EVADE Audible 3- Part Series COMPLETE! — Derek Barton – 2021

That’s right, Great news! The last part of Evade has been produced on Audible.

You can now hear the whole series on audio, crafted by the stellar voice talents of Ashley Ulery.

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!

For Audible click here:

Only $6.95 per part for non-members!!!

Grab This Two-fer!! — Derek Barton 2021



Don’t miss out on this high-paced thriller… IT WILL SNEAK UP ON YOU!

Here’s what the AMAZON FIVE STAR REVIEWS are saying:

…‘Evade, Part One’ by Derek Barton is the sequel to his 2017 novella ‘In Four Days’. This installment is filled with action, suspense and twist and turns enough to give one literary whiplash!

…I LOVED this story and the way that the horror is both brutal and terrifying. The novella format works perfectly here as it gives the story enough time to breathe while making the reader hungry to absorb more. I’m absolutely ready for the next volume of this story!

…Heart throbbing novel, quick read, that is very engaging. Great cliffhanger too. A lot of cliff hangers seem like a stretch, but this one works well. Thrilling mystery. Would recommend!

…Evade part 1, sequel to In Four Days. I was into reading this, did not want to put the book down until I was done reading. Loved how the Author Derek Barton brought the 2 bike riders into the story. Just another day for the nurse catcher then a twist and turn of events!!! Curious to find out what the supernatural enemy and seekers are all about. Suspenseful!!!

…The author takes you on a journey through the beginning of a series that looks to be suspenseful and gripping. Well written – keeps your interest and is a great read. I highly recommend it and am looking forward to the next book.



Elude Part One — Excerpt #5… — Derek Barton – 2018

EL #5



Dominic Witherspoon sat facing the television, an amber bottle of Coor’s Light in hand and a remote in the other.  His eyes were glued to the set, but nothing registered in his mind.  He was in a zone of thought, a zone of depression, anxiety and loss.  It was an old habit and what one would call a defense mechanism.

Too many times, Shellie watched as her father drop into the old lime green recliner and disappeared.  He had no answers for what plagued their lives.  More and more, he fell into the evening ritual, pieces of Dom slipping away.  She was losing him.

A blaring commercial for Red Apple Snapple broke her own reverie and she glanced at the television.  She watched him from atop the stair steps near the second-floor landing.  Her little hands gripped the stair banister bars as she put her face between the posts to watch.  She resembled a prisoner.  Much like her father’s life, it had devolved into more of a life sentence.

He sipped from the bottle.  In reality, Shellie knew she was lucky that he didn’t do more than the one bottle each night.  He nursed the same bottle for two to three hours then would fall asleep in the chair, often while watching Discovery or History specials.  The drone of the narrating voice would lull him to sleep.  On more than one occasion, she had also fallen asleep in the hallway only to be woken up in the late hours and carried to bed by her father.

“…a task force combining local police, homicide detectives and state investigators are concentrating their search efforts for Vicente Vargas in the Phoenix area, but there is speculation that he might be using resources to get back to Puerto Rico where he has family.”

Shellie was hungry but decided to hold off sneaking into the kitchen until he fell asleep.  He was angry with her, but more than that, he was deeply disappointed in her.  That hurt laid on her heart pressed on her like a heavy boot standing on her chest.  He had no real idea of what to be mad at her for — she had no real idea what she had done either — but it was there nonetheless.

The police left only an hour and a half before.  They had come with a search warrant and ransacked their house.  The uniformed men left with her laptop and her father’s computer tower.

This was their third visit within the last two days.  The first was “routine”.  They knocked on their door about an hour or two after Ms. Baxter left that morning.

Somewhat apprehensive, Dom opened the door to the uniformed police.  It was a learned reaction and a belief that one grew into when you lived in a rough city neighborhood.  He was originally from Chicago and his Irish father worked on occasion for some known, shady associates.

From an early age, Dom was taught that police knocking on the door was a bad omen.  If you were doing anything illegal, then you had to be guarded when you spoke with them.  If you weren’t doing anything illegal, it still meant bad news because they wanted you to give them information on one of your neighbors or friends.  It could actually be worse than the first outcome.

The two policemen relayed the grim message that Ms. Bernice Baxter had died that morning in a traffic accident.

“We have some questions for you.  Can we come in and discuss them with you, sir?”

“No.  We can talk right here on the doorstep,” Dom snapped, a little too sharp.  The pair of cops stared at him with startled expressions.

“I… mean, no.  Sorry. My ill mother is inside and she’s resting right now.  I don’t want to disturb her.  What do you need to ask me, officers?”

The first officer, Antony Royas, a Hispanic man with a thick mustache and short-cropped hair replied, “Well, there were some extenuating circumstances that we cannot go into, but could you tell us what Ms. Baxter’s emotional state was when she left this morning?  Did she seem upset, depressed or stressed over anything?”

“Uh… Well, no, not really.  Why?”

“Like I said I cannot go into details, but I have to ask.”

“She died in a car accident, you said.  Why are you investigating?”

“Any fatalities have to be investigated per procedure. I’m sure you understand.”

Sitting at the kitchen table, Shellie heard their conversation.

Ms. Baxter had died! Part guilty relief and part fear washed over her. What would they do for a nurse now?

She never liked the mean-spirited Bernice, but she knew how much her father relied on her.

Officer Peter Gordon, Royas’ partner spoke up, “How about in the last two or three weeks?  Was she having any financial problems or maybe was she suffering from any illnesses that you know of?”  He used the end of his pen to scratch at a graying black beard as he waited on Dom’s response.

It was Dom’s turn to stare.  Officer Gordon was lanky with a “runner’s body” but also seem bored and distracted.  Officer Royas was heavier, but his set of keen eyes stared back with annoyance.  The heat roasted the two men standing on the sidewalk.

