Ever consider how actions of others ripple out and shadow your path, what you are, what you’ll become? Sean Paterson
ponders the cruelty in his life as he’s forced to carry the scars of hate. Detective Christine Sheppy is tormented by the
misery of those cast aside and guilt from a desperate act of survival. Two people, haunted by deeds that pierce their
conscience, are brought together by the tragedy of a stranger. Their isolated lives are chaotically entwined, until together
they solve the mystery behind why a teenager and her child have become targets. The truth carries a sweet and bitter lesson:
To each crossing of paths, there is a reason. They become the salvation to each other’s dark past, but at a price. They must
choose how far they’ll go to end the reign of sorrow inflicted on the helpless by powerful men void of conscience.
Copyright 2010 by Michael W. Davis
Megan wiped the rain from her eyes and looked again to make sure. A stained glass door sat below an archway with something etched along the top. The
words were eroded, as if forgotten by would be visitors, but she still grasped their meaning: Welcome to God’s Temple.
A church, here, hidden from the public, as if the other buildings had caused it to wither away, obstructed from the view of potential sinners. But Megan
saw something other than a neglected temple. The word asylum flashed in her mind. Not even his demons would dare harm her on hallowed ground.
Megan stepped to the platform, but hesitated. She glanced over her shoulder. She was alone, safe, at least for the moment. She knelt on the long crimson
colored pillows, placed the bag from the second hand store by her side, and waited. She was confused at what to do. Finally Megan bowed her head and
did what seemed natural for this sacred place. She asked for guidance, an explanation to help her fathom the events in her young life.
Why this path? What am I to do? I don’t understand what to do? There has to be a way to get out of this, to protect Amy, have a real life for myself and
my daughter. Please help me find him; guide me to find him before it’s too late. I know he’s out there, I know he’ll help. He must be told the truth about
us, who we are, that we exist and are connected. He’s the only one we can trust, that will truly love us, no matter what I was forced to do.
Megan felt a presence, someone looking down, waiting for her. She tried to rise up, but a soft hand pressed gently on her shoulder.
A thin man dressed in black promised, “It’s alright, my Child. I didn’t mean to interrupt. Continue your prayer.”
His dark wrinkled face was drawn, obviously from years of struggling against harsh means. Yet his eyes conveyed internal peace and warmth.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to take anything. I was just…”
“I understand.” He waved his hand in a semi-circle around the empty building. “Not many come anymore, but that’s why we’re here, to help you reach out
when you need Him.” He glimpsed at the man on the cross and talked to the statue. “I wish there were more like you that seek His guidance, His love. But
today, people don’t seem to have the time until it’s toward the end. Our means here are meager, but this house of God is still for you. Take your time. If
you need me, I’ll be seated in the first pew.”
The black man with the scrubby beard removed the bible from the pulpit and started to turn away.
“Reverend, do you ever wonder about…”
The skinny man of God with dark brown eyes turned back. “Wonder what, my Child?”
“That He’s really listening, that He watches over us?”
The man offered an indulgent smile as he prepared to address a question that had been put forth many times in search of His wisdom. “Once, in the
beginning before I became His shepherd, I pondered that same question, but not anymore.”
“He’s talked to you, answered you’re prayers?”
“He doesn’t talk to us like the words we’re sharing, but He reaches into your spirit and let’s you know He’s present watching over each of us.” Then he sat
next to her and again smiled, but this time his visage was sad, as if he were preparing for the next question, the one that always followed.
In a low trembling tone just above a whisper, she issued her profound confusion; the same enigma so many helpless souls pondered. “Then why does He
allow so much pain for those that have done no wrong? Why must the weak be at the mercy of the powerful?”
He leaned backward, as if taken off guard by the reflective thoughts of one so young. He searched for what she needed, the words that would make her
understand the truth, the sad but profound reality of this theological paradox. “It is part of His plan to help each of His children seek out the...”
His response was broken by the sound of rain and wind whipping through the entryway. The only two people in the church turned toward the outline of a
large figure standing just outside the light of the doorway.
She jumped up as if struck by a new found energy. No, as if her instinct to survive above all else had taken over. “No!”
Sean fed Amy a few more bites, then continued with his explanation. “Chris, have you even heard the phrase Following the Drums?”
“You mean like a groupie chasing after a rock band?”
He grinned. “No. It refers to the practice during earlier wars where women would follow their men into battle. Many historians state it was a necessity
because of the difficulty fending for the family without the husband. I say that’s bull. Even the wives of rich officers would leave everything behind to be
with their men. Sometimes on the battlefield they found the bodies of women dressed in men’s uniforms. They were the girlfriends and fiancées of the
enlisted soldiers. The women couldn’t live without the one they loved. Today, many in our society have lost sight of what it means for a man and woman
to be in love. They write novels about same gender relationships, or spouses that share their mate with another and call it erotic love or alternative
romance. They have no idea what eternal love between a man and woman really means.”
Christine leaned forward with her chin resting in her hands. “What does it mean to you, Sean? What is it you’re looking for that you’ve been unable to
He touched her forearm and motioned with his head toward the back corner of the café where a couple in their late seventies sat quietly enjoying their
meals. “That’s what I want, and until I find it, I’ll keep searching.”
Chris examined the couple at the table and watched the wife feed each bite to her ailing husband. “What does that mean?”
