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My Little Mystery Part 5

The group becomes six. Stefan and Natasha become suspicious of things.

Natasha sat at her desk daydreaming, as she looked out over the executive support staff. She was new to the organization, hired on to support Monica, Stefan and Cricket. Occasionally, she worked with Cal on Save the Wolves Foundation business. She was bored and thought how she saw everything going on in the executive support staff pool and she was the lifeguard. Today, the boredom set in because the group of four gathered at Cal's house to evaluate her progress and report back to the Bard School. She wanted to know what went on in those meetings. It was times like these, that Natasha hated. She was alone and bored. Her mind wandered, as thoughts randomly flew around in her head. Lately, they always came back to the same thing. She killed a man in cold blood. She wondered, where did that expression 'in cold blood' originate? She could not get the event out of her head, standing, waiting for him to return home from a quiet dinner, entering the house, locking it up and starting toward his kitchen. She stepped out of the darkness silently, pointed the gun at the man's head and with one silenced shot took his life. She hated that moment. She wanted it erased from her memory. It was the one aspect of her life, she did not like.

Her reverie was momentarily interrupted by the phone. She reached over absently answering it by rote. The voice on the other end was deep and gruff. It was Mr. Wagner. "Hello Natasha, how are you doing today?" Not waiting for an answer, he continued, "I sent a young man to join you in your training and other activities. He is to join your merry band and work with everyone there. He will arrive shortly. Have Cricket give me a call when she gets back, please. Goodbye Natasha."

Natasha sat there confused. Mr. Wagner never called, left instructions and hung up. He was curious and wanted to know how she was and if her training proceeded as planned. Today he sounded hurried and brusque. There was something wrong here. Before she thought any more, her phone rang again. It was Security in the main lobby informing her, that a young man named Damon was there, asking to meet with Cricket. She told them to send him up. After Security hung up, she called Cricket's cell phone and informed her of Damon's arrival. Cricket told her that they talked to Mr. Wagner and were on their way to the office. Natasha was to entertain Damon until they arrived. She hung up the phone, just as the elevator arrived and the doors opened.

Out of the elevator stepped one of the most handsome and beautiful men Natasha ever saw. He was very tall, at least 6' 5" with dark brown wavy hair, green eyes, a cute nose and the most kissable lips in the world. Her mouth dropped open and she stopped dead in getting up to greet him. Here was the man of her dreams. She sat riveted in her chair, watching this man approach. His walk was deliberate, but not stiff, sort of casual and unhurried. He approached her desk and a crooked smile appeared on his gorgeous face. "Hello, I am Damon. I believe Mr. Wagner called about my arrival today. Is Cricket here?"

Natasha sputtered, "sh sh she is on her way here to greet you. I am to see to your needs until she arrives. I am her Personal Assistant, Natasha. Welcome. Is there anything you would like? Coffee, tea, water or juice?" In her head she thought, "me?"

"No thank you. I will wait until she arrives."

Natasha got up shaking, "follow me to the conference room, where you will be greeted by Cricket and the others."

Damon looked at Natasha and thought, "I would follow you anywhere", as she led him down the hall to Cricket's private conference room. He entered the room and briefly brushed against Natasha. They both felt a spark go between them. She almost fainted at the touch, he slowed his entry, and looked at her curiously. They smiled cautiously at each other. Natasha wanted the feeling to last, she almost grabbed him to her. He hesitated, turned and took her hand. That did it, she looked him in the eyes reached up and drew his mouth to hers in a long passionate kiss. He kissed her back, wrapping his strong arms around her. The kiss lasted a long time, and the two failed to see Cricket, Monica, Stefan and Cal come down the hall.

Cricket coughed, "are we interrupting something?"

Natasha and Damon parted, but held hands with each blushing like school children. Cricket and the others laughed, it wasn't the first time any of them were embarrassed nor would it be the last.

