This is the second chapter of my upcoming novel. Keep in mind it is not finished so there may be changes and it will have to undergo a proper editing. But this will give you some idea whether this story will be something you would like to read.
It was the following evening when Jack Mason was finally released from jail. He was never formally charged with anything, only held under suspicion. He thought that they might try to charge him with DUI, but they didn’t. He figured either they couldn’t or didn’t want to bother with it. Whatever the case he was just glad to be out.
As he was going through the process of his release he had asked one of the officers what was verdict on the old man. He was told that the man had had a massive heart attack but didn’t go into any detail.
As he made his way through town hunting for an auto mechanic shop that had a wrecker he thought about what he had seen at the old man’s house. He could still recall the shadow that came out of the woods and through the man’s house. In his mind he could see this shadow leaning over and disappearing into the man. It had happened? Hadn’t it? Now he began to wonder.
Maybe it was all some crazy hallucination. He had drank quite a bit that day. Still, there were many days in the last year that he had drank too much and never had an experience like that.
He found a service station and garage that had a wrecker parked in the dirt to the side of the building next to a two-bay garage. To the right of the garage was a small, dirty office with dingy yellow glass facing outside. Taped to the door and windows was a notice of a sales on tires, and a notice that tune-ups, break jobs, and other minor mechanical work were done here.
When Jack turned into the office a bald man in his early fifties was on the phone rapping out figures from a sheet of paper he was holding.
“That’s all of them the man said after another minute. “I’ll get back to you later, okay? Yeah. Bye.” He hung up the phone and turned to Jack. “What can I do for you, kid?”
“I’ve got a car in a ditch, and I’m going to need some repairs done.”
“Okay. I’ll have a driver free here in a bit. He’s finishing up a break job right now. “I’ll need some directions to this car.”
“Well, you can’t really see the car from the road. I …”
“Just ride with him. I don’t need my driver looking for your car for an hour.”
“Sure,” Jack answered.
It was twenty minutes later when Jack rode out in a wrecker beside a bearded, heavyset man. The man was just a bit older
than Jack. He was twenty-five and Jack was nineteen.
“How did you end up in a ditch?” the bearded man asked.
“I was a little drunk.”
“A little drunk?” The man grinned.
“Okay. A lot drunk.”
The man laughed loudly. His laugh was somewhat high pitched, quite unlike his rough appearance.
Jack could only smile. Right now it just didn’t seem that funny to him.
The bearded man’s laughter slowly faded. “You gotta watch that drinkin’ an’ drivin’. Cops are getting real tough on that.” He turned toward Jack. “You didn’t get a DUI, did you?”
“No. But I did spend a night in jail.”
“What did they charge you with, reckless driving?”
“No. After I wrecked my car I walked to a house looking to borrow a phone and …the man living there had a heart attack.” The words came out smoother than he thought they would. Perhaps, he was beginning to believe that the old man had indeed simply died of a heart attack. “When the cops arrived they kept me overnight to make sure that it wasn’t something that I did.”
“Man, that’s a bunch of crap. They shouldn’t be able to do that.”
“Well, they did.”
“Who’s this guy that had the heart attack?”
“An older man. I think his house is coming up here on the left.”
“I don’t think I know anyone up this way.”
Jack suddenly remembered the book he had hidden. “Oh, you mind stopping by the man’s house a minute. I dropped my watch when the cop handcuffed me.”
“You’re not planning on going into the house, are you?”
“Oh, no. I’m just going to look out in the front yard. If I can’t find it in a minute or two then I’ll forget about it. You can just park on the side of the road if you want.”
They went another couple of miles before the house came into view. Jack pointed it out and the driver flipped on his flashers and pulled over on the right shoulder.
Jack ran across the road. Of course, there was no watch. He hadn’t worn a watch in almost a year. Time had meant little to him since the tragic death of his mom and dad.
He found the book and stuffed it halfway into the back of his pants, covering it with his shirt. He walked around the front yard another minute looking for his nonexistent watch then hurried across the street to the wrecker.
“Find it?” the bearded man asked as Jack slipped into the cab of the wrecker.
“No. There’s no telling where it is. I’ll just have to buy another one.”
“Was it expensive?” the man asked as he pulled off the curb into the road.
