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Dance of the Ne-ak-i Ka-che-na

Dance of the Ne-ak-i Ka-che-na

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Dance of the Ne-ak-i Ka-che-na

Lunghezza:
337 pagine
5 ore
Pubblicato:
Sep 14, 2013
ISBN:
9781301036752
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Newspaper reporter Michael Jones left the busy life of Chicago for a small town in the Mid-West, but the slower pace he sought is tested quickly by a series of taunting, unexplainable nightmares.

Hunting for an answer to his terrible dreams that seem all too real, Michael's faith and understanding of God is challenged. As part of his struggle for an explanation, he encounters both non-believers and other believers, including a descendant of the Chenetau Nation of American Indians, who helps him realize his search is for answers to even bigger questions: "How does God speak to His people in unexpected ways?" and more importantly "Who are His people?" Michael's search becomes entangled in the investigation of a child trafficking conspiracy and ends as a life-changing lesson for him in how God answers prayers and works toward the good for His people.

Pubblicato:
Sep 14, 2013
ISBN:
9781301036752
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

I have always enjoyed reading books, and at various times I explored writing but not too seriously. One day a story that I decided I wanted to tell pressed upon me and wouldn't let go, so I started writing and editing, and then there was more writing and editing. After a lengthy period that included indispensable help from my extremely talented editor, my book was finally ready to share with everyone. I hope you enjoy reading it. I have a wonderful wife and two, equally-wonderful children, who have been supportive of me as I worked on completing this book.

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Anteprima del libro

Dance of the Ne-ak-i Ka-che-na - M. Everett Rood

Dance of the

Ne-ak-i Ka-che-na

by M. Everett Rood

copyright 2013 by M. Everett Rood

Smashwords Edition

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal use only. This ebook may not be re-sold or forwarded to other people. If you want to share this ebook with other people, please purchase a copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the efforts and time invested by the author in completing this ebook.

Author's Note

This novel is a work of fiction. As far as I know, any resemblance of the characters to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The names, places, events and incidents, including all references to American Indian history, are products of the author's imagination only.

This book is dedicated to three of my childhood Sunday School teachers:

In honor of Mrs. Orr

In memory of Mrs. Suse

In memory of Mrs. Shreckengost

Cover artwork by C. O'Connell, charcoal and pastels on Bristol paper, used by permission

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Epilogue

Chapter 1

Mid-morning of a cold and damp February day in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, a dark brown sedan pulled into the parking lane of the southbound side of Broadway Avenue. In the street, yesterday's snowfall had mostly melted but created patches of wintry slush, which made drumming noises on the underside of the car as its tires cut a path to the curb.

The four-door sedan looked rather ordinary and nondescript, except for the black-walled tires with plain wheels, government license tags and an identification number stenciled on the rear of the trunk, all of which flagged the car for attention. The similar-looking pair of occupants, with their matching crew-cut hair and trench coats, provided a final giveaway to any knowing onlooker – it was an unmarked car with a couple of cops. However, nobody could have guessed correctly the answer to the second, more important question of What type of cops?

The driver stopped the car and turned off the engine, but he, and his passenger, didn't move out of the vehicle.

A second later the hand-held radio lying next to him made a quick squawking sound, so he reached across the front bench seat and twisted down the volume knob to prevent it from making any further noises and attracting unwanted attention.

It didn’t matter, given the first passerby of the parked sedan. The scruffy-looking arrival offered a hard stare in their direction as he walked past the car. The two men, not knowing the territory, didn’t realize he was a well-known local. In only a few minutes his buddies, who frequented this particular part of town, would receive an alert from him, about a pair of police detectives he erroneously assumed, parked across the street from the old Sauk Hotel.

The passenger grabbed the hand-held radio and spoke as he pulled it close to his face. Eagle One, this is Big Bear. Do you copy? Over.

Quickly, a staccato reply shot back, Big Bear, this is Eagle One. Copy. Over.

Eagle One, is the suspect still in place? Over.

The other voice responded again, Big Bear, we're holding our position and have been observing the suspect since our last contact. He's seated in his room watching television. He’s following the same routine for this time of day. No movement out of the room until he receives a phone call. We appear ready for scheduled pickup. Over.

