The Abused is a psychological thriller about nine addicts who go to rehab only to have one of them start murdering the others. The novel is set to release in Fall 2016.
Reader discretion is advised. Some of this content may be profane and not appropriate for readers under the age if 18.
With the center in lock down it was quiet, which was strange for a place usually softly humming, but sometimes with remote screams from detox. Deacon sat on his bed reading The Help. He didn’t like the book much, but it was all they had in the library that he even considered looking at. He stared out the window just as the light drizzle of the evening rain began and wind gently swept and sprayed the window.
Deacon kept thinking about Violet and was too distracted to really absorb the story. Ever since he met her he hadn’t been able to get her off his mind. The obsession had driven him to drink just to soften the edges of the pain. He thought about her strawberry blonde hair, the natural soft curls, and the shine of light-red highlights. He thought about her creamy complexion so unlike his own. He would close his eyes and remember the last time they made love. How he had run his fingertips along the curves of her hips and stroked her lower back. He remembered her childish giggle whenever she drank fine wine, and how her eyes sparkled in the light. He got hard thinking about their lovemaking. He considered rubbing it out, but the lights of the police cars below caught his attention.
He went to the window to see as far down as he could. The police cars just kept arriving in droves. It looked like a station parking lot at this point. They hadn’t said exactly what happened when they asked the patients to go to their rooms, but Deacon knew by the looks of the men-in-blue it was serious. He had a fleeting thought maybe someone was killed, but that seemed ridiculous in a place like this one. It was as far from maximum-security prison as you could get. Yet the new arrivals definitely had his hackles up.
They were allowed into the hallways, but the hall doors were locked tight. Deacon got up and walked out into the corridor to find Kendra standing by the north window. She was mesmerized by all of the cars, but also looked strangely dazed. Well, she always looked on the edge of catatonia. She had those doe-like eyes that were never fixed on you. She seemed to stare through you and over you, but never at you. Deacon only knew bits and pieces of her story from group. He knew there had been a baby involved, and that was enough (for him) to understand her remoteness and closed-off body language.
He walked over to her and briefly admired her olive complexion and dark hair with just a single curl hanging in her face. He wanted to brush it away, but knew not to come any closer. She would move away and probably rush back to her room. He had learned to give her a wide berth.
“Got any idea what happened?” he asked.
Kendra kept staring out the window. “No,” she responded almost imperceptibly.
“Looks serious to me,” he said and inched just a touch forward, but not enough to alarm her.
“So many men,” she uttered just as quietly.
“Any good looking ones?” he chuckled.
That comment made her pause. Her eyes fluttered a bit, and she stepped back from the window and just slightly further from Deacon, the Italian heart throb.
“Hey, it was just a joke,” Deacon said when he could see such a strange look pass over her face. “Are you okay?” he asked and stepped forward just a bit. He felt like she needed to be comforted.
Their dance of “distance” continued with Kendra moving back toward her room. She was like this nervous deer caught in the headlights of his presence. She looked down and moved quickly into room before Deacon could say another word. It was then that Frank came out from his room on the far end of the hall. He walked over to the same window and observed the scene below, too.
“That’s a whole lot of blue,” he muttered. “Someone got killed.”
“You think?” asked Deacon remembering that Frank was the CHP guy with the dead best friend and a nasty drug habit.
“Yep. They don’t invite the squad unless something major has happened,” said Frank as he watched the comings and goings of the forensic team.
Frank turned from the window and looked at the handsome Italian. “Apparently.”
“But this is rehab not San Quentin,” said Deacon.
Frank chuckled for a moment. “Maybe one of our dear friends decided to take the easy way out.”
“Yeah, that’s probably better than three days in detox.”
Frank laughed, “Anything’s better than detox.” Frank acted antsy and went back to the window. “Wish I were in on the action.”
“You miss it?”
“Sometimes,” he sighed. “I mostly miss the bike … and Jonesy.”
“Oh no one,” he sighed.
Deacon nodded. “I miss Violet.”
Deacon had moaned so much about his ex-girlfriend that everyone knew her name – and not in a good way. Deacon’s obsession ran everything he did and said. He knew it was unhealthy. He just didn’t know how to quit thinking about her. He thought about suggesting hypnotherapy to Mr. Craig Pauline, but even then he wasn’t sure what would happen. Craig had only placated him by saying “All break-ups are hard.” Deacon knew it was hard. Hell 10 bottles of whiskey later and he knew it was hard.
“God I could use a drink,” he suddenly blurted.
Frank stared at him. “A pile of coke would do it for me.”
“I think about Violet all day. Shit I’m addicted to her more than the booze,” he moaned.
Frank laughed and slapped his arm. “Get over it my friend.”
“Yeah, well easy for you to say.”
“Hey, we’re all in here because we’ve got shit to deal with. It’s not the drugs you know. It’s the painful shit in life that for some reason our group of friends here avoid with substances. Believe me when I say, it will get better.”
“Is that from you to me or me to you?” smiled Deacon.
Frank looked down below and nodded. “Yep. Murder.”
He watched them load a body bag into the back of a Coroner’s van that had just backed up into the driveway.
Deacon ran over to the window and saw the scene down below. Both men stood there and watched closely as two guys slammed the van doors shut and stood back. Deacon was totally speechless. And for the first time in a long time he wasn’t thinking about Violet. He was mesmerized by the scene going on and the thought that someone had died in the place.