Short Story: Payback

So this isn’t perfect. It was one of my assignments in one of my classes. Went through about 4 revisions, and received much feedback, but I’d like to make it better. So please, offer me your thoughts. I do like the story, which is why I wanted to share.

Also, a note on my other books and WIPs. The second Vampire book is roughly 60% done for a rough draft (want to have it completed, revised, edited, and perfected by the end of August). I’m about the same (maybe a little further, like 65%) on the last Keepers of the Orbs Book (I want to release it by the end of the year). Also have a Sci-Fi WIP that is done, just needs revision and editing  before I release (hope to also have that out by the end of the year, although my priority is the next Vampire book, the final Keepers book, then this, and I will look to stagger the releases). I also have all 3 books from the Keepers series in the hands of an editor. It sounds like a lot, but with my Master’s program and my full-time job, I don’t have much time to write. I don’t go back to school until the middle of September, so I NEED to make the most of the next 3 months (and I will, now that my vacations are over with).

Also, the eBook version of The Vampire’s Curse: Life Eternal has been released on my publisher’s website. It should be live on Amazon and Kobo within the next couple days. If you were waiting for the eBook (as I know I would be since I RARELY read a physical book, unless we are talking about required reading for my Masters).   visit my Publisher’s Website

And like I said, Amazon and Kobo will have the eBook soon. Also, feel free to check out my other books. However, I would wait on the Keepers series until I say I have updated with the editor’s changes.

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Check out my website to learn more about my writing project. And be sure to follow my blog.

Enough talk, onto my short story: Payback.

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Normally the road is smooth. The county I live in takes pride in its city streets. However, tonight it seems I hit every single bump I can find. This wouldn’t be an issue on any other night, but tonight, I have the body of my nemesis in the trunk. It’s not like I killed the son of a bitch, yet his unconscious body beats and bangs against my trunk every time my car rolls over the smallest crack. Mason made my life a living hell ten years ago when we were in sixth grade. My parents moved us away, but I spent every year plotting my revenge. Now we’re graduates of college—although not the same college—and it’s time for him to pay.

***

Mason walked into the kitchen and something smelled good. “What are you cooking, Mom?” He kissed her cheek.

“Morning, Mason. I’m making steak and eggs for your father. Do want some too? The pans are already dirty.”

“If it’s not too much trouble, I’d love some.” Mason grabbed a cup of coffee and sat at the table.

“My word you got in late last night. What did you end up doing?”

“Went to the Beach Comber with Eddie and Todd.”

She shook her head. “It’s your last summer vacation. Shouldn’t you be doing something to get ready for the rest of your life? A job? An internship? You should be doing something other than drinking with your buddies. And you need to be careful when you come home. You let the door slam shut and startled your father and I. It sounded like someone was breaking into the house.”

Mason laughed. “Sorry, Mom. But I’ll be working for the rest of my life. I want to enjoy my last summer before I become a slave of a corporation.”

“But you have to know many other people in your position are working this summer. I spoke to Donna, and her son has an internship at a radio station. They’re all getting a leg up on you. It’s going to be difficult to get a job after school when you have nothing to put on your resume.”

“I’ll be fine, Mom. The market is really good right now. I shouldn’t have any problems.”

“Why do you always have a laissez-faire attitude about life? Your father and I just want what’s best for you. You’re a good kid with a lot of potential.”

“I know you do, but I just want to relax. I’ll find a job when the time is right. And if all else fails, Dad already said he can get me a job at the insurance company. He said they’re always hiring. I probably won’t love it, but at least it’ll be a start. So let me enjoy my summer.”

She placed a plate in front of him. It smelled delicious. “You won’t love it. Your dad has hated it for the last thirty years. I just want you to be happy and I worry about you doing something you hate. But you’re a big boy, and if this is what you want to do, by all means.”

“Thanks, Mom.” Just then his dad walked in.

“You going to do something productive today?” he asked. “And I don’t hate my job. I just don’t love it.” He laughed.

“I’ll probably clean my car and tidy up my room.”

