The Things You Don’t Expect to See…

 

…that can’t be unseen.

It’s cloudy and mostly dark…it’s supposed to be dark.  It’s seven-thirty on a very late October morning.  If it had cleared I would have noted that the sun was still below the horizon as I began my morning exercise, a three or four-mile walk through my little piece of heaven.

I’ve seen animals, reptiles, and birds of all sorts on my early morning walks.  I’ve been dive-bombed by hawks, pulled up short by a brown bear, sent back to the house by a pack of red eyes peering back at me, reflected in the light of my headlamp.  There have been deer and turkeys a plenty.  I’ve been ankle attacked by a pigmy potbellied pig, but I ain’t never seen nothin’ like ‘is.

I’ve passed vehicles parked along the little spur of a road called Airline Lane.  Usually, they are hunters this time of year or maybe a carload of college kids who had an impromptu party at the lone pull off and decided to stay and sleep it off.  Much safer than defying fate by driving drunk and sneaking back onto the campus of the nearby Christian university.

Not quite wide enough to be a double track, the gravel road was recently paved and is not wide enough for people to really pull off onto a shoulder that does not exist.  Not quite enough road for the big Ram 2500 with big ole tires and a big ole covered trailer.

The behemoth sat quietly right in the middle of the road like a sedated prehistoric mammoth.  I approached it from behind unable to see anything in the truck.  I walked up on the driver’s side making sure I was visible in the big west coast mirrors.  It didn’t matter, they weren’t paying attention to anything but themselves.

I was careful, unsure of what I might run into.  I’ve seen too many slasher films and fully expected to find a mutilated dead body or five.  If they were still in this world, I didn’t want to scare them and get myself shot.  I didn’t scare them, and I didn’t get shot…I did get shocked.  An old saying ran through my mind, “Please put some clothes on, you’re scaring the animals.”

Glancing inside of the cab I found they wuz nekid as jaybirds and enjoying the fine morning in a way I only faintly remember.  I resisted knocking on the window and asking, “Hey y’all.  What y’all doin’ this fine morning.”

I applaud their passion…especially at the crack of dawn on a lonely country road.  How romantic…or moronic.  If I were rating them like an Olympic event it would have been near-perfect score…not that they cared.  They were as oblivious as I was embarrassed.  Thankfully they never saw me.  I wish I hadn’t seen them.  Talk about a broad expanse of white.  That boy’s butt ain’t never seen the light of day and girl watch out you might break the window pushing on it like that.

I’ve seen passion on a country road before, but it always involved farm animals.  I wondered if they simply pulled off for a nap during the night and woke up in an amorous mood that morning or if at the crack of dawn, the urge hit them, and throwing caution to the wind, conveniently chose my little lane as the site for their acte d’amour.

I am reminded of earlier days from a lifetime ago, but no I ain’t nevah done that.  Pondered on it but I tended to scout my sparkin’ spots ahead of time.  There is something to be said for spontaneity…or stupidity in the name of lust.

Oh well, maybe a scene for a future book.  To be young and foolish again…in love or at least, in a reasonable facsimile.  I tip my hat to you and am glad you had exited my little piece of heaven by the time I returned.

Don Miller’s rants, raves, and humor can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

 

Dark Tempest

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

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***

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

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