FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS, I will be selling all my Kindle Novels & Novellas for $.99!!
That’s right, now is the best chance to pick up any or all of my writings at a great price!
FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS, I will be selling all my Kindle Novels & Novellas for $.99!!
That’s right, now is the best chance to pick up any or all of my writings at a great price!
ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23RD, my three series starter novels will be available for FREE DOWNLOAD on Kindle!!
EVADE PART I:
FIND YOUR ANSWERS IN THIS THRILLING SEQUEL TO IN FOUR DAYS!
The balance for Evil has tipped in Hell’s favor…
On the day Detective Lindsey Korrey should be celebrating the closure of her biggest case, The Nurse Catcher, she’s caught up in an intense police car chase.
Rory, a missing child case of three years, has fallen under her protection. Someone — or something — wants him back.
Chased down and hunted by a supernatural enemy, Lindsey must evade capture at any cost.
Yet their road is full of hidden dangers. The Seekers emerge out of every shadow…around every corner…
With twists and turns, extraordinary characters, action, suspense, and a mystery with pulse-pounding revelations, EVADE will take your breath away and leave you wanting –needing to know more!
Stepping blindly into a horrific murder scene, a young ex-con, Vicente Vargas, must flee from the police while eluding the real killer who continues to pin more bodies on him in this intricate cat-and-mouse game.
Cut off from all friends and family, tried and convicted by the press, Vic must survive on his wits and cunning on the gritty streets of Phoenix, Arizona long enough to clear his name.
The city of Wyvernshield is under siege. A horde of beasts in the thousands threaten utter destruction.
Taihven, an untested sorcerer prince has one chance to save his country and family.
Can he count on his untapped powers from the Chaos Realm? Will he uncover their true enemy from the past in time? Does he DARE become the king they need?
BUY NOW to delve into the enchanting lands of Tayneva, the shadowy realms of Aberrisc and the foreboding lairs of the Viestrahl Hordes…
DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE — IT’S A ONE-DAY EVENT!!
My eyes open instantly to pitch darkness. My heart races, pumped with an instinctual fear. I clutch the sheets of the bed, my breath caught tight in my throat.
I wait. Listening. There was something. A sound. A noise.
It takes me a moment to even realize where I am. Then it comes back slowly in bits. I was in my late cousin Richard’s farm house. He left it to me and several days before, I had moved in, with hopes of renovating the small ranch house.
Two days in to the renovations.
The lights were off, the windows shuttered. The dead farmland blanketed with its night shawl. The only light source came from a light pole next to the battered barn in back of the house. A ring of ash trees encirled most of the property.
Air stale and still filled the room. Soft light rays filtered down from one partially open window in the living room and dust floated aimlessly in its illumination.
“Hello?” I whisper, my lips dry, my cotton tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth.
“Hello?” I venture once more, praying I don’t get a response.
Seconds bleed into minutes, minutes grow into moments. Nothing responds. Time lapses.
One bizarre note catches my attention. I don’t hear anything. No crickets, no late night song birds, no distant cars on the I-77 highway. Even the wind is holding its breath. What the hell?
However, I do ease my grip on the sheets and sigh in relief. Maybe it was a nightmare with the last fragments waking me. I can’t quite yet laugh at myself and the fear that seized me.
New place, new sounds. Just a case of heebie-jeebies.
I raise onto my elbows.
The sound pierces me. It came straight out of the corner, draped in deep shadows. A low rumbling growl follows the hiss. A distinct scrape of claws on the wood floor boards makes the hair on the back of my neck raise.
I freeze up all over again, my breath locked in my chest.
My eyes strain to make out a form in the dark. Nothing. It’s like a gaping hole torn into the bedroom space, swallowing up the entire corner.
It’s close. I should be able to see whatever the thing is! Dammit, why can’t I see it? I can’t run. The corner is near the doorway.
What is it? A mountain lion? A rabid wolf? A feral stray dog? What is in my house?
No more noises, no more clues to what it is.
I don’t try to speak again to it. It’s obvious it isn’t human so there’s no real point. My mind floods with bad ideas, desperate ploys, nothing that will get me away.
Moments again drag out. I pull my legs slowly up, curling my form into a better shielded form. Another growl, deep in its chest protests my movement.
Eyes, silvery and large open up. The space between the eyes at least five inches apart. Then heat and a bitter stench of foul breath wafts over me. Whatever is staring at me, just opened its jaws. I think I can hear the bare sounds of panting.
