Thursday, April 23, 2009

HALLOWED BE THY NAME - PREVIEW



PREVIEW: FIRST TWO CHAPTERS OF "HALLOWED BE THY NAME"--now available!

1 PROWARD STREET STATION

Only an idiot would dare travel through Donalee at night. That’s what Dr. Trenton Hallowed had read in today’s newspaper. He opened the door of his Lexus sedan, a tall man of slim build, dark hair and stepped into the street at the intersection of Walnut and Vineyard. New-car-smell segued into late evening after-the-rain. He toggled the trunk switch and the lid popped open. Trenton placed his key set in the pocket of his suit pants and removed a knee length white lab coat, folding it up as he walked around to the rear bumper and set it inside. A Genetic Corp employee pass-badge lay clipped on the front pocket face up.
Trenton removed a brown suit jacket from the trunk and pulled it on. He paused a moment to wipe his wire-rimmed glasses with a monogrammed white handkerchief then seated them securely upon the bridge of his nose with an after-push. He retrieved a beige fedora and black leather briefcase and capped his outfit before closing the trunk lid.
Trenton scanned the area and then crossed Vineyard Street reaching into his pocket to depress the keychain. The hazard lights on the Lexus flashed behind him with a chirp as he stepped up onto the sidewalk. Rainwater splashed his hat brim from the streetlight as he passed under. To his right, a digital billboard flashed the date and time in between advertisements. Trenton scanned the Rolex on his left wrist. His timepiece read two minutes fast at 10:30 PM.
Trenton opened one of the glass double doors to the Vineyard Street Subway station and walked inside. This late in the evening, the station was virtually abandoned. Custodians operated sweepers while a few others waxed the floor. Walking through the station, he noticed how impeccably clean everything was.
The marble floor showed very little signs of wear as did the costly leather couches and mahogany tables sitting in the vestibule. The custodians performed a duty, not a necessity. Only then did Trenton consider that most people living in Imperial City’s Hilton borough didn’t need public transportation. It held a stigma here.
As Trenton approached the turnstiles, he saw a burly security officer leaning against one of two attendant booths. One stood dark, while the other housed a lone female attendant with curly blonde hair who was engaged in conversation with the officer. They seemed surprised to see anyone actually coming into the station, especially at this time of night.
“Good evening, sir,” the security officer said. He straightened and Trenton wondered if all he did every night was stand there talking to the pretty girl in the attendant booth. “Would you like an escort?” the man asked.
“No thank you.” Trenton kept his fedora at an angle shadowing his facial features. He passed his right hand over the turnstile sensor and it automatically scanned the Hilton identification band on his ring finger. A green light on top of the turnstile flashed and Trenton walked through unhindered. “Have a lovely evening, sir,” the security officer said.
Trenton kept walking and did not reply. An escalator carried him down to the train platform. Two more security officers sat at a desk to his right. They were already looking at him by the time he cleared the short hallway leading onto the platform. He made a mental note of several camera mounts positioned in the ceiling corners. “Hello, sir,” one of the men said from behind the counter.
Trenton nodded to them with a slight tug on his brim. Neither of the guards showed enough interest to actually come over and investigate. He examined his watch again. 10:37PM.
A train howled coming through the tunnel on approach to Vineyard Station. The automated train engine emerged from the tunnel trailing five passenger cars. When the car doors opened with a hydraulic hiss, the yellow barrier gates followed suit—five gates swung open giving access to this lone passenger. Trenton boarded and sat down in the empty train car.
The computer controlling the train waited two more minutes, sounded an intent-to-board alarm bell then closed the passenger cars. Trenton pulled a current newspaper from his briefcase, began reading and waited. No other passengers had boarded while in Hilton, just as he had expected.
In a matter of minutes, the train covered miles of underground and overland track. It left the Hilton borough altogether—immediately entering the Branton borough. Trenton read with the pages held aloft blocking his view of any passengers who might board. All he heard at each stop were the doors. He waited.
When the computerized female voice announced that his train had passed into the Donalee borough, Trenton’s palms began to sweat. This was it—his field experiment was about to happen. The train stopped at the Proward Street station—the same as the news article Trenton had read. The door hissed and opened. The smell of sweat and cigarette smoke invaded the train car along with several sets of footsteps.
Trenton’s newspaper exploded away from his hands revealing four armed men—two with knives, one with a lead pipe, the last swinging a thick chain. Trenton noticed two overly made-up young women waiting outside the subway car door. One held a .38 caliber pistol—Saturday night special. Two of the men grabbed Trenton out of his seat and slung him out of the train onto the platform. Trenton stumbled but did not resist. The doors closed back into place. Seconds later the automated train left the station, leaving the famous geneticist behind.
Trenton stood on stained gray concrete in the midst of the four men and two women on the Proward Station platform. Graffiti adorned every wall. “The wallet and briefcase now, fancy pants!” one of the men said. Trenton searched for camera mounts and found all of them torn down.
He smiled. Perfect.

