Some foolish scheduling conflicts pushed Frozen Stiff: A Chase Adams FBI Thriller back a few weeks, but the release date is almost upon us. To get your juices flowing, I'm going to post a chapter a day until it goes live.
“You can’t get away from this, Chase! Why don’t you just come back up here and we can talk about it, face-to-face!”
Chase Adams winced and scrambled along the side of the hill, pressing her back against the snow-covered surface as she moved.
The man was standing on the road above, roughly fifteen feet up, and if he saw her, she knew that the next bullet wouldn’t be in her side, but in her skull.
Talk about it… what a joke.
Through gritted teeth, she tried to keep her pain at bay while shuffling, grateful for both the cover of darkness and the sound of the wind whistling between bare trees.
It was a cold night, and the frigid air nipped at her even through the thick red parka that covered her from knees to chin. Wind entered the bullet hole in the right side, causing it to puff up and make her movements even more awkward.
“Chase! Chaaaaaase!” The voice had a sing song quality to it now.
The bastard was enjoying this.
Chase made it to an exposed culvert jutting from the side of the hill, and with a soft grunt, lowered herself beneath it.
Please don’t look down here… please just get back in your car and leave.
Somewhere in the distance she heard the chime from a car, an indication that a door had been left ajar. A quick glance in that direction confirmed that it was coming from the battered teal-colored sedan that she had stolen at gunpoint. Based on the way the hood was curled around an ancient oak tree, she was surprised that she had managed to crawl out of it relatively unscathed.
Chase could see blood on the cracked leather seats even from her vantage point nearly twenty feet away, but that was from before, that was from the bullet embedded in her right side, just above her hip.
Please… just leave.
“I’ll tell you what, Chase, come out now, and I’ll make it quick—I promise. It won’t be like the others. But if I have to come down there and find you, which I will—you know I will—then it’ll be bad.”
So much for talking.
Chase squeezed her eyes together tightly, and she allowed herself several deep breaths. The pain in her side had dulled considerably since the hotel, and after collecting herself, she finally gathered the nerve to look down at the hand clutching her side.
Beneath the pale blue spears of moonlight, her small fingers appeared smeared with a thick, purple substance.
Chase ground her teeth, steeled herself, and then pulled her hand away from the spot just above her right hip.
Down feather insulation clung to the blood covered hole, and after first trying, and then failing, to clear them completely to allow a clear view of the wound, Chase gave up and slowly unzipped the coat to peer inside.
The hole in her shirt was ragged, and the shirt itself, a white blouse, was filthy and nearly completely covered in blood.
The bullet hole itself was rimmed with black, burnt fabric.
Chase covered the wound with her frigid hand and applied pressure. A hiss exited her mouth, and she froze.
“Chase… Chaaaaaaaaaase! Come out, come out wherever you are!”
With all of her prodding, the pain had intensified, but she knew there was still one more thing to check: she had to inspect her back.
Chase inhaled deeply, and held her breath, before pulling away from the side of the hill. It was risky, but she had to know.
Just a glance…
A second later, Chase collapsed against the embankment, breathing heavily, eyes closed once more.
The bullet had gone completely through.
Something in the back of her mind, her police training perhaps, her time as first a Seattle PD Narcotics officer, then as an NYPD Detective, told her that this was a good thing. That if the bullet was still lodged inside her, it would continue to do damage until it was removed.
But this realization did nothing to soothe her pain.
Through or not, if she didn’t get help soon, Chase would bleed out. Then it wouldn’t matter if the bullet was lodged in her side, her chest, her heart, or her brain.
She tightened her grip on the gun clutched in her free hand.
“Agent Adams, I’m getting bored of this,” as if to reinforce the point, the lilt in his voice disappeared. “I’ll tell you what… new deal: you come out right now, and I won’t kill your husband and son.”
Chase’s eyes snapped open, and her mouth went slack.
No, he can’t—
As if reading her thoughts, the man continued, “Oh, that’s right. I know all about little Felix and Brad. You see, Chase, I’ve been at this a long time. A long, long time, and you don’t stick around in this game by not knowing everything… everything about my victims. About what you guys did to her.”
Chase closed her eyes again, only this time it wasn’t from the pain, but from a realization. She ground her teeth so hard that a fine powder rained down on her tongue.
A game… that’s all this is to him, a sick, twisted game of revenge. But for what? What the hell did we do?
“Last chance, Chase. Come out now, hands up, or Felix and Brad die before you do. Last… chance…”
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See you tomorrow!