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       The Judas Effect: Book #1 Son of a Baron, p.1
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           Joe C Combs 2nd
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The Judas Effect: Book #1 Son of a Baron
The Judas Effect

  Book #1

  Son of a Baron


  Joe C Combs 2nd

  Published By

  Editing By

  Philip Athans

  Front Cover By

  Sherri Comer

  Copyright Joe C Combs 2nd 2015

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



  I always hate trying to list everyone I want to thank, because I always leave people out that I did not mean to leave out.

  First I want to thank my daughter Elizabeth, the most understanding 10 year old on the planet.

  Next I would like to thank: my editor Philip Athans, Cover Illustrator Sherri Comer, Janette & Graeme Taylor, Kym Sapp, Jodi, Jason, Kimberly, Katy, Tim, Sherri, and Marina. I also want to thank all those who I have accidentally left off. I would also like to thank Naomi Cutter who came up with the name for the series, The Judas Effect.




  Table of Contents

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four


  About Joe C Combs 2nd

  Connect With Joe C Combs 2nd

  Other Books By Joe


  Chapter One

  "Now be a good boy and quietly take your seat, Herr Straus," a voice said.

  Erik could feel a gun pressed firmly into his back. He froze with fear. What was happening to him? Erik didn't know it now, but that gun was the crossroads that changed the rest of his life – forever. Ten minutes earlier his train had stopped at the station. He stepped off the train looking around for the porter's office.

  Erik stepped from the porter's office at the train station towards where the cabs awaited fares. He had made arrangements for his baggage to be taken home. Now he was looking for the family carriage. Wolfe waited him at the end of the long line of cabs. He walked briskly to the door Wolfe held open for him.

  "I trust you had a successful trip sir."

  "Yes it was," Eric replied.

  Erik smiled at Wolfe, he was thinking of the tour of Europe he had just completed. He counted it as very successful though he was sure his father would be furious. Although that was a comparative description, it simply meant his father's mustache might twitch. Always aware of their station, his father was excessively restrained.

  He started to enter the backseat when he noticed a stranger sitting against the far door. Erik turned to look at Wolfe when he felt something poke him in the back.

  "Now be a good boy and quietly take your seat, Herr Straus," a voice said.

  Erik did as he was told. The stranger entered the carriage after him and Wolfe shut the door. As Wolfe was taking his seat behind the horses reins Erik turned to look at the man who entered his carriage behind him.

  "Do you know who I am?"

  "Erik von Straus, wayward son of Baron von Straus," said the stranger.

  It was at this moment the man behind Erik put a bag over Erik's head. Erik started to resist and the man behind him grabbed him in powerful arms wrapped around his chest. The first man spoke again.

  "Now be a good boy and stop this silliness. You can change nothing and you will only hurt yourself."

  Erik continued to struggle. He started to call out for Wolfe and then everything went black.

  "Now why did you do that? The boss said don't hurt him," the first man said.

  "He is not hurt, Hans, he is pliable."

  "You are always quick to violence, Otto. You did not need to do that. He was not going to go anywhere."

  "And now he will not be any trouble at all, will he," Otto said. It was not a question.

  The second man put a blackjack back inside his coat and sat against the seat back. Hans let go of his grip on Erik and leaned him back against the seat between them. Hans handcuffed Erik's hands in front of him before leaning back in his seat.

  "And if he does not wake up by the time we get there, what then?" asked Hans.

  "Stop worrying. The boss said rough him up, but do not hurt him. We did that," Otto replied.

  "I still do not like it. You did not need to knock him out."

  "Quit fussing and enjoy the quiet ride."

  The two men sat quietly for the rest of the trip. Wolfe drove to a rough side of town. Each block they passed was in more need of repair than the one before it. After a few minutes even the prostitutes were not on the streets. The carriage pulled into a large lot beside a large dilapidated warehouse, Wolfe parked the carriage at the corner door of the warehouse. Wolfe stayed with the carriage while the two men lifted Erik out of the carriage and carried him toward the warehouse.

  "I told you, you should not have knocked him out."

