policemen and the fireman, who were injured while attempting to restrain
Mr. Darby from entering the burning building, will be released from the
ICU with a clean bill of health later today." At 77, he took down two
cops and a fireman, then kicked down a door? And
managed to save the child, too? Old Man, at least you went out with style.
Or did you? Was Callow right?
fierce flames of August 27th that threatened the lives and home of a
Belleview, W. Virginia
Child Saved From Fire
Life To Save Little Girl
Contributing Writer: Zeb
local family did not hold back the stranger in our midst. When a little
was trapped in an upstairs bedroom as her family home blazed up
this knight errant appeared as if by magic. Our office has learned that
hero, Tom Darby (age 77, of
Center Junction, Kentucky) was only passing
through Belleview because
he took a wrong exit off the interstate.
Little Kathy Morgan and her
family will always be thankful that Mr. Darby
got lost that day. Though
they morn his passing, from injuries sustained in
the rescue attempt,
they will always be thankful that he risked his life to
Kathy- A total stranger to him.
report that the local firefighters had been driven back by the
at Tod and Judy Morgan's house at 483 Bullfinch Terrace. Police and
firefighters were readying themselves for a final effort to brave the
when Tom Darby rode his motorcycle up to the scene. He is
reported to have
thrown the motorcycle and his helmet to the ground as
soon as he heard that a
child was still in the house. Without
hesitation, he ran for the burning
front door in an effort to burst
through, climb the flame-wreathed
and find the child in the
smoke-filled confusion. Medical teams at the scene
report that the two
policemen and the fireman, who were injured while attempting
Mr. Darby from entering the burning building, will be released from
ICU with a clean bill of health later today. Witnesses report that Mr.
Darby exited the burning home within minutes, holding the uninjured
his arms. She was wrapped in his leather motorcycle jacket. The back
of his shirt
was ablaze, witnesses reported. Rescue workers took the child and
extinguished Mr. Darby's burning clothing. He received emergency
treatment at the scene, and later at County General in their ICU's Burn
passed away five hours after he arrived at the hospital, despite
everyone's best efforts to save him. Cause of death was listed as 3rd
burns over 70% of his body, smoke inhalation, and flame
three-year-old Kathy Morgan suffered no injuries whatsoever and was
with her family within hours. Tom Darby will be
granted several awards by the
City Fathers and the local Police and Fire Departments, posthumously.
service is scheduled here in Belleview for August 30th, at
Pine Ridge Baptist
Church, from 4 to 7 PM. The time is to coincide with
the funeral services at
Morningside Methodist Church in Center
Junction, Kentucky, where Tom Darby will
be laid to rest beside the
remains of his beloved wife, Mary Singer Darby. The
Council is proposing a small memorial in the courthouse square,
eventually to incorporate Tom Darby's red
motorcycle, along with an heroic
in a permanent memorial to his
brave sacrifice. Darby's surviving family
have given their consent,
reported a representative of Grey, Maxwell, & Thornby,
of Darby's estate.
of a mysterious sonic
boom near the time of Tom Darby's death -that
broke all the glass in the hospital
floor where he was being treated- cannot at
this time be either confirmed
4 and the listing in our Obituaries
thought. Is this just a
change of identity, or is Darby really dead?
8:12 AM, August 29th
Simon answered the knock at
his front door to
small, slender man in thick-lensed horn-rimed glasses, holding an
ornate wooden box under one arm. The man was a complete nebbish- so
totally unmemorable that he could pass for invisible.
"Doctor Simon Litchfield?" the man asked. "Hello, my name is Maxwell.
partner in the law firm of Grey, Maxwell, and Thornby. I'm here on a
matter of a bequest to you from Tom Darby's estate. He left you a
little something in his will."
"Do come in,” Simon said as he let the
man into his
Georgetown townhouse. “I just read his obituary this morning.
gather that the funeral is tomorrow?"
"Yes,” Maxwell said as he looked around
“his family stipulated that there be no guests at the funeral proper.
All mourners outside the immediate family are to be directed to the
memorial service in the town where he died, instead. You,
however, are a special case.
Because of your…rather unique circumstances of meeting Mr. Darby, he
felt it necessary to place a clause in his will forbidding us from
contacting you until this moment."
"I see," Simon said. "I
think... Please, do sit down."
