Benito then crushed his cigarette out on the pavement. I noticed it was half lit and still smoking. "When someone steals my property, I get very agitated. I can't sleep, break out in a rash and then I am uncomfortable. When I become uncomfortable I become unreasonable and you don't want me to be unreasonable." "No, I don't." I said. "Good just let me know what State he is in and I will find him. You will be off the hook. I know he is your friend but he is a rat and a low life. Now what State is he in!" He was now digging his hand into my left shoulder. I felt his grip, he was very strong. I loved Cliff like a brother but this was not my battle. "He is in New Jersey" I screeched. "Okay let's go Dobbs, have a nice day kid." I watched them walk across the street and get into a gray Corvette. As they drove away I felt my hands sweating. I got off easy. It wasn't me they wanted but I was the weak link. I also tried to convince myself that I didn't give up Cliff because I didn't pinpoint his location. I really did not know where he was and I think they knew that. They knew Cliff was smart. I told them he was in New Jersey but New Jersey is a big state. I must admit I was still frightened but I was more frightened for Cliff. I did not want anything to happen to him. I really believed these guys would hurt him.
"Hey Johnny, this is my only phone call so listen up. I have been arrested. I have killed Dobbs and Marquez." "What!" I said. "Yeah they came after me like you said they would. They worked me over pretty good. They beat me up but I was able to crawl over to my truck as they were leaving and pulled my dad's rifle out of the truck. I shot and killed them both as they were walking away."
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I quickly flagged down one of the casino workers—I swear to you that it seemed to be a requirement for employment at this hotel that the women all had to look like they’d just stepped off the photoshoot for the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue—and the platinum blond pixie cut, would make any man quickly forget the throaty beauty in the café, whose name I didn’t bother to read smiled and pointed in the direction of the blackjack tables.
I hurried over, hoping to find Charlie, and grab onto the one lifeline I could count on to help drag me back from the edge and make some sense out of whatever the hell was going on. It wasn’t hard to find him at all once I got to the area; his booming laugh at some joke he’d just heard was a welcoming beacon to my ears.
When I got to his table, the first thing I noticed was a ridiculous number of chips piled up around his area of the table. Much like I had seen at the baccarat table earlier, it looked like everyone at the table was doing well but Charlie’s stack was approaching Mount Olympus in size. He was good at this game, I easily admit, but not that good. No one was.
The second thing I noticed was the enchanting young Carrie—still in her hotel uniform but her nametag was now gone—draped on Charlie’s right arm and looking like she was there to stay. That wasn’t the least bit ridiculous at all. He was good at that too, as I’ve mentioned before, and he really was that good in that arena.
“Hey, Pete,” he exclaimed when he saw me. “Pull up a chair and join us.”
“Not right now thanks,” I said. “Hey, I think they got our bags mixed up and one of mine is in your room. I was hoping you could let me in so I could get it.”
That seemed to me to be a perfectly reasonable explanation to get Charlie out of the casino where I could talk to him without any unwanted eavesdroppers. Unfortunately, my lifeline went and threw me the anchor and sank my plan in less than a heartbeat.
“No problem, buddy, here’s the key.” He flipped his room card in my direction with one of those Friday night goofy grins of his face that I knew all too well. “Just leave it in my room. I don’t think I’ll be needing it.”
Somehow, Carrie managed to snuggle even closer to Charlie than she had before. Even as I snagged the tumbling card out of the air, I tried to come up with some excuse, some pretense to get Charlie up and moving. But something in both of their expressions told me that it wouldn’t matter one bit what I said or did next. Charlie wasn’t moving from that chair anytime soon and when he did, he wasn’t doing it just to go off somewhere with me.
I’d lost my wingman, my lifeline and maybe my only hope of figuring out what had happened to us. Charlie turned back to the table, and his new girlfriend, without so much as another word in my direction and I stumbled away without any direction in mind other than to get away from the creature who’d once been my best friend.
Before I realized it, I found myself in an abandoned area of the casino, empty chairs stacked around a few unused card tables and standing face to face with Liz. How long she had been watching me, how much she had seen, I simply did not know. But there she stood with an odd, sad look in her eyes.
