Friday, December 30, 2011

Admissions by Michael Ribisi


Chapter 4 “The Discovery”

Unfortunately, Amy didn’t anticipate how quickly the bond between Lisa and Jeremy would grow. After just a couple of weeks, she found herself enduring stories about the funny things that happened when he was with her. Conversations between Jeremy and Lisa overflowed with inside jokes and innuendo that Amy could not understand. Countless awkward moments awaited Amy anytime the three of them were in a room together. She grew tired of being excluded and sometimes felt isolated from her own boyfriend’s life. Jeremy’s rekindled friendship with Lisa was starting to get under her skin more with each passing day.
Amy started to feel badly about neglecting Jeremy and guilty for her ill feelings towards Lisa. After all, Amy had suggested they spend more time together. However, she never told them to spend every waking hour together either. In an attempt to spend more time with him, despite her schedule, Amy had asked Jeremy to move in with her and he happily accepted.
The quality of their time improved for about a week, until Lisa began to show up every day looking for her best friend. Only a week away from her final exam, Amy felt comfort that things would be getting back to normal soon enough. Her short-lived comfort ended on a cool October night, when she received some disturbing news from her best friend Whitney.
 “Listen Amy, I don’t know the best way to tell you this, so I’m just gonna say it,” Whitney began. “I was downtown running errands, and I saw Jeremy and Lisa walking out of the Marquee Hotel together.”
 “What are you talking about? He wouldn’t do that Whitney; that’s not true!” Amy shouted while pulling the car over to complete the conversation. Her heart began racing and she felt faint. Her best friend’s words were like venom coursing through her veins, both painful and deadly. Amy paused for a moment taking a deep breath, praying that her ears had deceived her.
“Amy, I wouldn’t lie to you! You know that. I saw that bastard come out of the Marquee with her! They were laughing and giggling and I don’t even know what,” furiously responded Whitney. Heartbroken over the suggestion that she would dare lie, Whitney realized Amy’s reaction was a typical case of denial. Her motives, created out of protection and love for a best friend, were of pure and good intentions. Understanding that deceitful acts such as these always find a way of surfacing eventually, she wanted Amy to hear it from her first. She would not allow Jeremy any more time to figure out the error in his ways, and wanted him to suffer for this treachery.
Images of graphic and repulsive sexual acts between Jeremy and Lisa circled Amy’s mind while her heart rejected the incoming thoughts swiftly. A battle on two fronts, doubt and belief, were waging war through her fragile psyche, and belief won effortlessly. In deep meditation, she feverishly twirled a strand of hair around her index finger, trying to create an explanation that made sense. Minutes of silence passed as she formed her doubts into questions. Whitney waited for what seemed like years until Amy finally spoke again. “Whitney,” she said sharply, “I was so busy studying. I know that they hang out. I mean, could it be that you just saw them near the hotel and not coming out of the hotel?”
 “Amy, it was him and her: Lisa and Jeremy. Shit! I could almost swear he saw me, but he put his head down. Disgusting! Made me sick. I’m sorry girl. I had to tell you,” confidently replied Whitney. She paused and took a deep breath, filling her lungs with air and her heart with sympathy as she continued, “I love you Amy. I’m so sorry I have to be the one to tell you this. Are you okay?”
“I don’t know,” responded Amy, “I just don’t know.” 
Parked off to the side of the road, in an abandoned church parking lot, Amy began sobbing uncontrollably. Hunched over in the front seat of her car, she gasped for air every few seconds as the rain cloud in her eyes emptied relentlessly into her lap. Tears ran down the sides of her hands, dripping off her fingers and she rubbed her face in disbelief. She slowly reached into the center console in search of some tissues. Finding an old napkin underneath a heap of candy wrappers and empty cigarette packs, she thought of Jeremy immediately. He always used the center console as his personal garbage dump, and she hated that about him. She quickly scooped up the garbage with both hands and threw all of it out the window, hoping that she would feel better, but she felt worse.
Whitney remained holding the line, her temper burning hotter than the sun, as she listened to Amy shriek in agony. Whitney was never fond of Jeremy, his cocky attitude towards her husband, and her dislike intensified into hatred. Whitney heard the sound of heavy breathing into the earpiece. She whispered, “It's okay Honey. Let it all out. Just let it all out.”
While rubbing a coarse, crumbled napkin against her swollen eyes, Amy spoke in a somber tone, “We were supposed to go to dinner tonight at seven o’clock. I told him I had to make a quick stop at the library, and he said that was fine, we’d just do it at eight. He was with Lisa. I could hear her giggling in the background. I can’t believe he would do this to me, it doesn’t make any sense.”
“Did you tell him what time you’d be home?” quizzed Whitney.
“Yeah, I said around seven thirty or so, why? What does that matter?” Amy asked innocently.
“Get your ass home RIGHT now. He’s probably - you know…I don’t want to say it.”
“Come on…you really think he would? In our house?”
“I don’t know…this is just horrible, you know?” responded Whitney.
“This can’t be happening Whit. It just can’t be! I mean, I can’t believe this. I don’t know what else to say. I feel like I’m suffocating!”
“Oh girl, I’m so sorry. Shit! You want me to come get you and bring you home? I’ll smack that bitch across her face.”
“No, I have to do this on my own. What am I gonna do? He’ll know I’m home the minute I drive up!” Retorted Amy.
“Okay look,” Whitney said conspiratorially, “You’ve got to park up the street and go in from the garage. He won’t be expecting that. Catch that bastard, tell him you are finished with his lies, then get your stuff and come over here.”
“Barry won’t mind if I stay with you?” she asked politely, giving a thought to Whitney’s offer.
“He doesn’t have a choice. I’ll go on strike. He’ll have dirty clothes, no dinner, and I’ll start making him change some diapers. That gets him every time. Ha!” Whitney joked, trying to cheer up her friend.