I brace my hands at my sides against the bed and raise with my back pressed to the wall. Standing seems like my only viable option. It gives me a half a chance if this thing rushes me.
Again from inside the shadows, the unseen beast doesn’t like my movement and it hisses violently, pawing aggressively at the floor. I hear its claws, I see it’s eyes, smell it’s breath, but yet there’s no form, nothing in the corner!
At the end of the bed, I left another window open for the summer breezes. A thin metal screen is the only thing on the window. Do I dare plunge through it before this thing is upon me?
It somehow senses my thoughts and it shifts subtly, the shadows moving with it. Now a couple feet closer to the end of the bed, it sits midway between the door, the end of the bed and the window.
This tells me one thing. It’s intelligent, but it is also waiting on me to make my move. Yet I feel I have already lost this game of strategy before I even woke up.
I try to summon my dwindling courage. Sweat streams down my neck and chest. I bend slightly, coiling my leg muscles.
The beast stands! I still can’t make out any form, but the shadow grows taller and towers over me, the “head” touching the dusty ceiling. Oh god!
It makes no other move. The ball has come back into my court. My plan for the open window has been shattered.
“Wh- What are you? What do you want?” My voice shakes as violent as my body.
s h e l t e r
The voice carries across to me but speeds through me like a gun shot. It gores my senses and I reel in sudden dizziness and nausea. My legs give out and I collaplse in a heap by the pillows.
Shelter? What does that mean?
“I don’t understand.” I moan. “You want to stay in the house?”
It’s useless to try and escape. My fate is in this things claws. There’s no choice but to listen to it’s demands.
I watch in pure terror as it slowly strides across the room, the floorboards creaking under its weight. Shadows stretching and wrapping around my neck and over my screaming mouth.
Lifted in the air as a smothering sensation wracks me, a burning agony doubles me over in its grasp, a lightning icy claw rakes across my back.
Tumbling from its hold, I hit the bed, then tumble to the floor with the words,
w e s h e l t e r h e r e
searing into my brain.
Hours later, as sunlight drifts in and warms my exposed legs and feet. My eyes open and stare up at the room’s dust-covered ceiling fan. A hunger, a need, a blood-thirsty craving growls inside me. My head raises and stares at the far wall.
s e r v e
Etched into the faded green wallpaper are symbols, plans and demands. None that I understand or want to comprehend.
Inside, it reads the words. It knows its purpose.
s h e l t e r a n d s e r v e
It growls again from the dark corners of my tattered soul.
Craving to see what’s in-store for you (and Lindsey and the others from Evade Part Three)?
Here you go… Enjoy!!
Twin embers opened before us, hunting in the pitch dark. The glowing orbs were frenzied but not yet looking in our direction.
Another four sets of eyes appeared, joining the others. The Seekers were about thirty yards ahead, at the intersection of a fork of subway tunnels. They had their backs to Sasha and I, crouching and peering down the length of the tunnels. Our escape was to the left but obviously blocked.
Behind us, we escorted a young tween, Bethany Phelps, her elderly guardian, Kenneth Gerard, and a fellow detective, Detective Josh Matthews. They hadn’t seen any of the Seekers as of yet.
Or experienced the supernatural taint the Seekers carried about them.
We ordered them to crouch and stay hidden under a rickety set of steps leading up to a catwalk storage built along the tunnel’s ceiling while Sasha and I scouted ahead.
My watch showed it was 6:25 PM. Only twenty minutes had passed since Commander Hoyt Leoi shouted through his radio at them when they were behind their makeshift barricade. “Detective Korrey. Come in.” His voice was a much calmer and steady tone than when I spoke to him after the earlier explosion. It seemed he regained some of his composure.
“Commander Leoi, I’m here,” I replied to him, trying to match his even cadence.
“A beige and metallic gold Chevrolet is coming south, down York Avenue. Its pace has slowed — they may be looking for the gate entrance to the property. Do any of the 27th Crew own or drive a gold Chevy Caprice that you know of?”
I remembered this was Detective Matthews’ personal car. He must’ve taken it to avoid any suspicion when he drove Bethany and Kenneth to our location.
“They are with us. I instructed Detective Matthews to come here as he has vital information I need. Pass this along — he is not to be fired upon!”
“Am I to understand he has information that cannot be told over the cell phone or even the classified radio lines?” Leoi’s attitude and condescending tones had also returned.
“Commander Leoi, do you have anything further to report or do you remain in Green Status?”
A bit of a pause — maybe to do some meditation or breathing exercises? Finally, he replied, “No changes to report. I will let you know when the car is at your tunnel entrance. Over.”
