Monday, November 20, 2017

Ramifications: Day 17

Word Count: 102,301

Summary of Events:
Lachlan managed to figure out the address of the gangster he was looking for from the papers he stole. Dom and Elijah got talking about Lachlan, with Elijah suggesting that Dom should inform the police about him without knowing what he was up to specifically. Lachlan and another gang grunt searched the apartment belonging to the gangster in hopes of finding the package the gangster had stolen . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Lachlan continued searching the apartment ruthlessly, but to no avail. Both the main and master bathrooms' drains in the sinks and the showers ran freely, it wasn't hidden in the toilet tanks or just under the rim of the bowls.
In fact, they effectively ransacked the entire apartment and found absolutely no sign of it.
"Bastard has it on him," Lachlan swore.
"So what do we do now?" Ricky asked.
"Take what food you want," Lachlan replied. "If you want to save your things before I light it all up you may want to do that, and take the esky* down if you would. But if I find anything missing I'll knife you."
Ricky said nothing. Lachlan looked over his shoulder and saw Ricky rummaging around in the esky.
On silent feet Lachlan crossed the floor to be behind Ricky. He managed to draw out his knife and hold it between his palms before plunging it down into Ricky's back, which elicited a shout.
"Told you I'd knife you," Lachlan said. "Even with buggered hands."
Ricky returned the sweets he'd taken and Lachlan drew the knife out before using its bloodied blade to close the esky. He pushed the esky out into the hallway with his foot.
"Take what food you want and make yourself scarce," Lachlan warned.
Ricky nodded silently, getting to his feet and leaning against the wall as he made his way to the fridge, which he took several things out of Lachlan hadn't wanted, doing the same with the freezer — including taking the ice creams Lachlan hadn't been interested in.
Once Ricky had taken all he wanted and left silently Lachlan went back into the apartment and lit one of the stove burners. He then took a ravaged pillow from the living room and held it over the burner until it lit. He finally tossed the flaming pillow into the living room and turned off the burner.
He watched silently for a few moments as the flames spread rather rapidly before hurrying out the door, taking up the esky carefully, taking the stairs down to the basement, and exiting out of the man-door beside the overhead door into the underground park.
Silently he made his way along the footpath. He'd not gotten too far when he heard an explosion and shattering glass. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the flames licking up the side wall of the building and smoke billowing out of the window. The vinyl siding melted helplessly as the flames licked it.
Lachlan turned his gaze ahead and kept walking away. As much as fire fascinated him and he loved to watch it, he was sure that a man with bandaged hands and an esky would be far too peculiar a sight to go unnoticed."

Esky is colloquial Australian for a cooler or an ice box.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Ramifications: Day 16

Word Count: 96,251

Summary of Events:
A regular serving group arrived and one of its members showed Dom some rather depressing tweets about the Shelter, but Elijah encouraged him and he went on to discuss the idea of a hamburger night with one of the other members of the group. Lachlan watched his paycheque get burned — the chosen punishment — and then went to the Shelter looking for a sandwich, which was about all he could eat due to the injuries to his fingers. Dom was invited up to share about the Shelter at the banquet, where he gave the attendees a brief history of the Shelter . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""The Shelter hasn't necessarily experienced a miracle quite like that one, but we have seen a few in our time," Dom continued. "But more on that later. The Shelter was founded about thirty years ago, when the aging, dwindling congregation of St. Hilda's Anglican Church decided to merge with another, younger congregation, putting their building up for sale. It was purchased by a wonderful woman by the name of Margaret Quinton — affectionately known to all as Mags."
Dom did half wish he had a glass of water, but he forged on.
"Mags had been born into a military family in Townsville and had suffered the heartbreaking death of her father, Second Lieutenant Arthur Quinton, in the Battle of Coral-Balmoral in Vietnam as a child," Dom went on. "With her mother being forced to work, Mags and her siblings were left unattended, and Mags quickly became a handful for her mother before running away from home at seventeen to join the hippie movement here in Brisbane, taking drugs and partying little different from what teenagers do today."
Turning away from the microphone, Dom cleared his throat.
"During the flood of nineteen seventy four Mags was rescued by a young man whom she considered quite fetching," Dom continued. "He rebuffed her romantic advances, however, telling her he wasn't into free love. He shared the Gospel with her and she soon became a Christian. They were engaged to be married when he died helping rescue people from a sinking pleasure craft. This devastated Mags, but his parents encouraged her and she soon decided that she was going to remain unmarried for the rest of her days and do whatever God wanted her to do. It was then that she heard about the selling of the St. Hilda's building and bought it."
Mr. Arnold set a glass of water on the podium. Dom nodded gratefully and took a sip.
"Much better, thank you," Dom said. "Anyways. Mags was somewhat a whimsical person, but she did have a plan in mind when she purchased the building, and had it renovated to largely how it exists today. She then opened the doors and started serving food. She had full intention of coming up with a name for the place, but it never happened, so it has become known simply as the Shelter. This, all, was before my time, both in the sense that I wasn't born, and I wasn't in Brisbane.""

