Three years after the murder of her brother by a corrupt politician, Anastasia Sims is hellbent on revenge no matter what the costs. She sets out on a rash of petty crimes by herself until she is recruited by a group of black market arms dealers for the purpose of money laundering. At a crossroads she must choose whether or not she's going to turn the other cheek and redeem herself or do the unthinkable, but when she encounters Connor Patterson and Damian Welker it seems like the choice has already been made for her.
Please note that this story contains mature content at times. This story does not contain any hardcore profanity nor any sexual or gory themes but it does contain ideologically sensitive material including a murder, violence and a few mild graphic scenes. While this story is appropriate for most people, I've put on the moderate mature content filter to give sensitive readers a warning about what's coming.
The Distant Factory - Chapter OneMorning sun rose just like it did every other day. Woke up in someone else’s bed just like I did every other day. That morning it just happened to be in Ritchie’s bed. Actually, it was Eddie’s bed, but Ricardo was in it. I passed my fingers quickly through my hair, and then touched my face. It was still there, just like I remembered it. I had lived through yet another cold night without Jeff’s warm body to snuggle against. I didn’t remember Ricardo’s snoring waking me up and irritating the life out of me. I must not have slept for long since nobody had woken me up. My head was not pounding either, surprisingly. I breathed in the cold morning air as my senses slowly became awake.
“Morning Drifter,” Eddie’s voice said from behind me.
“Morning Eddie,” I replied in an absent-minded tone of voice as I sat up on the bed.
I had known Eddie DeSalvo most of my life, my street life at least. Since I was eleven years old, he had al
The Distant Factory - Part ThreeI held on to Jeffrey’s hand as hard as I could out of paranoia that if I didn’t he’d lose his grip and let me go. I knew he wouldn’t let anything happen to me but I was still fearful. My mother had always told me to stay out of dark alleys behind buildings before she died, and that was exactly where Jeff was taking me. I was still so devastated by mom’s death and so was Jeffrey but he carried on. I hadn’t seen my brother Jeff in over nine nears, prior to a few months ago when he picked me up from the airport. I was two when dad took him to live in Harlem. I didn’t remember much about neither one of them. I did remember my mother saying that my father was a bad person though. She fought hard to keep Jeff but custody was awarded to my so-called daddy. While on her death bed, my mother begged Jeffrey to take good care of me, and to never let anything happen to me no matter what. He vowed to give his life for me if it ever got to that. I never doub
The Distant Factory - Chapter FourIt was a hot one when the sun came up. I sat up on top of a big green container, couldn’t touch it with my exposed skin in fear that it would char my hands. Just before noon we said goodbye to Rob. They said goodbye to Rob. I avoided the whole thing and sat by the containers as I always did when they boys were saying their goodbyes to the others. Byron was the first to come back and join me. Byron was always the first one. I was becoming uneasy about time. I was growing uneasy about myself. About everything. Life. Death. Heaven. Hell. Something had to give. Something had to give.
“Are you okay?” Byron asked in his tender voice, “I know these are tough times for you.”
“Tough is an understatement,” I replied looking into his deep green eyes, “but I’m fine.”
I actually forced a smile.
“I’m just so sick of feeling so helpless all the time,” I continued, “something’s gotta give.”
The Distant Factory - Chapter FiveI slowed down and took a moment to think about my brother. Tall, handsome, and strong, but broken. Corrupted by murder and a life of crime. He loved me, and he protected me, and he taught me morals, but his morals had died along with him.
“I want to kill Dwayne Jackson.”
It was more of an affirmation than ever before.
“Jeff wouldn’t want you to do that,” Eddie’s tender voice was filled with disappointment.
“It’s irrelevant Eddie, he’s freaking dead!” I snapped back in an angry tone, “And so is my mother, and my father is as good as dead. I have nobody and nothing to live for.”
“Jeffrey and your mom are watching you from the other side, Anastasia, they don’t want to see you kill another human being.”
I didn’t speak.
“I’m sure they are happy to be reunited up there, you know, and they will always look out for you even if they don’t walk this earth anymore.” Eddie’
The Distant Factory - Chapter SixPurring was all that resonated in the room as the sky turned a light blue color and the stars slowly faded away. Half of Belle’s body rested on Eddie and the other half rested on me, the purring half rested on me. The cat seemed happy; it was warm, it was safe and it was in loving company. That was all a cat really needed and for a while there I wished I was a cat too. Did cats feel grief? Could they feel grief in the first place? The purring sequence was interrupted by the cat being startled by the house of a metal door slamming shut. The cat went straight to hiding in between two metal crates under the mattress and I bashed my face against the old glass of the window, almost making the entire life resonate out of me, to see who was outside while Eddie checked the hallway for an unwanted guest. The little car Ritchie had stolen was parked outside, but I still didn’t want to see anybody. Turns out that it was Byron who stopped by to give me a few of my things.