Three minutes later, he called back and said Detective Matthews was parked near our tunnel. Sasha and I raced out in the dark to escort Matthews and the civilians back to our makeshift barricade.
We hadn’t anticipated the Seekers would find a way to get behind us without being detected.
Sasha, a slim black woman with her hair pulled tightly back, leaned in close to my face and whispered, “There’s another one, hiding by the pile over there. Do you see him?” She pointed.
The tall stature of a man stood motionless apart from the others, but his eyes were partially concealed by his coat hood.
“He makes six then,” I answered. “Officially, we’re out numbered.”
“I’ve got maybe seven or eight rounds.”
“No. We don’t need to shoot them.” I was put off by her quick response to kill. “We don’t have any idea how many are around – it will only alert them to our position. I think we can do this a better way. Go back, tell them what we are seeing, and keep them quiet where they are. I’ll distract and lead—”
“I’m faster. I should lead those damn things away.”
“You are faster. That’s why I want you to take the group to safety. They haven’t even seen anything like these Seekers before. They’ll need your prodding for sure. Your speed and actions could be critical if you’re needed immediately.”
I kept an anxious eye on the affected humans. They were restless and seemed to sense our presence somewhere near them. From what I detected, the search party of Seekers were led by the tall man, joined by two adult women and three teenagers of close age. I worried about the speed of those teens.
I continued to spell out my plan. “I’m going to run past your position, back down the tunnel. Remember the stack of oil barrels? I’ll hide behind them and loop back. But, once we clear the area, take everyone as fast as possible to the barricade. Understood?”
She shrugged but not overly enthusiastic.
“I’ll give you time to get back to them now.” I stopped and gripped her shoulder. “Do not kill anyone, okay?” I left her with that and inched forward, using the darker shadows of the wall for cover.
Now, as the prospect of facing the six supernatural Seekers alone hit me, the moldy walls closed in on me. The idea was beyond daunting and my legs trembled as my plan grew weaker in my mind.
It was time, stalling and worrying now was pointless and even dangerous. I jumpstarted my efforts by kicking over a rotting wooden crate in front of me. With amazing agility, they spun and charged all together toward the sudden noise. I bolted down the tunnel with a paranoid certainty the Seekers were right on my heels. They barely huffed with their exertion.
The stack of oil barrels I mentioned before were barely visible and highlighted only by a dirty skylight ahead. I zipped in around the barrels and stood silently with my back to the cold metal containers. This section of the tunnel had been a small hub and a single-track platform. The Seekers came in mere seconds after me.
They gathered in the center of the intersection and hesitated, listening for which direction I went in.
I heard a soft hiss through clenched teeth. The Tall Man started to lead the group down the single-track. As the last of them climbed off the platform, a crash of metal and curses echoed along the tunnels. I recognized Detective Matthews’ voice. He must’ve tripped over something.
It was enough…
I leaned over, spying into the dark subway. The gang of Seekers were once more huddled together.
Shit!! Sasha’s group was definitely heard, soon to be hunted for again.
Tall Man pointed and three of the Seekers went back to the platform ladder. He split the group as he vanished with the others into the shadows still pursuing my presumed trail.
I shot out and took a winding tunnel left of the oil barrels. The three hissed and howled at my fleeing image.
This unknown passage grew suddenly dark as we ran further away from the skylights. Growing blind with each stride, I dug into my pocket, scrambling to pull out my cell phone. I managed to punch the flashlight symbol on the phone and its brilliance lit up the way. The light bounced, shadows leaped and danced as I thrust the cell out before me.
Our training in the police academy as rookies and other courses we took along the way for field experience ingrained in us a strict discipline to focus only on the path ahead and keep your emotions buried. It applied to either case of when you were the hunter or the prey being chased. However, fear and panic coursed through me. My thoughts lost in a jumble of chaos. I had no idea what they would do with me if I were caught.
Their footfalls and the scrapes of their shoes or boots clearly informed me of their hot pursuit. And they were gaining…
My own footsteps were louder now as I splashed through large puddles of water, recent storm runoff. Slick mud at the edges of the water nearly took my feet out from under me and I slid with my momentum into a bank of slimy walls. I bounced and continued to look for other doorways, tunnels openings or even catwalk stairs to find a place to hide. Anything.
My flight ended abruptly as the tunnel curved to the far left and narrowed considerably. A set of wire fences were erected and chained shut to prevent further trespass. Beyond the fence was a large chamber used to hold piles of garbage and storage for what look like torn-out subway chairs. I shoved my phone back into my jeans and launched myself high onto the fence. Climbing toward a narrow opening at the top, I wanted to get over it and lose the Seekers among the piles.
