7 Days - Chapter 33

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Chris Reich is a New York Times bestselling author. His upcoming book, Rules of Betrayal, will be released in July. For more information visit his website.

Koleson Fletcher backed into the motel room, his eyes flitting between the pistol rammed into his belly and the wild eyed man holding it.

“Whoa, Nick. Take it easy there,” he said. “I’m not feelin’ the love, if you get my drift. You mind stowing that piece? I’ve got this thing about lead and gunpowder.”

“And I’ve got this thing about lying dirtbags,” Nick replied. “Just think of the gun as a precaution.”

“Against what?”

“Against a man who issued a press release saying that a bomb had destroyed the Palace Hotel ten minutes before an explosion took the place down.” Nick raised the pistol and leveled it at Fletcher’s face. “I’d say you’re lucky I didn’t put a bullet between your eyes when you walked in here. I’ve done it a few times before, you know. I’m not allergic to lead and gunpowder.”

“It wasn’t me,” said Fletcher. “I had nothing….”

Nick brought down the barrel of the gun across Fletcher’s face. “Enough excuses,” he said. “Of course it was you! Nothing gets out of 1600 without your approval. Are you forgetting that I worked as your deputy for the past six months?”

Fletcher collapsed to a knee, blood spilled from a gash on his cheek. “You’re wrong,” he said, fingers gingerly probing his wound. “We’d never send something like that out so quickly, never mind before the fact,” he pleaded. “Homeland Security would have issued the first release. Domestic terrorism is their bailiwick. We’d have followed with a comment, but not until the FBI, and even the state and local authorities, had weighed in too. We wouldn’t touch something like that until we’d taken the time to compile all the information and make sense out of it.”

Nick considered this. He’d taken the job as Deputy Press Secretary as a gesture to mollify his wife, Ashleigh, and, more importantly, his father-in-law, Senator Roberts. The senator had made it abundantly clear prior to Nick’s marriage that he did not want him to continue his career in Diplomatic Security, jetting around the world with a gun in his shoulder holster and putting his life at risk on a daily basis. He wanted his new son-in-law close to home where he could see him. And, as Nick had learned far too late, control him.

“Maybe,” said Nick. “But that doesn’t mean I can trust you.”

“You don’t have a choice, Nick. You’re out of people you can trust. There’s me and there’s all the other guys out there who want to see you dead.”

Nick looked at Fletcher, then let his eyes wander the motel room. Cigarette burns dotted the fading aqua carpet. The bedspread was stained with God-knows-what. The mirror above the dresser was cracked and threatened to fall out of its frame at any moment. He felt alone and more isolated than at any other time in his life.

“I need something, Kole…something to make me believe you. Friendship doesn’t cut it anymore.”

“I think there is something I might be able to do to set things straight between us.”

“What’s that?”


At the mention of his wife’s name, all of Nick’s dread and apprehension came back in a dark fury. “What about her?” he demanded.

“You heard from her, didn’t you?”

Nick did not answer immediately. He hurried to the window and pulled back the curtain, checking the street for a vehicle he had not noted before. In the parking lot, the same restless clique of blinged-out toughs and their dolled-up girlfriends were holding court. They were his urban alarm system. One sniff of trouble and they’d all be gone.

“Yes, she sent me something,” Nick said softly, dropping the curtain and turning to confront Fletcher. “How did you know?”

“She’s alive.”

Nick grasped Fletcher’s collar and yanked him to his feet. “Where is she?”

“Here. In DC.”

“Ashleigh’s here? I don’t believe you. How? When? I don’t understand!”

“We placed a bug on your e-mail account. You know that message she sent you – the one about “male enhancement”? Our cryptanalysts cracked your code in five seconds flat. Her message was sent via wireless carrier, so we were able to triangulate her approximate location.”

Nick thought of the ordeal she’d been through. All night long, he’d been tormented by that image of Ashleigh with a gun pressed to her temple.

“She’s all right?”

“She seems to be fine.”


“Close. That’s why I came.”

“To tell me she’s okay?”

“No,” said Koleson. “I came to take you to her.”


The safe house was located on a curving, leafy road in the rolling foothills of McLean, Virginia. It was a plain single story ranch house, no different than the dozens that lined the street on either side of it. Nick opened the car door well before Fletcher finished parking in the driveway.

“Slow down,” called Fletcher. “I have some friends outside. You don’t want to surprise them.”

Nick stopped as he approached the front walk. It took him a moment to make out the shadows among shadows hidden beneath the eaves and crouched among the bushes. Another second and he was able to discern the dull gleam of an automatic weapon. He wasn’t sure whether the heavy duty protection comforted him or terrified him.

“Listen up,” said Fletcher, coming to his side. “She was in a car crash outside of Vegas. She may look a little ‘iffy,’ but she’s fine. Don’t get yourself all worked up.”

“Just open the door,” said Nick.

Fletcher put a key in the lock and leaned his shoulder into the door.

“Living room. To your right.”

Nick was by him in a flash.

Ashleigh had fallen asleep in a wing-backed chair, a copy of Time open on her lap. Her brown hair hung across her brow. An oval contusion darkened one cheek. Scratches, some of them deep, raked the other. She was a beautiful mess.

“Ashleigh,” he whispered, kneeling beside her. “It’s me. It’s Nick.”

Ashleigh Roberts awoke with a start. “Nick?” she said, bolting upright. “Is it you?” Her eyes filled. “Nicky. Oh, God. I can’t believe I’m really seeing you.”

“Believe it,” Nick said.

Ashleigh fell into his arms and the two hugged for what felt like a very long time. “It’s alright, baby,” he said, pressing his cheek against her soft, welcoming hair. “We’re going to figure this whole thing out. All of us. Kole’s going to help.” Nick looked toward the door. “Right, Kole?”

