle
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Brody extracted another cigarette despite Derek’s remark that chain smoking was weakness in their profession. Their boss had also claimed that getting married and having a child would make Brody weak and ineffective. But at forty-five Brody married anyway and had a daughter, Ellie.
Brody focused on the house of their target, Dodge Truck. Who gives their child such a name? Dodge was hated by many for his outspoken stance on just about every issue in the world – hated enough for someone to pay an exorbitant fee to see him dead.
Ten days to train Derek and accomplish the assassination. Two days studying the house and information about Dodge. Brody discovered Dodge had more friends and supporters than enemies.
Something seemed askew about this hit, though, causing Brody’s spine to tingle. The first time they entered the house an alarm went off – an alarm not showing in all their data. Although Dodge had thousands of dollars donated to help his causes, he channeled most of it to charitable organizations. He lived in a modest home without luxuries like alarm systems.
Derek and Brody fled. “What the….,” Derek growled at Brody.
Brody’s heart pounded. “Nothing I read mentioned the house having an alarm system.”
When they scoured the house to dismantle the alarm, they couldn’t find any indication of an alarm system. The next night they made it inside the house, no alarm, but a ferocious dog appeared. Wolf-like fangs and a rumbling growl greeted them. They managed to slip out without having flesh torn from them.
“How could you not know about a dog, Brody?”
Derek was furious, but Brody had no answer. He’d read that one of Dodge’s kids was allergic to dogs. This assignment was giving him nightmares.
When they entered the house again, Derek had a tranquilizer-filled syringe for the dog. Only there wasn’t a dog, just a tiny girl on the stairs. She reminded Brody of Ellie. The girl smiled and said, “Hello. I’m Lucy. Who are you?”
When Derek started toward the girl, the syringe poised, Brody grabbed him. “We’re leaving,” he hissed at Derek.
Outside, Derek grabbed Brody’s throat. “You’re gonna blow this, buddy-boy!”
In the past, a child wouldn’t have stopped Brody, but the girl looked like Ellie. He shoved Derek away, his mind ablaze with details. He had studied everything about Dodge. His kids were Samuel and Britney. Who was Lucy?
Brody shivered despite the warmth of the night. What was going on?
It was the next day when he and Derek met for lunch to strategize that the man appeared. Brody noticed him at the next table staring at them. “Excuse me,” Brody nodded at Derek.
“What’s up?” He stood over the man and pulled back his coat to reveal the gun. The man’s eyes passed over the gun without a flicker of emotion. Then he locked eyes with Brody. An electrical charge coursed through Brody causing him to stumble.
“Huh?” he mumbled, fishing out a cigarette with trembling hands.
“You really shouldn’t chain smoke.”
The man continued to stare. Brody tried to gauge the man’s expression. Pity? Loathing? Compassion? Malice? It was a mixture of many emotions and none.
“Mind your own business,” Brody managed to choke out.
“You are my business.” The man’s voice was both soothing and irritating.
Brody staggered back to the table, insisting that he and Derek leave. “Why you so squirrely?” Derek asked between clenched teeth.
“Today when Dodge gets home, we’ll shoot him in front of his family and the whole neighborhood if we have to.”
Derek grunted in response.
Later while they waited for Dodge Truck to return home, the man appeared again. He stood next to Brody’s car window, his eyes piercing Brody’s soul.
Brody exited the car and snarled, “What’d ya want? Why ya here?” Brody motioned to the house. “He has powerful enemies.”
The man studied Brody. “He has powerful friends. I’m here to stop you.”
Brody felt lightheaded. It seemed his every thought lay bare before this stranger. He slid inside the car, mumbling, “That man.”
“What man?” Derek looked perplexed.
Derek claimed he never saw a man at lunch or standing beside the car. Brody was spooked enough to leave town with his wife and daughter.
Brody never saw Derek again, and Dodge Truck lived to be an old man.
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