As I hefted my right leg over the top, my jeans suddenly snagged and tore at the cuff as it caught the edge of the fencing. A woman in her early twenties, skinny and with pale blonde hair leaped up and clasped a pair of ashy hands on my left leg. The heat from her hands baked through my clothing as her eyes blazed bright staring at me. A need or deep craving floated in that penetrating stare as she leaned back, using her weight to haul me back over to their side. The other two joined her on the fence and climbed toward me.
Desperately I leaned with my own weight the other way, my body precariously hanging in balance at the top.
Riiiipppppp! The cheap jean’s material gave way, releasing my right leg and sending me diving toward the ground on the other side of the fence.
I screamed in sheer surprise, braced for the impact only to have the wind blasted from me as my shoulder hit the ground. I exploded through the rotted floorboards and fell another fifteen feet or so to the subway level beneath. I saw a brief flash of light from a hanging lightbulb. My plunge continued as my weight crashed through another level of ancient wood flooring. I was diving headlong into the depths of the subway system!
I never saw the next floor as my vision and the world around me were eclipsed and swallowed in total darkness.
On a positive, I didn’t feel the impact either.
August 9th, 1912
The rattle of the jail cell as it slid in its track struck me to my core. The grating metallic sound reverberated in my chest. Clanging at the end had a harsh fierce cold finish to it. My death knell? Maybe.
I’m going to hear that sound for the next twenty years…
“Well…go in. He ain’t gonna bite,” chuckled the burly guard behind me. Officer Darryl Norris shoved me into my new cell mate.
“Jesus! They said I was getting fresh meat, but I didn’t know it was this raw!” A man, lanky and sinewy, scanned me up and down, his lips drawn into a tight white line. He had a shark’s sneer.
“This here is Kevin Harrison, Ralphie. The newest convict to join us here at the Joliet Correctional,” Norris introduced me. “Oh and by the way, he’s innocent of all charges.”
They both burst out into laughter. Norris turned and left the cell. After locking it, he called out, “Lights off at 7:00 PM.”
The top bunk was cleared off, a shelf on one wall next to it was also empty. Ralphie had the bottom bunk obviously. A shelf carved out of the cement bricks had his toiletries and a pair of worn out paperbacks. The walls of the small 6′ by 6′ cell were patchy and crumbling in disrepair. A single barred window gave a glimpse of gray skies but little else. We were on the fifth floor. A wispy odor of bleach clung in the air, the stench of urine barely masked underneath it.
My cellmate turned away from me and plunked down onto it without a word. His clothes were thin, gray like the walls, and had patches sewn on the elbows and knees. His shaggy black hair hung just above the collar, his patchy beard covered an acne-pocked face. He swept up one of the books and rolled over onto his side. Perhaps I had already been forgotten.
That’s fine with me. The less we talk, the better. I was in no mood to be nice.
I’m not going to keep telling everyone I’m innocent. That’ll only get me in trouble. I’ll let the fat lawyer do that on the Outside, but in here, I’ll keep low and out of sight.
I set a burlap sack of my own toiletries and a twin exchange of my prison uniform in the corner. A rickety, rusted ladder was built at the end of the bunks. I crawled on top of the hard stained mattress.
Someone had carved out the days in lines in one corner. Others had written nonsensical sentences or scribbled symbols. It boggled my mind. How many others had laid here before me?
My mind wandered and I recalled how my fat lawyer, I forgot his real name, kept spouting, “We have a solid case here. I am sure we can appeal and maybe you’ll even see Christmas back in San Diego, Kevin.”
“There’s nothing left in San Diego for me. She’s gone.”
“Oh… Yeah, sorry, kid.” He said offhand as he lit the end to a massive cigar. We were in a guarded conference room. Case file folders, random papers and the photos of the crime scene splayed out on the metal table before me. I saw her body splashed in streaks of crimson. Her long blonde hair pulled out in clumps floating in a large puddle by her head.
“You were shot in the war, right?” he asked, enveloped in a thick white cloud of smoke.
“Yes. In the shoulder. So?”
“That’s the ticket,” he slapped at the table and then slid about the papers as he searched through them. “Yes. Yes, here it is. You suffered loss of movement and mobility per this doctor’s report.”
He pushed the paper in front of me.
