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Remember the Ruin - Book 3 - Grand Gesture

Remember the Ruin - Book 3 - Grand Gesture

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"I can't believe it. After all the pain and suffering I've gone through, it's finally over. The person who killed my father is dead. Even though it isn't who I initially thought it was, justice is still served.

Now, it's time to retrieve what I've hidden all along. She's the only thing left in this world that matters to me. But before I can do that, there is one more person who might try to stop me."

Sample: Grand Gesture

Damp mist settled against his navy polyester suit sleeves and lay upon the backs of his hands like a gossamer veil. Angus MacPhie found this annoyingly like Scotland. But despite that, he stepped into the crowd and immediately assessed the situation. If there was anything he knew about ferry lines, it was how to get to the front of one. One must weave between the gaps, no restraint held for decorum. No pushing or shoving, mind you, but brushing by skirted the edges.

It didn’t take long for a native Scotsman to figure out a puzzle. When he first took the job and moved to Seattle with his wife Jacqui, they’d refused to live in the warzone of downtown. It was a shame what had happened to the Emerald City in the past decade at the hands of a city council bent on a social experiment gone so wrong most businesses had packed up and left long ago, leaving boarded-up storefronts on every block in their wake. Addicts ruled. Not only did they buy and sell drugs openly, but they also used them as well. Criminals had rights and all victims were just in the wrong place at the wrong time or were more likely, in their view, the villains themselves. Because they worked for a living and therefore aided in the evils of capitalism. Or at least, that’s the roundabout logic Angus perceived from the situation. Which made him a target a few times a week because instead of living in Seattle, Angus and his wife lived on nearby Bainbridge Island.

When they’d to move to the Seattle area and refused to live in a downtown skyrise, that left little choice but to find a way to commute from somewhere farther out. Like many do, Angus joined the ranks of those living beyond the insanity within a reasonable commute zone and instead found a nice little house on the island only a short ferry ride away. Close enough to commute and yet too close to the madness. 

Bainbridge Island commuters used the Washington State Ferry system. And since Angus lived within walking distance of the ferry dock, he didn’t even need the use of his car and avoided paying the exorbitant fees associated with parking or riding his vehicle onto the ferry.  If only he’d been the only one to think of this convenience in an increasingly overcrowded situation…it seemed many had the same idea as the numbers increased by the day. Even after the not-too-distant ferry attacks. He wasn’t on board the day the ferries were bombed and sank to the bottom of the Puget Sound, along with the passengers who lost their lives at the bottom of the sound that day. Some of them he knew or had known, at least, by the arrangement of their faces. He’d been home with an early video call that day and it was only after he heard the sirens and alarms from somewhere in town that he walked down Winslow Way to see for himself what all the commotion was about.

A month later and with armed escort, ferries were back in order. He was lying if he didn’t admit he hesitated a bit walking the plank from the pier. But just for a second. Business must go on; bills needed paying.

Instead Angus followed the crowd of daily commuters, doing his best not to step on the heels of the ladies in front of him. How they walked up those steep, wet Seattle streets in two-inch stilts confounded him. It wasn’t practical. Could not be comfortable. And perhaps they didn’t move nearly as fast as he wanted them to go, either. Being a Scotsman, Angus didn’t much like the feeling of walking through a funnel like a herd of sheep. Shepherding was a trade he’d tried to avoid as a boy and wasn’t about to volunteer for the sheep’s position now. But here he was on his tenth year already and twice a day he made the trip from Bainbridge Island to Seattle and back again. Always joining the herd. 

Except that instead of following along, Angus had learned to weave. He wouldn’t call it pushing. That wasn’t what he did. There was empty space at times. He never made contact with anyone. He simply led by example and maneuvered through the gaps at a quick pace. It was the only thing that made sense if you thought about it, and Angus was a sensible man. He had to get to work on time and dallying behind mocha-carrying, impractical shoes-wearing commuters didn’t quantify his goal of docking, walking two blocks, catching an elevator up twenty-three stories and logging into his meeting at precisely 8 a.m.—on time. 

He wasn’t sure what the rest of the daily commuters’ schedules, or lacks thereof, were but that was his ritual. And he was going to make it to work on time if it killed them. Or at least, in his mind, that’s what he imagined as he held onto the chrome pole while the ferry neared the monoliths on the other side of the waves. 

But they were at least ten and a half minutes away yet. So the window drew his gaze. It was a middling bright morning. There would be rain by the end of the day, he thought. No surprise there. Just a wee bit of sunshine peeking out in a ray behind a cloud. A few gulls screamed past the bow of the ferry in hopes a human might offer up a torn end of a croissant and when they spotted the flaky flesh, their wings would bank and swirl around as if they were feeding from the gods below them.

