The Long Shadow of the Falcon
Disclaimer: Edgar Petersen, Jackson Birkman, and Clara Rogers are characters created and owned by Nichole Heydenburg. I wrote this story meshing those characters with some of mine as a birthday present to her because she is one of my best friends in the writing world. If you want great thrillers with page-turning intensity, go buy Nichole's books.
The Long Shadow of the Stage
The Long Shadow of Memory
The Long Shadow of Death
Enjoy the short story.
Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico -December 1, 2015
Edgar looked at his car as he stood on the side of the road. This was not the best situation. His car broke down, and after many miles of driving, finally worn out. The problem was that he was nowhere near a safe haven to fix it. He popped open the hood and realized it was the fuel tank.
The sun shone in a pool of crimson and gold, expressing light all over the fields and the light clouds. As the sun roared above, the heat affected him. It was only about 77 degrees. But when the sun shined right on him, it felt like double the pressure. He checked his watch. It was 3:37 P.M. He looked at his phone and realized there was no reception. He reached into his duffel bag.
Edgar shook his disposable phone, attempting to get something to work. It had been with him in the days since he arrived in Mexico. Only, Edgar had not intended for Guadalajara to be his final stop. He had intended to find a way to get to the Bahamas. But fate had played a role, and how he was stuck on the side of the road.
Things had gone so well for him since he arrived. Everything and anything that could go right had gone right since he left New York. His memories of killing Jackson and Clara were so fresh in his mind, and a part of him savored the fact that he had ended them. Jackson was responsible for his death, as he had a choice, and he made it. He chose to be selfish.
Edgar shook his head, banishing the thought. Now the guilt came over him. Then, sadness consumed him. He had killed his best friend. Things could have been so different had Jackson not been selfish.
His mind was all over the place that he had not noticed a silver sedan driving meticulously from a distance. The car eased closer to him. He turned his head, and the car was within a few yards of him. A part of him thought maybe he should flag them down for help, but then another part remained steadfast in solving this by himself.
The sedan stopped, and Edgar glanced over at it. Two doors opened, and two men walked out. One was a scrawny man with a bald head and a mustache. The other was a tall, lean man with wavy black hair and a beard.
“¿Qué tenemos aquí?” asked the Scrawny Man.
“Parace un chico blanco.” His friend added.
“En nuestro territorio.”
“Hey guys, my car broke down. I am just waiting for service so I can call somebody,” Edgar said.
The two men reached into their waistbands, held out a gun, and aimed it at him. Edgar put his hands up, shocked at the turn of events.
“Entrar en el coche!” the Scrawny Man ordered and looked in the general direction of their car.
Edgar did as he requested and slowly walked to the car, and entered. The tall man walked over and placed some handcuffs on him and slapped them against the door.
“Llevémoslo al Halcón. A ver qué quiere hacer con él.” He told his friend.
If Edgar had understood Spanish, he would have had an idea of where they were taking him. Fear rushed through his spine, and now for a split second, he believed in karma.
The drive took about ten minutes, and finally, they hit a gravel pathway, and scrubs and bushes surrounded them.
They approached a property, and Edgar tilted his head up to get a glance at the massive gates. The driver, who was the Scrawny Man, clicked a button, and the gates opened. They drove through. The long, overlooking driveway felt like a tour through a massive hotel.
The vehicle stopped, and the two men looked outside. Edgar noticed their facial expressions change, and there was some joy. A bald man greeted them. The bald man was strong, with muscles that stretched out the white muscle shirt he wore. His mouth curved into a hideous grin as he looked at the man and him.
“Hector. Pancho. What did you bring?” the bald man asked.
“Miguel,” said the man named Hector. “Donde esta el halcon?”
“That depends on why you want to see him,” replied Miguel.
“Esta hombre estuvo en nuestro territorio.”
“Well, if he was in our territory, then we simply can’t have that,” Miguel again answered in English.
Edgar listened to the conversation and finally understood why these men took him. He was in their territory. This was a cartel. He read stories about the cartels in Mexico but had not paid much attention to them. He knew about El Chapo but did not realize the Guadalajara Cartel was still around.
