The “SON OF THE SERPENT” BOOK RELEASE TOUR @VashtiQV #RRBC

Hello and welcome to the final stop on the exciting book tour for the New Release “Son of The Serpent” By Vashti Quiroz-Vega!

Let’s meet Vashti!

Vashti BOOK TOUR BIO PIC photo (2)

Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of Fantasy, Horror, and Thriller. Since she was a kid she’s always had a passion for writing and telling stories. It has always been easier for her to express her thoughts on paper.

She enjoys reading almost as much as she loves to write. Some of her favorite authors are Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin.

She enjoys making people feel an array of emotions with her writing. She likes her audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that.

When she isn’t building extraordinary worlds and fleshing out fascinating characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband JC and her Pomeranian Scribbles who is also her writing buddy.

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Hello and welcome to the last stop on my Virtual Book Tour! Thank you so much for following along. I truly appreciate the support. And a big hug and kiss to the wonderful hosts who welcomed me so graciously to their wonderful blogs. I am very grateful.

 

Son of the Serpent is a High Fantasy|Paranormal book sprinkled with Horror and Romance. It is aimed at an 18+ audience. The book is written in 1st person POV. There are chapters written in Dracul’s voice interspersed by chronicles written in Lilith’s (the villain) voice. Today I’m going to share an excerpt from one of the Chronicles of Lilith.

 

Vashti Book Tour BANNER Last Hope

Excerpt: Chronicles of Lilith

 

As I prepared to leave Shuruppak, rumors about a man named Noah, who claimed to be God’s prophet, came to my attention. According to my human servants, this man said God speaks to him and has told him there shall be a catastrophic event. Every living thing on this planet shall perish, except those beings selected by God Himself.

The servants laughed and took pleasure in ridiculing this man. They called him insane. I, however, have learned throughout the years that there is always some truth to the ramblings of the insane. I would like to see this man, Noah, and listen to his preaching, thus my departure would have to wait.

In the middle of the night I awoke to booming thunder, the likes of which I had not heard since the days I wandered in the wilderness with Gadreel when we first arrived on this planet. I leaped out of my bed and ran to a nearby window. The sky was ominous, with large bitumen-black clouds gathering to form gigantic ones. My superior vision allowed me to see things in the darkness that no other being could. A flash of lightning lit the world white for a moment. Rain began to fall, first tapping on the window and then becoming a rapid succession of beats.

I threw on a garment and ran outside to get a better look. There were still people outdoors, servants slow to finish their tasks for the day and others who came out to see what was happening. They ran for cover as storm clouds spat their loads of water. Sharp droplets of icy-cold water needled my shoulders and back. I shivered under the prickly feeling. The rain came in torrents now. Puddles formed, and the puddles became streams. They grew into rivers. I ran to a nearby tree to take shelter under it.

I hid from the people running and screaming in fear and shifted to my serpent form. The torrent became more intense, and the night grew darker with the bruise of thick, angry clouds. A wall of rain moved over the tree I stood under, and the drops drummed against the canopy. So much water fell from the skies that the sound blurred into one long, whirring tumult.

Many of the people of Shuruppak left their flooded homes and wandered the streets like lost souls. They had never seen a storm of this magnitude. Some had only been familiar with the morning dew. I had seen enough. I spread my wings and took to the sky. Flying had never been more difficult. The rain pelted my wings, while bolts of lightning threaten to spear me as they sliced the air to my left and right.

The earth shook and sent shockwaves rippling through the ground like water, destroying houses in an instant. Fires exploded everywhere, and the smell of smoke twisting through the air between raindrops was acrid on the hot breeze. Regular clatters rang out as structures crumbled apart and fell to the ground. I needed to escape, find shelter, but where could I hide from such devastation? The skies were becoming more and more dangerous. I flew toward the coast, but my wings grew too heavy and sodden to keep me airborne. I fell to the beach.

I looked toward the coastline, wincing and moaning, feeling the pain of my fall. I had been to this beach before, but it looked strangely unfamiliar now, abnormally vast. I thought maybe the darkness of the night was playing tricks on my vision, but then I realized why the beach looked so strange. The surf had drawn back hundreds of miles; the abandoned sand twinkled in the moonlight despite the rain.

I gasped at a black line on the horizon and watched as a colossal wave swept toward me at hundreds of miles per hour—rushing, roaring, angry froth foaming from between its lips. I stared, eyes fixed, as the wave surged in. I knew it was impossible to escape it. Heat had never left my body as fast as it did in this brief moment of realization. The torrent came after me, granting me a few seconds to enjoy breathing the ocean air before it wrapped me in frigid foamy fingers and dragged me to the ocean floor.

I struggled as sand and briny water filled my lungs, causing them to expand and burn. As the wave moved, it pulled me along with it, like it wanted me to witness the devastation it would cause. My death would not be simple or fast, for the powers granted to me by the fruit from the Tree of Life would sustain me. Powers I once cherished now seemed a curse.