Friday, November 17, 2017

Ramifications: Day 15

Word Count: 90,364

Summary of Events:
Dom was informed that a TV news crew had invaded the kitchen and had to call the police to get them to go away. Lachlan was brought before the Associates to face punishment because the fire he started had caused Club Brisbane to burn one of the Associate's clubs down in revenge — and he ended up finding that the police had picked up his motorcycle. Dom unlocked the front door of the Shelter for the day and ended up witnessing a police officer preventing a news crew from bothering the Shelter by telling the crew the Shelter was cooking with limburger cheese. Lachlan went to another Club Brisbane location to see if he could find more information and ended up having to hide under a desk when someone came into the room, although he got found, and that person summoned another . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Feet sounded across the floor and another face peeked under the desk, startling.
"Who are you?" the man asked.
"No one," Lachlan replied.
"Oh you're someone alright," the man replied, reaching in.
Lachlan tried to draw his knife out to stab the man, but only succeeded in jabbing himself in the ribcage, which allowed the man to seize him by the throat and drag him out from under the desk.
"You look an awful lot like somebody I know," the man said, looking at him critically.
Lachlan struggled against the man's grip.
"But you're not him," the man growled, bringing Lachlan's face close to his. "You're that Devil rat."
Still Lachlan struggled, trying to pry the fingers free.
"You want to know what we do with rats round here?" the man asked.
Lachlan shook his head, he couldn't hardly breathe.
"We chuck 'em out the window," the man said, smiling.
The man whirled around, swinging Lachlan off his feet, through the window and the blinds, releasing his neck.
Lachlan reached for the window frame and grabbed hold, grimacing at the stabbing pain of the broken glass biting into his fingers.
He looked down only to see that there were a few lines of fragile glass tubing between him and the footpath below. He was hanging directly off the front of Club Brisbane, and he didn't want to know how much distance was between him and that footpath.
"Let go Rat!" the man shouted, slamming his fists against Lachlan's fingertips.
Lachlan grimaced, but didn't let go. He didn't know what to do, but letting go seemed like a pretty bad idea at the moment.
If anything, his best chance was to go up.
He released one hand slowly and gingerly.
"That's it," the man said, smiling sinisterly. "Let me help you."
Lachlan drew out his knife slowly, holding on obstinately with his right hand while he put is feet against the wall.
Using the grip afforded by the textured stucco wall, Lachlan surged upward, driving his knife deep into the man's chest before pulling himself back into the room, which left scratches on his jacket.
He jerked the knife free and sheathed it before climbing onto the windowsill, steadying himself with a hand against the vertical frame.
Another gangster appeared in the door just as Lachlan reached up with his other hand and grabbed around the roof edge.
Reaching his other hand up, Lachlan then leaned out the window as he straightened and pulled himself up onto the roof. He hoped he'd find a fire escape to get himself down somewhere, but for now he was out of Club Brisbane and not by dying."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ramifications: Day 14