He carefully worded his reply, “I’m not on a personal level with my mother’s nurse so I don’t know about her health, but as far as her finances, I just offered to pay her more hourly while she takes care of my mother.”

The officers nodded and jotted down the information in a hand-size notebook.

“I’m sorry to cut this short, but I really do need to tend to lunch for my mother and daughter.  Is there anything else or are we done?”

Officer Gordon frowned.  “Is there an issue or anything you want to tell us, Mr. Witherspoon?  You seem a bit… nervous.”

Her father did not like being pressed.

“Okay.  We’re done.  Good day, officers.”  He shut the door in their faces.  The whole conversation would come back to haunt them.

He rubbed his neck and shook his head.  It was obvious they rattled him with the news and the sudden stress of the nurse’s death.   They relied heavily on her and it would be hard for him to find a replacement.

“It’s okay, Dad.  They’ll send someone out.”  She was referring to the Nurses Service Association.

“Uh… Yeah.  Eat your grilled cheese now.”  He passed by her and went upstairs to his room on the second floor.

She guessed he would be calling into work and trying to find someone to take his shift at Carmen’s All-Nighter Laundromat.  Without Ms. Baxter, Dom wouldn’t be able to leave her alone with Grannie.

At times like this, Shellie especially missed her mother.  Her father tried to be attentive and provided what he could, but he was awkward with affection and emotional connections.  She didn’t doubt his love, but feeling it was another story.

She realized then for the first time that Ms. Baxter was the only other person she knew who died other than her mother.  Both died the same way too — in a car accident.

 I don’t want to go to her funeral!  He won’t go, will he? She didn’t even like me, Dad or even Grannie!  All she ever did was yell at us and hog the TV when dad wasn’t aroun—

She gasped.  Do ghosts come because you thought bad things about them after they died?

Shellie bolted up the stairs and jumped onto her laptop to research it.  Within five minutes she was lost in a series of animated YouTube videos and completely forgot about the car accident, Ms. Baxter’s haunting and her father’s work woes.

At about 7:30 that night, it all returned like a curse with the Phoenix Homicide Detectives Dale Kenton and Jerry Pence.

Dom answered the door and spewed out his excuses before they could introduce themselves. “Look, it’s late, Officers. I’ve already answered the questions put to me by the first two.  My mother is ill.  Can we do this another time?”

Pence rebuked her father in a stern voice.  “Actually, no, Mr. Witherspoon.  This is a serious matter involving the death of your mother’s nurse.  I would think you could take time out to help us and provide closure for her family.  After all, the woman donated her last year to care for your sick mother.  It would be the most humane thing to do. No?”

The thin, white detective was dressed in a gray suit pressed sharp and neat with a black tie.  He already had his hand-sized notebook out and an impatient air about him.

Dom sighed loudly but didn’t say anything else.

“May we?” Kenton poked his hand toward their kitchen table behind Dom.

Again, her father sighed and muttered under his breath, but opened the door invitingly.

“Go upstairs and check on your grandmother,” he ordered Shellie who was standing next to the television.

Detectives Kenton and Pence sat across the table from Dom, going over some information.  Shellie tried to listen as she checked on Grannie, but their voices were low and too garbled to hear.  The machines whirred and hummed like always.  Above her grandmother’s head, bright blue numbers displayed her heart rate, blood pressure and temperature.  All seemed normal.

Shellie raced back quietly to the stairs and perched in her favorite spying spot to listen.

“…several of them have reported seeing a heated conversation between you and Ms. Baxter.  You neglected to tell this to the officers this morning.”

“It was just a… a… Well, it wasn’t as it appeared.  She was upset with me because I ran late coming home from work.  Threatened to quit,” Dom rambled on, crossing his arms over his chest.

“So, you’re saying she was angry…Emotional?”

“Yes, but before she left she agreed to stay if I gave her a raise.”

“When the officers asked you about this, why did you keep it hidden?  According to those officers, you were rather ill-tempered and unresponsive,” Kenton said, applying the pressure.

“No! Not at all.  I was just shocked to learn of her death.”

“Yet, you were present enough to keep information from them?”

“What’s this all about?  I know you’re not digging this hard into a simple car accident.  I… I’m not answering any more questions until you level with me or you can leave.”  Dominic was a good man, but the stress had been wearing on him all afternoon and it was all too easy to be angry at that moment.

“Whoa, whoa, let’s not raise our voices, Mr. Witherspoon.  You’re going to upset your family,” Kenton warned.

Pence leaned over the table on his elbows.  “You seem under a lot of strain.  We’ll be out of your hair if you’ll tell us what you last talked about this morning with Ms. Baxter. We’re not ‘digging’ as you put it for no reason.”

“What’s this all about then?” Dom insisted again.

“We can do this at the station if you would prefer,” Kenton whispered, but it was a barely-veiled threat.

Dom slouched in his chair.  “No, I… I can’t leave my mother and daughter unattended.”  He’d rubbed at the back of his neck again.  “She…Ms. Baxter was angry like I said when I got home.  She’d gotten into an argument with my daughter and was mad that I was late.”

“What was this argument with your daughter about?”

“She found Shellie on her laptop watching videos on how to hack computers.  She’s always watching videos and such.  It wasn’t a big deal, but Ms. Baxter said Shellie hit her and she couldn’t take it here anymore.”

The detectives gave each other sidelong glances.

“Wait… What?” Dom shouted seeing their expressions.

“Nothing.  Go on,” Pence insisted, trying to appear friendly.

“NO! Leave now!  You won’t talk to me, I’m not talking to you.”  Her father rose from his seat, stormed over to the door and held it open for them.

As Kenton strode past, he leaned in and whispered once again, “You can expect a call for an interview sometime tomorrow, Dom.  This conversation’s just getting started.”