As the wave pushed me along, I crashed into debris in the water. Every stab, rip, and fracture my body suffered brought me immense pain. Men, women, and children drowned, their dead bodies floating around me, yet I remained alive.

The giant wave hit Shuruppak. It was nothing like the waves which lap the shore every minute of every day. This was a gigantic wall of water, cold and powerful. It came over land with the power of a volcanic blast. It moved over the city with more ease than a wave over the sand, reducing houses and structures to rubble and killing every living thing.

My broken body filled with water, sand, and debris until the weight of it fixed me to the ocean floor. People, livestock, uprooted trees, and all manner of structures floated past me. The rain continued to pour.

The sky was now hinting at sunrise. Nothing escaped my eyes and ears, but I was immobile. Every inch of my body throbbed with pain, and the cold of the water chilled my bones. As I lay motionless, I watched a large wooden vessel approach. It was the greatest ship I had ever seen. It glided over the water’s surface, throwing its shadow to the sea floor as it sailed past me, turning day to night. I overheard people singing and the roar, moo, bleat, and bray of animals coming from the vessel. Not everyone had perished. Some shall go on, while I remain imprisoned in this watery grave. The weight of the water pressed down on me, crushing me, as the rain increased its depth.

The feeling of drowning never left me. The feeling of panic, unable to take breath, to inflate my lungs. The slow filling of my larynx––gagging, coughing, briny water forcing its way through my nostrils and into my lungs like acid. I would drown and die, and after a moment of peace, the process began again.

A familiar recollection filled the void in my head, spinning memories of Beelzebub lying at the bottom of the Euphrates River bound in chains, disfigured by suffering and hate. Is that also to be my fate? Shall I become a grotesque monster wallowing in fear, self-loathing, and pain? A sharp, loud wail pierced my psyche, and I realized it was I who did the screaming.

Vashti Book Tour CLOSING BANNER BOTH BOOKS

Both books in the Fantasy Angels Series on sale for only 99¢/99p! Download your eBook today!

Purchase Link & Social Media:
Twitter (VashtiQV):  http://twitter.com/VashtiQV

 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/vashti-quiroz-vega

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vashti-Q-Author-Page-396515670465852/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1540242966&sr=8-1

Son of the Serpent: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HS4C3B7/

Thanks for supporting Author, Vashti Q. Vega on the release of her latest read, “SON OF THE SERPENT.”  To follow along with her tour, please visit the CURRENT EVENTS page of the 4WillsPub site.   To book your own virtual 4WillsPub blog tour, please visit us HERE!

Welcome to The Watch #RWISA Write Showcase Tour! Day 2.Rhani D’Chae @rhanidchae #RRBC

RWISA BLOG TOUR BANNER

Hello and Welcome to day 2 of the Watch Rwisa Write Showcase tour. My guest today is Rhani D’Chae.

rhani-dchae

I am a visually disabled writer who was born and raised in Tacoma, WA.  “SHADOW OF THE DRILL” is my first published novel and is the first in a series that revolves around and unrepentant enforcer and the violent life that he leads.

 

THE WEEK MY FATHER DIED

I was at work when my mother called to tell me that dad had been rushed to the hospital the night before, suffering from excruciating pain in his abdomen.

  Dad had been diagnosed with prostate cancer about fifteen years earlier and it had spread to other parts of his body, but he had been doing fairly well so there was no reason to anticipate something like this.

Mom told me that dad had spent quite a bit of time at the hospital while they ran numerous tests to discover the cause of his pain. Long story short, his kidneys were failing and there was nothing that could be done. He was sent home with a hospice nurse, so that he could be with his family in comfortable surroundings when the end came.

We rented a hospital bed and put it next to the front window so that he could see outside into the yard. We kept instrumental hymns playing on the stereo and moved mom’s chair closer to the bed so that she could be nearer to him.

And that’s when things started to get a little crazy.

James, my seeing eye son, was living with mom and dad at the time, and my sister, who I was living with at the time, drove out with me every day.  Gail, my other sister, also came out daily, as did her husband, her four children and their collection of young ones.

Gail’s grandkids were all under ten and did not really understand the severity of the situation. They knew that Papa was going home to see Jesus, but that was about as far as it went. Gail’s family had never lived close to mom and dad, so their kids only saw my parents three or four times a year. None of them had a close relationship with dad, so the thought of losing him did not rate overly high on their radar.

For five days, the kids ran through the house, slamming the doors and yelling to each other. Even when they were sent outside, the noise was loud enough to be heard everywhere in the house. Their respective parents would occasionally tell them to tone it down, but they were kids and that’s what kids do.

At one point, one of my nephews-in-law decided to commemorate the occasion by putting it on film. He videotaped everyone going to my father’s side and saying goodbye. Maybe it was the stress of the situation, but I didn’t like what he was doing. My father’s death was not a photo-op, and I resented anything that made it seem that way.

I remember being called into the living room and told to say something to dad. I had already spoken to him several times, telling him that I loved him and assuring him that mom would be taken care of. Having my niece’s husband dictate to me where to stand and how long to talk so that he could get it on film, was infuriating.

As six families moved through the house each day, my mother spent most of her time sitting with dad, reading the Bible to him and making the most of the time that remained. She loved having her family close, but as the days passed, I could see that the noise and constant disruption was getting to her. I did speak to my nieces individually on several occasions, asking if they could please keep the kids quiet, at least in the house. They always said they would, and I know that they meant it at the time, but it never happened. The noise, the chasing from room to room, and the constant interruptions into my parents’ private space, continued. I could see that it was upsetting my mother, and I finally decided to put my foot down.

I took my mom and Gail into the bedroom and asked mom what she wanted or needed. She thought about it for a long moment and then said, very simply, that she wanted to answer the phone. Either Gail or one of her daughters had been taking the phone calls and making a list of the callers. Mom wanted to speak to those people, most of them from her church, and was upset that she was not being allowed to do so. And she wanted the volume around her to be turned down to a much less disruptive level.

Gail said that she would take care of it, and she did. Within hours, her grandkids had been taken by their fathers to another location. I didn’t know where they went, and I didn’t much care. They were gone, the house was quiet, and that was all that mattered to me.

Later in the day, James, my other sister Sharon and I, took mom to Cold Stone for some ice cream. Dad was fairly unresponsive by then, so she felt that it was okay to take a little break.

We were gone for about an hour, and by the time we got back, everyone else was back as well. But at least mom had a few hours of uninterrupted time with dad, and I’m so grateful that the girls understood and were willing to do what was needed to give her that.

My father passed that night, surrounded by family and carried home on the sound of our voices singing his favorite hymns. Standing in a semi-circle around the bed, we held hands as we sang, while my brother-in-law, a minister, laid his hands on my father’s head and prayed him home.

As cancer deaths go, my father’s was fairly quick. He had been fully functional up until the night he went to the emergency room, enjoying his life without much discomfort. He avoided the long hospital stays and horrific pain that are so often a part of that kind of death. My aunt Gloria died of lung cancer when I was eighteen or so. I went to see her in the hospital, and I remember a shrunken figure in the bed, hooked up to monitors and numerous IV lines. Her time of dying took several long and torturous weeks, and I will always be thankful that my father was spared a similar end. I would have hated to have my last memory of this strong and vital man, be that of a wasted shadow of the man that he had always been.

I thank the Lord that it didn’t go that way.

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Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

RWISA AUTHOR PAGE: Rhani D’Chae

 

 

 

Contact Via:

Email:  RhaniDChae@gmail.com

Twitter:  @RhaniDChae & @RhaniDChaeBooks

Facebook:  https://m.facebook.com/rhanidchaeauthor/

Blog/Website:

Rhani D. Chae

Welcome to the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! Day 1 Guest Laura Libricz @LauraLibricz #RRBC

 

RWISA BLOG TOUR BANNERWelcome to the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC

Say hello to today’s guest Laura Libricz.

Laura Libricz Author PIC

Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem, PA, and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.

She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY, in 1991, and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.

Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.

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The Protective Plague

Laura Libricz

 

From the overlord’s house came a quiet but vicious argument. I walked past the stately, tiered structure, decorated with wooden carvings. The other houses circling the town square stood quiet: the midwife’s red wooden house built up on stilts; the iron workers’ blue housing complex and their adjoining workshop also built on stilts; the dark-brown community building, windows tightly shuttered.

I set my basket down in the middle of the square. The fountain marking the village center bubbled behind me. A mouse scurried around its stone base. The door of the overlord’s house slammed open and he appeared on the top step. A woman’s sobs came from inside the house. He raised his nose to the sky and sniffed at the air, his black, wiry hair standing on end. He approached the fountain, his black woolen cape fluttering behind him.

“The weather has changed,” the overlord said.

“You notice such things, Master?” I asked. “Today is the Turn of the Season; coupled with the full moon.”

“Yes, that is why you tie those wreaths of herbs,” he said. “Silly old traditions.”

“We will burn them at sunset on the Field of Fruition. These old traditions give the people comfort.”

“Your traditions have no power,” he said. “This year we initiate my new ritual. The One True Deity is not appeased with burning herbs.”

“What will appease your Deity then, Master? Burning flesh?”

The door of the red house squeaked open. The midwife flurried towards the fountain carrying a spray of reeds. Two red-haired daughters followed behind her. They carried baskets overloaded with sage and wormwood.

“Good day, Master,” she said, dropping her reeds at my feet.

Her black hair, not colored carefully enough, showed red roots at her scalp. I moved between her and the master, hoping he had not seen her hair, and gathered three reeds in my hands. I braided their stalks. Her daughters set the baskets down on the stone steps of the fountain and the midwife pulled both girls to her side.