“I’m glad you’re at least doing something,” Mason said. “But maybe you should take a break from drinking tonight. You can’t party every night of the week.”

His mom nodded.

“I’ll be fine. Like I told Mom, let me enjoy my summer.”

“I just don’t understand the appeal. If you were bowling or something, I’d get it,” she said. “Have you considered mini-golf? That new place opened up off Main and I’m sure you boys would enjoy it.”

“What’s not to get? Drinks, music, dancing, and girls. It doesn’t get any better than that. Bowling is for high schoolers, and don’t get me started on mini-golf.”

“That’s it? Why don’t you go to a movie?” she asked.

“There are no new movies I haven’t already seen. Besides, there are exciting moments in a bar that you just don’t get anywhere else.”

“Like what?” they both asked.

He took a bite of eggs before responding. “Well, I was out there on the floor dancing with this gorgeous brunette. I happen to notice this GQ douchebag who must’ve taken a whole bottle of steroids to get as swole as this bastard was. Anyway, he kept giving me the eye while I’m dancing. I asked the girl if she knew who he was. Said she didn’t recognize him. So the night continues, and both Todd and Eddie see him too. He’s staring at me like he hates me. So I get a few drinks in and decided to ask him what his freaking problem was. I got my boys and we walked right up to him. He just stared at me with no response, but I saw him tightening his fist. He’s about to throw down and I knew I needed to act first. I pulled back my arm, but he turned and left. I don’t know what his problem was, but if I ever see him again, I think we’re going to have a problem.”

“That’s terrible, Mason. Why would you do that?” his mom asked.

“You need to grow up,” his dad said before he left the table and kissed his mom goodbye.

“What? You’ve never been in an altercation before?”

Mason’s dad turned and said, “No… I haven’t. And I wouldn’t be so proud if I were you.”

He disappeared into the garage and his mom leaned in closer. “This is exactly what I was talking about.”

“I’m sure I’ll never see the guy again.”

“If you do, just be careful. There are crazy people out there and don’t forget where you live. It’s not Texas, but Colorado has some loose laws, and anyone can have a gun on them at any time.”

***

I turn down a dark street and approach the warehouse. My parents own this lumber yard in Colorado Springs, and fortunately, I have a key. No one will suspect anything because their business focuses on construction companies and they don’t open on weekends. This being a Friday, I know I’m in the clear. I kill the engine and quickly walk to the door, propping it open with a brick, before heading to the trunk.

With the key in hand, I reach for the lid, but pause for a moment, taking a deep breath. Mason has always been a quick thinker. I’m not saying he’s intelligent or anything, but he is quick to make a decision—good or bad—and will likely act on it. If he does that now, he’ll come out swinging, or some other stupid shit. I need to give the trunk a wide berth.

I stand off to the side and put my key in the lock, turning it ever so slightly, before the lid pops open. As I suspected, he lunges out of the trunk, probably expecting to knock me off balance. All he manages is a face-first tumble onto the ground. I want to laugh so bad, but again, stifle it and do my best to keep a straight face.

I pick him up and guide him up the four metal stairs leading to the warehouse. I can’t keep the smile off my face. Now the fun can finally begin.

***

“This place is jumping tonight, Mason.” Nick said.

The music was loud and he could feel the bass thumping in his gut. Just the way he liked it. Bright lights danced around the room. The air was ripe with sweat and spilled booze. A wave of euphoria flooded his body. This was his stomping grounds. This was his life. He tapped Eddie on the arm and headed for the bar to grab a drink and surveyed the scene. Todd was busy with his girl, so they brought another buddy, Nick, in his place. The ladies were out in full force and he targeted several for a conversation and dance later. All he had to do was show them his dimples and they became putty in his hand. Of course, it’s easy when you’re the star high-school quarterback. Yes, this was the life. But he was torn out of it when Eddie tapped his shoulder and spun around.

Eddie pointed across the bar. “Do you see that son of a bitch?”

He nodded.

Nick looked confused. “Who’s he?”

“Remember that douchebag we were telling you about?” Eddie asked. “That’s him.”

