THE STALKER 2B (The Dickens Challenge)


Lourdes frowned. “Is that good or bad? I can’t tell.”

“Bad. At least we know where Buchanan is and what he’s capable of, but I have no idea what ever happened to this guy.” Mason jerked his chin at the mall entrance. A muscle jumped in his jaw. “He ruined my career once. He’s not going to do it twice.”

“Well, then.” Lourdes sighed wearily. “Let’s go back to the office so I can clock out, thank you very much, while you boys figure out a game plan.”

They turned back towards their vehicles, each black, each marked with the Security Solutions logo and reflective striping. The golf cart Mason and Ben had driven from their office suite across the street looked every bit as sporty and sleek as the four-wheel drive SUV Lourdes had to patrol their commercials sites during the night.

Lourdes waved as she drove off, leaving Mason and Ben to take one last look at the graffiti spray painted across mall’s entrance. Already the parking lot was filling with shoppers and their curious glances.

“So, we’re talking Gryzbowski? Krusinski? Whatever his name was?”

“Krukowski. Yes.” Captain Thomas Krukowski, last assigned to 3rd Battalion of the Army’s 75th Infantry, the Ranger Regiment out of Fort Benning, Georgia. Mason hadn’t seen or heard of the man in five years. He was surprised Ben remembered. They hadn’t exactly discussed the end of Mason’s military career in great detail. Slugging an officer, even in self-defense, wasn’t something Mason was proud of. And although his command had offered him an honorable discharge, in the end he’d only accepted to save his friends from the witch hunt that followed his altercation with Krukowski.

“You think he could be here?”

“Not with the Rangers, no.” The vast majority of the many active-duty military personnel stationed on Guam belonged to the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard, but that didn’t mean Krukowski wasn’t visiting—in personal or professional capacity—or hadn’t retired here.

“But you’re thinking it’s him, not The Smile.”

Mason nodded. Paying a couple of kids to spray paint slurs on buildings was just the underhanded kind of thing Krukowski would do. James “The Smile” Buchanan acted on a larger scale entirely, which didn’t mean he wouldn’t take advantage of the fallout that was sure to rain down on Security Solutions after eight cases of criminal property damage in one morning.

Mason steered their golf cart into the parking lot in the front of the office building that housed their office suite and groaned when he saw the KUAM-TV news van next to the black-and-white police cruiser that was still there from earlier. He looked over at his partner. Just forty, Ben’s dark hair and goatee were already shot through with silver. Glasses perched on his nose. He wore the pinched expression of someone suffering from acute acid reflux.

“It could be worse.”

“How so?”

“They could be looking for skeletons in your closet.”

Ben rolled his eyes. “Fat chance.” A grin tugged on the corners of his mouth. “Unlike you, I have an excellent housekeeper, and according to her nothing in mine, hers or our closet.”

Ben stepped out of the cart. “So, let’s go in and do what that bossy woman of yours suggested, find this Krusinski character and kick his ass.”

“Krukowski. What’s the time difference to Georgia?”

“Fourteen hours. Fifteen hours.” Ben shrugged. “They’re still yesterday, that I’m sure of.” He yanked the office building’s front door open and pointed. “Lead the way.”


I wanted to have 2b and 3 ready for today, but time got away from me. Darn holidays :-) Chapter 3 almost made it. I’m not sure yet if I’ll save it for next Monday and post it first thing in the new year.

May 2008 be the most amazing year yet!

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