"Let's all go sit down and get acquainted," Monica quipped. They entered the room. Cal sat with Cricket, Monica sat with Stefan, and Natasha sat with Damon. "Mr. Wagner sent you here to be mentored, as Natasha was. We will put you up with Cal and move Natasha down the road to Cricket's." Damon nodded with Natasha looking disappointed. “Where is your luggage?”

Damon replied, “it is in the Security office under lock and key. We can pick it up as we leave tonight. Has Cricket talked with Mr. Wagner yet? He wanted her to call as soon as she got in.”

Cal, Monica and Cricket were chatting amongst themselves while Stefan and Damon talked quietly. Natasha sat quietly looking at the people in the room. She sensed that there was something wrong, but its impact had been held up. To shake things up a little Damon's training took a different tack. Cal and Cricket were to teach forging, while Monica covered bomb making. Stefan taught Natasha assassinations and Damon joined them. Natasha liked that, but felt it odd that Monica and Cal switched. The group of now six gathered and left for Cal's house to move Natasha out and Damon in. Cal prepared a wonderful BBQ for them all. Most nights the group ate at Cal's because the wolf pack at Cricket's made it difficult to cook and eat. Damon liked his new room declaring it was the largest room he ever had in his life. Natasha beamed with pride that he liked it. She decorated it, but not in girly frills, but more austere and neutral colors and furniture.

All through dinner the group chattered and bantered about. Stefan remained quiet and pensive. He sensed there was something wrong or amiss. Mr. Wagner was very adamant and specific about the teaching assignments. Stefan felt strange. Monica forged the best documents better than most. Monica failed bomb making until Mr. Wagner stepped in to help. Then she excelled at it. Her ability to teach was suspect, but it was what Mr. Wagner wanted. They had to follow his orders. However if they did not follow his orders no one knew the consequences. The group sat looking at Stefan. Cricket asked him, “what is wrong Stefan? You look as if there is a pending disaster. We don't need that right now.”

“ Why the switch in teaching assignments? It just does not make sense. Monica is the best forger and Cal the best bomb expert. Switching seems to short circuit Damon's education and crimps Natasha.” Stefan replied.

Monica piped up, “I need practice in bomb making because I have not built a bomb since school. Yes I am good at forging, but Cal and Cricket can easily handle the classes. Damon looks to be a bright student who can teach me a few things. Let's just follow instructions.”

“ OK. I will stop questioning the judgment of the School.” They raised their glasses and toasted the Bard School. The night ended with everyone going to their respective homes. Stefan doubted that this was a good move, but kept the suspicions to himself. He brought Monica home and stayed the night with her. They lived together most everyday. They parted when Stefan had an assignment that took him out of town. They got ready for bed, kissed good night and crawled into bed together.

The next day dawned bright, full of hope and a new beginning for the group. Damon proved to be bright and way ahead in his studies. He and Natasha developed a competitive game of studying. They played at it with an almost religious fervor. Natasha excelled at forging and bomb making but failed in assassinations. Damon seemed to have no qualms about taking a human life. He even knew where the term 'in cold blood' came from. He explained to Natasha and Stefan that the term came from, 'if you do something, especially kill someone, in cold blood, you do it in a way which is cruel because you plan it and do it without emotion'. He also explained there used to be a term 'in warm blood' which meant the reverse. Today the term 'in warm blood' became a 'crime of passion' . Knowing the meaning of the term did not make it any easier for Natasha to over come her feelings. She felt strongly that assassination was not her primary passion. She wanted to be more like Cricket, who took down companies.

Meanwhile, Cal received a call from Australia about the small wolf pack, he delivered. Two of the female wolves had been killed by over zealous farmers who claimed the wolves killed their sheep. He flew to Australia with a replacement pair of female wolves. While he was there he spent time educating the farmers in how to determine what type of predator killed their flock. Turns out there was a rogue mountain lion in the area. It killed the sheep. Cal showed the farmers the claw marks and teeth imprints left behind. Cal wanted to go back home to his wolf pack but the farmers insisted he stay until they felt comfortable with the new members. He stayed for a month longer.

