IN THE WOODS ACROSS THE HIGHWAY AT THE TUCKER RESIDENCE - AN EXTREMELY DETERIORATED HOME - HALF-HOUR LATER
Lars pulls up to within fifty feet of the Tucker’s house and hits the horn.
Lars hits the horn again.
Are you sure this is the right place?
It doesn’t look like anyone lives here, does it?
If anyone lives here, they have to be living like animals.
The front door to the house opens and a large man steps out with a rifle across his arm, but not pointing at the truck.
RICHARD TUCKER (50’s) a large man with a big belly. Dressed in ragged clothes and a dirty appearance.
Lars Lindgren here.
(whispers to Reggie)
I see a couple guns sticking out of the windows.
Lars steps out of the truck and lays his pistol on the seat where he can reach it.
Lars Lindgren and Reggie Carston here. I’m Lars. I would like to have a little talk.
Well, well, well, if it ain’t the rich neighbors from across the way. What you wanna talk about?
Food. And intruders.
We have plenty of food.
That’s good to hear. How about intruders?
We don’t got intruders. We send them all over to yore place.
That might explain things then. We seem to be having a lot of intruders, including your boys. Your boys seem to be doing a little poaching on our side of the highway.
My boys hunt where the food is. It ain’t poaching.
Does that include my garden and smokehouse?
Richard doesn’t reply.
(to Reggie, just above a whisper)
Don’t you have deer around here?
Maybe we’d have more if you don’t plant so much damn corn.
How do you know how much corn I plant?
(to Lars, again just above a whisper)
This doesn’t seem to be going very well.
No it’s not.
Okay, Richard, we’re going to leave now. Try to keep your boys on your side of the highway, will ya?
Richard doesn’t answer.
Lars gets into the truck to leave and Richard goes back inside. Immediately, shots are fired from the house.
...I think is story will make a great movie and Larry Landgraf did a great job writing...
If you are a fan of dystopians, apocalyptic thrillers and possible fans of the tv show Doomsday Preppers this book is for you. The beginnings of Anarchy and possibly the end of the world is coming and the characters in this book have no choice, but to stay strong. With all the drama, action, and conflict I think this story will make a great movie and Larry Landgraf did a great job writing it!
Other books in this genre:
One night Aaron Tyler has his world interrupted by a knock at his front door. He finds himself confronted by a broken and bloody girl unconscious on his doorstep; he makes the snap decision to help her, something that goes against his reclusive behaviour – a decision that will transform his life.
What ensues is an unlikely friendship between two people, but why is Sophie there? Over the course of several weeks Aaron’s life is reawakened by the seductive powers of Sophie. She realises early on that her hidden agenda could ruin everything, her family are manipulating her for their own gains, dysfunctional at best, violent and abusive at worst. She is torn between doing what they want and her new found loyalty to Aaron – and what roll does the mystery man play in the scheme.
At fifteen Sophie has no business living in the home of a forty year old man, but she convinces him that she has no family, nowhere to live and no other options. Aaron for his part only wants to help the poor girl.
Sophie brings out a side of Aaron that even those closest to him didn’t know existed. For twenty years he has not left his house, as he gets to know her he realises that he would do anything for her, even die for her. As her seduction progresses she uses his infatuation with her to entice him out of the house, baby steps at first before breaking his tether from Sotherby House.
Happy with her new found life, she decides to abandon her families plan for her. The plan was that after they placed her in the midst of Aaron’s universe she was supposed to manipulate him into sleeping with her which would then trigger their scheme of blackmail.
Before she undertook the task she had been warned that Aaron Tyler was a pervert who likes underage girls, what she discovered was the sweetest man she had ever met. For the first time in her life she feels like part of a family.
While she deviates from the plan the friction between her family increases. The pressure and strain on her parent’s relationship results in a violent split and her dad taking things into his own hands having realised they put their daughter in harm’s way. He decides that he will do anything to get her back and to punish anyone that gets in his way.
With her dad prepared to do anything, things get eventful at Aaron’s house when he turns up to retrieve his daughter, a man on a mission who will stop at nothing to protect his family.