Elude Part One — Excerpt #4… — Derek Barton – 2017

Capture 4


Vicente was out of breath. He leaned against a park bench, his mouth gaping open and closed like a goldfish.  The heat made him feel as though he was being smothered under thick wool blankets.

The sun sank below the shapes of Camelback Mountain and disappeared from view, but Phoenix still baked in the twilight.

Shadows popped up everywhere, lengthening into jagged, rotted teeth.

There was no one in the park. He looked around him, paranoid and anxious. He couldn’t remember a time when Encanto Park had ever been empty. Even in the early AM hours, bums and addicts roamed the grounds begging for handouts or cigarettes.

Four parked cars were seemingly abandoned in the parking lot. Their owners were nowhere in sight.

An unlit, brick structure which served concessions and towels during the day to squealing-with-delight kids who lined up for the pool. Through its ebony glass front, he could see the interior, empty and soulless.

Pulling up his hoodie, he stood, swiveled away from the bench and glanced again at the surrounding area as he crossed the lot.

This ain’t right, Rory’s voice warned, the voice of his instinct.

His eyes couldn’t find anything wrong but there was something about the streetlights bordering the park. They were on but only emitted tiny cones of light. At this hour, Vic was sure the park’s own towering lights should have been on. Patches of pitch black swallowed entire sections of the park.

An iron fence surrounded the interior of the park. There were eight basketball courts, the hoops stood like forgotten soldiers in formation in front of the racquetball center. Behind the center, white lines marked the tennis courts which were barely visible.

No traffic came down 15th Ave on the west side of the park grounds. In fact, Vic could not hear a single noise — car, person or otherwise. It was as if the city as one held its breath.

Heavy night air wrapped its arms around him, pressing in on him. The only noise he heard was his own heartbeat. More of the buildings in the distance were swallowed in pitch black. The charcoal wave washed along the western horizon, snuffing out the dots of light one by one. They popped and twinkled away like shooting stars.

An energy radiated through him, pricking his skin. Fear lifted the hair on the back of his head. Involuntarily, he walked backward, away from the sight. After hours, the gates were closed, and the fences padlocked but that didn’t deter him. He heaved up and thrust his body up and over the top of the gate with a practiced precision.

He saw a set of cement dugouts above the dips of a skate park ahead. It wouldn’t be comfortable, but they would provide a little shelter and a place to sleep for the night. He tried to pretend all was safe and right.

“Park is closed.” A husky voice came out of nowhere behind him.

Vic spun on his heels.

No one was there.

He peered into the gloom, straining his eyes.

He blinked and blinked again. The high rises on the eastern horizon were darkening. Their lights weren’t turning off but were fading as if their energy sources were being drained to nothing.

All around the park, the city shut its bright eyes and slept inside the ebony blanket he saw earlier.

“Park is closed!” the voice rasped over his right shoulder, louder this time.

Vic spotted a lanky figure, hovering in the murky shadows of the racquetball center. No one had been there moments before.

He couldn’t make out the features, but he guessed by the stature, it was a man.  Moonlight suddenly fell over the curls of a thick beard, but he didn’t make any movement or sound.

“Hello?” Vic called out. In spite of being on the run and knowing he shouldn’t be attracting attention to himself, he felt compelled to react.

No answer.

“I see you, you know!” Vic shouted.

The Beard started forward, his feet making no sound as they skimmed over the concrete. “I see you too.”

Enough of this!

Vic charged to the left, sprinting through the sands of the volleyball courts.

“Where are my hands, you bastard?” A high-pitched woman’s voice followed him, terse and angry.

He skidded to a stop and spun around, his eyes searching.

“Who’s there? Who said that?”

“You know who,” the feminine voice answered, but the words gurgled as they passed through her lips.

The voice came from a lump of shadows at the base of a park lighting pole. A woman struggled to her knees and bucked forward, then staggered to her feet.  Above her, the lamp burst on.  Light washed over her gaunt and bloody features. Dirt caked her cheeks and patches of white skull gleamed through her thinning blonde hair.

“Give them back to me. Give me my hands!”

What the hell is this?

“The park is closed! CCCCLLLLOOOOSSSSEEEDDD!” The Beard came from behind him and was only a few feet away. His features were still obscured in a smoky mist swirling around him.

Vic retrieved a serrated knife from his waistband and brandished it. “Get the fuck away from me!”

Trembling, he swung the blade back and forth in a semi-circle in front of him.

“That isn’t your knife. At least, not the one you used before.”

Another feminine voice came at him from below, down by his sneakers.

A naked body, missing arms and legs, thrashed in a pool of syrupy blood.

“Where is the knife you used on me before you stuffed me in the trunk?” she garbled, choking on ropes of blood oozing out with her words.

Vic shrieked and leaped backward.

“Why did you do this to us?” He snapped his head up to a woman hanging from another park light pole. Blood dripped in endless streams from dozens of cuts and lacerations. She was strung up with a white and blue-striped nylon rope.

“I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE, BUT I DIDN’T DO THIS!”  he screamed at the top of his lungs. “I DIDN’T DO ANY OF THIS!”

“We all saw you,” they chanted as one back at him. A hand clamped down on his leg above the ankle. He felt the cold of her skin through the material of his jeans.

He twisted to escape, but his leg remained locked in her icy grip.

Vic shrieked again when he felt another set of crawling fingers working up his right shoulder. A severed hand, pale with freshly done fingernails, grabbed at his face, covering his mouth. He lost his balance and fell with a loud splash into a puddle of blood.

Two new, bulky shadows crowded over him.

“Make this easy, buddy. Tell us where the others are and we’ll work out a deal with them,” the fat detective said as he chuckled and drank from his Circle K foam cup.  Half of his face looked like he scratched it off with his own fingernails.  Shining white teeth gleamed out as he gave Vic a wide smile and wink.