The passenger looked at the driver, who nodded in recognition of the next, planned step of the operation, and then replied, Eagle One, this is Big Bear. Remain in position. After I call for pickup of the suspect, follow procedure to describe the pickup zone. Over. Without a pause, the passenger continued, Big Bear to Blackbird, what is your 10-77? Over.

A new voice immediately punched out a reply, Big Bear, this is Blackbird Leader. Estimate our 10-77 to the target zone at less than three minutes. Over.

The passenger in the sedan quickly radioed again, Falcon, this is Big Bear. What is your 10-77? Over.

Similarly, a new voice responded without hesitation, Big Bear, this is Falcon Leader. Estimate our 10-77 to the target zone at less than four minutes. Over.

All stations, this is Big Bear. Falcon and Blackbird continue to your target zones and respond when you touch down.

As those last words died away, silence filled the sedan. For both of them, the pause in the action felt out of place, since they had maintained an almost non-stop scramble of activity for the past three days with only short breaks for some sleep and quick bites to eat, including the assembling of team members at four o'clock this morning at the Agency office. They both felt tired, but they knew that in only a few minutes the main action of the operation should be over.

After several more moments of empty waiting time, the driver of the sedan spoke up and asked his sole passenger a question: Mik, do you think our luck will hold, and this perp we’re calling the ‘Handler’ will talk?

In a slightly gravelly-sounding voice, Mik answered, Eh, I dunno, Tom. I'm sure he's working for some sort of organization. This can’t be just a three-man conspiracy, so I'll bet he’s not gonna talk after we take him down. At least we’ll get him off the street today. But maybe I’m wrong, and he's a little fish who’ll help us catch some bigger fish.

Neither one of them said anything further, and the heavy quiet between them resumed.

Tom finger tapped the steering wheel in nervous anticipation. Mik, as everyone called him since nobody made the effort to pronounce his full name of Mikolai, sat quietly, but all of the imminent steps of the operation raced through his head. As the team leader, it was his plan they were following this morning, and he knew there wasn't much he could do now except watch it play out.

For them and their team, the action began earlier in the week when Mik received an anonymous tip about someone of interest arriving on a flight from Europe and, as they verified later, carrying a bogus passport. Mik’s check of the agency's records confirmed that Interpol listed him on their watch list, just as the tip also suggested.

As a result, the main office in Washington, D.C. directed Mik to cobble together a group of agents and start an operation that began by following the person of interest, given a moniker of the Traveler, from the moment he disembarked from his flight and left the airport gate. They immediately found a second person to tail when the Traveler diverted to the drop-off lane and discretely slipped into a car driven by a man they identified as the Handler - the suspect they intended to capture this morning.

The team took the Traveler and a third suspect into custody early this morning. Now they turned their attention to the Handler who, throughout this operation, waited each morning in his room for a phone call from the Traveler with directions on his next move.

The Handler didn’t know it yet, but as of this morning, he would never hear from the Traveler again.

The arrest warrants for the three of them were obtained easily after the team recorded multiple phone calls at different times involving a local lowlife they identified as the Player and the Traveler and the Traveler’s client who, from somewhere in Asia, initiated contact a couple of times with the Traveler. Each participant talked in coded words about an investment. It didn’t take long to determine the investment they discussed was a child runaway held captive and offered for sale by the Player.

Listening to the conversations, the Agency realized they had hit on a local child trafficking ring under the control of the Player - a trafficking ring with some international connections, they knew nothing about. It caused quite a stir at the Agency because the Director did not like surprises and especially this time given the agency's complete miss on the possible extent of the group’s international operations.

In response the agents made their first strike a couple of hours ago when they nabbed the Traveler and the Player. Now it was time to take down the Handler, who continued to wait patiently in his room for his latest instructions from the Traveler.

It remained quiet in the sedan. Tom and Mik stayed focused on the action down the street and waited for an update from the assault teams, Falcon and Blackbird, or an alert from the two-man surveillance team concealed on the fourth floor of the building located two long-stretching blocks south of where the sedan had stopped.

The assignment for the surveillance team, code named Eagle One, had been more difficult than usual. This time, to absolutely guarantee the secrecy of the observers, Mik disallowed any in-and-out rotation of the team members. From some unused office space, the two agents had spent three straight days watching and listening to the suspect, who lived in a room directly across the street on the third floor of the New Miami Hotel. Built during the golden era of that part of town and similar to two, other, six-story hotels, the Sauk and the Grand Fox, along Broadway Avenue, the New Miami had fallen into harder times and now served as a lowly flophouse – the same demise as befell its sister hotels.