“We going to mess him up?” Nick asked.

He remembered his mom’s words from earlier. Maybe he was being childish. “No, it’s cool. Maybe he has a beef, but I’m not going to worry about it right now.” He turned around and watched the ladies dancing and tried to figure out who to watch first.

“Well he’s headed this way,” Eddie said.

Mason spun back around and sure enough, he was walking directly toward them with anger in his eyes. This was one cold bastard. “Be ready for anything,” Mason said.

He walked over with three beers in his hand. In a deep voice, he said, “I just wanted to apologize for staring at you last night. You reminded me of someone, but I don’t think it’s you.”

“I thought you really had a problem with me.”

“That’s why I’m here tonight. I wanted to apologize and make it up to you by buying you and your friends a round of beer.” He handed over the three bottles and we accepted. “No hard feelings?” he asked.

Something in his smile told Mason he wasn’t being serious, but he wasn’t one to turn down a free beer.

“Thanks, I really appreciate it. We won’t have any hard feelings so long as you don’t,” Mason said.

“No. We’re good.” He looked around the room. “I’m going to get out of your way. I hope you gentlemen enjoy your evening.”

“Thanks. And thanks for the beer.”

“That could’ve been ugly,” Nick said.

“Yeah. The way he looked at you the whole time he was walking over here. I thought he was just going to lay you out,” Eddie said.

Mason smiled. “Crisis averted. Shall we?” he asked and slammed both beers.

They walked out onto the dance floor. The song was lit and he started moving along with it. A couple of girls huddled together. They made their way over and asked the ladies to dance. The six of them grooved their way through the first song. The second just started up when a wave of nausea made its way through Mason’s body. Sweat ran in rivers down his forehead and his vision blurred. His legs felt rubbery and he wobbled. They gave out on and he collapsed on the floor. The last thing he remembered, his vision went black.

***

The warehouse is dark and I know he’s conscious. The time is finally at hand. People don’t understand what bullying does to a person. It gets into your head—into your very psyche—it messes a person up for life. Countless years of therapy, and for what? I’m still in the same place mentally as I was at twelve years-old. It doesn’t matter. Mrs. Tongren gave me good advice. I didn’t listen and instead worked out. I muscled up for this moment. Mason is a douchebag and made my life a living hell. Now is the time for him to atone for his actions.

Each of my footfalls echoes in the vast expanse of the warehouse. A can’t hide my glee. I hope he’s crapping his pants right now. It’s all very mysterious, which is how I envisioned this moment. When I brought him in, I tied him to a chair and left him in the loading dock. I didn’t want him to recognize where he was. I want him in a state of confusion, unable to recognize anything, and this setting is as vague as can be. I step closer and come just into the light. I hope my face is reminiscent of a friend sitting around a campfire telling ghost stories.

“Why are you doing this to me? I thought you said we were good. I don’t understand.” He’s crying and spittle runs down his chin.

Wetness covers the front of his pants and I smile. “Oh, we were good for a moment. I needed an opportunity to drug you.”

“You drugged me?” he asks.

“And your friends.” I can’t hide the smile as it creeps across my face.

Mason looks around for his friends. “Where are they?”

“Probably still at the club trying to figure out what happened and where the hell you went.”

“I don’t get it. Why me?”

“Look at my face.” I step further into the light.

“Should I know you/”

“You should, but you don’t remember me, do you?” I ask.

He stares at me for a moment. “No. Who the fuck are you?”

“Oh, you made my life a living hell in elementary school.”

“Elementary school?” He tries to figure out who I am while tears continue their trek down his face. “You’ll have to tell me more.”

“You broke my glasses, shoved my head in a toilet, snapped my suspenders, knocked me on the ground, and kicked dirt in my face. This happened weekly. I had black eyes. One time you even broke my arm. You made my life a living hell.”

“Adam?”

“No, it’s Shawn, you dick.”

It takes a moment, but I see clarity in his eyes.

“You were the one who left after elementary school and never came back.”

