He looked down the cliff’s face to the water. It wasn’t the distance that concerned him; he’d gone into water from far higher than the 30 feet it looked to be.
No, what concerned him was the dark surface. It might mean deep water.
It might mean shallow water with a dark bottom.
Even deep water could have jagged rocks, old tree trunks, any manner of solid sharp debris.
If you have no choice but to go in, it doesn’t matter whether the water is deep or shallow, or so he told himself. What matters is that you go in feet first. An injury to one or both legs could be survived. Head injuries, out here in the middle of nowhere, probably not.
The first arrow hit the dirt close enough behind him that he heard it, felt a tiny shock in his feet. They would wait until they were close enough before loosing any more.
And as he went over the edge feet first, one foot snagged in the tangle of a tree root sticking out, flipping him completely, holding for less than an instant before he dropped again.
We sat in the dark back seat, watching the digital clock (made of actual light bulbs) atop the bank in Chula Vista. It was a long red light. We’d seen the time change from 7:03 to 7:04 and all four of us started counting the seconds until it changed again.
Quietly, in the back seat: “57, 58, 59” and then, not quietly at all, the four of us shouting “Now!”
At that moment, the left turn light changed to green.
Dad stomped on the gas.
We weren’t in the left turn lane.
… more … “How to Make Your Father Run a Red Light”
The door to the large storage room was unlocked, which seemed odd, but perhaps it was intentional. Perhaps Dubin’s plan involved accidental stumblings.
Knob turned, I listened for any sounds.
In the absolute still of the church Niall’s breathing behind me was louder than anything behind the door.
I pushed it open and stepped into the dark.
Accidental stumblings indeed.
As the lights blinded me, I don’t know who was more startled when we collided, me, or Conor Dubin.
I whipped around as the church door slammed. My glimpse of the spot where Niall had been standing was now a glimpse of a heavy wooden door.
Then, it was the inside of the storeroom door, and I was on the wrong side of it with some people I desperately wanted not to see.
This is an excerpt from Into the Fog.
To read the whole story, get your copy at Amazon
I had the urge to leave. So far Siobhan had done nothing but avoid my questions, drag me cross country, and rebuff my advances. What kind of relationship was that?
I stood up. Checked my pockets. Yup, still had 45 Euro. Thanks for the fish, Mr. American Tourist, but I’m moving on. Time to be proactive.
I was so close. So close to finally being smart. Or, close to smart finally doing me some good.
I hadn’t even seen them come in; I was getting comfortable in my environs and not paying attention, or maybe I was so focused on deciding whether Siobhan was dangerous or not that I didn’t have the mental energy to watch for other enemies, if they were enemies.
“Dr. Martin, please, don’t go yet. We should talk.”
The speaker couldn’t have kept me there if he’d wanted to; he was the second smallest man I’d met in Ireland, after the ex-Mr. O’Quinn. His compatriot was another matter. A giant, in acres of Armani, he had me sitting back down and slid against the far edge of the booth as if I hadn’t existed.
The big hard lump in his pocket had smacked my elbow hard enough to hurt. A big metal lump, not even in a holster. Sloppy, but probably effective.
I decided not to go yet. I didn’t decide whether we should talk.
Standing where I’d been instructed, I scanned the room. There was too much room at my back for my liking, but no one was expecting me, personally, just someone standing right there. Other than to tell me to look where all the other red-blooded men were looking, Rose had been silent on anything more about Heather. Apparently it was important for me not to show any sign of recognition. I’d be contacted, Rose had said.
It all felt rather foolishly like a cheap spy novel, except for the part where Rosie made it clear lives (ours included) hung in the balance if I messed up.
Since it was the only job I had, I tried not to mess up standing in that spot.
Yeah, there wouldn’t be much story here if I’d been able to conquer that monumental task.
When she came around the far corner of the bar I almost shouted. Her eyes slid over me like I was a boring patch of wallpaper. Over twenty years, I’d know her anywhere, even in a dimly lit club.
So, of course, I blew everything, and shouted her name.
This is an excerpt from That She is Made of Truth.
To read the whole story, get your copy at Amazon
“What makes you think she’s in trouble?”
“I knew you wouldn’t take me seriously.”
“Not saying that. I need the lay of the land before I take the case.”
“Just because I’m not old enough to drive—”
“Hey, age has no bearing on whether someone needs help.”
“Or tells the truth.”
“That, too. People of all ages lie to me. People of all ages get confused about people they love. People of all ages come in here and tell me all kinds of stories. I pepper them with questions like I’m doing right now, and if I don’t like their story, they can take it somewhere else. So like I said, age has nothing to do with it whether I’ll believe you, or take you seriously, or take the case even if I do. I still need to know what makes you think she’s in trouble.”
“She packs my lunch for school every day. Writes me notes.”
“This is not surprising.”
“Wait, I wasn’t finished. This is the note I found in my lunch today. Read it.”
“He’s going to kill me. Get help.”
As he scrambled through the underbrush the jagged tear in his leg soaked his boot and, worse, left a clear trail for the monster on his trail.
The same question circled his brain over and over: loop back and get behind the creature, or drive like a madman straight away from it?
His inability to decide stemmed from his unfamiliarity with the beast. Was it sentient, reasoning, a strategic foe, or simply a mad animal looking for a meal?
Pushing through the dense jungle since waking before dawn to the stench of the taloned thing behind him, he fought the mental fog brought on by lack of sleep. The animal had dogged his trail for a week, if his count of the days was right.
Precision wasn’t his strong suit.
… more … “Perpetual Prey”