Pick up Admissions by Michael Ribisi on Amazon


Monday, December 26, 2011

Cruel Justice (an excerpt) by Mel Comley


Prologue.
Friday August 30th, 2007

The pain from the welts on the woman's naked back intensified. She had no concept of time, no idea how long she'd been tied up. Her hands had lost all feeling from being tightly bound to an old wooden chair.
Is this how her life would end?
It had taken a while, but her nostrils had finally grown used to the vile stench permeating her temporary cell.
Time, all she had was time. Time to think, time to ask the same question over and over. Who was he? And why was he holding her captive? What unspeakable thing had she done in her life to make a complete stranger treat her this way? I'm a kind and caring person, aren't I?
What type of person kept a woman locked up in a hellhole like this?
He tortured her with silence when he brought her food, if you can call week-old bread food. She had tried different ways to get a reaction out of him, shouting, reasoning, even her pitiful attempt at begging had fallen on deaf ears. His sneer, and the way his dark eyes roamed her naked body in response, made her skin crawl.
Now her own thoughts had started torturing her. Her aching limbs cried out for warm lavender-oil filled baths, if only to wash away the urine stinging her legs and the faeces clinging to her behind. She felt utterly degraded. It was a far cry from her usual opulent lifestyle.
Every waking minute dragged into agonisingly long hours. Please, when will this nightmare end? How will this nightmare end? She asked her maker, repeatedly.
Water dripped constantly in the corner adding to her torment. She blocked the noise out by reminiscing happier moments, hoping it would help prevent the craziness threatening to seep into her mind. Fearing her life would soon come to an end, she prayed endlessly that her dead husband would be there to greet her when she finally passed over. How wonderful it would be to feel his comforting arms around me now.
Her heart leapt into her throat when the hatch door swung open. The sudden rush of daylight hurt her eyes, causing them to water. She winced and was swiftly reminded that her right eye was swollen from the beating she had received a few days earlier.
The man gingerly made his way down the precarious ladder, followed by another person.
The imprisoned woman's pulse accelerated, furiously gathering momentum. He crossed the stone floor and stopped in front of her.
"Please please let me go," she pleaded, in a childlike voice.
The man stared at her for a moment before the vilest of laughs escaped his lips. "Why? Tell me why I should let you go?"
"I beg of you, please, tell me what I have done?"
He smirked, and circled her chair in a menacing manner. "Ah, ignorance is a blissful thing."
Bile rose in her throat and she swallowed it back down. "Please, I'm begging you. Please tell me what I've done wrong?"
Through clenched teeth he said, "If only you had done something. Helped in some way, but you didn't, did you? It was far easier to just leave us there. To let us rot in that shithole for years. Well, now you know how it feels."
The man's words and aggression made her flinch. "I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you mean. Do I know you?"
"You're all the same. You avoid helping those who cry for help. Your kind makes me sick." As though filled with a terrible venom, his lips turned down, then he jerked his head and spat on her face.
"You and your ilk think you're all so mighty. But you're no better than the shite you're sitting on. You're all full of it!"
Tears ran over the bruises on the woman's cheeks as he ranted at her.
"You're a filthy, whimpering, bitch! What are you?"
She bowed her head.
"Look at me when I'm talking to you."
She held up her head.
