This is the continuing story of the Succubi called Storm Clouds…
Chapter 14 needs more work, but I’m on vacation this week, so nothing new since last week’s additions….
Storm Clouds 84
After Camilla left, Tom spent the next thirty minutes grilling Bill over what he had done, what he was doing, and whether anyone in his company might have taken it upon themselves to attack Brent and his wife. He came to the decision that, while Bill wasn’t directly involved in what happened, Tom could not dismiss the possibility that someone who worked for Bill had done the deed … or that Bill was hiding something from him.
That bothered him.
It wasn’t that he didn’t believe what Bill had said; it was the sheer stupidity of Bill blowing up and going off on a tirade over the injustice that he perceived was done to him.
Tom didn’t enjoy pushing his old friend that way. Worse was trying to break all of his explanations and reasons why he wasn’t responsible for what had happened. Most of the reasons made sense—most of them—but one exchange just about pushed Bill over the edge, and that worried him.
Tom sighed and paced in front of the offices again. He was sure that the workers inside were looking at him oddly, but he didn’t care: Bill was not quite cleared; that one piece of evidence would damn him in court if it came to that.
Tom hoped that it wouldn’t.
It wasn’t much evidence. But it was enough that fingers could be pointed, witnesses found, and, in the end, Bill could be sent to jail for a long time. But when you are seen threatening someone with death, and promising to harm his family … that is too much to ignore.
Bill had explained that he was madder than hell. That something had snapped inside of him when Brent was nearby. “Something ’bout that guy rubs me the wrong way. He’s just so damn smug, knows all of the secrets, stuff that you don’t want out. I dunno how he does it, but he knows where to be and what to look for. Damn frustratin’. He’d be a great spy. Wonder if he is one.”
Tom continued to pace around for a while. He didn’t know where Camilla had gone; he assumed she would return to the office when she was done talking to Billy. He assumed that she would, at least. She seemed like a responsible woman, if a bit irritating. It hit him, then, why Bill would be driven crazy by Brent.
Tom wondered if that was part of those people’s nature.
He watched Bill’s people run their errands in and out of the office, most of them ignoring his pacing as he waited for Camilla to return. In his mind he was putting together the questions that needed to be put to him next. He was, after all by his own admission, someone needing to be grilled for information.
Coming to the end of one of his walks down the corridor, he turned without looking and walked head on into someone. A short blonde Asian someone. She was standing there in front of him, a pile of files and papers surrounding her scattered on the floor. For a moment her dark brown eyes regarded him and then, a flush of embarrassment passed over her and she knelt to the floor beginning to gather what she had dropped moments before.
Tom moved to help her, “I’m sorry, please, let me help you.”
She didn’t reply to him, save for a slight nod, her focus on the mess around her for the moment rather than towards Tom beside her.
After a few minutes, Tom handed her the last file and as she finally looked at him again said, “I’m Thomas”
The blush was still there as she replied, “Tenshi. Please forgive my clumsiness.”
“It was my fault. Should have been paying attention instead of being a hazard to women.”
That made her smile just slightly, “I… thank you for the help.”
“Welcome. Have you been with Bill long?”
Clutching the files to her chest as she stood she managed, “A year now. Please excuse me. I must attend to my duties…”
She then rushed off again on whatever errand she was on, leaving Tom standing there alone again pondering what she had said to him. More importantly, why she was so shook up over what had happened.
Camilla came into view soon after, her heels clicking on the concrete floor of the warehouse. Tom noticed that Billy wasn’t there, and wasn’t too pleased about that. He had been intending to grill Billy next, thanks to his father’s admission, but would now have to hunt him down and corner him. Filing away the thoughts on his old friend, he called out to Camilla, “Where’s Billy? Have to talk to him.”
“No, you don’t. He’s not to blame for this: he nor his father.”
Tom rubbed his chin a moment, then said, “You got a feeling or something?”
She looked around, then nodded and explained, “Let’s just say that my … ‘feelings’ … are pretty accurate.”
Turning away, he replied, “You’ll have to explain that to me sometime. Soon would be great. You know, before I have to toss them both in jail.”
Camilla looked at him curiously, then followed behind. Tom seemed to be in a rush to get out of the warehouse, and she found herself running a bit to keep up with him. Then she asked, “Do you have something to charge them with?”
“Enough to charge Bill: making threats. He was foolish in front of a lot of people. That’s a big no-no in things like this.”
“Passions of the heart can make us all say silly things we don’t mean at the moment they are said.”
“Passions can and have killed in the past, you know.”
Camilla had finally caught up to him, and, as she walked beside, started to lecture Tom a bit, “Those are not passions. Those are misguided beliefs and desires that pull one away from what is important, pull one inward, toward oneself. It is easy to fall to darker desires and temptations than it is to hold onto the more important things within.”