“Yeah. My parents were afraid for my life, so they pulled me out and we moved away. I spent all those years making sure no one would ever do that to me again. I changed my diet and hit the gym, vowing to one day come back and make you pay.”

“Look, Shawn, I’m sorry for everything I’ve done. We were just kids. I know I made it rough on you, but you were a skinny little twerp and had it all coming.”

I punch him. Not hard, but enough to get his attention. He barely remembers who I am. How can he be sorry?

“Look, you were a twerp. Guys like me are supposed to treat you like I did. It’s a rite of passage.

“A rite of passage?” I laugh. “Who’s the twerp now?” My voice rises in anger.

It takes a moment, but he finally responds. “I’m sorry for everything I did to you. I’m sorry for my word selection a minute ago. I’m sorry for everything. Is there something I can do to make it up to you?”

“No! You made me suffer and I’ll do the same to you.”

I walk over to a table and grab mini sledgehammer. I bounce it off my hands for a moment while he pleads for his life. It feels heavy, like it knows what it’s about to do.

“Look we can work this out. I’ll do anything,” he says, squirming in his seat. He yanks his hands, trying to break the plastic ties, but all he manages is cuts to his wrists.

“I’ve waited for this for ten years. All my plotting—I’ve watched you for over a year, even followed you at college. But you never noticed. You’re too into yourself for that. You haven’t changed one bit. But it’s fine. I’ve waited for the right time to get my revenge.” I hate this guy, and while violence is never the answer, this guy will never understand. People like him need to be rid from this Earth.

“I’ll do anything. Please!” he says while sobbing.

“You won’t do anything.” I bring the sledgehammer over my head. “Payback’s a bitch.”

I bring the hammer down and it crashes into his head.

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Book Review: The Hungry House

The Hungry House by Elizabeth Amelia Barrington is in a genre that I wouldn’t normally read. I am so glad I overlooked my normal barriers and sat down to read this fabulous tale. It has taught me a lesson that sometimes it is okay to travel outside your personal box by trying something new.

The primary characters are well developed, and the plot line was intriguing. I did find a few of the plot points to be predictable, but it wasn’t enough to detract from the overall story. The setting was well established by the supporting facts and intricate details related to Portland, which helped to set the scene and create a visual in my head.

The main character, Vicky Howell, was developed in a manner in which I could relate. She faced numerous struggles that began with the prologue, and continuing through to the end of the book. I found myself sympathizing with her situation, and pulling for her in the end. I think the reason I could relate so well was because I have had friends who have faced similar hardships. I have seen similar transformations as they struggle to deal with the losses, and it is painful to witness. I think this was what made her such a realistic character.

My favorite character in the book was the antagonist, Frank. He wasn’t my favorite because I could relate to him, or that I was pulling for him. Rather, he was my favorite because I truly despised him. I think Elizabeth did a wonderful job creating a true villain. The second we are introduced to Frank, and his lascivious nature, I developed a deep hatred for this man and I wanted to see him punished for his crimes.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. Don’t let the 4 fool you. I would recommend this book to anyone. I am interested to see what else Elizabeth will have in store for us in future books

Book Review: The Ninth Orphan

The Ninth Orphan by Lance and James Morcan is a book that drew me in instantly.  From the introduction of the orphans as children, to the nail biting, how will it all end, ending, I was engrossed in this story.

The book begins with the twenty-three young orphans hiking through the woods with a single adult.  The young orphan number nine is called upon to shoot a deer the group stumbles upon.  He is handed the rifle and is tasked with ending the creature’s misery, but there is a problem.  He is unable to take the lethal shot as he empathizes with the pain the creature is feeling.

The story then jumps several years into the future and focuses on a now grown orphan number nine.  This is a story that has it all.  The pages fly by as the reader is submersed in a suspense filled story, with plenty of action and many surprises.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a quick read that will not disappoint.  This is the perfect introductory story in a trilogy, and I will soon be buying the other two.  I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars.  Well done, James and Lance.  Well done.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ninth-Orphan-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0056I4FKC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398831020&sr=8-1&keywords=the+ninth+orphan