“We don’t have to hand you over,” Kemp, the skinny black detective said as he knelt next to Vic. He poked a thumb at the thrashing body that was rolling closer. “You left her teeth. She’s going to use them.”

NOO! his mind shrieked. Reality cracked and splintered into shards like a mirror.  The world bucked up and down under him.

Pain exploded in his head and a lightning flash of agony blinded him. He rolled over onto his back groaning and clutching at his forehead. Rivulets of blood pumped between his fingers. Daylight pierced his vision and speared directly into his brain.

As his headache blossomed, morning had come after all. He was lying in the concrete dugout among spit out gum and dog piss under the stone bench he used as a bed. He’d cracked his head on a steel bar fence in his sleep.

The graphic nightmare replayed in his head. Not a single detail faded. No dream had ever come so close to reality before for him. His breath was ragged, and his body trembled from the terror.

Then a voice whispered inside his head. It spoke independent and on its own…

 Park is closed.

Vic sat straight up.

I see you, the voice repeated.  This time it was followed by a giggle.

There at eye-level, a serrated knife sat on the bench, shining in the sunlight. It hadn’t been there when he’d gone to sleep.

It was his knife though. The knife he left at the house he shared with Cat, packed away under his bed. Someone retrieved it, placed it by his head and left while he was tortured by the nightmare.

His lips pressed into a thin line and his jaw locked when he spotted two distinct and wet, bloody fingerprints on the handle.


Elude Part One — Excerpt #2… — Derek Barton – 2017

Capture hh



Like a bolt of lightning, Vic sprinted back into the house, knocking the screen door off one of its hinges.

He blazed through the living room, hopped over a laundry basket in the hallway and bulldozed open the back-porch door. The heavy footfalls of the police officer hadn’t left his ears. He heard the man chasing after him.

“OH MY GOD, VICENTE! WHAT DID YOU DO?” Cat screamed from somewhere in the front of the house, maybe she was even still in the front yard.

“Stop!” Reccard called out to him, already sounding winded.

Vic kept his pace, scrambling up and over the backyard gate. When his feet hit the gravel of the alleyway, he shot to the west. His best chance was to get closer to the campus, get into a crowd. But most of all, he needed time. Time to learn what happened and time to think of his next move.

Above all, Vic didn’t want to go back to jail or have to leave Cat again. Until today, he put faith in the idea that things were going to work out for them. Cat would get back into her schooling, find herself, and maybe even establish a career. He would be careful, avoid trouble and maybe even do something with photography to better himself.

But was that all dusted?

There was a struggling strip mall a few blocks west that was his first goal. The parking lot would be busy enough at this time of late afternoon. He could make for the Frye’s Grocery Store. Plenty of shoppers getting tonight’s dinner.

Sirens blared at the other end of the alley behind him. They must’ve thought he headed the other way.  Now the police cruiser barreled down the alley trying to play catchup.

Not breaking stride, he cut right at the end and pumped his legs faster. He had to get to that parking lot first. He heard several dogs barking at the commotion.

His thoughts whirled around the image of blood dripping steadily from holes in his trunk. What the hell was in my car? I didn’t see anything in the house and no one came after me. How can this be happening?

Three blocks ahead, he saw the sign for the grocery store and the various oddity stores. Cars were streaming in and out of the lot. He weaved around them and made a straight line for the entrance.

Sweat poured down his neck and between his shoulders. His black curly hair matted at the sides around his ears. He crossed the entry, stopping to catch his breath. Vic knew he had out-run the first officer, but he only had seconds before more would arrive in the lot.

He briskly walked toward the back, trying not to attract more attention. Below the neon sign for the Produce, an arrow pointed toward the restrooms. A man in his late fifties guided a cart with stacks of open boxes through a set of double plastic doors.

“Excuse me, didn’t see you. Need a window in one of those swinging doors,” he complained.

Vic nodded and swung around him. In the back room, one of the fluorescents flickered and buzzed like an angry bee. A cloying rotted citrus smell bowled into him and nearly made him gag. More stacks of fruit boxes filled the majority of the room and lined two of the cement walls. A desk and a corkboard covered in Postit notes saddled the other wall.

An open doorway led to a dark back stockroom and docking port. He saw a glowing-red exit sign above a metal set of double-doors.

Without thinking, he pushed the door open and triggered a piercing alarm.

Damn! Damn damn damn, he cursed to himself. He knew better – he’d just blown his advantage.

“HEY KID!” the produce clerk called after him.

He dashed to the left, avoided the sloping dock ramp and went parallel to the back of the strip mall shops. Around the corner at the back end, he shot up and over a low, cinder block wall, and landed on a tree-clustered, dirt bank. Ahead of him, he spotted several two-story townhouses.

You ever in a race, change it up – find new clothes fast! It will give you another chance to confuse ’em.

Another pearl of jail-time wisdom from his former cellmate, Rory James Cole.

He froze in his tracks when an idea popped into his head. Rory’s younger brother, Durojaiye “DJ” Cole might be willing to help him. The two had been in the same grade in Brinton Middle School, but Vic had hung out more with Rory back then. The police wouldn’t have him as one of Vic’s known associates.

Looking through a window of the nearest townhouse, it appeared empty. He removed his shirt and wrapped his fist in it. Praying to himself that the owners didn’t have an alarm, he broke the backdoor’s windowpane.

Once inside he was quick with a decision and raced upstairs. There were three bedrooms. He chose the master bedroom.

The walk-in closet had exactly what he wanted: a pullover ASU sweatshirt, grey sweatpants and a baseball cap.

They won’t be looking for another college student. They’ll be looking for a Hispanic kid in a tee shirt and jeans. He grinned to himself.

Looking down to untie his sneakers, he discovered they were stained red with gore.

