Sneak Preview Chapter from EVADE (Rough Draft) — Derek Barton – 2019

Evade #1

I am hard at work, writing Evade daily and I thought I’d give you a taste sample of the story to get some feedback.  Please let me know what you think and what you like or don’t like about it in the comments below.





The day had come early and had started rough for Lawson. He was in that drifting, fuzzy state of consciousness between sleep and fully awake when the hard steel-toed boot struck him in the ass cheek.

“Rise and shine, ya big shit!” the detention guard chuckled at his lame joke. “It’s time. We’ve got your one-way ticket back to Philly.”

The 5’9”, 245-pound-guard had retreated, standing next to other guards in the doorway of Lawson’s cell and waited with his metal baton in hand. Lawson hated cowards.

He sighed and rolled his own 6’3”, 279-pound frame out of bed, already dressed with his boots on.  “Well, that’s a shame. We were jus’ getting to know each other. Right, Private Lard Ass?” Lawson’s thick Australian accent seemed to make the statement sound even more of a snide dig.

Private Joe Phillips jumped, a little startled by the remark. He knew the other guards called him that when he wasn’t around. He was obviously overweight, but having an inmate repeat that to his face was unexpected and intolerable. His face burned. “Watch your mouth! I am not no little nurse girl, ya bastard. I’ll cut you down whe–”

Lawson had leaned in and spit a loogie into his open mouth. As the guard cursed and gagged, another much larger guard ran around Phillips and slashed his baton into Lawson’s stomach followed up with a boot to the groin. He writhed on the concrete floor and clutched himself, but through the tears he laughed and called out, “Souuuiiiieeee! Sooouuuuuiiiieeee!”

Another guard joined the first two, and Lawson stopped after two or three more fierce kicks, laying still, panting heavily.

“Alright. Alright, fellas. I’m done. I’m done. Just having a little fun witcha, mates.”

They didn’t take his apology and shoved him face first against the dirty cell tiles, grabbing his hands, cuffing and chaining them. But he was too tired for any more entertainment. He’d had his fun and kept his word by going peacefully to the prison transport vans parked in the facility garage.

He learned later, his flight had been set for 9:30 AM.

As he waited on the prison van’s pleather bench with a small trickle of blood oozing out of one nostril, he recalled Arnie Whitehead’s words.

“Yeah, I’m being straight with you. Not trying to poke the bear, man, but that’s the word going around.”

Arnie was a lifer due to a violent bank robbery years ago. He was a black man with long, graying dreadlocks and pockmarked cheeks. They had been in the prison yard, watching a pickup basketball game going. No one had been willing to approach Lawson Torv, aka The Nurse Catcher, as he had a tangible, negative presence. A black, draining aura about him that warned you to approach at your own free will.

As Lawson was his new cell mate, Arnie must’ve figured in the courtyard was as good as any place to learn about the newest “infamous” inmate to Desert Max Prison.

The “word” that Arnie had relayed to him was that it was one detective who had found and bagged him. And it was a woman.

“She’s some detective out of Philadelphia, but they’re saying she went all rogue and tracked ya down by herself.”

“What’s her name?”

“I didn’t get that much detail. It was a chat I overheard between the guards.” He laughed, his wide grin spread out under his bushy mustache and thick eyebrows. “Yeah, them guards are like schoolgirls, all gossiping and shit. I’m invisible to them. Especially when I’m mopping the hall all slow and quiet.”

The lone fact, the brashness of this woman coming alone after him, hunting his steps and hounding his heels like a wolf, appealed and insulted him at the same time. He wanted to know her, learn about her, then get into her head and ultimately, he wanted to be there to break her.

Sure, it was a classic movie plot, but it didn’t mean the desire wasn’t there all the same. The fire she sparked by coming after him, a craving which grew and grew. It was insatiable and burned away every other distracting thought. She reignited him in a whole new way.

Somewhere inside his damaged mind, he knew he had somehow done that for her too.  Who else but the obsessed would go to the lengths she took? 

A new question raised in his mind. Was she the one in Denver? Had she been that close?

He knew someone was asking questions and the circle of inquiries had gotten back to him. Not wanting to stop or get caught, he didn’t risk the time to confirm how close the police investigation was getting. He grabbed his duffel bag and he was out the door.

He put a dark twist to the old southern rock song by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gimme Three Steps. “Gimme three steps, Mister; Gimme three steps towards the door; ….Gimme three steps, Mister; And you’ll never see me no more, for sure!”

It was more than a hard-luck song. To him, it was instructions to his carefree and unresticted life. He made good use of the words. A gospel to live and to kill by.

“I will owe you one, if you find any more out for me, Arnie,” he said. “A favor of any kind.”

