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Mystery #1 (working title)

Now that I am feeling better, I am back to writing. Below is a bit from my very first novel.

Prologue

I don’t know why I believed the party would be fun. Jason blows out his breath in disgust. Knee-high weeds tug at the legs of his jeans as he trudges through a field on his walk home. The night is so hot and humid his lungs struggle to separate oxygen from water.

The party had turned into a drunk-fest and that just isn’t his scene. Jason also doesn’t believe in drinking and driving, which is why he is walking. Berating himself for the one beer he did have he slaps at the overgrown weeds. “Face it, buddy.” Jason sighs. “You aren’t a jock and they aren’t going to allow you in their club just because you knock back a brewsky.” Crickets chirp their agreement.

Jason is well aware of his “geek” status. “It shouldn’t be such a big deal that I prefer computers to tossing a ball around.” Jason defends himself. It is though. Especially to said ball-tossers. “So what if they don’t like me?” He throws his shoulders back pulling himself up taller and straighter. I have other friends, don’t I? A tentative expression on his face, he comforts himself with the knowledge that instead of playing games, he is already working towards his career goal of computer programming. Acceptance letters from several excellent colleges are

King City, Texas September 2006

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spread across his desk at home. He just needs to make a final decision within the next two weeks. Yes, his life is on track with his dreams.

Smiling Jason knows that his life is going quite well. Then the smile curves downward as he thinks of the one major disappointment in his life. It is a problem that he doesn’t quite know how to resolve. The problem has a name. Anne. Anne Shaye is his best friend. She is one year younger than Jason and a junior in high school. They have lived next door to each other their entire lives. Anne is surprisingly mature and it is towards each other that they turn when one of them needs a shoulder to cry on or someone to celebrate with.

Warmth fills his heart as he pictures Anne. He exclaims to the night air, “God, she is so beautiful, fun and sweet.” Then the heat of embarrassment makes its way up his neck and onto his face. The picture of Anne is so real that he reaches out to run his fingers through the pale, baby fine, blonde hair that just brushes her shoulders. Even in his dreams her blue eyes smile at him and he loves her giggle that is too often absent. Jason’s heart breaks for her. Anne has it hard. Her parents are not nice people. Jason has an almost basal need to protect her.

Jason stops walking. He is distracted as he looks up at the stars shining bright in the clear night sky. Barely noticing the slight fish-smell from the lake as it blows across the field, Jason resumes his trek home. A lone bullfrog sitting Buddha-

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like witnesses how Jason uses a deep breath to gather his courage. “I’m in love with her. I have been for a long time.” Surprising himself with the words that he has never said aloud before now, he self-consciously looks around just to make sure no one could have overheard. But, she is wasting her life on Gregg. He is her boyfriend and he is not good for her. Not good for her at all. Punching his fists in the air relieves a little of the anger knotting his shoulders. I wish I weren’t so afraid it would destroy our friendship if I were to tell her how I feel. What if she doesn’t feel the same? Shoving his hands into his pockets, fear shudders through him at the thought of a life without Anne. Shaking his aching head, he tries to rattle lose an answer to his problem.

Headlights of a car pierce the darkness of the night. Jason grimaces in annoyance at being pulled from his reverie. What could they be doing driving across the field, he wonders. He notices the car seems to be coming right for him. Is it someone I know? Wishing the headlights weren’t so blinding Jason realizes that he can’t see the driver or even the make of the car. A jolt of fear courses through his body. Are they trying to scare me? His mind goes into a scramble trying to remember if he has pissed anyone off.

A twisting, turning in his solar plexus tells him that the car is stalking him across the field. It is closing on him fast. Jerking his head around he searches for safety. Seeing nothing but empty field he alters his course hoping the car will just drive on by. It doesn’t. There is no escape as the car turns to follow him.

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Raw terror flames his feet into a run for his life. His mind thrashing about in a futile attempt to figure out whom it could be. He chastises himself for even going to the party.

No doubt the driver means him harm. Beginning to run a zigzag pattern to hopefully outmaneuver the car, Jason struggles to think of his next move. Fingers of fear curl fist-like in his gut. His plight worsens when he trips over a rock in his path. Staggering, he rights himself ordering his legs to run. His breath is labored from the exertion. He has never been so afraid. Jason is screaming and pleading for someone to help. No one is there to hear. The nearest house is barely in view. The car is almost on top of him when he loses his footing again. Falling in slow motion he knows there is no escape. The headlights of the 4,000-pound weapon a perfect spotlight for his dance of desperation. I don’t want to die. As real as if she is standing there he sees Anne holding her arms out to him. Tears spill down his face as he says, “Anne, I love you. I will always love you.”

As the left front tire of the car rolls over his skull, Jason’s world goes dark.

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