Top Ten Things Not to do In The Rain


A special “top ten things not to do” list for my friends in California, courtesy of John Howell. Hopefully the rains haven’t washed away your sense of humor :)

Originally posted on Fiction Favorites:

a rain

This week’s list was prompted by the huge amount of rainfall that came down in California. I used to live in Sonoma and remember what it was like when the five and six-inch rainfalls hit. Most people are not aware that most of California is a desert and the people living there rely on the winter rainfalls to refill the reservoirs for use in the summer. It has been tough for the last few years since rainfall amounts were not up to levels that could sustain consumption through the summer. The latest round of rain has not eliminated the problem since fast accumulation generally means runoff as opposed to conservation. Our thoughts are with those in California and maybe a chuckle will help a little.

Top Ten Things Not to do in the Rain

10 If you are in the rain driving your car, do not engage cruise control. If…

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Poetry for Lovers

A Poetic Proposal

‘A Poetic Proposal’ by debut author Julian Froment is a journey of love. Dedicated to that one special woman.

This is a collection of poems that plumb the very depths of that deepest of emotions, LOVE. Running counter to this is the on-going theme of angst and heartbreak that is present when two beings that are destined to be one are separated by distance, and in this case a rather large, wet ocean.

This collection progresses chronologically from initial meeting to final proposal of marriage, taking the reader on an emotional roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. The reality of the author and his intended living half-lives, together, then apart, together, then apart, is clearly evident throughout the course of this collection.

On Gossamer Wings

On gossamer wings,
On gossamer wings,
My heart it flies to you.
To be together,
‘till the end of days,
Is all that’s left to do.

Flying high,
‘cross the ocean blue,
To where it now belongs.
Cradled within,
A soul so true,
Amidst angelic song.

And soon now,
Oh, so very soon,
The body shall be along.
To join the heart,
To fill the void,
Back where I belong.

‘A Poetic Proposal’, which is available in both digital and paperback formats, can be obtained here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US


Follow the author:

Julian Froment’s Blog


Review Highlights from Amazon

‘Reading this collection of poems made me feel like I was eavesdropping on the world’s most romantic marriage proposal’ … ‘If you are looking for love poems to share with your own lover, these are just the poems’ … ‘After reading this collection, I was ready to say ‘I do’ myself’ – Pamela Beckford

’The poems in this book are very romantic, emotional, well-written, and thought out well’ … ‘This is romantic poetry at its best’ – Chris McMullen

‘The poet freely admits that this is about his love life and dedicated to his lady, so you know you’re getting an insight into something private. That brings an interesting dimension to the poems because you know there’s a living, breathing story behind them’ – Charles E Yallowitz

LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE: CURSE OF THE DARK WIND IS LIVE!!! #fantasy #Kindle #epicfantasy #magic #dragons


Just in time for the gift-giving season!

Originally posted on Legends of Windemere:

Dive into the newest adventure of Luke Callindor, Nyx, Fizzle, & all their friends.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

What’s the Story?

After their battles in Gaia and surviving the Island of Pallice, the champions of Windemere are off on their next adventure.

In his quest to be a hero and help others, Luke Callindor has jumped into danger countless times and would do so again without hesitation. So when he is infected by the toxic Dark Wind, it is up to his friends to find a cure and keep his courage alive. With time running out and their enemies in the shadows, one ally will make the decision to share in Luke’s suffering and forge a bond that runs thicker than blood. Such a sacrifice might not be enough when the truth behind this living curse comes to…

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A Different Kind of Book Review: Changelings: Into the Mist by Katie Sullivan

Hello, Dear Reader.  I am raising myself from the near-dead to offer you another in my unplanned series of “a different kind of book review.”  And this book  is so worth me rallying myself to the computer.  I hope you enjoy the review.  Even more so, I hope you buy this book!



