Who is the mysterious Lady Raven and why has she shown up on the newly developed Brownsville island in the middle of a rainy night? Find out...
“I’ll calm down when you get down those stairs and put a bullet between her eyes!” Miles Jensen shouted at his second in command, Hoke, who lounged in a plush leather chair on the opposite side of Jensen’s parlor desk. Thunder boomed in the distance and the rain picked up pelting the windows that lined the room as if Jensen had timed his outburst for dramatic effect.
Jensen was wiry and athletic with a toxic acidic personality from a steady diet of tobacco and Bourbon since he was ten years old. Standing up, the tall man spun to the bar behind his parlor desk and refreshed his drink from the large stash of bottles aligned there. He didn’t bother to offer anything to Hoke and even challenged his subordinate with a sour look of disdain in the mirror backing the bar. Hoke didn’t take the bait instead he fished a cigarette out of his vest pocket and went about lighting it. The falling rain streaked down the windows and coated the slick terrace with the pooling water from almost three days straight of the storm that continued to pelt them now.
“I don’t think Rutledge would like that idea too much boss.” Hoke, eyes down, spoke around his fresh cigarette. His lighter clicked shut simultaneously with the lid on Jensen’s Bourbon tumbler as the two men became subordinate to their primary vices.
Karl Hoke was Jensen’s exact opposite. Rutledge had joked often that one looked like the reflection of the other in a strange way. Hoke was broad with a deep gravelly voice and he carried an air of someone who didn’t much care what you asked him to do. Sitting guard over a valuable painting was really no different from chopping someone up into little pieces and mailing them out to their loved ones piece by piece.
“Don’t you worry about what Rutledge likes and doesn’t like Hoke.” Jensen ambled over to the large bay windows that overlooked the river. He reflected on how he ended up here managing a three-man goon squad overseeing petty ante protection rackets and now with the added bonus of a self-styled “mystery man” (or woman as was the case today) tied up in the basement awaiting his boss’s arrival that was sure to bring with it further disgusting work. As if Jensen himself couldn’t handle things on the island. The thought smoldered deep within Jensen.
Brownsville was an island in the big river created accidentally while trying to redirect the river’s course. The “accident” was quickly transformed into an opportunity in the amount of four square miles of riverfront real estate seemingly bought up overnight. Four large terrace homes or “brownstones” were constructed along the center of the island like a mountain ridge on an otherwise flat piece of land.
Many other parcels of land would continue to be divided up and sold, most would end up with lavish beautiful homes or cottages built upon them closer to the sought after waterline, but the row houses went up immediately in the center of town. Each unit filled as soon as the construction ended.
Once three-fourths of the units were full Rutledge purchased a few of his own and had recruited both Jensen and Hoke to run a crew of toughs to motivate the locals into paying protection and then eventually spreading out into other operations as the island became fully developed.
Hoke loved the lavish digs. He’d never had it so good. Jensen hated them. He’d allowed Rutledge to recruit him in the hopes of eventually working the casino with fancy suits, big cars, and audacious broads in his bed every night but ended up on the edge of the civilized world instead. He and Hoke were alone out here; no other made men or organized crime types were located out here at all. There was never anyone to socialize with. Working here was a dead end,