“You betcha,” said Fletcher. “The president is with us, too. If we work together, we’ll be able to track down the people behind this.”

Ashleigh shook her head, lowering her eyes.

“I guarantee it,” said Fletcher. “You have nothing to worry about. This nightmare is over.”

“Thanks, Kole,” said Ashleigh. “I feel better hearing that even if I’m not sure I believe it. There are some really evil people in the world.”

“You can say that again,” said Nick.

A pained expression soured Fletcher’s face.

“Kole?” said Nick, standing. “What is it?”

Fletcher shuddered, then slid to the floor.

Behind him stood a stout, red-faced man with an uncombed mane of gray hair. In one hand he held a Taser gun, its wires unraveled and leading to a charge that had struck Fletcher’s back. In the other hand, he held a semi-automatic pistol. It was pointed at Nick.

“It’s me,” said Charlie Mills. “I guess you can call me one of those evil bastards you were talking about. The real question is, who the hell are you?”

<< Return to the June 2010 Index of Fusion

Bill O'Reilly joined "The Glenn Beck Program" Friday to discuss a recent House Homeland Security Committee briefing on the impact of the 9/11 terror attacks, during which "national security experts" claimed "right-wing" groups pose a greater threat to the United States than groups like the Taliban or Al-Qaeda.

Glenn played two video clips from the briefing that showed Senior Fellow Brookings Institute Center for Middle East Policy, Daniel Byman, and former National Intelligence Council Chair during the Obama administration, Christopher Kojm, in apparent agreement that "right-wing extremists" are a bigger threat to Americans today than "jihadists."

"I'm someone who has written extensively on both jihadist groups, but also right-wing, white supremacist groups," Byman says in the first video clip. "And in my mind, there's no question that today in the United States, the right-wing and white supremacist violence is a much greater risk."

"I agree with your assessment and those of my colleagues who have spoken already, there's little doubt that the domestic terrorist threat from white nationalists and right-wing extremist groups is greater than the jihadist threat today," Kojm states in the second clip.

"Who are those idiots?" O'Reilly exclaimed. "It's just unbelievable ... they're not even in the same universe. Yeah, there are bad neo-Nazi Americans running around, yeah, but there are very few of them. I mean, the jihadists are causing death and destruction, death and destruction all over the world. Not just in the United States. These people are so blatantly irresponsible and ignorant, it's just staggering."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

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The Biden administration was recently caught lying about the White House dog, Major, and his history of biting Secret Service agents, according to newly released emails.

On "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn argued that, if the current administration is willing to lie about something so meaningless to the American people, what else are they willing to lie about? For instance, the State Department claims that there are only about 200 American citizens left in Afghanistan who want to be evacuated. But Glenn has heard very different reports from people on the ground. Is it safe to assume they're currently lying to us about all kinds of things — from the "new and improved" Taliban, to the number of Americans left behind in Afghanistan?

Watch the video clip below for more details:

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.

Tonight on "Glenn TV," Glenn Beck outlines everything that led up to the chaos in Kabul in a blow-by-blow takedown that SHOULD lead to massive resignations within the Biden administration and top military brass. Americans died. Americans are – TO THIS DAY – still stranded, and it is ALL on President Joe Biden.

Glenn interviews The Nazarene Fund's Rudy Atallah who gives an update on the total rescue numbers and details the obstacles he's had to overcome with the State Department. He explains why he believes they are thwarting private sector rescue efforts and says the numbers of Americans begging to be rescued are in the thousands — not hundreds — and "will exceed any number that has come out of Jen Psaki's mouth." While The Nazarene Fund rescue efforts continue in a more perilous Afghanistan, Rudy reveals another terrifying obstacle: Chinese and Russians resources deployed to assist the Taliban in rounding up church leaders, women, journalists, and lawyers who put terrorists away.

Glenn also interviews Tim Kennedy, an Afghanistan war veteran and president of Sheepdog Response who partnered with SaveOurAllies.org to sneak past the Taliban and bring thousands to safety. He details the moment the bomb went off when he was on the ground at the Kabul airport and addresses the Taliban kill list. "They will kill babies, execute women, and cut your tongue out. That's just the G-rated stuff."

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:

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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.

On the radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck, Stu Burguiere, and Pat Gray ripped into President Joe Biden's latest speech in which our commander in chief touted the Afghanistan withdrawal as an "extraordinary success" that was "designed to save American lives" — despite the loss of 13 of America's finest, our military equipment in the hands of our enemies, and scores of Americans and allies still trapped in Afghanistan.

"This was not a success by any stretch of the imagination and people need to be held accountable," Glenn asserted. "Because if this is allowed to stand, and these people are just allowed to continue on with no ramifications, you don't not want to see what our military will turn into. I am telling you now, we will become the darkest force ever, ever to walk the earth. With our technology, and our resources, with our fighting machines that soon can be run robotically, we will make the Nazis look like rookies ... this must not continue!"

Glenn then played a video clip from the speech in which President Biden claimed that the "Taliban has made public commitments, broadcast on television and radio across Afghanistan, on safe passage for anyone wanting to leave, including those who worked alongside Americans."

"Anyone who says, 'Oh, they're going to let them through their checkpoint,' doesn't know their ass from their elbow!" Glenn responded. "They have no idea what is going on, or they are lying. So, Mr. President, which one is it? Do you not really know what's going on? If so, the 25th Amendment should be invoked. If you do know what's going on, then you should be impeached for lying to the American people on such a grand scale, it's staggering!"

Watch the video clip below for more:

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.