Misty closed the book, brushed her hand across the green patterned cover, and then reopened it to a dog-eared page.  Her fingers traced the words while she read them quietly to herself:  “Real life was out there, away from the nuns and their rules, and away from the tiny village below, where nothing ever changed.”  Misty would argue that she had spent her whole young life believing “real life” was “out there,” outside the small impoverished coastal town she grew up in, outside the prison that had been her home for two years.  Nothing ever changed in Oyster Point, and nothing ever changed in prison.  And because of that, this book–Changelings: Into the Mist–had been a godsent for her.

The novel was given as a gift by the prison librarian, Lorene.  Misty closed the book and  hugged it to her chest.  This novel of changelings, Fae, and magic, time travel and Irish lore might have saved her life, at least her sanity while she was looking down twenty years in prison.  And almost like magic, she had been pulled through to another world.

She looked over at the twin bed next to hers.  She thought it was funny that Sarah had chosen to share Misty’s room rather than stay with Michael in his.  She was glad for it, though.  She didn’t want to be alone.  Not yet.  Sarah, she thought, was something like the characters in this novel.  Sean and Maureen, although they were teenagers, 15, 16 years old, and Sarah was a lot older than that, Misty knew.  Maybe 26?  Sarah was headstrong like Maureen.  She took risks.

But when they first met, she seemed very quiet and clear-headed.  She didn’t seem like someone who would body slam men twice her size.  She could imagine Maureen doing that with Sean cringing in the corner.  Misty laughed and started leafing through the book.   After a few minutes, Sarah came out of the bathroom.  A light odor of patchouli followed her out as she padded over to the empty bed and sat down.

“Did you finish the novel?”  Sarah idly towel-dried her long curly red hair.  For a moment, Misty imagined a band of shimmering flowers encircling her head.

Misty nodded.  “Do you like to read?”  She felt hesitant.  Other than Lorene and Michael, she had never really talked about books to anyone.  Most people thought she was too stupid because she hadn’t finished high school.

“I love to read.  So, tell me, what’s this about?”  Sarah leaned over for a closer look at the cover.  “I love that cover.”

“Well, it’s about two teenagers–Sean and Maureen–and how they get pulled back through time because they’re what you call changelings.  And there’s Dub–.”  Misty laughed to cover her embarrassment.  “I don’t know if I’m saying his name right, so I think of him as D.  He’s a Druid, but he’s a mortal man.  That’s what he keeps saying although I can’t think of any mortal man who can do the things he does.”

Sarah wrapped the towel around her head and propped herself up against the pillows.  Better make myself comfortable, she thought.  Misty’s gearing up.

“Anyway, I can’t say I totally understand.  I mean, so much happens.  Well, first off, Maureen and Sean are orphans and even though they’re treated okay by the nuns, it’s a boring life.  Oh, it starts in 1958.  Well, they wind up falling through time, all the way to 16th century.  They wind up working with pirates, while they’re also trying to figure out a way to get back to their own time.  Then D shows up and he tries to help them, but something goes wrong and instead of going all the way back to their original time, they get stuck in 1916.  There’s something called The Rising that supposed to happen and they get involved with that.  But most of that is Maureen’s doing.  Sean tries to stop her from getting involved because, you know, she could change history, but she won’t listen to him.  I didn’t understand why at first but later, when they try again to get home and they wind up among the Fae–“

Sarah put up her hand.  It was taking every ounce of her strength to keep from laughing as Misty froze in mid-sentence.  She had only known Misty for a short while, but the difference between the meek young girl at the prison and the spirited teenager before her this moment was breathtaking.

“I take it that you enjoy this novel?”

“Oh, yes!  Five thumbs up!”  Misty laughed.  She knew that she could be a motor-mouth once she felt free to talk, once she felt someone was really listening.  “It’s so much fun, but scary too in some parts.  There’s three parts to the novel, actually, but it’s all about Ireland.  The pirates, the rebellion, the Fae.  It’s all Ireland.  Kind of makes me want to go there, you know?  The third part is one the one that really scared me at times, you know, because it’s about the fairies and magic and a very evil king.  D again tries to help but he needs help himself.  And the king is so evil that his own daughter is against him, and she works with D to try and save Maureen and Sean.  And what’s really cool is the author includes a bunch of stuff at the back, like a list of the characters, how to pronounce some of the words, and she even tells you what is true and what she made up.”

