In case you haven't heard, there will be a virtual launch party for my upcoming horror novella Getaway. I held one of these parties for my survival thriller Death Can Wait and it was a lot of fun. I really wanted to hold one for Ethan McCormick #2 but found myself a little too busy with the birth of my son (not complaining). But now, I'm getting back into it!
So, please join me on Friday, October 13th for the virtual launch party for my horror novella Getaway. Perfect day, am I right? It will be held on Facebook with trivia, games, and some giveaways. There may or may not be a few extra surprises as well. If you RSVP on my Facebook page, you will be entered into a drawing for a giveaway. The prize will be a free e-book copy of Getaway and another surprise. Remember, Getaway will only be available as an e-book so I won't be able to give out paperback copies like last time.
Click here to be redirected to the launch party event on Facebook and RSVP. Hope to "see" you there!
Before I share with you Ethan's 5th case log, I should tell you about a friend of mine who directly inspired this story. This case is a collaboration, of sorts, with my buddy. He wrote a short story which featured my character Ethan McCormick. When you're finished reading this case log, head over to his Facebook page here and read his short story Rub-A-Dub-Dub.
The bizarre facts of this case are disturbing. If you're offended easily, I suggest skipping this post. Had I known it would have been unsolved and horrifyingly gruesome, I would have turned it down immediately. Unfortunately, I did not turn it down. So here, I present to you my case.
After the missing child case, I've seen an increase in my business. I guess word travels fast. One woman in particular came to my door and explained how her husband vanished, seemingly into thin air. As I always do with these cases, I advised her to seek the help of the Miami Police Department but she said they had already dropped the case.
"They claim he ran off with some woman at his office." She told me.
"It's often the case with these matters."
"My husband didn't run off with some slut. We had a good marriage."
"I've seen it many times before. One spouse is unhappy but the other is completely unaware. I'm sorry to say, but the police are most likely right in this case. It's hard to hear-"
"Mr. McCormick, something is seriously wrong. I need your help."
I agreed to help her but I kept my assumptions. Loved ones never want to believe they weren't considered loved ones anymore. Sometimes the truth is hard to hear. Regardless of my feelings, I began investigating the facts.
Cory, the missing husband, was last seen at work. I checked at his office and did learn one vital clue. A woman named Pam had stopped coming to work the day after Cory disappeared. I figured the police had already looked into her as a suspect during their investigation and had probably come to the same conclusion I already had. Cory ran off with Pam.
Next, I tried to find this Pam woman. But that's where things began to get strange. Pam couldn't have been her real name as I found nothing about her. The social security number and driver's license number her employer had on file were both fake. The address on her license led me to an empty home for sale. I checked with the owner of the property but she was clean.
After hitting what seemed like a dead end, I turned to social media. Maybe Pam was using a fake name and identity but if she had contacted Cory on social media, I'd have some sort of trail. Unfortunately, there was nothing on his page from anyone out of the ordinary. Certainly no one named Pam on his friends list.
A whole week went by without any leads. I apologized to Cory's wife and explained it might be a case I would not be able to solve. But before I could give up, I decided to try one last thing. I checked Cory's phone records. All of the numbers he had been in contact with were explainable, wife, mother, job, etc. But there was one that didn't check out.
He had received the call during work hours on the last day before his disappearance. The call was extremely short, only about ten seconds long. Whatever Cory was talking about with this mystery caller couldn't have been much. I wondered if the police had found this clue or if they had even bothered to check his phone records.
When I looked up the number, I learned why the police didn't bother with the lead. It was a burner phone. No way to track down who it belonged to. But I wasn't finished there. Instead, I headed down to the police station and sat down with my new friend Detective Winchester.
"Can you trace a phone number for me?" I asked him.
"Normally I'd say no, but with your help on the Wilson case, I'm in. What's the number?"
I handed him the phone number and told him when the call was received by Cory's phone. Winchester was then able to trace the signal to the nearest cell tower and gave me an approximate location to check. Unfortunately, that was the best he could do.
"Wait," I stopped. "What about the GPS?"
"It's a pay as you go phone. People leave those features off. Kind of the point of a burner, you know?"
"Can we try it?"
"If you want to waste the time, sure."
I watched him run a GPS location trace and his jaw fell open. It seemed as if the GPS was switched on during the time of the phone call.
"This makes no sense," Winchester explained. "Why use a burner if you're going to use the GPS function?"
"Maybe they wanted to be found. Thanks Winchester, I'll call you if I need anything else."
