Debatable Answers

A Without a Trace slash novel
written by Tarlan

This story is currently available on-line, but it has been edited for publication. It is the sequel to Questionable Truth. It is also a crossover with the motion picture Cherry Falls.

Life for Brent Marken (Michael Biehn) and Martin Fitzgerald (Eric Close) has been going rather well, if you ignore the tabloid reports still stalking them and Victor Fitzgerald disowning his son. Then things get really interesting when Martin goes missing. As Brent and the Missing Persons' Unit races to find him, feelings change and ugly secrets are revealed.

Excerpt:

"What happened to the film?" Jack asked him.

"I went home and extracted a three second segment from the movie... then I hawked it all over the country, promising exclusive first showing rights of the full movie to the station that bid the highest."

Despite his lowered head and eyes, Jack could read no regret in the man's posture. He was a vulture who circled around looking for easy pickings, willing to tear into the privacy of others without any consideration for the damage wrought on their lives, so long as the tabloids paid him handsomely.

"Who bought it?"

"You think I'd still be here if I'd sold–"

Jack leaned in, taking on a more menacing posture. "Who bought it?" he demanded again and this time Friedman caved in.

"It had Rainbow or something like it in the title. One of those 'pay to view' online gay sites. The guy I dealt with reckoned he'd get his money back within a week... and be in profit soon after."

"You bastard," Brent exclaimed as he went for Friedman. "How much did you earn from ruining our lives?" But Jack stepped in front of Marken, holding him back through the sheer force of his presence alone, banking on Brent's sense of duty to keep him from ripping Friedman in half.

"Brent," Jack said firmly, using Marken's given name in the hope of penetrating the fog of anger that filled the gold green eyes. "He's not worth it."

"Hey!" Friedman called out indignantly, his cry echoed by his girlfriend who had sat by his side in silence until now.

Jack rounded on him. "You're a piece of shit, and I'd like nothing better than to stand aside and let this man flush you back down into the cesspool where you belong."

"You've got no right to say that to him," Mandy yelled, but Jack ignored her, focusing solely on Friedman.

"But I'm not going to let that happen if, first," he emphasized, "you give me a name and then you tell me why you're running scared."

Friedman latched onto the second requirement first, but Jack did not interrupt him. He did not care about the order as long as he got all the information he needed eventually.

"Look, I ain't seen a dime of what I'm owed. There were three–"

"You don't have to tell them anything, sugar," the girl interrupted angrily.

"Shut up, Mandy!" Friedman snarled, shoving her aside. He sat up straighter and started again. "There were three of them in the final bidding war... and I met with the guy who won that evening. After I closed the deal, I saw someone hiding in the shadows. All hell broke loose and I panicked... and ran. In all that confusion, I ended up with the memory card and no cash." Friedman paused, swallowing hard. "I think they killed the man."

102 pages. $10 for PDF version with color cover.

An age statement is required.


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