Misty held up the book as if appraising it.  “You know, if textbooks were written like this, I might have done better in school.”

“Does it end happily?”  Sarah thought this was an innocent question and so was perplexed when Misty hesitated.

“Well … .  Yes and no.  It doesn’t really end.  I mean, you could say it ends if you just want to read the one novel, but this is part of a series.  And I’m glad for that because I want to read more about Maureen and Sean and especially D.”  Misty paused for a moment and a slight flush colored her cheeks.  “D kind of remains me of Michael.  I know he blames himself for what happened to me.  D is responsible for Maureen and Sean.  And like D tries to save them, Michael risked his own life to try and save mine.”

Without a word, Sarah went over to Misty and the two women wrapped their arms around each other.  Sarah could feel a slight shudder as Misty gave way to tears that had been building up for too long.


And now, Dear Reader, make your way over to any of the vendors/websites listed below to get your copy of Changelings:  Into the Mist.  Actually, you will want to get two copies:  one for yourself, of course, and one for a young reader.  The novel is listed as appropriate for grade levels 4 through 12, but, trust me, you don’t have to a youngster to enjoy the ride Changelings will take you on.


Barnes & Noble


And be sure to follow Katie Sullivan at any of your favorite social media outlets:

The D/A Dialogues (where D, the Druid of Changelings, and A, author Katie Sullivan, provide witty entertainment)

Katie Sullivan (her own website, one she doesn’t have to share with D who can be incorrigible at times)







The Long Lost Weekend

Since Thursday I’ve been battling a cold … or something.  Not sure what I’ve got, and battling probably isn’t the right word since I spend the majority of my time reclined.  I throw my army of aspirin, cough suppressant, and Benadryl down my throat, chased by a liter of orange juice or Gatorade, and hope for the best while the rest of me dozes, coughs, and sniffles.

Usually I don’t let a silly old cold get me down, but this one has come along with a fever.  Although the fever has gone down, it’s tenaciously hanging around.  Before anyone starts shipping chicken soup to me, I will seek medical advice on Monday if matters remain the same.  Weakness is my current nemesis and just typing this brief post makes me want to curl up on my bed with my five odd pillows cushioning my aching body.

I made a pathetic effort at virtual socializing, and decided it’s best to just let you all know:

I. Am. Sick.

And for that reason, too, comments are closed.  Here’s a gratuitous kitty movie to take the edge off my otherwise sour mood.  This is an oldie but goodie.  My cat Mikey (RIP) rolling around on pebbles warmed by the sun, one of his few pleasure near the end of his life.


Author’s Note: Post-Clemency

This has been an interesting experiment. I’ve posted poems and short fiction and “formal” essays before on my blog, but never a whole novel. Well, I still haven’t done that.

You see, my plan originally was to just post a couple of the early chapters and then throw myself into NaNoWriMo. Then I got the feeling that it wouldn’t go over well with some readers if I stopped at Chapter 3. So I challenged myself to keep posting. But I didn’t want it to go on for months. NaNoWriMo officially ended on November 30, and I wanted Clemency to finish up about the same time.

So I went ahead and posted every day, but not everything. I’ve left a lot of stuff out. So, no surprise if the pace is erratic, the character development inconsistent, the ending lame.

(Really? “Sara smiled” is how I end this novel? Cue Hall & Oates.)

As a reader, I’d be wondering why Misty didn’t get more attention, why not more of Melody who was pivotal to Misty’s case? But they do, Dear Reader, just not in the parts I decided to post. I had to leave things out in order to keep to a schedule and to not overwhelm you all with tortuously long posts. As it was, some of those posts did get kind of long. But I also got desperate. I didn’t want this to fall over into December, at least not by much.

So. I think I managed to pull this off without too much angst from my dear readers. And how dear you are. A few of you left comments now and then that were like mini-pep talks for me. They did help keep me going.