He rummaged through the dirty clothes on the floor and lucked upon some oversized sneakers. He also discovered a matching ASU backpack.

He stuffed a few more extra sets of clothes in the backpack.

Next to the bed was a black oak dresser with a lamp, several worn out paperbacks and framed photos. He picked up a photo of a young couple on a white sand beach. Seeing their smiling faces gave him a twinge of guilt.   He reached for his wallet.

“Shit. No. Sorry, I may need this money. You aren’t on the run from the police.”

He spoke the words, but it was Rory, always the survivor, who was inside his head. Don’t be no damn fool!

He left by the front door and walked with faked confidence. He carried the sneakers in the crook of his arm, stuffing his shaking hands in his jeans pockets.

Several blocks over he made a beeline for the entrance to the Tempe Town Lake Park. More sirens were working their way through the neighborhoods and closing in. He lowered the brim of the baseball cap another inch.

The sun finally dipped below the horizon, but the park lights were stubborn to show themselves. He crossed over 1st Street, cutting through another pair of townhouse complexes.

In the shadows along the shore side, he threw his bloody jeans and sneakers into the flowing water of the man-made lake.

A police helicopter flew west of him, headed to the neighborhoods by the grocery store no doubt. Instinct still told him to take the extra steps and remain out of the light of the streetlamps.

Now that he’d accomplished goal number one, he rested at a metal picnic table. It was one of his unique strengths: calm under pressure. His mind was quick to compartmentalize most situations, or obstacles. Time after time, it walked him through situations in juvie or jail.

I can’t stay here long, he decided, working through his options. Light Rail! Yeah, that’s good. It’ll take me to DJ’s neighborhood and I can still mix in with the crowds.




“Yeah? That does sound just like Rory.”

The two young men were in the living room on beaten down leather couches. A haze of Mint-Madness vape smoke floated through the room. DJ pulled again on his brass vaporizer.

Unlike his brother who was a beanpole and looked like he missed too many meals, DJ was near 5’7”, stocky with short, tight dreads. He also had a never-ceasing grin on his lips.

“With just a few words, your brother could get a prison riot started in a convent!” Vic lamented and laughed.

“I know, right?”

“But he never failed me or left me out there to hang. I owe him a lot. When’s his trial date?”

DJ got up and crossed to a cluttered kitchen counter. The court summons was buried in mail and loose papers.

“Uh… here.” He snatched it up and read it. “Next May. May 9th.”

Rory was facing his third appearance in court for a Breaking and Entering charge. This conviction would garner him the designation “career criminal”.

The two went quiet and DJ plopped down on the couch with a bowl of cheese puffs.

“You sure it’s cool for me to stay on your couch tonight?”

“Sure. Sure.”

“I’ll be out before 5. They’ll never know I was here and you won’t get any heat for this.” Vic was grateful for the chance the kid was taking on his behalf.  Harboring him for the night could get him in serious trouble.

“Gimme that beer, would ya?” DJ pointed at a Coors on the corner of a glass coffee table. “So… you didn’t even know this girl?”

Vic shook his head, rubbing at his nose with the back of his hand. “I went in the back door — there was a note telling me the front door was broken. And when no one answered I tried to find her.”

“Dude… You went inside?”

“I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. Too much sun baking my head today I guess.”

“What’s your plan for tomorrow?”

Vic took a long drink. “I don’t know, at least not yet. I freaked out. Panicked with that cop right there looking at that puddle under the car.”

DJ ate the last puff and stood up. Yawning, he said, “I’m going to check the news on the computer and see what they’re reporting. I can tell you in the morning before you leave. Get some rest. I’m sure this will work out. You didn’t do anything.”

He stated it as though it were a matter of fact, but his eyes asked the question.

Vic replied in a hushed tone, “Nothing.” Then he raised his empty bottle with his own inquiring eyes.

“You’ll want to take it easy on those.  A clear head is going to save you in the morning. Here, give me that backpack. I’ll throw those clothes in the washer. You never know what might be on them… College students are walking STDs these days, you know?”

Five minutes later, DJ called out from the back of the apartment, “Oh, hey! Are you hungry? I got some free pizza in the fridge.”


He chuckled, “They delivered this pizza here when you were in the shower, but I didn’t order it. The driver said his shift was over anyway and he was going to report the owners as a ‘no show’. So, he let me just take it.”

“Glad my luck is rubbing off on you.” They laughed together, but it felt forced and awkward. He was beyond exhaustion.  The day’s events were starting to hit home.

“JESUS, DUDE!” DJ cursed.  There was sheer terror in his voice.

“WHAT’S WRONG?” Vic shouted back.

When there was no answer, he worked up his courage, afraid of what he might see and went to find his friend.

DJ stood next to the washing machine, the backpack spilled open on top of it.  Nesting inside was a pair of pale white hands, butcher-cut at the wrists.

“You son-of-a-bitch!”

“I… No, this…” The beer lurched up in Vic’s stomach and he vomited into the corner of the room.

From over his shoulder, Vic heard DJ on his cell phone.  “I’m at 1984 W Dunlap. I need a police officer NOW!”

He then put a hand over the phone and hissed through clenched teeth, “Do the right thing, man. Turn yourself in.”

Vic couldn’t look at him. His eyes were locked on the bloody stumps.  The fingernails were painted in bright pinks and yellows with polka dots of blood.

Elude Part One — Excerpt #1… — Derek Barton – 2017

Bloody hand


Vicente Vargas leaned forward, studying the crystalline blue eyes staring back at him from the computer screen.  The picture was of a small girl with fine blond hair, holding a dandelion up in the last of the summer day’s rays.  Her face was scrunched, her brow furrowed as she spotted the tiny white spider perched on the flower.