"Now what are you?"
"I'm a filthy..."
"Yes? You're a filthy what?"
Snot ran into her mouth as she said, "I... I'm a filthy... whimpering, bitch..." Her throat tightened for want of a sip of water. She needed to wipe her nose.
His laughter filled the room.
"Please, could I have a drink of water?"
"Oh, madam would like to quench her thirst?"
"Please?"
"And how about something to eat? You must be hungry. No?"
"Yes."
The man pulled a pair of rubber gloves from his jacket pocket and slipped his hands into them. He then moved to the back of the chair.
She couldn't figure out what he was doing but when he stood in front of her again he smiled. She gulped at the sight of what he had in his hand. Her heart pounded.
"Open your mouth."
"Please don't..." Her brow furrowed.
"But you're hungry. Right? You said you were hungry. Now open your mouth. Wide."
Eyes stinging, she opened it, and the wider she did so the more her already-chapped lips cracked.
"Yes, your kind are full of it."
He moved closer and shoved a handful of faeces into her mouth.
"Now chew and swallow it!"
Between gagging and sobbing, she consumed her own filth.
He looked at her pubic area. "You really are a filthy bitch." He removed the gloves and tossed them on the floor.
Between bouts of hysterical laughter, he continued shouting obscenities but his words seemed jumbled to her already confused mind.
Still very much amused, he turned and walked towards the ladder.
Oh, thank God he's leaving. For a moment, she closed her tired eyes, but when she opened them he was on his way back. It was then she noticed the metal bar in his right hand.
Oh, God, Is this the end?
 "You disgust me!" He shuffled closer.
Covered in goose-bumps, and teeth chattering, she peered up into the evil, black, eyes angrily eating through her flesh.
"Did you hear me?"
"I I don't understand. What have I done to deserve this?" she mumbled, through cracked, soiled lips.
"I have had enough, you stuttering, smelly, bitch."
The bar raised, the woman's piercing scream filled the tiny room, but her screams were lost in his madness. The bar crashed down and in one blow smashed her skull wide open. Her life's blood ebbed away.
He continued hitting her as images of his childhood ran through his crazed mind. Strike after strike, he punished her, unaware that her last breath had left her body five minutes before.
 Satisfaction overwhelmed him.
A large saw lay in the cellar corner, and as though about to reach an orgasm, he grabbed it and positioned it on the woman's lifeless neck. Back and forth, back and forth, he pushed it, faster, faster, and as he cut through the tendons and bones he clenched his teeth until her head fell onto the floor.
The third person had silently observed the proceedings and stepped out from the shadows.
Turning to look at her, he could tell by the way her face lit up, she was pleased with the precision and the eagerness of his actions.
"The first part of the puzzle is now in place," said the man.
"Yes, and we both know there's no turning back, now."
"Yes. This is just the beginning..."


***
Available on:
Amazon US 
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
KOBO

Mel Comley is a thriller writer who has created a British national treasure, DI Lorne Simpkins. Lorne is featured in a trilogy of ‘Justice’ thrillers. Last year Mel also released a couple of romance novellas too. See all her titles here: http://melcomley.blogspot.com/




Sunday, December 18, 2011

Stairway to the Bottom By Michael Haskins


Chapter 1

If I hadn’t gone to watch the comedy showcase at the Key West Fringe Theater, I wouldn’t have silenced my cell phone. If I hadn’t silenced my cell, I would have answered Dick Walsh’s first call at 1:10 A.M., and then things might not have gone so badly. If is a damn big word for only having two letters.

