How About a Free Chapter (Again) – Pt. 1

A free chapter–part one??? This is lunacy you say!  Allen’s already done part one of this series of blog posts for MKPI Odd Case Files: The Cow & The Coven!  What is wrong with him???

To answer your question – there is A LOT wrong with me.  

However, the sequel to MKPI Odd Case Files: The Cow & The Coven is coming out in less than a month (7/10/18), and I want to give you all a chance to read the first chapter.  For. Free.  FREE!!!  

So…let’s do that.  Here you go:

Final Book cover

Chapter One

“The Victim & The Shadow”

Thuh-thump.  Thuh-thump.  Thuh-thump. 

Katarina awoke dazed, more from feeling the thumping in her head than hearing it.  She paused to listen, trying to find the source of the hammering inside of her head.  At first, it was an almost otherworldly, ethereal noise…and then she felt it.  Reflexively, her hands jerked to reach out, but she couldn’t make her hands move to the front of her body.  Panic set in and she began jerking and thrashing.  Katarina tried to muster every last ounce of energy in her body in an effort to get her hands to move.

The night was so dark, so quiet, she was cold and only getting colder as the sweat clinging to her body was seemingly turning to ice with the bitterly cold breeze.  Grasping for control of her senses and attempting to assuage her panic, Katarina sucked in deep breaths of cold, crisp air.  She felt it again.  Tears welled up in her eyes and slowly began rolling over her cheeks.  With each tear, flashbacks from her old life came ripping through her consciousness.

Drip.  Thuh-thump.  Drip.  Thuh-thump.

So many things she had done wrong in her life, but she had had a chance—her salvation and redemption from a life and choices she was increasingly regretting each day.  A chance to prove her worth as a woman.

A woman.

Anything but a whore. 

Anything but a meth-head.

Until she had realized her new chance, Katarina had taken her life for granted.  Abusing her mind, abusing her body, moving from place to place, getting by in life by selling her body to anyone willing to pay.  Then she had become addicted to meth and she gave her body away for a quick fix for all of her shame.  But it all stopped the day she found out that there was another way to live her life.  Her mind felt foggy, hazy—like when she would take downers to ease the panic created by the meth.  Fear pulsed through her and every hair on her body stood on end as she realized her hands and feet were bound.

But how?

Why?!?  

Had Joe found her?  Was he still pissed that she was out of the business?

Had Charlie found her?  Was he still mad about the money she owed him for her last fix?

Well, last several fixes?

With each gulp of cold air, the fog in her brain was clearing….

She remembered standing on the steps of the Temple of the Blue Moon, dreading her walk home in the bitter, windy night along the ice-covered sidewalks.  Usually, the street lamps blazed as bright as day, but a freak ice storm earlier in the afternoon had left the city dark, vulnerable, and impossible to navigate.  Conventional travel was virtually impossible and many motorists were stranded on the major highways.  In fact, several roads were closed to new traffic.  Trucks and cars and semis were backed up on the highways.  The emergency crews were busy rescuing the stranded drivers and the Grayson County Office of Emergency Management was advising (even begging) people to stay home.  Because of this, Katarina was surprised when she saw a dark SUV parked outside of the temple.  As she walked closer, she noticed the snow chains clamped around the tires and thought, ‘now that is how to do it.’  Focusing on the sidewalk, trying to keep from falling and harming herself, Katarina did not see or hear when the tall dark Shadow stepped in front of her.

“Careful.  This is a treacherous night to be out and about.”  The Shadow said to her.

Startled, Katarina jumped back, managing to slip, landing sharply on her backside. 

“What the fuck? You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that, asshole!  Oh, my God!  What if I hurt…myself?  You stupid fuck face!” 

Struggling to get on her feet, the Shadow extended its hand and it was then she recognized its face—but could not recall a name.  She didn’t know them personally but had seen the face many times and had seen those hideous posters and billboards for years.  Accepting the shadowy figure’s help, she apologized for her hatefulness.  She noticed the Shadow was wearing warm clothes and dressed all in black, probably why she had not seen the Shadow at first.

“I am terribly sorry.  I did not mean to startle you.  I saw you walking and wanted to make sure you were not one of the stranded motorists looking for shelter.”

“No.  I’m not.  I’m just tryin’ to get home.” Katarina replied dismissively.

 Reluctantly, Katarina took her hand from the Shadow’s and instantly missed its warmth. 

Looking at the SUV, she commented, “Nice ride.  A lot better than walking around in this crap.”

The Shadow smiled.

“Thank you.  Could I offer you a ride home?  You should not be trying to walk in the dark on these icy sidewalks all alone.  It is very dangerous out here.  You never know when an accident can happen.”

Maybe it was the cold, icy night, maybe it was the vaguely familiar convincing smile.  Either way, Katarina decided to accept the offer. Hell, she had gotten in cars with people much scarier and unfamiliar in her former life.  This would be okay.

The shadowy stranger guided her to the passenger side of the SUV and helped her inside.  Once the Shadow had settled into the driver seat, it had reached behind the passenger seat and pulled out a thermos.

“Would you care for some hot chocolate?  It’s my own creation, guaranteed to warm you to your toes and cure whatever ails you.”

Looking around the interior of the vehicle, Katarina noticed an orange vest—the kind worn by emergency workers and hunters—a first aid kit, blankets, a box of food supplies, water, and various tools peeking out from underneath a tarp.

“It ain’t alcoholic is it?”  Katarina had asked quickly.  “I’m sober and all.”

The Shadow chuckled. “Nothing stronger than chocolate.”

“Yeah.  Sure then.  Thanks.”  Katarina gave a sharp nod.  “M’freezing.”

