I have to say, it is so wonderful to start my day off in the positive and feeling newly inspired and motivated. There is nothing worse for an author than to sit down at your computer to work, only to stare blankly at that stupid cursor mocking you as nothing flows up to be written. It doesn't happen to me often, but when it does it seriously ticks me off.
Today, though, my office is nice and quiet, no one is sick or has any appointments I have to take care of and I'm not so tired that I'm practically head-planting my keyboard trying to stay awake. My mind is back up to its usual 'go-go-go' speed, filled with new ideas.
On that note, I thought I'd throw a snippet out there from my adult mystery/suspense novel, Out Of Sync. I haven't given this book as much of my attention lately as I've been focusing more on all of my young adult projects. I don't do too many adult reads, but when I do they are usually based on dreams I've had. No, not those kinds of dreams. Dreams where you wake up saying, "Holy crap! Why don't I have Stephen King on speed dial?". He'd most likely thank me for the compliment, then tell me to write it myself.
So...here it is.
This is part of the first chapter where the reader is introduced to the main connection to everything in the book. The Chief is a wise, knowledgeable man and blind, but sees beyond what is obvious. He teaches Cheyenne how to use her own hurdles to her benefit to catch the man who murdered her husband. The following scene takes place upon her return to work after a leave of absence to mourn her husband, and she's asked to interview the mysterious Chief who might have answers to her many unanswered questions.
I hope you enjoy the read!
She approached her office and noticed the door was ajar and the light on. Puzzled, she slowed. Her door was always shut. But maybe her secretary came in early, too. She juggled her coffee and briefcase in one arm and gently pushed the door wider.
“Mornin’ and welcome back, love,” lilted Perry Fulton, his Irish accent swirling around his words. “Doncha look particularly glowing today.”
Cheyenne released a relieved breath. “Perry, you gave me a scare. And that’s one hell of a Welcome Back,” she smiled and gave him a hug. “But it’s always nice to see your mug.”
Perry had been William’s partner. He’d been the one who’d introduced them to each other. Perry had always had a soft spot for Cheyenne and she for him. But they’d chosen different people to marry, with the unspoken promise to remain close friends. He’d taken a special interest in her the past few months, though—like a protective older brother—especially after finding out about the baby.
Perry reminded Cheyenne of a rugged but handsome Columbo—wrinkled clothes, rustled black hair, big stogie between his thick fingers, never seeming to know what was going on. Most of it was an act, though. She figured it kept other people on their toes—they were never quite sure whether he was serious or not. And she loved him to bits.
Perry chuckled and gestured to her belly. “May I?”
“Sure,” Cheyenne moved a bit closer. Suddenly her belly jutted out and rippled just for Perry.
“Whoa.” He laughed. “A future soccer all-star in the waitin’ then?”
Cheyenne put her hand on top of his. “Yeah, it seems to move the most when I’m not. Let’s just say I don’t get much sleep.”
A silence lingered, then became uncomfortable. Perry nodded, taking his hand away.
“Well…” he said with a cough. “I'm here a bit early ‘cuz we need your expertise. Some of our boys are bringing in an ole Native guy…a Chief…who apparently has some info about our lurking friend. Heard you’ve seen his granddaughter. What’s her name now…um…Marie Longfoot? Longhorn?”
“Maria Longfellow.” Cheyenne had counseled Maria’s mother, Jodie.
She was helping Jodie find resources in the city so she could leave the Reservation, and her abusive relationship, behind. All Jodie wanted was a new life for her, Maria, and the unborn baby she was expecting; but her husband wasn’t going to let go without a fight, threatening the lives of all three of them if she left him. Little Maria had stopped talking from the stress. Although Cheyenne had never met Jodie’s husband, she came to think of him as scary enough to follow through with his threats—abusive, chauvinistic and possessive. She really hated custody cases and counseling child witnesses. They were the worst cases to be involved in. She didn’t do many of those cases anymore, thank God. Since her return from leave, she turned her main focus to forensics.
“Yeah, Longfellow, that’s it,” said Perry. “Boys are bringing him in before they take him to holding. Nothing serious. Protesting outside the precinct and resisting arrest. You know, we’ll hold him for a bit to teach him a lesson. Says he’ll only talk to you.”
Cheyenne blew on her half-caff. “Wonderful. I’ve never actually met him. Is he dangerous?”
“Nah,” Perry said, waving dismissively. “Just ranting. Doesn’t seem violent or anything. I’ll be there, darlin’. No worries.” His cell phone blared 'Mac the Knife' from his belt. “Fulton, here. That was fast, boys. Great job. Be right down.” He flipped the phone closed then said, “They’re here. Bring your coffee.”
* * * *
Cheyenne’s office was on the top floor of a five-story office building. It was one of the older buildings in the downtown core, still having its original brick and mortar exterior but had been completely restructured inside. Ironically, most of its renters were some of the Province’s most sought after experts and professionals in their fields. From psychologists of all areas of expertise to dentists to physicians to holistic practitioners and even lawyers, it was like a shopping mall for prosecuting and defense attorneys searching for experts for their cases. The main floor consisted of a police station and holding cells. The forensic lab and interrogation rooms were down on the sub-level basement floor, which had the same feel as an underground parking lot. Cheyenne chewed on her bottom lip, tapping her coffee cup with her index finger, as the elevator shook and rattled during its slow descent. She hated basements—the musty smell and how the moistness licked her skin. As the elevator doors slid open, she heard mono-toned chanting. Approaching the main interrogation room, the smell of burnt sage swirled through the hallway, faint at first but overpowering to her once they entered the room. The Chief stopped chanting.
“She is here,” he stated.
Astounded, everyone—three police officers, two ambulance attendants and Perry—looked at Cheyenne.
“Yessir,” said one of the officers. “She’s behind you.”
He turned in her direction and said, “Yes, I know where she is, officer. I feel her.”
He looked right at Cheyenne and she almost dropped her coffee. He appeared to be in his early sixties, no older. His black hair—sprinkled with silver here and there—was pulled neatly into two braids, each falling down to his chest. His wrinkled skin was beautiful maple brown and his eyes, the clearest gray she’d ever seen. They quivered from side to side when Cheyenne spoke, “Chief, I mean no disrespect but…are you blind? I only ask because we’d need to conduct the interview differently. I want you to be comfortable.”
The Chief smiled. “You are a very observant lady. I knew this about you already. I’m fine. If I’m uncomfortable, I’ll let you know.”
Cheyenne pulled out a chair to sit. “Okay, then. Let’s get straight to it. I was told you have some information regarding the shooter in the convenience store murders and you’ll only talk to me. What would you like to share, sir?”
“You are looking for a very evil and cowardly man. A man who preys on the weaknesses of others. He isn’t like other men. Others aren’t going to find him. But you can. You will.”
His eyes, although unseeing, moved around furiously, watching the movie that played only for him. Cheyenne put her coffee down to calm her hands. “Well, Chief, I’ll do my best to find him.”
“He will find you,” the Chief said. He squinted. “You have what he wants.”
He slipped a hand into his pocket and the officers reached for their guns. Cheyenne motioned them to stand down. Chief Longfellow pulled out a picture and held it out to Cheyenne. From where she sat, she recognized little Maria.
“Take this,” he said. “Read what it tells you. Your answers are here.” As she leaned to take the photo, he grabbed her wrist. Her heart lurched. His other hand pressed against her belly.
The policemen drew their guns. “Remove your hands from her!”
The Chief ignored their order. “I had a vision,” he moaned, his lips brushing against her ear. Musk flooded her nostrils, dizziness swept over her. “He will come for you…for him. You have what he wants.”
“Did you hear me, old man? Release her!”
His hand tightened on hers with urgency. “He knows your losses and will use them against you. But remember…what was your enemy in the past will be your greatest ally in the weeks to come.”
“Let her go!”
He released her and slumped back, returning to his meditation chant.
A wave of nausea flooded over Cheyenne as she scrambled to her feet, then ran from the room. She spotted a garbage can just as her stomach started convulsing. She broke into a cold sweat, her teeth chattering. The floor under her feet rocked back and forth like a rickety old bridge in the wind. As she clung to the garbage can, Perry ran toward her.
“Cheyenne!” he shouted, throwing an arm around her. “Are you alright? Did he hurt ya, darlin’?”
Cheyenne instinctively shrugged his arm off as the floor started to feel a bit more solid. “Yes,” she whispered. “I mean, no. He didn’t hurt me. I’m fine. He wouldn’t have hurt me. I didn’t feel threatened.”
“I’m so sorry, Chey,” Perry stuttered. “He’s going down to holding now. If you wanna take the rest of the morning off…”
“No. I’ll be okay. I have an ultrasound in a couple of hours anyway. I’ll just go home after it.” Cheyenne shakily rose from the garbage can and headed for the elevator.
“Right, then,” Perry said. “I’ll give you a call later. Just to see how things went and stuff. Right?”
“Fine. Talk to you later,” Cheyenne said as the elevator doors closed.
Feeling the familiar throb in the back of her neck that triggered a migraine, she leaned her head against the wall and closed her eyes until the moldy smell of the basement disappeared from her nostrils. She went to put her hands on her belly and realized she was still holding the picture of Maria. Gnawing her bottom lip, she stared at it. Maria looked so sad. There was a man standing behind the girl with his hands on her shoulders. Other blurry people stood around them.
She got off on her floor and rushed to her office. Inside the solitude of her recently Feng Shui-ed office, she collapsed into her chair, threw the picture on her desk, then stared at the picture of William.
The Chief had mentioned a son?
He will come for you…for him.
* * * *
Cheyenne rested on the hard leather examination table as a technician took her baby’s measurements. The dim lights and soft music humming above eased her. The technicians never talked during these damn ultrasounds so her mind raced as she tried not to notice her full bladder. And why was it they always seemed to have to press right on the bladder? Cheyenne figured it must be some sort of torture tactic they all learned at school.
“Okay, Mrs. McCarthy,” the technician finally said. “You have a very active baby in there.” She laughed. “I could hardly take my measurements it was moving so much.”
The technician glided the wand over Cheyenne’s tummy as she explained what she saw—head, brain, heart, legs, arms, fingers, toes…beautiful. And finally, the burning question was answered.
“…and you asked if I could see anything, you’d be interested in the sex. Keep in mind we can’t say 100% because we really don’t know for sure. But …” The technician pointed to a tiny white blob just above the baby’s legs. “This is why I think you’re having a little boy. Congratulations, Mrs. McCarthy. You can get dressed and get your picture up front.”
“Thanks,” said Cheyenne. She laid there for a minute after the tech left the room with her eyes closed. It is a boy. She was thrilled and frightened at the same time.
You have something he wants…he will come for him.