I unplugged the cell from its charger in the morning and the lighted screen reminded me it was on silent mode and that I had five messages.

Each of Dick’s messages was more frantic and pleading than the last. He needed help, but didn’t say for what. By the third message, he was cussing but still wanted me to call and that was at 3:15. He didn’t sound drunk, like most three in the morning callers do, he sounded scared.

The fifth and final message came at 5:36. He had calmed down, asked me to come by his house as soon as possible and gave me the address. His composed voice assured me I would understand the problem after I arrived and he would be in touch later.

“Mick, I need you to believe me, it isn’t what it looks like. Please help me,” his message ended with a quiet plea.

I dressed quickly in last night’s clothing and swallowed cold water from a bottle out of the cooler. Before I got into my Jeep and drove to Dick’s house on Von Phister Street, I called his cell but it went to voice mail and I left a message. We were playing phone tag.

Von Phister is a narrow, tree-lined street in a quiet neighborhood of old and new houses. Dick’s was an old two-story house with a large gumbo-limbo tree in front and two more in back. He actually had a decent-size backyard, something that is at a premium in Key West.

The house was dark. It was almost six-thirty, about an hour since his last call. The sky was a light gray with a reddish-purple sunrise pushing the dawn westward. Only a large yellow tomcat crossed my path on the empty street.

I parked in front and noticed Dick’s scooter was gone. I went up the steps to the wraparound porch, rang the bell, and then knocked. Nothing. I looked into the living room window. Nothing. I knocked again and when no one answered, I tried the door. It was unlocked so I went in.

The stench that greeted me in the hallway was familiar. The smell of death was strong and that told me somewhere in the house, death was very recent. Death, if left alone long enough cloaks all other odors, especially in the tropics – violent death even more so.
I called Dick’s name but no one answered. I walked into the living room and it looked lived in – a big screen TV, stereo with CDs stacked next to it, a sectional sofa set. A hallway led to a kitchen, small dining room, and bathroom. The stairway on the right went upstairs to the bedrooms.
Dick used the dining room as his office – medium-sized desk that was too big for the room, a computer, a printer, and a two-drawer file. I walked through into the kitchen. There was a table for two off to the side, dirty dishes in the sink and a woman’s body on the floor.

She lay face down and a large part of her head was gone. Pieces of shattered skull, along with parts of her brain and blood, tarnished the otherwise clean kitchen wall.

Blood and human waste soaked the tile floor and stained her clothing.

The stench of death filled the kitchen. I didn’t bother looking for a pulse.

An automatic with a silencer attached lay on the floor, her arm stretched out toward it as if reaching for the gun that had a small stream of brownish blood curled up next to it.

I ran upstairs to check the two bedrooms, calling Dick’s name. Both rooms were neat and the beds made. Nothing broken or seemingly out of place. Dick’s closet looked full with only a couple of empty hangers in the mix. The guestroom closet was empty.

Dick shot this woman, I thought as I looked down at her body. Whose gun was it on the floor? I didn’t touch anything, though I wanted to. My curiosity was getting the best of me.

I’m Liam Murphy, a semi-retired journalist and fulltime sail bum, some say. Key West has been my home for almost eighteen years. Before that, I lived in Southern California and reported on Central American civil wars and when they ended I covered the drug wars for a weekly newsmagazine so a dead body wasn’t something that frightened me it intrigued me.

In Key West, I’ve made friends with all kinds of characters, including the chief of police, Richard Dowley. We have a two-sided relationship. One side is Richard the cop, the other is Richard the friend. He considers me a friend but always thinks of me as a journalist. He says I only have one side. I called him on my cell, sure of catching him at home, and knew I’d be talking to his cop side.

I told him where I was and what I’d found.

“What are you doing at that nut’s house?” I could hear him banging around in the kitchen.

When I explained about the messages and Dick’s plea, he sighed loudly enough for me to hear on the phone.