The story highlights society’s stereotypical ideas about love and life, how a married couple with a fifteen year old child would appear to be the idyll. While a man living a lonely existence of exclusion from the world seems to be living a wasted life. At its heart ‘Hard Candy’ is a forbidden love story between Aaron and Sophie – a love that turns out to be pure, and the abusive marriage of her parents which on the surface is good and wholesome but below is toxic to the core.
Society’s need for material possessions is a driving factor for why Sophie’s family do what they do as well as the mystery man. Elements of jealousy and a sense of being owed by the world are also highlighted.
Gary sat alone in a cell. He could hear others shouting insults through the bars at each other, a mixture of Welsh and Cockney voices. The custody sergeant and one of the arresting officers had been swapping stories of how it had kicked off big time after the match, with fighting all the way from Upton Park to Paddington. Those arrested represented the tip of the iceberg.
Squeezed into a police van, Gary had been denied the return of his walking stick by the arresting officer, who just laughed. “So you can use it on me? Not likely mate, that’s an offensive weapon, that is.” At the station Gary was booked in by the custody sergeant, who made jibes about his “hardness” and asked him if he had anything to say. He was going to protest his innocence, but figured it would fall on deaf ears.
As time passed he sensed his situation was becoming more serious. Scenes of Crimes officers wandered around and he noticed one had his walking stick in a protective plastic covering. Bit late for that, he thought, remembering the way it had been manhandled from him by the cop at the scene. At one stage he heard a couple of thick Welsh accents shout a word that sent a chill through his bones. “Murderers!”
What could they mean? Had someone been killed? Who? Every week there were battles between warring fans but rarely were they fatal. Gary had always considering football rucks a laugh. You could end up with a few war wounds but they earned you extra kudos when you showed them off in the pub later. A life lost, though? A loved one not returning to their parents, wife or kids? That was going too far.
Finally a key rattled in the lock and two police officers came in, roughly hauled him up and dragged him, limping, to an interview room. A tall, stern-looking man with thick black hair was waiting, a tape recorder at his side. Gary was pushed down in the chair opposite and waited for the man to finish reading the papers in front of him. He felt edgy, as if he was being deliberately kept in the dark about something. He rubbed the troublesome knee, which had been throbbing constantly ever since the fight. The officer looked up. “You OK?”
“I’ve got a busted knee. It can be a bit painful.”
“Perhaps you shouldn’t be running around the streets of east London fighting Welshmen, then,” suggested his interrogator. Gary ignored the jibe. “My name’s Detective Inspector Ashley Wilburn. This initial interview is beginning at 8.30pm. Your name is?”
“Gary… uh, Gary Marshall. Do I need a solicitor?”
“We’ll get to that. This is just a preliminary chat. You’re one of the Boxer Boys?”
“Um, no. Not really.”
“You don’t seem sure. You live on the Boxers Estate though?”
“Well… yeah, but…”
“I think you qualify as a Boxer Boy then, don’t you? Care to tell me what happened after the match today, Gary?”
“Hammers won 2-0.”
“It was three actually, but I wouldn’t expect you to know that. Too busy looking for trouble…”
“That’s unfair,” said Gary. “I was heading home with my mates when we were attacked and chased by Cardiff fans. I can’t run because of the leg and they caught me and gave me a good kickin’. End of story.”
“Hmmm,” said Inspector Wilburn. He leafed again through the papers. “Wasn’t quite the end of the story though, was it?” he said, removing a picture and placing it in front of Gary. “Recognise him?”
The face was battered and bruised and splattered with blood, a nasty gash spreading across the forehead. The eyes were closed. Their owner could have been asleep, resting peacefully, though the pillow was tarmac and the blanket made of black plastic.
“No,” said Gary. “One of those Cardiff yobs I guess…”
“He’s dead, Mr Marshall,” interrupted the Inspector. From beneath the desk he lifted Gary’s walking stick, still enshrined in the plastic evidence bag. Gary’s heartbeat quickened, but he said nothing. “Your ‘crutch’, I do believe and, look here,” his finger pointed at the bottom where a dark smear was clearly visible. “That, Mr Marshall, is blood; this man’s blood,” he tapped the picture. “Now I’m no Cluedo expert but I believe I’ve found the body and the murder weapon. All I need to do now is find out who our Professor Scum is. That shouldn’t be a problem either because we’ve some pretty good CCTV footage from one of the local shops. They show a man in a West Ham shirt… come to think of it a shirt exactly like that one you’re wearing – a No 10 on the back – bashing this poor bloke over the head with this stick. Refresh your memory, Mr Marshall?”
