Friday, December 9, 2016
Excerpt from Riker's Calling by Rico Lamoureux
It gives me great pleasure to be featuring author Rico Lamoureux and his crime/mystery novella Riker's Calling in an excerpt today. Stay tuned for the review in January.
From school bullies to the crime-ridden streets of his hometown of Los Angeles, Jeremy Riker has always felt the need to do something about the injustice surrounding him. Just as he sets out on his journey as an urban warrior, he unknowingly gives rise to an obsessive adversary, who ends up becoming one of the most notorious serial killers the city has ever known. Dubbed by the news media as The Spyderco Killer, the methodical psychopath roots himself deep into Riker's life for the long haul, until his own madness propels everything into an intense climax.
Excerpt Riker’s Calling
I WANTED TO BE LEFT ALONE, but surrounded by others. To wander amongst a sea of people, yet not be bothered by a single one. This hustle and bustle of the masses helped distract my mind from drowning in the torment of the individual thought of having just lost all that I have ever hoped for. Balancing on the razor’s edge between grief, anger, and a numbness that can end all will, this self-medicated delusion of trying to avoid the pain kept me from taking my steps out onto one of the many intersecting tracks of the Los Angeles Union Station.
This central nervous system of the West Coast has always been a place of wonder for me, countless strangers coming from who knows where and going to places I would often imagine. Sometimes I’d look up at the arrivals and departures, the footfalls shuffling random conversations as the boards would reveal one locale after another. San Francisco, Seattle, Portland. Landmarks and cityscapes pictured in my mind’s eye. Standing in a dozen different places at once while never leaving this train hub. How one minute a platform would be flooded with travelers, the next, dead, as if every living soul had been wiped off the face of the Earth.
And so there I was, returning to this mysterious place as a source of solace after walking the downtown streets of Los Angeles most of the night, trying to make sense of the ludicrous, unable to understand the injustice I had been dealt. From one platform to another, the terminal, the garden. How many hours I roamed, how many rounds I made, I didn’t know, and didn’t care. But then she caught my eye.
Another lost soul, she sat out on platform six, maybe a decade to fifteen years beyond my twenty-one. At first glance she appeared as someone who just might be having a bad day. Perhaps she had been fired from her job, or had her heart broken by a boyfriend. Just another face to pass, another story to remain untold. And so I continued, on to the end of the line before stopping at its edge, looking out to the tracks that would take all those I had just passed to places far and away.
Perched in stillness, I listened as their train came gliding in at my back, its doors giving off the sound of compressed air as they opened to receive passengers, high heels and sneakers scurrying about as if they only had a few seconds to board.
A few minutes later and last call was announced, followed by doors being sealed and engines being readied. The iron horse was then released from its gate, its awesome power creating a gust of wind that surged over me as it passed. Picking up steam, the more it roared to life the farther it got, the collage of faces departing platform six on their way to the rest of their lives. Goodbye businessman who was afraid of flying, grandmother taking her last interstate trip, lonely woman who was having a sad day.
The tracks were once again bare, as would be the platform behind me. Too quiet for my current state of mind, and so I turned to head back, to the belly of the bustle. To my surprise one person had remained, and as I got closer to the figure the image of the lonely woman reappeared. Had she been too upset to board her train? Or was she like me? Simply here to haunt those who were more alive?
Not wanting to invade her private melancholy, I just kept walking, catching another glimpse of her sorrow-stricken face as I did so. It seemed rounder this time, as if swollen with hurt, tears now falling from eyes so red in their raw emotion. I had to fight my first instinct, which was to rush over and offer my assistance, whatever that could have been. A shoulder to cry on? A reassurance that he wasn’t worth it? He who? The farther I got the more guilty I felt. Someone in that much pain was suffering far greater than having an issue with work or a relationship. And with this realization I had to stop, the single soul of a woman in need back on platform six silently calling out to me far louder than the foot traffic in the terminal.
With cautious steps I approached, then just stood there, nervously searching for the right words. Her line of sight never moved, my shoes now there for her to stare down upon. Then again, maybe she couldn’t see them through her saturation of tears, holding her shoulder bag close to her stomach.
“Ma’am? Are you alright? I…”
She looked up, wiped at her eyes to get a better look at me. She tried to speak, but in the attempt to do so began to hyperventilate.