While Cal was gone, Stefan got a string of assignments in Europe and Africa. His assignment was to kill ten members of a radical group of militant hoodlums. They spread out through Europe and Africa killing and recruiting members to build up an international army. He started in Europe because it was easier to get around and carry his equipment. Four of his kills went off like clockwork. They took less than four days. His fifth assignment proved to be more wary of assassination. He hired four bodyguards to be with him at all times. It took Stefan two weeks to get the man alone for more than a few seconds. At the end of two weeks the bodyguards left giving Stefan the chance to kill the man. The next day the man died, as he went for his morning jog. So far Stefan was away for three weeks. It took three more weeks to complete the task. Stefan and Cal were gone for six weeks from the group.

Cricket and Monica worked hard with Natasha and Damon on forging and bomb making. The students progressed rapidly, due to the competition set up between them. So far they tied in every test. Forging tests were easy for both students. They spent three weeks forging passports, stock certificates, drivers licenses and other important documents. It was too easy at the end of the time. The real test was when they went to use the passport to take a trip to Washington DC. The ticket purchase went without problem. When they proceeded through the TSA checkpoint, it took a little more time because a large family had several bottles that were too big and held up the line. The plane ride was uneventful using forged passports and first class tickets both ways. Both students passed the tests easily.

After a few days off Monica took over the class in bomb making. Natasha blew up her first tree with no problem. Damon's bomb fizzled and just made a loud pop. Natasha laughed at him and he felt like such a fool. Natasha made fun of him and mocked his fizzle. He fumed a little, but the next five bombs were spectacular, much better than Natasha. Monica had trouble getting to the next section of detonators. She asked Cricket to help her out. Cricket and she demonstrated to both students how to set the charges and detonate remotely. The bomb worked flawlessly resulting in a hole the size of a swimming pool. Natasha was next. It took a long time to get the explosive packed tightly and wrapped in the right amount of packing. The detonator was difficult to set up but once done correctly it worked fine. Her bomb crater was not as big as the teacher's but it was a passable size. It was now Damon's turn. He quickly packed the explosive properly and was ready to set the detonator. He had trouble with the detonator due to faulty wires. They kept shorting out and not setting off the blasting caps. To assure a good set up Damon tested each length of wire for continuity. Satisfied that everything was working Damon assembled the detonator. Before attaching the charge he checked the circuit and it worked. He made the connections and set the charge on the ground. He walked away to the safe blockhouse with Monica Cricket and Natasha. Once inside he pushed the remote detonator, but nothing happened. He pressed it three more times. Still nothing happened. Damon started to leave the blockhouse when Monica stopped him.

“ Never go back to an explosive that has failed to detonate. It is better to wait a few hours to let it all cool down. We will wait until after lunch and go check that it is truly dead,” Monica chided Damon.

The four of them went to lunch leaving the bomb on the ground. It was guarded by Security until the foursome returned. On the way back from lunch, Cricket and Monica decided to leave the students in the blockhouse to watch how to approach a potentially live bomb. Monica walked slowly toward the bomb followed at a discreet distance by Cricket. As they approached the bomb Cricket's phone rang. She stopped to answer it. She spoke to the person on the other end for a few seconds and as she closed her phone the bomb went off. Monica and Cricket were hurled through the air toward the blockhouse. Natasha and Damon ran from the blockhouse to the two women. The Security team came running quickly followed by two ambulances. Both women were loaded onto stretchers tended to and transported out of the training area.

All Damon and Natasha knew was that the women were stable but Monica had severe burns. Cricket was in total shock and minimally burned. Damon held on tightly to Natasha as they were escorted to the waiting security van and whisked back to Wolf's Head Oil. When they got to the office Natasha called Cal and Stefan and told them to get back to the office as fast as possible. She arranged the plane tickets and made sure the would be met at the airport.

The next twenty four hours were critical for both women. Cal and Stefan arrived and comforted Damon and Natasha. No word was available about the women. Everyone kept quiet about the accident. Stefan kept thinking quietly to himself, “this was no accident.”

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

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