“Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 2

The woman was in the lead, two steps ahead of the man.  She was also half a head taller than he was, with a narrow, severe sort of face, blond hair pulled back into a tight ponytail behind her head.  She looked around at us rather imperiously, her mouth pressed into a thin line.

“Who are you people?” she asked.  Her voice was clipped and slightly nasal.  And her tone immediately set my teeth on edge.

“Who wants to know?” I replied, shifting my Winchester to the crook of my arm as I folded my arms in front of me.  I could see the badge on her belt and the big yellow letters “FBI” on her blue windbreaker.  But her attitude put my back up, especially coming after what we’d just done.

“I’m Special Agent Trudeau, and this is Special Agent Miller,” she replied, in the same clipped, arrogant tone of voice.  “Now, tell me who you are.”

“Lady, unless you’ve got a warrant, which the good police chief over there might object to, given what just happened, I suggest you get a lot more polite in the next five seconds, or you can pound sand,” I told her. Continue reading ““Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 2″

“Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 1

Had something else in mind for this post, but got too busy.  So here’s a bit of a look at the work in progress.

 

Chapter 1

Crossing the police line was like stepping into a sauna.  It had been warm enough out on the street; it was the middle of August, after all.  But Spokane was relatively dry and arid.  This felt like we’d just walked into a swamp in the middle of Mississippi.  In August.

There was also a heavy scent in the air.  It wasn’t quite incense, and it wasn’t quite burned blood, though there was a hint of that; something metallic.  It was something I’d smelled before, and didn’t care to smell again.  Cloying, sickening, and absolutely wrong.

I had felt like we were being watched before we even set foot across the police line and onto the yard in front of the spruced-up old neo-Victorian house.  And not necessarily by the swarms of cops, firefighters, EMS personnel, reporters, cameramen, and curious neighbors who were gathered on the street.  There was someone, or something, up in that house, and it didn’t want us there.  That was abundantly clear as soon as Eryn, Kolya, and I stepped onto the grass. Continue reading ““Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 1″

Lex Talionis Chapter 8

This will be the last sample chapter.  After this, I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait for the book to come out.  Don’t worry, though, the preorder (and thus the release date) is coming soon.

***

 

We had just passed Franktown, north of Colorado Springs, when my phone buzzed.  I cursed, since the phone was in my pocket and I was driving.  Risking a little bit of swerving, I dug the phone out of my pocket and passed it to Jack.

“Fuck,” he said flatly.  “Tom just sent us ‘Extremis.’” Continue reading “Lex Talionis Chapter 8”

Lex Talionis Chapter 7

By the time we hit the rally point, it was pretty obvious that things were threatening to spiral out of control.

Gunfire was echoing through the night, more intense than anything we’d unleashed yet, except for maybe the mad minute into Fat Boy’s safe house.  Red and blue flashing lights were clearly visible, as were the flames from something having been set on fire not far from them.  The local PD was in the middle of one hell of a firefight.  Given what I’d seen, I didn’t imagine it was a fight that they were remotely prepared for.

Even though it had been a pretty successful night, we were all pretty subdued as we gathered around the vehicles in a field south of town.  Granted, some of our silence was simply professional habit; once you’ve spent as long as we have running around hostile environments, outnumbered and generally outgunned, you don’t get loud and chatty very easily.  Some of it was because of fatigue.  There hadn’t been a lot of sleep since Jim’s death. Continue reading “Lex Talionis Chapter 7”

Lex Talionis Chapter 6

Twelve hours later, aching with fatigue and sleep-deprivation, we pulled off and headed to another one of the myriad abandoned houses that we’d picked out as safe houses elsewhere in the city.

 

“Well, that’s interesting,” I said, looking around at the weary, grimy faces gathered in the shadowed living room.  At least, I think it was supposed to have been a living room.  It was just an empty space covered in dust and debris at that point.  We were keeping well back from the broken front windows to avoid being easily spotted from the street.  “Nobody saw any police response at all?”  I looked at Derek.  “I know you were monitoring their comm freqs.  Even the IED wasn’t enough to stir ‘em?”

He shook his head.  “They were aware of it.  Several calls came in, from locals and police units.  But there was no response from dispatch except to say, ‘Yeah, we know.’”  He shrugged.  “They knew that the wild goose chases I had them on were probably connected to it, too, judging by a couple of the responses to the bots’ 911 calls.  But they still didn’t lift a finger to go into the East Side.”

“That is very interesting,” I mused, scratching my beard as I stared at the map. Continue reading “Lex Talionis Chapter 6”

Lex Talionis Chapter 5

The sound of pistol shots could only mean that things had just gone very, very bad.  Of course, being the East Side, we heard sporadic gunfire all the time.  If I had been inclined to wishful thinking, I might have been able to put it down to just another couple of gangbangers removing themselves from the gene pool.  But the timing, the direction, and the fact that the explosion we’d been waiting to hear hadn’t gone off yet, disinclined me to such hopes.  Bryan was probably dead, and our first diversion was a bust.

Strangely enough, I didn’t feel the surge of rage and frustration that I probably should have.  I was in the zone, game face on, and I just did what came naturally anymore when things inevitably fell apart.

I attacked. Continue reading “Lex Talionis Chapter 5”

Lex Talionis Chapter 4

“Damn, these guys ain’t even trying to blend in, are they?” Jack muttered.

“No, they aren’t,” I replied from the back of the van, where I was already snapping pictures.  We’d done a few recon passes just by driving through the neighborhood, with the passenger looking like he was texting while he took pictures with his phone, but the bigger Nikon provided better quality, and the van meant that we could get better pictures in general.  Trying to be discreet with the phone usually meant that the angles were poor.  Sitting in the back seat of the panel van, I had a lot more freedom of movement.

Right at the moment, my viewfinder was filled with a relatively fit young man with a pencil mustache and immaculately gelled hair, wearing shiny pants, an equally shiny black shirt open nearly to his sternum, and a short, white jacket.  A thick gold chain around his neck and mirrored aviator sunglasses completed the image.  I couldn’t see from our vantage point, but I was sure there was a pistol in his waistband.  The handful of other young men around him weren’t as fancily dressed, though they were still wearing that sort of northern Mexican, garish, semi-formal attire that, to someone looking closely, screamed “sicario.”  These guys weren’t the baggy-clothed local hoods, any more than the other groups we’d picked out over the last few days. Continue reading “Lex Talionis Chapter 4”