The shot was a perfect story to Vic.  When he selected his “keepers”, there was a significant rule he lived by: each shot must tell a story.  He was not a wedding photographer or even a mall hack who took portraits.  However, he did consider himself a budding artist.

He tagged the pictured and saved it on his hard drive.  She would be featured in his collection.  One day he would get his chance with a gallery and have a showing.

The voice of his late mother floated through his mind. I know you will make Mama proud.  You and your sister will show the world.

She always said it to him when he was growing up.  It might have been one of the last things she ever said to him.  He couldn’t remember.

He and Cat had been shipped off stateside five years back.  He was old enough to watch his baby sister on his own by then.  Mama saved and sacrificed for years to get enough money to send them ahead to a house she managed to mortgage.  The plan was to rejoin them in a year.

Then Hurricane Sandy took her life away.  Flooded the city and drowned all their dreams.

“You can’t hear that?” Cat snapped from the kitchen doorway.


“Your phone is ringing! I could hear it through my headphones.  Vic, you have got to go!” She scolded.

His sister, Catarina, was only sixteen herself yet in many ways since his return, she had become the mother figure.

He hated the change.

“Fine,” he groaned, shut off the computer monitor and gave up resisting the call.

He had worked for six months now as a driver for an internet food service called Impulse Deliveries.  It barely paid him more than minimum wage, even the tips were insulting.

The clock on the wall flashed at him.  He called down the hallway. “The power went out again?”

“No. Some sort of ‘brown out’ hit the entire area.  Too many AC’s working overtime, bro.”

Bro.  Cat was in some mood.  Her mouth got as sharp as her wit when she was stressed, or something was bothering her.

He swept up his cell phone, walked through the kitchen doorway and poked his head past her dirty bedroom door.  “What’s going on?”


“Cat… What is it?”

She shook her head and pretended to be scanning the textbook in front of her.

“You know you can talk to me.  I’ve been aro—”

“—Yeah. I heard how jail gives you a well-rounded education these days.”

He sucked in a breath between his teeth as her words stung him.  He rotated on the heels of his sneakers and stormed through the kitchen back door.

As the screen slammed shut, he heard a muffled, “Hey Vic, I’m so—”

On days like this, he sincerely missed his mother.  She had a real gift for reading people and their emotions.  Ava Vargas always knew the right words to say.

Irritated and frazzled by his sister’s taunt, he rubbed his nose. It was a nervous habit of his.  Throwing his bag into the back seat of their beat-up Nissan Altima, he revved the engine for effect, plastered his foot on the gas and peeled out of the driveway into the street.

At the first red light on Washington, he hauled out the cell phone from his jeans’ front pocket.  On the screen was a flashing bike symbol with a capital “I” centered on it.  He tapped it.

An address appeared as Google Maps opened automatically for him.  It zoomed in and identified his target address and the time he’d take getting to it.

9982 W Broadmore Apt #7E, Tempe. 

More instructions appeared below the address.  Burger Express:  815 W Warner Rd.  Order:  2 Jumbo Boy Burgers with fries.  1 order of onion rings and 2 Medium Cokes.  Ask for Jackson.

He sighed and wiped at his forehead. Already beads of sweat had popped up.  The temperature in Tempe was a “hair dryer 110 degrees”.  Not quite the “stick your head in an oven 118 degrees” yet — those temperatures were guaranteed by the weatherman on Channel 17 for the weekend.

Over an hour later, parked in the shade of an old warehouse, he lay back in his seat.  The last three deliveries had gone smooth, but the “tip jar” feature on his work dashboard had shown only $7.50 total.  For the four total deliveries, he successfully sweet-talked three of them into adding something extra. The Jackson order stiffed him.

“Mighty white of you, Mr. Jackson,” Vic cursed to himself.

He shut off the car radio playing an obnoxious rap version of Mac the Knife — even at his age he knew some classics you just leave alone.  Glancing at the dashboard clock, he wondered if he should head home and call it a day.  Then he remembered the exchange with his sister and decided he wasn’t ready yet for the awkward apology session.

Since his release on parole and coming back to the house, they had been working on rebuilding their relationship.  In the three and a half years he was in juvie, then jail, she had grown up.

Friends of his parents took her in after the trial.  Vic was her only rock back then.  He had let her down, was forced to abandon her.  She needed him, but one dumb night of idiotic decisions had led to a stupid joyride.

Vrrt vrrrrt vrrrrrt.  His cell phone vibrated like a mad bee on the seat next to him.  Again, the bike symbol pulsed on the screen.

It’s the Vic signal, V-man!  Another daring adventure and another damsel needs saving!  The joke broke his sour mood and a smirk cracked his lips.  He knew his jokes were lame, but they amused him at least.

1718 Lioness Estates Dr, Scottsdale.

 Chipotle: 2819 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste. #9  Order:  3 burritos, 2 steak and 1 chicken with sour cream.  No green onions on any of the orders. Ask for Shari

Scottsdale?  That might just save this day.  Bound to have a few extra dollars for a tip, no?

 The phone blipped a tiny bell and a text came through:  Ring the doorbell three times to be sure I hear you.  Thanks.

Per Google, he was fifteen minutes away from the restaurant.

He started up the Nissan.

Ten minutes after picking up the meal order, he pulled into the gravel drive leading to the large ranch house in Scottsdale.

Balancing the drink carrier with the three bags while trying to close the driver door with his leg, he spotted a piece of pink paper flapping from the glass door of the house.

When he stepped up to the porch he read, “Come around the side, door is not working. Sorry!  Shari”

He sighed loudly, turned around and went to the right side of the house.  He wasn’t sure if she meant the right, but it had a cement walkway that ran parallel to the brick façade.

In the back, he found a sparkling greenhouse with a single door propped open with a red-orange brick.