“Aren’t you going to ask me how you can be of service?” And I am sure there was more than a hint of bitterness in my voice, certainly more than she deserved to be on the receiving end of.
“No,” she replied without reproach for my tone. “At this moment, Mr. Childress, you are looking for any exit that will lead you back to the outside world. I simply can’t help you with that. All I can suggest to you is this—perhaps you are looking for the way out of here in the wrong direction.”
“What does that mean?” I asked in confusion.
Something from behind me suddenly caught her attention at that moment. Her eyes quickly flickered to whatever it was for a brief moment before returning to meet mine.
“Your room opens up to the central park,” she said after a moment’s pause. “We see so very few of our guests ever bother to go out and fully explore it. Perhaps you should visit it. You may find it to be peaceful and relaxing.”
She moved suddenly then, as if to walk past me without another word. But just as she drew even with me, her lips just inches from my right ear, I heard her whisper in a tone almost too soft for me to hear.
“You might even find it very enlightening, Mr. Childress.”
Then she was gone, moving on into the casino to engage some of the other guests in conversation. As I turned to watch her walk away, I noticed what it was that had distracted her earlier, what had appeared to make her suddenly cautious not only in what she said but how she appeared while saying it.
Standing out there in the middle of the casino, clearly scanning the crowd for someone in particular, was the hotel’s manager. But before he could look over in my direction and take notice of me, I darted toward a much darker area of the casino and eventually made my way back around to the entrance without him seeing me at all. For a reason that I could not put a logical explanation to, I suddenly had a very strong urge to be as far away from that man as I could possibly get myself and do it as quickly as I could.
Even within the seemingly limited, but very gilded, confines of this nightmarish trap that I found myself in.
Anxious, Shariel scrambled up the hill at a brisk pace. Soon her muscles burned and her lungs ached. Afraid to stop, she scolded herself for being lazy during winter.
Pebbles skittered down from a high boulder and startled her into a crouch. She slipped a dagger from her boot and gripped the blade. Two pointed ears and a head popped over the boulder.
She released pent up breath. “Chacka! I should’ve known it was you.” The silver wolf stared down from a rocky perch as his glistening white teeth formed a canine grin.
Shariel climbed to his level. “Don’t sneak up on me like that. My nerves are all jittery since I imagined someone watched me near the village.”
Chacka sniffed the breeze and rotated his ears. Hackles bristling, he stared down the mountain trail.
“My imagination’s working overtime,” she chattered unaware of the wolf’s defensive posture. “I’d lay odds we’re in for a storm. I get spooky just before a big blow, but a spring storm shouldn’t last long.” Shariel wiped her forehead and eyed the woods. “Why does your mate hide? Haven’t you told her I’m a friend?”
Chacka kept his head low and menacing, a deep growl rumbled in his chest.
“She’ll learn to trust me.” Shariel climbed the trail, talking. The wolf stayed nearby until she reached the cabin, and then he melted into the forest shadows.
Shariel shouted, “Bye, Chacka. See you later.”
“Talking to your wolf again?” Aunt Bess stood in the door. “Don’t you know wolves would just as soon eat you as say howdy?”
Shariel grinned. “If Chacka ate a human, he’d pick one who doesn’t like him.”
Bess laughed. “I’m too tough to be appetizing. Did you get everything?”
The Old Ones have scattered and now it is up to Lady Excalibur and her cohorts to hunt them down. But who is hunting who? A new Old One on the scene has a slightly different approach to world conquest. It's insane, it's radical, and it just might work. Now Lady Excalibur and the rest of the Freak Show must take on not only the Old Ones, but their abomination creations as well.
While blizzards raged across the Northern Hemisphere, tourists donned sunglasses, sandals, and garish T-shirts to confront a sultry January day in Barbados. The fierce sun seared virgin white skin and waves of heat rippled off the pavement.
Swarming the dock like ants attacking a crumb of sugar cookie, crew and passengers disembarked from three cruise ships docked in the deep-water harbor. Two of the ships, the Aurora and the Polaris belonged to Constellation Cruise Lines. The uniformed crew—wearing caps with bold blue and red CCL insignia and short-sleeved cotton shirts tucked into crisp white shorts—patiently directed passengers through the congested terminal.