Gary looked back into the earnest, unblinking eyes. “Can I have a solicitor now?” he asked.
When Cassie bursts through the stratosphere in her incubation pod, she cannot make sense of why she is descending from space in the man-made vessel. Soon, she is trapped on the newfangled, apocalyptic Earth, fleeing from a bizarre alien race. Now, in a desperate search for answers and allies, Cassie turns to the remnants of past human cultures, who have become the monsters of legends.
Ocean views. Exquisite beaches. Phenomenal food. Jubilant vacationers. Grisly murder. Welcome to Stone Harbor.
Calvin and Sophie have been married for over a decade. Residing in the idyllic beachfront town of Stone Harbor, the couple live a charmed, pleasant, and quiet life.That is until, one carefree morning, a S.W.A.T team bombards their home and arrests Calvin — for Sophie’s murder.
Sophie is alive, but an identical body on the beach causes chaos for a seasoned detective on the case, a diligent reporter looking to reignite her career, and a couple facing a crossroads they could never have imagined.
Over the next twenty-four hours, the upscale town deals with the ramifications of this incident. All the while, uncertainty and menace lurks around every corner for the residents of Stone Harbor, as they discover the brutality hidden within themselves.
AFRICA. Where corruption often rules and human life can be the most worthless commodity. Read the story of Sierra Leone and its people in this bloody, harrowing, and heart breaking suspense thriller.
This is a work of fiction, except for the parts that really happened.
Vast deposits of diamonds and oil are found in land overlapping both Sierra Leone and Liberia. A scramble ensues to secure the mining and drilling rights of both commodities. Leading the race is the Mining Earth & Ocean Corp. (MEO).
To amass and control this wealth, the creation of an illegal state called Salonga is proposed. The nominated ruler, backed and supported by the MEO, is a former RUF commander - General Icechi Walker, known as 'Body Chop' - a suspected mass murderer involved in countless atrocities.
As the battle for control of the land unravels, stories spread of horrific bloody massacres and mutilations in towns and villages, many of them by child soldiers. The capital, Freetown, is threatened by a full-blown mindless rebellion led by the RUF.
To secure power, Body Chop, with the help of the MEO, engages the protection of a private mercenary army. But control will not be handed to him so easily.
Disgraced, virtually bankrupt, ex-Sgt. Alex Dalloway, is a major part of the mercenary brigade. He has a personal quest to locate the Army officer who tortured him and killed his men years ago in the jungles of Sierra Leone. He begins to suspect the former RUF commander's involvement.
His personal life in shambles, Dalloway and his troop goes against Body Chop and his supporters, to avenge the death of his men and all the innocent lives lost at the hands of the RUF.
Later, after the day’s discussions had given the other part of my brain a chance to think more rationally about events, I drove home in a calmer manner than in the morning. Cloud cover had begun to creep across the sky at about midday, gradually reducing the sun from a bright ghost behind a translucent screen to an unobtrusive and dimmer source of light. The ceiling dropped lower and lower as I drove and it was obvious that a stormy night was in store. By the time I was home, dark rolls of cloud were tumbling over and over in the rising wind, and the slab sided Defender rocked to every gust.
I put my key to the lock, but stopped short. My heart accelerated, thumping. My mouth went dry. I had locked the front door when I left, now it was almost closed. Almost, just half an inch of the jamb was showing. It open slowly and quietly to a gentle push. No sound could be heard over the storm and the odd creak from the old house. Precious little light entered through the small windows from that darkening sky; it was impossible to make out any detail in the room. I stood motionless until my eyes adjusted, the door pulled to behind me, listening for the slightest odd sound amidst the patter of the rain on the tiles and the rumble of the weather rolling in.