Vic used his foot to push it back so he could squeeze inside.  The strong scent of citrus filled the entire greenhouse.  He didn’t see any other doors to the house.  Along the back were dozens of flowerpots. Down the middle of the room were rows of hanging plants and flowers.

“Hello?”  Vic called out.

No answer.

“I’m here with your Chipotle order?  Hello?”

He walked along the center aisle where it turned to the left. A metal screen door with another wooden door behind it came into view.  The window in the wood door had closed beige curtains.

Where are they?  C’mon!  It’s too hot in here to play this game.  Sweat trickled down his back and wetted the pits to his black tee shirt.

A dirty sink and shelf were built into the wall next to the screen door.  He set the items down in order to knock.

Still no answer.  He was getting irritated, this was taking too long. He placed his hands on his hips.

“HELLO?? ANYONE THERE??” he shouted, cupping his hands to magnify the words.

Perhaps she was upstairs or had headphones on?

He tried the door handle.  Both doors were unlocked, and he walked in.  He had no idea this was the worst decision of his life.

“Uh… Shari?  I have your food order.  Shari, are you home?”

He left the food and proceeded inside.  The foyer was dark and musty.  It led to a cramped sitting room with three love seats, a tiny unused fireplace and a desk covered in old mail and papers.

A light ahead coming through an archway drew him in further.

He walked into a much bigger living room with two couches facing each other across a glass coffee table.  There were twin book cabinets on opposite walls and a long stairwell in the east corner.  Thick brown curtains were drawn closed, burying the room in shadows.

It was nearly pitch black.  Vic slipped and fell face first into the back of the couch.  He crashed to his knees. Trying to catch himself, his hand splashed into something wet and sticky.  He yanked his hand back, gasping when he raised up a bloody palm to his eyes.

The blood trailing down his arm was still warm and syrupy.   The leg of his jeans was stuck to his calf where he landed in the spreading puddle.

“Oh… Oh, shit!”  He scrambled to his knees, backpedaling to the other room.

Panic gripped his chest.  His breath was raspy.

This is too much blood!  Too much to survive!  I have to get out of here!

He bolted back through the greenhouse and raced out to his car.  Slamming the car into drive, Vic didn’t notice the disappearance of the pink note from the front door.

Fifteen minutes later, he was parked in the lot of a rundown gas station.  Its yard was cluttered with car parts, abandoned vehicles and rusted barrels.  Spotting an outdoor sink set-up, he drove behind the station.

He got out, looking around for anyone watching.  It was all clear.  He washed the blood from his arm and took his pants down to wash the blood from his leg.

Later, as he waited at a stop light two minutes from his house, he shook his head as if it might help him make sense of what had happened.  His entire 6’2” frame, coated in sweat, still shook with tremors.

“I had to leave,” he whispered.

She’s gotta be dead… I cannot be near that!  I’m on parole and they won’t listen to me.  No part of it!  Won’t take the word of a Puerto Rican felon! Awww, shit!  What am I going to do? 

His rambling thoughts continued to run in circles inside his head.  A car horn blared at him.  He hadn’t seen the light change.

When he rolled around the corner, he spotted a single police car parked in his driveway.

What the…

They couldn’t know anything yet.  I just found it.  What is going on?

Since the squad car was taking up the only available parking area, he parked on the street in front of the house.

Through the front window, Vic saw Cat speaking to a patrol officer.  She looked upset and emotional.  He swallowed hard and took a quick spot check of his jeans.  They were drying, but he didn’t see any telltale signs of blood.

Steeling himself, he straightened his shoulders and stepped across the yard to the front door.

  “This is ridiculous!  Isn’t this profiling?”  Cat exclaimed at the male police officer who towered over her.  In his late forties, he was white with a shock of black and white hair, and an air of impatience about him.

“It’s not profiling.  I’m just doing my due-diligence and following protocol on any tips given to the police department.”

“What’s this about?” Vic spoke loud enough to make them both jump at his sudden appearance.

The officer whipped his head around and lowered his hand to his belt, close to his service revolver.

“What’s going on here, sir?” he rephrased his question in a calmer demeanor, trying to ease back the dial on the tension.

“Who are you?” the officer demanded.

“Vicente Vargas, sir.”  He used the same downward cast of his eyes, the non-threatening tone and the lowered shoulders posture he learned in jail.  When you talk with the boss, this was how you talk.  Anything different caused further scrutiny or triple the trouble coming your way.

The heavyset officer studied him then replied, “Well, Vicente, my name is Officer Reccard.  There was a break-in down the street at Mennen’s Stereo Warehouse, lots of equipment and items were stolen.  A tip came in that a young teenage girl by the name of Catarina Vargas might have been involved.  She and her boyfriend Jimmy Brower may have information on it.”

“That’s crap!” Vic blurted.

“Watch your tone, son.”

“My sister is not involved.  I’m telling you.”

“They already searched the house, Vic.  Didn’t find anything.” Cat stated.

Vic asked, “Do you have a warrant?”

The officer raised his eyebrows in surprise, ”Oh? Do I need one? Nothing to hide, right?”

“Uh… no.  You’re right we have nothing to hide.  We don’t have anything.”

He crossed over to Vic standing in the doorway and leaned into his face. “So… I’m not going to find anything in that car, either. Right?  Or would you like to wave that holier-than-thou rights stuff in my face again and make me get a warrant?”

Vic shook his head, focusing on a spot on the floor by his feet.

Reccard brushed past him and headed out to the car.  Vic and Cat followed him without a word.

As they crossed the poorly mowed lawn sprinkled with tall weeds, the cop froze in his tracks.  Vic looked past the bulk of the officer and spotted something dripping from the backend of the car, puddling under the trunk by the driver’s back tire.

