So, I know it has been a very, very long time since I have posted and for that I am sorry. Much has happened since we have last met. I hope that all of you are well and still are interested in reading this story. A reader and very good friend created a Darkness and White Facebook page and we just hit 300 likes, I thought this was a good time to update the story and spend the new few months together with Amy, Will and Dino to the conclusion of Darkness and White. I hope to one day have this book published and hold it in the palm of my hands, but until that day comes I plan to finish it where it started - here with all of you.
Thank you all for reading and messaging me to keep going.
I remember the first time I saw Amy like it was fucking yesterday. I was at a friend Mike's house for a cookout. I had gotten there really late, and the party was in full swing. I grabbed a beer and a hot dog and found a lawn chair to sit my ass in for a little bit. She was wearing cutoffs and a white tank top, her hair was in a brown knot on the top of her head, she had a sweet smile and a fine ass. There was this cute, innocent thing about her that kept my focus. She was standing with two guys; one was very tall maybe 6'5. He had broad shoulders, shaggy blonde hair, pale Irish skin that was sunburned to a crisp. His undefined arm was permanently wrapped around her waist, every so often she would rest her head on his shoulder while she quietly sipped a beer. The other guy was shorter, 5'8 tops, darker and stocky like a bull dog, he rocked back and forth while he stood there, too much energy for his own good. I wanted them leave and I wanted to stop her, talk to her but I didn't. I had this strange feeling about her, I chalked it up to being exhausted after a grueling shift but looking back now, I knew even then I would see her again. The second time I saw Amy was the day that changed my life forever.
I was working on a new case. A thirteen-year-old shot in the head on a school yard. It felt like every other day some poor kid was getting shot at school. I was sick of how quickly cases like this were just written off as if this child didn't matter. I was determined to figure this one out but life had other plans. This guy Jeff had called me at least ten times he said he was a friend of my friend Mike's. I told him there was nothing I could do. It wasn't my jurisdiction or my district. Not my monkeys not my circus. He was a friend of a friend so I gave him some advice and tried to send him on his way but this guy showed up at my desk, pictures in hand and that changed my life as I knew it. I immediately remembered him, the bulldog from the cookout three or four years earlier. And when he placed the picture of his cousin Amy in my hand everything stopped. To anyone else she was just a cute brunette, 5'6, a buck forty in all the right places, standing on a beach with a shorter, thinner, kooky looking red-head. They were both posing like kids do, arms wrapped around each other, legs kicked out like showgirls. The waves crashing behind them. She looked young and free and happy. It was a nice picture. But something about Amy stood out and not just because I remembered her from years before. I don't know if it was here smile or what but I couldn't erase her from my mind. It was this feeling that nagged away at me even hours later when Jeff was long gone and the pictures were stuffed in a manila folder. I think that picture was the reason that I ended up breaking protocol and went to her apartment that day instead of going to Subway to get a fucking sandwich. I couldn't imagine something bad happening to such a sweet kid. In my line of work that is pretty much all I fucking saw one bad thing after another. Over the years I learned that you can't save everyone and as fucked up as it is I have had more losses than wins. But there was something about her picture that made me believe that if she was in danger I could help her.
Simon Archer. I had never heard the name and in some ways I wish I never had. Jeff brought a picture of him as well and it made the hairs on the back on my neck stand on edge He was standing behind Amy with his long arm wrapped around her shoulder and across her neck. It was so possessive. She still has that bright happy look about her, like the photo on the beach but instead of the waves behind her it was a cloud of darkness. She was like a bunny who does not know a wolf is close by. I remember his eyes, even to this day. There was this odd blue, intense but just behind them you could see he was hiding the crazy that I had seen many times before, usually in killers on trial or trying to make parole. They are trying to put their best foot forward and make you believe they are good people but the eyes always give it away. The way he stood over her it just didn't jive with me. I ran him through the data base and that came up clean. Almost too clean. I googled him for an hour, maybe two and I felt like I had fallen down a rabbit hole. He was rich, very rich. There were pictures of him at every event and charity function, a few where Amy was standing beside him and noted as Simon Archer and a female friend. There were a few stories in the business section about him branching out overseas amid rumors of a struggle with his father. All of this left me nothing to go on except a gut feeling that I couldn't shake.
I never in a million years expected her to be in her apartment. I thought for sure that this Archer guy took her on a nice trip to win her back. If I were a betting man that where I would have put my money. I had seen it countless times before. A guy beats up on a woman and makes it up to her with flowers or a trip, makes a few promises that it will never happen again. All is forgiven until the next time. But even with all of that I still had this bad fucking feeling. When I heard her cellphone ring just beyond the door I knew she was in there. Honestly, I expected to find her dead and Archer long gone. That is wat I was prepared for. But what I found was more that I was expecting. She was beaten worse than any person I had ever seen in my life. And that is saying a lot considering all the shit I have seen. I couldn't believe that the face in front of me was the same from the picture. Her body was bruised and burned beyond belief. I could still smell the smell of her skin burning in the air. And the fucker had bandaged her up. I can't imagine what sick fuck would beat and burn a woman and then have the balls to try and fix what he had broken to bits. When I close my eyes at night that is what I see, her lying there shocked to see me, crying, probably thinking she was minutes away from death. And in the morning, even now, even though I have tried not to, I see that picture of her smiling at the beach. God damn it I do.