Every drawer and cupboard door was open, the contents strewn over the floor. Chair cushions had been ripped open and tossed to the side, one chair was on its back, the TV was on the floor, but intact. The kitchen did not look as if it had been touched. All this I took in at a glance. Was he still here? That was vital. Anger tried to surface. I forced it down; emotion could wait. I quietly crossed the room to my office. It was trashed. Files were ripped open and paper lay everywhere. Sellotape, scissors, paper clips and pens were strewn across the floor. The bookshelf had been tipped over, and my laptop had been given a stomping.
Lighting flashed, illuminating the room for a second, the devastation stark. An immediate crack of thunder showed how close the strike had been. The shock was distracting, but a little noise behind me wasn’t right. A rustle of clothes, a breath close by, I don’t know, but it shouldn’t have been there. I ducked and turned. Something clipped my ear and glanced off my left shoulder dropping me to the floor. A broad, dark, hooded figure stood over me, a jemmy high above his head, the curved end silhouetted by the window. It swept down again, seemingly in slow motion. I rolled away just in time. It thudded into the floor. It went up above his head for the next blow. He wasn’t going to miss again. Hooking my left foot behind his to jam it, I stabbed at the front of his knee with my right one. He grunted in pain and fell over backwards. I tried to get up, but my shoulder wouldn’t support the move. I rolled over to use the other side, but he had already clambered to his feet and run out, limping heavily.
He half ran and half hopped down the drive, disappearing in the rain before he reached the gate. He was in no state to continue the fight, thank goodness; I certainly wasn’t. The whole episode had probably lasted no more than ten seconds, less, but it felt an age. Talking of age, I poured an twelve year old malt down my throat and then added a touch of water to the next one.
How could it have come this far? She had sworn it would never happen again, and yet here she was, climbing the stairs into the open air at the top of the building. It was nighttime, cool, still, and starlit. She followed, hand trapped in his—if she could only find some strength, pull him down and watch him
tumble to the landing, she could step over him and go home and forget. She was here, she told herself, of her own free will. This would be the last time, and it would be easy to say so.
They stepped out onto the roof. He put his arm around her, nuzzled his face in her hair, and then led her toward the wall at the perimeter. He leaned her against it and moved up behind her, close, his face in her neck as she looked out over the blazing lights of Westwood. They were directly up two flights from her apartment, fourteen stories from street level. His arms crossed in front of her and his hands cupped her breasts under her robe. How did this happen? I despise this person! Yet she shifted her shoulders to accommodate his embrace from behind. She had liked him once. With reservations, yes, but he had been so charming.
He had helped her when, without even knowing it, she most needed help. She felt his left hand slide down past her belly, grazing the soft hair with his fingertips. He placed his right foot between her feet, prompting her to set them farther apart. A finger curved and found its mark—she gasped and realized she was moist, betrayed by her own body as it reacted, as if in pleasure, in spite of her feelings.
Her hair was still wet from a bath. He liked her freshly bathed for these sessions. Our little times together, he called them. As if they were lovers, but without the love. She concentrated on the rough texture of the stucco wall. He withdrew his hands and turned her around, then lifted her so that she sat on the wall. This is the last time, you son of a bitch.
Absentmindedly, she placed her hands on his shoulders as he parted her robe and bent to brush his lips high against the inside of her thigh. The wall was narrow and uncomfortable to sit on. Behind her, LA’s affluent Westside stretched all the way to the ocean. It had all seemed so thrilling when he first brought her up here—the danger, the craziness of it—she had convulsed in orgasm before falling into the safety of his arms and weeping in relief.
Now she felt nothing, not even fear. Just an odd detachment, like staring out a window into the rain, or waiting in a long line at the market. Soon she would simulate an orgasm so that it could all be over.
There was a pressure at her stomach and she felt herself tilting backward. It happened so suddenly she lost hold of his shoulders, and now she felt the sharp points of the stucco scrape the backs of her calves.
Falling, she thought of her brother, Jeff, and the time he saved her life. They were teenagers, bodysurfing at Santa Monica Beach, and he plucked her out of the ocean after a wave tumbled her for so long she thought her feet would never find the sandy bottom. Her last thought before she hit the ground was of the man on the roof. How clear, how perfectly clear, that everything they had done together had always pointed relentlessly toward this.
