Kyle Kent is a 3-book series. Co-habit is the second book in the trilogy. To get a better grip of the story, I would recommend you check out the first book, Kyle Kent: Genesis here.
Now, we can sit back and enjoy a beautiful story.
It’s dark and there are people everywhere. It’s loud and there are noises in the air.
Ben had had another fight with Kent the previous night. Kent was angry that Wright was flirting with his niece. Wright had countered that Nia was old enough to make her own decisions and was it his fault that Kent had not mentioned a hot niece?
All around the buildings look so cold. And they look down on one more story left untold.
Now in the comfort of the W.B.I HQ, He could still feel Kent seething. Not even Jason Walker’s voice could soothe him.
And one more sunset that won’t turn gold. ‘Cause this lonely is killing me. And I don’t see what I can’t quite reach.
His phone rang and, with a tap, he paused the music player.
“Hi”. He recognized the voice immediately.
“Nia. Hi. This is a pleasant surprise”.
“I got your number from the listings. Say, is this a bad time?” She asked.
“Well, is somebody dead? Kidnapped?” He joked.
“No”. She said, laughing lightly
“Then we’re good”.
“Are you free this evening? I have to take Tommy to Highland Park and I need someone to keep me from committing suicide”.
“Well…” He contemplated “Are you asking me this as a dinner guest or as a licensed Private Investigator of the state of Pennsylvania?”
“Which is cheaper?” Nia asked.
“Private eye it is. I’ll clear my ever busy schedule and fit you in somewhere between solving a murder and searching for a beloved poodle kidnapped by an estranged lover”.
“Okay. I’ll see you at five”.
She clicked off.
He pressed the intercom.
“Margie, I need you to clear my appointments for the evening”.
“You don’t have appointments for the evening”. Margie replied.
Oh. Yeah. “Good. Keep it that way”.
He could almost hear the smirk on the other end as she said “Yes, boss”.
He settled back at his chair and groaned. He hit play
And I won’t be able to come to shore. When I’m lost floating like a boat in the ocean
The midnight starlight won’t shine anymore.
The intercom buzzed. He hit pause on his iTunes.
“There’s a woman here to see you”. Margie chipped.
“Is it Mrs. Rowland?”
“Then send her in”.
The woman that entered his office three minutes later looked disturbed. Her hair was bundled into an untidy lump. The bags under her said revealed that she had not slept in more than twenty-four hours and she had been crying.
Wright helped her to a seat.
“Uh, I got your address from Mrs. Rowland”. She mumbled.
“How can I help you?” Wright asked.
She stared intently into Wright’s eyes as she said
“I need you to help me find my daughters. They were kidnapped yesterday”.
“Then you should be talking to the cops”. Wright said calmly.
“And you think I didn’t think of that? I’m tired of people treating me like I’m crazy” She screamed at Wright. She covered her face with her palms and mumbled through quiet tears “I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry”. She apologized profusely.
Wright gladly slipped into the background as Kent called for control. Kylie deals with crazy clients. Kent reached over the table and took her right hand in his.
“It’s alright ma’am. What’s your name?”
“Selma. Selma Rodriguez”.
“Alright, Selma. Can I call you Selma?” She nodded. “I need you to calm down and tell me what happened”.
“Okay. Now how do you think I can help you?”
“I came here because Amy, uh, Mrs. Rowland said your methods are a bit unconventional”. She waited for confirmation and Kent nodded. “Good. Because I don’t believe the cops will be much help. My daughters were taken by demonios”.
“Demonios? Demons?” Kent asked, puzzled.
Selma laughed ruefully.
“I knew you wouldn’t believe me. Nobody does. I’m not crazy, I know what I saw. The cop I spoke to sounded just like you do right now”. She stood up abruptly. “I knew coming here was a mistake”.
Kent tightened his grip on her arm. The last thing the agency needed was a negative review from a dissatisfied client.
“Your daughters are alive, Selma”.
“I know they are alive, detective”. She said assertively. “But if my babies are not found soon, they won’t be for long”. She pulled her hand away and stormed out of the office.