2 CHAOS

Detective Michael Stamos depressed the button to roll down the passenger side window of his unmarked police cruiser. “Richard do you have to smoke those things?” he asked. “You’re gonna get cancer.”
“At least I’ll die happy,” Richard said. He blew a stream of cigarette smoke out the window.
“Well I don’t want cancer. My dad passed away last year.”
Richard looked at him. “I thought he had a heart attack.”
“What’s your point? He died…I don’t want you to kill me with your nasty habit.”
Richard chuckled, drew a final drag and flicked the butt out the window. “Happy?”
“I will be when you finally quit.” He rolled the window back up.
“Maybe I’ll quit when you get married.”
“Hey now, I like my space,” Michael said. He turned a corner keeping one eye on the GPS screen.
“You’ll never find a woman with that attitude. You gotta give a little—stop being such a lone wolf.”
“I like lone wolf and who says I’m looking?” He turned another corner and ran through a red light—siren blaring outside and police lights flashing. “Besides, I’ve got you,”
“Now that’s scary,” Richard said, rolling his eyes.
“Yeah, yeah…I mean, if I want someone to nag me about what I’m doing and where I’m going, I’ve got you. I don’t need a wife for that.”
Richard ran his thick fingers through his wavy gray hair. “Do we have any information on this one?”
“Just six dead bangers.”
“A Joy deal gone bad?”
“Sounded more like a robbery that backfired,” Michael said.
“Vigilante?” Richard mused. “Interesting.”
“That’s all we need. If they’re any of Ming’s people, we’ll have a bloodbath on our hands.”
“I should’ve capped him when we had the chance,” Richard said.
“They’d have locked you up on that one.” A multitude of police lights flashed down the road ahead of them—a swarm of angry fireflies. “The guy was unarmed.”
“Yeah, but he was guilty,” Richard said.
“You know how that goes.”
“Would’ve been nice to get him when he was still just a two-bit punk,” Richard said as he checked his sidearm beneath his beige sport coat. “Now nobody can get near him.”
Michael pulled up to the subway station at Proward Street. He and Richard got out of the car with their badges ready just in case some rookie tried to stop them crossing the police line. They ducked under the black and yellow tape and walked through a nest of black and whites.
The two detectives entered the Proward Street subway station, passing several officers they knew well. An emergency entrance bypassed the turnstiles and all the traffic flowed through it. Mike and Richard walked through with several forensics technicians and followed them down three flights of stairs to the large subway platform below.
Emergency lighting had been imported because most of the platform lighting had been damaged. Fluorescent bulbs still flickered. A uniformed police officer vomited into a station-labeled trashcan. “Oh boy.” Richard sighed. “It’s gonna be one of those nights.”
“Nothing we haven’t seen before,” Michael said. But as he and his partner entered the crime scene, Michael realized he was wrong.
Crime scene investigators and technicians worked like ants gathering food for the winter. The entire platform was showered with gore. Cameras flashed almost continually. Richard stood wide-eyed. Michael felt like joining the uniform at the trashcan.
The area had been taped off to prevent officers from messing up the crime scene. Michael and Richard remained behind it. The call involved six gang members. One, a female, lay dead with her own pistol shoved halfway inside her mouth. A Caucasian male had been wrapped like a horseshoe around a support pillar with his back broken. An Asian male, gang member lay ten feet away crumpled in a heap beneath a blood-smeared wall. It appeared as though he had been swung by his legs and repeatedly smashed into the graffiti and white tile of the Proward Station platform.
Another female lay on the dirty concrete floor—her body nearly unrecognizable as being human. An African-American male had been bludgeoned to a pulp and thrown up into the roof girders—ten feet in the air.
A team worked feverishly to manually back up one of the automated passenger trains. When the men finally got it pushed back to the point where technicians could examine it, Michael saw evidence of the sixth gang member. All that remained of the man was the splash of crimson left on the front of the automated subway engine—the final resting place of a wayward insect.
“Who could’ve done this?” Michael asked.
“—Or what?” Richard licked his lips as though something fowl had been belched up.
One of the crime scene investigators, Linda Phelps, signaled Detective Link to come through the tape barrier. “Hey, Mike, we're in.”
The two detectives passed under the tape and cautiously made their way around technicians collecting forensic data. They walked over to the first female victim where Officer Phelps knelt examining the body. “The gun was forced into her mouth through her teeth,” she said. “The killer broke her fingers forcing her to pull the trigger.”
“One person did all this?” Richard asked.
“There is only one set of shoeprints besides the victims—my first impression is a loafer or dress shoe, size eleven. Whoever did this is incredibly strong—the guy in the rafters is 220 lbs easy,” Linda said.
Michael noticed the bloody prints smudged in various places on the concrete.
“So we’re looking for a linebacker on angel dust?” Richard asked.
“Try a grizzly bear,” Michael said.
“Actually, you’re both wrong,” Phelps said. “The bruising patterns suggest someone with normal handbreadth.”
Michael looked closer at the bruising on the girl’s arm. “How is that possible?”
“That’s why you’re a detective, Detective.”

3 comments:

J.R. Parker said...

Wow, very intriguing. I liked the mood in the beginning. But from the point he thought "Perfect," onward I was hooked. I'm not sure how late it is in the process, but I noticed a missing apostrophe in "we're" on the line that reads:

Detective Link to come through the tape barrier. “Hey, Mike, were in.”

Just thought I'd mention it in case it helps.

James Somers said...

J.R.- Thanks for taking a read...the book is available on paperback on the sidebar if you're interested and even cheaper on Amazon kindle...man I gotta get me one of those :D

Mama Bear Kennedy in Tally, FL said...

Awesome books! My 11 & 13 yr old are reading them with me. I'll make sure I hope on the B&N site and give you a great big Kudos! for them. It is so hard to find books in any genre that are 100% acceptable to us all.