The door swung open, and Miguel yanked him out. He felt the full force of the man’s arm and felt his body twitch.
“Time for you to meet the boss,” Miguel explained.
“Please,” Edgar pleaded. “Please just let me go. I am sorry for being here.”
Miguel shook his head. “Sorry white boy, that’s not up to me.”
Flanked by Hector and Pancho, Miguel led him down the path to meet the boss. There were two entrances. One was the front door, ivory green, blending with the exterior décor, which was white. The other entrance was at the gate of the house. Miguel led him toward the gates.
As they moved through the gates, Edgar noticed people in the giant garden, some dancing on the wooden platforms decked with roses, and others sitting at the wooden tables eating Tortas Ahogadas and drinking tequila. Edgar found this all curious, as he stared at them, bug-eyed, and some of them stared back.
They walked past the massive garden, and now they were on the back terrain, coming closer to a villa area with a bridge that stood above a waterway. Edgar’s eyes widened as he saw approximately seven American Crocodiles sunning themselves next to the bank, with their massive jaws wide open.
Miguel lead him to the patio area overlooking the bridge, and that was when Edgar spotted another man.
This man was big. He was tall with curly black hair, some of which hovered over the top of his forehead. He wore a white suit with a pink undershirt and a white tie. As the man saw him, he grinned and stood up. In an odd twist, the man clapped. He looked straight at Edgar.
“Welcome to my home. I hear you have been loitering around.”
Miguel released his grip on Edgar, who glanced back at him for a millisecond and then turned back to the man in the suit.
“My car broke down,” He recounted. “Then your men picked me up. Who are you?”
The man in the suit smiled joyfully. He laughed.
“I don’t think I have ever met a man who did not know who I was.”
“He’s definitely not from around here Uncle Eduardo,” Miguel chipped in.
“Allow me to introduce myself. I am Eduardo Benitez. Now, who may I ask are you?”
“Edgar.” Petersen. He had not said his full name, mainly for fear of Eduardo recognizing him.
“Edgar Petersen,” Eduardo replied.
Edgar’s eyes narrowed, and now fear overtook him.
“How―how did you know?” Edgar’s words came out, stuttering.
Eduardo’s expression hardened, and he stood closer to him.
“I am the Falcon. I run all of Mexico and have my contacts throughout the U.S. I make it my business to know these things.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Edgar rebuked.
“I heard about that ‘accident’ on the set of your little television show Mr. Petersen. Did you not think the death of a famous actor on a set would not travel this far?”
“As you said, it was an accident.”
“And yet, here you are in Jalisco.”
Edgar’s eyes narrowed. “What exactly are you implying?”
“It’s quite evident that you came to Mexico to escape prosecution from the law. That’s because you killed that man―who according to what I read, and what my people told me, was your best friend.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Eduardo’s face lit up, and now a wicked smile curved on his face. He chuckled and pointed at him.
“You’re good. Really good. I wish I had a man as good as you. You can kill a man and take immense pleasure from it, as well as not feel any guilt.”
“I didn’t kill anyone!” he snapped. His face fell as he realized the way he spoke and saw Eduardo’s eyes flash. The cartel boss looked at Miguel and then at him.
“For someone who is supposedly a smart man that covers his tracks, that was not a smart move.”
“Please,” Edgar pleaded again, his voice softening. “I didn’t kill anyone. It was an accident. Jackson was my best friend. I didn’t know the gun was loaded.”
Now Eduardo’s expression changed again. It went from joy back to irritation. Eduardo looked behind him, and now Edgar felt his arms pinned to his sides. He saw Hector and Pancho hold him, and Eduardo’s face grew red with anger, and Edgar saw his massive fist hurling toward his face. Edgar attempted to wave away, but the fist caught him high on the left cheekbone. A pounding roared in his skull, the impact causing him some haziness. His mouth filled with blood, and he felt something loose in his mouth.
“Wolf,” Eduardo said, and now Edgar saw another man approach. This was a man who appeared to be in his 50s. He was a tall white man with balding gray hair.