Out on the streets, the plain, full-sized vans carrying the Blackbird and Falcon teams drove closer to the New Miami Hotel. Each team included normally dressed agents plus, on Team Falcon, four agents fully equipped in SWAT gear for the final takedown of the suspect. Otherwise, a jacket and tie represented standard dress for the mission and, because of today’s weather, an overcoat and boots to contend with the wintry mix in the streets. Not an intimidating appearance, but it provided an intentional look. They sought only one target, and they definitely did not want to spook the residents of the old hotel by bringing everyone decked out in SWAT gear.

The first van arrived right on time, plowing slush from the road as it slowed to a stop in the right-hand lane across the street from the New Miami.

A man in a yellow-colored rain suit jumped down from the passenger side, dragged a pair of orange cones to the roadway beyond the back of the van and began directing cars around the van.

Big Bear, this is Blackbird Leader. Blackbird has landed. Ready for departure. Over.

Mik pulled the radio closer and growled a complaining response, since the van had sprayed slush all over the sedan when it zoomed past Mik and Tom, This is Big Bear. Copy, but more like splash down this time. Over.

Tom reacted with a slight smile on his face and looked over at Mik. Mik wasn’t smiling. It wasn’t unusual. Mik didn’t laugh or smile at much of anything. Tom noticed that about Mik right away when they met for the first time about three years ago. Tom thought Mik stayed too serious sometimes, yet at other times, Tom recognized it was part of playing the agent role and in particular when put face to face with suspects. But Mik never thought about it that way. He cared little for appearances and playing any sort of games and focused hard, maybe too hard, on the win in each situation.

Mik continued, Blackbird, hold your position. Falcon what is your 10-77? Over.

A pause hung inside the sedan for only a few seconds, but it felt much longer.

Finally, a voice broke through, This is Falcon Leader. Landing zone in sight. Arrival in less than one minute. Over.

Down the street, the man in the yellow rain suit continued to wave traffic around the Blackbird van. His movements conveyed no sense of urgency. By all appearances, he was directing traffic to go around an ordinary utility vehicle stopped on the street for some routine work.

After what seemed longer than a minute, the same voice broke through again, Big Bear, this is Falcon Leader. Touch down in the landing zone. We are ready for departure. Over.

Mik radioed the surveillance team, Eagle One, this is Big Bear. Is the suspect still in place? Over.

Big Bear, this is Eagle One. No movement by the suspect. Still at target location. Confirming that the pickup zone is all clear. Over.

Mik took a quick glance at Tom, who offered a repeat nod back to Mik to signal that he had nothing to add to change the timing of the next step.

Mik didn’t hesitate further. He re-punched the radio button and called out, All stations, all stations, this is Big Bear. Go for stage one. Go for stage one.

On command, the van down the street from Tom and Mik burst open with action. The backdoor plus the side door next to the sidewalk flew open, and eight agents poured out onto the street.

The agents hustled single file across Broadway as the man in the yellow rain suit stopped traffic, raced up the front steps and pushed through the main door and into the lobby.

The leader moved straight into the sitting area of the lobby and near where a large-screen television was positioned, held his badge up high in front of him and calmly and loudly announced, Federal agents. We are federal agents. Please do not move. We are here to find a person of interest. You are not in any danger. Do not use a cell phone or any electronic device at this time.

The surprised and stunned occupants stayed fixed in various poses and stared at the agent as he moved among the gathering and repeated his announcement over and over. Two agents guarded the crowd and watched for anyone reaching for a cell phone or acting as if they could be sending a warning signal to the suspect at the third floor.

Two other agents headed directly for the phones at the front desk and the adjacent office to prevent the suspect from receiving an alert from a potential lookout stationed at the desk or elsewhere in the lobby area.

Another agent reached the elevators and forced them to the first floor with a fireman’s key and then locked them down.

The remaining two agents bounded up one of the stairways. At the same time, the agents of Team Falcon raced through the other two entrances along the side street and at the rear of the building and then up the second stairway at the other corner of the building.

