Well, I'm a couple of days late with this (and I'm almost always more than a few dollars short), but today I'm starting ten straight days of excerpts, a different one from each of my stories in the collection THE ALCHEMIST & OTHER DARK TALES.
Today's dark treat comes from my story, A MOTHER'S LOVE, and takes a look at just how far a mother will go to save every child should be saved.
Amy Jennings stands on her front lawn, staring into the empty street. Fog-shrouded street lamps cast a ghostly pallor over the neighborhood. Amy shivers. She is clad only in a nightgown and her husband’s trench coat, which gives scant warmth. Memories — pushing Adam on the swing, playing tag with her little boy and her husband, picnicking on the back deck — swirl through her mind like leaves stirred by the late night breeze. Recollections of a time now gone, taken under cover of night.
Behind her activity fills the lawn, the house. Men in uniforms search, those in suits and ties talk with her husband, with neighbors. She hears them, noises meant to show activity, attention, though the results will be nil.
Amy knows this. She’s been there, in her own detective clothes. We will do everything possible. We have every available person working this case. We have a nationwide alert out, his description sent to every law enforcement agency in the country. We’ve had good success. We are hopeful.
She has recited the statements a hundred times over — Amy’s worked half the childhood kidnappings in the Mid-west over the past decade -- and she's well practiced at the empty words that leave the promise of hope while making no commitments, no hints at the truth.
Your child is gone. Unless we’re lucky, you’ll never see him again. His fate is sealed. Tonight, maybe next week, perhaps in a month, he will die. And it won’t go easy.
That’s what Amy thinks every time she mouths the words of cautioned hope. Those are the thoughts behind the practiced, non-committal statements the men and women give tonight.
Amy walks across the wet grass. Fear flashes through her. Terror. Panic. He was here, on this spot. Amy falls to the ground, her hands tracing the path of horror, Adam’s emotions still alive, traceable, as clear to her as a trail of blood. She’s felt this before. Her “gift” everyone calls it. The ability has made her a kidnapping specialist, not because of her powers of observation or ability to out-think criminals, but simply because Amy can feel the emotions of those who have been taken, track their movements.
Tonight is different. Her stomach knots, the taste of bile seeps into her mouth. No professional detachment, just a battle to hold her emotions in check.
Amy climbs to her feet and marches by the men and women in uniform, the detectives in the living room, ignoring the “Mrs. Jennings,” and “Are you okay?” Fifteen minutes later Amy pulls from her garage, stopping only because one of the uniforms stands in her way. She recognizes him as the shift captain.
“Amy, where are you going?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Am I under suspicion?”
“Should you be?”
“Captain, step away from the car. I’m leaving.”
“The FBI response team will be here momentaril—”
“I’m a member of the goddamned response team, remember? I’m the one who leads them to the …” She cannot finish the sentence. “Get away from the car.” Amy mashes the accelerator. On the street, even with the car between her and the pavement, she still feels it, like an ache in bones. Terror. Dread.
To read the rest of A MOTHER'S LOVE, and the full collection THE ALCHEMIST & OTHER DARK TALES, click here for your Kindle or here for your Nook.