With that, I left his office and headed off down the road. I had to keep myself from calling Cory's wife and informing her of my new lead. I didn't want to get her hopes up. Instead, I drove towards the location Winchester had given me.
Luckily, it was a home in the suburbs. Easy enough to find. I knocked several times and called out for Cory to no avail. Slipping my lock pick from my right shoe, I let myself in. A nauseating smell hit me in the face like a brick and I nearly doubled over. I had smelled rotting flesh before but somehow this was worse.
Covering my face with my arm, I proceeded down the hallway. The smell grew in intensity and I held back bile in my throat. When I reached the bathroom, I knew I had found the source. Pulling back the shower curtain, I could no longer hold down my lunch.
Sticking out of a blood filled bathtub, which looked more like sludge, were human appendages. A few arms and legs from different people. The smell was nearly toxic. My eyes burned. Coughing, I left the house and dialed Detective Winchester.
The crime scene investigation unit cleaned up the mess and bagged anything that could be considered a clue. Unfortunately, there wasn't a single piece of usable evidence. They found no finger prints, no fibers, nothing. They were, however, able to identify one of the bodies in the tub as Cory. It was my sad duty to share this depressing news with his widow.
For now, this case remains open. I have no clue who committed the murders or why. My instincts tell me the mystery woman known only as Pam has something to do with it. I'll update my findings if the case ever makes any motion.
In celebration of 100 likes on my Facebook page, I've decided to release an unpublished short story. This story is rather significant as it was the story that first featured Ethan McCormick. The story you're about to read is not the original. It was re-written a few years ago and edited. The original was created in high school and I felt the project needed to be updated and made better. But nonetheless, it's the original story that kick started a career of writing and the creation of Ethan McCormick. Please, enjoy the story below and let me know what you think in the comments below. Enjoy!
With the sun beating down on the police interceptor, Ethan McCormick drove along on his patrol. Miami was hot this time of year. Ethan could stand the heat, but it was the humidity that got to him. He couldn’t go five minutes in the summertime without breaking out into a sweat. Living in Florida for several years he had yet to grow accustomed to the heat and humidity. He tried his hardest to ignore it.
Wiping the sweat from his brow Ethan turned up the air conditioning to full blast. Coming up to a red light he began to run the license plates of the vehicles around him. When nothing out of the ordinary showed up he sat back and relaxed waiting for the light to change.
Ethan McCormick had been a police officer in the city of Miami for several years. After his mother died he and his sister Valerie moved down south to Florida. For the first year, they shared an apartment while Ethan was in the police academy. Ethan and Valerie were always very close. When Valerie was young Ethan would take care of her whenever he had the opportunity. The two of them were practically inseparable.
Finally, Ethan made it through the police academy and moved out on his own. They hung out almost every weekend. Eventually, they both began to make friends and get settled in their new lives. Valerie’s boyfriends would come and go. Most of them Ethan never really liked. Valerie would always get on his case asking why he had yet to settle down with a pretty young woman.
Life as a police officer was not as exciting as television made it out to be, which was fine by Ethan. He wasn’t looking for a life of excitement and adventures. Since he was a young boy he wanted to serve and protect. Most of his days consisted of pulling over speeders, filling out paper work, and occasionally responding to domestic disturbances. They usually consisted of a half-naked man prancing around the house threatening to hit his wife. There were no gun fights and no car chases. Ethan had never once fired a shot at a criminal.
As the red light changed Ethan turned the cruiser left onto a nearly vacant street. He let out a sigh of relief. It was sometimes nice to drive on an empty road when you were a police officer. In larger groups of traffic, everyone insisted on driving five miles under the speed limit. It could get aggravating.
Suddenly, the radio blared loudly. Startled, Ethan turned down the volume a few notches. Listening to the broadcast he realized they were calling all officers in the area. “Some lunatic with a gun is holding hostages in an apartment on Fourth Street. We need all available officers in the area to respond immediately.”
Ethan’s blood ran cold for a moment. Valerie lived in an apartment complex on Fourth Street. He listened for the address and prayed to God that it wouldn’t be her complex. His heart sank when he heard her complex’s address rambled over the radio.
With his lights on Ethan slammed on the gas pedal. He wanted to reach for his cell phone and call Valerie, but he knew he couldn’t take his focus off of the road. He decided he would assess the situation when he got there.
As he tore through the streets he tried to recall where Valerie would be this time of day. He couldn’t remember if she should have been at home today or at work. He now hoped that she would have been out on a date, anything that would have kept her from being home right now. The thought of his sister being held hostage sickened him.