Jeffrey Fenner found out about his sister’s death while waiting for a plane to take him home. By the time he arrived at San Francisco Airport it was almost midnight, and now he had to decide between a nearby hotel and the redeye special. He needed a drink but the airport lounge was closed. He opted for the flight back to LA. He bought his ticket and headed for the men’s room. Locked in a stall, he sat on the toilet seat and put his briefcase on his knees. There was over an hour to wait, plus forty minutes on the plane, then the taxi ride home meant another forty minutes—it all added up to at least a half-gram of coke required for the duration. He opened the briefcase and pulled out a bank deposit bag, inserted the key into the lock, and pulled the zipper. Inside were a variety of neatly labeled vials and plastic bags. He located the bag marked “personal” and the orange vial that said “Valium.” From the bag he pulled a flake of soapy white crystal the size of his thumbnail.
Resealing the bag, he took out two Valiums, placing one in his mouth and the other in his pocket. He fished in his left shoe in the hollow of his arch and located a small amber glass vial. Using the vial, he mashed the piece of cocaine into powder and scooped it onto his driver’s license, which he then bent into a curve as he tapped the powder into the mouth of the vial. When the vial was full, he capped it and replaced it in his shoe. He transferred the rest of the coke on his license to the back of his left hand and lifted it to his nostril, inhaling sharply.
Refreshed, he closed up his briefcase, checked his nostrils in the mirror, and went back out to the lobby. The lighting was grim and everything looked dingy. The people had an equally grim look, as though lost or sentenced to an endless purgatory for travelers. It occurred to him that he hadn’t eaten in a long time.
In the middle of the lounge was a fast food stand. He joined a line of ten or twelve people who stood, zombie-like and silent, waiting for a Middle Eastern-looking guy with a red-and-white striped cap and matching apron to microwave a new batch of chilidogs. The food looked plastic, like the permanent display meals at a cheap chain restaurant.
He stared ahead and listened until the sounds around him merged into an abstract buzz. He looked forward to getting back home, although in fact he wouldn’t be going home; he had to stop by Rich’s place first and make a delivery. At least he could relax, have a drink, while they weighed product and did the math. Then he could finally go home and go to sleep. Sleep—he hadn’t slept in three days.
Muscles in his leg twitched with exhaustion and toxins; he felt creaky and brittle, cranky, jumpy, and increasingly sour. From the background of babble, one particular noise seemed to be demanding attention. It had a red flag on it, like a loud knock in the middle of the night.
“You are wanting something, sir? We have veddy good chilidog. You are wanting how many chilidog?” He found that he was at the counter, oblivious to how he had arrived there. In a moment of panic he realized his hands were empty; he looked down and saw his briefcase on the floor, locked between his ankles.
“Two.” He held up two fingers to verify. The guy handed him a pair of paper boats containing long lumps covered with something that looked like steaming dog food. Jeff paid, scooped up his briefcase, and turned away.
The food was ugly, but he was surprised at how good it smelled. He devoured both dogs, wolflike, sitting in the row of hard plastic seats farthest from the other waiting passengers. Afterward, he headed back to the men’s room to wash his hands. It was large and very bright, but vacant, so he took a quick blast from the cap of the amber vial. There was still some time to kill, so he pulled out his cell phone and thumbed Rich’s number.
“Hello?” Rich’s girlfriend answered on the first ring.
“Hey Lilah, it’s Jeff.” His voice echoed weirdly in the bathroom stall.
“Where are you? Rich waited, but he had to go out.”
“I’m at the airport in San Francisco. Things got a little hung up but I’ll be there by two thirty.
Think Rich’ll be back?”
“I haven’t been able to reach him. Are you still coming by?” He pictured her, with her high cheekbones and pouty little mouth. Her crazy mess of hair. They had been friends for years, but someone else was always in the way. He went to a concession stand and bought mints and a paper, then went to sit by the terminal at Gate 5, where Southwest Airline Flight #3714 would be leaving for Los Angeles at 12:10 a.m.