“Don’t touch anything and I’ll call it in,” he said. “Best thing is go outside and wait for the first unit, and I’ll make it there too.”

“Okay, Richard, but tell the ambulance it doesn’t have to hurry,” I said and he hung up without replying.

Outside, I sat and waited, thinking of Dick’s last message telling me it wasn’t what it looked like. It looked like murder.

***
Stairway to the Bottom is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

For more on Michael Haskins visit his website at http://www.michaelhaskins.net/

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award


And the winner is...Me! Well my blog A Hint of Murder...And Other Mysteries. 

Dannye Williamson just awarded me the "The Versatile Blogger" award for my A Hint of Murder Blog. This award is given to newly discovered blogs and I appreciate Dannye thinking of me and this blog.

In acceptance if this award I was asked to share seven things about myself.

1.As an infant I was set down on a large hill and tumbled all the way to the bottom.
2.I flew a small plane when I was 12.
3.I was taught to hot wire a car when I was 13.
4.I’ve had fifteen different jobs since I was fifteen.
5.I was offered a chance to buy a copy of an exam before taking it. I turned it down, studied my ass off and got a great score. Then was accused of cheating.
6.My husband and I moved to Colorado and only stayed for three weeks. We call it our vacation with furniture.
7.I’m married to my high school sweetheart and we’ll celebrate 20 years of marriage in 2012.

I am passing this award on to these five blogs that you might enjoy as well.


THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR ~ Excerpt


The Consummate Traitor by Bonnie Toews

A dramatic thriller with elements of intrigue, suspense and romance.

One woman is betrayed; the other, sacrificed. What happens to them triggers a chain reaction of double crosses that alter the outcome of World War II.

On the eve of World War II, American journalist Lee Talbot witnesses Hitler’s experiment in “total war, the bombing of Guernica in northern Spain. It’s a preview of the horrors Nazi Germany will unleash if Hitler’s nuclear labs develop the atomic bomb first. Lee joins Churchill’s secret operation to sabotage Hitler’s experiments but ends up babysitting the King of England’s cousin, Lady Grace Talbot, a gifted pianist who fancies herself in love with an SS officer. When Lady Grace’s parents die in a London bombing, she joins Lee’s team as a ‘pianist,’ transmitting coded messages to British covert missions in Nazi-held territory. Soon, both women learn that, in the secret world of spies, they can trust no one except each other when their missions are compromised behind enemy lines. In a tale rich with historical detail, what happens to these two women exposes a secret England wants buried forever.

Excerpt:

Wednesday, March 3rd, 1943

Quinn will lead the tactical team,” Sir Fletcher explained to the four people who sat grouped in front of him. He picked up a pointer from the blackboard ledge and continued.

“There are only two heavy water plants in the world. One is in Canada, at the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Plant in Trail, British Columbia. The other is controlled by the Germans in Norway.”

He rolled down the wall map of Europe and nodded his head at the blond man sitting with them. “Rolf tells us the Nazis plan to transport heavy water from Norsk to Dr. Nielsen’s lab in Copenhagen. We can’t let that happen. That’s why I’ve advanced this mission.”

As Sir Fletcher continued his background briefing, Lee’s mind drifted over to Quinn Bergin. The last time she had seen him was almost three years ago. Yet, instead of welcoming her and Sir Fletcher at the Rainbow Corner the night before, he ignored her, except for a curt nod, and treated the Amanita director as if he were the worst sinner in the building. Quinn’s snub burned her deeply, while Sir Fletcher – she felt sorry for their intrepid leader – his plan for a happy reunion turned into a night of disasters between Grace’s snit and Quinn’s mood.
Despite Quinn’s professional aloofness when they worked together through Germany, Poland and Russia, she had entrusted her soul to him. They had been as one mind and one spirit devoid of physical coupling, and in leaving him behind, she had left a part of herself with him. That part she expected to recover when they were reunited. Instead, his apparent indifference trapped her in limbo and tripped old feelings of abandonment. What had changed?

No, she corrected herself, what had hardened him so? He had become a finely honed guerrilla fighter, a killing instrument. Somewhere, during the depersonalizing process, he had lost the will to connect to his emotional center.