We drove for two hours on the Long Island Expressway. Santana to my right, his eyes fixed on the road, going about ninety despite the snow and ice. I told him once or twice to slow down or we would never make it there. He told me to fuck off and that knew what he was doing. The man was a god dammed machine. In one hand I had Grace's cell. I had been using it to gather intel and locate Amy. I had tried Will over and over but there was no answer and Amy begged me not to call the police. Frankie spilled the beans pretty quickly after he heard that Archer was burning in hell where he belonged. I would have to deal with him later. I made sure he knew I was coming for him. Santana put a tail on him but it always came back with nothing. I wonder if he paid our man off… Another thing to deal with later.
In the other hand I had my cell phone pressed to my ear listening to Amy count. I couldn't even think about breaking the line with her and I hoped that she had enough battery life to keep us connected. I could feel her sanity drifting way as the numbers got higher and higher. I couldn't wait until the GPS told us we had arrived. If she lost her sanity again I was not sure if she could get it back. And from the look of it Will couldn't be counted on to help her. Another gut feeling but I know that Will is high right now. I know he is mad at me but he wouldn't not answer my calls considering all that is at stake. I called Sandra and asked her to swing by his place. If anyone could get his head back on straight, it is Hurricane Sandy.
When all this started years ago I knew that Amy needed Will and in some way I knew that Will would need Amy too. It killed me to do it but sometimes the hard thing is the right thing. They were so similar Will and Amy. So broken but so strong and stubborn but then weak and fragile. I felt protective of them both in the same way I guess. Though loved them both differently. Did I expect them to fall in love and get married, honestly no fucking way. I thought they would help each other. But things happen how they happen.
Thankfully the roads were near empty, it was very early morning and the sun wouldn't be up for at least an hour more. The snow was sticking a few inches as we got further out on the highway but it didn't seem to stop Santana's speed one bit. The highway finally came to an end and what was left was road after road of open snow covered farmland. It was strange that two hours away there was the best and biggest city in the world. A few long twist and turns and I could smell the winter ocean air. The pavement turned to gravel and down a narrow weed lined drive a small shack appeared in the clearing. I hate to admit it but I was scared. Scared of what I would see. I wondered what image of Amy would keep me up at night now. I saw firsthand what he had done to her is three days. What the fuck could he accomplish in three months.
"Amy… can you hear me… we are here…. You're gonna be okay kiddo. You're gonna be alright."
"You have arrived at your destination."
I couldn't fucking believe how close she had been this whole time. All the wasted energy and searches all over the god dammed world and here she was in our own backyard. My mind was racing going over every detail and how we could have missed this. I had to force myself to turn it off and focus on the now. I would have plenty of time to piece this all together later.
"Well Fuck." Is all Santana said, slamming the door to the SUV as we made our way up the path. He was an angry as I was. The door was heavily locked but it was no match for the full weight of Santana and me. The combined rage alone was enough to bust the door down. I called out her name as I walked through the house. It was small and neat. Old and dingy. The windows were all boarded up from the inside and there were long lengths of chains attached to the floors. He kept her locked up like an animal. Like a fucking dog on a leash. I could feel my blood pressure rise and the anger was too big for my body. With our guns drawn Santana and I made our way down the narrow hallway. I found her in a small room in the back. Archer was laid out naked on the bed, his eyes and mouth wide open. There were also chains on the bed and I felt my stomach lurch at the thought of all that had happened in this room. Blood was everywhere, it had spurted out from his neck and only when I looked at Amy did it come together how she was able to kill him. She was curled up naked in the corner, covered in dried blood that I hoped was just Archers. She was counting and shaking, and clenched in her hands was a marble note book and the cell phone. I said her name softy and her eyes slowly turned to me. Her eyes were dead, the light that had come back into them over the years was gone and I felt something die inside of me. She mumbled a few things that I couldn't understand and then she began to cry. Her tears mixing with the blood that stained her face. Putting my gun away I walked towards her slowly. I crouched down to her level and rested my hand on her shoulder. She flinched at my touch but then to my relief she wrapped herself around my waist and held me tighter than I've ever been held before. I held her just as tight. Santana appeared in the doorway with a blanket in hand. I wrapped it around her and in the same motion scooped her off the floor and up into my arms. She wrapped her arms around my neck and I can feel her fingers grab a fistful of my coat. She smells like blood and sex and I wish I could bathe her but I know we need to get her to the nearest hospital and collect evidence.
"You're safe now. We're gonna get you out of here."
"NO one can see… no one can see what happened here… They will know and they will never let me forget. Dino please no one can know…" She is hysterical and looking around I can understand why she does not want a team of people in here documenting everything that happened. I turn back once more and take a long look at Archers dead body. I watch as Santana spits on him, mumbling something in Spanish and I smile wishing I would have thought of it.
We make our way to the living room. Amy still mumbling how no one can see, no one can know. I look the dying embers of the fireplace and motion to Santana. My mind is racing and I know what needs to be done.
"Torch the place." He nods once and gets to work.
I walk out to the car, Amy safe in my arms, the sun rising. The ice and snow in front of us and the heat from the burning shack and Simon Archer behind us.