“No. It was about a thirty dollar watch.”
“You’re one of the few people I know who actually wears a watch. Most people our age just look at our cell phones.”
“Yeah. Well I’ve always liked a watch. And besides, my cell is in my car, broken. So, that’s that.”
The man nodded. “Too bad. By the way, people call me Ghetty.” He stuck out his hand. Jack shook it. “I’m Jack.”
“Jack. I think I can remember that. My real name is Ernest Kelly. I got the name Ghetty from winning a spaghetti eating contest. He laughed that high pitched laugh again.
“Spaghetti eating contest? Is that a real thing?”
“Sure. It’s not as popular as hot dog eating, but some of us like it.”
They were silent a moment before Jack spoke. “There it is. On the right.” He laughed. “You can see the path I took.”
Ghetti pulled off the road close to the tire tracks Jack had left. “This might take a while,” he said.
It took a little over an hour to get the car out of the woods. It required a long length of cable and a wench to work it close enough to get it hooked onto the wrecker. It was only a few minutes after that that the wrecker pulled into the station.
Jack waited in the little office of the mechanic shop for nearly thirty minutes while his car was being checked out. He had pulled the blue book out and held it in front of him. He was tempted to read it, but then decided that it would be better to read it later when his mind was so distracted. He was about to put it away when the mechanic stepped into the office. The bald man noted the book before speaking.
“Here’s the damage,” the man began, “you’re going to need a new battery and cables. The battery was knocked off its platform and shorted out. The auto parts place around town should have all I need to fix that.’
“Yeah, but that’s not all. You have a busted radiator as well. I may have to order one. There’s a chance that Burns and Son, a local shop that deals with automotive heating and cooling has one, but they’re closed for the weekend. It will be Monday before I can find out.”
Jack sighed. “I guess I’ll have to wait then.”
“Oh, and you’re going to need two more tires and a rim. I imagine you’ll also need a front end alignment. I’ll know more when we get everything else done.”
“Looks like I’ll be here awhile. Where can I find a decent hotel?”
“The plaza. It’s about three blocks up the road. It’s not too fancy, but it’s clean.”
He rented a room at the Plaza hotel for two nights hoping that that would be enough time to get his car up and running. He counted his remaining cash after he had paid the clerk for the room, and found that he still had nearly three hundred dollars left. That should do him, but if he came up short he could always call his uncle and ask him to send him more money. If he didn’t mind a little begging.
He settled underneath the shower soon after he had entered the room letting the constant stream of water wash away the dirt and fatigue that had spread over his body. Afterwards, he changed into a set of new clothes he had bought at a clothing store only a few doors down from the hotel.
For a while he tried to watch television, but his mind kept slipping to thoughts he’d just as soon forget.
He switched the television off and stood up. He started toward the door when the noticed the blue book that he had set on the dresser near the door. His first thought was to just leave it where it was, but the fact was he had stolen the book. If it was discovered that he had taken the book from the house the cops might try to connect him to the old man’s death. Which they couldn’t, but it might earn him a few more days in their jail.
He lifted the book and walked around the room a minute looking for a hiding place. He came back to the dresser. He had an idea. He pulled the bottom drawer open. It was as he suspected. The drawer could be removed. He removed the drawer and set the book on the floor inside the dresser, then slid the drawer over it.
He left the hotel room a few minutes later to find a bar only a few blocks away.
Getting a beer he sat at a corner table isolating himself from the few patrons. He sipped at his brew and listened to the juke box as memories began to seep past his defenses. He thought of his mom and dad. He missed the hell out of them. What hurt the most was the feeling that he was responsible for their deaths.
Today’s blog is different from what I usually post. I don’t usually do news stories, but I felt I had to respond to a story that is on the internet.
The state of Georgia is considering enacting a law called the “Free Exercise Protection Act.” This act would offer protection to faith-based organizations that refuse to provide services that they say violates their beliefs, including same sex marriages.
Disney and Marvel, inclusive companies have threatened to take their business out of Georgia if such a law is passed.
I have been a fan of Marvel since I was old enough to read a comic. They’ve come a long way since then, but they are still basically the same. That is why what they are threatening to do really disturbs me.
First, I don’t like it when big business tries to bully a state. People who live in Georgia should have the right to determine what is right for their state, not an outside business. If the individuals connected to Marvel and live in Georgia want to protest the passage of this law that is fine. They have a right. Marvel should stay out of politics!
With almost any law there are parts of it that may be considered bad. That is why it is essential that the wording be examined to make it as fair as possible. Though I don’t like the idea of Marvel getting involved I think that if Marvel has a problem with the law they should get their attorneys to look over how the law is written and to determine what compromises can be made.
I agree with the bulk of the law. I do not believe that a minister should be forced to perform ceremonies that is against his or her faith. Nor do I believe that he or she should be forced to hire others who would be in a supportive nature (deacons, assistant pastor, teachers) who do not believe in the core values of the church. Faith based meeting places, however, that are open to the public should be open to anyone regardless of how they believe.
I understand that there is some concern that discrimination against gays will increase because of this law. I can’t say that it won’t, but the people’s right to their belief should also be considered.
My opinion is that if a service is performed (such as distribution of food to the poor, counseling, medical, educational) it should be for all. I believe that most religious facilities already do that.
If we force religious institutions to behave the way the government wants them to then we become one step closer to a one government religion. This law seems to me to be an effort to prevent such a thing.
If Marvel doesn’t agree with such a law they should work on changing the minds and hearts of people not on bullying them. Sometimes when you push people they push back!
I am happy to say that book one of “Rifts” and book 2 of “Rifts” (titled “Demon”) have now been published.
It is a great release to be finally finished with the writing of them. It took a lot of hours of editing, rewriting, editing again, rewriting, reading again and again to make sure that it all made sense (as much as a science fiction, occult thriller can).
To me the most difficult thing was the characters. This was not a straightforward story with one main character. Several of the characters had prominent roles, and I had to bring them together in certain situations without making it seem like a series of accidental encounters.
Creating characters with their own unique personalities is a skill I’m still working on. I feel like I’m getting better at it. I’ll have to wait for the reviews to see what others think.
I put myself under pressure to finish these two books before the end of March. Actually, I had intended on publishing it as a single book, but because it grew so much I decided to make it into two books.
I started on another book some time ago writing on it when I got tired of writing on “Rifts” but I soon had to put it to the side and pay full attention to the two book series in order to be able to finish them on schedule. Now that ‘Rifts” is on the market I will be concentrating on my next book “The awakening.”
I really enjoy writing a book for the first time. Not so much when I have to go back and edit. I have just begun a process where when I finish the first draft of the book I set it aside for a day or two. When I get back to it I will read the entire book slowly, one sentence at a time. I usually find a lot of mistakes then. I will wait a few days or so after that and read it again. It is a real pain in the lower extremities to do that, but it works.
The awaking is an easier book to write so far. The story revolves around one main character so I won’t be jumping around so much. Unfortunately, this book will take a bit longer to write. I had taken some time off my real job, but will have to return shortly so I can eat.
This is the second half of the first chapter of THE AWAKENING. It is a science fiction, young adult, thriller.
Posting for this book will be a little slow because I am trying to finish up the second book of RIFTS. I am hoping to have it published by the end of the month.
Anyway, here it is. Like it or let me know what you think so far.
He finally moved, taking wobbly steps to the front door. The thought struck him that the man might still be alive. If that was the case he needed to do something. If the man was alive Jack might be his only chance to stay that way.
He tried the front door. It was locked tight. He slammed into it with his shoulder. It didn’t budge. He was too weak and the door was too strong.
The window was locked as well, but that was only a small problem.
He lifted one of the large rocks that encircled a small flower bed near the front walk. He looked away as he smashed a section of glass just above the window latch, then reached in through the gaping hole and unlocked the window. After raising the window he removed the shards of glass from the window sill and climbed into the house.
He knelt beside the old man. The blood was flowing in rivulets, making small, dark puddles on the carpet. He checked the man’s pulse at his neck. Nothing.
He reached for his phone that was usually stuffed inside his front pocket. It wasn’t there. He remembered that he had left it at the house. He had left it there on purpose. He had wanted to be alone. To detach himself from all communication. Thinking about it now maybe he should have just cut the phone off. He would have laughed if the situation wasn’t so serious.