Trying not to think any more about it, he turned on to Fourth Street. Up ahead he could see more flashing blue and red lights. They had already begun to set up a perimeter. Any moment the SWAT team would arrive along with their hostage negotiating team.
Pulling up to the barricade he threw his car into park and jumped out. He quickly helped to secure the area and push the bystanders back. He glanced up at the tall complex. It was over fifteen stories high; an off white color with a greenish hue. The complex itself was a very boring building, but now was the center of excitement. It wouldn’t be long before the reporters caught wind of what was happening and showed up with their news vans making all kinds of speculation as to what was going on. Ethan hoped the issue was resolved before that happened.
Minutes later the SWAT team arrived as did the hostage negotiating team. Ethan was relieved and hoped that he could finally get some answers. He stood by while they set up a small command center. A few officers exchanged words with the negotiator and handed him a slip of paper. Ethan knew it was the phone number the hostage taker could be reached at. As the negotiator put the phone to his ear Ethan swallowed hard. He hoped the phone was not ringing in Valerie’s apartment.
Watching the negotiator he observed how calm and reserved he seemed to be. Clearly, he was not new to the situation. Suddenly a surprised look plastered over his face and he began to look around frantically as if he were looking for something or someone. He pressed the phone back against his ear. A panicky look now formulating. Ethan walked closer hoping to catch a bit of what was going on. He heard the man state he would find him right away.
The negotiator hung up and swore out loud. With a sense of urgency, he began to call out to the officers around him. “He is going to kill his hostage if we don’t find him. Someone find me, McCormick, now!” He screamed out the last word, but Ethan barely heard him. His ears seemed to have shut down when he heard his name.
Moments later he finally snapped out of his trance. The negotiator was still swearing and cursing. “Where the hell is this McCormick? If he doesn’t show himself in the next ten seconds the death of that hostage will be on his hands!”
Ethan nearly ran to his side and quickly introduced himself. “I’m Ethan McCormick,” he said extending his hand. The negotiator thrust the phone into his hand. “He wants to talk to you, says he will kill his hostage unless you call him.” Ethan’s heart skipped several beats as he stared at the number on the slip of paper, it was Valerie’s home number.
He looked around hoping for some answers. “What does he want with me?” The negotiator shrugged. “Just call him, damnit!” he snapped at Ethan with an impatient tone. He tossed the slip of paper on the collapsible table that had been set up moments ago. He already knew the phone number by heart.
With a large lump in his throat, he picked up the cordless phone off of its cradle. Slowly dialing the numbers his hands began to tremble. His worst fear would be to hear this person was holding his sister hostage. There would be nothing he could do for her. Ethan didn’t understand what was going on. He couldn’t understand why someone would take a hostage to get his attention.
Placing the phone to his ear he listened to it ring. The ringing cut out quickly, “this better be McCormick or she…” Ethan interjected. “This is Officer McCormick.” The man on the other end chuckled, it made the hair on Ethan’s neck stand up. “How are you doing on this beautiful day Ethan?” There was a playfulness in the man’s voice. “What do you want from me?” Again the man chuckled. “All work and no play I see, well fine. I will just get right to it.” Now the man’s voice turned from playful to aggravation.
“Ethan, I have someone here with me that I think you would like to see again,” Ethan tensed up. “I have sitting close by someone very dear to you, Valerie McCormick.” Nearly dropping the phone Ethan did his best to regain his composure. “What have you done to her?” “She’s fine, Ethan. I won’t hurt her as long as you do as I ask.”
Gritting his teeth Ethan asked, “What is it that you want?” Now the man let out a long laugh. “All I want is for you to release a friend of mine.”
“Yes, his name is Bryce King. Do you remember him?”
The name sounded familiar, but Ethan could not quite place him. Several months ago Ethan had been part of an undercover operation where they took down several drug dealers at once. One of those men could have been Bryce, but Ethan wasn’t sure. He decided not to tell the man that he did not know Bryce. He did not want to risk angering him and making matters worse.
“I remember Bryce, he was a friend of yours?”
“Well, more of a business associate of mine. It doesn’t matter what I call him. What matters is his freedom. If you free him and guarantee me safe passage out of this I will let your sister go free, unharmed.”
“I can work on that, but it is going to take some time.”
“Bull shit, Ethan, don’t play your little cop games with me. I know exactly what it means when you tell me it’s going to take some time. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. Bryce goes free as do I or I blow your sister’s head off with a shotgun.”