"Thank you. Most kind," Maxwell said as
he sat on
Simon's couch. The springs creaked alarmingly for a moment, then became
quiet just as suddenly. "Yes-" the small, dapperly dressed man
continued. "He wished to protect your own- hobbies, those that
coincided with his. And he wrote that he fully understands if you are
unable to attend the memorial service. But as a token of his respect,
he left you this." Maxwell handed the small box to Simon. It was about
the same size as a box of cigars, but the ornate carving on the deeply
polished red wood promised contents far more valuable than mere tobacco.
"One of those insanely accurate target pistols he carried?" Simon asked
opened up the hand-carved red oak presentation box. The contents
gleamed up at Simon with the patina of beauty that all well-crafted
machines share. Memories of Tom Darby came flooding back to Simon in
"Indeed. A Colt .
fine-tuned as far as
the best pistol smiths can make it. We believe that the other one, the
1911-A1 that he normally carried, was lost in
the fire that claimed his life. Among his effects was listed an empty
holster and ammunition for a .45 auto. He wanted you to have this one,
him by. He wrote that we were to tell you that this is the very same
one that he
handed to you on the island. Rather cryptic, but I assume you
understand his reference. He had the presentation box specially made
for you. And there is
one other thing..."
"Yes? What? Excuse me, I was lost in
thought. You were saying?"
"In a private garage," Maxwell said as he leaned
closer to Simon across the coffee table, pulled a plastic card out of
his jacket pocket, and lowered his voice. "At the address on this
will find an exotic sports car- of a type with which I think you are
already familiar -that will be stored for your future use. Simply call
number on that card and leave a message that you will be needing the
car. Within an hour, it will be ready for you to pick up."
"Unusual arrangements," Simon said as he
plastic card from the lawyer. "I assume that the car has only three
wheels... Some sort of leasing contract? Will I have to pay a
"No, not at all," Maxwell replied in the
same secretive voice. "The car will be
titled, registered, and insured to the garage. Its an old fire station
that he and some friends of his bought together. They converted it into
an auto shop as
a sort of hobby. Mr. Darby instructed us to sell off some tracts of
from his estate and establish a trust fund for the staff of that
garage. He had inherited the land from his grandfather, and held on to
it for many years as an investment.
All the bills and the staff will be paid out of the trust fund.
There's enough to keep them comfortable from now through their
retirement years. Your occasional use of the car will give them
something to do. They helped him build the car, you see. And they
helped to keep it
in repair after some of his- business trips in it."
"I'm beginning to understand," Simon
"These are people he trusted, is that what you're telling me?"
"Exactly, Doctor. People he worked with.
could count on in any sort of- emergency, so to speak. Oh, one last
thing, Doctor. Whenever you find yourself inside the garage, remember
your Bluebeard and don't
try to open any locked doors."
"I see,” Simon spoke, slowly moving into
the tone of
voice normally reserved for Callow. “Everything has become--
clear, Mr. Maxwell."
"Then I thank you for your time, Dr.
Maxwell said, rising from the couch. "Please don't get up. I'll let
myself out. Oh, if you ever find yourself in need of legal
representation, please don't hesitate to call our offices. We
specialize in the unique needs of people in- Mr. Darby's line of work,
for instance. Good day."
Darby! What have you gotten me into? If that little bugger was a
lawyer, I'll eat my hat. Thank you for the gifts- but what the hell else have
you gifted me with? Contacts into the organization that you really
worked for?A bolt-hole to run to if some Nightwatch caper goes awry?
Five will get you twenty that these "mechanics" are a lot more than
a bunch of good ol' boys that Darby grew up with. And that offer of
legal aid- What are they going to do? Come bail me out
of some Turkish prison? No- No... I've just been contacted by Darby's real
employers. And they think he told me enough about them... What? To be
dangerous to them? Surely not. To become an ally of some kind? Is it
they're trying to recruit
Simon laughed aloud. Or
is this about Nightbird Five? Darby warned me not to trust the people
who built it for him. Of course, he'd lost a lot of blood by then...
Damnation! Darby, this is a pretty puzzle you've presented me with. I
wonder if the car
is real, or if calling to pick up the car is just the password?
Password to what? Tom, what have you done? Who were you, really?
sat back down, placed the target pistol on his coffee table, next to
the red velvet-lined box, and stared
at the key-card, remembering the time he spent with Tom Darby. The
afternoon sunlight slowly faded to evening gloom as Simon sat, lost in
Not Necessarily "The End"