Kent watched her retreating figure in quiet contemplation. She did sound crazy but Kent doubted she was. He let Ben take control of the body again.
“Demons in Pittsburgh, huh? What’s the world coming to?” Wright chuckled.
He pressed numbers on the intercom and lifted the receiver to his ear.
“Say, Margie, if I wanted to kill a demon, how do I go about it?”
“Errr… Some holy water, a cross, holy ropes and a .48 for backup”. She pretended to think. “Oh. And I think you need a suit. The hot priest in Constantine had one”.
“Thanks Margie. I don’t know what I’ll do without you”.
* * *
There are two entrances to Highland Park. The main entrance which leads to Highland Avenue is marked by two bronze sculptures designed by Guiseppe Moretti. The Stanton Avenue entrance also has a pair of Guiseppe Moretti sculptures depicting two groups of youths taming wild horses. The park, opened in 1893 by then Pittsburgh Director of Public Works, Edward Bigelow, contains two of the city’s water reservoirs, Steel City’s only long-course swimming pool, picnic groves, a Babbling Brook water feature, four sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, walking trails and two children’s playgrounds (Farmhouse Park and the Super Playground).
The park ground also includes Lake Carnegie for fishing, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and the Washington Boulevard Bike Track.
Kent located the pair near the lake. Judging by the enthusiasm in Tommy’s welcome, he must have decided that Wright’s possession of a gun made him cool even if he couldn’t fire it. Kent hugged Nia and bumped fists with Tommy.
They settled on a bench but Tommy soon got interested in a group of kids playing catch.
“Can I go play with them, Uncle Ben?” He asked.
Nia sputtered, surprised.
“Don’t break too many bones”. Kent said. Tommy wheeled off to join the kids.
“Did I do something?” Kent asked, surprised.
“Well if you did, I’ll love to know what it was. Tommy doesn’t ask for permission from anybody”. She chuckled “And he never calls anybody uncle”.
“Well, what can I say? I have a way with kids”.
Nia laughed loudly. It was a lovely sounds, it sounded like the tinkling of tiny bells. They watched the people on the different piers hanging over the lake. They all had buckets of bait beside them and the ever present cooler containing cans of beer.
From there, the conversation turned to happenings in her life. She talked about her experiences in college. Then she talked about an ex-boyfriend who had left her after finding out she was a Red Sox fan. She smiled very easily, revealing rows of white teeth.
“Do you have a girlfriend?” She asked him.
Kent could feel Wright trying to gain control of the body but Kent kept repressing him.
“Well, I used to be married”.
“What?!” Wright screamed in the earpiece.
“Oh”. She said. “What happened? You look a little too young to be a divorcee”.
Kent paused as memories of the moments in his house in Winchester, Miami flooded him.
“She slept with my best friend”.
“Oh”. She murmured. “I’m sorry”.
There was an awkward silence between them. Nia leaned towards him and Kent knew this would end in a kiss. He stood up abruptly.
“I have cramps. Don’t you?” He said, rubbing his legs and arms vigorously.
“Uh, no”. Nia said. She looked confused.
“Must be all this sitting around. I think what we need is a drink. Tommy!” He shouted.
The boy looked back at the mention of his name. He ran to the lakeside.
“What do you say we get some apple juice?” Kent asked him.
“Cool!” Tommy said, beaming. “You coming?” He asked Nia.
“Nah. I’m good. I’ll just sit here and watch the sunset”.
“Okay”. Kent said. “We’ll be right back”.
Tommy fit his hand in Kent’s and they made towards the refreshment stands. There was a small line at the counter.
“Did you bring your gun?” Tommy asked.
“No”. Kent said quietly. “Now stop talking about guns. We don’t want to scare these people”.
The woman in front of Kent had two little boys leaning on her. They looked bored but she could not have noticed. She was bent over her phone. Kent could see the familiar blue and white colors of the Twitter application.
Suddenly, Tommy tugged at his shirt urgently. Kent looked down at him and followed the direction of his outstretched hand. He was pointing at the bench Nia was seated on, only this time Kent’s place on the bench had been taken by two young men. They looked like trouble.