The sound of a pump action shotgun being pumped turned Ethan’s blood ice cold. In the background, he could hear Valerie whimpering. He assumed she was either gagged or her mouth was taped shut. It painted a bad image in Ethan’s mind. He knew he needed to save her, but he didn’t know what to do.
“Fine, I will make sure we get Bryce out. I am going to make a call and get him released. Then I will call you back and make arrangements to escort you out of here.” The man let out a familiar chuckle. “Alright, Ethan, I’ll be waiting.” Half a second later the line went dead.
The hostage negotiator had been listening from a hands free headset just a few steps away. Removing it from his head and tossing it on the table in front of him he made his way over to Ethan. “McCormick, right?” Ethan nodded. “Listen, there is something off about this whole situation.” Ethan remained silent, waiting for him to continue. “We won’t be able to get this Bryce person out of jail.”
“Yeah, I know that.”
“That’s what I find weird about this whole situation. He knows we aren’t going to be able to meet his demands, but he didn’t seem bothered by your lie.”
“We just need to buy some time until we can figure out how to get my sister to safety.”
“I understand, McCormick, but there is more to this than he is letting on. We just need to stay focused here.”
Ethan stayed silent and the hostage negotiator walked back over to his table. He glanced around watching the pandemonium. Blue and red lights flashed constantly in the street. Other officers had just finished barricading their portion of the road off. The media still had not caught wind of this story, but it wouldn’t be long before every reporter in the area descended on this place. It would turn this place into a circus. Ethan sincerely hoped they could de-escalate the situation before it came to that.
The hostage negotiator jogged back to Ethan’s side. “McCormick, I just wanted to let you know that we have a small team moving up the main stairwell to your sister’s level. They are going to be our eyes and ears in there, strictly a safety measure. I want to be able to act fast if things go south.” Ethan understood exactly what he was doing. It was a smart move. “I want to go with them. I just want to be able to see what’s going on in there.” The negotiator shook his head. “I can’t let you go up there. We need you down here in case he calls back. I don’t want to imagine what would happen if you weren’t here to answer his calls.”
“Listen,” Ethan began. “I need to see that my sister is ok. If he calls while I am gone just tell him that I am still pulling strings to get his friend out of prison. He might not buy it, but he will accept it. I will follow the team up. Once I see that my sister is alright I will come right back down, I swear.” The negotiator thought for a moment before nodding his head. “If it were my family up there I wouldn’t let anyone hold me back either. Go ahead, just get your ass back here as soon as you see she is alright.” Ethan smiled and turned in the direction of the small S.W.A.T. team gathering at the entrance to the apartment complex.
Other officers were now in the process of evacuating any remaining occupants from the apartment complex. If a gunfight broke out they wanted to make sure stray bullets didn’t kill any civilians. Everyone up to Valerie’s floor had been evacuated. Now the S.W.A.T. team had its chance to move in. Ethan followed closely behind them as they ascended the stairs. When they got to the top floor the officer in front stopped the group. He pointed at the closed door leading to the hallway. He signaled something with his hand that Ethan did not recognize. Another officer moved forward carefully as if looking for something.
“What’s going on?” Ethan asked. The officer in front of him turned around to face him. “It looks like the door might be rigged with explosives. There is a small wire you can see running under the door. See it?” He pointed to the base of the door. Ethan squinted and saw a faint glimmer running under the door. “We’re going to take a closer look, but we might not be able to see what’s on the other side. If it’s too risky we will abort and think up a plan B.” Ethan dreaded to think that the S.W.A.T. team would have to go back downstairs. He wouldn’t be able to get eyes on his sister. It would also mean no stand by team in case things went wrong. He prayed they were able to disarm whatever it was.
Several minutes later the officer inspecting the door took a small step back. Turning around he shook his head. Ethan watched as the officers all slumped their shoulders with disappointment. He didn’t need to be told that they couldn’t breach the door. It was just too risky. Reluctantly, Ethan followed the officers back downstairs.
When they rendezvoused with the negotiator the leading S.W.A.T. officer explained that a breach was too risky. They didn’t know what was on the other side of the door. Ethan watched a wave of disappointment flush over his face. It wasn’t even close to the disappointment Ethan was feeling.
Slowly frustration began to rise with Ethan. That frustration was quickly turning into anger. He was angry that his sister was in this situation, angry that he could do nothing about it. A vision flashed before of his eyes of himself kicking in the door to Valerie’s apartment. He then watched himself beat the man who had taken his sister hostage. Beating him until there was nothing more than a large pool of crimson blood pouring over the floor. Quickly Ethan took in a deep breath and controlled his anger. The fantasy faded from his mind and he returned back to his normal self. He was never one to lose his temper, but knowing that his younger sister was in trouble infuriated him.