“See the old man and woman back there. They’re at the end of their journey through life, but they’ve enjoyed the trip together. See the way she spoons
each mouth full, not with regret or burden in her wrinkled face, but with tenderness and love for that old man that can’t feed himself. The years have
taken a toll on their bodies, but the bond they share is strong and fresh as the first day. Look at the way she wipes his mouth, the way he smiles at his wife
with each touch of her hand against his cheek. Soon it will be over, their short time here as husband and wife will come to an end. And on that day, her
whole existence in this world will be altered. She’ll spend her remaining hours remembering these small moments they had together, and waiting until they
can walk hand in hand into the next realm. That’s what I’m searching for Christine. Someone that believes the bond between a man and woman is an
eternal gift to be cherished, not a convenient legal agreement like it’s viewed today. That’s what I want and I’ll settle for nothing less.”
Chris considered the profound clarity of the words she’d just heard. At that moment, it was as if she had awakened to a truth that had evaded her since
her last mistake in trusting someone with her heart. It was there, whispering in the corners of her mind, but she never understood the message until now.
The relationship he wanted, what Sean coveted in a mate, it was exactly what she wanted but had forgotten. No, not forgotten, accepted as impossible.
Reese, in his simplistic male logic had recognized the truth from that first moment in his office; they were matched. With all their baggage, all the shadows
that trailed behind, they where the solution to each other’s quest for light to bring them out of the darkness, the solitary existence they called a life. Now, if
she could only awaken his senses, his awareness of the revelation she just experienced, there was a chance for both of them.
She inhaled his hot breath as it snorted across her face, smelled the masculine scent of male hormones racing toward the surface, burning from every pore
in his body. The rush and stimulation to all her feminine senses was confusing. She was both aroused and frightened. Aroused by his strength and
determination to do what’s right regardless of the consequences. Frightened because she saw the inevitable end to his looming hell bent path of
destruction. The conflicting emotions confused her. She searched for a resolution, a means to derail his current course. The problem was, she agreed with
his decision. If not for having Sean in her life, Chris would willingly do the same, but her actions no longer affected just one. Whatever they did affected
each other. That was the key. If she could only make the raging bull see the logical conclusion of his current course, there was a chance.
As Sean’s hand removed the 45 Tarsus pistol from the glove box, she grabbed his wrist. “Wait a minute. Just listen for a second.”
Sean pulled away. “Let go, Christine.” He exited the driver side of the vehicle and she was drug like a small doll caught on the arm of a mad dog.
Chris bounced twice on the ground and let go. When she looked up, he was already ten yards away. “Damn it, Sean! Stop!”
But he wouldn’t listen, wouldn’t respond. His erect form continued marching down the path to the front door of the large brick house. Chris stumbled to
her feet and took off at a full gallop. She launched into the air like a miniature linebacker and slammed shoulders first into the back of his legs. Together
they tumbled like a lopsided mass.
“What the shit are you doing?” He rose up on his hips and tried to stand, but she tackle blocked him again in the chest this time. “Damn it, woman. Get the
hell off of me.”
When he tried to buck her off, she wrapped her legs around his waist. It was as if she were riding a mechanical bull. He made several attempts to toss her
off, but she buried her face into his neck and bit down so hard she drew blood.
“Ouch!! Damn it, that hurts. You little shit!” The more he struggled, the harder she chewed. “Jesus, Christine. All right. You stop, I’ll stop.” They
remained locked in a death roll, like a small alligator clamped to the neck of its massive prey. The only movement was her small body rising and falling
with the rhythm of his accelerated breathing. She loosened her teeth and his moaning subsided.
Chris pressed her hands against his face, released her bite and moved within three inches of his eyes. “Listen to me, you big ox. It’s not just you in the
equation anymore. Whatever happens affects all of us; you, me, Amy, everyone that loves you, depends on your big ass.”
“But we can’t let the bastard get away with what he did.”
She felt him try to rise and clamped down on his ear this time. His body went limp again and she stopped pinching his ear with her teeth. “I understand
how you feel, and you’re justified in wanting to blow off his balls, but that path only works to release your anger for this moment. It will screw up our
entire future together, and I won’t allow that to happen. Do you hear me?”
“Yeah, but what if the media covers it up?”
“In that case we’ll both chase his slimy ass down and take him out together.”
“Yes. Try it my way first. If they let the scum go, then we’ll do what’s right and go to jail together. Deal?”
“All right. One thing first.” Sean reached up, pulled her toward him and bit the shit out of her neck.
She screamed out.
“See you little vampire, it hurts doesn’t it? At least I didn’t draw blood.”
She tried to swing at his head but Sean grabbed her thrashing arms and held her locked in his embrace. “You don’t like being used as a dog bone, do you?”
She yelled a few more choice words then slowly stopped fighting. He saw a single tear trickle down her cheek and kissed her on the lips. She tried to jerk
away, but he kissed her again. Chris stopped struggling and he released her. “Sorry, Angel, but you did bite me first.”
“How the hell am I supposed to control someone twice my size without resorting to something physical?”
“I don’t care. No more biting. Agreed?”
She lifted her knee into his groin, swung her hand down and grasped between his legs until he groaned. “Fine, no teeth. I like this better anyway.”
In a weak voice he capitulated. “Alright you little wolverine. You win. Please release your grip. Seriously, Christine. You’re really hurting me.”
“Just remember that next time you don’t listen.”
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