Kill Abby White! Now!

Kill Abby White! Now!

by C.B. Huesing

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781457554377
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing
Publication date: 08/11/2017
Pages: 276
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

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CHAPTER 1

Chicago 1929

"What happened? Where am I?" Her speech was slurred, and her eyes barely opened as she gazed at a figure in white standing next to her bed.

"You're in Samaritan Hospital, in Chicago. You were wounded," said the nurse who was adjusting the bed covers. "I'll tell the doctor you're awake."

The patient turned her head slowly from left to right and tried to focus on the bottles hanging on stands and sprouting tubes attached to both her arms. She closed her eyes and dozed.

Dr. Ambrose, a fiftyish balding man, arrived minutes later with the nurse and gently awoke the patient.

"Sorry to wake you, young lady, but I need to see if your concussion left any after-effects."

"Am I dying?"

"Oh, no, Miss. Please just try to relax. I'm Dr. Ambrose. You were shot three days ago. Fortunately, the bullet struck you in your left rib area and missed your vital organs. It passed through after nipping a rib bone. You must have been on a step or some elevation to hit concrete with such force when you went down."

He put his fingers softly on the side of her head, moving aside her blond hair. "This looked pretty bad when they brought you in, but the swelling has gone down. Your skull was x-rayed. No fractures. We put you to sleep as a precaution. You lost a lot of blood from the bullet wound, so you had your second transfusion yesterday. Are you up to answering a few questions? I need to assess any damage from your concussion."

"Yes, I think so. But I don't feel so good. Awful headache, and my shoulder and side hurt. Where are my friends?

"All right, later on that question. What is your name?"

"Abby White."

"How old are you?"

"Twenty-two."

"How many fingers am I showing?"

"Ah, three."

"Now how many?"

"Two."

"What is the date today?"

"Don't know for sure. Last of February, I think, 1929."

"What do you do, and how do we contact your family?"

"I'm a student at Northwestern — a senior in my last semester. My parents are on a tour in the Far East. Hard to reach."

Fleeting images of her parents passed through her mind. If only you could be here now.

"Okay. I think your brain survived that hit. Your cognitive skills are good."

"It's all kind of a blur to me. What happened? Where are my friends?"

"Well, Abby, the police have been waiting to talk to you about that. We'll phone them, but you need to rest until they get here. You're a strong young woman — you'll be fine"

"I'm so thirsty."

The doctor nodded, using his thumb and index finger to indicate to the nurse how much water to give the patient. "Now try to rest."

Abby raised her head slightly and looked toward the door as the doctor and nurse left. She saw a uniformed policeman sitting on a chair just outside. What's he doing there? Abby wondered. The drugs, still in her system, sent her back to sleep.

About an hour later, a ruddy-faced, heavyset, older man with a bad shave and rheumy eyes nudged her. He smelled of cigarettes, and his rumpled suit needed a pressing. He flashed a badge. "Miss White, I'm Detective Nino Masconi of the Chicago police. Can I sit down?"

"Yes. Where are my friends?"

"We'll get to that. What were you doing at that place at Clark and Dickens streets?"

"Working. All of us are interns for a Chicago newspaper. Now, where are my friends?"

Masconi took a hard look at her. There was enough thrust in her chin to hint that she had a mind of her own.

"Jeez. A stubborn cuss. Just like my daughter! Okay, but you're not gonna like what I tell you." He pulled out a spiral-bound notebook from his breast pocket and began flicking the pages.

"Here we are. You were wounded. So were Esther Frankel and Daniel O'Gara. One person escaped without injuries, but two were killed outright. We have the names of the deceased as Harold Hubble and Carol Martin."

"Oh, no," said Abby softly. She stared at the detective, her eyes filling with tears. Masconi made notes as Abby struggled to regain control.

"Sorry, Miss." He paused. "The fellow who escaped major injury was one Karl Kruger. He was pulled inside by a homeowner. After he came out of the house and saw all the carnage, he passed out and went into shock. The docs got to him fairly quickly, and he seems to be okay. Now it's your turn, young lady. I need more details."

"I don't feel so good. Think I'm going to be sick."

Masconi shuffled as fast as his big frame could carry him and found the nurse. She held a pan under Abby's chin. It was mostly dry heaves since she had not eaten anything solid since admission to the hospital

The nurse set down her pan and stood with her arms folded. "Sorry, Detective, but that's enough for today. This woman was seriously hurt and needs her rest. Come back tomorrow."

Masconi sighed, folded his notebook and slipped it back into his coat pocket.

"Okay. Miss, I'll see you tomorrow." As he left, he murmured to the policeman at the door "Sit tight. Don't leave for anything."

