It’s getting closer…that soft shuffle of pages, the tantalizing scent of fresh ink, yes, THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS is coming in FOUR days!
Our next guess is debut author, John R. Beyer. A storyteller of thrills and chills, his debut novel, HUNTED, flew the coop in May 2013.
His piece, WINGS OF CHANGE, is part of our holiday anthology, THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and will bring forth your goosebumps.
‘Wings of Change’ – By John R. Beyer
He believed there might be a second chance at a new beginning with the woman he loved. It took a tragic accident to test that belief to its limit and to shed light on the question: What future lies beyond the grave?
John was nice enough to share a small peek into his novel, HUNTED (available now!)…
A killer without remorse, burning with pride, and having the time of his life, Zachary Marshall is unstoppable – until Detective Jonas Peters unexpectedly arrives in the midst of one of Marshall’s heinous crimes. After a bank robber goes from bad to worse and leaves three dead – including a little girl – Marshall finds himself the target of the most intensive manhunt Riverside, California, has ever witnessed.
Detective Peters becomes frustrated and half-crazed as the case falters due to lack of clues and evidence. Ordered to take a vacation from the the department, before he drives all the other detectives crazy with his constant tirades, he heads to his sister’s in Arizona. But an innocent remark to the media changed the entire scenario – and now the hunter has become the hunted.
The pock face man sauntered up to the boy who was filling the gas tank on an ’eighty-six, baby blue Ford Mustang.
“Hey, kid, need any help with that?”
With a look of disgust, the baggy-trousered youth ignored the older man, who stood only a few feet away, and kept his eyes on the nozzle he held in his hand.
“Ain’t nice to ignore people, son,” returned the man with a grin in his voice.
“Listen, old man,” started the teenager as he completed draining the last drop of regular unleaded from the hose in his hand. He hated adults who thought they could tell kids how to do things. Didn’t this old fart know he belonged to a gang? One more word from the wino and he would let him have it. “I don’t need—”
“That’s right, boy,” continued the man, now standing dangerously close to the youth. “You just keep your goddamn mouth shut. I’m gonna borrow your car for a little job, and, if you is a good little asshole, I may let you live. Get in and slide over to the passenger’s seat.”
Fear shot through the boy as he stared down the barrel of a large-caliber handgun in the stranger’s hand. He could not move. He could barely breathe, let alone think.
Replacing the fuel hose, the boy gingerly stepped in front of the larger man and entered the vehicle through the driver’s-side door. He thought about jumping out the passenger side, but then he realized this stranger wasn’t fooling around. The boy knew he’d be dead before he got a chance to grab the door handle. He could tell from the look in the man’s eyes. This guy wasn’t sane. Lifeless, cold eyes stared right at him and sent chills down his spine. The boy was scared, truly frightened. This man was one serious badass.
The gunman tossed a large brown duffel bag into the rear seat. He pushed in beside the boy, settled himself behind the wheel, and started the Mustang. Slowly, he drove out of the ARCO gas station.
“I noticed you have one of those No Fear stickers on your rear window.” The man smiled as he turned onto the main roadway. “Is it true?”
“W–what?” the youth stuttered, badly shaken.
“Are you stupid as well as ugly, kid? Don’t you fear nothing?”
“I bet you peed your pants already.” The man laughed as he turned north onto De Anza Avenue. “You shitheads with those stickers. You go out and skateboard or ride your silly-assed, off-road bikes and think you’re some sort of brave men. You all are nothing but a bunch of weekend weenies. Shit, you’re probably scared of the dark, ain’t you? With your pants hanging below your ass you gotta be some kind of queer or one of those big bad gangstas those niggers are always singing about. Pukin’ sissies!”
He was scared. Out-of-his-mind scared. “Mister, what do you want?”
“Nothing, now,” the driver answered calmly. “I got what I wanted. I got me a car and a young boy.”
“Oh, Jesus.” The youth suddenly felt sick to his stomach and started to reach for the door handle beside him. He stopped as the barrel of the man’s revolver pressed into his left temple.
“That would be real stupid,” the man whispered as he turned into a strip mall parking lot, drove behind the businesses, and slowed the car to a stop. “This is where you get out.”
The young man was suddenly shaking as he realized this nightmare was almost over. “You’re letting me go?”
“What’d ya think I was gonna do? Break your cherry?” The man stopped talking and pointed to a dumpster tucked up into a narrow alleyway behind a small Mom and Pop Liquor store. “Get out and climb into that dumpster. If you stay there until you hear me drive away, you’ll live. If you don’t…well, I guess you won’t.”
The boy didn’t hesitate as he jumped from the car and made it over the side of the dumpster in one tall leap. Quickly, he burrowed down into the trash, trying to put as much distance between him and the carjacker as possible. His heart suddenly skipped a beat as he heard the Mustang’s door open. “Don’t worry, kid. I gotta take a leak.”
There was silence and then the unmistakable sound of approaching footsteps on blacktop.
“Hey, boy! Fear this!”
The youth looked up and saw the barrel of the stranger’s gun pointing directly at his head. It was the last thing he saw.
The man shot the youth twice in the face. “Not bad, boy—very little noise, and it’ll be a while before they find you in the trash.”
The killer looked around, shrugged his muscular shoulders when he realized no one had come to investigate, and walked back to the dead teenager’s car. “No fear.” He chuckled to himself as he pushed the revolver beneath the driver’s seat.
April Phillips glanced right, left, and then right again before she stepped off the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Riverside Drive and into the crosswalk. Her parents always warned her and she always remembered. Hadn’t Sammy Mathews been run over last summer because he had darted into the traffic lanes without even taking a look for oncoming vehicles? April was a smart girl. Everyone told her so and she liked hearing it.
Staying between the two wide yellow lines painted on the asphalt, April walked her bicycle across the busy street. A red truck slowed to a stop and the driver smiled at the twelve-year-old girl in the crosswalk. April wanted to smile or wave back but, again, the advice of her parents sprang to her memory and she didn’t dare.
“Never get involved with strangers,” her mother had told her time and time again.
She always followed that advice. Safely on the other side of the street, April lifted her little pink BMX up onto the sidewalk and started riding west down the cement path toward Riverside Plaza.
April was very excited this morning. She had one hundred and forty-two dollars in the left front pocket of her jeans, which she planned on depositing into the Citibank located near her home on Laura Lane. First, of course, she had to open an account. But she had her parents’ permission and knew they were proud of her. She had done a good job saving that money from the small, around-the-house chores she did every week. She was still too young to do any serious baby-sitting, but in a year or two she would get all the sitting jobs she wanted, and then the savings would really start to grow.
Slowing the BMX as she approached the bank, April took a couple of deep breaths to calm herself. Then she slowly climbed off the brightly-painted bicycle and locked it to a steel rack by the front door. Patting the money safely tucked into her pocket, she pushed open the heavy glass door and walked into the foyer of the bank.
Today was the day. She was going to be an investor.
Want more? I bet you do, and I know where you can get more for your fix…
John R. Beyer Ed.D. spent nearly a decade in a Southern California law enforcement agency dividing his time between street patrol and as a member of the elite Special Weapons Assault Team (SWAT). Moving from law enforcement he has spent two decades in public education as classroom teacher and administrator. He is currently the founder and head-writer for J & L Research and Exploration blog and spends any free time traveling nationally and internationally with his spouse, Laureen, for the next ‘big’ blog. Being a native Californian he lives on a small ranch in the High Desert near the rural town of Phelan. His next novel, ‘Soft Target’ will be released in 2014.