Lawson was looking at life sentences if not the death penalty so adding more murders wouldn’t do anything to him one way or the other. It was about the only currency he had in prison now.

“You say she was from Pennsylvania? Philladelphia?”


He paused trying to understand the added facts to the already brewing ingredients. Why would a detective in Philly be so involved? He was anxious to get in the air now and get some answers. This promised to be even more entertaining.

The loud prison transport bus pulled away into the early dark hours of the morning, driving past the barbed wire fences and onto the lonely desert highway. Torv sat back and thought about his last night of what he called his Bloody Holiday.

The evening had gone swimmingly good. In a parking lot in south San Diego, he had jumped an elderly Hispanic man coming back to his car from an ATM. With the fresh withdrawal, he bought steaks for his “date night” and acquired some fine red wine and even a bag of mellowing weed.

He had walked home.  But after padding down all his pockets as he stood inside the front porch,  he realized he couldn’t find the house key ring..

Must’ve lost it during the tussle. Oh well.


He looked up and down the stretch of dusty road to be sure he had no nosy neighbors or passersby. Only the hot sunset and pink clouds in the skyline greeted him.

Lawson made his way to the backyard and jumped the rusty, vine-covered fence. This time when he entered the backyard, he wasn’t greeted by the two neglected and temperamental rottweilers.

The cut on his palm took several days to heal, but the long slashes on left arm were still inflamed and possibly infected. He had found some antibiotics in the upstairs bathroom which he started taking.

Twin rotting mounds, covered in buzzing flies, now took up their post by the back corner of the yard.

By the look of the poor boys, he did them a favor. And he was happy to spend some extra time giving the house owner, a George Jerome, some special treatment and justice for the dogs.

By all accounts, he was a psychopath per the doctors, psychologists and even the shows on television, but animals did still find a way to reach the tiny part of him that was human.  Animals in his thinking were worthy of saving. Even ones like the dogs that got in his way. These two had a job to do and wouldn’t be persuaded from it. Made them noble, honorable like soldiers dying for their duty and country.

He also had a job to do, yet his was of higher importance. Thus, the dogs paid up.

Taking a rock and a muddy rag, he popped the window in the back door.

“Sweeties, I’m home. Did you miss me?” he called out. “I’ve got a nice surprise for you.”


He shut the door and started unpacking the bag of groceries. “Don’t fret — don’t get up — you relax downstairs and I’ll do all the work tonight. Date Night is special!”

Thirty some minutes later, he carried down the steps to the cellar, a pair of silver-painted trays. One loaded with a steak and the other with a bowl of water and sponges. In the center of the large open room was a wood table recently uncovered and cleaned. He placed the steak tray on it next to the table’s lone chair.  Turning around, he faced his evening dates, Christine and Annita Cabellero.

Christine was unconscious, her head resting on her sweat-soaked chest, her hands cuffed to a pipe over her head. She was Hispanic with long curly black locks and a thin figure. Her feet barely reached the floor, her toes were scraped and covered with brown dust. Both of the women had stockings tied as gags around their mouths.

Annita, her younger sister, was watching him intently. Her arms were also cuffed above her head and she balanced herself on her toes. Both women were bloodied, scratched and bruised all over their bodies. Lawson kept Annita topless as he liked to look at her curvaceous form, especially her perky breasts, although one he had marred with a deep bite during their first dance.

When he caught sight of the mark, he recalled a memory from grade school.

“Ya know, my first-grade teacher once sent me home with a report card. I don’t know if they do this here in the States, but it noted some of my behaviors in class and not just my book grades.”

He paused, rubbed away sweat at the back of his neck and frowned with a troubled expression.

“The remarks about ‘not sharing with the other students’ and the one ‘damages the toys’ had gotten me nearly beaten to death for embarrassing my da’.  Not saying that it didn’t teach me what was expected, but clearly, I still don’t share well,” he said looking at the single plate. Then he crossed the room and his hand slipped down Annita’s face to roughly manhandle her bloodied breast. He squeezed it hard to make her whimper. “And I do tend to break my toys.”

She shuddered under his touch and kept her eyes down. Tears dripped silently to the ground by her feet with a stifled sob.

“But hey, let’s not spoil Date Night, right? Let bygones be bygones.”

A cloying, vinegar-rot smell floated in the air. He looked behind the women to a sheet with splashes of blackish scarlet stains. The cloth covered old George as he sat propped in the corner. An arm lay severed down by the man’s stiff legs.

“Even George wants us to have a good time, I’m sure of it. After all, this will be our last night here.”

He glanced at Christine and studied her labored breathing. Must’ve broken a rib or two, he mused.

She was dressed only in her torn, white nurse’s scrub shirt and panties. Blood droplets spotted the shirt and caked her chin and left ear.

