Publication date: March 16th 2023
Genres: Adult, Suspense, Thriller
A traumatized father seeks justice for his son’s death.
A fallen man seeks atonement for his mistakes.
A cryptic path hides all the answers.
And so much more …
For the past decade, Mark has been living like an alcoholic druggy, loathing himself for not having the power to protect his son from the hands of these goddamn monsters.
For the past decade, Jason has been living a reclusive life, doomed by his enemies to spend the rest of his bland days in isolation till the illness seizes his last breath.
For the past decade, Mark and Jason haven’t seen each other.
But everything is about to change …
A murder brings them together tonight, trapped among the streets of Chicago in the search for redemption by following a mystical path that could unlock the darkest scandal in history. As the path unrolls secrets buried in works like these of Nietzsche, Plato, and Aristotle, the shadiest aspects of the human soul come to the surface, and soon both men realize that those who are hunting them, closing by with each passing minute, are equally dangerous with the ghosts of the past …
Thursday, March 16, 2023
His time was up. He knew it. The bullet to his stomach had already soaked his pants with blood, and he could feel the warmth of it running into his shoes.
He staggered among the tall trees, pressing a hand over the hole, but that only pushed the blood out faster between his fingers. He managed a few more steps, as though his body still believed it could survive—but he collapsed. His cheek scraped against the wet grass. Damp leaves froze his face. A bug jumped out of the ground, tickling his nostrils.
His gaze climbed up the thick, naked tree branches. Far to the north, along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, vibrant lights fought to master the night sky, and eminent towers of steel and glass waved from the Loop.
Thrusting with his legs, he lugged his body toward the lake’s edge. Less than ten feet away.
Wet muck soaked his white shirt. His arms shoveled the ground, spoiling the blanket of green with deep, muddled brown lines. His hands sank into the soil, molding balls of dirt and grass in each fist.
A muffled chuckle echoed from behind. The man who’d shot him stepped closer.
Dermot Walsh always knew it would end like this—a lifetime of countless crimes had inscribed his name on a great number of bullets, but each had missed him.
Maybe this disturbing feeling wasn’t exactly fear, but a sick curiosity about the person who’d end his days.
He tried to roll his body over. The bullet burned, twisting in his gut. But the pain couldn’t hold him back. He had to see his executioner. He pushed his body up and finally turned.
Pitch darkness consumed Burnham Park. Scattered pale lamps barely lit the hulking hitman who was approaching slowly, gun raking in his left hand. His chest suffocated in the tightly fitted suit—the buttons ready to hurl and his buff arms almost tearing the fabric apart.
“Who are you?” Walsh tried to ask. The blood had filled his throat, and he coughed some of it over his chin.
The hitman kneeled over him. His face lacked color, and hair including eyebrows or a beard. He was just a soulless, fey, creepy figure shrouded in the shadows.
“Mr. Walsh.” The ghost’s voice was clear, steady. “We gave you everything, but you wanted more. For years we’ve waited to repay your vanity.”
What? Those words … how could they be true? In his thoughts, a single name popped up—Jason.
Something happened. The hitman raised his head, then scurried off, somewhere into the park.
Walsh’s bleary vision offered nothing more than faint images: his BMW parked nearby. Through the half-opened, smashed rear door, the last member of his personal security detail was hanging, attempting to grab the gun in front of him. The other two were already corpses.
Who was he? Walsh wondered. Harry? Jorge? It was impossible to recognize the man under the mask of dripping blood.
“Ha, ha, naughty little piggy,” the bald hitman snickered, marching over to the bloody-faced man.
Confused about what he’d just heard, Walsh thrust a hand into his jacket pocket, searching for his cell phone.
He grasped it. He tried to—ugh, he didn’t have the strength. Unable to pull it completely from his pocket, he struggled to type the message. The screen was barely visible. His eyes were burning. All he could see was a white fog.
He touched the screen with his fingers, but he couldn’t feel anything. He couldn’t even say if he was typing or if this whole attempt was just an illusion of his frigging mind.
He strived to focus, but with each passing second, his senses surrendered to the cold hug of death.
He had to make it. This was his only shot at naming his murderers.
The mouth of the hitman’s gun made a dull sound as he pulled the trigger, taking the life of the bloody-faced man.
Walsh didn’t have any more time. He hoped he’d keyed and sent the drafted message, though he feared he hadn’t.
Steps gouged the ground as the hitman was pacing toward him.
Walsh directed his eyes toward the lake. Its special beauty had always been a comfort to him, and now its peaceful waters were calling him with their serene song of silence. Gritting his teeth, he funneled every scintilla of his remaining strength into moving his damn hand. He couldn’t flex it, so he stretched it all the way to the right till it touched the cold water. He felt the need to groan, but air refused to enter his lungs. He plunged his hand into the water and opened his palm wide, praying that the cell phone had actually reached the lake, carrying the faith that the night wouldn’t end with his death. Instead, his death would be the beginning … Jason.
The hitman stood before him, winking and aiming his gun mockingly.
Then a thick cloud enveloped Walsh’s body.
Wandering around small towns and cozy villages in faraway lands, V.P. Evans tastes the manifold flavors of this planet and, somewhere down the road, finds himself charmed by the few who live passionately or disappointed as darkness surrounds societies and people. He then sits down and starts to write.
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