7 Days - Chapter 31

Rising in the East


by James Rollins

To read previously published chapters, click here.

James Rollins is the New York Times bestselling author of international adventure thrillers sold in over thirty countries. His latest novel, The Doomsday Key, is now available nationwide. For more information, visit www.jamesrollins.com.

"Just the one night?"

"That's right," Nick answered and slid the cash through the slot in the wall of bulletproof glass. At least he assumed it was bulletproof.

It was that sort of place. You could pay by the hour or the night. The motel's vestibule stunk of cigarettes and mildew. The glass had a prominent gang sign carved into its thick surface, either as a threat or as proof that this fine establishment had paid-in-full for the crew's protection.

It was that sort of D.C. neighborhood.

This section of the city lay within the shadow of FedEx Field, where the Redskins play. The Come-On-Inn sat between a liquor store and an adult bookshop. The U-shaped motel surrounded a small parking lot. Red doors faced the asphalt; the flicker of television lights glowed through a few of the curtains. A couple of guests lounged by open doors, music blaring, clearly drug dealers or pimps open for business as the sun set on the neighborhood.

"Room 222," the night clerk said and passed a key attached to a red plastic fob. "Second floor. Should be quiet enough." Nick took the key. He had arrived by taxi from the Baltimore airport, changing vehicles twice en route. He had stopped first at a pawnshop in Landover, Maryland, then at an electronics store in Capital Heights before circling to the motel for the night. He had used two of the stolen credit cards for the purchases. Everything was crammed into a Nike gym bag.

With key in hand, he headed back outside and climbed the cement stairs to the second story of the motel. Rusted iron railings looked out over the parking lot. Nick had asked for an isolated room, as far from the other guests as possible. He found Room 222 at the end of one wing of the motel.

Good enough.

He struggled with the key and had to shove the door hard to get it to open. He flicked on the light. The room was typical motel chic: a queen bed, a nightstand, a small chest of drawers, and a bathroom at the back. Everything in the room looked bolted down. The place had certainly seen better days. Wallpaper peeled and bubbled from the walls. The rug bore signs of cigarette burns, as if patrons considered this place little better than an ashtray.

Nick had to agree with that sorry assessment.

He tossed his Nike bag on what passed for the bed and checked his watch. It was past nine o'clock. He felt wired, tense—especially for a dead man. He'd taken a short nap on the plane, knowing it would be a long night. Afterward, he had used the remaining hours of the flight to plan his return to D.C.

He unzipped his bag, pulled out three items, and placed them on the bedspread: a pay-as-you-go cell phone, a new laptop, and a carbon-black Sig Sauer P226 pistol that he had bought from the pawnshop.

He set the laptop up on the chest of drawers, plugged in a wireless adaptor, and pulled up its tiny antenna. As he waited for the computer to boot up, he crossed to the bathroom. He wrapped a fist in a towel and smashed the mirror. He watched his reflection shatter and fall away into shards. It was a grim reminder of the line he was about to cross. After this, there would be no turning back.

He didn't care.

His wife was dead. Nick held out no hope that Ashleigh could still be alive. False reports had their bodies discovered amid the rubble of the Palace Station. Someone had attempted to assassinate him afterward and almost succeeded. He had barely escaped with his life—and that was while he was free and on the run. What hope was there for Ashleigh? She was already their prisoner.

They would show no mercy.

Of that he was certain.

While flying across the country, he had grown colder and more determined, drawing an icy strength from that certainty. If Ashleigh was dead, that left only one goal: to find out who was behind all of this and put a bullet through their skull.

Nothing else mattered, not even his own life.

But to achieve that goal required a risky first step.

He returned to the bed and picked up the cell phone.

It was time for Nick Roberts to rise from the grave.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Koleson Fletcher sat in his West Wing office, resting his head in his hands. It was late. He should be heading home, but as Press Secretary, he had spent many nights on the couch in his office. And after the bombing in Vegas, it was going to be one of those nights. He was still waiting for the rewrite on a speech he was slated to give to the press corps in the morning.

When his cell phone rang, he considered ignoring it, especially after checking the Caller I.D. He didn't recognize the number. Still, it was a welcome distraction, so he flicked open the phone and brought it to his ear.

"Fletcher."

The caller immediately cut in, speaking rapidly, plainly not wanting to be interrupted. "I am going to give you an address. I need you to meet me there. Alone. I'll be there for twenty minutes. After that, I'm gone."