Word Count: 84,004

Summary of Events:
Lachlan managed to decipher two of the stolen papers from the man he'd shot — who had died of his wounds from the shooting and the crash — before Harrison found him and told him to go track the drugs down he'd lost. Dom and the Board's meeting was interrupted by Bethany announcing Mr. Arnold had called and was willing to give them free groceries whenever they needed them. Lachlan decided to infiltrate one of the rival gang's clubs to get information, and got a little from their prisoners — although the prisoners mocked him before he left them . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Turning around to head back up the stairs, Lachlan found himself face to face with a man about his heigh, but broader and bulkier.
"And just who are you?" the man asked.
"That's for me to know and you to find out," Lachlan replied.
"Oh really?" the man asked. "Well I think I can find out pretty easily."
He reached for Lachlan's neck.
Lachlan ducked down into a squat and thrust himself between the man's legs.
"Slippery little eel," the man said, turning around.
Rolling onto his back, Lachlan raised his upper body with his ams before pulling his legs off the floor and throwing his feet at the man's abdomen.
He made connection, but the man grabbed his ankle.
Lachlan struggled against the vice-grip of the man's hand while the man laughed and drew his gun.
Grabbing hold below his own knee, Lachlan pulled himself close to the man and seized his gun hand in one hand while drawing out his knife with the other.
"Gun wins," the man said, training the barrel at Lachlan's head.
Lachlan reared up his knife and brought it down hard on the man's wrist, prompting him to let go of Lachlan's ankle and his gun as he bellowed in pain.
Quickly Lachlan took up the gun and scrambled toward the stairs.
He heard the door above him slam open and looked up the stairs to see another gangster, even bulkier than the first.
Pulling the trigger, Lachlan sent the man at the top of the stairs tumbling down them to reveal another man behind him.
Lachlan charged up the stairs, firing as he went, and took out another five men before driving his knife deep into the abdomen of the man at the top of the stairs and then giving it a hard twist.
He drew it out and ran down the hallway to the only door to his left now that he was going down the hallway in the opposite direction.
Sheathing his knife and stuffing the gun into his backpack with his own, Lachlan grabbed a large plastic jug of petrol and opened it before pouring its contents over the long line of motorcycles as he made his way to the exit door.
The door that he'd left behind opened as Lachlan pulled out his matchbook. He tore off a match, struck it, and tossed it into the petrol on the floor, instantly setting the whole room ablaze while the man at the other end shouted in alarm.
Lachlan, meanwhile, bolted out the door and back down the alley toward where he'd parked his bike, confident no one would be pursuing him.
When he reached where his bike had been parked he stopped short. It wasn't there.
He stared at the empty stall completely baffled. But he'd parked it right there. Where had it gone?"

