So I decided to give you one more small preview of Death Wave, just because the early chapters I previewed still feel somewhat light, and I want you to understand that the book gets much darker later. So here’s a bit of a scene from about 2/3 of the way through the book. I won’t set it up too extensively, because that would give away a lot of what has gone before, but you should be able to get the gist.
Follow the link, and for only $2.99, you can be reading the whole thing in minutes.
Nate came to slowly, which was fine as far as I was concerned. Preparing for this moment had been hard work, and I hadn’t had enough time to really catch my breath and come to grips with it. If he decided he wasn’t ready to wake up just yet, it would be okay by me, although in some sense, it would be better to just get this over with.
He shook his head slowly from side to side, then looked around, blinking to clear the tears from his injured eyes. “Whe’ am I?” he slurred.
“That doesn’t matter,” I said.
He looked down at himself, bound with ropes to the chair where he sat. His hands were tied to the chair legs behind him, where he couldn’t see them. He took in the ropes binding his chest and hips to the chair, pulled with his legs against the ropes binding his ankles, testing their strength. Unable to tear free immediately, he looked up at me, sitting on the table in front of him, my legs swinging off the floor like a little kid in a grown-up chair. He was still groggy, and his eyes narrowed. A red rash spread across his brow and cheeks from the chemical burns. “I know you.”
“Cause I still have something to do,” I said. “And you’re going to help me.”
“Bullshit. I ain’t helping you do nothin’.” He strained against the ropes binding him to the chair, but the phenobarbital hadn’t completely worn off yet. He didn’t have his full strength.
“You will,” I said. “One way or the other.”
He looked around the cabin then–the plain walls, the rustic furnishings, the shotgun over the mantle, the trees outside the window from which could be heard the chirping of insects, so completely unlike the cacophony of the city–and I could see the wariness in his eyes.
“Yeah, you ain’t in the city anymore,” I said. “So you can scream as loud and as long as you want. Nobody’ll hear you.”
We were way out in the Catskills, up by Oneonta. Since I’d gotten the cash from the Swiss account, I understood something that I’d never really understood before. If you have enough money, someone somewhere will know everything you need to know. There are experts in stuff you never thought there would be experts. Like what Einstein and I had been for Jerry. We were his death ray experts.
I’d called a real estate lady from Princeton, described to her what I wanted: a cabin not too far from the Apple, but remote enough that I wouldn’t be disturbed. Said I was a playwright working on a script. It didn’t take her two days to get back to me with three different places. Lots of cabins were going empty now that summer was over.
Nate’s eyes kept flicking back to the shotgun over the mantle. “Don’t even think about it, sport. Yeah, there’s a gun, but there’s no bullets. I already checked.”
He glared at me, then looked around the rest of the room. His gaze came to rest on the surgical implements laid out on the table.
“So that’s it,” he said. “You think you’re going to torture me? For revenge or something?”
“No,” I said. “I’m not going to torture you. I’m going to ask you about Jerry, and you’re going to tell me everything you know.”
“I ain’t telling you nothin’,” he said.
“What his routines are,” I continued. “Where he goes every day. Where he likes to eat. What time he goes to bed and what time he wakes up. Where you and the other boys keep watch when he’s sleeping or eating or whatever. When you change shifts. If he’s got a mistress and how often he visits her and where. When you’re done, I’m going to know Jerry better than you do, better than he does himself.”
“Bullshit,” Nate said again, sullen. “Do whatever you want. I ain’t telling you nothin’.”
“Yes,” I said. “You will.”
“Or what?” he asked, turning his chin up defiantly.
“There is no ‘or what.’ ‘Or what’ implies you have a choice.”
“I have a choice,” he said, wincing a little as he pulled against the ropes holding him to the chair. “My choice is to tell you to fuck yourself. You think you can torture it out of me? Try.”
I shook my head. “I already said, I’m not going to torture you. Torture is a game that I’m too tired to play. You know how the game is played. I threaten to do something bad to you if you don’t cooperate. Is that going to make you cooperate? No. Why not?”
“Cause you’re a…”
“Cause I might be bluffing,” I said over whatever name he was calling me. I unfastened my belt and pulled it out from the loops. He shut up, looking warily at my pants.
“Relax,” I said. “I’m not going to do anything perverted to you. Although if I did, would it make you talk? No?”
I shrugged and set the belt on the table beside me. “So like I said, I might be bluffing. Or I might find out I don’t have the stomach for it once I start. Or maybe I do have the stomach for it, only you’re so tough, you’ll die before I break you, so I give up. Because you’re no good to me dead.
“Maybe you figure your buddies will come save you before things get too bad. Or maybe you think you can get free and escape. Maybe even kill me. Work an arm free first, like you’re trying to do right now.”
He stopped shrugging, cut his eyes over to his left shoulder and back to me. I saw his mouth twitch as he fought down the pain again. “You think you’re so smart.”
I picked up the belt off the table, jumped down and walked to his side to wrap it around his elbow and the back support of the chair. “The point is, it all boils down to the same thing. You have no reason to talk and every reason to stall. Threatening to torture you is just a game that lets you hold onto hope, hope that maybe you’ll get out of this okay.”
He hissed as I pulled the belt tight, binding his elbow to the chair. And finally, I saw the realization in his eyes that something was wrong.
“It’s starting to hurt, isn’t it?”