“The workshop is quiet this morning.” I mentioned.

“The men have crossed the ford to the settlement beyond the Never-Dying Forest. They’ve taken our surplus of food and hope to trade. Years ago, the forest villagers made fabrics.”

The overlord chuckled. “Foolish men. No one lives beyond the water and the forest but barbarians. They don’t trade, they take.”

I held my braided reeds aloft. “Our petition tonight at the bonfire is to ask for the safety of all villagers involved, whether they come from Forest Village or Field Village.”

“There will be no bonfire tonight,” he said.

As if by the Master’s silent command, the double doors on the community building slid open. Five leather-clad men, adorned with weapons of glinting steel, took two steps forward. Five young women draped with dirty white shifts, hands and mouths bound, knelt behind their ranks. I recognized the midwife’s eldest daughter and the barrel-maker’s granddaughter.

“My new Turn of the Season tradition starts today.” The overlord nodded to the troop. The men grabbed each of the young women under the arms and dragged them into the square. They were forced to kneel on the stone steps by the fountain. The overlord’s daughter was also among them.

“These women will be taken against their will on the Field of Fruition. The One True Deity will come to accept the eggs as soon as they are fertilized. I will summon him. The women and their fruits belong to him. He will exalt them and admit them into his glorious mountain realm.”

I threw my reeds aside. “Our traditions and petitions are based on protecting our villagers, not sacrificing them.”

“These women are ripe. We have prodded them all. The One True Deity will have this offering.”

“Men cannot enter the Field of Fruition at the Turn of the Season. It will bring us harm so close to the coming winter.”

“Your foolish traditions cannot keep the furies of winter at bay. Harm will only come if one of these women becomes pregnant. That would prove her self-seeking nature, her desire to retain the fruits for herself. She will be executed.”

The midwife let out a shriek. The overlord stroked his daughter’s matted hair.

“If she becomes pregnant,” he said, “we will also know she enjoyed the act. She will have defied The One True Deity. Women cannot become pregnant when taken against their will.”

He took two steps forward, his face a breath away from mine. “These women can be saved. Here they are. Save them. Save them now but know this: four others will take their places. You shall be the fifth.”

He turned with a swish of his cape and, followed by his armed mob, disappeared into the community house.

The midwife and I unbound the women. Together we gathered the wreaths, all our herbs and reeds, and walked out of the square towards the Field of Fruition. The sky was overcast. Rains threatened. Two women and their children stood at the edge of the green field, bundling straw. They piled it neatly on a cart. Two other women whacked the lazy ox and the cart jerked into movement.

In the middle of the Field of Fruition, wooden planks stood in support of one another, forming an inverted cone. Mice scurried under my feet and under the cone. The planks were once an old barn. In its place we built a new one. Since the great flood, our village had prospered. We had practiced our Traditions of Gratitude ever since. I gave silent thanks for the abundance of grain that allowed even the mice to multiply.

“The moon is coming up over the trees,” I said. “We will start the fire now.”

The midwife scraped her knife on her stone and sparks flew into a pile of straw. She convinced the fire to burn and we fed the flames until the dried planks ignited. I raised my wreath of braided reeds over my head as mice scurried out from under the burning planks.

Our peaceful but preventive petition resonated between our practiced voices. We’d recited the verses many times and shuddered with the energy they held. I threw the wreath on the fire; sparks flew into the low storm clouds. More mice scurried over my feet. I looked down and the Field of Fruition was no longer autumn-green, but mouse-grey. A layer of mice had gathered, completely covering the Field–a protective plague insuring the fulfilment of our petitions of peace and gratitude. Well, this was not what I had in mind, but it would do. No ill-wisher would enter this field tonight.

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Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

 RWISA Author Page RWISA AUTHOR PAGE: Laura Libricz

Contact Via:

Twitter:  @LauraLibricz

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LauraLibriczAuthoress

Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-libricz-8980a43a

Google+

Blog/Website:

http://www.lauralibricz.com/

“Taxi” By Suzanne Burke @pursoot #Thriller #ShortStory from my next #Anthology. #RRBC #IARTG #IAN1

 

TAXI NEW YORK SHORT STORY

Taxi

By

Suzanne Burke.

 

The plane landed late at Dulles. Very late. The storm that had prevented us from arriving on schedule finally hit and hit hard as I left the terminal. It was icy cold and felt like snow was on its way.

I kicked myself again for drinking so much on the damned plane. I guess I had never really gotten over my fear of flying.  The car was in the long-term car park and considering how much booze I’d had it would need to stay there at least for tonight.

I was thankful that I had been one of the first to clear through security and a lone cab remained at the rank. Heaving a tired sigh I tapped on the window, the driver gave me a grin and opened the locked back passenger door. He saw my baggage and resigned himself to opening the trunk. I threw my bag in and gratefully slid into the rear of the cab, it was warm in here.