I bent down to comfort her, to let her know it wasn’t that bad, but upon doing so I saw that it was, a zip tie tightly secured around her neck. My eyes frantically followed the lethal line of plastic around to her back, where I lifted her hair to discover the tie was fastened to one of the metal bars of this mounted bench she sat on. I immediately went for my Spyderco, a razor-sharp pocket knife that I would constantly have clipped to my pants pocket, the hollow circle at the base of the blade making it accessible in a fraction of a second with a simple flick of the thumb.
As soon as I cut the line the sound of shattering glass, like bottles popping, went off on both tracks, my head snapping up just in time to catch the sight of six figures, three on each side, jumping up out of the track well and onto our platform. With the exception of their height and weight, they were identical in appearance, all wearing pure white masquerade masks, all covered in black, from their hoodies to their sneakers, as they came at us with jagged-edged beer bottles.
Without thinking twice I yanked the stranger I had just cut loose up off the bench. “You got to get underneath it, now!” then positioned myself to guard her the best I could.
Three came at me at once, lunging forward with their broken bottles right before I sank to the ground, their shard glass stabbing nothing but air as the blade of my Spyderco sliced through an ankle of one of them, the femoral artery of another, and then pierced straight up into the crotch of the third.
On my way back up I slid behind the back of the first to take control of him, his ankle wound being the least serious and therefore making him the most likely to continue on. His hand was still wrapped around the neck of the broken bottle, so I sliced it loose by way of severing his index finger, holding him as a shield against the other three as he joined his fellow thug in screaming out in pain, both muffled by the masks they hid behind.
“I’ll fuckin’ kill her!” threatened one of the last three, rushing over to try and pull the woman out from under the bench, but only getting off a step or two before tumbling over when I threw the guy I held into him.
I used this second moment of opportunity to take another one of them, stepping forward long enough to lance his windpipe, then turning my attention back to the most aggressive as he tried to make his way back up to his feet. With a heel stump I took out one of his knee caps, following it up with a thrust of my blade to one of his lungs, the bottom portion of his white masquerade mask turning blood red as it poured from his mouth.
One left, who was now trying to grab hold of the woman beneath the bench so as to use as leverage, but she was curled up like a fetus, kicking and screaming with the same level of passion as a mama bear, and that’s when I noticed that her hands were protecting her overly-large stomach. The woman was pregnant.
No longer needing my Spyderco, I let it go, sending it off with the whip of my hand to bullet through the air and embed itself into the attacker’s spine just below his neck line. He instantly fell over like a puppet whose strings had been cut.
In less than a minute my life had changed, and I knew it couldn’t be random. Although he was bleeding out pretty fast, the only thug who could still talk was the one whose femoral artery I had sliced. I ripped off his mask, revealing a black kid that couldn’t have been that much younger than myself, teetering on the edge of losing consciousness.
I pulled off his hoodie, tied the sweatshirt around the wound, and demanded to know what was going on.
“This can’t be random… This isn’t random…
“Who sent you?”
His mouth was moving, but no words were forming. I slapped him.
“Who sent you?!”
Willing his hand to the side of his head, which I could tell he had to concentrate to do, his trembling fingertips attempted to dig at his ear, but within a few seconds he passed out.
I turned his head to the side.
It was an earpiece.
Just as I popped it out, two incoming trains pulled up to the platform, the passengers that came pouring out stunned at the scene before them.
I helped the stranger whose tears had drawn me in back up to her feet, having her take a seat back on that bench she had been zip tied to.
I then inserted the earpiece into my ear, a whisper loud enough to be heard personally directed towards me.
“You continue to inspire, Riker.”
Five words and nothing more, It could have come from any of the hundreds of people now gathered on platform six, or, more likely, someone watching from afar.
And so I would be left wondering, far longer than I could have ever anticipated.
Stay tuned for Nadaness In Motion's book review of Riker's Calling in January 2017!
About the Author:
His Crime Thriller Riker’s Calling is available on Amazon, as is his autobiography, Power of the Pen, a no-holds-barred look into his diverse life that has led him to where he is today. His life story, which includes nearly a hundred photos, can actually be acquired for FREE, as the author is currently offering the ebook at no charge to all followers of his new blog, The Flash Fiction Ponder, where he posts short yet thought-provoking stories every Monday and Friday. (The book is normally priced at $2.99 on Amazon.)