Thursday, April 2, 2009

Friday Fiction for April 3, 2009

Wow. What a week it’s been. It’s hard to believe it’s time for Friday Fiction again. This week, you’ll find Mr. Linky right at home over at Patty’s blog, Patterings.

I’ve fallen quite a bit behind on reading Friday Fiction the past week or so. Between things jumping at work, and getting two entries ready for the ACFW Genesis contest, I haven’t had a lot of reading time. I’ve managed to hit a few submissions, but not nearly all of them. Now that the contest preparation is finished, I hope to get caught up.

For Friday Fiction this week, I’m posting pretty much all I’ve managed to have time to write on Precocious by Consent this week one short chapter taking the word count total from last week’s 7200 to this week’s total of just under 8000. Any progress is good progress, but hopefully I’ll be able to devote more time to it now. The story is playing out various scenes in my head, and I really want to get them written.

Besides which, as you’ll see from this latest chapter, there’s a psycho on the loose, and I need to see just how everything is going to play out.

Chapter 5
Saturday evening

Sid Powell stood at the old wooden workbench in his garage, carefully sanding the first of four table legs he’d turned on the lathe earlier. Carpentry was relaxing; the puzzles and challenges of extracting furniture from the wood occupied his mind, and didn’t leave lives hanging in the balance. The Red Oak he’d chosen for his latest project had an interesting grain, and as always, he enjoyed the smell of real wood.

Two squeals sounded through the open door to the house, followed by an exasperated shout and a door slamming closed. His youngest daughter had a friend staying over, and his oldest daughter had finally had enough of their shenanigans. At fifteen, Carmen was impatient for her driver’s license, and lacking the ability to escape by car, she regularly retreated to her bedroom. Ten year old Lori seemed to take special delight in seeing just how quickly she could drive her big sister from any other room in the house.

Between the two girls, thirteen year old Ted managed to escape the antagonism of both sisters. Last Sid had looked, his son was in the den, killing zombies or something equally weird on the game console. Though he had tried repeatedly to interest the boy in woodworking, Ted was still just a bit too impatient for the time-consuming process of finishing the wood properly.

Sid blew some loose sawdust from the table leg and smiled. Getting all four table legs ready for the first coat of varnish would take many hours of careful work, but there was always discernible progress. He liked being able to see results; in his professional career, a case could often stall for days, weeks, or even years. Progress could depend on something intangible and unpredictable, and some cases were never solved.

It would take a while, but eventually a new table made of stunning Red Oak would replace the old, mass-produced factory table in their dining room. Where a sticker on the old table admitted it had been made in Mexico, the new table would have his initials carefully carved in attractive script, next to the year he’d completed it. With care, his grandchildren could someday feed their grandchildren at that table.

His cell phone rang, and he wiped the dust from his hands before answering it. “This is Powell,” he said, his tone a balance between business and personal.

“Agent Powell,” the taunting voice drew out the words. “You’re not letting Lara Moore play on Facenet anymore, are you?”

“How did you get this number?”

“Oh, you of all people should know that information is out there for the taking. You just have to know where to look.”

Keep him talking, Sid thought. Listen for anything that gives away his location. “Okay. You called me; what’s on your mind?”

“Come now, Agent Powell. It’s not what’s on my mind that matters, is it? It’s what’s on your mind. What information would you like to know where to look for?”

“Well, for starters, why don’t you tell me where we could meet face to face? I really hate having these conversations by phone.”

“I think I’ll let you figure out how to find that information for yourself. What other information would you like to know where to look for? Or maybe I should give you a hint; who would you like to know where to look for?”

“Are you going to tell me where to find Lara Schumacher?”

“No, but I’ll tell you where to look. Think big boats and happy people, but think fast. If she remains calm, she should have an hour or so of air.”

“She’s still alive?” He ran from the garage to the phone in the kitchen.

“Yes, at least she was when I left her a few minutes ago. Lara and I have been having a good time this past week, but I’ve gotten bored with her, so it was time to move on.”

“Where is she?”

“Good luck, Agent Powell.” The call ended.

He dialed 911, and identified himself as soon as the operator came on the line. “I need search teams to the cruise ship terminals in both Long Beach and San Pedro,” he said, grasping on the first idea of where big boats and happy people would be found. “I have information that a missing twelve year old girl may be trapped somewhere around one of those places with about an hour’s worth of air. Tell the responding agencies to look anywhere that might be enclosed or underwater. My team will be on its way.”


Joanne Sher said...

Oooh - love the contrast between Powell's slow and "painstaking" hobby and the fast-paced actions he needs to take later on. Great stuff. Which reminds you - watch your email :)

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Don't end there! More, please! :)

Patty Wysong said...

Mmmmm. I love visiting the shop with the smell of fresh wood! We do a lot with red oak, too...

ANYway (LoL) you hooked me! I sure hope Powell gets there in time!

And wohoo for getting two things in the Genesis!! I got mine in, too. *grin*

Unknown said...

Oh, you can't leave us hanging like that!

Dee Yoder said...

Wow, the suspense is really building and I can't wait to read on to find out who the "bad guy" is in this mystery. More next week? I hope!

Shelley Ledfors said...

Wonderful! Really drew me in. I look forward to reading the next chapter (soon, I hope!)