The phone began to ring again. The negotiator wasted no time tossing the phone to Ethan. “Yes?” He answered with more agitation in his voice than he thought he ought to. “My partner out yet, McCormick?” Ethan darted a glance to the negotiator. He motioned with his hand to stall for time. Ethan thought quickly and answered, “He is being released as we speak. He will be here soon. When he gets here, let my sister go and I will walk him up to you personally.” The man chuckled again. “Alright, Ethan, when Bryce is here you go ahead and call me back. I will let your sister go and you can walk him up here yourself.” He let out another chuckle and the line went dead.
Stepping over to Ethan the negotiator shook his head. “I don’t like this. Something isn’t right about this.” Ethan shrugged. “I know, but I need to make sure my sister is free. I will call him back soon and tell him Bryce is here. After that, if I can get him to let my sister go we can send in the strike team again.” The negotiator nodded as he walked back over to his table. Ethan let out a sigh, hoping that everything would work out.
After waiting nearly thirty minutes Ethan decided it was time to make the call. The media was slowly starting to show up. One local reporter was already standing a couple blocks away. A large heavy set man with a camera was pointed in their direction. From their angle, they couldn’t see much, but given too much longer there would be more reporters. Ethan hoped to have everything wrapped up before the others came.
Snatching up the phone he dialed his sister’s phone number again. He felt a knot in his stomach as the phone began to ring. So many times he had dialed this number just to chat with his sister or to make plans. Having to call her number to talk to this psychopath was making Ethan sick. The line picked up with a familiar chuckle. “I assume Bryce is here?” Ethan gave a cold and blunt response, “Yes.” Another chuckle broke the silence. This time it sent shivers down his spine. “Alright, Ethan, you walk him up here and I will let your sister go. You come alone or I coat the walls with your sister’s brains, you understand?” Ethan said that he did and hung up the phone. He knew what he had to do next.
The Glock on his side was loaded with a bullet already in the chamber. Everything he carried every day was firmly around his belt. Everything from handcuffs to pepper spray. The negotiator walked over to Ethan holding something in his hand. “Ethan, I don’t know what this guy is planning, but I don’t like it.” Ethan didn’t say a word. “I want you to take this with you.” He stretched out his hand and offered Ethan a large foldable knife. Ethan thanked him and tucked it into his shoe. More than likely this man would disarm him. He might get lucky and be able to keep the knife. Some sort of protection was better than nothing.
Moments later Ethan was alone in the complex stairwell. Without the other officers around him, everything seemed more serious. There was no backup, there was no protection. There was just Ethan and the man with his sister. He knew his first goal was to get Valerie out. Everything after that he would have to play by ear. Climbing the stairs he hoped that the negotiator would still have the S.W.A.T. team standing by in case they needed to charge in. Something in Ethan’s gut was telling him something was wrong.
Finally, he approached the wired door. It had prevented the team from entering the hall earlier. Now Ethan was unsure how he was going to get past. Then a terrifying thought crossed his mind. What if this is exactly what he wants me to do? Walk through the door and get taken out by his trap. The chuckling on the phone had indicated that something wasn’t right, but Ethan didn’t think this was it.
He stepped towards the door and crouched low. He removed the knife from his shoe and flipped open the blade. Several seconds went by as he stared at the wire. To save his sister he would have to take the risk. Pushing the blade forward he slipped it behind the wire. Pulling forward the blade sliced it with ease. With his eyes shut tight he waited for nearly a minute. Nothing happened. There had been no explosion, no genius trap. Tucking the knife back in his shoe he stood up. Realizing the wire had been nothing more than fishing wire wrapped around the door as a diversion he pushed through.
Once on the other side, he crept slowly towards Valerie’s apartment. He couldn’t believe this was happening. He had walked this hall many times to visit his sister. Everything now seemed too surreal. When he reached her door he paused to take in a deep breath. Death, he thought, could be waiting for him right through the door.
Quickly he wrapped on the door with his knuckles. There was no movement inside. Ethan didn’t know what to think. Again he wrapped on the door with his knuckles. Same as before no noise came from inside. This time he banged on the door, but again he was met with silence.