“I wish I had thought of this during the trial. Sherry Devenroe was killed by blunt force. The intruder crushed her head in swinging a metal baseball bat –” he stopped seeing me wince.
I finished his thought. “So, I couldn’t be the murderer because I can’t swing a bat with any such force. Right?”
“See. You are a clever lad.”.
That was a bold lie. I wasn’t what I once had been, but it had been some time since the injury.
Now as I stared at the cobwebs slowly swinging about the ceiling, I wasn’t nearly as confident he could get me out.
I closed my eyes, clasped my hands, and started a silent prayer in my head.
You and I haven’t talked much and I’m not saying I have been the best of your children here on Earth, but I know I can do more, do better. I just need another chance. Please, Lord, please don’t let me rot away in here. Give me a second chance to go on and be free to spread the Good Word as Mama always spoke of. Be–
“Your Mama going to visit you in here?” Ralphie asked out of the blue.
He chuckled to himself and rolled over onto his back. “I asked if your Mama was going to visit you in here? Going to spread her Good Word to us animals?”
“I…I don’t know.” I whispered in shock.
“You were speaking aloud, Kev.”
No I wasn’t.
“It happens a lot you know. Mamas all proud of their sons, fiercely defending them, professing the real crimes are against their little boys being falsely charged and imprisoned. Happens all the time. They stomp their tiny feet, wave their fists in the air in outrage and cry tears of injustice at the drop of a hat. Then… the first round of whispers come, the fingers pointing at them, then the not-so-quiet remarks made behind their backs. The odd looks from once friendly neighbors. The awkward excuses by friends why they suddenly can’t come by. It all adds up quickly. Mama’s will and determination fades. Mama comes by less and less, the letters stop. Happens all the time. You’ll see. Mama’s Good Word will be spoken less and less on your behalf!”
Ralphie’s cynical speech ate at me and the deepening shadows in the room swallowed me whole.
“You don’t know me. You don’t know my Mama. Shut the fuck up.” I said it, but there was no power behind it. It was going to be a long, hard night.
“True. True. I don’t know you. I guess, time will tell.”
He grew quiet and must’ve went back to reading.
The sun had gone down. My stomach rumbled aloud.
“You missed chow time?” he asked.
“I was on the bus coming here.”
“Yeah? Sorry. I didn’t like much what was served, but you eat what you get here. Still hungry myself.”
I pulled my arm up over my eyes, trying to muffle and hide my emotions. Thinking of Mama and how she’d become embarrassed by me really hit home. She said she knew I was innocent at the trial. Came each day to support me. But was Ralphie right? Would those lingering doubts and the shame erode her belief in me? I had been convicted by an actual jury of my peers, right?
I am only nineteen! I don’t belong here! Oh, Mama!!
Suddenly a book flew up and landed on my lap. “Here. Books are a great way to keep your mind clear of your troubles.”
He was making an attempt to clear things between us. I appreciated that. “Thanks.” My voice scratchy and thick with emotion but he didn’t make light of it or comment.
For the next hour I tried to read but my stomach kept whining.
“Look, Kevin, I may be damned for doing this, but… maybe I can help you out. Come down, let’s talk.”
I set the lame mystery aside and went down. He was sitting up, his hands together between his knees. He smiled and extended his hand out to me. I shook it.
“Kevin Harrison, I’m Ralph Otara.” He moved over a few feet and gestured for me to sit.
“You have a lawyer right?”
“Yes. Says he’s going to appeal.”
“They all say that. Do you have anything else going for you or just your Mama at home? A plan for the future?”
I lowered my head and stared at a spot on the floor between my shoes. “After they found Sherry and took me in, my boss fired me from the car plant. I don’t have anything right now.”
“That second chance you were praying for… that chance to do more if you were free. Are you really interested in an escape?”
I blanched and pulled back to stare at the older man. He barely knew me, but was willing to invite me into his confidence and be involved in an escape plan? Talk like this could get you thrown into solitary or worse under the boots of the guards.
“You don’t know me as I said before. I’m young but not stupid. What is this really about?” The anger tinged my voice, welling up inside me.
He held up a hand trying to calm my suspicions. “Whoa, whoa. I’m just trying to help. I hate seeing such a young guy in here, wasting what little time we all have here in this world.”
Ralphie stood up and dug around in a small stack of wash cloths. He looked around and listened to be sure a guard wasn’t walking up. Then he turned around with that shark sneer and he held out a chocolate candy bar. “Peace offering.”
I smiled and felt foolish. I took it and greedily devoured it.
