Monday, July 24, 2017
Tracy knew the scene seemed a bit cliché. Here she was, a young, attractive woman, standing all alone, late at night, looking into the mouth of a darkened alleyway.
Was she seriously considering going in? The mere thought of doing so caused a wave of panic to wash over her. She fought it down, trying to regain her composure.
She peered into the depths of the unknown. No light could be discerned; not the slightest bit. She stood motionless, a slight fear fluttering into her chest and stomach.
A slight fear? It was more like paranoia, bordering on full blown terror. By sheer force of will she pushed her emotions aside, clutched her purse tightly and stepped forward. There would be no turning back.
Within a few steps the shadows of the alleyway consumed her completely. No one looking in from Pierre Street would even be aware of her. Even she wasn’t sure she was present. Only the echoes of her heels on the pavement reassured her of her own presence.
The air surrounding her was becoming stifling, having a feeling of staleness to it, as well. A few more steps and a foul odor began to assail her nose. The stench permeated her very pores the farther she walked.
The scurrying of tiny feet to her left caused her to pause in mid step. What could it have been? A lost dog? A scavenging cat? Worse, it could be vermin. And not the cute little white kind with the pink twitching nose. No, this one would be the large, brown kind with fangs the size of butcher knives. The kind that’s so big even a rodeo cowboy would have trouble hanging onto for the full eight seconds.
Fear threatened, but she successfully fought it off once again. How many times would she win that battle? Would fear finally paralyze her? Leave her stranded in the alley until daybreak? She wasn’t sure she wanted to find out the answer to those questions.
She shook her head to clear the thoughts trying to run rampant through her mind and forced herself forward once more.
Once she was deep into the alley she heard the noise she feared the most: shuffling footsteps coming from behind her.
She turned, craning her neck as far as it would go. Nothing but dark came to her eyes. As she stood looking into the darkness the shuffling repeated itself, just a slight bit nearer than the last time. The sound was followed this time by a high pitched squeal.
“Hello,” she frantically called out. “Is someone there?”
Did she really think a skulking pervert would announce himself to his intended victim? It would be more like a knife in the back with no warning.
With no response forthcoming she resumed her trek, stepping gingerly, trying to avoid making any noise; thereby avoiding alerting the would-be assailant to her whereabouts.
The farther she went, the more she heard the shuffling steps and nerve racking squeal.
She finally saw the light at the end of the alley, causing her to increase her pace. Unfortunately, it seemed the footfalls behind increased in speed as well.
She fairly ran the last few yards to light and safety. Once free of the darkness she turned and paused for one last look into the abyss. Curiosity got the better of her.
‘Didn’t it also kill the cat?’ she wondered.
As she stood watching, emotions as scattered as an Oklahoma barn after a twister, an elderly couple pushing a shopping cart emerged from the alley she had so recently quitted. One wheel emitting a horrendous squeal before they came to a stop.
The shriveled old couple held onto the cart as if it were a double walker. The grey haired woman turned to the stoop shouldered man as she pulled something from the side of her head.
“Harold, I think my battery went dead,” she croaked, gingerly holding a hearing aid in one hand.
Harold turned to the woman and replied, “What? Can’t hear you, my blasted battery went dead again.”
Tracy’s body relaxed, fear slipping away. A smile played at the corners of her mouth, until the old geezer pulled a gun out of his jacket and pointed it at her, that is.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Hank wasn’t sure how his dad handled it for so many years, but he was beginning to get the feeling that a sales rep position for a manufacturing company wasn’t going to be his kind of gig. Especially not after the bad trip he was having.
It was bad enough to be the low man on the totem pole and draw the worst sales route for the whole company, but to now have car trouble on top of it? Who wouldn’t want to jump ship in hopes of landing a better job?
Why did it seem like his life was quietly going down the crapper? Cindy hadn’t helped matters, either. Her ‘get married or get out’ ultimatum just minutes before he loaded the trunk of his car for this lousy trip was just the tip of the iceberg, apparently. Nothing had gone right since.