Reaching for his firearm Ethan prepped himself to kick the door in when something caught his eye on the wall next to the door. Leaning in close he could see something had been carved into the dry wall. A very faint arrow was pointing off to Ethan’s left. Glancing off to the left the first thing he saw was another stairwell at the end of the hall. Drawing his Glock he slowly advanced towards the doorway.
Once there he spotted another faint arrow scratched into the wall. This one was pointing up. Ethan no longer needed anymore direction. He knew exactly where he was headed now. There was only one more door and it led to the roof.
Once Ethan had ascended the stairs he found himself face to face with the door. Valerie and her captive were more than likely waiting on the other side. Just as the hostage negotiator believed Ethan felt there was more to this situation. He did not want to know what it was. He just wanted to get his sister to safety and arrest the man responsible for the whole situation.
Letting out a long breath Ethan gripped the door handle and slowly swung it open. The scene was just as he had feared. Valerie stood several feet away near the edge of the roof. A gun was jammed against her temple. A man crouched behind her as if to hide from Ethan. Once the door swung shut behind Ethan the man poked his head out from behind her. His mouth widened into a large, toothy grin.
“Ethan, it is so wonderful to finally meet you. Now please throw your gun away.” Without a second thought, Ethan did as he was told. He tossed the gun to his right. It slid out of view. Now he was unprotected and it made him nervous. “I’ve come up here to tell you that Bryce King is in a squad car downstairs. If you let her go I can give you and him safe pass-“The man let out a loud bellowing laugh.
“Oh, come on Ethan. You and I both know he is not downstairs nor are you able to give me safe passage anywhere. What you might not know is Bryce King does not exist.”
“I made him up. I anticipated you would feed me the regular cop bullshit and you didn’t disappoint me, did you?”
“Why would you demand his release if-“
“Biding my time Officer McCormick. I had to get you up here and it had to be alone.”
“You know I won’t be alone for long. Any second now a S.W.A.T. team will barge up here and force you to surrender. That will only end in bloodshed.”
“Well, you are half right. The S.W.A.T. team will undoubtedly follow you up, but where do they think you are?”
Ethan thought for a moment and realized he was right. They would waste their time breaching the apartment while they were up on the roof. It would give this maniac time to do whatever it was he planned to do to them.
“That’s right, Ethan, they will check the apartment first, won’t they? I wonder what they will find in there.”
“What do you mean-“ he stopped short realizing exactly what he had meant. With an expression of horror, he turned towards the door. He was preparing to flee downstairs to stop the other officers from entering the apartment.
Suddenly there was a thunderous sound that made Ethan jump. The building beneath his feet shook momentarily. Ethan knew he was too late. The man had set a trap on the door and the S.W.A.T. team had walked right into it. Ethan could not help but feel partially responsible.
“Well, that worked out just as I hoped it would.”
“There’s no chance of you walking out of here now. Killing officers is only going to get you killed.”
“Ethan, I was never planning on walking out of here. That was never my plan. Everything leading up to this moment has gone exactly as I wanted it to.”
“What the hell do you want from me? And why her?”
“She was to get your attention. Now that I have it allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jack Dodson.”
Jack gave a small theatrical bow still ramming the gun into Valerie’s temple. Mascara smeared tears ran down her cheeks. All Ethan wanted was to get Valerie to safety. His mind was not on killing Jack, nor arresting him. The thought of revenge was not even on his mind. He only thought of Valerie. She was here because of him.
“Why are you doing this, Jack?”
“You may not know me, but I’ve been around for quite a while. I used to control most of the drug flow coming through this city. Most of the major drug lords in town worked for me. I was a very wealthy and powerful man. Then you came along. You made several arrests that just happened to be a lot of my best men. I don’t know how you managed to take them down, but you did. My business was hurt, badly. Worse, my reputation was ruined. I lost all of my clientele and all of my business. You cannot come back from that. Once your reputation is lost you are done. No one trusts you anymore and no one will do business with you.”
“So you brought me up here so you could get your revenge, is that it? Did you think that would help bring your reputation back?”
“Very good, Ethan, now you’re catching on. That’s exactly what it will do. Sure, I kill you and your sister here. I go to prison, probably for the rest of my life. Unless I cut a deal with someone, but that’s another story. In prison, I will be the man who killed the cop who ruined my reputation. I will regain my respect and be the king once again.”
“Assuming one of the other officers doesn’t put a bullet in your back first.”
“There’s always time to worry about that later. Now it’s time for me to finish the job. I don’t have long before your friends realize where we are.”