The Distant Factory - Chapter SevenA car was coming at high speed in the distance. I couldn’t quite see it because there was a big cloud of dust floating in the air but down the deserted dirt road there seemed to be a black vehicle coming towards the factory. I leaned on the side of the building and stuck my head out through the broken window to get a better view. There were no more windows, all of the glass had long since been broken, not that there were many windows on an industrial factory to begin with. I saw what seemed like a fancy city campaign car racing towards the factory passed the old containers and the barriers from one side of the property and the gang in the middle of some sort of commotion on the other side. I didn’t know what was going on almost four floors below me on the ground but it appeared to be intense with a lot of yelling and people running around.
Jeff was running towards the factory with his arms up in the air trying to signal me something but I couldn’t see what he was poin
The Distant Factory - Chapter Eight“Can’t we just go back to your loft?” I asked Eddie, “Please?”
“You mean my abandoned shack with only one half-decent room?” his voice was emotionless, “Sure, let’s go.”
“Yay! You’re the best!”
“Don’t you ever forget it.”
When the intersection to head towards the boonies came up ahead I made a sharp turn, Eddie muttered some swear words under his breath, but he followed me faithfully. The sun came out through a small patch of clouds and warmed my skin. For a moment I missed my cat. When moments like that struck me I put my hand in my pocket and stroked the handgrip of my newly acquired pistol. Giving up the cat was worth it. It couldn’t be all for nothing. I was a soldier on a mission, and I couldn’t let soft moments get the best of me. All that was left to figure out was how I was going to get to Dwayne Jackson and teach him a lesson about what family meant to me.
The Distant Factory - Chapter NineIt’s a long and lonely road when you know you have to walk alone. Where are you Jeff? Where did you go? Does your soul even still exist? Is heaven for real? All that stuff Byron tells me about eternal paradise and being repaid according to what you’ve done. Justice will be served here in the physical because I am here and I exist. I exist and my own existence is a mystery even to me. I don’t think the same way others do. They take life at face value but I don’t. I look beyond, I seek the meaning, the soul. Why can’t they be more like me? Why can’t they understand that the struggle alone is just too much?
I look up at the stars at night, they are like satellites watching over me. All my thoughts come out of their den when the shadows fade. Maybe if I could fall asleep somewhere and see you again Jeff, maybe we could meet somewhere in my dreams. You’d be here and I’d be there and together we could go somewhere. I feel like I’m lost
The Distant Factory - Chapter TenAt Jeff’s makeshift funeral nobody had had enough money to buy him a real casket, so they put his body in a cardboard box. Not just some cheap wooden box, a real cardboard box like the ones you get when you buy a fridge. It was taped up with silver duct tape so nobody could see inside where the box had previously been cut up to liberate whatever fancy appliance was once in there. It didn’t even seem real to me that it was my brother in that box, just lying there dead in a cheap box on top of a frame of metal pickets behind a run-down church that had long gone bankrupt because we had nothing else. The preacher man or whoever that man of God was that used to run the place still lived in the area and offered to have Jeff’s body cremated at no cost to us. Randy gave himself permission to speak for my brother and allowed the old white-haired man to take my brother’s body away, not knowing what he was really going to do with it.
“Jeffrey! Jeffrey!” I screa
The Distant Factory - Chapter ElevenI had no idea the kind of burial my brother really had been given until I stumbled into the charity area of the boneyard. His grave was the very first one next to the little paved path about halfway through the cemetery, on the far left side. At first the place looked like an empty field with nobody buried there yet, but that was a far cry from the truth. The place was filled with many unmarked graves. Only little rectangles of concrete were flat over each grave with only a last name and a number. That was all that was left of my brother. Just a last name and a number.
And nothing else. As a matter of fact, how did I know it was even him? How could I know? Anybody could have our last name and have a first name that started with J! Was it even his cardboard box of ashes that they put in that plot? I fell down on my knees over his grave and broke down in an uncontrollable sob.
“Does it hurt when you breathe Jeff?!” I choked out through my tears, “Becau
The Distant Factory - Chapter TwelveMy plans had already been made. I had already taken the money under the counter without Cap’n Crunch’s knowledge. I walked the short distance to Dobbs Ferry from Cobalt and took public transit all the way down to Marble Hill and then walked the rest of the way down to Washington Heights. By the time I got there after all the delays and the waiting and the stopping to breathe in the fresh air the city had woken up and business as usual was under way. City Hall was open and in session so it was my chance to get Dwayne Jackson once and for all and just finish what I had spent so much energy on to accomplish. I asked for some directions to City Hall and then barged right in through the front doors.
“Good morning!” I was greeted by the secretary at the reception desk.
“Is councillor Dwayne Jackson in the building this morning?” I asked trying to be as civil and polite as I could.
“No, I’m sorry, he won’t be in office for another week or
The Distant Factory - Chapter FourteenMy new .44 caliber handgun was one hell of a sexy thing. The chrome-like color was amazing to look at and the patterns engraved in it were even more impressive. It was a true collector’s item and it was entrusted to me. I could almost see myself in the metal, it was that shiny. Damian had also given me a few magazines full of ammunition and a nice leather pouch to carry the weapon. In exchange I gave him my Glock for him to sell as he distributed a large portion of illegal guns for sale in the entire state of New Jersey and a few parts of New York. The amount of weaponry that came out of a little moldy apartment was incredible. Damian only had a few so-called “employees” but his guns sure got around. That’s how Damian Welker and Connor Peterson rolled. I was part of the team now too, and that’s how I rolled as well. Hell yeah!