Others of you let me know you were reading but not commenting, and I appreciated that too. Some days the best I could muster was to “Like” someone’s comment and just move on. I could tell from my stats whether Clemency was being read, and I know some of you read a few posts at a time.

And others let me know you couldn’t keep up with daily posts.  And that was fine, too.  This wasn’t a test of reader loyalty.  This was a test of my own conviction.

You see, in the past, whenever I got any encouragement, I’d run the other way. Other people (i.e., normal people) embrace encouragement, grab it and hold it up as proof that they should continue writing because So-and-So said they should. I don’t know why I would run the other way. But, now at 57, I wonder if I knew I really wasn’t ready, at least not back then.

So now I’m feeling that I’m ready BUT I won’t be in a hurry. I can’t get back the last 20-30 years of self-doubt and plodding along, but that’s no reason to rush into something and make an ass of myself.

First, I’m giving myself a month off.  Clemency will stay up for December, and then all those posts will come down.

I’m not giving up my day job or yoga or watching TV with my husband and the cats after dinner.  Revising and editing will be, as they say in these parts, as slow as molasses in January …

Boston_post-January_16,_1919,Unless you live in Boston.

Many thanks to all of you who have hung in there with me, whether you were reading or not.

And tomorrow I will return to my regular irregular schedule …

On the trail at Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore Park, California July 2012

Because mentally I’m still here.


Clemency, A Novel in Progress: Final Chapter

The following novel in progress is based on a real crime, but is largely a work of fiction.  I started this novel in 2008 and stopped after just a few chapters.  I will post those chapters here, and (hopefully) finish the remainder of the novel during NaNoWriMo.

Chapter 23 is here.


Unfortunately for Sarah, she lost her balance and tumbled after Cooley, landing practically in his lap at the bottom of the stairs. And Cooley still had the presence of mind to take advantage of her clumsiness. He was stunned for a moment, and hurting all over, but he managed to hook his arm around Sarah’s neck. With his other hand, he found his gun and brought it up to Sarah’s face. He wanted her to see that he wasn’t some old fool.

“Michael! Michael, I know you’re here. Did you kill Billy, Michael?”

A dark figure rose up on the other side of the bannister. Cooley and Sarah had fallen into the corner between Lucas’s office and the front door. That could be good, Cooley thought. Michael’s jeep was just outside.

“Billy’s not dead.” The dark figure didn’t move. Cooley couldn’t see his hands, see whether he had a gun or a knife or nothing.

“Well, where is he then?”

“Sleeping off a bad dream. He’s not dead, but he won’t be bothering us either. Now, let Sarah go, Cooley.”

The dark figure just stood there, like some statute. It was disconcerting how still Michael could be. Even as a child, he had had this strange way of becoming so still, you’d think he was in a trance or even dead if his eyes were closed. Cooley used to beat on him just to get the young boy to react, show some emotion. But the more he beat him, the more inward Michael went. It totally creeped Cooley out. He tried to not let Sarah get wind of his uneasiness. He knew his arm felt strong and if he squeezed a bit more, he could kill her. It would be a slow death, but Cooley would be willing to attempt it if it meant saving his own miserable life. Of course, he could shoot her and that’s what he wanted Michael to see, but he really didn’t want Sarah’s brains all over him.

“No, she stays with me. You let me and Sarah go. You give me the keys to your vehicle out there. You want to save her life? Then you let her go with me.”

Michael stepped forward into the square of light coming through the front door window. Cooley pressed the gun against Sarah’s forehead. She whimpered, which was all she could do with Cooley’s arm like a vise around her neck.

“Stop there, Michael. Now, I’m going to get up. You keep your distance, and Sarah won’t get hurt.” Cooley wasn’t quite sure how this would work. Michael was really too close and Sarah was essentially sitting in Cooley’s lap. She’d have to move first. Cooley might even have to put his gun down or at least move it away from her. He could feel his right leg starting to go numb. If he was going to pull this off, he needed to move now.