“Kev, look, I was sincere about an escape. When we get out, we’re all going to need to stick together, help each other on the Outside. I see a lot of potential in a young fellow like you. I admit it, getting you out will help me too.”
I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Nothing ever came easy to me or my mother. With my Pops not around, I learned that lesson quick. Only hard work gotcha ahead.
“I don’t know.”
“What would you lose? You think that asshole lawyer’s going to come through for you?”
“When we get out — there’s a small group of us in on the plan — we’re going to be the Next Family. You understand? Out there, if you got a record, no one will do anything for you. Never going to look past your crimes. Or they imagine you done worse. So we stick together, stick to the plan and make the world bend to our will. You with me?”
“Maybe…” I said.
The lights blinked. “Lights out!” A voice bellowed out. The line of hanging lamps began shutting off as dictated.
“What’s this plan? You actually think you’ll get out?”
He didn’t answer. It was all silence.
In the dark, a sharp frigid air enveloped me, taking away my breath. Suddenly blind, all I could sense was the shift in weight on the bunk bed. He had moved closer.
A hand shot out and clutched my throat. The fingers were coarse, gnarled and vice-like. The claws pricked my skin, drops of blood beaded up.
Ralphie — or what was once Ralphie — leaned in close. Blood red eyes opened up. He was so close his nose was almost touching mine. I could feel his hot damp breath as he snarled, then said, “We have a plan, a great plan. You will too. We all have it in here. We are all infected.”
A spark of moonlight flashed off the set of fangs just before they plunged into the side of my neck.
I have been working hard on strengthening and fleshing out my two resources Pinterest and Patreon for you. These sites should give you even more access to me, my work and new materials I am developing.
For those who may not fully understand what Pinterest is, Pinterest is unique search engine for materials, reference resources and finding key elements that fit into your customized categories. In other words, I have currently fourteen “boards” (categories) where I can “pin” material that I feel fall into those categories. For example I have a board called Storyboard: Horror-Suspense & Crime Inspiration.
When I find an image that intrigues me, I can pin it and keep in that folder. I also have a board for my Fantasy images. This gives me a handy place to get writing ideas as well as show you the readers where I get some ideas. In my board From My Writer’s Blog I have six subsections with material showing my self-publishing tactics, some biography blogs, my writing prompt stories, etc.
Some of the other boards are: From My Writer’s Blog, My Horror-Suspense & Grim Fantasy Collection, My Newsletters, Book Reviews, Book Cover Artwork, Landscapes, Batman & Other Comics, My Audiobooks, and My Favorite TV Series.
I can also do my own “pins” like these:
Also on Pinterest I can place reviews on my books, details about my book & audio book giveaways, or I can share pins from other collaborators and authors I find on Pinterest. If you want to see my work or other things on my site, you can click here and “follow” me so you can see my contributions and additions to the site.
Patreon I have previously talked about here. I want to this year do even better at maintaining and providing exclusive access to my work. I have decided that I will be writing a fantasy novella based on this:
The novella will be seen in chapter installments only on Patreon and sold only in paperback format once completed with signature and customized metal bookmarker to my patrons initially. The other benefits for becoming patrons will still be there — now I just want to make it even better!!
Please see these two sites and let me know what you think of them and if you have suggestions, comments or ideas to provide even more value to you!!
Starting today, May 1st I have discounted the price for the Ebook to just ONE DOLLAR! Well, actually, $.99!
GET THIS SPINE-TINGLING, EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT THRILLER TODAY!!
—->> Up through the 4th get this great classic horror story for only $.99
—->> Then after the 5th for only $1.99!!
—->> Back to regular price $2.99 by the 9th!
E N J O Y !!!
“Death is coming to you, today. Are you ready, Steve?”
Stephen Caldero nearly fell off his aisle seat. His head reflexively snapped up from the newspaper article to stare in the wrinkled face of an elderly woman. She had wisps of blonde mixed into her thick white hair. Her spectacles were pushed high onto the bridge of her nose. She sat in the middle seat of the bus bench, clutching an umbrella and a rolled up copy of Newsweek. A slight smile on her face and the question shining in her pale blue eyes.
“What? What the hell did you say?” He shouted back, his face turning red.
She recoiled, whimpering. “I asked if you had read the weather report for today? I forgot to this morning. I’m sorry.”
“Everything okay back there, Ms. Richards?” The bus driver called out, watching in his rearview mirror and glaring at Steve.
“Um yes,” she replied.
Steve now reddened with embarrassment. He shook his head. “No! No, you didn’t. You said ‘Death was coming for me’ Why? Why would say that?”