“I told you that I can’t pay you until he pays me,” Damian’s tone of voice was boiling with rage as he bera
The Distant Factory - Chapter FifteenPart of me felt guilty to have scammed a good man like Robin, but I cared more about having Damian kill Dwayne than hurting Robin’s feelings. I didn’t care what I had to go through to get to where I wanted, I was going to do it no matter what the cost. Even if the police shot me after blowing out Dwayne’s brains, it didn’t matter. As long as I knew that he was long gone, I would be able to die satisfied with my life. The only thing that kept me going in the search for half a million dollars was believing that Damian Welker really was going to get the job done for me at the end of the line. I would not be swept aside. I was going to see the day Dwayne Jackson was going to be served with what he deserved. It was nothing more than a matter of time.
“You guys seemed to have brought back some interesting stuff,” Damian commented as he met up with us in the street below when we arrived just before four in the morning, “did anyone follow you here?
The Distant Factory - Chapter SixteenAfter more than a few hours of aimlessly looking around, we finally found Richard Parker’s house. Finally the man who owed money had a name thanks to a reserve address lookup. Damian knew him simply as Park and considering the type of business deal the two were involved in, I probably wouldn’t have used my full name either. It was a little white house, the second from an intersection in an older neighborhood. The house was old, but it was in good condition. It badly needed a new roof but I would have gladly shacked up in the place any day. Being a homeless drifter, I had checked out my fair share of houses in hopes that one day I would wake up and it would be mine and life on the streets was nothing more than a distant nightmare. So much for that.
“You knock,” Connor ordered, “I’ll be right behind you with my gun in hand for when he opens the door.”
I knocked. And I knocked. And I knocked. And I knocked again. Richard Parker wasn’t home d
The Distant Factory - Chapter NineteenI took the first bus out of Dobbs Ferry at five in the morning. I looked like hell and I felt like the devil himself. The search for pleasure was overrated. There was absolutely nothing to be gained from life. Everything was utterly meaningless. I took public transit all the way down to Trent Woods, another small community near Queens. There was an old French man named Gerard Lacroix who had ties to one of the girls in the gang and who had a couple of properties in other states. I was going to give him my ten thousand dollars and ask him to let me live in one of them just for a little while until I figured out what I wanted to do next. My life’s mission had been accomplished. What else was there left to do in a pitiful young life? I had often contemplated suicide but that was not the answer. I felt like there was still something else I needed to do.
The bus dropped me off in the downtown of Trent Woods just as the sun was climbing up into the sky. I hopped off and went roaming ar
The Distant Factory - Chapter TwentyByron took me by the hand and the two of us checked out of the hotel room. Down in the streets below life went on as usual. People walked passed us with big smiles on their faces and went about their business without a worry in the world. The same couldn’t be said for Byron and I. He was about to walk into his father’s congregation after five years of seemingly having evaporated off the face of the earth. I was about to blow my cover and go to prison for the rest of my days. I took a deep breath and followed Byron’s lead.
“I haven’t been here in an eternity,” he spoke as he racked his brain, “I might have to ask for directions.”
“Damian Welker has a hideout somewhere around here apparently,” I spoke as I looked around the buildings myself, “it seems like both our lives begin and end here.”
“We can worry about him later, for now if I don’t find my folks in the very near future I might as well back out.
The Distant Factory - Chapter Twenty OneThis afternoon there are new developments in the recent discovery of some gruesome crimes in recent weeks. Police have now released the names and pictures of four persons of interest. None of them are considered suspects just yet, but the police would like to question the following individuals regarding other crimes that may be linked to the murder of Washington Heights city councillor Dwayne Jackson and the now 52 identified teenage girls found in a mass grave last month. The first person of interest is a man known to police named Damian Welker, here is his mugshot onscreen right now, he is currently wanted for weapons trafficking and extortion. The second person of interest today is a man named Andrew Murdoch, the reason the police want to question him hasn’t been released to us but he has obviously been in trouble with the law before as we have a mugshot from 2002 on file. The two last persons of interest are nineteen-year-old Connor Peterson who is a known associate of Dam
Although this story is a work of fiction, it highlights very real and very important social issues that plague our society. I will not write an essay about all of it because the lessons are there, we only need to pay attention. The first (and quite putrid) version of this story was originally written in 2011 on the advice of my therapist at the time to hopefully help me process my feelings about growing up in poverty, mostly on the streets of run down neighbourhoods ridden with crime and other greatly unfavourable conditions. In 2014 I then decided to revive this project after actually being homeless for a few weeks, and living in a friend’s disarranged hunting trailer and it ended up more or less like this story you’ve just read, minus a few new edits.
Thankfully I never had to witness a murder, and much less committed one, but I’ve seen many things that left a scar on me to this day. By being the “bad guy” and having control over all events from behind my computer screen I could regain that control I never felt I had. Before, I was vulnerable but now I am victorious. If you enjoyed this story I kindly ask you to please consider supporting my writing career by purchasing one of my paid books.