Torv went back up into the kitchen and returned with three wine glasses and a bottle of red wine. He set about opening and pouring out generous portions of the bottle.

He pushed the two glasses away from his dinner plate, gulped a large swallow of the liquid from his glass and sat in his wooden chair. Facing the ladies, he ate his T-bone steak heartily.


Just as he mopped up the last of the juice on his plate with the final cut from the T-bone, he heard a muted groan which came from Christine.

“Oh good, you’re awake, sweetheart. I was hoping you’d come around soon. We’ll share a toast here in a sec.”

Scooting back from the table, he went to an alcove right of their position and out of view. He went about shaking out the blankets and smoothing out the sheets on the mattress which he had hauled from upstairs four days ago.  In the cement wall above the makeshift bedroom, he had hammered in a twin set of thick eye bolt hooks from the hardware store. It worked well for securing the handcuffs.

Taking his own glass, then their wine glasses, he stood again with his dates. “Enjoy each moment you have breath. Remember, you get in life what you have the courage to take…or something like that,” he laughed. “That’s Oprah Winfrey. Read it somewhere.”

They stared incredulous at him as he clinked the three glasses together. “Cheers!” Then he sipped once from each of the glasses.

Lawson smacked his forehead, catching their attention.  “Oh, silly me!  Can’t forget that.”

He relished his own humor and had a flair of melodrama which he often used to its fullest potential.  He marched up the rickety stairs. Loudly, the big man rummaged around, making as much racket as possible.

Both women squealed in unrestrained terror when he came back down. A large double-sided axe rested on his shoulder.  He went by, swept up one of two of the wine glasses then leaned the axe on the alcove wall next to the mattress.

Lawson whistled a whimsical tune to himself as he came back, eyeing the women. He shook his head and moved in front of Christine. Her right eye was swollen shut.

The first night she had resisted him, and tried to double her efforts when he went for Annita. In fact, the first several dances of the night with Christine had been eventful and ended with her unconscious.

Now her good left eye bulged in panic and she begged for mercy behind her gag.

“Shhhh. Shhhh. Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of your sister. I promise. I’m thinking I could use her company for a while on my road trip.”

He dug into his jeans pocket, pulling out the cuffs key. “You want to dance, right? No fists, teeth? Dance nicely with me on our Date Night, okay. Enjoy each moment you have breath…”

Before Christine could answer, he felt a sharp jab to his right calf, swinging his attention to Annita who was screaming into her gag, rage in her eyes. She had kicked him with her remaining strength.

These two were sure feisty – he appreciated it and admired their gestures.

“Sweetie. Don’t be jealous. It’s not my fault. I had eyes on her my first day here, but when I picked her up, how was I to know you’d be there to stay over and visit? So, you can’t be mad that I let your sister have the first dances. Only fair.”

Lawson put the key into Christine’s cuff the exact moment the doorbell upstairs rang out. All three jumped from the sudden intrusion. He held a finger to her mouth, motioning for silence.

The doorbell buzzed again.

Torv snapped a glance at his watch which read 8:39 PM.

Who the f… A chill ran down his spine as his answers came to him. He shuddered when it rang out for a third time in the still of the house. It was like a deathknell. In his charcoal heart, he knew the only reason for a visit would be from the police. They somehow had found him!

His eyes met the women’s terrified gazes and they shared the same thought: would he have time to kill them? 

Again the doorbell sang out. That sealed it for him.  No one would be that insistent at this hour of the evening.

He bolted to the alcove, sweeping up the large axe. Once more the women were horrified by the sight of it, but Torv ran past them and stormed up the steps without a glance their way. At the back door, he snatched up his always-packed duffle bag and yanked it open.

A series of blinding lights exploded in his eyes and flooded his face. Several shouts and commands rang out, mainly demands to put the axe down immediately. The doorbell was a decoy to startle him. They herded him like a farm animal and he stepped right into their snare without a single thought.

He lifted the handle off his shoulder as he sunk to his knees and let it hit the ground. Red laser light dots peppered his shirt and on his forehead.

And just like that, it was over. 

Lawson Torv, aka The Nurse Catcher had been taken off the chess board all too easy.

He gasped as he sat in the shadowy bus. Several faces looked back at him, especially the scowling detention guards in the front of the bus.

Wait! There had been a woman! The image swirled to life in his mind. He saw her. She had been in plain clothes and a bullet-proof vest, leaning against the back wall. Her arms had been crossed and sunglasses tucked up in her red-brown hair. The other SDPD cops were running in chaotic circles and shoving him around like a ragdoll in a dryer, but she hadn’t moved. Only stared at him.

He had been so angry at their untimely interruption, so upset at losing his last two, and above all scared he’d never taste the blood of a kill again. So consumed by the frantic scene that he forgot about her.

Was that the one?


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