By Jerry Gerold
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Benjamin Bracket, owner of pawn shop that specializes in vintage movie memorabilia has no idea his life is about to be turned upside down the day a mysteriously familiar woman walks through the door of his pawn shop wanting to sell a gun, or more precisely simply get rid of it.
The instantaneous attraction between Ben and Faith results in a whirlwind romance that has Ben's friend and employee Veronica concerned that her big-hearted boss is being played. Seeing a losing battle in attempting to caution her friend, she steps back and plays along while watching to see if this woman is truly what she appears to be, or the con-artist Veronica suspects.
Soon Ben begins to have puzzling dreams featuring silent film star Stanton Orloff, these dreams take him back to 1961, 1913, 16th century Timbuktu, and 1st century B.C. Egypt. Could these dreams be a result of his imagination after acquiring a rare collection of vintage films and movie memorabilia featuring the star or could they be dire warnings about what is to come , providing clues to follow when Faith suddenly disappears?
Stanton Orloff was pissed.
His suit jacket flapped violently in the wind as he stomped along the mountain road. He took his hand off his hat to hold his jacket down, and the wind whipped it off his head. He cursed.
The sun was going down, a few rays sneaking through the forest ceiling to periodically blind him. He had only another mile to go, but it was uphill on a winding narrow road. He didn’t care. He was running on pure adrenaline.
It started to rain. Hard.
When he reached the dirt road veering off to the right, he paused for a moment. He checked his shoulder holster one last time. The gun was still there, and it was loaded. He was going to use it this time. It was long overdue.
The rain pelted him now, soaking his clothing. He marched up the drive, the wind and rain having chilled him to the point of numbness. He couldn’t feel his legs or the gun in his hand.
He halted at the porch steps, gazed at the house. If things had been different, it could have been Stanton living here. The ’39 Cadillac in the drive could be his, too. Charles LaSalle didn’t deserve any of this. He should be dead, executed in the electric chair.
A lamp was on upstairs, and a flickering glow came from the downstairs living room. A fireplace, perhaps. Stanton decided LaSalle would be here, relaxing for the evening. A surge of anger overcame him, and he rushed through the unlocked front door.
“You murdering son of a bitch.”
LaSalle turned his head, his face obscured by the smoke of his cigar.
“Well, if it isn’t good ol’ Stanton Orloff. This is an unexpected surprise. What brings you here at this hour?”
Stanton shuffled closer; the gun suddenly heavy in his hand. He was conscious of all the grooves in the grip, the coolness of the trigger. He brought it up, pointed it in LaSalle’s direction.
“What brings me here?” he asked, his voice a little high-pitched. “Justice. Pure and simple justice.”
LaSalle blew a smoke ring and chuckled. “Oh, really? So that’s what cold-blooded murder is called nowadays? I wasn’t aware of that.”
“It’s my only option left. You know that.”
LaSalle eyed him coolly. “I served my time, Stanton. Alice’s death was an accident, but I couldn’t fight it. My attorney was incompetent.”
“I’m not here about Alice, but thank you for bringing her up. We both know it was no accident. She told me with her dying breath that you shoved her over.”
“Ah, the dying words of a fair maiden,” LaSalle said. “How many times did we use such a device in our work, Stanton? It’s a heart-touching moment. Too bad people don’t take into account that a dying word can also be a lie.”
“It’s her word against yours.”
“That’s what it boiled down to, yes. But since she couldn’t testify, there was no way to prove her intent.” LaSalle sighed. “I didn’t appeal and accepted my verdict.”
“Ten years,” Stanton spat. “You should have been executed.” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter now, because I’m going to kill you myself.”
“Well, my dear boy, if you feel you must, you must, but I have to warn you...”
“Warn me?” Stanton asked incredulously. “Warn me? I’m the one with the pistol pointed at your head. I warn you.”
“You may do that,” LaSalle said. “But it wouldn’t do you any good.”
Stanton saw belatedly that LaSalle had a gun in the shadows of his easy chair. He saw the barrel suddenly pointed at him, saw the burst of sparks as it was fired. He moved, and the bullet grazed his left arm. He returned fire, the bullet imbedding itself in LaSalle’s trachea. LaSalle fell sideways out of the chair, his pistol spinning across the hearth toward the fireplace.
Stanton stood over LaSalle, watched him claw at his neck while he struggled for air.
“I know you had Clara murdered, you fucking bastard. I saw the letters.”
About the Author
Jerry Gerold was born and raised in Oregon where he’s lived most of his life. He grew up near Mt. Saint Helens and lived through the 1980 eruption where he endured two years of falling ash. A voracious reader since grade school – reading Shogun and The Exorcist at age 11 – he began writing stories at an early age, often mixing genres and tossing in musical references and a little – very little – humor. He has been self-publishing novels and short stories since 2000.
Publisher’s Author Page: https://imzadipublishing.com/jerry-gerold/
Author’s Website: https://jerrygerold.com/
Author’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jerry.gerold
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