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ramifications: Day 13

Word Count: 78,022

Summary of Events:
Dom got a call from Samuel, which he took outside because the dishwasher was running; once the call was done he was accosted by a biker, as was one of the other regular volunteers at the Shelter. Lachlan tracked the attacker — a rival gangster, whom he'd shot to protect Dom — who'd fled the scene and crashed near Liam's nightclub; Liam had the crash cleaned up before the cops got there and Lachlan stole some papers from the gangster's motorcycle. Dom called Lois to make an inquiry about the party on Samuel's behalf, only to have her call it off and rescind all her support of the Shelter — which was the money they used to buy food every day; after telling everyone else about Lois' action Dom then got called by a grocery store owner who'd been invited to the party wanting to know why the party had been cancelled . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Well," Dom replied. "There's six daily volunteers here at the Shelter, myself, my wife, and four others, and she wanted all of us to attend the banquet, which, unfortunately, takes place at the same time as one of our regularly scheduled meals. I told her my wife and I could attend, as well as some other representatives of the Shelter, but not all of us daily volunteers could abandon the dinner service, especially because the volunteer group we have coming in on that day is a first-time group, not to mention there's liability involved too."
"Really," Mr. Arnold said. "That sounds awfully unreasonable of her."
"Yes," Dom said. "It is. I think she's mostly become unreasonable because of the fact that my parents, Walter O'Shea and Marina Herczeg, gave the Shelter a million dollars, and I think she's jealous because of how much they gave all in one shot, even though, over the years, she's given pretty close to twice that or more."
"Is she a generous giver to the Shelter?" Mr. Arnold asked.
"She gives us five hundred dollars a day, which buys our food," Dom replied. "Because we refused to abdicate our responsibilities here entirely she not only called off the party, but rescinded all her support, effective immediately."
"I'd presume that has a profound effect, based on what I heard on that interview of you the other day on the news," Mr. Arnold said.
"Yes," Dom replied. "But God has always provided for us before, so I'm fully confident we'll be able to get on well."
"That's good to hear," Mr. Arnold said. "The Shelter's been open for some time hasn't it? I mean, Lois has been supporting it for years."
"I think it's nearly thirty years the Shelter's been running," Dom replied. "I don't know exactly, I wasn't here when it started."
"That really is a testament to how much God has blessed your work," Mr. Arnold said. "My wife and I are Lutherans, but we've heard about your work, and our church has had a couple fundraisers."
"Which church is it?" Dom asked.
"St. Peter's," Mr. Arnold replied.
"Must've been awhile ago," Dom said.
"Yes, Margaret was still in charge," Mr. Arnold replied. "And she was murdered, wasn't she?"
"Two years ago," Dom replied.
"Terrible shame," Mr. Arnold said. "I'm sorry to hear that Lois would do such a thing to such a wonderful work. If you don't mind, I'd like to call you back later."
"Just to warn you, if you call after two we'll be having a meeting of the Executive Board to discuss Lois' actions and what, if any, damage-control we might need to do," Dom said. "So you may have to leave a message."
"That's fine," Mr. Arnold said. "I will talk to you later.""

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ramifications: Day 12

Word Count: 72,062

Summary of Events:
Lachlan got three new grunts to help him by being on the lookout for transfers before chatting with Harrison's daughter a bit — only to be told off by Harrison for doing so. Dom called Lois about the fact that she'd invited all the Shelter's full-time volunteers to a banquet that was to happen at one of the Shelter's regularly scheduled mealtimes; troubled by their disagreeable conversation, Dom summoned Elijah to talk with him about it . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""You, and the whole Shelter, have nothing to worry about, I promise you," Elijah said, reaching forward and placing a hand on Dom's shoulder. "This is going to be bad publicity for Lois and Lois alone, and, although it's unfortunate that she's liable to look bad because of this, we can't really do much about it."
"I must admit, I don't really understand Lois' behaviour," Dom said.
"I can't say that I'm all that terribly surprised, though," Elijah said. "I think Mags saw this coming a long time ago, and I have a feeling she might be glad — if she's even conscious of what's going on down here — that she's not here to be a part of it."
"Why?" Dom asked.
"She and Lois were like sisters who never got to be sisters," Elijah replied. "And in recent years Lois had been trying to use their closeness to manipulate her into making changes here at the shelter that Lois wants to see."
"You mean she wasn't kidding about the chandeliers and silverware?" Dom asked.
"No," Elijah replied.
"As much as I feel like it might give these people even more dignity to think they're being treated like royalty, it's not really the point," Dom said.
"No," Elijah agreed. "Lois also wanted to see some of the volunteer groups we bring in be rejected because they worked for or were associated with business rivals of her husband."
"Oh good heavens," Dom said.
"Exactly," Elijah said. "Mags was resisting her quite well, but it was really destroying her to see what Lois was becoming. I think that's actually one of the reasons Mags started leaving you in charge here and hunting down the drug dealers so as to witness to them, so that she didn't have to deal with Lois."
Dom shifted his jaw, that sounded awfully selfish.
"And, I must admit, I feel like that was a good thing because Lois wouldn't listen to her," Elijah said. "Not to mention it gave you the training you'd need to be where you're at now, although I know Mags prayed regularly for forgiveness if she was being selfish by doing what she was doing in avoiding Lois."
"Lois hasn't brought up the chandeliers or anything like that since either," Dom said.
"No," Elijah agreed. "And I think that's because she knows she doesn't have as much to manipulate you with. Right now, though, I think she's trying to find more and better ways to manipulate you, starting with this banquet."
"So do you think that means there will be a set of terms and conditions accompanying the money she gives?" Dom asked. "Like, that it'll have to be spent on chandeliers and velvet and silverware?"
Elijah shifted his jaw. "I never really thought of that, but I wouldn't put it beneath her to do something like that.""