An address followed, and the line went dead.

Kole sat stunned at the impossibility of it. He had recognized the caller's voice.

Nick.

He couldn't believe his good fortune.

He reached for his desk phone, knowing that he didn't have much time, and tapped in a number he had memorized. Once the line was picked up, he spoke just as rapidly as Nick had.

"He's alive. And I have his address."

 


<< Return to the March 2010 Index of Fusion

On Monday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn opened up about the tragic death of his brother-in-law, Vincent Colonna Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on April 5. He also shared some of the important thoughts and insights he's learned through the grieving process.

"Last Monday, I was sitting in this chair ... the two-minute warning comes and Stu said to me, 'You ready for the show?'' ... And that's when my wife [Tania] came to the door of the studio here at our house and said, 'I...' and she held the phone up. And then she collapsed on the floor in tears," Glenn began. "Tania's brother had passed. To say this was a shock, is an understatement."

Glenn described his brother-in-law as having "a servant's spirit."

"He was always the guy who lit up the room. He was always the guy helping others. He would never stop, because he was always helping others," Glenn said of Vincent. "He was on the school board. He was a little league coach. He was the soccer coach. He helped build the church. He took care of the lawn of the church. He was constantly doing things, raising money for charity, working over here, helping to organize this. But he was never the guy in the spotlight. He was just the guy doing it, and you had no idea how much he had done because he never talked about it.

"We also didn't know how much mental anguish he was in because he never talked about it. And last Monday morning, after spending Easter with the family ... he killed himself. This is now the third family member of mine that has gone through this. And I keep seeing it play out over and over and over again, in exactly the same way."

Glenn described his thoughts as he, Tania, and her family struggled to come to grips with the devastating loss.

"I learned some really important things as I was watching this wake. I'm seeing these people from all walks of life ... the people that were there, were there because [Vince] made a difference in their life. He was a true servant. As I'm watching this, all that kept going through my mind was, 'by their fruits, ye shall know them.' The fruits of his labor were on display. He was a servant all the time. All the time ... he found a way to love everybody.

"There are two great commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor. So those two great commandments boil down to: Love truth. Because that's what God is," Glenn said.

"Love thy neighbor. That's where joy comes from. The opposite of joy is despair, and that is the complete absence of hope ... and how do you find joy? You find joy by rooting yourself in the truth. Even if that's a truth you don't want to accept. Accept the truth," he added. "But we have to stop saying that there's nothing we can do. What are we going to do? Well, here's the first thing: stop living a lie."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

After imprisoning a pastor for refusing to follow COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian officials barricaded his church. And when some church members retaliated by tearing down part of the fence, Canadian Mounties arrived in riot gear.

Rebel News Founder Ezra Levant joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to give his insight on the crazy situation. He described the new, armed police presence surrounding GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and how it not only encouraged hundreds of protesters to stand with the church in support but forced congregation members underground to worship as well.

What's happening is eerily similar to what occurs everyday in China, Levant says, and it must stop. Who would have thought this type of tyranny would be so close to home?

Watch the video below to hear Ezra describe the religious persecution taking place in Canada.


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Enough prayers? Why is supposed Catholic Joe Biden suggesting that Congress ought to stop praying for after someone commits acts of gun violence?

On Friday, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray filled in for Glenn and discussed President Joe Biden's remarks during his speech on gun control. "Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said. Stu and Pat were surprised how dismissive Biden appeared to be on the idea of prayer.

Watch the clip to hear more. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Just days after Canadian pastor James Coates was released from prison for refusing to bow to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, several police officers showed up at another church to ensure restrictions were being followed. But Polish pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam Church in Alberta, Canada, knew his rights, telling the cops not to come back until they had a warrant in hand.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere played a video of the interaction.

"Please get out. Please get out of this property immediately. Get out!" Pawlowski can be heard yelling at the six officers who entered his church.

"Out! Out! Out! Get out of this property immediately until you come back with a warrant," he continued. "Go out and don't come back. I don't want to talk to you. You Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here! ... Nazis are not welcome here! Do not come back you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievable sick, evil people. Intimidating people in a church during the Passover! You Gestapo, Nazi, communist fascists! Don't you dare come back here!"

Watch this clip to see the heated exchange:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.