Tom and Mik remained in the sedan and waited for the teams to reach positions for the final move on the suspect, who remained quietly seated in his one-room space on the third floor. A one-room space not much bigger than an oversized office cubicle, but as best the team could tell, what the Handler called home.

A voice broke through the channel, Big Bear, this is Blackbird Leader. We are in position. Over.

Seconds later, with their SWAT members in front, the other team confirmed they had reached the third-floor landing of the other stairway. Big Bear, this is Falcon Leader. We are in position. Over.

A calm and familiar voice followed immediately, Big Bear, this is Eagle One. The pickup zone is all clear. Over.

After a delay of only the time it took for Mik to thumb down the Send button on his radio came the all-important response, All stations, this is Big Bear. Go for pickup. Repeat, go for pickup.

And with those words, the two teams streamed into the third-floor hallway and stormed the room where the suspect sat mindlessly watching something on his television and oblivious to the wave that in the next few seconds would crash in on his world and spin it out of his control.

The two observers across the street watched the action. A pre-set protocol directed them to remain silent unless they recognized a need to call for backup.

Tom and Mik sat quietly and listened without moving.

Nothing on the radio.

Nothing on the radio.

The silence was tough to wait out, but hearing nothing was better than hearing something, since hearing something meant this part of the Operation had gone wrong.

Nobody wanted to hear anything until it was over.

Suddenly, making a snapping sound on the radio, someone cut into the quiet static of the secure channel with the awaited code words, Big Bear, this is Falcon Leader. The suspect is secure. The suspect is secure. Mailing the package at this time. Over.

Tom and Mik turned and looked at each other and saw nothing but sweet satisfaction written on the other’s face.

Mik pulled out his cell phone, punched the correct prompts and spoke as soon as he heard a voice at the other end, Jamie, this is Mik. Suspect is secured and in custody. Jump off what you’re doing and move to the scene. As far as I know, there shouldn’t be anything unusual in the room compared to the items on the list we sent to you earlier. Can you be here in less than forty-five minutes?

Mik paused to listen and Tom watched for a reaction from Mik to the other half of the phone call.

Good, said Mik. We’ll see you in thirty.

Mik ended the phone call without a word to Tom. The two of them waited silently for the next response from the two teams in the building.

It didn’t take long.

Big Bear, this is Falcon Leader. The suspect is bundled, and we are departing for home base. Over.

Mik finally let out a fleeting half-grin in the direction of Tom and replied over the radio, Falcon Leader, this is Big Bear. Great job. Great job all of you. Secure other residents for interviews as planned. Tom and I are moving to the building. Blackbird Leader, we will meet you at the scene. Over.

Mik pocketed the radio handset as Tom pulled out into the southbound lane for the short drive to the building.

Stopping behind the van still parked in the street next to the New Miami Hotel, Tom and Mik opened their doors out into the cold, heavy-feeling air. The smell and perceived weight of the air matched the predicted new snow. At least the dreariness of the weather didn’t match the mood of the moment.

They waited for the man in the yellow suit to stop traffic and then started across the street and made it half-way to the front door of the hotel before the anticipated snowfall began coating them with big, wet flakes.

Tom and Mik moved past the agents in the lobby and over to the elevator. They exited at the third floor, where they moved through what seemed like a gauntlet of agents, most of whom would stay there for several more hours to talk to residents and secure the targeted room after the evidence team had finished their job. The Team Falcon Leader and the SWAT team were gone having just departed with the suspect for the Agency office.

Thanks for a good job today, said Mik as he stuck out his hand to the Blackbird team leader.

The agent moved away from the smashed door of the room where their suspect had been sitting a few minutes earlier to shake hands with Mik. Yeah, it went rather easily. The suspect didn’t resist at all when we made entry. He was sitting near the far wall of the room, and he let us take him down and cuff him. He didn’t say a thing. I couldn’t tell if he had tried to call someone before we came through the door, though. Maybe the boys across the street saw something.

We spoke with them before we drove over here, and the suspect didn’t make a move after you hit the door. Glad it went without resistance. Anything unusual in the room? asked Mik.

It looks real clean. The evidence jockeys shouldn’t have much to say about the room other than how pieces of the door flew all over the place when we busted in.

Good, was all Mik said, giving his typical, one-word response. As usual, he didn’t have any extra words to throw in to the conversation.

