Well, almost. Just putting the finishing touches on CAUSE of DEATH, which drops next week. It may be shorter than its predecessor, but it's punchier and a higher body count. And who doesn't like more murder?
Leading up to the launch of CAUSE of DEATH, I'll be posting a new chapter or two daily to whet your appetite. And remember, CAUSE of DEATH is available for pre-order at a special price... which will increase when it goes live on the 11th.
Alright, I'll STFU up and let you read. After all, that's what you came here for, didn't you?
Cause of Death
Detective Damien Drake Book 2
The man poured two glasses of scotch. He added a splash of pure ethanol to one of them, stirred it with his finger, then made his way back to the table. As he approached his guest from behind, he forced a smile onto his face.
“It’s real nice of you to bring me in,” the seated man said loudly. “It’s—”
The man laid the two glasses on the table.
“Aw, sorry, didn’t know you was back. I was sayin’ it’s real nice to bring me in. It’s colder than a witch’s tit out der.”
The smile remained on the man’s face as he took a seat across from his guest in the torn trench coat.
“Well, Trevor, I think that the drink might warm you up some. Don’t know about keeping the witches at bay, however.”
Trevor was dark-skinned man with a receding hairline, and a patchy beard that was interspersed with blotches of gray. He had wide-set eyes, which had a habit of darting about nervously.
“Thank you, Mister,” Trevor said. “Wha—wha’d you say your name was, again?”
The man smiled and took a sip of his own scotch.
Trevor eyed him suspiciously, but the call of the drink was too great for him to heed any warning signs. He gulped greedily, wincing as he swallowed.
“I ain’t the gay type… I—I—I ‘preciate the drink and warm house ‘n all, but I ain’t doin’ no gay shit.”
The man chuckled.
“Why is it that everyone thinks a kind gesture is expected to be repaid in some way?”
Trevor took another sip, his eyes darting. Instead of answering the question, he cleared his throat, and said, “This be a real nice place you got. What are you? Some sort of doctor? Lawyer? I saw a place like dis once in a book, it was a rich lawyer’s house.”
“Something like that,” the man said with a smile. He observed that Trevor’s glass was nearly empty, and even though he had just sat down, offered, “Would you like another?”
Trevor seemed to consider this for a moment. The crystal rock glass was trembling slightly in his fingerless gloves, but it was unclear if this was from fear, hunger, or just the alcohol.
With a slow blink, Trevor brought the drink to his lips and finished the rest of the pale gold liquid.
“Sure,” he replied. When he went to put the glass back on the table, it banged loudly, as if he had misjudged the distance. “Is good shit. I’ll have another.”
Another came out like anudder.
“Yes,” the man said, taking a sip of his own scotch. “Yes, it is ‘good shit’.”
Then he stood and started toward the kitchen. As he went, he said, “I see that your gloves have holes in them—the fingers are missing. Interested in a new pair?”
When he made it to the kitchen, he made sure to make his guest’s glass with half ethanol and half scotch this time.
“Why you doing this, man? What’s in it for you?”
He sighed, and placed his palms on the marble counter top, closing his eyes as he did. His chest rose and fell with several deep breaths, then, after he had collected himself, he picked up the glass and the pair of leather gloves beside them. Tucking a sweater that he had laid on the counter earlier in the day beneath one arm, he made his way back to the kitchen table and placed all three items in front of his guest.
Trevor did the shifty eye thing again, but this time he didn’t immediately grab for the drink.
Ah, I thought it might come to this, the host thought. Sooner than I expected, but here it is. The hesitation before the fall—before total and complete acceptance.
“Look,” he began slowly, pausing to have a sip of his own glass scotch. “I know this seems strange, and I bet it’s been a long, long time since someone has shown you this level of kindness, of respect. And you have every right to be suspicious—in fact, I doubt you would have survived on the streets for as long as you have without your instincts. But, I assure you, I want nothing in return for my hospitality.”
“Then why you doin’ this?” he asked, his words slurred.
The man smirked. Trevor was more astute than he had first thought. The others’s inquisitions had stopped at sidelong glances, pursed lips.
It would all end the same way, however, but still…
“Because I know what it’s like—I know what it’s like to be down on your luck. I was in your position once, a long time ago. But I got out. Built all of what you see around you with perseverance and dedication. And now I’m looking to pay it back.”
Trevor squinted at him, his thin lids lowering over bulging eyes.
“Go ahead, have a drink, put the sweater and gloves on. Keep warm. There are no strings attached here.”
Suspicious or not, old habits die hard.
And a free drink was nearly impossible to resist.
Trevor gulped greedily at his scotch, and then tore his worn gloves off. He slid the leather gloves on, and then wiggled his fingers almost seductively.
“Comfortable, aren’t they?” the host asked.
Two drinks and twenty minutes later, Trevor could barely keep his eyes open, let alone stand. And yet he gave both a valiant effort.
The host quickly made his way over him before the trench coat clad man toppled onto the table.
“Here, let me help you,” he said. “You can stay here for the night. I have a spare bedroom.”
Trevor mumbled something incomprehensible, and the man slipped an arm around his waist, taking the brunt of his weight.
Holding Trevor upright, he led them a bedroom with decor that more reflected a cheap motel than the rest of his house. Inside, there were two single beds, between them there was a peeling, particle board nightstand atop which stood a clock.
The neon green numbers read 3:34 am.
Trevor said something that could have been thank you, but could have just as easily been fuck you, as the host lowered him onto the bed.
Without bothering to pull the cheap bedspread back, the host retreated to the doorway and observed the scene.
“Sleep well, my friend,” he said as Trevor started to snore. His smile broadened. “Don’t worry about anything… you’ll be safe here. I promise.”
And then he started to laugh.
Check back tomorrow for the next snippet!