But Angus diverted his attention from this ballet playing out again and instead he caught sight of a patron’s laptop streaming the news in a seat nearby. It was that Gowdy guy, and Cameron Hughes again. He could see there was a heated discussion and if memory served there was a restraining order between the two there for a while. But he couldn’t hear a word because the guy holding the laptop was jabbering with the lady next to him.

“What are they up to now?”

“I swear, Senator Mathus can’t leave well enough alone.”

“What? I’d want to know. Think about it. No more unsolved crimes. You do the crime, there’s no more denying it. That’s it. Swab positive and you go to jail. No more wasted trials. Do you know how much that money that is?”

“Do you know how much it’s going to cost us? I mean, there go all our rights. Think about the health insurance. My mother had Parkinson’s, for instance. You don’t think they’re not going to find that in my DNA and raise my health insurance rates? Or deny me coverage altogether. Heck, they might even start sterilizing people or keep them from reproducing based on their DNA simply because a grandmother had early onset dementia or breast cancer or heck…what if she was nearsighted?” She gasped on purpose. “And come to think of it…I’m not so sure my little brother and I have the same father. There was a time when our parents took a break and mom was a bit friendly with the milkman…and since we’re in our forties, that’s a whole other can of worms I think needs to stay in the closet.”  

The man holding the laptop had his mouth open after that, staring at her like he wasn’t sure what to say next. He finally closed his jaw. “You’ve got to be kidding me. It’ll never come to that. They won’t expose all of that information.”

Her hand flung to the computer screen. “What do you think they’re talking about? No holds barred. They’re going to let it all fly, open domain.”

Angus had enough of their version of the news and interrupted, “Can you turn it up there? What is it that they’re saying?”

Angus wasn’t sure if the lady next to him was his wife or a colleague, but in any case, the man holding the laptop seemed almost delighted for the interruption and nodded quickly, “Oh sure,” he said, and then Angus noticed other heads nearby bobbing closer to hear the news. He felt a little embarrassed by his own intrusion but was glad he took the initiative in the end. Perhaps he even saved an argument?

“…a gross intrusion of privacy,” Gowdy said, with his hands splayed out like an offering. “I mean this is the most fundamental rights violation I can think of. A person is born into this world with a certain amount of basic rights but the minute he or she comes forth out of the womb, you’re going to a swab and own…own them,” he said, with conviction. “That person’s physical makeup? I’m still trying to understand how in the hell you guys pushed through the Kinder Euthanasia Bill, extending the Afterbirth Abortions to age five. I’d like to know what in the hell your definition of murder is, anyway. Just because one parent decides to give up their rights, they can petition to have the child from their union…killed?”

“Euthanized,” Cameron corrected. “It’s a humane practice in the Netherlands, and why should an unwanted child be brought in this world when the lives of the parents are affected negatively? They have rights, too. And the world is overpopulated as it is. Hopefully soon, they’ll extend the option to orphan homes, relieving states of the tremendous burden of debt incurred to raise an unwanted child.”

“Because the child in question is a living, walking, and talking human being. Because they have a beating heart and are fundamentally alive. At five years old, they can think and make decisions. They can feel pain, remorse, and love,” Gowdy said in a hoarse whisper, with his palms facing up.

Cameron shook his head and smiled as if he were talking to a student. “It’s done very peacefully,” Cameron said softly. “They’re unaware of anything. They’re entirely dependent on a set of parents where one or both of them are unwilling or unable to care for him or her. What kind of life is that? We’re saving them from a lifelong struggle.”

The guy with the laptop said, “He seems pretty calm so far.” He grinned up at Angus. 

Angus blinked and couldn’t help widening his eyes. He swallowed hard but smiled back quickly to deflect any discussion.

“He’s probably under court order,” someone else said.

On the screen, Gowdy looked up. “You just said it yourself. Life…you’re taking his life. That bill was only meant for those with a terminal illness, but we’re talking about perfectly formed human beings now.”

“You can look at it that way,” Cameron Hughes said. He was leaning back in his chair, almost relaxed, except Angus noted the man had his right leg crossed over his left knee at the ankle and his ankle was systematically tapping thin air.

“He shouldn’t relax. Gowdy’s about to spring,” the woman said.

Cameron’s right arm came out and his finger pointed at Gowdy. “But think of all the innovation, the medical triumphs…”

“Phts,” Gowdy said, and flayed his arms out and laughed. “Yeah,” he said and rolled his eyes. “The medical triumphs. You sick f…” he buried his forehead between his hands and made a moaning noise.

“Oh no,” laptop guy said in almost a whisper. “Here it comes…”

“Shh…” someone said.

Angus noticed every head leaned a little closer to the screen. 

And then all of a sudden, there was a tremendous jolt.

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