Let me know when the boys have tried to talk to everyone on the floor. I want to know which rooms on this floor didn’t have a tenant respond to your knock on the door and request for entry. With our warrant, we’ll get the manager to let us into each of those rooms, added Mik.

The rest of the time spent waiting for the evidence team to show up stayed uneventful. Tom and Mik coordinated the follow-up work by the team, but they stayed in the hallway outside of the suspect’s room. Peering into the room didn’t reveal much at all. The furnishings looked awfully sparse. Nothing on the walls. Nothing on top of the chest of drawers. Nothing to see. But, as per standard procedure, they’d wait for the evidence crew to comb through the room before leaving.

They didn’t wait very long.

Doesn’t anybody knock anymore? said the lead technician, as he stepped into the room after greeting Tom and Mik. It was the usual comment made by somebody on the evidence team about a crunched door anytime the team blasted into a place with a no-knock warrant.

Just makes my job harder. That’s all I’m saying, continued the technician, commenting to nobody in particular as he and his partner stepped all the way into the room.

Tom, I’ll be back in a minute. I’ll get someone to move the car now that we have some spaces to use at the back of the hotel, said Mik, as he drifted down the hallway on his way to the lobby.

In the meantime, the evidence technicians pulled some things out of the room, including the mattress and chest of drawers, in order to provide more operating space for taking a good look at each item. They looked over everything in the room and checked all probable and improbable hiding places. They confiscated all of the loose items in the room, including the suspects clothes and a small, portable television.

Mik, who missed most of the demolition and reconstruction of the room, returned and stood in the hallway next to Tom. The two of them had nothing to do except wait for the two technicians to finish and give them a quick description of the room contents.

The technicians worked in silence as time crawled along. As it grew close to lunchtime, Mik leaned into the room and mentioned to the white jumpsuit-clad pair that any hurry up would be appreciated.

The lead technician looked up at Mik’s face peering through the broken door and replied by saying, Busted, dusted and bagged. The room is cleared. Ready for you to seal it up.

Mik continued holding his angled look into the room and answered, Find anything to talk about now or nothing out of the ordinary?

Um, one thing. Let me show you when I get out into the hallway, answered the technician.

Mik leaned back to his spot against one wall of the hallway and said to Tom, He’s got something. We’ll wait a minute and get the lowdown.

Tom nodded his head slightly. He knew it was the reason they waited to leave until the techs finished. They never knew what interesting items the evidence team might find that required immediate action. Same as the last hour or so, the waiting parts of each arrest weren’t easy. It could be the toughest part of the job, unless something bad happened during the takedown and someone was injured, or even worse, died.

Never saw anything like this one before, said the tech, as he stepped out of the room with a plastic bag in hand. We did well to find it, too. He stuffed it in a slit cut in the side of the mattress.

The tech held out a bag with a single, letter-sized sheet of paper in it. The rolled-out paper fit flat in the bag, but the sharp creases in it from being folded into a little square made it difficult to read.

Mik squinted slightly at it as the tech handed the bag to him. You’re right. Don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like it.

Mik was correct. Several rows of letters marked the page, with each row composed of only two, small letters in cursive, and all of the letters arranged in a few columns. The letters made no words and made a random, jumbled set of a’s through z’s.

Mik handed it to Tom for a look.

Anything else we should see? asked Mik.

Nah. Some newspapers without anything marked on them, but we’ll take them to the lab to review. Magazines. A paperback book. I didn’t find any ID papers or a phone, but maybe he had them on him when they grabbed him.

Tom handed the bag back to Mik and replied, Can’t say it reminds me of anything. Don’t have a guess on what the letters represent.

I’m with you, but God knows it means something. Our suspect hid this paper, so we know he didn’t want anybody to find it. I’ll bet the boys in the lab can help us out, added Mik.

At least Mik was correct that it meant something. However, he was wrong about the lab as the source that would determine the significance of the strangely marked paper.

*******

Chapter 2

Three Years Later – Somewhere in Northern Illinois

The letters chiseled into the granite marker standing next to the main gate spelled Grey Rock Federal Correctional Institution, but everyone inside and outside knew this place as the Big Rock.

A light dusting of snow covered the marker on this chilly Sunday morning in early April, but since it was part of the world outside of the prison walls, none of the inmates knew anything about the beauty of a late-night snowfall.

In Cell Block A, the inmates sat

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