Dark Tempest

Excerpt from alter ego Lena Christenson’s new romantic thriller, Dark Tempest.  All tempests are not storms.

storm-426787_1920 (1) (1)

***

Belle was blind, trying to keep up with turns and the time between them by counting in her head.  She feared it was a failed enterprise.  It had been so easy on the television program she had seen.

They had been forced into a nondescript, white panel van before dawn broke.  “Why do all abductors use white panel vans…if I were the police, I would ban them.”  Hands ziplocked together in front, gagged and a cloth bag pulled over their heads, she had been unceremoniously dumped on her ass before having her feet roughly zip-tied by the gorilla named Teddy.

She felt changes in surfaces contacting the tires and tried not to think about what might await them at the end of their journey but couldn’t keep her fears at bay.  “Damn I lost count.”

“Could this be my last day on earth?”  Belle didn’t consider herself a religious person, a non-practicing Roman Catholic, but was spiritual, believing death was a pathway to something else.  She didn’t fear death…just dying hard.  Belle also knew that if things went from bad to worse, she would pray to Mother Mary to intercede on her behalf.  She could never understand why a loving God would allow the evil these three animals brought with them to exist.

“If they think I’m going down without a fight….” Belle considered her options…there weren’t many.  One woman with her hands tied against two armed men.  Poor odds at best but they weren’t going to get better.  “What about Phillipe’ and Erica?”  She had little hope for their help and believed the only way to save herself was to act alone if necessary…and act decisively.

The van slowed causing her to slide on the uncovered metal floor.  She noted the change in sound and heard the gravel as it was kicked up by the tires.  After a jolting ten minutes, a right turn was followed by slushing sounds of wet dirt and the bouncing associated with washboard rutted dirt roads.

She was suddenly thrown forward as the van came to a sliding stop.  A door opened and slammed; the side door rolled open.

“Be ready Belle.  You’ll never know when a chance will present itself.”

An opening presented itself almost immediately.  Violently pulled to the door, she felt her legs being released and immediately kicked out.  There was a solid jolt and the sound of someone’s breath exploding from their lungs followed by a loud splash.  Pulling the hood from her head she saw Teddy scrambling out of a blackwater canal.  Jumping down from the van she ran.  She didn’t know where she was going but there was a dirt road behind the van and that was where she was headed…until she ran headlong into the skinny man called Felix.  They went down in a tangle of arms and legs giving Teddy time to recover.

Trying to untangle herself from Felix with hands tied in front of her was a fruitless effort.  She felt wet fingers grabbing the back of her blouse and was pulled off the struggling man.

With swamp water cascading from his body, Teddy threw her on her back and straddled her.  His eyes were sharp points and the automatic in his hand huge, “You bitch I’m going to put a bullet tween your eyes just so you can see it comin’.”

Belle screamed in his face, “Well do it before your breath kills me.  Mouthwash, you freaks ever heard of it?”

Teddy slapped her hard across the mouth momentarily stunning her and bringing the coppery taste of blood.  Pulling back her feet, the attempt at kicking him was batted away as if she was a gnat.  Kneeling, Teddy grabbed the front of her blouse, ripping it to her waist.

Drawing back his fist to hit her again, Teddy felt a gun barrel behind his ear, “Get off her.  We need her.  I’m not going to tell you again.  I’ll shoot you before I have to face Moïse because you got dumped in the water and killed her.”

***

Felix thought, “Just drop the hammer and end this thing.  Call the cops, my boss, and set a trap for Moïse.  Everyone saved and Moïse in the bag…the problem was there was no phone service,” Felix had just looked.

Removing the gun Felix said, “Get off of her and let’s get them inside.”

Pointing it at Belle he added, “No more of your tomfoolery girl.  Teddy, get the other two and let’s get inside before some fool fisherman sees us.”

Teddy stood and brought his gun to bear on Felix, “If you ever point a gun at me you better pull the trigger.”  Slowly he lowered the gun, “Now get them inside and this time make sure her hands are tied behind her back.”