Ethan knew that he had only a few precious seconds left to live. After he was gone his sister would be next. He had to keep that from happening, whatever the cost. “Your business is with me, Jack, not her. You can shoot me in the head for all I care, but let my sister go. I won’t resist if you do.”
Ethan dropped to his knees and held out his arms. He knew it was a gamble, Jack could shoot him between the eyes then and be done with it. Ethan was willing to bet that Jack was into the theatrics of it all. He could see it in his eyes, something amused him.
Slowly Jack inched forward with Valerie still pushed out ahead of him. Once they were standing just inches away from Ethan he pointed the gun down at him. As he did he pushed Valerie away. She stumbled past Ethan. She spun around and stood behind Ethan, but Jack motioned for her to stay put. “Leave us alone now, you wouldn’t want to see this.” Valerie sobbed. “Please, let him go. Don’t kill him.” Jack did not look at her. His eyes were locked with Ethan’s. “Valerie,” Ethan sighed. “You need to go. There is nothing that can be done. I can’t let him hurt you.”
Valerie was torn. She did not want to leave her brother, but she was afraid Jack would shoot him if she didn’t. She also knew that if she left him it would be the last time she would ever see her brother. Her legs would not move. “Jack, can I least have one moment to say good bye to my sister? One last hug from her big brother? That’s all I ask.”
Jack thought it over and finally motioned for Valerie to come closer. “You try anything and I will put you both down.” Valerie swung around and held her brother tightly. She was sobbing now. “Valerie, I need you to be strong. Everything is going to be alright. Run downstairs and tell the other officers where I am. I need you to stay down there with them and be safe.” He wrapped his arms around her one last time and squeezed as hard as he could. As he did he whispered something into her ear. He hoped that Jack did not notice.
“Alright, Valerie run off now. You’re brother and I have business to attend to.” Valerie stepped away from Ethan wiping the tears out of her eyes. Ethan stared up at Jack and their eyes were locked once again. From behind he heard Valerie let out a loud gasp before falling to the floor. She had done exactly as Ethan had asked and she had done it perfectly.
Jack’s eyes instinctively darted up to see what had happened. In that same second, Ethan threw his body forward wrapping both arms around him. They tumbled to the ground together. The gun slid out from Jack’s hands. Valerie ran off downstairs to get help from the officers.
Quickly Jack threw Ethan off of him and jumped to his feet. The gun was too far away for either of them to run for it. For a moment they stood staring at each other. Jack threw the first punch, but Ethan quickly pushed it aside throwing Jack off balance. Without a second of hesitation, Ethan threw his own right hook at Jack. He did not have time to block it and took Ethan’s fist to the jaw.
He nearly toppled to the ground but managed to catch himself in time. With lightning speed, he rammed his fist into Ethan’s midsection. The two men exchanged blows. Ethan jammed his leg out towards Jack’s chest hoping to get a powerful kick that would send him to the ground. Jack was quicker than Ethan had anticipated. Catching his leg he spun him around and threw him to the ground, landing only inches from the side of the roof.
Jack and Ethan now fought on the edge of the building. Each punch threatening to knock the other one to the ground below. Ethan landed a lucky left hook to Jack’s head. He followed it up by jamming his knee into his midsection.
The breath was knocked out of Jack and he collapsed on the ground. As Ethan reached for his hand cuffs Jack exposed a knife and took a swing at him. Ethan jumped back just in time to miss what would have been a cut to his throat. The cuffs fell to the ground as Ethan continued to dodge each strike from the knife.
Jack swung the knife over hand nearly missing Ethan’s skull. As Ethan slipped to the side to dodge the blow he lost his balance and toppled to the ground. Immediately he knew it had been a lethal mistake. Now he was an easy target for Jack’s last swing.
With the knife raised above his head, Jack stepped forward. The knife blade was pointing down directly over Ethan. The edge of the roofed loomed to Ethan’s right. There were not many places for him to go. Just in the nick of time, he rolled to the left dodging Jack’s strike.
He felt a sharp pain burn in his right thigh in mid-roll. Ethan let out a cry of pain as the knife was buried deep into his thigh. Ethan came to a stop face down as blood soaked through his pant leg. A heavy foot clamped down just above the knife and he felt it forcefully jerked free. Ethan held in the urge to scream out in pain again.
Something had caught his eye just a foot in front of him that pushed the pain far out of his mind. Adrenaline pumped through his body giving him new strength. Somewhere behind him, Jack was talking, but Ethan did not hear it. Throwing out his arm as far as he could, he wrapped his hand around the grip of his Glock. Rolling over he quickly fired off three shots, center mass into Jack.