“Where to, lady?”

I gave him the address and smiled as he said, “Hey whaddya know…That’s a good long trip, lady. You sure?”

“Uh-huh, yeah…thanks.”

“Plane was late, huh?”

“Yes.”

“Where’d you come in from?”

“Los Angeles”

“Long trip.” This was a statement more than a question.

“Yeah, it was.”

“You out there for a holiday?”

“Business.”

“So what line are you in?”

“Insurance.”

“What sort?”

“Life insurance. …  Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m really tired, can we just get where we’re going, okay.”

“Sure, sure…just making conversation, is all.”

“Thanks, appreciate it.”

I settled back into the corner and closed my eyes; the trip would take at least 40 minutes, longer still on the icy roads. It would be good to get home. The trial had ended ahead of the time allowed and I was back a full three days earlier than planned. I needed sleep and a long hot bath.

The driver was humming happily to himself, I relaxed, he clearly knew what he was doing, and had slowed down to adjust to the dangerous driving conditions.

I was falling asleep.

I felt the taxi stop, a red light I figured, keeping my eyes closed.

I heard the door open, and slam again…

“What the hell! I’m taken, buddy. You see my light?”

“Shut the fuck up and drive!” A male voice exploded from the front seat.

“Sure, sure!Whoa! Easy, man. Whatever you say.”

“What are you doing? This is my taxi.” I was in no mood for crap.

The new arrival turned, seeming surprised to see a passenger…He had a gun clenched firmly in his right hand… “Oh shit, shit shit. A fuckin’ woman, that’s all I need. Shut up and sit back.”

“What? What are you doing? Don’t be a fool!”

He waved the gun at me, “Just shut up.”

“Do what he says, lady…okay? For Christs’ sake. The man’s got a gun.”

The man with the gun was sweating, the beads of perspiration on his face clearly visible in the neon lights of the city street.

I took a deep slow breath and tried to think.

“Don’t be doin’ nothin’ stupid bitch. I don’t much care who I shoot”

“Why don’t you just let us go, and you take the cab?” I hoped my voice sounded calm.

“Not gonna happen. I need the driver. But you are expendable, so shut the fuck up.”

“Do what he says, lady, sweet Jesus! He ain’t kiddin’!”

The gunman was agitated, and it wouldn’t take much to push him into doing something neither the driver or I would like.

“You got a cell? He asked the driver.

“Yeah. Here.” He fumbled as he took it from his pocket. Handing it quickly to the other man.

“All women have cell phones, so hand it across, bitch.”

“It’s in my luggage in the trunk.”

“Why”

“I ran out of charge … it’s dead.” If he stopped to check he’d be a fool. I knew that.

“Give me your handbag …you better be telling the truth. Hear what I’m sayin?”

I handed over my bag. The driver gave me a frightened look. The gunman rifled through it and tossed it on the floor in front, not before removing my purse. “You got lucky, bitch.”

He opened my purse and took out the notes, “Where’s your license? “

“I don’t drive anymore. I had an accident….”

I left the sentence unfinished. I watched him look at my social security card, and that joined the bag on the floor.

He turned to the front and addressed the driver, “Take the next left”

The driver was picking up speed…gradually. I knew what he was doing…smart move, but if we got pulled over for speeding the guy in front would shoot his way clear, he looked and sounded like he had nothing to lose.

“You think I’m fuckin stupid man. Slow it back down…now!”

“Sorry…sorry, take it easy, you make me edgy and I wasn’t watchin’ the dial.”

I slid my right hand inside my jacket. I felt the cell phone nestled against my side. My hand was shaking. I took a slow quiet breath.

The gunman was watching the driver, intently.

My service pistol felt reassuring in the shoulder holster, but the driver would eat a bullet before I had a chance to use it if I made a sudden move.

I said a thankful prayer that I had set the cell to silent on the plane. I’d been too weary to turn it back on.

I withdrew it gently and slowly…hoping I hit the right button in the dark.

My team had a panic button, a number that would answer 24/7. There would be no voice communication. I had to leave the connection open, and hope that the trace would pick out our location. With as much help as I could give.

“Where are you taking us? You’re heading for the river? You’re going to shoot us both aren’t you?’ I raised my voice, pretending hysteria I was close to feeling anyway.

“I’ll shoot you if I have to. Understand?”

“But why? What did the cab driver and I ever do to you?”

“Nothin’! You’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Shit happens. Now shut the fuck up.”

He waved the gun in my face again.

“Okay okay…” I made my voice more tearful… “ Please, I don’t wanna die..not out here…it’s so…so empty…we passed the river, your gonna kill us aren’t you?”

“Jesus, Lady. Shut up! You’ll make him pull that damned trigger.” The driver was understandably shaken.

All I could do now was wait, hoping that I had given the response team a hand with directions and that the global positioning satellite had pinpointed my exact location.