  "Oh shut up. Are you afraid of a little work? Quit your complaining, we are paid well, aren't we? He is easy to handle, he is not struggling, and we do not have to listen to his arrogant mouth."

  "I'm just saying you did not have to hit him so hard."

  "Shut up and get the door while I hold him."

  Otto grabbed Erik under both arms while Hans walked to the door. Hans opened the door and stepped back revealing a dark interior with what looked like a pinpoint of light directly across from the door on the far side of a large empty space. Hans grabbed Erik's feet and followed Otto inside the warehouse. They carried their burden to the far side of the warehouse where the single light was sitting on a table. They set Erik in the lone chair by the table and tied his hands behind his back and feet to the chair legs.

  "Go shut the door," Otto said.

  Hans walked back across the warehouse and shut the door. As soon as the door was shut Otto turned up the wick on the kerosene lamp that sat on the table. Otto stood in front of Erik with his hands on his hips looking at Erik. Hans walked up and stood beside Otto.

  "Stand behind him, where he cannot see you," Otto said.

  Hans did as he was told. Otto stood looking at Erik for a minute. He was slumped against his restraints with his head on his chest. Otto took Erik's chin in his hand and lifted it. Then he slapped Erik in the face a few times with his other hand to arouse him.

  "Come on pretty boy, time to wake up."

  Startled, Erik woke up. He jerked his chin out of Otto's hand and looked around at his surroundings. Then he looked up at Otto, anger and determination filled his face and eyes.

  "I do not know what you think you are doing, but you will not get whatever it is you want!"

  "I wouldn't be so sure about that boy."

  Otto stepped back from Erik taking off his coat and laying it across the table, and then he began rolling up the sleeves of his shirt. He sat his derby hat on the table on top of the coat, and dropped his suspenders off his shoulders letting them hang by his legs. Then he raised his left hand and pumped his right fist into the open palm.

  "What is this about? I demand to know!"

  "Sonny boy, your demanding days are over," Otto said.

  Without warning, Otto delivered a quick jab to Erik's stomach. Catching Erik by surprise, the blow knocked
the wind out of him. He lurched as far forward as the ropes would let him gasping for air and coughing. Otto backhanded Erik with his left hand, laughing in his face.

  "You do not listen too well, do you boy? But then if you did you would not be here now. Would you, boy? Well, I am going to see if I can smarten you up a little bit. Maybe your daddy should have done this to you a little more when you were growing up."

  With that Otto struck Erik again, this time with a powerful punch to the jaw. Erik's head whipped to his right and a small line of blood appeared on his lip. He quickly looked up at his tormentor.

  "You untie me and we will see who learns some manners."

  "Sorry boy, I do not do Marques of Queensbury rules. So, you will just have to take your beating."

  Otto hit him again, this time to the chest. After the first two punches Otto began to pull his blows. The boss did say to rough him up, but not to hurt him. He was just a kid, and a privileged one at that. Otto was afraid of hurting Erik if he hit him full force. The beating went on for about another twenty minutes with banter going back and forth between Erik and his attacker. Erik could not image what this was all about, except maybe one of his dalliances during his trip. But, these men looked German, like himself. Of course they were probably just hired thugs.

  Behind him, Erik heard a door open followed by footsteps across the floor. Hans stepped around the table and stood behind Otto. Otto stepped back and hastily put his hat and coat back on. He bowed slightly at the waist putting his hand to his derby while backing up into Hans.

  "Evening, sir, I – I – I did not realize you would be here sir," said Otto.

  The man did not say anything, but walked up behind Erik and hit him with a gloved open palm across the back of his head. Erik turned his head trying to see who this third man was. But, the man moved back and forth sideways avoiding Erik's gaze. Then the new comer motioned for Otto to continue. Otto took off his hat and coat again, throwing them haphazardly on the table this time. After a few more blows the man held up his hand for Otto to stop. Then he walked around in front of Erik, standing in the light of the kerosene lantern so that Erik could get a good look at him.

  Erik looked up, a look of shock immediately coming across his face, his jaw dropping slightly open. He stared at the man for a moment, and then said the only word he could think of.


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