Authors: Liz Schulte
A novel by
4 Corners Press
Copyright © 2011 by Liz Schulte
All rights reserved.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
Published in the United States by 4 Corners Press.
4 Corners Press design is a registered trademark of 4 Corners Press
Printed in the United States of America
Cover Design by Vicki Deiter
Cover Formatting by Donna Dull of 4CP
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
I am not really sure where to start with thanking people. There have been so many friends who helped me and supported me in getting
to a place where I could publish it. I am sure I won't name everyone, but I will highlight the main players.
The first thanks have to go to my family who have all been as excited as I have been and beyond supportive of all that I do. Without them I am sure I would have never had the confidence to pursue this dream.
My other thanks belongs to -- the constant and always willing to read my work best friend Kim. She talked me through many scenes and reminded me to keep working on my books even when my muses weren't talking. The girls in the Third Floor Gang who made me laugh and encouraged me at every turn. H.P. Mallory, for talking to a want to be writer and introducing me to a wonderful writing group; it has made all the difference these last few months. And last but not least, my partners at 4 Corners Press for being the most wonderful and talented writers and artists I could have ever hoped to work with.
A sticky, sweet smell veiled the house, making it hard to breathe. I should have known immediately. After all, how many times had I described it in my books? Yet it didn't even occur to me as possible. Never could I have imagined my fiction so brutally brought to life. And so close to home.
The odor stuck in my throat. I gagged. Fear caressed my skin with its clammy hands. In the pit of my stomach I knew something was wrong, dead wrong. The intense certainty propelled my feet forward despite my legs unwillingness to move. They felt sluggish and uncooperative as I entered the only place left to look, the kitchen. The odor grew stronger, burning the inside of my nose. Swallowing several times to force the lump in my throat down, my mouth went dry. I concentrated on not throwing up, instead of what I might find. I stretched my hands out defensively. Time slowed. Every one of my senses assaulted by blood and death, I froze in place. The cold, blank, dead eyes of my husband met mine. Rocking back and forth, the room spinning, I couldn't process the whole of what I was seeing. All I could do was stare back into Danny’s eyes—eyes frozen open in horror and pain. The floor smacked against my body as my knees gave way.
Everything went black.
“Happy people” disdain filled me as I glanced around the bar. Small groups of college students and regulars chattered away unaware of my existence. I settled into my usual back corner booth while Joe, the bartender, brought over a drink without me having to order it.
I made obligatory small talk with Joe before he returned to his post behind the bar. As he resumed polishing glasses with a dirty bar towel, I inspected the all too familiar little dive. Pictures were haphazardly spread over walls covered in smoky grime from the years when the bar was less desolate. The few rickety tables and chairs marred with juvenile graffiti in the center of the room had seen better days. However, the laughing, smiling patrons occupied them without noticing their feeble condition. An electronic dart board in the opposite corner blinked and buzzed tiredly, giving a strobe effect to the dim room.