In this scene Monk, Cliffson and Thomas make a trip over the mountains to rescue Cliffson’s son from a forced labor camp.  I hope the scene will give you a taste of the story and that you will consider reading the book.  The ebook is quite inexpensive and I promise you wont be disappointed if you pick up a copy of the book.  Thank you.  The story begins below.

“The first day on the road passed quickly.  Fearful of being ambushed, they remained on constant alert and gruesome scenes played out repeatedly on their way over the mountains and Santiam Pass.

Most homes near the highway were burned out.  Shot up and burned out car bodies littered the road, one recent enough the stench emanating from the bodies rotting inside was nearly enough to gag them.  Twice they stopped to roll cars off the road to make room for the van to pass, but otherwise encountered no road blocks set up to ambush.

Fuel was scarce but people were scarcer.  The lone individual they encountered swiftly scrambled back into the forest when the van came into view.  Mostly, it was just quiet.  Eerily quiet.

After reaching the mountain pass and beginning their descent down the west side of the mountains, the tension in the van rose with each passing mile.  It wasn’t something they’d anticipated and couldn’t quite put their finger on the reason why.  Though they saw no one, the feeling someone or something was watching, haunted.  The searching eyes, hungry stares and probing gazes went unseen, but not unfelt.

A few hours before dark, Monk pulled onto a side road in the timbered foothills east of Stayton.  Tree limbs reached out to grab the van, or possibly to hide it.  Cliffson wasn’t sure why, but sliding deeper into the forest reduced the tension and they all relaxed a bit.

Another mile over the pine cone strewn dirt road and their path forked.  The right fork continued uphill following the ridgeline.  Monk turned left and the road soon leveled.  In another half mile or so they came upon a small cottage.  Probably someone’s weekend retreat.  Cliffson thought.

A detached garage stood to the left a light blue house with a covered front porch of weathered wood.  Amazingly the house seemed unscathed, appearing to have dropped in from another space in time after the fighting had passed.  It didn’t fit and Cliffson found himself getting uncomfortable again.

“We’ll check the house first.”  Monk nearly whispered and turned off the van.  “Cliffson come with me, Thomas wait on the porch and cover our backs.”  No one else said a word.  Shotguns at the ready and pistols strapped to their sides, the three approached the dwelling.

The wooden porch complained, announcing their arrival and Cliffson felt a shiver run down his spine.  Monk knocked loudly but there was no answer.  He reached for the glass doorknob, found it unlocked and pushed it open.

The house was dimly lit but orderly and well kept.  Throw rugs covered the living room floor, window sashes were neatly hung and faded pillows reclined on the couch.  Ahead and to their left was the kitchen.  The tile floor was neatly swept and dishes were carefully stacked on a drying rack next to the sink.   There was no one around, but clearly someone had recently been here.

Monk was checking the single bedroom and bath in the rear of the house when Cliffson discovered something odd.  In front of him, on the dining room table, were an ash tray and a deck of cards.  Two wooden chairs on opposite sides attended the wooden table and in front of each chair was a stack of chicken bones, one pile larger than the other.  The house was so neat and clean it seemed odd to find chicken bones left out on the table, no matter how slicked off they might have been.  He was gazing at the table when it dawned on him those weren’t chicken bones.  Cliffson reached down and picked one up.

“H-yah!!!” he yelled and flung the bone to the floor.  Monk appeared at his side and assessed the piles of bone lying on the table for moment before picking one up for examination.

“Uh-huh, finger bones and they was a using em for chips in their poker game.”  Monk gently set the bone back on the pile and with a whimsical look turned to Cliffson.

“Looks to me like they played a few hands too.”

Cliffson marveled how nothing seemed to rattle the man, like he’d seen it all before.  “Looks to me like they were all losers,” Cliffson shivered.

“Well, there’s no one in the house and those old bones wouldn’t keep me from spending the night here, so let’s go have a look in the garage.”  Monk turned and led the way out with Cliffson on his heels.

Outside, Cliffson filled his lungs with the clear mountain air while Monk told Thomas what they had found.  “Gives me the willies,” Thomas said.

“Let’s go see about the garage.”  Monk stepped off the porch and began making his way across the gravel driveway.”

The reviews have been quite good, but if you pick up a copy I would be interested in hearing your comments.  Thanks for reading.

I would also like to add – the heart of the story reminds me of a commercial I once saw.  Click this link.


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