Sometime during the night she awoke, struggling to breathe. Something heavy was pressing down on her face. It's a pillow. She tried to raise her arms to pull it off, but couldn't. There was a heavy weight on her body. Someone is sitting on me! She was beginning to lose consciousness when her hand felt the cord to her call button. She pressed it frantically. A bell rang in the hallway. Seconds passed, and Abby stopped breathing. She didn't feel the weight come off her body as someone rolled off her bed and moved quickly through the door.

The night nurse heard the bell and saw the red light for Abby's room. Moving swiftly around the corner, she started running when she saw a figure fleeing through the exit door at the end of the hall. As she turned into Abby's room, she let out a yell, pulling the pillow off the patient's face. She pulled the emergency alarm cord and began giving Abby mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The night physician ran in with another nurse, and together they managed to get Abby breathing again.

"Where's that policeman who's supposed to be on guard?" the night nurse asked as they reattached the dangling intravenous tubes. Just then, the policeman came into the room.

"What happened?"

"Where were you?"

"Had to go to the bathroom. Only gone for a minute."

"Well, it was time enough for someone to try to smother this woman with a pillow and pull out all of her tubes."

The doctor examined Abby thoroughly, then turned to the nurses.

"Bruises on her arms. Somebody must have used his knees to hold her down." He paused and looked at the nurses. "Her responses seem normal. I don't think she was without oxygen long enough to cause brain damage. Her heart rate is back to near normal. We'll have to watch her closely the next forty-eight hours. The wounds on her side and back need to be bandaged again. They were reopened in the struggle."

He shook his head. "This young woman has had terrible things happen to her in the last few days. I'm calling that detective again. This is attempted murder."

Though Abby was semi-conscious, she heard the essence of what was said. Someone is trying to kill me — again! How can this be happening to me?

Dawn was breaking over Lake Michigan when Detective Masconi arrived an hour later, huffing and puffing, his tie loosened. The night doctor told him what had happened. Just then, Dr. Ambrose came through the door.

"If she hadn't punched her call button, she'd be dead now," said the night doctor.

"Who would want to kill this poor woman now after all she's been through?" Dr. Ambrose asked.

Masconi lowered his head and mumbled. "The mob. They must think she and the other students saw too much. They don't like witnesses who could send them to the chair. We've got to make other arrangements for her as soon as she's able to be moved."

Masconi continued. "In the meantime, I'm posting my most reliable men at the door. Two at a time, around the clock. There'll be a man on the main floor watching the elevator and stairs. Another man will be at the elevator on this floor. Doctor, this woman and the other students could be key witnesses to a major murder crime. They will be protected." He spoke to the floor. "Certainly better than they have been so far."

Masconi didn't tell them that the first policeman had already been arrested on suspicion of bribery. They'll get him as an accomplice to attempted murder. That's even heavier stuff, thought Masconi.

It took two days after the attack before Abby's condition stabilized, and then Masconi returned.

"Miss, I don't suppose you heard or saw anything when you were attacked here in your room?" Masconi asked.

"Nothing. I was asleep when I felt enormous pressure on my face and body. It must have been a big man because I couldn't get him off me before I passed out." She paused. "What about Esther, Dan, and Karl? Where are they?"

"They're safe. We put them under more protection after your attack. Your own protection has more than doubled."

He paused and once again flipped open his notebook.

"Let me tell you what we think you young people saw," said Masconi. "Maybe it will help refresh your memory. We think you kids were standing on the steps of a boarding house across the street from the warehouse at Dickens and Clark streets. There were multiple murders in that warehouse. Did you hear gunshots?"

"Yes! We all did. It sounded like machine guns, then single loud shots. It went on for quite awhile."

"Why didn't you run?"

"Well, we were curious, I guess. We're reporters looking for a good story, and we thought we'd found one."

Looking to get killed, Masconi thought. He shook his head and motioned her to go on.

"We stood speculating about what was happening. Then it was quiet. We climbed up on the porch of the house for a better view — it looked like nobody was home. About a minute later four men came out of the building. The front two men had their hands in the air. They were being guarded by two uniformed policemen holding machine guns. Harold said that we should interview the cops after they put the guys in the car."

Abby's fists clinched as she remembered. "The policemen looked our way and stopped cold. One man said something to the other and to their prisoners. The policemen turned and starting shooting at us. Can you believe that? Policemen shooting at us! I was hit, and that's all I remember."

"Well, that adds up so far," Masconi said. "You all must have got a good look at them for them to shoot to kill. We think they fired left to right, hitting you, Frankel, Hubble, Martin, and O'Gara. The lady in the house opened the door a crack and pulled Kruger inside."

Masconi continued. "They fired a few more rounds at the boarding house and then ran to their stolen police car. The car was found later about five miles away. The boarding house lady was a real heroine and saved Kruger's life.

"Miss, you and your friends probably got a good look at the faces of the mobsters who killed seven men in that warehouse. The policemen were phonies, pretending they had captured the shooters so that they could get away safely. You are all key witnesses."

Abby shook her head slowly. "And we had to be there."

