Something to whet your appetite… A slice of Brodie, book 3.

Here is a clip from my WIP (work in progress). It’s not complete yet, and may even have typos… but I know that many of you wanted to know what’s going on with Brodie. Well… here you go. Here is a quick glimpse into the final book of the Brodie Wade series.

Denise is mysteriously back as both antagonist and protector. Jamie is now Brodie’s wife and business partner. They’re both licensed private eyes. And The Truth has been eerily silent for over two years. What he doesn’t know is that The Truth is about to unleash two-hundred demons of hell, right in the middle of his life, with everyone he loves caught in the balance.

Enjoy the preview!

Time slipped by in uncomfortable waves. Brodie sat in the cheap chrome and naugahyde chair in the break room with just enough focus in his life to breathe in and out. When he had gathered the will to move, he looked outside. The shadows revealed that the sun was already on its descent, well after noon.

The office was empty and barren. Not wanting to deal with any other people at the moment, he locked the front and back doors then slipped behind his desk. Maybe work would help him cope. It had always worked in the past when his world would spiral out of control and the waves of insanity threatened to drown him. Work was that one constant that kept everything in place.

He picked up his stack of research papers, but something felt wrong. It was smaller than he remembered. Lighter. As he flipped through the pages, he could tell that the pages were out of order. Thumbing through them again, he sorted them back into their alphabetical order when he noticed something specific. The entire S section was missing. Had Denise been digging through his files? Had she found something? Why would someone be digging through his missing-persons pages?

A noise outside his office made him stop. He listened again carefully, and he could hear it again. It sounded like someone dragging a bag of dog food across the tile floor. He stood to approach the door, but froze as he gazed into the hallway. The floor of the hall was covered in several inches of white mist.

Brodie crept forward, swallowing the fear that constricted his chest. It had been so long since he’d felt this level of anxiety that it had become a foreign concept. He had to quickly recite all of the little rules he’d taught himself as a child.

“Don’t touch the creature. Don’t argue. And most importantly, don’t show emotion.” Fear was an emotion, and he wrestled it back down, trying to remain calm and stoic.

As he turned the corner, he saw a young girl laying in the hallway, dragging herself along the floor with her elbows. Her legs trailed behind as though they were broken. She was maybe six or seven with dark black hair, and big, radiant blue eyes. Tears streaked the dirt in palid lines down her face. When she looked up at him, he held his breath. He knew this girl.

“M-m-mollie? Is that you?”

“B.J.L.S.” She whispered.

“Yes. Yes, I’ve heard that clue already. What does it mean? Is it really Jamie?”

The girl nodded. “B.J.L.S. needs me. She is falling into the dark, scary place. She can’t go there. The bad man can find her there.”

Brodie knelt to one knee, leaning cautiously toward Mollie. The two years of reprieve had given him a new outlook on The Truth. For over thirty years, he’d tried to just repress the manifestations with drugs and therapy. But since meeting Jamie, he’d come to understand that every single image, sound and expression had alternate meanings. They were the puzzles that he had to hear and understand. He had to listen to more than just the words. He had to understand it all. He’d hoped that this revelation would never be put to the test, but now here he stood, face-to-face with it again, determined to grasp more than ever before.

He looked at the girl with compassion as the tears streamed down her face. “Why are you crying… and what is wrong with your legs? Can you tell me?”

“The bad man has part of me. I hurt everywhere. The bad man wants to hurt me. He wants to rip me apart on the insides.”

“What is the bad man’s name? Is he like me? Is he human?”

The girl nodded. “He’s really close to B.J.L.S. No one knows it except me. I try to tell everyone, but no one is listening. Everyone is too busy to listen.”

“Mollie, I’m listening. Tell me what I can do to stop him.”

“Find the way.” Her eyes locked with his, and he could feel the rage inside her. It vibrated in his own chest like someone putting a speaker against his sternum and playing a note so low it could not be heard.

“I’ll find a way to stop him. Just tell me where he is.”

“No, Brodie Wade!” She shouted, and the whole room echoed with a deep voice that was not hers. Then the vibrations stopped and her face relaxed. “You aren’t listening. You know the truth. Find the way.”

Brodie hesitated, his brain spinning. Realization slowly seeped into his brain, like a dish towel soaking up water. The Way. “Phil. I need to find Phil?”

The mist in the room drew inward, gathering around Mollie until she was a white puff in the middle of the hall. When it dissipated, she was gone. The Truth had been satisfied.

He didn’t know how to get in touch with the spirit that assumed the form of Phil, but he could at least warn Denise. If they had enough warning, they could get Jamie into hiding quickly. Brodie scrambled back into his office and snatched up his cell phone. He pulled the card from his shirt pocket and dialed Denise’s number. The Truth had warned him that the bad man was very close to Jamie. He had to stop them and get her somewhere safe.

No one answered the call. Instead, it rolled to voice mail. Brodie listened to the generic carrier message and waited for the beep.

“Hey, Denise. It’s Brodie. This is very urgent. I just heard from the other place. You know which place I’m talking about. And you were right. Apparently everything is back, just like it used to be. I know that someone is near Jamie right now. Whoever that is, it may be a very bad man. Maybe even Az–” Brodie caught himself. Maybe mentioning such names on the phone wasn’t the best idea. He hunted in his addled mind for a suitable replacement. “Maybe even the man we were talking about earlier. Let’s just leave it at the bad man. Call me back as soon as you get this.”

He hung up, then tried to figure out what his next plan of action would be. The police. Maybe they had found Phil from the fingerprints. Maybe that’s why The Truth left the print to begin with… to help him track down–

No. Phil was long since dead. He wouldn’t actually be tracking down the Phil Dawson he used to know. But maybe the print belonged to someone else. Someone that Brodie needed to find. He nodded resolutely at the thought. Whatever The Truth wanted him to find, it had to be linked to the vision he saw this morning. And that vision left only one major clue, so that was the next logical step. And he hoped that the police would have more answers by now. It was a long shot, but one he had to take.

He shut down his computer and put the folders away. He would have to figure out who had messed with his research later. Rushing out into the hallway, he armed the alarm, then opened the back door.

The alley had changed. Where once there had only been dumpsters, graffiti and the occasional street bum, there were now hundreds of people, rambling aimlessly about. Each one trailed the white mist in various amounts. None seemed to notice him, but he could clearly see them. He gasped and stepped back inside, slamming the door shut.

The shrill beep-beep-beep of the alarm getting ready to arm itself reminded him that he had a choice to make. Stay locked up inside this room where the apparitions outside wouldn’t take notice of him. Or go out there and take a risk and hopefully save the love of his life.

The answer wasn’t hard to come by. He opened the door and stepped through, making sure to lock it securely behind him. With slow, deliberate movements, he made his way to his car and turned the ignition.

As he drove slowly and steadily out of the alley, he had to pass through several people. At each one, he gripped the wheel tightly, praying that the person his fender was about to connect with wasn’t really there. After several terrifying seconds, he reached the end of the alley without a single scream or unexpected bump.

Once clear of the alley, the street opened up, and he turned toward the police station.

There was no doubt, now. The Truth was back in full force.

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