New Novel is Live–The Stone of Tantalus

Prologue is now up at Channillo.com for my new novel The Stone of Tantalus.  Visit the site today to subscribe!

Here’s a taste…


“Tell me, Miles… just between you and me,” Flint said, leaning closer from the cot across the small cell, “why did you kill him?”  One of the fluorescent lights buried in the ceiling flickered and buzzed, turning the small room into a 3D version of a kinetoscope.

Miles turned his head slowly and tilted it, a praying mantis considering his next meal, then shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know who you’re talkin’ about.”  He returned to staring at the gray cell door.

“The Fed, man.”  Flint sat on the edge of his cot, his right leg bouncing like a sewing machine.

Miles smiled.  He remembered everything about that day, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to tell Flint about it.  He was pretty sure the guy was an informant, anyway.  The bulls brought the twitchy little man in last night and threw him in the holding cell with Miles.  The room was small, but still large enough to hold more than two, and Miles was sure a normal Saturday night would see at least ten stuffed in the cramped space.  But more than anything else, what pricked Miles’ radar was the way the man sat—spring-tight nervous energy restrained through sheer force of will.  It bubbled up like an old percolator, at once rhythmic and random.  Like a junkie in dire need of a fix, but without the sunken and sallow appearance, the man’s eyes darted from Miles to the door beyond and back before each sentence he spoke.

Flint tried another tack.  “What are you in for, then?”

Miles snorted once, and said, “Denver cops dragged me in a couple of days ago on a ‘drunk and disorderly’.”  Tell the idiot only what he already knows, he thought.  It was a trick he learned dealing with his daddy.  Never, ever, answer more than the question required.

The other man raised an eyebrow, “Then why ya still in here?”

Miles laughed softly, and shook his head.  “I was pretty fuckin’ disorderly,” he said.

Flint snickered.  “Yeah, I bet you were.  The cops said you sent one of ‘em to the hospital.”  He said it weird… hosPital, like a kid would say it.  Miles hated kids—hated worse the way they talked.  Hated most of all the adults who spoke like children.

Miles pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes at Flint.  “What did they get you for?”

“Ah, you know,” he waggled a hand, “a little o’ this, a little o’ that.”

“I hear ya.”  Definitely an informant, Miles thought.  It never ceased to amaze him how stupid the cops were.  He shook his head.  As long as they don’t find the gun, they don’t have nothin’.

“You’ve come a long way, man.  I heard you was a congressman or somethin’.”

Miles peered at him, his eyes boring a hole through the back of Flint’s head, his face a mask of pure bland.

Flint took a breath, and let it out slowly.  The bouncing of his right leg was now joined by his left, and his voice cracked a little as he said, “Yeah, I heard whoever got that guy up in the mountains plugged him in the chest with a 45.”

“Do tell…”  A picture flashed through his mind—his hands around this fool’s throat, carotid pulsing under calloused fingers, eyes bulging as the idiot’s smile became a rictus of pain.  Miles tempered the grin that threatened to split his face.

His outward calm masked the constant anger that seethed within, buzzing in the background like a swarm of cicadas. A well-practiced skill, it wasn’t born of hate, not even for his daddy.  The anger was a part of him, applied to everyone equally.  That changed the day the bastard from the FBI took his life away, frog-marching him in handcuffs down the Capitol steps in front of every camera the media could muster.  Sure, he could sidestep this reality for something more to his liking, but that wasn’t enough.  It would never be enough.  If he were patient, the time for enough would come.

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