Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cache a Predator by Michelle Weidenbenner: Excerpt




 

Cache a Predator

by, M. Weidenbenner

Officer Brett Reed will do anything to gain custody of his five-year-old daughter, Quinn. But when the man-hating judge grants Brett’s drug-addicted ex-wife custody and slaps him with a protective order for losing his temper, he fears for Quinn’s safety. Who will protect her now?

When Quinn is found abandoned on the streets, Brett’s worse nightmares turn toward a dark path. His daughter is placed in a temporary foster home until Child Protective Services can complete an assessment. It should only take a few days.

But a lot can happen in a few days.

Especially when there’s a deranged psychopath on the loose, someone who’s attacking pedophiles, someone who wants to protect children like Quinn, and someone who’s planting body parts in geocaching sites.

Cache a Predator is a novel about a father’s love, justice, and the unhinged game of hide-the-cache.









 

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.” Herbert Ward 

An Excerpt from CACHE a PREDATOR, by M. Weidenbenner

 My heart beat fast like the train rolling on the tracks in the distance. It was just before midnight. I climbed into my truck and headed for Sheridan Street across town, past the sign “Welcome to Hursey Lake, Indiana.” After parking, I entered the graveyard exactly where I’d planned. Streetlights threw shadows onto the tombstones.

Hurry and get it done. Then you can play hide-the-cache.

My heart jumped like a ball in a gaming machine. It was the storm.

I kept my head down and hitched over the short iron fence, summer’s humidity following me in rivulets of perspiration down my back. The sky’s moon hid behind thick clouds, making it dark, but I’d memorized the map.

My feet shuffled in rhythm on the pavement, past the markers for Sarah Jane Miller, Jerome Streeter, Mabel Hudson, and so many others. I counted their stones as I passed them. There were 989 dead people present.

A dim light illuminated the mausoleum at the east end of the park, guiding me, like a spotlight on a stage. I moved toward the light.

Large tombstone shadows hovered over the smaller ones. Some stones were made of marble, but others were smaller, chipped, and decorated with flowers that had faded from the sun. The way they were lined in rows, with husbands and wives side by side and children lying near their parents, made it look like a village, like shadows of square people hiding and watching without emotion. Like me.

They were my audience. They wouldn’t make me look them in the eye.

Overgrown red petunias crept over the edges of the sidewalk, and the smell of cut grass lingered in the air.

The windowed door to the mausoleum was locked. I dropped my shoulder and slid the bag off my back. After unzipping it, I reached in for the picklock. It dangled from its circular key chain, clinking as metal brushed against metal. I picked at the lock. The first one was too big. My breathing quickened. I could feel the blood pumping in my neck.

I tried the next. And the next. Finally, the fourth one fit.

Open, open. I twisted and turned the lock.

Score. Dr. Spear had taught me that word.

I slipped inside. My adrenaline raced. The body was so close. After closing the door, I clicked on my headband flashlight. Shadows danced across the tile floor and the granite-faced crypts as I moved my head from side to side.

The shadows make me pause and rock back and forth, remembering that night. I was eight and hiding in the toolshed. It had been dark. The dirt floor smelled like cat pee. He was after me. My legs ached from being cramped for so long. He waved a flashlight across the floor behind old boards and tools. The light stopped on my foot.

“I see you! Get the hell out of there, or I’m coming in after you, you chicken shit.”

Stop rocking! Take deep breaths like Doc Spear showed you. Concentrate on the job you have right now. That was another time. You’re in control now.

Yes, I was in control. I quit rocking.

The room was clean and smelled of floor wax. Square-faced crypts lined two walls. The one in the center, two drawers from the top, was the one I needed. It was him.

After setting the backpack on the floor, I hurried to the closet at the far end of the room and wheeled out the hydraulic lift. Its wheels squeaked and rattled across the floor like they had when they’d put him in.

Kneeling in front of the crypt, I dug through my backpack until I found the rolled towel. Inside was the rosette key, the #22 retractable scalpel, a plastic bag for the body part, and the casket key. I reached for the rosette key first and poked the tool into the holes of the granite face until they clicked. One by one, I unlocked all four bolts and placed the supplies on the towel in front of the crypt.

Gripping the edges of the granite, I pulled the heavy stone out, sweat beads creeping down my temples. After maneuvering the block onto the towel, I slid it across the floor and out of the way.
As I positioned the lift, I rehearsed my steps:  slice and save. No
 
need to tourniquet this one, no vascular pressure. The movie played
 
in my head over and over again. Fast forward, Rewind. Slice and
 
save.







Michelle is a fulltime employee of God’s kingdom, writing and encouraging writers every day. She’s often a sucker for emotional stories, her sensitive side fueling the passion for her character’s plights, often giving her the ability to show readers the “other” side of the story.
She grew up in the burbs of Detroit with five brothers. No sisters. Each time her mom brought the boy bundle home from the hospital Michelle cried, certain her mom liked boys better than girls. But when her brothers pitched in with the cooking, cleaning, and babysitting—without drama, Michelle discovered having brothers wasn’t so bad. They even taught her how to take direct criticism without flinching, which might come in handy with book reviews.

Michelle is living her dream—writing every day and thanking God for the stories He puts in her path. When Michelle isn’t writing she’s winning ugly on the tennis court. She’s known as “Queen of the Rim Shots.” No joke. It’s ugly.

Follow Michelle: FaceBook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

 




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