I sat back again. I remained quiet. We were heading further and further away from the city. We had been traveling for the best part of an hour. I made no sudden moves, watching the gunman stiffen as he stared out the windows. He was clearly on the lookout for something or someone. If he was meeting up with anyone we were in even bigger trouble.

“I’m almost outta gas.” Said the driver.

“What?”

“Gas! I’m nearly out!”

“Let me see the gage!” He grunted, “Fuckin’ inconvenient! There’s a gas stop about another 15 miles on. You have to get us there. Understand?”

“Man, I don’t know. The tanks almost dry. I was coming off shift when the woman climbed in.”

I applauded his smarts. He wasn’t coming off shift, he was too thankful for a long haul fare to be coming off shift. I couldn’t see the dashboard. But the gunman could.

“Fuck.”

“Will you let us go at the gas stop?” I asked

The man turned. He had no regret in his voice. He simply said, “NO!”

I knew the driver and I didn’t have much of a chance.

I would need to use my pistol. The Glock was a good gun, and I knew how to handle it…but the subject was armed and it wasn’t just myself that stood to die out here.

I heard the faint sounds of a chopper in the distance, all I could do was hope that it was my team. It had to be something urgent to be flying at all in this weather. Maybe a medivac flight. I guessed I’d know soon enough.

The gas station appeared as we crested a hill and the driver slowed and pulled into the pump.

“Get out, fill the tank. I have the woman and I’ll be watching you every step of the way.”

He turned to me, “Get out slowly, lady. Come round and stand in front of me, and we are gonna stand and watch your friend here real close.”

“You!” he poked the driver with his gun “Fill the tank, pay for it, and get back here. Make it fast. You take too long, she ain’t gonna stay healthy.”

The driver gave me a long look and then unhooked the hose and started pumping. He clicked off and headed inside to settle up.

The gunman had the weapon firmly pushed into my neck. I watched the driver go to the counter. It was then I recognized the guy behind the register.

I knew what had to happen, I saw the driver pocket his change and nod at whatever he was told to do. He exited the station and walked towards us.

“Down!” the single word came from behind and to the left!  I dropped; the driver dropped. I rolled and fired. How many shots I got off I didn’t know or care.

The gunman was on the ground.

The team surrounded his prone form. He wouldn’t be car-jacking anyone ever again.

I stood on legs made of jello and hurried the few steps to the driver.

“You okay? Are you hit? I asked as he scrambled to his feet.

“Life insurance, huh?” He managed a weak smile. “Good name for it.”

My team did what they had to do. The body was covered and I turned to the driver..”You weren’t really out of gas were you?”

“No but that gage has been faulty for months, it always shows empty, I hadn’t got round to fixing it”

He laughed now in reaction. ‘So you’re with, um …  FBI life insurance…?’

“Yup,” I smiled at him. “That’s the one.”

“After we do all the paperwork I’d be pleased to buy you a beer.” I smiled.

“I think we should each get the other drunk. That’s what I think.”

I shook his hand, “Sounds like a plan.”

#

Contact the author.

Twitter:   @pursoot

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/StaceyandSuzie

Blog/Website:

Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke

 

 

A #Thriller #ShortStory “Subterfuge” an excerpt from my next #Anthology.@pursoot #RRBC #IARTG

Man in mask

 

Hello and welcome! Thanks for stopping by. I’m in a hyper muse-orientated writing burst at the moment. It’s wonderful, challenging and more than a little exhausting. I currently have one novel being read by my marvelous beta-readers. And no less than three new books under construction. Two more full-length thrillers novels and an Anthology of thriller shorts. Crazy? Yup! Guilty as charged.

Here’s a little taste from the Anthology.  It’s dark … as always.

 Subterfuge.

By

Suzanne Burke.

The day felt wrong.

Neither hot nor cold, dark nor light. It was grey. Murky, sweating, drowning, grey.

My mind was made up. A perfect solution to my dilemma presented itself. I took it.

I eased the safety on the Glock and concealed it beneath the covering of the raincoat. It must rain, I needed rain. Rain washes away so many things. Rain and pain, something to gain. The rhythm of the words in my head was pleasing. I played them over and over, seeking comfort from the calm they delivered.

The bell rang out, it was nearing time. Retribution was at hand. I smiled. Retribution, contribution, a solution. Another perfect rhyme to play on a grey day.

I walked past the brown people, the disappearing, disinterested, boring, colorless, brown people. They contributed nothing, no laughter or tears, no vivid recollections of happiness shared. They went about their daily rituals of bus travel, train travel, they sat making no eye contact with the colorful ones. The inferiority of their brownness relegated them to being almost invisible.

Had they ever had color? When in their dreary pitiful lives had there ever been a spark of joy? Had they ever experienced that thrilling rush of adrenaline to bring texture and life to their faces? Faces with dull eyes and downturned mouths. Brown people.

