“Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 4

Edit 2 is finished, and the preorder for the Kindle version of Older and Fouler Things is up!  It will release on September 22.  In the meantime, here’s a look at Chapter 4.

Oh, and there’s a cover, too.

Paul didn’t show up to breakfast, even though it was pretty late in the morning, and the sounds and smells of frying bacon and eggs were permeating the entire house.  After the events of the previous night, that was a matter of some concern.  I was about to go check on him, but Eryn put a hand on my arm.

“Let me get him,” she said quietly.  “If he’s as traumatized as I think he might be, a gentle voice will probably help him a little more.  No offense, hon, but you’re better at the ‘shooting monsters’ part, and I’m better at the ‘comforting victims afterward’ part.”

I just nodded, and stepped back.  I was still hovering in the hallway, though, and I still had my .45 on my hip.  The combination of Magnus’ reaction to him, the eerie activity at the witching hour that morning, and his silence and absence at breakfast were not serving to make me particularly comfortable.

Eryn knocked softly on the door to Paul’s room.  “Paul?” she called.  “We’ve got breakfast, if you want some.”  She waited, glancing at me.  “Paul?” she tried again, knocking a little more insistently this time.  “Are you all right?”

We waited, and I was gearing up to kick the door in.  Sure, he’d come to us as a terrified, traumatized victim, having narrowly escaped becoming a human sacrifice in a demonic summoning ritual.  But there was obviously something weird going on with him, and while Eryn had been right when she’d pointed out that some great Witch Hunters had started out that way, there were also some pretty gruesome stories floating around in which similar victims had ended up going bad.  Very, very bad. Continue reading ““Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 4″

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“Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 3

Chapter 3

 

It was a long drive back to Ray’s place, and we were tired.  Fighting a demonic manifestation in a Bed and Breakfast can really take it out of you.  We stopped several times to rest along the way.  Eryn and I could switch off driving, but Kolya and Father Ignacio didn’t have that luxury.  At least Father Ignacio could go a lot farther on a single tank of gas, riding that Harley of his.

Paul wasn’t helping much; according to Kolya, he was spending most of the drive sleeping, when he wasn’t staring blankly out the window.  None of us necessarily blamed him; the first brush with the powers of the Abyss can be pretty traumatic.  He’d need time.

It was well after dark by the time we pulled in.  Ray’s house, a long, one-story, hewn-log building that he’d built himself, was dark, at least at first.  As the gravel crunched under our wheels, a light flickered to life in the window.  Either Magnus had heard us coming and woken Ray up, or he’d somehow known we’d be pulling in right at that moment. Continue reading ““Older and Fouler Things” Chapter 3″

Six Miles West of Nogales

If it hadn’t been for the earpiece, I never would have heard the radio over the snarl of the four-wheeler’s engine.

“Hillbilly, this is Plug,” Hank called.

I eased off the throttle and took one hand off the handlebars to key the radio.  “Send it, Plug.”

“Can you push up to the top of that ridgeline just to the east of you and take a look to the south?” he asked.  “Tell me what you see.”

“Sure thing,” I answered.  It wasn’t like we had a set patrol route, or even any particular need to be anywhere.  So far, this job had consisted of little more than long hours just hot-wheeling around the hills of southern Arizona on four-wheelers and the occasional pickup truck.

I gunned the engine and sent the sturdy little ATV surging up between the mesquites and the creosote bushes toward the ridge that Hank had indicated.  It wasn’t a long climb, but it was steep and rocky, with plenty more sagebrush and creosote bushes that I had to weave around.  But it still only took a couple of minutes to reach the top.

Halting my ATV, I stood on the running boards and pulled my binos out of the saddlebags.  As I lifted them to my eyes and scanned the open ground to the south, I quickly saw what Hank had been talking about.

There were four figures trotting through the grass and brush in the next draw over.  They were moving pretty quickly, and heading generally north.  Given that Hank and I were the only ones out on patrol at the time, and all of Manuel Lopez’s ranch hands were either working around the house and barns, or watching the herds to the east of us, that kind of narrowed things down.

“Plug, Hillbilly,” I sent, keeping the binos trained on the four.  “I do believe we have some uninvited visitors.”

“That’s what I saw, too,” he replied.  “Just wanted to corroborate it.  Meet you down below, and we’ll go say howdy?”

“Sure,” I answered.  I wasn’t going to complain about actually having some work to do.

The truth be told, even though we were all experienced warfighters, with years of work in the military and some in the contracting world, we had perhaps been a touch naïve when we’d started up our little company.  After all, we owned Praetorian Security, and we knew the score better than any of the soft-clothed financiers who owned most of the rest of the PMSCs out there.  We could determine our own equipment, pick our own jobs, and find the jobs that would keep us in the thick of it, in the shit.

We were finding out the hard way that those kinds of jobs were few and far between, and often involved a lot more shady business to get than we’d necessarily expected.  Most of the time, they were either outright illegal, or in some kind of gray area that tended to get all kinds of scrutiny, so the clients who had those sorts of jobs didn’t tend to be very forthcoming about them.  We’d set up our little private Special Operations company, only to find that we didn’t immediately have clients running to our doorstep. Continue reading “Six Miles West of Nogales”

“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”