***

Belle saw the sun was barely above the eastern horizon.  “They had been on the road for an hour or so…maybe, who knew?”  A warped, silver-gray boardwalk connected the landing to a stilted house twenty-five to thirty yards on an island in the channel.  The house seemed to be equally ramshackle.

Pushing her between the shoulder blades Teddy snickered, “Pay attention, I’d hate for you to fall in.  Gator feedin’ time ain’t till this evenin’.”

Dark Tempest may be purchased or downloaded at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07B6BDD19

dark-tempestjpeg

 

Advertisements

Pigeons from Nowhere?

 

I awoke terrified, unable to breathe…not quite true.  Once I realized where I was, I also realized I was holding my breath and was more than a little congested.  Because of my allergies, I was sleeping upright in my recliner and had had the “DREAM”.  Thank goodness I had not awakened the house screaming.  Seeing puppy dog Tilly looking at me made me wonder if that had been the case.  At least there was no movement upstairs.

My first lucid thought was of an old “THRILLER” episode from the Sixties…the early Sixties.  June of 1961 to be exact.  When it comes to exactness, I might be a bit anal retentive, so I looked it up.  I would have been a month or so past my eleventh birthday when I watched “Pigeons from Hell”, adapted from a short story written by Robert E. Howard in 1934.  THRILLER was hosted by Boris Karloff of “FRANKENSTEIN” fame and I could hear his distinctive lisp echoing in my head.

My first lucid thought is always about “Pigeons from Hell” after the dream.  A car stuck in the mud on a lonely, Southern road.  A bright, darkness casting scary shadows as two young brothers approach an old mansion surrounded by pigeons.  A decision to spend the night that leads to a hatchet splitting the skull of one…I won’t bore you…but if you are interested you can YouTube the old black and white episode…I did.  Despite its age and knowing the outcome, it is still quite good.

I won’t bore you because my dream has nothing to do with pigeons from anywhere, hatchets splitting skulls or being stuck in the mud…there are close friends who might disagree with the last assertion.  Instead, I will bore you with my dream…my terrifying, very mundane dream.  An old mansion that I have lost…somewhere in the fog time and the fog obscuring the dream.

In this dream, reoccurring since entering early adult life, I’m lying on the steps outside an old mansion.  A mansion I am quite familiar with for reasons I don’t understand.  The faded-white, lap boarded mansion is being renovated, I clearly see the spider webbing of scaffolding along the sides of the two-story building.  Above me, between the ivy-covered columns is a sign.  It flutters slightly in the breeze, fog swirling about it, obscuring its message…a message I know I don’t want to read.  Why?  I have no idea, I just know I don’t.

As if being levitated, I move closer to the sign, it’s message becoming clearer, and am filled with fear…no I’m terrified despite knowing “it is just a dream” and begin to scream myself awake.  So far, I’ve been successful, I’ve never read the sign.  I’ve also been successful scaring the bejesus out of my wife as I transition from screaming in my head to screaming out loud.

I knew exactly where that old mansion was.  I knew I had ridden by it dozens of times it seemed, the memory etched sharply in my remembrances.  On a trip home during the decade of my twenties, I decided to look at the renovations and drove to where I knew the mansion was…but it wasn’t.  I drove around searching, my mind in turmoil.  It is not where I knew it to be on a street corner occupied by a small cottage, my heart sinking into my feet.

The dream has taken on a new spirit, the mansion my “holy grail.”  Every time I have the dream I rack my memories trying to figure out where the mansion exists…other than in my mind.  The memory is just too clear to be a dream…and what of the dream?  What does it mean?  What might Freud have said?  If “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”, a dream is but a dream?  The dream is just too real…but then so was “Pigeons from Hell” when I watched it in 1961.

I wonder if I will ever understand it…will I ever read the letters etched on the swinging board?  My adult brain tells me I will never find the mansion in my dreams and for some reason, I am saddened.  A sense of loss?  Maybe that is the message in the dream.

Further insights into Don Miller’s craziness may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

If you are interested in “Pigeon’s from Hell” the following link will get you there.