The world didn’t have time or place for their kind. The world was weary of browness, the dull, the ignorant, those that contributed nothing.

The building was lit … brightly shining, luring them in. Come and find color in me, it said. Bring me your invisible selves and I will give you light, it said.

I picked up my pace, the day still felt wrong. It needed to be set right. Taking the brown away was my mission. I must complete it before the rain came.

I could hear a faint rumble. Was it thunder? Oh, yes. Yes! It was not yet close, drifting on the edge of hearing. A Lovers sound in my ears, distant yet filled with the promises of passion to come.

Someone brushed by me, knocking my arm in their haste. “Sorry!” he said. Not stopping to see my face in his hurry towards the building of light. Sorry, sorry, sorry! Always, they were sorry! Sorry for this … sorry for that, they spewed the word out and felt it not a bit.

Sorry! Just … sorry!

I waited, just beyond the opening of the building.  I had such pleasure in watching, waiting, soon all would be well. I would make it so. Me, I, myself; could they not see me? Had I become brown? But no, I know better. I have color and shape, a past and a history. I know laughter, it visits me and comforts my mind.

The late ones come running, all in a bother. I smile at their faces … looking for light.

I am calm as I watch them scurry and hurry, scurry and hurry, they mustn’t worry, another sweet phrase to add to my list.

The package lay untouched, like a virgin bride. No-one had ventured to see what it was. I smile, at their stupidity.

I know, I know, what joy lay in its secret folds. It was my gift. My contribution to the world of the brown.

The thunder bounced again in and out of my mind, not yet fearsome, I was patient. All would be well.

I picked up the package, freshly admiring my work. Brightly wrapped …  it said gift, it said pleasure, come open the treasure.

The bell rang eight, then nine.

Soon, it said.

I entered the building, I sat patiently, my turn was coming.

The thunder grew closer, hummed in my mind, in again, out again … always on time.

My turn arrived. It was out of the light, not blackness yet darker. I sat and talked with the faceless voice. “Forgive me father, for I have sinned.”

The voice came back at told me I was forgiven. I was forgiven and all would be well.

I knew before the faceless voice had confirmed it. Of course, I was forgiven. Why wouldn’t I be?

The thunder roared now, finally. Yes, and then came the rain.

I put down my gift. I walked outside in the rain. Excited and trembling, I pressed the button. The cathedral exploded in tempest and sound, screaming and fleeing, the brown people ran. I waited and watched.

My gift was opened. The brown ones lay dead. I had given them color and the color was red.

I put my gun to my head.

#

 

“Art.” A #Paranormal short story for Halloween #RRBC @pursoot #IARTG #Romance

RED HEAD FOR ART SHORT STORY

Hi again and thanks so much for stopping by! Here’s another Paranormal short story to help celebrate Halloween. I do hope you enjoy it.

“Art”

by

Suzanne Burke

The mood on the boardwalk screamed summer.  Laughing, flirting teens and hand-holding couples walked in the early morning sunlight, the waves in their perpetual season of change pounded the golden sand along the shoreline.  It was easy to believe that this had once been my lifestyle, to pretend for a short while that I could still be in that life.

Summer was a blessing; I had no need to remain behind closed doors.  I was free to enjoy the warmth and fresh salt in the air.  It was of my own doing, the isolation.  I chose to separate myself from the proximity of human company. I no longer had a tolerance for it.  I remained closeted away, watching from a distance.  It felt safer that way.  No sense trying, I had never belonged.  The edge of a group was as close as I got.  The need to belong with them simply did not exist.

Why the summer beckoned me was a mystery I had no wish to solve.  My life and the pattern I created within it remained stagnant in the colder months when the wind roared across the ocean with its icy tentacles seeking to hide me away.  Now the warm wind lifted my waist-length mass of red hair, and played with it much as a child would.

The art galleries were opening for the summer season.  Tourists would flock to this seaside town.  I had already sold much of the work I had done in my hibernation. It afforded me the satisfaction of knowing that I would survive another year at least with the money already earned.

I browsed as always, seeking what?  My mind floundered in a vain attempt to identify the thought.  Connection perhaps?  I smiled as always when romantic notions made me aware of their presence.

I was becoming more aware of my fragility with each passing season.
People were gathered around a painting, they showed a good deal of interest, and many opinions were forthcoming on what it represented.

It appeared to attract comment from many and understanding from few; that alone made it worth my viewing.

I looked, and looked deeper.  It was not the sort of thing I normally spared more than a glance.  Yet it drew me.  I stood at the back of the small crowd attempting to analyze why it had pulled my attention.

I have never looked for hidden meaning in artwork … art for me is simply what an artist does.

This artist had depicted isolation, at least to my eye.  A dead tree alone on the edge of a body of water… a murky distance and an object floating in the brackish depths of the pond.  The object is what was being discussed.  I was silently amused at the descriptions various viewers gave it. “Space junk,” mused one.  “A ball into the future,” was another offering.