It was more of the warm and syrupy blood…

In Four Days…

Blog Pic 11

My favorite holiday of the year is approaching fast:  Halloween!!  So, to start this year’s fun off right, I have decided I am going to tell you all a horror story.  I wrote some of this about four months ago and have dabbled with the piece now and then in between my other projects.

A new genre of horror stories called “Creepypastas” came out a few years back.  Here is the actual definition and how they originated:

Creepypasta  — From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Creepypastas are horror-related legends or images that have been copy-and-pasted around the Internet. These Internet entries are often brief, user-generated ghost or alien stories intended to scare readers. They include gruesome tales of murder, suicide, and otherworldly occurrences. According to Time magazine, the genre had its peak audience in 2010 when it was covered by The New York Times.
In the mainstream media, creepypastas relating to the fictitious Slender Man character came to public attention after the 2014 “Slender Man stabbing“, in which a twelve-year-old girl from Waukesha, WI was stabbed by two of her friends; the perpetrators claimed they “wanted to prove the Slender Man skeptics wrong”.  After the murder attempt, some creepypasta website administrators made statements reminding readers of the “line between fiction and reality”.
Other notable creepypasta characters and stories include Jeff the Killer, Ted the Caver, and Psychosis. In October 2014, a book called Creepypasta: Spökhistorier från Internet (Creepypasta: Ghost Stories from the Internet) was published in Sweden.  In May 2015, Machinima Inc. announced plans for a live action web series curated by Clive Barker, titled Clive Barker’s Creepy Pasta.
The term originates from “copypasta“, a word used on 4chan in 2006 to describe viral copy-and-pasted text.

Anyway, after reading several creepypastas, I decided that it would be a blast to do my own.  I may eventually compile this into an e-book or perhaps a graphic novel; I haven’t decided, but mainly I am writing this for the fun and thrill of the scare!  Bwah hahahah!!

Here is “Day One” of my creepypasta saga called In Four Days:




Taken and reposted from Rosalina Rico’s Cuisine Review.  January 21st, 2016

I am sorry – I am at a loss what I can do next.  Normally as you all know, this is my restaurant blog and daily journal about my experiences within Philly’s unique diners and dives.  Today, I am using this to reach out for help and ideas.
This… for lack of a better word, this stalking started on Wednesday, January 20th..
The first night came when I was at the firm, B****** & D******, running a series of month-to-date reports.   I am one of three “seasoned” accountants and as always the other two had conveniently found reasons to be away from the office.  Due to our computer system having issues, the reports were pushed back three hours and I was on my fourth cup of coffee.
At 10:38 pm I needed three things:  the reports to be done, another cup of awful coffee and a badly-needed cigarette.
I ran down the hall and went to the ladies restroom.  It was deserted.  Yes! Lucky me!!
The fluorescence lights always flickered in this bathroom; one intern called it the Disco John.  Gave me the creeps each time, but tonight I didn’t want to take the long elevator ride to the parking lot where they had our designated smoking section.  Besides, the fans worked well and would clear out my cigarette smoke in a couple minutes.  Yes, this wasn’t my first time sneaking a drag.   
Just after my sixth or seventh long pull from the cigarette, the bathroom door squealed as the door was slowly hauled open.  In a panic I dropped it into the water below and fanned the air with my arms.  Holding my breath, I waited to see who was coming in – please not that fat ass from security.
Three heavy steps inside, then the person stopped just passed the swinging door.  Crap!  Sounds like boots!  No one from the office.
Above the fluorescence bulbs suddenly froze still and then brightened with an odd humming buzz.
The footsteps started again.
This time I heard a squelching sound.  Each step made a soft, obscene squishing burp.  The person turned the corner and began walking down the length of the stalls.  I kept waving the smoke up toward the fans.  The visitor stopped right in front of my stall and faced my door.
I sighed heavily.  “Sorry… sorry.  I know we aren’t allowed to smoke in here.  I already put it out.”
My name would probably go into some kind of Security Guard’s report.  .
“Uh… I am not done in here, but… I promise no more smoking okay?”
No response.
I coughed Ahem into my hand hoping “he” would get the hint.
No response.
“Look! I know you are just doing your job, but I don’t think you are supposed to do it in the ladies room.”
Nothing.  Silence.
I was getting pissed, frustrated and a bit frightened at this point.
I tried to see passed the slits in the door but “he” was standing in the center of the stall door.  His boots I could see were covered in a nasty grey-green muck.  A thick trail of mud followed his steps.
Who the hell was this??
“What do you want?  My name? Who are you?”
No answer.
I listened intently and I could make out just a whispery breath on the other side of the door.
“Are you purposefully trying to mess with me, asshole?”
I waited for something, anything.
Remembering my phone in my slack’s pocket, I reached down and checked to see if I had a signal.  I was lucky again.
“You better get the fuck out!  I am going to take your picture and then call 911!”  I threatened.  “You hear me, ya goddamn pervert!”
I rose up from the toilet, yanked my slacks up and held the phone up over the door.
The lights went out!  Everything covered in pitch black like a tomb.
 My cell phone went dead too.  When I checked it, it slipped from my hand as I started shaking uncontrollably.
His breath echoed and seemed louder somehow in the confines of the bathroom.
“Four days… I will have you in four days.”  The voice was hollow and stony.  No emphasis or emotion.
I screamed and kicked the door hard hoping to knock him down.  At that same moment, the lights exploded on and blinded me.  I fell forward in my momentum, crashed into the wall outside the stall and fell hard to the floor.
Lying on my back in the muddy grey-green slime, I blinked my eyes repeatedly trying to get them to adjust and see the bastard.
I was alone.


Hope you enjoyed this — next week, I will post “Day Two”!!  I will do these installments up through Halloween, but don’t be surprised to see other blog posts now and then on writing or self-publishing!  🙂

Let me know what you think of this story so far!