“It’s a mess, Ellie,” Robertson’s voice cracked staccato over the radio. “One buggy, maybe more. Can’t tell yet. A semi jackknifed. Cab upside down in the ditch. The trailer has taken out at least one car and it’s burning now,” followed by, “For crying out loud, Ellie, where are my squads?”
“On their way,” Ellie said, managing to sound calm.
“Schrauzer’s unit is up there right in the middle of the whole thing,” Robertson shouted into the microphone. “Can’t see him anywhere. Going closer, Ellie. Get those fire trucks down here NOW!”
The mic clicked off for a bit and then Robertson called in again, more subdued. “Get the coroner, too, Ellie.”
Branden pulled his buggy up sharply, set the hand brake, scrambled down onto the driveway, and took the radio off the buggy seat. He paced in a circle on the drive as he made his call. “This is Mike Branden. Over.”
Excerpt from Clouds Without Rain by P.L. Gaus. Published by arrangement with Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright (c) P.L. Gaus, 2001
As he drank down the second one slowly, Sands began to relax, and his mind wandered from present needs to former pleasures. Someday they’d find that trucker, but he didn’t care. The girl in the pickup truck had been easy. They might find her truck, but they’d never find her. A satisfied smile crossed his face. He had a boyish look sitting there, but his jaw was set hard, and his eyes were narrowed to slits as he drank alone and thought.
How many houses had he broken into? A dozen, maybe? Child’s play, picking out the easy ones. Then there was the rush, the surge of power as he prowled through a darkened house, sometimes finding the owners at home, sometimes waiting in the dark until they returned.
For several quiet minutes at the bar, Sands held his memories closely, and then a burst of laughter from one of the booths behind him snapped him back into the room, and his mind returned to the question of banks.
Excerpt from Broken English by P.L. Gaus. Published by arrangement with Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright (c) P.L. Gaus, 2000
He snapped the black whip playfully overhead and grinned, mindful that his Grandfather’s were the very finest of all the Belgians in Holmes County. That was good, not prideful, he thought. Not prideful to admire a good horse. After all, God had made them Himself. And hadn’t Grandfather promised that his time would soon come to work a whip behind them? To learn to plow. To run a harrow. To handle a team of Belgians! A boy should not go to school forever, Grossdaddy had said. Why should a boy be smarter than a father? As he played with the whip, the unexpected aroma of tobacco drifted Jeremiah’s way. Startled, he remembered the skittish cat and the weird headlights earlier on the lane. He stood tip-toe on the stepstool, took down the glowing lantern, held it high overhead, hesitated a fateful moment, and moved apprehensively toward the far end of the barn.
Excerpt from Blood of the Prodigal by P.L. Gaus. Published by arrangement with Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright (c) P.L. Gaus, 1999
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