The tapping of Sir Fletcher’s pointer drew her attention back to the map. Directing the pointer tip, he circled the Kjolen range of mountains near Rjukan in Norway.

“Here,” he said. “The Norsk Hydro Electric Plant.”

Sir Fletcher turned to face them. “Rolf Haukelid, as you know, has been inside Norsk since 1938 as its chief engineer. When we’ve needed him to frustrate the Germans’ atomic research, he has performed annoying sabotage tricks.”

“Like what?” Lee asked without thinking.

Rolf lifted an eyebrow to Sir Fletcher for permission to speak.

“By all means,” he relented.

“Well, one of the things I’ve done is drop a cup of cod liver oil into an electrolytic tube. This jams up their whole process and makes the heavy water they ship to their experimental labs useless when the researchers try to restart it.”

“You’re kidding! Cod-liver oil?” Lee laughed. “What it loosens for humans it constipates for science. How ingenious!”

She openly admired the strapping six-footer. Rolf was a Norwegian- American engineer in his mid-thirties. Because of his ethnic background, he could speak Norwegian fluently and was slipped into Norway before the German occupation to build up credentials as an electronics expert and a Nazi sympathizer at Norsk. When the Nazis took over the plant, they unwittingly put in place one of Project Amanita’s most strategic agents.

Lee had met Rolf before, briefly, in Berlin, at one of Goring’s Karinhall banquets. There she had passed a hidden message to him. A spark between them had caught fire, but then it was neither the time nor the place to fan the flame, so they had let it fizzle. His peculiar contradiction of robust gentleness, rather like a Norse mythical god turned cowboy, was what originally drew Lee to him.

Now his refreshing openness in contrast to the closed Quinn stirred her again. Sparse strands of sandy fluff sprouting from his shiny dome were just too cute to resist. She engaged his eyes, which reminded her of an iceberg’s glacial green except for the gold glints twinkling back at her. Her cheeks warmed and her pulse quickened.

As a journalist, Bonnie Toews has covered significant events such as the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Her eyewitness view contributes to the plight of children in war as a recurring theme through her novels. With hundreds of published articles and five business press awards in her portfolio, Bonnie currently advocates for better care and treatment of Canada’s wounded warriors and is a member of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy, Military Writers Society of America, American Authors Association and American Christian Fiction Writers. THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR is her first novel in a trilogy about treason.


BLOG: http://www.homecomingvets.com

Friday, December 2, 2011

Agatha Christie Missing!


That was the headline 85 years ago. 

On December 3, 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared from home in Berkshire, England. As the story goes, her husband had asked for a divorce and admitted to falling in love with another woman. Already distraught over the recent death of her mother, hearing this news proved to be devastating enough to send her packing. But not before writing several confusing and mysterious letters, including one to her husband. A letter to her brother-in-law stated she was going for a vacation in Yorkshire and another to the local chief constable said she feared for her life. When her car was found abandoned the next day, there was uproar in the press and thousands of volunteers searched the countryside.

When Christie was finally discovered at a spa in Harrogate she claimed to have been suffering from temporary amnesia.  She had been missing for eleven days!  To this day there is still speculation about her disappearance as well as her explanation. It’s been said that Christie checked into the hotel under the surname of her husbands’ lover. Was that done intentionally to get back at her husband or is it further evidence that she had lost her memory as she claimed? Many speculated that she had a nervous breakdown and needed to escape into seclusion. Others questioned if the whole thing was a publicity stunt for more sales. But by the time she vanished, Agatha Christie had published more than ten novels and short stories, each more successful than the last.

Though the press was left angered and with unanswered questions, Agatha Christie never again would speak of the incident. I can’t help but wonder what the consequences would be today if the same situation had occurred. All the money and manpower that went on for days searching for Christie would not simply be let go. These days people want accountability no matter who you are. I’d like to believe the nervous breakdown theory myself. Christie’s daughter was around seven-years-old at the time and I can’t see any mother (in her right mind) willingly take off from her child in that way for that long.

If you’re interested in reading more about Agatha Christie and the details surrounding her disappearance, there are several interesting websites. Here are a few: