Work continues on the preparations to release Frostwalker! Presently, the primary formatting for ebook and paperback is finished. Now we’re on to the check-and-double-check-everything-neurotically stage. So, to keep teasing you while we sweat the details, here is another excerpt from the book! This will quite possibly be the final excerpt posted before the book is released.
Speaking of how close the release is, if you haven’t gotten your free copy of The Card yet, but are interested in doing so, you can still sign up for the Frostwalker Release Notification and get it. Obviously, once Frostwalker is released, that offer will be ended – get it while you can! Free reading material is almost always a good thing, right? To sign up and get your free copy of The Card, just pop over to the Frostwalker page here on my blog and sign up at the bottom of the page!
Deputy Mike Fallon was bored. Presently, he was lounging on an avocado green vinyl couch in what the Roderick County Sheriff’s Office referred to as their “bull pen”. Little more than an open room full of desks, Fallon had the room to himself.
He was trying to alleviate his boredom with a dog-eared copy of a Louis L’Amour western. Usually, the graveyard shift at the Sheriff’s Office was as silent as a tomb. However, tonight, Deputy Fallon was having trouble concentrating on his book due to the amount of background noise.
One disturbance was the occasional frustrated grumblings coming from Sheriff Breslin’s personal office. The door was closed, and the sheriff was catching up on paperwork. The past few days, the search for Daniel Tucker had been all Breslin had worked on. Apparently, filling out the paperwork involved a great deal of swearing.
However, the worst distraction came from the hallway in the back of the office. Along one side of this hallway stood the three cells, normally empty, used for detainees. Tonight, the center cell was occupied by Angus Sommerset, aged fifty-seven, who snored loudly while sleeping off his public drunkenness charge. Angus was a bit of a fixture in the Sheriff’s Office, and the deputies often called him Angry Otis when he was out of earshot. Unlike Mayberry’s lovable tosspot, Angus had the temper his Scottish ancestors were famous for.
Suddenly, Deputy Mike Fallon had plenty to occupy him. First, the radio crackled to life. Dropping his book on the couch, he wove his way between the desks to answer the call. It seemed that a house was burning in the Briar Creek development. From the sound of it, it might have been arson. The reporting deputy mentioned an apparent fistfight ongoing in the yard of the next house down.
The Wynn Volunteer Fire Department had a small station down the street. Mostly, it was a large garage which held their two trucks and a smallish barracks area in back where those on overnight duty slept. While he began relaying the call on a handheld radio unit, the phone rang.
Snatching up the phone with his free hand, Deputy Fallon said, “Sheriff’s Office,” into the receiver, dividing his attention between the phone and the static-filled response coming from the radio in his other hand.
The voice on the phone was a woman, clearly in hysterics. She was screaming into the phone, and shouting could be heard in the background, as well as the growls and snarls of a dog that sounded enraged.
“He’s killing Earl!” she screamed into the phone, and Fallon yanked the phone from his ear in reaction to the volume of her cry.
“Ma’am, who’s killing him?” he asked.
Glancing at the screen of the computer that served as Wynn’s 911 emergency call center, he saw that the call was coming from the residence of Earl and Edna Cox of Thunderbush Lane. A small map had popped up, highlighting the location of the calling number and listing any pertinent information.
“I don’t know! The man just broke in our house! Please hurry!” she screamed.
Fallon keyed the microphone on the handheld radio, quickly giving the address of the fire and informing them that he was taking another call. Ignoring the reply, he said into the phone, “Okay, ma’am, we’re sending a car out there right now. Help is on the way. Just stay on the line with me, okay?”
“Please hurry!” she wailed again. The dog had stopped barking.
Picking up the microphone for the Sheriff’s Office radio, Fallon began calling out the situation. Immediately, a deputy on patrol responded. Though the roads were foul and growing worse, they had chained their tires and continued to run their routes as best they could. The deputy said he would head that way, estimating his arrival in ten minutes. This sounds like it’ll be over long before then, Fallon thought, but didn’t say. He knew wishing it so wouldn’t get anyone there any sooner.
Turning back to the phone, he said, “Ma’am, a deputy is on his way now. He’ll be there as soon as possible, okay?”
There was no answer. The line was still open, and he could hear faint shuffling sounds, like something brushing against the mouthpiece of Earl and Edna Cox’s phone.
“Ma’am?” Fallon said into the phone.
There was no response.
“Ma’am?” he asked again, again getting no reply. “Shit! Shit! Shit!” he raged as he grabbed the microphone for the radio again.
Changing frequencies, he began to notify the local rescue squad. They would be busy, with both a fire and an apparent assault to deal with.
Deputy Fallon didn’t know just how busy things were going to get.