Metal stairs rattled, supply carts clanked, and a loudspeaker crackled messages over the din of the crowd. Caribbean music pierced the discord. A string band twisted the melody of an old ballad into a lazy calypso beat punctuated by the mellow timpani of a steel drum. Five black musicians swayed and twisted through the throng keeping step with their own music—a Caribbean-style marching band. Frayed straw hats bobbed in time to the rhythm. Red, orange, and purple flowered shirts undulated over boxy green shorts and dirty white tennis shoes as the musicians played homemade instruments fashioned from lead pipes, coconut shells, scrap lumber, and tin. Electronic flashes burst from the crowd of tourists who diligently recorded the scene with cameras.
A man wearing a dark turtleneck shirt under a long-sleeved white service coat scowled at the crowd. Hefting a CCL tote bag the agile man maneuvered through the horde of bewildered tourists and slipped down a vacant corridor. Hesitating for a heartbeat he scanned the empty hallway, inserted a key into the door, and slipped inside.
The sign on the door read: “Quarantined Area, No Admittance,” but no alarm bells blared, no security guards charged in to make an arrest. The intruder turned on the lights and opened his tote bag. He removed a pair of surgical gloves, a cotton swab taped to a long stick, and a small black manicure case. A cricket chirped, a tree-frog trilled, and leaves rustled as lizards scuttled from sight. Forest sounds seemed incongruous in a room full of stainless steel equipment, wire cages, and glass enclosures plastered with large red labels proclaiming “Danger” in several languages.
Snapping surgical gloves onto sweaty hands, he cautiously pried open the lid of a small terrarium, inserted the cotton swab, and stroked the skin of the tiny frog. Startled, the frog vaulted toward the open lid. The stranger jerked back and dropped the cotton swab into the glass cage.
The two-inch reptile clutched the edge of the glass with sticky, bulbous toes and peeked through the opening. It looked harmless, strangely beautiful with iridescent yellow stripes down a navy blue hide, except for the deadly toxin coating its skin. One touch could kill a man as surely as a cobra’s bite.
As the diminutive creature squeezed through the glass lid, the intruder retreated to a safe distance. The frog jumped, landing near his shoe. Screaming, he scrambled to avoid the dangerous reptile, plastic soles squeaking against the slick floor, and crashed into a cart full of metal trays that clanged to the floor. The frog vanished. Holding his breath, the man stepped in circles, searching. He spotted the quivering reptile—a patch of glowing color in the dark shadow of a table—and exhaled a sigh of pent up breath.
Heart pounding, he fished out the cotton swab, unzipped the manicure kit, and extracted two glass vials, a white plastic toothpick, and a pair of tweezers. Eyeing the frog, he rubbed the moist swab over the toothpick and the tweezers, slipping each into a glass vial.
Storing the vials in the manicure kit, he noticed a sticky smear on his jacket sleeve just inches from bare skin. A similar smudge the size of the frog marred the glass terrarium. Cursing, he threw the swab to the floor and stripped off gloves and coat. Folding the tainted sleeve to the inside of the jacket, he wiped a trickle of sweat with a trembling hand. Turning off the lights, he fled.
No one noticed a man wearing a dark turtleneck shove a white bundle into the dockside trash bin. He joined a group of tourists who climbed the gangway to the Aurora.
The laboratory remained quiet for an hour. When the door clanged open, the tiny reptile retreated to safety behind a table leg.
Hubert flipped on the light switch singing, “Every liddle ting goin’ ta be ah—all right.” He wagged his head to the rhythm of his own song as he dragged a sloshing orange bucket on wheels into the laboratory. Glaring fluorescent lights flickered and buzzed overhead.
He abruptly stopped singing and surveyed the room warily. “Hello! Who’s been makin’ such a mess?”
A marshy scent of rotting wood and leaves wafted from a nearby enclosure. Inside a miniature dinosaur shifted its head to peer at him with an eerie gaze.
“It’s a good job I’m not de bloke cleaning your cage, mister,” he said and skirted past the reptile.