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ramifications: Day 11

Word Count: 66,205

Summary of Events:
Lachlan showed the ring to Harrison, who informed him it was an icon from an old rival gang that had been destroyed decades ago, but apparently not entirely. Dom received an e-mail from his mom that annoyed him before being informed there was a TV news crew outside, whom he spoke to mostly about the Shelter's operations without their realising who was talking to them. Lachlan, having not heard from Justin in awhile, decided to see what was up and found that Justin seemed to be just ignoring him, which he was quite displeased about . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Instantly Lachlan dropped to his knees on Justin's back, which elicited a cry before Lachlan wrenched and jerked at Justin's shoulder and upper arm until he heard the pop of the upper arm bone coming out of its socket, which prompted another cry.
"You're not dead and you're not in lockup," Lachlan said, lowering his head close beside Justin's ear. "What gives?"
"Get off me you whelp," Justin swore through his teeth.
"I called Angelo," Lachlan said. "He told me I could do whatever I want."
"You're bluffing," Justin swore.
"You wish," Lachlan said.
He straightened up, drew out one of Justin's knives, and drew its broad side across the back of Justin's neck.
"You don't have the balls to kill me," Justin swore.
Lachlan put the knife back and dislocated Justin's other shoulder.
He then hauled Justin to his feet, pinned him against the wall with his right hand, and sent a hail of hard lefts at Justin's face, chest, and abdomen, finishing off with a hard knee to the fly of Justin's swimmers.
Promptly, Lachlan pulled the swimmers down to Justin's ankles, took one of Justin's knives, and made cuts into the inside of Justin's thighs close to the top before drawing out the other knife.
With calm and steady hands Lachlan drew the narrow, sharp edges of both blades down Justin's chest, flanking his breastbone.
Reaching the bottom of it, Lachlan paused and looked Justin in the eyes.
Justin's face was pale.
"You said something about balls?" Lachlan asked casually.
Justin shook his head.
"I didn't think so," Lachlan said, smiling.
Instantly he turned the knives so their points were toward Justin's abdomen and shoved them in until they hit bone; he then lifted Justin off the floor, jammed his knee up between Justin's legs, pulled the knives back halfway, shifted them, and drove them through Justin into the wall behind.
Taking out his own knife, Lachlan made a quick, deft cut and looked at Justin's pain-contorted face.
"You're the one who doesn't have any balls," Lachlan said.
"Siri," Justin managed to croak. "Call for help."
Lachlan turned to the mobile on the table. Its screen was illuminated, informing him that it was, indeed, dialling 000.*
He tossed the mobile to the floor and stomped his heel into the screen.
"They come even if you hang up on them," Justin wheezed.
"I know," Lachlan replied offhand, striding toward the kitchenette. "They'll need to come anyways."
Rummaging around, he found a glass pitcher, which he filled with water, and a jar of used cooking oil standing beside the stove.
He pulled out a frying pan, dumped the oil into it, and lit the burner, which he cranked to high.
It didn't take long for the oil to heat up and catch fire. Lachlan stepped back beyond the dining table and tossed the pitcher. It shattered onto the stove and the water hitting the fire caused flames to go everywhere."

*000 is the Australian equivalent of 911.