"Okay, now tell why all of you were there. It doesn't take six people to report a story."

She closed her eyes. "Sir, I'm suddenly very tired. All I can tell you now is that we took a holiday from work and school on St. Valentine's Day and decided to follow a gang member to see if we could get a good firsthand story."

As if on cue, the nurse came to the door. "Okay, chief, all for today."

Masconi grumbled and then used both arms of his chair to hoist up his 250-pound body. He lowered his voice. "I'm working on a transfer for you, Miss. Top secret. Be back soon."

The next morning, he was back. "Doc Ambrose said you're well enough to move if we're careful. Tomorrow is the day, and it won't be any too soon. Your names appeared in the newspapers. Somebody from the police leaked them. A new, green reporter added them to the story right before print time. Everyone is very upset over that. The Tribune wants the mobs shut down and the killers found. People are really up in arms about the murders of unarmed students." He paused and sat. "There's more.

"There were strangers at Northwestern snooping around dorm rooms, looking for you and your friends. I guess they thought they would catch one of you back in school. Other students chased them out. Police crews have taken all you victims' personal possessions from your dorm rooms. They'll be returned to you and the others in due time."

"Where are you moving me?" said Abby.

"Not for you to know right now, Miss. But I think you're a smart lady. Let me give you some perspective on all of this. Al Capone's Italian gang from the south side of Chicago is suspected of murdering the seven men who were all associated with Bugs Moran's North Side Irish gang. We think they were lured there by a promise of sharing a stolen shipment of whiskey provided by Detroit's Purple Gang. Bugs Moran himself missed the party because they say he was running late. 'The Saint Valentine's Massacre' — that's what the press is calling it.

"Oh, quick question. Which gang member did you students follow?"

"I don't remember."

Masconi pulled out his notebook and started reading names.

"That's the one, Albert Weinshank" interrupted Abby. "Harold Hubble was talking to one of the crime reporters at the reporter's desk, and he read Weinshank's name and address upside down."

"Okay. He was a clever boy! What a tragedy for you kids."

He leaned over Abby's bed. "Be ready to go at nine o'clock tomorrow morning. Don't tell your nurse, doctor, or anyone about this. I don't trust anyone in this town anymore. Now let's look at some mug shots to see if they look familiar."

Masconi passed one photo after another to Abby. "Take your time, Miss. Try to put a policeman's cap on them."

Abby sorted through a dozen shots, finally handing two photos to Masconi. "This one was in a policeman's uniform, and the other man was right ahead of him with his hands up. I couldn't see the faces of the other two. They were on the other side"

"Good. This guy is Frank Burke, and the other guy is James Ray. They have been known to wear police uniforms on their robbery sprees. We'll see what your friends, Kruger, Frankel, and O'Gara, come up with." He whispered to Abby, "See you at nine in the morning."

Masconi arrived in the morning, accompanied by a medical doctor and two policemen in medical garb. The day nurse on duty came running from her nurse's station. "What are you doing?

"We're moving her to a safe place. This place isn't safe for a person under police protection. Dr. Ambrose said it would be okay if we were careful." The nurse sighed, shook her head, and then helped them lift Abby gently onto the gurney.

"Thanks, Nurse, you've been very kind," Abby said as they rolled her down to the elevators.

Masconi had an ambulance pull up to a back dock and block the view as they rolled Abby's gurney into the back of another ambulance. Masconi climbed into the ambulance and took a seat next to Abby's gurney. He instructed the ambulance driver to drive around several blocks and alleyways to ensure that they weren't being followed. Masconi was constantly checking the rear window of the ambulance. No one seemed to be following — that he could see.

CHAPTER 2

Athena, Michigan

Abby's ambulance headed east, then north. Abby turned her head on the gurney to see Masconi's weather-beaten face. He was rubbing his eyes. "You look so tired, Detective. Are you getting enough sleep?"

Masconi shook his head. "As if this job isn't enough, one of our little ones got sick during the night. I took turns with my wife watching him. I think he'll be okay."

"How many children do you have?"

"Three from my first marriage — my wife died in childbirth. I married Teresa, and we have two of our own."

"What a handful," Abby said.

"That's what Teresa says almost every day. That and, 'Nino, you've got to lose that weight or you're going to croak right here on the kitchen floor, and I'll be left with all your bambinos to raise.'" He chuckled, "I don't know what I'd do without her."

After an hour they pulled into a large, upscale nursing home in the small town of Athena, Michigan. Abby was preregistered as Mary McNamara. The ambulance drivers wheeled Abby's gurney to a room overlooking a small lake. Masconi followed and then patted her hand. "Here's my phone number. Call me anytime. You'll be safe here. And there's a doctor on the staff here. I'll be checking on you."

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Kill Abby White! Now!"
by .
Copyright © 2017 C.B. Huesing.
Excerpted by permission of Dog Ear Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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