“Wonder how des trays get spilt over de floor. Nobody was working las’ night.” After stacking trays onto the proper cart, he bent and picked up a cotton swab from the floor. “Dis looks mighty strange. Dem science blokes don’t toss trash ’round like dis.” He fingered the sticky substance at the end of the swab. His skin tingled and heat flashed up his arm, sweat stung his face. He swiped his forehead with a meaty brown hand. “What in de world...” Eyes widening, he clutched his throat and gagged.
Scrambling for the door, Hubert tripped over the orange bucket and sprawled on the floor. Legs twitched. Fingers jerked. Soapy water sloshed across the checkerboard linoleum, soaking Hubert’s body and seeping into the shadows. The frog climbed up the table leg, its beady black eyes watching the large man die.
That evening Bajan radio spread the news over the airwaves: “A terrible accident resulting in death at the Port Authority occurred today when a janitor touched a lethal Poison Dart Frog. The frog, which escaped from a shipment earmarked for the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, was subsequently captured. Discovery of the body occurred when a lab technician entered the facility to perform afternoon feeding duties. Public release of the identity of the deceased was withheld pending notification of family members. The Port Authority promised a full investigation.”
They live among us. We know they are there. No government can control them; no authority can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called "adepts" and were organized into guilds for mutual protection and benefit? And what if they started mucking around with the affairs of "lessers" (that is, those humans not able to match their powers)? During the height of the Cold War, Michael Vaughan is a rogue without a guild. He survives by working for the CIA as NOC (Non-Official Cover). Shortly after the funeral of President Joe Kennedy, Jr., he is sent to Cuba to assassinate Castro. There he finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with adepts working for Fidel.
After more than 200 years of being dead on the ocean floor, vampire Dominic Kollar is released in the year 2012, only to find out that the rules have changed. Bounty Slayers are responsible for keeping Vampires in line.
As Dom acclimates to the strange modern world, he discovers that he really likes two things: riding motorcycles and the sight of a mysterious, bewitching lady.
Aided by an old vampire frenemy, Dom confronts human bikers in order to infiltrate their gang and find the object of his blood lust. As long as he can keep himself fed in this new world of challenges, Dominic Kollar will make a stand, avenge his past and attempt to destroy those who dared to cross his path.
This novella will bring you closer to the Mancini family during the holidays.
Isabelle Mancini, the matriarch of the family, really misses her children. Except for Bella, who is now a senior in high school, her sons are spread out all over the U.S. and overseas. She decides to do something a little different this Christmas and rents a gorgeous cabin in the mountains to get everyone together. But it’s not just their company she’s craving. Isabelle has an announcement to make, one that will shock her family.
When a blizzard strands a dinner guest on the side of the road, four of the Mancini brothers leave the cabin to brave the elements, find this guest, and bring him and themselves safely back to the cabin.
A slippery drive down the mountain, in search of the missing guest, brings unexpected suspense from both the wilderness and bad guys as a man-versus-nature challenge juxtaposes with a man-against-man danger that threatens their very survival.
The Mancini family invites you to a very special--and very exciting--Christmas Eve adventure. Don’t miss it!
Approaching the boulder, Tempest jerked his head up in alarm. He pawed the turf and snorted. “What’s wrong?” Donovan trusted an animal’s instinct for danger. His eyes roamed the rocks with his hand poised over the hilt of his sword. A black shape moved out from behind the boulder. Donovan dismounted and held Tempest steady.
It was not a wolf of earthly variety, but Donovan’s mind labeled the creature a “wolf” in honor of the animal it most resembled. The lean well-muscled canine body looked similar to its cousin. The head looked long and narrow with alert golden eyes and pricked ears that shifted with each new sound. The eyes displayed an intelligent depth of expression.
He noticed a marked difference between this wolf and its earthly cousin. The creature stood on its hind legs, easily the height of a healthy grizzly bear. Although it was more slender than a bear, its muscled limbs looked formidable. With almost scientific detachment, Donovan noticed elongated front paws as the wolf extracted a deadly blade from a sheath strapped to its rib cage, a challenge on any world.