“Back away, Michael. Get back to the kitchen. Keep your distance.” Cooley hoped that Michael didn’t hear the anxiety in his voice. The young man moved away, which was good except that now he was so deep in shadow, Cooley couldn’t make out his figure any more.

“Now, you,” he turned his head to Sarah. “Now, you get up slowly. Don’t try anything funny. I’m not in a good mood, little lady.” Sarah couldn’t reply so Cooley took her passiveness for acquiescence. She leaned forward and Cooley loosened his grip on her just enough to give them both a bit more room for maneuvering their bodies up and out of their cramped positions. Only Cooley’s right leg had now fallen asleep, and he couldn’t put his weight on it.

He felt Sarah start to slip out from under his arm, now that they were both standing, and he couldn’t have that. He couldn’t let her go. He tried to pull her back to him with his arm, but he couldn’t put any weight on his leg. The damn thing had a mind of its own. It just bounced off the floor every time he tried to steady his weight on it. He still had his gun but it was pointing at the ceiling while he tried to hang onto Sarah and work feeling back into his leg at the same time.


It didn’t take long for Sarah to realize that Cooley was distracted. She didn’t know what was going on, but she could feel him wobbling behind her. He had loosened his lock around her neck and she knew this could be her only chance. She knew Michael was nearby. There was a shadow in front of her, looming, coming closer. She just needed to get away from Cooley, get from under his arm.


Michael watched as Cooley and Sarah made their way up to standing. He figured Sarah had to be hurt. She wasn’t saying anything. Just a whimper now and then. And when she stood fully up, the blood rushed to Michael’s face. He saw the porcelain thighs, bare and vulnerable, sans shorts. That was it. The last straw. When he got Sarah back and Cooley put to rights, he would kill Billy. He edged closer to them, trying to see an opportunity to pull Sarah away. Cooley was standing weird but he still clung to Sarah. Except now she was dropping herself down, trying to slip from Cooley’s grasp. Michael saw the gun come back up, but in his effort to balance his weight, Cooley had his gun pointed to the ceiling. This was it.


Sarah felt her arms grabbed and jerked forward as she ducked under Cooley’s arm. She banged her chin on his forearm, causing a firestorm of pain up the right side of her face. She heard a roaring in her ears. She didn’t know if she made the noise, or Michael, or Cooley, or all of them. Michael tossed her down the dark hallway, as gently as he could in the darkness. She heard Cooley yelled out in anger and someone’s gun went off as Sarah pulled herself as far as she could get away from the two men.


The Next Day

Sarah woke, feeling like someone had stuffed her head and mouth with cotton. Every bone and muscle in her body ached. She blinked opened her eyes and was surprised to see it was bright daylight. She was facing a window, a large picture window. Sarah saw a line running from the back of her right hand to an IV drip bag alongside her bed. She apparently was in a hospital.  She felt a tug on her left hand and turned to see Michael sitting next to her bed.

Michael leaned in. “Hey, how are you feeling?”

Sarah tried to speak but only managed to stick her tongue out at him. Michael smiled and tapped her tongue with his finger.

“I imagine I somehow deserve that.” With his other hand, Michael started to fuss with Sarah’s hair, moving it away from her face. “You’re lucky you don’t have any broken bones. Billy gave you a huge hematoma on your jaw, though. It’ll take a while for the swelling to go down. Cooley and Billy should be headed to prison any day now. Edna James got them lawyered up but they had to plead guilty. Too much evidence against them.”

Michael briefly closed his eyes, and Sarah saw a tear sneak out one corner and trace a line down his cheek.

“Melody was so close.  If I had just gotten her to leave with me …”

Sarah brought her fingers up to Michael’s face and brushed the tear.  When she was better, when her throat didn’t hurt so much and she could talk, she’d help Michael understand that he wasn’t responsible for Melody’s death, or anyone else’s death.  And maybe that would help her too.

Michael took Sarah’s hand and kissed the palm.

“Misty.” It took all of Sarah’s energy to say her name.