Kent tapped the woman in front of him on the shoulder.
“Excuse me. Ma’am. I need you to watch this kid for me”.
She grunted non-commitally. She chuckled as a beep on her phone announced the entry of a message.
Kent tapped on her shoulder impatiently, harder.
“All right, I’ll watch him”. She snapped.
Kent ruffled Tommy’s hair and jogged towards the lakeside. At the sight of him, Nia smiled and moved to his side.
“That your boyfriend?” One of them sneered lecherously. He had a red and yellow bandana strapped around his wrist. A giant crucifix swayed around his neck. The other had his bandana around his shock of dirty dyed red hair styled into a Mohawk. He donned a sleeveless yellow baseball shirt and every inch of his exposed skin was covered in tattoos of tongues. They had one thing in common though; they were both spoiling for a fight.
“The lady said no. Now back off”.
“We were just talking to her, man. Just two people having a nice conversation”. He grabbed at Nia but Kent pulled her out of his path. He lost balance and fell, face first, into the dirt. His friend grinned devilishly.
“That’s how it is, huh? You like it rough?” He pulled a switchblade out of his pocked and flicked it open.
The other sprang up and patted down his shirt. They circled Nia and Kent. Kent saw a park policeman cycling towards them. Kent knew he couldn’t get there on time. The thug with the switchblade lunged towards them.
Kent parried the thrust deftly. He gripped his attacker’s wrist and slammed it with a vicious backhand chop. The knife fell out of his hand to the ground. The other tough lashed out at Kent with his fist. Kent did a basic block then he drew his assailant towards him. When his neck was closed enough, Kent drove a hard right jab into his solar plexus. He felt the young thug stiffen as the blow sent vibrations through his body. He fell down, groaning.
Kent ducked just in time to deflect a blow from the other thug who had regained circulation in his right hand again. He took short punches at Kent who ducked athletically. Kent danced backwards again, pushing Nia out of the way. He swirled his backhand, giving his attacker the impression that a heavy hook was coming up. His attacker took the bait. He ducked out of the way straight into the path of a punch into the ribcage.
Kent then reduced the distance between them in one step. He blocked a right hook and slammed his forehead hard against the other’s nose. He staggered back, splashing blood over his shirt. Kent advanced on him and connected a heavy uppercut to his jaw that raised him a few meters in the air. He joined his friend on the dirt.
“Nice moves, partner”. Wright said through the earpiece. “I would have downed them in less than three though”.
It had all taken less than five minutes.
“Are you all right?” Kent asked Nia, concerned. She nodded assertively. “Let’s go get Tommy”.
“No”. She said, shaking her head lightly. “You go on. I need to catch my breath”.
Kent decided not to argue with her. He walked as fast as he could to the stand. There were only two people in line at the counter now. He looked at the rows of chairs. Tommy was not on any.
Kent identified the woman he had left Tommy with. She was still leaning on the counter, face bent over her phone.
“Excuse me ma’am”. Kyle breathed.
“Uh?” She said, clearly irritated.
“I left a kid with you. Where is he?”
“Oh. A man came to take him. I thought it was you”. She said, still peering intently at her phone.
“What did this man look like?” Kent asked. His irritation was seeping through to his voice. He pictured himself shaking her loose from her phone then smirking at her look of horror as he punches a hole through the screen. With very considerable effort, he stifled the urge.
“I think he was bald and short. And he had a lot of animal tattoos”. She looked up at him for the first time “Riight. So he’s not you”.
But Kent had already stopped paying attention.
“Where are your kids?” He asked, looking around the grove.
She glanced furtively at the miles of kids scattered around the park. The confused look on her visage told Kent everything he needed to know.
Her kids were missing too.
Kent wheeled around. He stared at the silhouette of Nia formed by the rays of the dying sun. She must have been there for a while. At least long enough to have heard the exchange between Kent and the woman. She looked impatient and anxious all at the same time.
“Where’s my brother?”