I'm excited to announce that my next Jacob Schmidt story, Pursuing the Dead, will be released on Tuesday, October 29...just two days before Halloween! I think it's a fitting story for the holiday. Though it's technically a crossover sequel to "The Landfill," it can be read as a standalone story just like the rest of my books. Readers can learn more about it at this link, and the book is available for pre-order should the mood strike you. In the meantime, I'll leave curious readers with a sneak peek of the book (in the form of a prologue).
Photo courtesy of "davisales" at Can Stock Photo.
Loredo’s cell phone buzzed from the front pocket of his dress pants, and a clanging of metal followed as some of the loose coins inside rattled from the vibration. He’d just exited a coffee shop and found himself on the sidewalk of a bustling street in downtown Washington, D.C.
The agent stopped beside another storefront and slipped a hand in his pocket. He wrapped his fingers around the cell, the pulsating sensation moving up through his wrist as he gripped it. Loredo slid the device from his pants and held it out in front of him, immediately recognizing the number. His boss.
Gliding a thumb across the screen to accept the call, Loredo put the phone to his ear. “Good morning, sir.”
“Agent Loredo,” the man replied. “I haven’t heard from you in days.”
“My apologies, sir, but I’ve been following through on all of your requests. I wanted to get everything squared away before contacting you.”
“Then I assume you have more business to handle?”
Loredo hesitated. “Can I call you back in a couple of minutes, sir? I’m on the street and would prefer to talk from the privacy of my car, if that’s okay.”
“No,” the man said. “I want you to stay on the line. I’ll wait.”
Loredo held the phone at his side, quickly making his way toward the parking garage where his car resided. It was a couple of blocks ahead on the same side of the street, and he picked up the pace, transitioning from a brisk walk into a slow jog.
“Almost there, sir,” Loredo blurted into the phone.
He slowed to a walk at the site of his sedan and snatched the car key from his other pants pocket, putting a finger to one of the buttons. A clicking noise ensued as the doors unlocked, and Loredo eased into the driver’s seat. He placed the key in the ignition, closed the door, and started the car. The radio came on, activating the car’s Bluetooth, and Loredo switched from phone to speaker.
“I’m here, sir,” he said with a slight pant.
He felt moisture in his armpits and poked the AC button with his index finger.
“I need this resolved,” the man said. “Otherwise, I’ll be out of a job, and so will you.”
Loredo let the cool air hit his face, taking a moment to compose himself. “Everything’s been resolved, sir.”
“I have a few minor things to tie up, but the bulk of the work has been done.”
A brief pause. “The runaways?”
“They’ve been taken into custody.”
“Where are they now?”
“In the ground.”
“In the ground? What does that mean, agent?”
“They’ve been disposed of.”
Another pause. “You mean they’re dead?”
“I never gave those orders.”
“No, sir, you didn’t. But your superiors did.”
Loredo’s boss didn’t reply, but he didn’t need to. He was obviously angered at the thought of higher-ups bypassing him in the decision-making process.
“And what about the families?” his boss finally said.
“They won’t be a problem. They signed confidentiality agreements and were compensated for their troubles.”
“Those two things aren’t always enough to deter people.”
“Maybe not, sir, but they’d be foolish to talk. Besides, who would believe them? The dead don’t come back to life. Right, sir?”