The knife clattered to the ground, still covered in Ethan’s blood. Jack stumbled back clutching his chest, an expression of fear plastered on his face. Jack’s right foot caught the edge of the roof and he lost his balance over the edge. It happened so fast that Ethan nearly missed it. He heard Jack’s body crash to the ground below and everything was silent. There was no final shoot out, no one liners, and no magnificent fire balls like in the movies. There was only silence.
As Ethan was clutching his wounded leg a team of officers swarmed the roof. After they made sure the roof was secure they lifted Ethan and carried him downstairs. He was just in time to watch the coroners load Jack’s body into the back of an unmarked van. Ethan was relieved to have the scenario behind him.
His leg was quickly bandaged up in the back of an ambulance. The paramedics had advised him that nothing major had been struck. There would be no long term damage. Ethan was relieved.
Limping over to the hostage negotiator he explained everything that had transpired on the roof of the apartment complex. “I knew that bastard was up to something. I can’t say that I’m not happy to be rid of him.” With that, the negotiator patted Ethan on the back and wandered off to help clear the streets and get things back to normal.
Finally, Ethan found Valerie. She had been sitting in the back of a squad car crying. She climbed out of the car and threw her arms around her brother. “Thank God you’re alright, Ethan.” He smiled and returned the hug. “Your big brother is a bit harder than that to kill.” He joked. Wiping the tears from her eyes Valerie giggled. “Well, you’re probably going to need a place to stay for a while. You are more than welcome to stay with me until we can get you a new place.” Valerie accepted his offer. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”
Ethan walked his sister back to his squad car and let her in the passenger side. When he closed the door he circled around the front. Just before he climbed into the driver seat he gave a quick glance back at the apartment building. Letting out a brief sigh he climbed back into the driver seat. This kind of excitement was not common for an officer. Ethan was just glad to have it all behind him.
Back in 2015 I decided to self publish my very first book. It was a thriller novel based on a character I had written short stories of throughout high school. It was titled To the Wolves. Less than two years later I've written a sequel, a stand alone novel, and I have a horror novella coming out this October. I had no idea I would have 4 books published in less than 2 short years.
But even more surprising is the fan base that has been growing. My followers on my social media pages have been increasing and people I've never met before on Instagram and Twitter were buying my books! I couldn't be more thrilled about this. Then, another milestone came. 100 likes on Facebook! It might not seem like that exciting of an ordeal but it's truly amazing.
Of course, I can only thank all of you for getting me to where I am now. Without the support of my friends, family, and fans I would not be able to continue doing what I'm doing. Everyone who has been there for me, everyone who has read my books, everyone who has given their feedback or volunteered their time to help me- you are incredible people and you're amazing.
So, to celebrate the 100 likes on Facebook, I've decided to give away free ebook copies of my latest book Sins of the Mother to anyone who shares this blog post (or the previous post on my Facebook) to Facebook. This page is at 100 but let's see if we can't reach 200 in half of the time! I will also be posting a previously unpublished short story to my Facebook page later this week, so be on the lookout for that!
Thanks again, everyone! I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you and I look forward to many more years of entertaining you all!
Everyone loves music, right? Well, I know I do. In fact, I like to listen to music while I write. Plenty of authors do this. Hell, people doing their jobs or even school work do this. For most, it helps them concentrate. Other times, it helps while doing a mundane and boring task. Today, I thought I would share with you all what I like to listen to while I write.
Recently, I discovered the wonder that is Amazon Music Unlimited. It's an amazing service with tens of millions of songs in a digital library. Naturally, I signed up and went about creating a writing playlist. First, let me tell you I have over 1,500 songs in this playlist. That's over 82 hours of music! That's about two average work weeks! I probably won't hear the same song twice very often.
But what type of music is in this library? I'm glad you asked. When I was younger I would listen to rock music while I wrote and would occasionally listen to orchestral music. A little over a year ago, I was only listening to 50's rock and roll. Don't judge me. That's good music! Now, I like to listen to orchestral music almost exclusively. But not just any orchestral music. Movie soundtracks, television scores, and even OST from video games. I have many different things from scores from James Bond movies to the entire score of Assassins Creed games. Can you even imagine 82 hours of that? It's pretty ridiculous.
What about you? What do you listen to while you write or work or whatever you do? Let me know in the comments below! As always, thanks for reading!
Evan Bond, author of To the Wolves and Death Can Wait, is a thriller/suspense author. When not writing, he can be found hiking or camping in the beautiful state of Florida.