Dark Soul by Sean E Thomas by Sean E Thomas - Read Online

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Summary

Alaska State Trooper Robert Sable, a man with a troubled past, watched his wife and son die at the hands of his enemies. He has one mission in life, and that is to even the score. When his investigation gets him into trouble with the troopers, his chief assigns him to a Fish and Game stakeout in the Alaskan wilderness. Intent on stopping the mob boss responsible for the hit on his family, Sable invites his enemy for a final confrontation. When the meeting goes wrong, Sable must run for his life with the mob close behind.
Published: Whiskey Creek Press on
ISBN: 9781611606904
List price: $3.99
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Dark Soul

by

Sean E. Thomas
WHISKEY CREEK PRESS

www.whiskeycreekpress.com

Published by

WHISKEY CREEK PRESS

Whiskey Creek Press

PO Box 51052

Casper, WY 82605-1052

www.whiskeycreekpress.com

Copyright Ó 2014 by Sean E. Thomas

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 (five) years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Names, characters and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

ISBN: 978-1-61160-690-4

Cover Artist: Gemini Judson

Editor: Dave Field

Printed in the United States of America

Dedication

For my wonderful wife, Doris, son, Robert, nephew Raymond Michlig, my professor and mentor, Kim Rich, good friends Dorothy (Kaa-Saan-Da-Ooo), Jan (Nahx-oo-steh) and her father Walter (Taaw-Chun) who inspired and helped me in this and past endeavors.

Prologue

The semi, a speck in the rearview mirror of his new GMC Suburban, trailed a half mile. Alaska State Trooper Robert Sable’s blue-gray eyes darted to the dark image in the mirror. The tractor-trailer rig had followed him for the last fifty miles, neither gaining nor losing distance. The peaceful forests of alder, birch and fir interspersed with lakes reflecting light clouds, and a glowing amber sun in the pale blue sky didn’t diminish his feeling something was amiss.

Honey, something wrong? Amy placed a bookmark in her paperback novel and turned to gaze at him. You look worried.

It’s nothing. More concern crept into his voice than he wanted. He took a deep breath to steady himself. The breeze from the open window brought the refreshing mixed scent of trees and flowers.

Is the truck still there? Amy looked over her shoulder, squinting at it as if to make out the driver.

It’s nothing. Sable forced a smile to his face. The Suburban’s tires hummed on the asphalt with an occasion click between sections.

I know your moods, Amy said sharply and clutched the book to her bosom. Fess up.

Just edgy from my last case. Brushing his hair from his face, Sable let out a long sigh. It was a close one.

But Meyers is in jail. Amy set her book aside, then brushed the wrinkles from her light summer dress. The blue forget-me-not pattern matched her eyes. Those eyes now challenged him. He’s no longer a threat?

You’re right. Sable placed his hands at two and ten on the wheel in preparation for…what? He wasn’t sure. Meyers, a notorious crime boss, had left many bodies buried across Alaska. It had taken Sable months to find enough witnesses and hard evidence to put him away. Yet, Meyers had hurled threats at him as they hauled him away in shackles. The threats clawed at Sable’s mind. You’re a dead man.

Andrew will take care of everything, Amy said.

Sure. Sable kept his voice even. What’s a partner for?

Sable was on the fast track in the troopers. Because of his intelligence and tenacity, promotions seemed to come easily, and after winding up the Meyers’ case, he’d been promoted to sergeant. He was the first Tlingit to make the grade so quickly.

Well...

Agreed—Andrew has everything under control. Sable craned his neck to look in the rear view mirror. A cloud cast a shadow over the semi, giving it an ominous hue.

And?

It’s nothing, he said lightly and blew her a kiss.

She blew a kiss. Your mind’s always in overdrive.

Okay, so I let my imagination sometimes run a little wild.

Sometimes? Amy picked up the novel and opened it to the bookmark.

Okay, okay. It’s my business. He laughed to reassure her. Maybe his feelings were unfounded. Most truckers heading north to Fairbanks chose the Parks Highway. It was flatter and less mountainous than the Richardson. Sure, the trucker had every reason to be plodding on behind him.

Sable glanced at Amy. The wind cut through the cab, buffeting her long, blond hair. It looked like spun gold, floating on the currents of the wind. They were nearly at opposite ends of the ethnic scale—his olive skin and raven hair and her fair Nordic heritage.

She seemed to relax and dropped her gaze to read.

Good book?

Yes.

Another mystery?

Yup.

Don’t I provide enough mystery in your life?

She smiled brightly, her eyes taunting him.

Aren’t you going to tell me the plot?

No, it’d spoil the surprise.

In other words, I have to read the book. Sable glanced in the rearview mirror at his son, Bobby, who sat in the rear seat deeply engrossed in a new computer game that whirred, beeped and clicked. The muffled sounds were barely audible above the road noise.

Bobby paused and looked up. When do we get to McKinley?

In a couple of hours.

Thanks, Dad. Seemingly satisfied with the answer, Bobby returned to the game. His fingers rapidly moved across the small pad.

Sable stretched in his seat and relaxed, but only on the surface. At another level, his trooper training kicked in, making him alert to unseen, potential dangers.

What do you think we should do first? Sable asked as he swerved the truck to avoid a large pothole.

Let’s stop at the hotel. Amy massaged her neck and suggestively lowered one of her shoulders. And take a nap.

Sounds great.

Once we get there, why don’t you slip Bobby enough money to keep him occupied at the hotel’s arcade. Her gaze never left the book, but her voice was low and throaty.

That’s going to cost. Sable reached over, placed a hand on her knee and gently squeezed.

Aren’t I worth it? Amy blew a kiss. Chro-ssrān-ri—love.

Sable grinned. Amy’s Tlingit pronunciation needed work, but at least she was trying. Ach-tu wassigu-ri—I love you.

Finally, he thought, their well-deserved vacation had actually begun. His hand slid up against her face and he caressed her cheek and ran it down her neck.

She gently moved his hand away. Wait until the hotel.

He squeezed her hand gently, brought it to his lips, and then released it. His extrasensory ability that had been dormant since childhood sent a charge up his spine, as if to shock him to reality and warn him of something deadly. At the same time, he felt someone was watching, breathing down his neck. No, the danger was imminent. Someone intended to kill him.

Sable looked again in the side-view mirror. The semi closed, signaling he wanted to pass, but then backed off when two cars heading south flashed by. And for a while, the driver appeared satisfied to follow. When Sable slowed, the truck slowed. When he sped up so did the truck.

Sable tried to search the black, murky depths of the truck’s interior, but all he could see was a dark ghostly shape. Though he chalked up his feelings, as Amy would have said, to an overactive imagination, he still committed the rig’s license plate to memory.

This was a vacation, he thought and shifted his gaze to the road ahead. He entering a steep, downward stretch with both sides protected by guard railing. He gently applied the brakes, keeping the vehicle below fifty-five. Glancing over the railing bordering a deep gorge, he slowed for the sharp curves.

His gaze moved to the rearview mirror. In an instant, the semi filled the mirror. Thinking the driver wanted to pass, Sable pulled closer to the edge of the road, slowing to make way. Without warning, the semi slammed into the rear of the SUV, almost lifting it from the ground and driving Sable’s head into the steering wheel. What the hell?

Amy screamed.

Sable shook his head. He focused on the road while the Suburban took on a life of its own. It shuddered, shimmied, rocked, and bounced. The wheel tore from Sable’s grasp, and the vehicle skidded toward a solid rock cliff.

What’s happening, Dad? Bobby wailed, as his game flew from his hands.

My God! Sable glanced at Amy’s face—it was drained of color.

Shit! Sable reached out for the twisting wheel, wresting control from the skid.

This can’t be happening, Amy screamed. What’s wrong with the driver?

This is Meyers’s doing!

How?

We’ll get out of this. Sable fought the vehicle and for his voice. The driver was toying with him and could crush the Suburban any time. He took several deep breaths to calm himself, but his heart raced, thudding wildly as if trying to break out of his chest. One at a time, he wiped his sweaty hands on his pants. None of his combat, trooper or Tlingit training had prepared him for this.

Are you sure?

The semi nudged the Suburban, driving it left and into the guard railing. The screech of scraping and tearing metal reverberated throughout the GMC. Sable forced the vehicle to the right, which sent them careening toward a steep rock wall rising vertically from the edge of the road. He forced the wheel to the left but the GMC bounced off the rail. With all his control, he coerced it into a straightened course, but the semi was relentless, continuing to prod the SUV repeatedly in a sick version of bumper cars.

Dad, don’t let them kill us, Bobby sobbed.

It’s all right. Dad will save us. Amy’s voice cracked.

We need to get away from him. Sable slammed the accelerator and the GMC pulled away from the rig. It straightened, skidded, and then corrected.

I don’t think we can.

Out of the corner of his eye, Sable saw his Amy’s ashen face. She gripped the dash with all her strength.

Pray, he said under his breath.

As the Suburban gained speed from the natural incline of the hill, it looked as they might get away. Suddenly, the highway went into a steeper incline and while he didn’t want to, Sable gently pumped the brakes to decrease the SUV’s speed.

The semi rammed the truck, forcing it into a deadly dance of lurching and swaying that shook the entire frame, sending it in one direction and then another across the road, a crazy zigzag between the rock wall and the gorge. Sable cursed. The next hit drove his accelerator foot to the floor, causing the battered vehicle to go airborne.

I love you, Amy yelled over the screaming metal and tires.

The front tires drove into the pavement and for a moment Sable thought the Suburban would cartwheel. Instead, it rebounded, throwing the rear end down with a lurch. I love you too.

His breath came in short spurts and he felt the weight of his rib cage crushing in. But this isn’t the end—we can get away. He wasn’t sure he could deliver his promise.

As he drove the accelerator to the floor, the speedometer rocketed to eighty-five with the needle vibrating off the stop post. If he lost control on the curve ahead, he and his family were dead. For greater control, Sable grabbed the shift, locked the hubs, and threw the vehicle into four-wheel—gears meshed and growled. As they slowly pulled away, gaining distance and a respite, Sable breathed a sigh of relief and glanced in the rearview mirror. The driver was almost visible. As he tried to make out the features, the Suburban hit a chuck-hole and Sable lost control going into the curve. The truck tilted on two wheels. The veins and muscles in Sable’s hands seemed as if they wanted to burst from the pressure he exerted on the wheel. The SUV continued to wobble, but then slowly tilted to the asphalt, bouncing while the springs loudly squeaked and screeched. And when it stabilized, Sable crunched the gas pedal to the floor and raced toward a large, grassy field that opened next to the roadside.

Give me the gun from the glove compartment. He kept his voice even, but an edge broke through. Years of practice on the force of keeping calm, took over.

I... Amy didn’t move.

Give me the gun, he repeated.

Yes...

The gun.

Oh... she said, her voice still shaking. She opened the glove compartment and with two fingers gingerly picked up the trooper standard .40 pistol by its trigger guard, and handed it to him.

Snatching it, Sable slid the clip out, checked it and reseated it by popping it on his knee. He pushed his finger into the ID lock to release the action. He stuffed the gun in his belt and pulled the truck out into the field, where it launched itself over the uneven grassy terrain. The tractor-trailer followed them into the field—the driver was giving no quarter.

This time, Sable felt he was ready for the impact, but it was harder than he expected—the rear window exploded, sending glass throughout the cab. The screams of tearing metal reverberated throughout the GMC and the ground momentarily disappeared. It was as though the SUV had been placed in a crusher—the end result a solid block of iron. Amy’s seat belt ripped from its anchor, and her body catapulted through the windshield, spraying blood across the front seat as she flew over the hood, disappearing under the front end. Helplessly, Sable heard the thud and rumble of the tires as they rolled over her.

He instinctively reached for her but found blood drenching his clothes and the dash. As numbness settled over him, the Suburban broke free of the semi and Sable swung it hard to the left. He opened and rolled out the door, then hit the ground, somersaulted to a kneeling position. Sable drew the weapon from his belt, wavered slightly, and fired at the semi’s windshield.

The truck stopped and in a fluid motion, the driver, a tall swarthy man, leaped down from the truck, and hefted a shotgun. This is for Meyers...

Sable fired several shots in rapid succession. The bolts of hot lead jack-hammered the assassin’s body and slammed him against the truck. When he rebounded, he shook himself as though he hadn’t even been hit. He pumped a round into the shotgun’s chamber, then fired at the Suburban, the blast shattering the rear passenger window. Bobby screamed. Sable aimed and fired, putting a bullet between the man’s eyes. The corpse bounced off the semi, then crumpled to the ground.

Sable let the .40 slip from his finger. He was barely able to move but somehow, despite paralysis, he found himself at Amy’s side. As he pulled her broken, lifeless body to his chest, tears welled in his eyes and streamed down his face. He gave out a heart-wrenching sob. It took all he had left to drag himself to the Suburban to check his son. Fear for his son’s safety took over, though, giving him inner strength from a deep untapped reservoir. He ripped the door open, only to see blood oozing from Bobby’s nonexistent face. His stomach churned with pure hate while his heart thudded in his chest like a racehorse running on an open track. His breath came in short painful bursts as his throat muscles crushed his windpipe. The adrenaline rush left him and Sable fell against the battered vehicle, slipped to the ground. With his family dead, was life worth living now? The thought of ending his life here—now—swirled in his head.

He looked for his gun, but his eyes wouldn’t focus. He tried to pull himself up but failed. A new thought emerged. He’d join his family, but later. His one mission in life now was to avenge his family’s murder— to kill David Meyers. Darkness clouded his mind, heart and soul—Meyers would die, slowly and painfully.

Chapter 1

The Present

Back from Anchorage, after a yearlong sabbatical, Sable entered his Juneau home for the first time after the murder of his family. Nothing seemed to have changed except the rooms were hollow and without life. He laid a large grocery bag full of mail on a dusty alcove table. When the memories of Bobby and Amy flooded his mind, it was as though two giant hands clutched at his throat trying to strangle him. He envisioned Bobby on the floor playing games while Amy snuggled in his arms on the couch.

Another scene from the past tried to enter his mind, but he shook it off. He saw Amy’s touch everywhere, from the simple and unique arrangement of furniture to the cream-colored walls offset by a white ceiling splattered with sparkling flecks. The dominant corner contained a long light-brown sofa facing a matching loveseat. The glass-topped coffee table in front of them held only two objects, the phone and the forget-me-not flower print runner she’d sewn to protect the glass top. His favorite chair, a black recliner, was placed strategically in line of sight with a thirty-two-inch flat screen color television inside a large entertainment center. Plush almond carpet covered the floor and the staircase, a staircase that led to the master bedroom and his den. Once alive, and now lifeless, soulless, and empty, the house held no meaning for him. Only planning revenge kept Sable going.

He walked to the picture window, pushed the beige curtains aside, and gazed at the street below. A year’s dust wafted from the material, dancing on the sun’s rays and finally coalescing in his lungs, forcing him to cough. Across the street sat a nondescript white van typical of stakeouts. On its side was emblazoned Jerry’s Plumbing Service. The hair on his neck bristled. One of Meyers’ thugs watched, maybe to finish the job.

Hell, it could be a trooper gone bad and on Meyers’s payroll. After evidence turned up missing from the vault, he knew there had to be one, maybe two. If these were Meyers’ henchmen, why hadn’t they visited him before this? Why hadn’t they trashed the house looking for evidence?

Letting the drapes fall, he realized he needed a pistol and to investigate the truck. Sable walked to the coffee table, knelt by the telephone and examined it from every angle. The receiver was clean—not a speck of dust. So, someone had visited. Cautiously, he lifted it and unscrewed the mouth piece. He pulled out an omni-directional surveillance bug. The device could pick up sound from anywhere in the room. The tag team in the truck had to be monitoring the house. He removed the device, dropped it to the floor, and crushed it with the heel of his shoe. Whoever had