Donovan met the wolf’s steady gaze, his thoughts racing. An intelligent species, this wolf looked ready to fight. What rotten luck! I wish I could communicate. How can I avoid bloodshed?
“Greetings friend,” he said in a nervous croak.
The sound caused the animal to shift its stance. Donovan thought he saw curiosity in the alert eyes. If any creature on this world had the right to be called king, this regal animal was the one.
We accept acknowledgment of our superiority and spare your life. The message formed inside Donovan’s head, not in words, but mental impressions that he translated into words.
The wolf sheathed his blade and “spoke” again. We are Kriegen, leader of the Forest Guardians. The wolf lowered his body to all fours. Donovan sat—a fortunate choice as he later learned since a standing position offered challenge. To avoid battle a weaker creature observed a subservient posture.
If you wrong us, shall we not revenge? Rick Bailey is living a nice, quiet life on the planet where he retired, enjoying the money he found in the Treasure of the Black Hole. Without warning, he is arrested for helping his former lover, Jil, break out of prison where she was serving a 20-year term for murdering an alien. Hoping to clear his name, Bailey goes after Jil. But the slime-bed mate of Jil's victim is also after her. Now, Bailey's only hope for saving Jil is to find a treasure buried on a planet over ran with cannibalistic pirates. He teams up with a Core Empire Intelligence Corps officer, but she might have motives of her own. Can Rick save Jil and keep himself out of the clutches of the Core Empire that wants to vivisection him, the police who want to jail him, and the alien who wants vengeance for his brother's murder?
A few days ago, I was watching the Weather Channel on TV, and a weatherman was asking some people on the street some very simple questions. One question was "in which direction does the sun rise and set?" A few people could not answer this question. Another question was “can you name the four seasons?” Several people could not answer this question either! Now I thought to myself, "damn, those are some really dumb people!" In my opinion, there should not be a single person on this planet who cannot answer these basic questions, but the fact is, there are probably a lot of people who cannot answer these and many, many more very simple questions. These are important things everyone should learn as they grow up. These people were walking down the street, and appeared to be ordinary people, functioning in life like everyone else, putting one foot in front of the other, but in reality maybe their brains were in overload just getting one foot in front of the other, and they were, in fact, on the verge of literally falling flat on their faces. Can these people learn more and function better? I think yes. That is what gave me the idea of writing this book.
Why the SOB in the title of this book? Well, mainly to catch your eye, but also because for too many people I'm sure, the title SOB fits me very well, especially if you happen to work in any form of government, and especially the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TP&WD). If you read my last book, Dangerous Waters, you will know why I say this. It really doesn’t matter if you read that book though, what matters is that you read this book. Dangerous Waters was written to help me; this book is to help you.
If you don’t think I’m an SOB now, I’m sure many of you will certainly think so by the time you finish this book; maybe long before you finish. Some of you may get so pissed off at me before you get to the end, you don’t even finish the book. That will hurt you, not me. I may say some things which will offend you, but remember I am trying to help you. Do I care what you think about me? No, certainly not. I really don’t care what other people think about me, and you should not care what other people think about you either. I am what I am, I am who I am, and if you don’t like it, well then, you can kiss my fat ass! I don’t care what you think. If you care what other people think about you, then other people will change you. You will not change me. Even if you slam this book shut right now and throw it away, you will have at least experienced lesson #1. Don’t care about the other 347 lessons? That’s your choice.
If I don’t fit your profile of what a normal person should be, then screw you. First of all, I have never claimed to be normal. In fact, I don’t think I have ever considered myself as normal, and that has never been a goal of mine. I have always strived to be just me, whatever that may be, but normal, no! I am an individual and unique, and think I have always been so. I will never conform to what you think is normal and I will never be a card carrying member of A Nation of Sheep. This was one of the few books I read while in High School that influenced my life. I am constantly evolving, but in a direction which suits me, not you. I don’t think I’m crazy or nuts, but will not entirely rule that out either.
I was taught by my parents when I was young, that I should not tell anyone everything I know. I was told that would make them smarter than me, as they would then know everything they know and everything I know. Now, I don't think this makes any sense, and it certainly doesn’t make any difference to me. Frankly, I just don’t care how smart you are or can become. I just hope I can avoid being killed or injured, by some stupid person doing something really stupid. If I can help make more people less stupid, maybe I will have a better chance of living a little bit longer. I may be able to help you become a little smarter, but probably not less stupid. I’ve heard stupid is for forever, and this is probably true. But maybe if you are a little smarter, which I can help you with, you will think a little more before you act. This, in turn, will hopefully make you do less stupid things. Try it and see if it works. There are way too many stupid people out there. I know; I see them on the highway every time I go somewhere.
I do not know why my parents told me not to tell people too much. Maybe they were just trying to shut me up. Kids learn very early to ask “why?” Maybe I was always telling them stuff and asking too many questions, and they just wanted to get rid of me. Kids really do ask a lot of seemingly silly questions, but this is the way they learn. I didn’t get all the answers, but I did ask. Maybe some or even a lot of kids don’t, or can’t, ask all that many questions. That’s just too bad, as this is how you have to learn when you are too young to read well, and you can’t really do much else.
Learning to walk is a challenge, and learning to get around the house, yard and then the neighborhood can be challenging too when you are young. There always has to be some help from parents, relatives and siblings, or you will not learn what you need to learn before you get into school. Maybe some parents are not smart enough to answer the questions the kids are asking, or are too busy to raise the kids who are their responsibility to rear to the best of their ability. This can be a serious problem. If you are a parent, take the time to teach your kids all you can. This is your job; your responsibility. If kids do not ask questions and get answers, they cannot learn. Parents should know this. Parents must be willing to answer the questions. If your life is so busy, why do you have kids? You must make time for them. I suspect too many people have not made time for their kids, and this is really sad, as now there are a lot of dumb people as a result.
What will the next generation of kids be like? This can create a vicious cycle for perpetuating dumb people. It doesn’t have to be this way though. I found other ways of learning. How about you? Considering all the dumb people around, someone needs to help these poor souls. I cannot replace your parents, but I am going to try to tell you everything I know, though this will be impossible, and you may already know some of the things I will cover, but it never hurts to repeat. I will also tell some pretty good stories about my life as I go, and share my beliefs and frustrations, all with a good measure of sarcasm and a little humor too. You will get some insight into my life and why I do things. I will also try to give you the strength you need to make better decisions, and get you started down a path which will lead to better finances, more happiness and hopefully to a better life, which will lead you to a greater respect for yourself and those around you. I will try to motivate you, and show you there is hope despite your parents, and it is never too late to learn, but you have to be willing to learn. I will help as much as I can, and maybe, just maybe, helping some dumbass to smarten up a bit, will save me from one of his or her stupid mistakes. That is my goal.
If you have a college degree, are living a good life and are happy with your life, this book is probably not for you. If you are mentally stable, know what you want out of life and are working in the direction of improving your life, then you probably do not need this book, but maybe this book can still help you a little anyway. I expect you will learn a few things you did not know before, and you might also find an interesting story or two along the way, as this book is also an autobiography of my life, with a lot of pretty good stories about as much of my life I can remember. I believe you will be glad you read the book, even if you really did not need it. I’m also sure you probably know someone this book can help, and maybe you might want to buy a copy to help him or her out a little. Maybe this book will save you from your dumb friends, and the stupid things they do. Think about that.
If on the other hand, you are not happy, if you are not moving forward with your life, if you do not know where your life is headed, you may really need a helping hand, and that is what this book is, a helping hand. Maybe your kids do not listen to you, as few teenagers do. Maybe you need to try to get them to read this book, if you can. This book is for anyone stuck in a rut and needing direction. Everyone knows someone like this, and even if this book cannot help you, give a copy to someone you care about, so you can help them. You will be glad you did.
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La sirena negra by Emilia Pardo Bazán Narrator: Esperanza de la Encarnación Published by Edelae Genres: Fiction , Historical Length: 4 horas 42 minutos Format:
La Jolla, California is widely known for the "Seven Caves" and most visitors go inside the caves through kayaking tours, but there's also another way