Ms. Richards blinked back at him, she straightened without replying and walked behind them to sit three rows away from him.
Must’ve been dreaming. I… was up pretty late, but, man, that seemed so real.
He couldn’t bring himself to turn around and apologize. The bus ride was quiet and without incident to his stop at Bronx Ave.
The gray structure housing Pottermen & Felsby resembled more a modern prison than the prestigious accounting firm. He worked as Accounting Researcher II for nearly a year in his three years tenure with them. He glanced up at the towering building and wished he felt more satisfaction or pleasure from his employment and career.
He entered the quiet lobby and made a beeline for the elevators. When he pushed the button it occurred to him then just how little enjoyment or pride he got from the position. What had he really achieved?
Death is coming to you, today. Are you ready, Steve?
The words paraded in a loop inside his mind.
“Certainly not,” he growled low to himself as he entered the elevator doors.
In the western corner, he had a modest office with glass walls to somewhat isolate him from the noises of the work
floor. The fourth wall behind his decade old desk had a dirty window framing an ugly, crowded parking lot below. He kept the blinds mostly pulled tight to keep the sunlight and glare off the computer monitors. It didn’t help much to drive out the ever-present gloom. The florescent lights were a harsh purple-white.
Steve sat down with a sigh — the day was doomed to be long and tedious.
Accountants did not die of natural causes. They gave up and volunteered. The bad joke crossed his thoughts adding to his inner turmoil.
He glanced at the calendar planner spread across the desk top. It had scribbles and notes all over it like an alley wall of graffiti.
He jumped at the sight of the word, splashing the office door and walls with the remains of his Starbuck’s coffee.
Shit shit shit shit!
His eyes locked on the word, his skin prickled and the hair on the back of his neck rose in tuffs. His hand came up to stifle the building scream in his throat.
A knock at the door made him jump again out of his chair. “What?”
Through the fake plastic wood door he heard the muffled words, “Mr. Caldero, do you need paper towels?”
Sheryl Lehman leaned over and peaked around the door to look at him through the glass. Concern mixed with curiosity battled for position on her pudgy face.
“Uh, yes, thank you.”
He knew before looking back down at the calendar the word would not be there.
Death? What in the hell is happening?
He studied the date and appointments.
Sheryl entered and started mopping up the desktop. He took a few towels and cleaned off the door with shaking hands, thanking her with numb lips.
“It’s okay. It’s gotten to all of us, Mr. Caldero,” she said.
“You heard, of course, about Joe Barness? Weird world we live in, huh?”
Steve watched her a second as he tried to recollect who the name belonged to. “Was that the front lobby clerk, right?”
“You had to notice he wasn’t downstairs this morning,” she replied, throwing away a pile of used paper towels. “He was mugged last night on his way home. Shot and left in a pile of trash bags on Hamperton. He’s alive at Metro Regional, but they don’t know if he’ll recover! Lordy, so sad!”
“It just proves ya gotta live each day like it’s your–“
“Shut up, Sheryl!”
Her jaw dropped at the cutting remark. Her face frozen in shock and hurt.
“I’ve got it from here. Uh..um, sorry. I’m not feeling well.” He shrugged apologetically.
She left, not bothering to shut the door. Steve grabbed his laptop and newspaper. He was going to work from home today.
“Floor 3, room 2AB,” the nurse pointed to the elevator bank on the right of her circular station desk.
He wasn’t close to Joe Barness and spoke occasionally with him
about football drafts and such from time to time. Yet he was compelled to see the man. He even had a card and a small box of chocolates in his hand. It felt lame to bring a gun shot victim chocolate but was there anything typical or even appropriate?
Moments later he found the room and Joe lying under several sheets and a blue blanket, hooked up with multiple tubes and wires like some sort of dimented Christmas tree.
No one was visiting.
“Are you family, sir?” A man asked him from behind another circular desk.
“No. I work with Joe,” he answered. The nurse grimaced but Steve cut him off. “I won’t be long — I don’t think he has anyone here to stop by. I thought it would help maybe leaving a card and a gift for when…when he wakes up, ya know?”
The grimace melted from his face. “Okay. Yeah, go ahead. Just don’t stay long or try to wake him. The man’s got a helluva battle ahead.”
There was a single cold metal chair in one corner of the ICU room. It was drafty and had a permanent, stale chemical smell. Steve sat down without bothering with the lights. He put the box down with the card on a shelf. No one else had sent anything. It was a truly lonely way to die.
What am I doing here? I barely know him.
You’re here because of the death threat. His dark thoughts scolded him. You are here on a purely selfish hope that if you show this dying man one little bit of kindness then you’ll be spared from the Grim Reaper! You selfish asshole!
Go home, go back to…
Joe’s eyes were open. They were boring into his.
Steve gasped and shrank back into his chair. The man’s finger rose slowly and stabbed at the opposite corner of the room. A thick gray curtain hanging from the ceiling blocked most of the light from entering and the shadows were deepest there. Something inside the black alcove moved… or at least he thought something twisted in the pitch black. Something that had been there all along, but hadn’t moved until it was pointed out.
Words crawled out of Joe’s lips, words barely audible but held a power over Steve.
“He’s here for you, not me.”
Steve’s breath caught hard inside his chest, spasms wracked his whole frame and he wheezed from exhaustion and effort. His massive oak bed frame, a family heirloom he’d inherited from his grandfather, now leaned against the mostly empty china cabinet which was also propped up against the door.
YOU are a complete fucking idiot! He whirled to scan the apartment. All four of the apartment windows had been covered with furniture and mattresses. Every lamp and light in the small condo had been turned on, eating away any trace of shadow. Even the kitchen table had been dragged into the living room to block the twin balcony doors. It was an impressive amount of effort, but it was completely fruitless at the same time.
How do you stop Death Incarnate from entering your door? It’s completely implausible that your Serta Pillowtop Mattress will do the deed, dumbass!
He rubbed at his sweaty scalp and pulled at his cheeks with both hands in his anxiety. But what am I to do? I’m not just going to give in. I’m too young! This isn’t fair. I’m only twenty-three goddamn it!
Coming up through the floor vent, Steve heard a loud bang followed by several shouts.
“Oh god! It’s here!” He moaned in pity. His heart leaped into his throat.
More shouts and then slamming doors could be heard.
“FIRE! FIRE! EVERYONE OUT!”
Steve’s shoulders dropped. His hands hung limply at his sides. Seriously. A fire, huh? He could swear he already smelled a whiff of smoke in the air.
He grabbed at one corner of the bedframe and struggled to drag it an inch.
While it seemed an eternity, less than ten minutes had passed as he clawed at the blocking furniture. He managed to squeeze past his door to stand in the smoke-filled hallway.
He was not going out this way! The Calderos had always been a family of survivors and fighters. His older brothers had both been in the military branches and his father had died on the streets as one of the city’s most decorated police officers. Perhaps now Steve could prove all of them wrong. He was going to make it! The mantra beat like a drum in his head.
A brief second in the stairwell at the third floor landing, he had a bad scare. Flames had already brought down the tiles and support beams to block his path. He ran back to the fourth as the building had two stairwells on opposite sides of the structure. Desperation put extra energy in his strides.
Just as he shoved the door to the other stairwell, a sharp and high-pitched cry came out from the gloom.
“Help! Help me!” It was a child’s voice coming from one of the apartments.
Sandee Mitchell, eight years old and left home alone, shivered in a brown blanket wrapped about her shoulders and back. Smudges of smoke and ash had darkened her hair and caked along the base of her chin and neck.
A female EMT tech was wrapping swathes of gauze around her burnt arm as Sandee rested on a stretcher in the back. A male EMT was hooking up a bag of saline.
She stared at the coil of bed sheets at her feet and the length still tied at her waste. They hadn’t gotten around to taking it off her yet.
Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks.
The male EMT leaned down to her ear. “It’s okay, honey. You’re safe now.”
She didn’t look back or even acknowledge him. All she could focus on were the stranger’s words as he rushed out onto the patio. The stranger who had burst into her apartment and found her balled up outside.
“I am ready. You’re not taking her! I’ll go!” The stranger had spoke aloud as if in an argument. It had been his fourth trip to get bedsheets.
“What?” she asked him.
At this point, the fire engulfed the top of the building. Smoke billowed around them as he frantically tied the knotted sheets around her. He then wrapped a blanket around her to protect her from flames and heat.
“Hold on tight to this, don’t let it slip!” He shouted to be heard over the crash and roar of the inferno. “I’m going to lower you down. I’m making you an honorary Caldero!”
But it was his last words which haunted her at nights, stuck to her soul. He kept screaming it out in the air as he lowered her from their apartment patio.
“I AM READY! YOU ARE COMING FOR ME ONLY! YOU HEAR ME?”
I took a little liberty with this one, but it was too good to not try!
EXCERPT OF EVADE PART TWO: