Please enjoy this teaser of Vengeance, the second novella in Devils.
When Rick’s car refused to start, rage threatened to overcome him. Fury beat through him with a staccato rhythm that matched his accelerated heartbeat. KA-thud, KA-thud, KA-thud. His hands shook in time to that insistent beat.
He wanted to pound his fist into the leather-wrapped steering wheel, to rip the door off, to smash the windshield, to grab the little red car and flip the damn thing into the ditch. He covered his teary eyes with his hands and leaned forward until his forehead rested on the cool leather wheel.
The thought of his mother, waking up alone—raped, hurt, and alone—kept the ravenous wolf of his rage at bay. He forced himself to calm down, forced thoughts of Jason Katz out of his mind. He had to focus on his mother, to be there for her, to be strong for her.
Jason Katz was for later.
He got the car started and put it in gear. With one last look at his parents’ home, he drove away, headed toward the hospital near the university. Saint John’s, he thought. The place they send you when you need a level-one trauma center. He didn’t remember how he knew that or even how he knew what a level-one trauma center was—he just knew that’s where they sent you if you were as likely to die as not.
A bum tapped on his window while he sat at a red light, staring straight ahead but seeing nothing. At first, he thought it was one of those window-washer guys who thought smearing a dirty rag around your windshield entitled them to a few bucks.
Rick cracked his window open. “Windshield’s clean,” he said, as he slipped a five through the crack. “I’d like it to stay clean, too.” The bum jerked the five from his hand, the paper making a slithery hiss against his fingertips. That should have been the end of it, but the man was still standing there. “That’s all you’re going to get from me, buddy.” Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the man’s dirty navel through a hole in his grungy, once-white T-shirt. He glanced at the clock set into the dash. 7:43 a.m. A spark of irritation threatened to set off the brush fire of his rage. “Look, buddy,” he said as he turned in his seat. When he met the man’s eyes, his words dried up, unspoken. The man was looking at Rick and yet a thousand miles away at the same time. He wore grubby black pants and, over the stained T-shirt, a jacket made from a burlap sack. It had tails like it was supposed to be a tuxedo jacket.
“You will be disappointed, White,” the old man said in a tremulous voice.
The man reeked of old wine, vomit, and stale sweat. “By what?”
“When you are in your deepest, darkest despair, you will remember me.” The man’s voice grew less and less quivery with each word, as if he were finding his voice again after years as a mute.
“What? What did you say?”
The man’s eyes dilated and drifted away from Rick’s. “When you remember me, come find me. I will help you get what you want.”
Rick scoffed. “And what will I want?”
Rick smiled the smile of the nonplussed. “Vengeance? How in the hell can you help me with that? You can barely stand, you’re so drunk.” It was true. The bum was swaying like a tree in a hurricane. Rick jumped when a horn went off behind him. He twisted to look at the driver of the pickup, and the man behind him waved at the intersection ahead of them. He glanced forward and saw that the light was green.
When he looked back to the side, the bum in the burlap tuxedo was gone. He shook his head and put the car in gear, each movement feeling like he was moving against a great weight of water.
When he arrived at the hospital, Rick learned his mother had died during his conversation with the bum. 7:43 a.m. was the time written on her death certificate. It was just two hours after she’d been raped. Two hours after his father gave his life trying to protect her in their own home.
Remember: You can pre-order Devils, right now, or wait until Friday, June 30, 2017 to buy it. The price is just $2.99 US, and it includes a four-chapter preview of my next book: Errant Gods.
Devils (on Amazon) https://bit.ly/4DEVILS
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