Michael smiled. “Yeah, well, since we now know Billy killed his own brother, Misty is being released. It’ll take two weeks for all the paperwork to go through, if you can imagine that.” Michael sighed and sat back in his chair, still holding her hand.

“Will you go with me to pick her up? I think she would like to see you.”

Sarah smiled.


The End

The Advent Calendar of Literature: Day 1


If you like interesting things about Christmas and literature, then follow Interesting Literature as they provide an Advent Calendar of Literature, starting today!

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

We’ve been running this blog now for two years. When we posted our first literary blog post, on 1 December 2012, we set out to publish a short post every day, or almost every day. To mark the second birthday of InterestingLiterature, we would like to present ‘The Advent Calendar of Literature’. Every day for the next 24 days, leading up to, and including, Christmas Eve, we’re going to publish a short post about some interesting fact relating to literature and Christmas. That’s 24 facts, or one for every month that this blog has been going. These are our favourite festive facts that we’ve uncovered over the last couple of years.

But not only that: each fact will be linked, so that tomorrow’s Christmas literature fact will pick up on today’s, and the one we post on 3 December will follow tomorrow’s, and so on, right to…

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Ten Things Not to do When Visiting a Foreign Country


Whether you visit foreign countries or “furrin” states within the US, this list is one you should consult every day of your trip!

Originally posted on Fiction Favorites:

a leaningtower

This list was inspired by watching some tourists on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific. This advice applies if you are a visitor here or are visiting over there. I hope you enjoy

Ten Things Not to Do When Visiting a Foreign Country

10 If you are visiting a foreign country, do not assume everyone who does not understand what you are saying is stupid. If you do, At best you will get no help. At worst, you will find people going out of their way to make sure your visit is a nightmare.

9 If you are visiting a foreign country, do not continue to believe you will find the same food you have at home. If you do, at best you will deny yourself a learning experience. At worst, you will get very hungry and tired of eating the snacks you brought with you.

8 If you…

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Clemency, A Novel in Progress: Chapter 23

The following novel in progress is based on a real crime, but is largely a work of fiction.  I started this novel in 2008 and stopped after just a few chapters.  I will post those chapters here, and (hopefully) finish the remainder of the novel during NaNoWriMo.

Chapter 22 is here.


Sarah curled up in a fetal position after Cooley dropped the shawl on her. The gesture surprised her. She had thought Cooley was evil incarnate, but maybe he had a soft spot. Or maybe he was hoping he could fool her into trusting him. Her eyes felt swollen and she barely managed to open them. The attic rooms were fairly dark but she could easily make out Cooley leaning toward the window. She heard Billy go downstairs and was initially relieved to have him away from her. But then she thought of Michael. That’s why Billy had left. He was going to kill Michael.

She wanted to move, to jump up and run out and scream for Michael to be ready, to be prepared to defend himself. But she couldn’t move. Pain or fear or both had her immobilized. And maybe her own sense of futility. Both Cooley and Billy had the advantage of weapons. Michael had a gun, but would he have it with him? Would he have a chance to use it?

She started to feel sick again. It was the heat, the closeness of the attic room, the way she was pushed up against the wall. It was hard to breathe, to think straight, but she wanted to stay focused. Billy hadn’t thought to tie her up. Even Cooley seemed to feel she was no threat in her condition. She heard muffled sounds from below her, and she saw Cooley turn his head.

Cooley walked over to the door, and Sarah kept her eyes on him. But he wasn’t looking at her. He was facing the door, and then she heard it: “Help.” Some faint but definitely masculine voice was calling for help. Whoever it was sounded weak and afraid. Her stomach lurched as she thought it might be Michael. He might be wounded, knifed by Billy, and dying. But she would expect to hear Billy then too. No doubt, he would be making a lot of joyful noise at bringing down Michael Daniels. But there was just the one voice.