“You know, I don’t understand all of that stuff. I’m just a simple man. I haven’t got the time to deal with theories and wishes. I deal with facts. Give me some of those and I’ll be able to deal with ‘em.”
“All right, then. Fact: Bill said that he would never harm a lady. Fact: you agree that he would not either. Therefore, he cannot be the one to have done the deed nor order it done.”
“Okay; see, that’s not a fact. That is conjecture.”
“Is it? I don’t think so. I have …”
“A feeling? You said that before. What does that mean?”
The pair exited the warehouse, but Camilla did not speak until she was quite sure that no one else would hear them talk.
“I … We … know people by their souls, Thomas. When I touched your hand, I knew that you were a good man. I also knew that you have a troubled past and that you have lost someone close to you.”
Tom’s look was a mix of shock and concern, but, before he could say anything, she continued: “I did not look deeply into you. I did not look into your memories; I could have, but, because I respect you, and you did not give me permission, I did not. All I knew was that you cared about what happened to Patricia, for whatever reason you had, and so …”
“And so that was your lure to get me involved in this …”
“You did not have to.”
He stopped walking: “You know, I feel like I was pushed into this. That you and Tera conspired to get me involved and make me stay in it.”
“No. I did not. I gave you the card. I gave you the chance to walk away. You decided that you needed to find out more and you came into our world. Do not confuse the sight of an open door with walking through it. You had the choice. You made it.”
Tom wanted to rant at her, but her logic was sound. He did poke his nose in, and he was deep in it now. With a sigh, he asked, “How much do you know about Bill and his son?”
“Enough to know that Bill has not killed anyone, ever. I can say the same for Billy, as well.”
“Okay, explain that … in simple words so that my mind doesn’t break.”
Camilla laced her hands together and explained, “If you are dark, or have been touched by the dark, if you have killed or done something that serves the dark and makes it gain power, you are marked, in your soul, with that. If I touch someone like that, I’ll know. The same is true of someone who has been touched by the light, but it is different.”
“Weird. Sort of sounds like you are a divining rod.”
She giggled a bit: “Divine I am not. Or at least I do not appear to be.”
Tom couldn’t help the smile, “Right. I forgot about that.’
“What most people, generally, are shades of grey. That’s normal, and what we expect. But there are always exceptions to that rule. If either of them had killed, they would not be grey; they would be dark. I don’t sense that in either of them.”
“So, you give them a pass?”
“I give them more than a pass: there is nothing in them that even hints they are involved. But …”
“I asked Billy for a favor.”
That stopped Tom in his tracks. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he asked, “What kind of favor?”
“I can’t say.”
“Oh come on. He’s a suspect in spite of your feelings about him. You can’t just go and trust someone because …”
“I can and I did. In the end I gave him some comfort and, in response to that, he agreed to do something for me. He will. He’s as honourable as his father.”
“Did you tell him anything more than what Bill knows?”
“No. We did talk about his mother a while. He misses her. He does not want to lose his father as well.”
Tom stared off into space for a time before ending the conversation with, “We don’t have the evidence to clear Bill. Right now, he’s the only suspect we’ve got.”
“Then we should find more.”
Tom smiled again, “Right. Look Camilla, I know that you … work … differently then we do. I get that. But you have to see that we have rules and laws here and I have to enforce them. That means that without a piece of paper, a videotape, a confession … hell, anything at all that points me away from Bill, I’m going to arrest him real soon.”
“You will be wrong then.”
“I’ll have to live with that.”
“You will not be able to. I can see that.”
“I know. But that’s part of the job. Sometimes, I think that I sold my soul for the job.”
With that confession, Tom whistled for a cab. It didn’t take long for one to pull up to the curb. He opened the door and let her go in first. As she did so, Camilla told him, with a serious tone in her voice, “You cannot sell that which is held by another Thomas.”
He climbed into the cab, gave their destination and, as they drove away, Tom’s memories came back to haunt him again … as they always did.
As they drove away, Billy watched from one of the windows in the upper floor of the warehouse. He liked Camilla, liked her a lot. After they had left, he stood there by the window watching the traffic pass by and thought about what Camilla had asked him to do. He didn’t know why exactly he had agreed to it, maybe it was just wanting to do something when, so far, there was nothing he could do for his father.
With a sigh he rummaged in his pockets until he found his phone, opened it, and made a call.
“It’s me. Yah. No, no they didn’t arrest Dad. I… trust them. Have to trust someone don’t I? Anyway, I need somethin’ done. Today.”
Billy turned away from the window and walked off into the gloom around him, doing what he hoped would help his father in the end…