Tuesday, November 24, 2015

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT

I thought I'd give readers of this blog a sneak peek at the first chapter of my latest novella, Silent Night, Deadly Night. It's available on Amazon in both Kindle and print formats. Readers of my newsletter have already had a preview, but I wanted everyone to know about it before the prices go up. Right now, the Kindle version is $1.99, the print version $5.99.  The Kindle price goes up a dollar after Thanksgiving. (End of commercial message).

     Here's a preview:

It was a scene that made you want to sing “Silent Night”—or at least hum a few bars. A full moon shone on the blanket of snow covering the yard of the home. Drapes at each side of a picture window were drawn back to display the holiday decorations within. Although Christmas had come and gone five days earlier, the tree’s colored lights still burned, reflecting off the ornaments and tinsel scattered through the branches. Holiday lights on the eaves of the house at Redman Lane cast a multicolored glow over the scene. 
The only false note was the front door of the house, standing wide-open and spilling light onto a narrow path across the porch. 
Officer Adela Reyes of the Hilton Police Department slowed her cruiser to a stop at the curb. An open door at three in the morning indicated either trouble or a careless homeowner. She scanned the scene before lifting the microphone from its clip on her patrol car’s dashboard. Reyes pressed the button to transmit. “This is Officer Reyes. I’ve got an open front door and lights still on at 7710 Redman Lane. I’m going to check it out.”
“Roger. Are you requesting backup?”
“I don’t think so. It’s probably just someone who forgot to lock up. I’ll call in if I need help.”
She flipped on the car’s strobes to warn anyone coming up on her cruiser, although she doubted there’d be any traffic on this residential street at this time of night—or rather, of morning. With one hand on her holstered Glock, a five-cell flashlight in her other hand—both for illumination and a use as a club—she carefully approached the house, slogging through the undisturbed snow of the front yard. 
When she reached the front porch, Reyes knocked loudly on the frame of the open door. “Police. Anyone home?” She repeated this several times before she walked inside. She’d learned that houses give off vibes when they were occupied, and her gut told her this one was empty. Nevertheless, she went through each room, calling out, scanning every hiding place. When she had satisfied herself that the house was unoccupied, she keyed the microphone secured to the epaulet near the collar of her uniform. 
“This is Reyes again. That house with the open door seems unoccupied.” She paused to think about her course of action. “I’ll push the button to lock the door when I leave.”
After shutting the door, she walked back to her squad car, when she noticed a peculiar mound of snow off to one side of the path. The little hill was about three feet by six, roughly the same dimensions as a grave. There was nothing unusual about snow piling up in mounds and drifts, but this one looked different somehow. Reyes was curious about what might be under that mound. Was it a toy of some sort, left in the yard and covered with snow? She decided to give it a look. As she approached, the flashlight in her left hand, her right hovered near her holstered weapon.
Reyes edged over and kicked a bit of snow away from the mound with a booted foot. She aimed her flashlight downward to see what she’d exposed, then stepped back and gave an almost-silent gasp. Up from the hole she’d made in the snow stared a pair of eyes—eyes in the face of a dead woman. 


2 comments:

Patricia Bradley said...

Wow! Very good. Guess where I'm going?

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, hope you enjoy it.