It was in the Metro section of the LA Times:
SUICIDE IN WESTWOOD
Twenty-eight-year-old Marilyn Fenner, a research assistant at UCLA, was found dead Monday morning, apparently after jumping from her twelfth-floor balcony.
Shit, he thought, no way.
When Dragon woke, he felt weak and puny, diminished in body and strength. He struggled to his feet and stared down at the naked human form he inhabited. The cozy cavern that had been his home looked immense and his body felt tiny.
He remembered the witch’s curse and groaned in abject misery. “What has the blasted witch done to me?” he shouted. The sound of his human voice echoed through the cavern, sounding like a person jeering at him. “I speak with a human voice?” He grasped his neck with spindly fingers and turned to search the cavern with weak human eyes. “Where is that blasted witch, Bellatrix?” He found her body slumped onto the floor. Bellatrix lay in a pool of blood, clutching the golden knife she’d plunged into her own heart.
With human hands, Dragon extracted the knife from the witch’s corpse. The weapon sparkled with jewels that most dragons would covet, but the metal felt hot and vibrated with supernatural power. Fear shot through his chest. Dragon quickly sheathed the bloody knife in a scabbard that lay next to the witch’s body.
“What am I to do?” he asked, pacing the length of the cavern, vacillating between anger and sorrow. He stopped and considered everything the witch had told him about her vile curse. Feeling resigned to the situation, he said, “I must find that young sorceress and get her to remove this dreadful curse.”
A cold breeze licked his naked skin, raising goose bumps across the frail flesh. He shivered and raised the puny arm to look at the appendage. “I’d better cover this pathetic body with human clothing.”
Dragon remembered the body of a human knight, one who recently tried to kill him, lying in a nearby cavern. That human wore clothing that might suffice for my purpose. He trudged through tunnels littered with bones, crying in pain as his bare feet stepped on the sharp objects. He limped forward until he found the knight’s body next to a pool of crystal clear water.
Dragon stared down at the body of the knight. He was a large man by human standards with dark hair and runes drawn down one side of his face. Humans often tried to use magical runes to protect themselves when they confronted a fierce dragon. It never worked. He touched the human face he now wore and wondered what it looked like. Turning to the still pool of water, he gazed into a familiar-looking face. Strange. Dragon pushed human fingers through the unruly mop of hair and peered down at the dead knight lying at his feet.
He gasped, “I look just like this knight. Did the witch copy the form of this human when she changed me into a knight?”
Why read 7 short stories?
7 is a special number for people all over the world. There are 7 days in a week; 7 deadly sins, 7 virtues; 7 colours of the rainbow; 7 Wonders of the Ancient World – and, of course, the 7 year itch!
These 7 stories are special, like the number itself.
Why an extra ½?
We all like a little extra and this extra comes with a bonus.
You get to decide how the last story ends. ‘The Night Before Christmas’ leaves Emily with a choice – and it’s not an easy one! Read her story and go for what you want to happen. Wonder what you’ll decide.
Grimly he shuffled forward a decisive five centimetres. Nothing was ever going to change the world or his place in it. Just one second of courage,then it would be over. He would be over, on his way to the pavement and certain death.
Chat with Authors
I have a very active imagination and I always read a lot. I would always be looking around bookstores and libraries for stories similar to...
My inspiration came from a laboratory accident. My daytime job is as a chemist working for a small company. In November of 2012, I mishandled...
I have been writing since I was a young teenager. I have always enjoyed expressing myself through written words. The writing assignments in high school...
I was amazed at the experiences of T.E. Lawrence, more famously known as Lawrence of Arabia. I couldn't believe how someone was able to become...
I started writing on a dare from a friend. A NANOWRIMO supporter who challenged me to write a novel. When I went to the first...
Hop on Lenka's List Bandwagon
Nesie's Place Want to increase followers/traffic on your Facebook page? Authors and bloggers are bringing a spooky good time to Facebook for Halloween! JOIN US!
Relic Tech (Crax War Chronicles) by Terry W. Ervin II Narrator: James Conlan Series: Crax War Chronicles #1 Published by Gryphonwood Press on 03-03-14 Genres: