Storm Chaser Shorts by Mark R Hunter by Mark R Hunter - Read Online



Just like the weather, a person's story changes all the time. Sometime it's a romance, sometimes a comedy, and when things go badly it can be a fine line between action-adventure and tragedy. Storm Chaser Shorts follows two converging stories. One involves the family and friends of Indiana State Trooper Chance Hamlin, who struggles to defend his hometown of Hurricane and his family from all manner of threats - whether they want him to or not. The other follows disaster photographer Allie Craine and those pulled into the wake of her passing, as she's tailed by the shadowy and disaster prone Luther Magee. Seven stories are set before, and three after, the events of Storm Chaser. Like the weather - and life - the tales are diverse, ranging from humor and adventure to what may be downright mystical. After all, life with a Storm Chaser is as diverse as the weather. Don't miss the full length romantic comedy novel STORM CHASER by Mark R Hunter!
Published: Whiskey Creek Press on
ISBN: 9781611602005
List price: $2.99
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Storm Chaser Shorts - Mark R Hunter

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Vantage Point

Luther Magee climbed onto an oil-soaked pier, trying to see over the line of people as it progressed in tiny increments across the Louisiana beach. Shimmering waves of heat made it difficult to identify individual faces, so he looked for a camera instead.

Unfortunately, cameras swarmed the Gulf coast at the moment. In the four hours since he reached the beach, he’d seen film crews from CNN, the Weather Channel, and four local stations, as well as at least a score of still photographers and people who clicked away with their little digital cameras. But he didn’t see Allison Craine.

I hate this job, Magee muttered as he edged further onto the old wooden structure, moving out over a sheen of contaminated water to reach a better vantage point. He almost lost his balance as he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe sweat from his brow. He hated summer. Hated it. And he hated this job.

Well, Allie would be in the thick of things, most likely in the most dangerous spot, so he needed to be as close to where the spilled oil came in as possible. How deep did the water go here? Deep enough to drown a five-foot-eight attorney from Sacramento who never learned how to swim.

He hated water, and he hated summer, and he hated being ordered to chase around some spoiled young debutante with delusions of artistry.

Hey! Be careful up there!

Magee turned toward the man, the closest of the people who shuffled toward the water’s edge. The line of adults and kids, all busy picking up tar balls and shoving them into plastic bags, looked too pitifully short to accomplish much. It’s okay, just looking for someone.

You’re not likely to find much on that pier except rotten planks and dead birds. The speaker looked like a beach bum. But as Magee traveled across the country, tracking Allie Craine for all these months, he’d learned to look beneath the obvious. This man was dosed in sunscreen, had carefully styled hair, and wore rubber gloves and boots in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid direct contact with the oil spill. He was no beach bum, and no hired worker.

I’m after a photographer. A woman, very young in appearance, with dark hair and a really expensive camera.

Son, you can’t swing a dead fish around here without hitting a photographer. With a shrug, the man went back to work.

Blowing out a sigh, Magee eased toward the pier’s railing and gazed at a press conference someone conducted on the other side of the cleanup crew. Local, it looked like, maybe officials from the parish. Just a few reporters stood there, not even enough to hide little Allie Craine. What did she see in this particular disaster, anyway? She’d made her fortune with books on tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires—catastrophes that offered spectacular images of destruction, rather than a layer of oil and a few dead geese.

A bead of sweat dropped off Magee’s ear, to land on a white shirt he’d picked up clean and pressed that morning. Now it drooped as much as he did. He always said Allie would be the death of him, but from heat stroke? Shaking his head, Magee leaned against the wooden rail.

A single loud crack provided his only warning. His arms shot out, but met air empty of anything except humidity. Then the water swallowed him up.

Magee thrashed around, trying not to breathe in as his head broke the water, then went under again. He kicked out with his feet, but didn’t know which way was up and whether he pointed toward the surface or the bottom. Fighting panic and losing, he tried to use swim moves he’d seen only in the Olympics, and he’d not paid much attention to then.

He would drown, without anyone ever knowing it was all Allison Craine’s fault.

Then something grabbed his tie. Bubbles emerged from his mouth in place of a scream as he imagined some creature of the deep, pulling him down for a quick and greasy meal. For a second his throat closed off, then his head lifted from the water and he heard an angelic voice shout in his ear.

Luther, you idiot—put your feet under you, it’s barely chest deep.

Allie held Magee’s head up until he could orient himself and shove his legs downward. Sure enough, he found himself upright with head and shoulders above the water, while Allie held him straight and stared daggers.

Magee coughed, then sputtered something half thanks, half a bit less polite.

You’re welcome, and same to you. Now could you please get lost? Or grab a bag? We’re busy here. Dampness plastered Allie’s hair against her head and shoulders, and greasy rivulets