The Shadow removed the plastic cup from the top of the thermos, poured Katarina a cupful of the rich, chocolatey mixture, then resealed the thermos.

“This will make things better.”  The Shadow smiled at Katarina as she was offered the hot chocolate.

“Thanks.”  Katarina took the plastic cup with the tiny handle and sipped at the steaming hot drink.

“Now.”  The Shadow started the SUV.  “I will turn the heat up and we can be on our way.”

Even though the snow chains made travel possible, it was still incredibly slow.  Katarina realized that she would have to give her address to this person and immediately became embarrassed.  Katarina lived in an area that most everyone would refer to as “the ghetto”.  It was an area as ghetto as a smaller city could get, but nowhere near as bad as a larger city’s ghetto.  Regardless, it was still pretty embarrassing to live in such a neighborhood.  Everyone in town knew what kinds of people—and things—lived there.  At least, that was how Katarina felt that everyone else viewed her neighborhood.  Katarina decided that she would just tell this person where to turn when the time came so as to avoid a huge, and embarrassing, conversation.

“This is really good.”  Katarina moaned.  “Wanna share the recipe?

The Shadow grinned evilly.  “I would tell you.  But then I would have to kill you.”

Katarina felt a shiver run up her spine and felt her face flush.  The Shadow’s deep-set black eyes revealed nothing.  However, as quickly as the Shadow had been serious, it was laughing good-naturedly.

 “Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  I have such a dark sense of humor and horrible timing.”

Nervously, Katarina chuckled as she tipped her cup and found it was just cool enough to gulp.  Within two gulps, she was finished.

Katarina was starting to feel woozy and warm and removed her jacket, then settled back into her warm seat.  When she looked up, they were traveling in the wrong direction.  Suddenly, she realized that she had never given directions to her home—and she had never been asked. Katarina tried to speak but her tongue felt heavy in her mouth and she could not force the words out of her mouth.

The Shadow grumbled.  “Stupid whore.  Sleep the sleep of the dead.  It’ll be better that way.”

Katarina struggled to stay awake, yet fear grasped her for a split second before everything went dark.

The crunching of footsteps on the ice brought Katarina back to the present.  She was shivering more from fear than the cold.  The Shadow stood over her, and before she could make a sound, she felt the familiar stab and liquid rush of a syringe in her arm.  After what seemed like hours, the Shadow finally removed the binding from her legs and hands.

Now is my chance!!  Katarina thought.

GET UP AND RUN!!!  Her inner voice ripped through her head.

But her legs would not move, nor would her hands.  Only her eyes would move.  She was paralyzed but could see and hear everything around her.  The creak of the tree branches with their heavy burdens, the crunch of footsteps.  Katarina could only think, Don’t hurt me.  I’m trying to start over.  I’M NOT A WHORE!’

The Shadow returned and stretched Katarina’s legs out and laid her flat on the ground with her head resting on a what felt like a flat slab of rock.  Katarina pleaded with her eyes.  She prayed to the Goddess.  Prayed to the deity favored by The Temple of the Blue Moon.

The Shadow returned to the SUV and undressed. It neatly folded the discarded clothes and placed its shoes in the back of the SUV.  Only black gloves remained on its hands.

Shadow?!? 

I recognized…him.  Her? 

What is going on???

This location was perfect.  The original crossroads barely traveled anymore since the construction of the new highway.  Just before the winter storm, the Shadow had drug the large flat stone to the center of the crossroads, knowing that the storm would provide the perfect opportunity to perform the ritual.  Grabbing the previously chosen instrument of death, the Shadow ran a finger along the blade and caressed the iron, loving the feel of the cold metal against its flesh.

The cold night only invigorated the Shadow as it walked on top of the ice, leaving no footprints.  The Shadow approached Katarina and saw the fear and pleading in her eyes but said nothing—felt nothing.  This whore was just the means to an end.  Silently, the Shadow raised the axe, and Katarina, unable to cry out and unable to flee, lost control of her bodily functions just as the axe fell, severing her head in one quick, merciful blow.  The Shadow worked quickly, doing what needed to be done, never once bothering to look at Katarina’s head, which had rolled a few feet away and landed upright, her no longer functioning eyes staring at the Shadow accusingly.  Unfeeling and unremorseful, the Shadow left Katarina in the middle of the crossroads.  The Shadow stuffed the axe into the knobby roots of a nearby tree, just as a light freezing rain began to fall again.

If you want to preorder the ebook click the pic:

And here is the book blurb just in case you want more info:

Zephyr Klynick and Dayl Mayeaux, private detectives and partners at Mayeaux Klynick Private Investigations are on a new case! Previously, they solved the case of why a mutilated cow was found in a park in the city of Woodman, Texas and why a prominent local religious leader had gone missing. Their newest case proves to be just as strange…and may be even more dangerous.

In MKPI Odd Case Files: The Corpse & The Crossroads, Dayl and Zephyr are hired to find a stolen axe by the owner of a local museum that specializes in “oddities”. Then a woman is found beheaded and mutilated in the middle of Seven Acres Road and Old Chapel Road—a crossroads. Suddenly, men dressed in all black are terrorizing the city by harnessing a power that neither Zephyr nor Dayl have ever seen before. To make matters worse, one of the worst winters that Woodman, Texas has seen in over a decade has settled in, making the city even more dangerous. Over the course of a few days, Dayl and Zephyr find themselves faced with angry city officials, “urban ninjas”, a frustrated museum owner, and a pimp. Embroiled in one of their worst cases ever, Dayl and Zephyr find not just themselves in trouble, but also their loved ones.

Will the private detectives of Mayeaux Klynick Private Investigations solve their latest “odd” case in time? For the city of Woodman, Texas, and for MKPI, business is never usual…

 

Until next time…

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