Category Archives: Conscience Excerpts

Conscience Excerpts–Chapter Fourteen

conscienceFor those who might be interested, I’m going to post consecutive chapters of my novel, Conscience, here once weekly. Hope you enjoy! :)

Chapter Fourteen

The boy was crying. He lay in his bed with the covers pulled up tight over his head so that no one could hear him sniffling. He was certain that his mother and sister would never forgive him for what he had done. Despite his mother’s assurance that it was okay, he knew that she would forever blame him for ruining their family and it was even worse with his sister. She had actually told him as much. He felt so scared and alone and so he buried himself even deeper under his sheets and blankets even though it was a hot summer day outside and their air conditioner still wasn’t working.

He started sweating almost immediately and had to surface for some fresh air. When he caught his reflection in the mirror on his dresser and saw his swollen, red eyes, he began crying even harder. What had he been thinking? He was just a kid. He was so stupid to think that he was old enough to handle such a horrifying situation. He thought he was helping her but he had actually made her life worse. He missed his dad terribly and another wave of emotion swept over him causing him to audibly cry like a baby.

Then something else happened. A different feeling started stirring in a remote corner of his heart and it forced him to stand up out of his bed and choke back his tears. He rubbed two grubby fists into his moist eyes and ran his shirtsleeve across his dripping nose. He cleared his throat and shook his head as if to force away the teardrops.

He hadn’t been wrong to tell. He was the only one who had done what was right and standing beside his bed in his mismatched pajamas he realized that he would have done it again. She deserved to be protected and he had undoubtedly made the right call. If his family was now falling apart, it wasn’t his fault and they would see that in time. He was the only man in the family now and he would stand by his decisions and he would always do whatever it took to hold his broken family together. His mother and sister might blame him today but they would eventually agree that he was their hero. No one would ever hurt his sister like that again.

No one.

Even in that emotional moment, a compelling clarity settled over him and he realized, “This is who I am. I am a protector of hurting, defenseless people. This is my calling.” If he had looked in the mirror, he would have still seen the same puffy eyes and twin tear tracks running down two dirty cheeks. He was still just a kid and yet he was also becoming something more. Though no one would have noticed it by looking at him, in that moment he was becoming a man.

I woke up and I was crying into my pillow. It was a dream.

Despite my amnesia, in the rare clarity that accompanies an abrupt awakening, I knew that the boy in the dream was me.

I slowly opened my eyes and through the blurring edges of my vision, I saw that I was no longer alone. The dream faded into forgetfulness as I looked into the gaze of several anxious-looking doctors in white coats. My enemy was there as well, in a designer suit, looking rested and refreshed and completely composed. He was speaking to me.

“Okay, let’s try this again. Do you know who you are?”

I shook my head.

The previous clarity from my awakening was already gone and I sat in their presence under an increasing fog of confusion and fatigue. Thankfully, my pain levels were low but I could feel them building again and my nausea was returning as well.

“Why doesn’t he know?” My questioner snapped at a man in a white doctor’s coat. “I thought you said the dosage was correct.”

“It is correct and he should know.” He replied with some visible consternation.

Actually I did know and in my foggy, sleepy state of mind, I had enough of my wits about me to try and leverage my presumed amnesia to my advantage. There was something about my identity that was very important to these dangerous men and although I was helpless, physically shattered and immobile, I determined to forestall whatever demise was coming.

“Let’s decrease the dosage and try again.”

“But the pain will be too much. He won’t be able to stay conscious long enough to talk.”

“We don’t have a choice. Let’s try it anyway.”

Why did they have to keep saying that?

Someone adjusted the flow of my IV and within a matter of minutes my midsection erupted in enough agony that I mercifully blacked out again.

End of Chapter Fourteen. To purchase this book and continue reading in printed or electronic form click here.