Admittedly, it wasn’t an object recognizable to me, yet it did not feel alien.  The surroundings it was in however felt … somehow wrong.

Stark and empty, they caused me to shiver, not fearful … merely alone.  The object spoke to me of comfort and vibrancy.  It was a strange sensation.  It was different, and as such intrigued me.  An opaque ball with tinges of green at its center was fixed upon a conveyance of sorts.  Three disks black in color, encircled a metal antenna at the end of a stem.

The object appeared to lie on its side, the one splash of color amidst desolation.

I wanted to touch the painting.  I needed to feel the roughened oils under my fingertips.

A gallery employee approached and a few people queried the price.  “Sorry, folks, this one’s for display only. It’s not for sale.”  She apologized.

A few people showed disappointment and moved on.  I stood mesmerized, unable to tear myself from it.

“What do you see?” A male voice startled me.

“See?  I see a painting,”  I replied.

“What else?”  The voice persisted.

“Sadness.”  My answer surprised me; at that point, I hadn’t even clearly defined it to myself.  Yet that was indeed what I felt.  An almost overwhelming sadness.

“It belongs to you then,”  he said.

I turned to see who he was. There was no one there.  Odd?  I laughed quietly to myself.  No … not odd, not really, my months of isolation often played tricks with my mind when I first ventured out into the world again.

I shrugged.  Imagination.  Great when painting.  Not socially acceptable in company.

I was surprised when the gallery owner approached me.  “Care for a coffee?”  It was the same voice.

“No, no thank you.”

“Afraid?”

“What?”

“You heard me, Katya.”

“How did you kn …?  Of course, you know it, how foolish of me; after all, you sell my work.  But, no … wait.  How …?  I never use that name!”

“I’ve been waiting.  I knew you would come.”  His reply should have shocked me, made me afraid; it did not.

“How long?”

“More than a lifetime.  I have waited.  It is time.  You know that.  Yes, Katya?”

“Yes … yes, I know.  I don’t understand, not yet.  Yet, I know.”

“It’s time.”  He repeated taking my hand.

“Now?”

“You are ready.  No fear?”

“No.” And there was none. I felt joy such as I had never experienced.  I allowed him to pull me gently into his arms.

***

It was summer, the small art galleries were opened in the seaside resort.  One painting attracted a great deal of attention.  People grouped around it exchanging opinions; with much disagreement.

The painting depicted a landscape rich and lush.  A solitary tree in full bloom stood on the edge of a pristine pond.  A man and a woman sat in clear view, their happiness etched on their faces.  Her long red hair seemed alive in a breeze.

The discussions centered on an object floating in the sparkling water, it shimmered in a myriad of colors, radiating life.  The colors seemed to flicker and grow brighter as they gazed.

A young woman approached the group, her red hair caught in a ribbon at the nape of her neck.

The group asked many questions to which she simply replied, “This painting is not for sale; it is only for display.”

“What is it called,” asked one of the group.

“Reunited.” She whispered and walked quietly from view.

#

Contact via:

 Twitter:   @pursoot

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/StaceyandSuzie

Blog/Website:

Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke

Book Review: “Two Shorts and a Snort” by Jan Sikes @rijanjks #RRBC #RWISA

Welcome to my Book Review of “Two Shorts and a Snort” by Jan Sikes.

Jan two shorts

Meet the author:

Jan s best

Multi-award winning author, JAN SIKES, tells true stories in a creative and entertaining way. Most recently, she has written a series of four books about a Texas musician who was a pioneer in the Outlaw Music movement before it ever had a name. She also releases a music CD of original songs matching the time period of each story. Jan has written songs, poetry, short stories, screenplays and novels. She resides in North Texas and sits on the board of directors for the North Texas Book Festival, The Texas Musicians Museum and the Texas Authors Institute of History.

Book Blurb:

This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.
Obsessed:
How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.
Maggie:
Is it possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.
Friends Instead of Lovers:
Sometimes it’s better to remain friends, instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

My Review:🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A fast and satisfying short read.

It’s a difficult undertaking when an author takes on the challenge of writing a short story,  character development can at times suffer as a result … However, author Jan Sikes has met the challenge and done it well.

A clear talent for dialogue enriches the depth of each short, and the narration allows us to glimpse the immediate surroundings, and get a feel for the West Texas location in which they are set.

Obsessed touches on the out of control lengths that some humans will go to, to own and possess another. It’s chilling.

Maggie was sad yet satisfying as one couple’s craving for a child is answered in a way they believe is heaven sent.

Friends Instead of Lovers A powerful poem reflecting that irrevocable step taken when friends become lovers. There is no going back.

A very quick and intensely satisfying read.

Contact Jan Sikes via:

Email:  rijan21@gmail.com

Twitter:  @rijanjks

Facebook:  Author Jan Sikes Books

Blog/Websites:

Award Winning Author Jan Sikes

Writing & Music