He looked about. Surely the guy had a cell phone lying about. It took him a minute, searching the small house before he finally spotted the phone. It wasn’t a cell, however. It was a house phone and it was attached to the wall in the tiny room off the hallway. The little room contained a desk and several shelves of books. Apparently, it was used as a study.
He was lightheaded, perhaps more than when he first arrived at the house. He guessed that some of it could be attributed to the trauma of seeing a murder committed (if that was what he truly saw) in addition to the effects of the alcohol.
He punched in nine, one, one and waited for someone to answer. In a few moments a lady came on the phone. “Can I help you?” she asked.
“There’s been a murder,” he blurted out.
“What is your name?” the lady asked. Before he can answer she continued. “Are you in any danger?”
“No,” he answered. “I don’t think so.”
“And your name?”
“Uh … he trailed off.“ He was reluctant to answer. He didn’t relish the idea of meeting the cops in his condition. He could very well be charged with driving under the influence. This time he could lose his license and possibly face some jail time. He already had two DUI’s under his belt.
“Your name, sir?” the lady continued.
“Uh, Jack.” He decided it didn’t matter. He had to wait around for the cops to tell them what he saw. His conscious wouldn’t allow him to just run away. “Jack Mason.”
“And what is your address, sir?
Jack figured that the lady was just confirming the address. Surely she had to means to pull up the address from the telephone number.
“Just a minute.” He looked around the room. The desk drew his attention. He stumbled over to it and slid out the top drawer. There was a lot of loose papers of various sizes. A couple of them looked like receipts. There was also a small blue book. He fumbled through the contents until he found a receipt with an address on it. He returned to the phone and called out the address to the operator.
“Okay, sir,” the woman said. “Please stay at the scene if you’re not in any danger. Police and ambulance are on the way.”
“Thank you,” he said, and hung up.
He started to close the drawer, then stopped. The blue book caught his attention. It was about six inches by nine inches and had a hard cover. Written at the top of it in red ink was the words “The find.” He lifted the book from the drawer. He thought that a curious title. He opened it up just to see what it was about.
May 25, 2015
I was wandering through the woods today getting a little exercise, and deciding on a suitable speech to give to the Bangor High graduating class, when I ventured beyond my normal trip through the woods. I suddenly came into a wide clearing and beheld an unusual sight. At the center of the clearing was an almost perfectly round body of water. It was silver in color and only reflected the sky in small distorted patterns. It was the strangest thing I have ever seen. As I approached it it rippled as though a light breeze had swept across it, although I could feel no wind.
I thought of placing my hand in the water to feel its texture, but was reluctant because of the odd way the water looked. Instead I found a small tree branch and stuck it into the water. The water instantly bubbled, then something seemed to grab the stick and pull it downward. I fought it and was finally able to pull the stick out. I looked at the end that had gone into the water. The bark was gone. It was white, and smooth as though it had been sanded. I walked away from the pool of liquid (I could no longer think of it as simple water) not knowing what to make of it. If I can locate the owner of the property I will inquire of the strange pool. If finding the owner proves to be too much of a challenge I may take a sample of the liquid and have it analyzed.
Jack skimmed through the book then closed it. It seemed to be some kind of diary, or journal. Either way it was a strange entry, and he got the sense that the book had some importance. He guessed that he should turn it over to the cops when they got here, but that didn’t set too well with him. He didn’t trust the cops. The truth could be staring them straight in the face and they wouldn’t see it.
He could hear the first faint sounds of a siren in the distance. It would be either the cops or the medics. He didn’t have much time to make a decision.
It was crazy. It made no sense at all, but his instinct was to hide the book. To hide the book until he could come back and read it. It was utterly insane, but the urge wouldn’t let up. This book had some significance. He was sure of it.
He slid the drawer closed and ran out the front door with book in hand. He ran to the edge of a stand of trees to the right of the house. The ground was leaden with pine straw. He pushed the book underneath some pine straw. It wasn’t much of a hiding place, but he didn’t have the time, nor the clear head to think of a better place. The screaming of the siren had become loud. He had just enough time to get back inside the house.
He had only been in the house a few moments when the first police car pulled into the driveway. He knelt down beside the old man wondering if there were anything he should have done, or could now do. Perhaps he should have tried CPR. But he had checked the man’s carotid pulse and there was nothing. And judging from the blood that was issuing from the man’s mouth, eyes, and nose, it sort of confirmed that the man was already gone.
He stood up just as the first policeman burst into the house.
“Freeze!” the policeman yelled. He sounded like a commando. His gun was drawn and held in front of him with both hands.
Jack felt like he really did freeze. For a few moments, as he stared down the barrel of the gun, he was unable to speak, or even move.
“On the floor!” the policeman ordered.
Jack broke his trance and dropped to his knees. He placed his hands on his head as he had seen on numerous television shows.
Another policeman entered the house. He was a lot calmer. He walked straight over to Jack, pulled his hands down and handcuffed his wrists behind him. The commando policeman returned to his holster.
“Stand up,” the policeman next to Jack said, as he helped him up.
When Jack got to his feet he turned around to face the policeman. At once he noticed the policeman’s name tag. The name was Mike Anderson. Jack surmised that this policeman must be the one in charge.
Anderson turned slightly to look at Commando. Without talking Commando knew what the other policeman wanted. Commando dropped down to check on the old man.
“He’s dead alright,” Commando announced after a few seconds.
“What’s your name, son?” he asked Jack.
“Jack. Jack Mason.”
“Mind if I check your wallet for an ID?
“No. Go ahead.”
Officer Anderson slid the wallet out of Jack’s back pocket. He looked over the driver’s license. It seemed to be in order. He slid the wallet back into his pocket. “What happened here?” he asked.
“I stopped by here to use the phone. I … I ran off into a ditch about a half mile from here.”
“Have you been drinking, sir?” Officer Anderson asked.
“eh … a little.”
Two EMT’s in gray smocks entered the house carrying a stretcher and a bag of medical instruments, including a defibulator. They went directly to the old man. The commando cop moved back to give them more room, but he already knew that there wasn’t nothing else they could do.
“What happened?” Officer Anderson repeated.
“I stopped on the other side of the driveway a minute before coming to the front door. While I stood there I saw … a shadow …or something that looked like a shadow, coming out of the woods.”
Anderson looked at him questioningly. “A shadow, huh?’
“Yes. Just a shadow.” From his peripheral vision he could see Commando looking at him. He turned toward him. The cop looked away. Jack noted how pale the cop’s face had become.
“So did you see who was making this shadow?”
“No. Eh there was no one there.”
“No one there? What the hell does that mean?”
Jack shook his head. “I saw only a shadow. It came out of the woods and passed through the corner of the house.” He wondered if he would be telling this story –which seemed quite unbelievable even to himself --if he weren’t so snockered.
“And I guess this shadow killed the man on the floor?”
The two EMT’s had already pronounced the man dead and were beginning to lay him on the stretcher they had brought in. They paused to listen.
As outrageous as it now seemed to him he could see no way out, but to continue the story. “I went across the driveway to a dark spot where I couldn’t be seen and looked through the living room window. The man was sitting in the chair when the shadow entered the room.”
“And what did the man do?”
“Nothing. The old man apparently didn’t see him. The shadow walked right up to the front of the man and … he just kind of fell into him, disappearing. The man jumped up like he had been shocked and then fell over dead. A second or two later the shadow came back out of him.”
“That’s the craziest thing I ever heard,” said commando. “I think we need to haul his butt In and charge him with murder.”
“Let’s take a step at a time, Kenneth,” said Officer Anderson.
“I didn’t kill him! Look at him. There are no external marks on him. How would I have killed him without leaving marks?”
“If I might interject something,” began the head EMT, a tall, gaunt looking man, “it looks to me like the man died from a massive heart attack. But, of course, nothing is definite until an autopsy is completed.”
Officer Anderson nodded. “I think you’re right, but it’s best we treat it like a homicide until we know otherwise.” He looked to Kenneth, the commando cop. “Contact the Coroner and the forensic guys.”
“Sure thing, Mike.”
Officer Anderson placed a hand on Jack’s upper arm and led him toward the door. “Looks like you’re going to be a guest of the county until we can figure this out.”
When I write a blog, I try to keep it relevant. Often it will be about writing and books. I also review books that I read.