Conscience Excerpts–Chapter Thirteen

conscienceFor those who might be interested, I’m going to post consecutive chapters of my novel, Conscience, here once weekly. Hope you enjoy! :)

Chapter Thirteen

Kevin stared into the television monitor watching them all crowd into the elegant, polished elevator. “So were we right?” he said to a grim-faced Ray beside him.

Ray didn’t respond right away, he was too focused on what the hidden elevator cameras were showing on the faces of the dismissed attorneys: fear, stress and gallant attempts at covering it up.

He nodded finally, running a hand through his closely cropped salt-and-pepper hair. “Yes. He couldn’t conceal it. I could practically smell the guilt on him. I hate it but at least we know.”

Kevin nodded thoughtfully as his cell phone chirped and he looked down. “I’ve got to run, Ray. When will we contact him?”

“It’s happening as we speak.”

Seventeen floors below, the elevator doors were opening and the L.A. legal elite were emerging in their designer suits and Italian leather loafers, their confidence sufficiently restored. The joking that accompanies people on the inner circle of a profession continued again and a few overdue lunch appointments were scheduled, more out of courtesy than any real desire to connect. They were, after all, rivals and competitors, although most of them now carried the secret hope that they might soon work on the same team, Kevin Gunther’s team.

They exited the building and dispersed along the crowded California sidewalks, some hailing cabs and others waiting for their drivers to pull up to the curb beside them.

All but one of them. Elliot Blythe stood off by himself, shading his eyes from the California sun with the morning’s Wall Street Journal. He was looking into his hand at a note that had been stuffed into it as he had exited the elevator and pushed his way through the crowded lobby. He hadn’t noticed whom it came from and he was shaking his head disgustedly, both angry and terrified that he hadn’t been more observant.

He thrust the note inside the side pocket of his briefcase and hailed a cab, sliding on his dark sunglasses and looking over his shoulder nervously. How could the word have leaked out? He was certain that he hadn’t been followed. He mumbled into his cell phone, ordering his assistant to clear his morning’s schedule and then slid into the backseat of a yellow cab. The driver raised his eyebrows in inquiry and Elliot shook his head, “I don’t care. Just get me away from here.”

Ray Gibbs closed his office blinds as the yellow cab drove off, carrying Elliot to the nearest bar where Ray knew he would sit and drink and stress about his future. Then he pushed “send” on a new blackberry and the text message was shipped to Elliot’s phone.

It had begun.

Ray took a deep breath, made an entry by hand in his little, leather notebook, paged his secretary and continued with his day.

In the meanwhile, Elliot’s day was collapsing.

“Vodka on the rocks.” Elliot ordered ignoring the smirking look of the bartender.

Despite his chosen profession, the bartender must have thought that nine o’clock in the morning was a little early for straight vodka. On the other hand, he was open for business at nine o’clock in the morning in the hopes that someone just like Elliott Blythe might wander in for some solace or escape. In some ways, he was like a priest offering absolution, only he didn’t prescribe penance, he just poured a drink. He chuckled to himself, amused by his recurring thought, as he reached for the Grey Goose vodka and poured two fingers into an ice-filled tumbler. “Enjoy.” He said blandly to Elliott who downed the drink and promptly ordered a second.

Elliott gulped the second drink in similar fashion and then slowed down with his third and began to consider his options. He looked at the note again.

“Elliott, we know you talked.”

There were no instructions or threats, just the statement. “We know you talked.” Questions were swirling. Who was “we”? How much did they know? Did they know about Father Jefferies?

Elliott’s cell phone vibrated briefly, informing him of an incoming text message and instinctively Elliott knew that it didn’t bear good news. He had lost his phone two days earlier and he was still using a cheap replacement Go Phone and had no idea how anyone would have been able to access this number.

His pulse began racing as he slowly flipped the phone open, clicked the messaging icon and read, “Stan is dead. We need to talk.” He gasped and then nodded, knowing that the inevitable moment had come.

“Bartender.” He ordered his fourth drink.

End of Chapter Thirteen. To purchase this book and continue reading in printed or electronic form click here.