Cooley put his hand on the doorknob and simply said Billy’s name, as if he were addressing the door itself. Sarah pulled her knees in more and leaned forward very slowly. She wanted to see how much she could move without getting Cooley’s attention. The attic door opened right onto the staircase. if he opened the door, if she had enough strength to propel herself forward … well, that was all foolish thinking on her part.


Cooley was surprised to hear anyone calling for help. The voice was too faint for him to tell if it was Michael or Billy. He couldn’t imagine Michael calling for help. Hell, Billy would have killed him off, made sure he couldn’t make any noise. So it had to be Billy. But, somehow that didn’t seem right either. He grasped the doorknob, feeling very uneasy about opening the door and especially about going downstairs. What it were a trap? Michael would definitely set a trap for him but wouldn’t Billy too? Maybe Billy had decided that he was sick of being partner to an old fart like Cooley. He knew that Billy cared for him no more than he cared for Billy. It was only Billy’s mama that kept the two men together, and Cooley wasn’t sure if she was worth that anymore.

Edna used to be gorgeous, so beautiful she could make a grown man cry just by smiling at him. But ever since her husband “died” and she came into all that insurance money and jacked up the drug business, well, she had kind of let herself go. The tanned skin was more like leather than butter. The fine ass was more ample than any man needed or cared to look at. When she felt like it, she wore some kind of contraption, a bra with all kinds of criss-crosses and hooks, to keep her breasts up high. But she didn’t always feel like it, and the sight of her low-hanging tits was enough to make Cooley think of his own grandmother. And she was mean. She used to be sweet and funny and even kind to a point, way back in the day. But now the woman was just plain mean. She acted like she could have any man in the world, but she couldn’t and Cooley knew that, but he always felt like he only had half a dick when he was around her.

Cooley called Billy’s name, but the only answer was another feeble cry for help. He opened the door slowly, trying to see what he could through a slim crack of an opening. It was dark down the staircase. The only light came in from outside and it wasn’t enough to help him see if anyone was down there. The shadows were too large and dark and Cooley knew well enough that even a man as large as Billy or Michael could be hiding in those shadows.

He opened the door a little wider, allowing his face to move out so he could get a better look. Except the effort didn’t help much. He thought he heard heavy breathing. So someone was down there. At least Billy, but he was the kind of boy that would set up a real commotion if he was at all hurt. Given what he dealt out, he wasn’t so good at receiving it in kind. Unless he’s losing blood. Cooley opened the door wider, enough to allow himself to slip out and onto the small landing. If Billy was mortally wounded, he might be dying right now.

Cooley put his hand on the banister and raised his right foot, and than paused. If Billy was mortally wounded, wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to just let the boy die? That would certainly solve some of his problems. He could figure out Michael and Sarah later. Maybe he could even bargain with them. After all, Cooley kept Billy from raping Sarah by sending him down after Michael. And Billy was the one who had killed Jimmy two years ago, not Misty. Oh, yes, maybe he can just spill the beans on Billy, and then Michael would go easy on him. After all, if Billy is lying down there, hurt and dying, then Michael is likely the person who put him in that condition.


Only one other time in his life had something, or someone, come at him from behind and knocked him over. When he was a young sheriff, checking out a robbery at the local gas station, he was standing near his car, jotting down some notes, when he was suddenly punched from behind. It wasn’t painful. Only like someone throwing a giant bean bag at his back. It had knocked the wind out of him, though. The bean bag was Hugo, the gas station owner’s Great Dane puppy, whose favorite pastime was to knock over tall men. Cooley had dropped his pen and notebook, and almost fell face-first on the hot gravel of the parking area. Hugo ran off to the side, his tongue hanging out, a “come chase me now” look in his eyes. At that time, Cooley was happy in his life and so he just laughed , picked up his pen and notebook and climbed into his car.

This time, however, it wasn’t a Great Dane puppy that came at him from behind. It was something much smaller, something that, under normal conditions, would not have been able to topple him. Except he was distracted, he was standing on one foot, and he was already leaning forward. Sarah’s body slam was enough to send Cooley rolling down the staircase. Later he would count himself lucky that he didn’t break his neck on the steep steps.

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