Zero sales after six stops in three long days. Now he had car trouble in the middle of freakin’ nowhere. Plus he got the added bonus of no cell service. Nothing but wheat fields as far as the eye could see. And with the roads as flat as his sales calls, he could see plenty far.
There hadn’t even been one lousy car travelling down the same lone stretch of road he’d been forced to walk for the past four hours.
His only good fortune was finding the umbrella in the trunk under his travel bag. It was coming in handy to keep the glaring sun off of his face.
As he grumbled along, kicking at the loose gravel on the side of the road; cursing Cindy, his boss, his job, his life in general, his despair grew in proportion to the size of the storm clouds he saw quickly forming on the horizon and heading his way.
‘At least I have this umbrella,’ he thought, scant seconds before an unexpected gust of wind tore it from his grasp, sending it tumbling through a field of golden grain at breakneck speed.
“Crap,” was all he got out of his mouth as the first golf ball-sized raindrop hit him in the face.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Hello out there to all my fellow readers and authors. No matter what our genre of preference, I’m sure none of us will ever forget when we first fell in love with the written word. For me, it was The Hobbit. I still have the first, and only, copy I bought many, many decades ago. The opening line grabbed me and never let go. That’s all it took. I have been a fan of reading ever since.
The love of reading eventually turned me to a new passion, one of writing. I have written hundreds of thousands of words for short stories, poems, and songs. All unpublished and most unread by anyone other than myself. Mainly because I was afraid to let anyone read them for fear of ridicule. Who hasn’t felt the gut wrenching fear of unanswerable internal questions? Is it good enough? Will anyone besides my mother like it? Or even want to read it?
I finally won out over my fears. After spending two long years writing and rewriting, and editing, I published my first completed novel, Written in Blood, in July of 2016. It is the first book in my Christian-based crime series, The Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District. While it has not won critical acclaim, it has garnered multiple 4 and 5 star reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.
I am now ready to choke out those nagging questions and mixed emotions once again. The second book in my series, Root of Evil, will be available by June 15th, on both Amazon and CreateSpace. Just in time for Father’s Day!
This year, give your father, husband, son, or brother the great gift of their newest favorite book. Who knows, it may inspire them to publish their own!Thanks, and happy reading
Follow one of these links to get your copy:
Amazon (Kindle edition)
Saturday, April 29, 2017
A gut-wrenching flash of memory flooded Louis’ head; powerful enough that it forced him to reach for the wall of the nearest building, or risk collapsing onto the sidewalk.
The throng of pedestrians ambling by gave him a wide berth, most picking up their pace. Some carried looks of worry on their faces, as if he were a free freak show right there on the street. A few showed pity, while others still wore expressions of wonder.
The flash of memory turned to visions of haunting eyes. Eyes he hadn’t looked upon since childhood. A childhood he had tried unsuccessfully to forget.
Even now the cascading ash filled his memory, along with the echoing cries, and whispers of the gas chambers; all as fresh as the breakfast from just a few hours earlier.
He straightened himself, looking back over his shoulder for the cause of the attack. There, standing not twenty feet away, waiting patiently and oblivious to Louis’ presence, was the man he could never, ever forget.
He slowly turned and took several tentative steps, testing the strength of his legs. Once assured he could, he retraced his steps, heading toward his nightmare rather than fleeing.
Questions assailed him, too rapid for his mind to give even the hint of answers. More memories interspersed with the questions. Sights and sounds he hadn’t cared to remember continued to invade his consciousness.
Family, friends and loved ones long dead began to haunt his thoughts. He easily called to mind the long, cruel years he and his family had endured so long ago. Some directly from the hands of the man he was moving towards.
How would he deal with it now? Would these images set him back? Or would he have the strength to push on? He wasn’t sure.
As he neared the man from his past, the light changed, allowing the haunting form a short respite from the words Louis now felt an urge to vomit out.
Though at least ten to fifteen years his senior, the man seemed spry and easily kept a rapid, even pace. Louis was content to follow a few yards behind.
How many years had Louis been hoping that such a moment would occur? Although he’d never dreamt it would ever happen. His hand slid inside his outer coat pocket, fingers grasping the cool, metal object resting inside; squeezing it tightly for comfort.
He trailed the man several blocks until he entered a corner deli. Louis easily slid into the interior of the building, eyes quickly adjusting to the dim lighting, despite his age. He watched the man from a distance as he ordered, received his food, and took a seat in a corner booth.
Louis waited patiently, wondering how to approach, when the man’s gaze fell on his face, eyes ever so slightly widening for a split second before passing on.
Was that a knowing look in the man’s eyes? Recognition of who he was? Had he remembered Louis?
Before he could run out in fear, Louis settled himself and made his way to the man’s table. As he stopped before the memory from his past, he looked steadily into the man’s upturned face, locking onto his eyes.
Surely, he saw recognition in his tormentor’s eyes.
“Can I help you?” a feeble, shaky voice asked.
Louis remained silent, still grasping the object which gave him comfort and strength.
The man looked impatiently toward his quiet guest, slowly chewing a bite from his sandwich.
“Well,” he said after swallowing the mouthful of food.
Louis found his voice, stronger than he’d expected it to be, under the circumstance.
“Are you Deidrick? Deidrick Bonhoffer?”
The grizzled hands holding onto the sandwich shook almost imperceptibly as he replied to the query.
“You must have me mistaken for someone else, friend.”
Louis shook his head, grey hair falling across his forehead. He was positive, now that he’d heard the voice, that this man was who he thought him to be.
“No,” he challenged. “I don’t think I have. I could never forget those eyes, or that voice.”
Both men remained silent for a short time. The noise from the deli crowd filled the gap.
“My name,” Louis went on, “is Louis Roth. You might remember me better as Leibke Rothman, number 270145.”
As he finished speaking he slid up the sleeve of his jacket, revealing a series of numbers tattooed on his inner left forearm.
The man dropped the remains of his forgotten sandwich onto the paper plate sitting on the table before him. As he read and reread the numbers inscribed on the arm held out in front of his now visibly shaken face, Louis returned his right hand into his jacket pocket, grasping the object of his strength once again.
The man turned his gaze upward to catch Louis’ expression. What did he see? Was it anger? Fear? Loathing? Louis surely felt all those emotions, and more. But, above all, he felt peace.
As Deidrick sat in stunned silenced, tears slowly running down his cheeks, Louis pulled out a chair opposite him and sat down. He let out a deep breath, unsure now what to say. He had rehearsed his well thought out lines many times, but being face to face with this visage was so much different than speaking into a mirror.
Finally, Louis found the words and spoke.
“I have wanted so many times through the years to speak to you, wondering time and again if it would ever happen. Now that it’s here, I’m unsure how to proceed.”
Deidrick opened his mouth but was cut off when Louis held up his left hand.
“Please,” Louis interjected, “before my courage runs out.” He exhaled slowly. “The pain and suffering I endured, though a lifetime ago, can never be undone. The lost family and friends cannot be regained. Memories cannot be forgotten.”
He slowly pulled his right hand from concealment, grasping a dull metal object; fingers clenched tightly.
Deidrick’s gaze travelled from Louis’ eyes down to his outstretched hand, face showing visible concern now.
“I want to do so much more for all I endured at yours and other’s hands, but God has shown me the true path to freedom.”
Opening his hand, the metal object dropped out, dangling from a chain wrapped securely around withered fingers. As the cross swung pendulum-like, Louis asserted, “I forgive you.”
Friday, April 28, 2017
Here is my latest interview. Amy J Hamilton asked me to stop by for a quick Q&A session on her blog, Greetings from another planet. Hope you enjoy it.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
I will be posting some short stories that will eventually be put together in a book titled, A Series of Minis. I decided to try them out here, as they get near completion, to get some feedback. The first one will be posted later this week, so keep an eye out, and remember, feedback is appreciated.