Monday, December 17, 2012

Sharing a chapter from Retribution.

In fits and starts I am writing the first full-length Smitty novel.  Called Retribution.  Essential the plot revolves around someone asking Smitty, a professional assassin, to help them track down and remove from the streets a madman who is trying to be a modern day Jack the Ripper.

Simple, right?  Naw.  With Smitty nothing is that simple.

There are plots within plots.  Twists and turns that'll (hopefully) make you giggle in delight.  And the characters . . . a lot of them . . . are not exactly what the say they are.  Yes, a complex that, for the reader, I'm hoping will be very enjoyable to read.  But writing this SOB is a pain in the ass. 

As someone once said, writing that flawlessly moves with seamless ease for the reader is very hard work.  I agree completely.

I've already shared one other chapter in the novel you can find back in the achieves somewhere.  But I thought today I might share the latest chapter.  I kinda like what came out and want to share it.   So let me set up the scene for you.

Smitty has a gut feeling a certain prostitute who works out of the Freiburg Hotel is The Ripper's next victim.  One night, when she leaves the hotel, he decides to follow her.  What he doesn't know is The Ripper knows Smitty is watching the woman.  His goal is to take out Smitty.

So here goes.  Tell me what you think.

Twenty Four


            Charlene Hicks rolled out of the rotating glass doors of the Freiberg at a little past two in the morning.  The night was calm.  Still.  Hardly any traffic moving.  The stars were out and there seemed to be this almost surreal quiet that seemed, if anyone was paying attention, unnatural. 

            She was wearing a tight fitting red dress with matching red leather high heels.  Underneath one arm was a white leather purse.  Around her neck was a necklace of white pearls with a few dark red rubies thrown in for good luck.  The low cut dress, the high heels, her perfect form, made the small blond with the long hair cascading down past her shoulder breathtaking to behold.  Men in the lobby stopped in mid conversation to turn and watch her hips sway back and forth seductively as she exited the hotel.

            No doubt about it.  Charlene Hicks was a very beautiful woman.

            Sitting in the darkness of his car he watched as the door man hailed a cabbie and opened the cab's door for Charlene.  On his face was a big grin flashing a lot of white teeth.  A grin that got bigger when Charlene slipped him a couple of bills just before disappearing into the cab.  When the cab pulled away from the front of the hotel he took his time slipping the gearshift into drive and following.

            The cabbie drove in a circuitous route.  Weaving in and out of traffic when they pulled onto a street alive with traffic; taking corners suddenly and then turning almost immediately down another street.  Wherever Charlene was going she was making an effort to ditch anyone trying to follow her.  For twenty minutes he and the cabbie played cat-and-mouse on the streets.  Sometimes he would momentarily loose the cab forcing him to begin a fast circular search.   Luckily he'd find them sliding down a quiet street a block or two away.  Settling in roughly four or five car lengths away he'd take up following them again.

            At the end of the twenty minute drive the cabbie pulled up to the curb in front of a parking garage attached to a fancy looking apartment complex.  The cement structure looked like a brightly lit fortress.  Watching her get out of the cab, bending over, ass turned in his direction and revealing a lot of beautifully sculptured leg, she paid off the cabbie, closed the door, then turned and stepped into through the automatic doors that led into the parking garage's foyer and the single elevator.  She immediately hit the up button on the elevator and waited for the doors to open.  

            He didn't hesitate.

            With a twist of the wrist he slid the lithe, black CTS-V Caddy into the ground floor entrance, paid for the privilege to park, waited for the barrier to go up and allow entrance, and calmly began the twisting drive up into the cavernous garage.  Hitting the down button for the driver's side window he tilted his head to one side to hear better.  When he started to turn onto the third level of the garage he heard the unmistakable clicking of high heels walking across hard cement.  He saw her the moment he nosed onto the third level.  She was walking toward a dark gray BMW 530i, a hand aimed toward the car pressing the unlock button on her key bob.

            She was about to open the driver's side door of the BMW when he pulled in front of the car and draped an arm out of the open window.

            "Charlene, we need to talk."

            Her reaction was visceral.  She stepped back from the car, fumbling with her purse in the process.  He slid out of the car, leaving the driver's side door open, stood up and lifted both hands in the air.  From out of the white leather purse appeared a snub-nosed .38 caliber revolver.  A calm, steady hand held it out from her and aimed it for the middle of his chest.

            "Take another step toward me and I swear to god I'll put two of'em straight through your fucking heart!"

            There was no fear in the woman's voice.  Just a hard edge of determination.  He knew she would do exactly what she said she would do.  Standing beside his Caddy, hands in the air, he almost smiled.

            "Charlene, I'm not here to harm you.  I'm not The Ripper, as the papers call this guy.  But I am here because of him.  Charlene,  I think you're his next victim.  I've been asked to stop him.  But to stop him I need your help."