“Meet Mr. Edgar Petersen. He is a man who doesn’t want to admit what he is. Let’s show him how we deal with liars.”
“What? What are you talking about?” asked Edgar.
Hector and Pancho held their grip on Edgar and marched him into the house. Miguel and Wolf followed them, and now Edgar heard Eduardo call out.
“It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Petersen. Enjoy your stay, or at least what you remember.”
The cartel thugs roughly slammed him against the wall of the first room they walked him into. Then, they lead him into a room and forced him to sit on a chair. They pinned him down, and he shook violently in a useless effort to escape.
Miguel and Wolf walked into the room, and now Edgar’s eyes rose in horror as he saw that Miguel had a lead pipe in his hand. Wolf had something in his hand, and Edgar noticed a knife.
In a single wide blow, Miguel swung the pipe, and slammed it across Edgar’s face. The force of the pipe reverberated through his skull, and he struggled to overcome the cobwebs. Wooziness overtook him, and he felt blood trickle down his forehead.
“Punk ass bitch,” Miguel spouted off. “Think you’re better than us.”
“I didn’t kill anyone,” Edgar again said.
Wolf shook his head and plunged his knife into his right calf. Edgar shrieked in agonizing pain as the blade cut through, and Wolf stared at him, his eyes blank, before yanking it out. Edgar wailed at the top of his lungs. Wolf looked at the blood on the knife and the gaping hole in Edgar’s calf.
“Is that how you killed that woman? Cutting her up?”
“It―it―it was a suicide.”
“Lying piece of shit!” Miguel roared, and he swung the pipe like a baseball bat and slammed it against his right cheekbone. The impact shattered a good few teeth, and now Edgar finally plunged to the ground, laying on his side, bleeding out from his calf wound, and now multiple head injuries. Wolf knelt beside him.
“Do not worry my young friend. I have only been instructed to maim you, not kill you. We will patch you up after you finally lose consciousness and send you on your way.”
Edgar huffed up, unable to speak. His vocal cords temporarily were unable to function. Wolf went on.
“You could have been so much better off had you shown proper respect. Had you admitted to us what you did, Eduardo would have taken care of you, maybe even sent you to where you wanted to go.
“Instead, you come here, and you repeatedly lie to him, and to me. Now you suffer your fate as you rightfully should. Now you probably understand how that woman felt when you killed her. What was her name? Ah yes, Clara.”
Edgar simpered. The damage was extreme, and he felt himself losing consciousness. Wolf reached over and touched his hair gently.
“Do not worry Mr. Petersen, it will be all over soon.”
Wolf released his grip, looked up at Miguel, and nodded. Miguel grinned and swung his pipe again, slamming into the side of his skull. Now, he felt woozier than ever. He saw shapes and blurry images, and all of that until everything went blank.
His eyes flickered, and the hot sun pounded on him. He groaned as he felt hot dirt beneath him as he laid on his back, the sun blaring overhead. His right hand reached down and noticed bandages on his left calf. A slight pain ached him as he stretched it out, and he wondered what happened.
His mind was blank, and he was not aware of where he was, or why he was there. Worse, he did not remember who he was. Everything was a blur. Slowly, he pressed himself up with his left hand, and then fell back down. He groaned. The air felt thick and humid. He sniffed around, to decipher what was going on.
He pushed again, and this time found his footing. There was a duffel bag, and he looked inside and noticed some clothes, toiletries, a worn paperback copy of short works by Edgar Allen Poe, and a photo of a man with short black hair, sparkling green eyes, and a nice smile.
His eyes glanced curiously at the picture and stared at the man in the photo. The man was attractive, but he did not recognize him. There was a sharp pang in his head, and he noticed a small cut above his right eye. His head throbbed. He ambled forward, grabbed his duffle bag, and started walking.
He walked for what seemed like an hour. Finally, he stopped and realized he stood in front of some homes and palm trees lining well-maintained lawns. He clutched his duffel bag and marched forward, hoping to find some answers.