BAD GUYS

staircase

Worlds collide. At least eventually they do. Good guys and bad guys in crime fiction. In SINK RATE (due out next month) they are so essential to the story. What they do and don’t do and how those around them are drawn into the drama. Some of the good guys are not so good and some of the bad guys are, well, bad.

From SINK RATE:

Yusef didn’t knock. He went to the back and used his buck knife to jimmy the kitchen door. Afif’s mother was upstairs putting laundry away. Yusef stood quietly in the kitchen and listened for conversation. If Afif was here, he would find him or he would find out where he was. Either way, he wasn’t leaving until he had one or the other.

She thought she heard the stairs creak. Like at night when one of the children tried to sneak down to the kitchen for a snack or a drink. She thought, why would he be home from work now and turned expecting to find her husband on the stairs. She gasped when she saw Yusef standing on the landing holding the big knife. “Hello, Aunt,” he moved on her and she, without realizing it, backed into the bedroom away from him.

“Yusef, Yusef, what…what are you…?” it came out as a whisper. She cleared her throat and squared her shoulders. “What do you want? Put away that knife!” she was up against the dresser and couldn’t go back any farther.

Now he circled left and stepped between her and the bed. “Where is Afif, dear Aunt?” Yusef growled. The knife was in his right hand and stayed at his side. He rotated it slightly back and forth and smiled when her eyes snapped down to it and then back up to his.

She hadn’t seen him for several years, but knew him for what he was and what he was said to have done. She heard the men talking lowly about him and his father and mother. Her dead sister was an evil witch and her son had been tortured by her beyond what any child should have to withstand. Now she was face to face with him, and that knife. It frightened her more than she thought she could ever be frightened. “He… Afif is not here. My husband told you last night he is not here. Why do you want him?”

“Shut up! Stupid old woman!” Yusef quivered and screamed at her. She sounds like her, my mother. She sounds just like her. God in heaven. “He’s here, somewhere, and you are going to tell me.”

“Please don’t…,” She felt sick and flashes of light, sparkles, jumped in her vision. The room swirled and Yusef moved to her.

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