            The gun in her hand wavered slightly.  He heard her suck in her breath.  Saw her take a half step back as she glanced quickly to her left and then to her right.  But she recovered.  The gun came up again steady and unmoving.  And still aimed at his chest.

            "Who are you?"

            "I'm known by a lot of different names.  The people who asked me to help them know me as Smitty. For now that's all you need to know."

            "Why should I believe you?  What makes you think I'm the next victim?"

            "You're blond.  You're petite.   You're in the same age bracket as the others.  You're very beautiful.  You work out of the Frieburg.  Think about Charlene.  You knew the others."

            She lowered her gun.  Didn't put it back into her purse.  Kept it firmly in her grip and ready in case she had to.  But her face told him she was all too familiar with The Ripper's MO.  The very same thought had crossed her mind many times before.  She looked worried.  Scared.

            "So now what . . . Smitty?  SMITTY!!"

            The attack was lightning fast.  Unexpected.  Coming from an impossible direction.  The dark form came out of the darkness from above.   From a cement cross piece connecting two cement pillars holding up the top floor of the garage.  The one space in the entire garage not lit up brightly!

            Smitty felt the sharp tip of the large knife slid across the collar of his shirt next to his carotid artery.  Felt the pull of cloth as the knife sought his flesh.  Instinctively he pulled back and twisted into the swinging blow as he used the closed fist of his right hand to drive a vicious blow into the black form's rib cage.  The creature grunted but wasn't fazed by the blow.  Landing on his feet, tucked low in a squatting position, he rolled over his shoulders, came to his feet, and started running toward Charlene.  In his right hand was a very large carving knife.  A carving knife exactly like the ones he had used on his other victims.

            Charlene tried to bring the snub-nose revolver up and aim it at the black clad nightmare.  But too slow!  The black horror was just in front of her, the knife coming up over his head for a slashing downward blow.  She screamed, stepped back, threw a hand up to protect her face.

            The blow never came.

            As fast as the nightmare was Smitty was just as fast.  Just as the knife came up for the killing blow Smitty reached out, wrapped fingers around the wrist of the knife hand, and jerked violently backwards.   The nightmare grunted in pain, whirled, faced his attacker, with a second knife in his hand!  A switch-blade with a long, thin blade of blue steel.  The nightmare screamed and thrust forward as hard as he could toward Smitty's exposed chest.  But the dark eyed man saw the blow coming and twisted to one side as he continued to grip the killer's right hand.

            The sharp edge of the switch-blade slid across Smitty's chest biting deep into flesh.  Blood began to color the now shredded shirt he was wearing with a dark smear.  The pain searing through his mind was almost numbing.  But he new the blade had missed its mark.  It was not a killing blow.  Gritting his teeth he brought his the open edge of his left hand down hard across the top of the horror's free arm in a swift chopping blow.  The blow struck bone.  The switch-blade in the horror's left hand dropped to the cement floor of the garage with a jarring ring of cold metal.

            But the horror was far from finished with his tricks.  A knee came up aimed for Smitty's testicles.  Smitty had barely enough time to partially block the blow with a leg.  As he did the horror twisted his right hand free from Smitty's grip and turned toward him, bringing the carving knife slashing out toward Smitty's chest again.  It would have connected this time if it wasn't for Charlene's snub nose revolver suddenly erupting in an outrageous loud explosion in the garage's confining space.


            The snub nose bucked in her hand as she fired.  The bullet, missing its target, slammed into one of the cement pillars and ricocheted with a loud whining sound before slamming into the windshield of a Ford Escort parked beside her BMW.  Inches away from the horror's black clad head.

            The noise of the gun going off, the sound of the bullet ricocheting and then slamming into the Ford's windshield was enough to convince the horror this was not the time nor the place to finish either target off.  Blocking an expertly aimed kick from his prey, the horror rolled across the hood of the Ford Escort, put space between him and the wounded Smitty, and ran to the thick walled barrier of the garage and leapt over the barrier and disappeared into the night.

            Smitty, feeling the pain and the blood covering his chest and stomach, came to his feet and grabbed Charlene by the arm and began pulling her toward the black Caddy.  Shoving her into the car he hurried around to the driver's side, slid in and closed the door, and started driving.

            "You're bleeding.  Is it serious?"  she said, half twisting in the leather seat of the car and reaching out hesitantly to touch Smitty's bloody shirt."

            "It looks worse than it actually is.  But it hurts like hell," he whispered softly, concentrating on his driving.  "We need to get out of here and find some place to hide you.  Especially now we know he is hunting for you."

            "I know just the place.  Here, stop the car and let's change.  I'll drive and you try to stop the bleeding."

            Smitty nodded, braked just inside the exit leading out of the garage and got out of the car.  It took seconds to trade positions.  And then, with Charlene driving, they were gone.  Disappearing into the night just as sirens from approaching police units ripped the night open with wails of despair.






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