One of a Kind…
Some stories never die. The second in my Classic Love series, One of a Kind, was inspired by Hollywood myths surrounding James Dean’s “death car”, The Little Bastard, a sexy 1955 Porsche Spyder.
Here’s a little teaser from One of a Kind, the second in my Classic Love Mystery-Suspense series, the sequel to Mint Condition
WARNING: This excerpt contains adult language.
An undulating, wah-whoom-whoom-woom brings him right out of his sleep in front of the TV.
The lights flicker and the screen blanks out.
The night he picks to call on an old friend in a fancy house, the power goes out. Doesn’t matter that he’s stretched full length on a kushy leather sofa, it is the first comfortable sleep he’s had since getting out of that frickin’ hell hole of a cell.
Did his host forget to pay his electric bill? The uninvited visitor listens. No sound from upstairs. He isn’t surprised. They’d drunk enough scotch this evening to float a battle ship. Fine scotch too. Best he’s ever had. But that’s his host. Always the best of everything.
He slips on his P-coat and goes outside. Lights twinkle in the distance,down near the Coast highway, but there is no way of telling if the outage has affected any neighbors. There are no neighbors within screaming distance.
He goes to his truck and fishes a flashlight out from under the driver’s seat. Are the batteries dead? He can’t remember when he last used it, but not recently at any rate. He thumbs the switch hopefully, and Hallelujah, a bright, narrow beam of light makes everything else disappear. He exhales, the hairs on the back of his neck raise. He whirls around. No one there. Okay. Okay. Nothing to be afraid of. His pupils dilate,adjusting to the night.
And then he hears it, a low moan. A cat, maybe, encountering a rival or fast, spiky fuck. No. It is bigger than that. Darker. Like an animal injured on the road. Or a human.
He shines the light down the curving drive and ventures a step. The moan grows pitiful, weaker. He eases forward, stopping just before the curve leading away from the mansion, then glances over his shoulder to see that the mansion lights are still off. The sight stops him in his tracks. At this angle, in the silver light of a half moon, the building squats like a pale, square face on the hill. With its red-tiled roof and gaping front portico bracketed by two twisting columns, it reminds him of that goddamn painting, The Scream.
The image rivets him to the spot. That face has haunted him since the first time he’d seen it in an art appreciation class in high school. What was that asshole’s name? Chomp? Munch. Old Munch saw inside your soul and painted your nightmare from the inside out, didn’t he? From that moment on, when he looked in the mirror, he saw that distorted face. And why not? His life had been a nightmare since his mother died. The beatings, the punishment, the starvation. His brother’s face dominating, accusing. Nights tied up in the basement without food. He swore he wouldn’t tell what he’d seen. And he never did. But every time he saw that painting it all rushed back. His mother lying in a pool of blood in the bathroom floor, little rivers of red outlining square white tiles. If he hadn’t done exactly what his brother had told him to do, he would probably have ended up the same way.
The moan again. Definitely coming from below. The pitiful sound drags him from his temporary stupor and he moves one foot, then then forces himself to take another step until his light shines on the crux of the problem.
At the bottom of the driveway. A sports car, run up into the light pole on the opposite side of the highway, the engine sputtering. His blood surges. Jesus. Goddamn! Despite the wreck, it is a sweetest ‘53 Corvette in the best shape he’d ever seen. A man–a kid, really–splayed over the hood in a smear of dark, lifts his head a half an inch. “Help…me.”
There isn’t much damage, really, considering the kid has thrown himself through the windshield. A bashed in bumper, and the blood, of course.
“Please,” comes the guy’s voice again. A young man, in a fancy coat and tie. His pallor says it all. He’s not long for this world. There is probably more blood on the hood of the car than in the poor devil’s body.
His fingers twitch around the flashlight shank, all his senses in overdrive. He can’t believe his good luck. He takes a step closer and listens.
No other cars on the road.
The power lines end right here, with only one line running up to the house. He shrugs.
Ignoring the young man’s weakening pleas, he opens the driver’s door and slides behind the wheel of his dream car. Always had been. Moving the man’s foot out of the way, he runs his hands over steering wheel.
“Can’t breathe,” the injured man wheezes, ending in a bubbling cough.
“Oh for Chrissakes.”
Taking a grip on the near lifeless feet, he slides the kid back through the window, cursing the rear view mirror on the dash when a blood soaked pocket snags there. He pulls the kid into the passenger seat with a moaning thud. The kid stares at him, eyes hollow and stricken like Munch’s painting, someone looking into the face of crazy.
Maybe he is, a little bit. “Rich bastards. You have no idea what it’s like to go without nothing most of your life.”
He shifts the car into neutral, tries the engine until it grumbles to life. He shifts into reverse, hears the gears comply.
“Fuck me.” A warm satisfaction courses through his blood, hitting all the empty places and filling him up. With one more glance into the gaping silence on the road, he backs the car slowly away from the pole, across the highway, and up into the seclusion of the estate’s curving drive.