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.
Detectives Marcus Patrick and Vincent Valdez had spent a grueling afternoon talking to each addict. Marcus found their insistent chatter emotionally draining. He felt like he had gone from crackerjack police detective to psychoanalyst all in one day. He chuckled to think some people did this for a living. He thought he would have to shoot his brains out if he had to spend a career listening to people whine about their “cravings” and their shitty, little lives.
At one point Marcus wanted to scream, “Hey! I had a shitty life too buddy, but you don’t see me snorting coke and popping pills. Oh no! I’m here trying to figure out who killed your politician buddy who from the reports sounded like maybe a stab or two in the gut was well deserved.”
Marcus though sat there with a languid face and listened to each person’s plausible deniability. “I don’t know nothin’.” “You ain’t accusin’ me, are you?” “I’m an addict not a murderer.” It would be a challenge to see through the bullshit to the truth. Addicts were excellent liars – good at covering up their crap with solid-sounding lies. Well, the smart ones anyway. The stupid ones, they just lied and hoped everyone believed their heaping pile of steaming shit.
Marcus kept thinking about Merry not the array of addicts parading in front of him. He was looking forward to reporting back to her. She was a beacon of light in the midst of this oddly absurd place called rehab. Though it was Finley Sullivan who caught his attention. The former lawyer-turned-loser addict was barely functional as was the case with Kendra, but at the same time Finley had a vacant expression of lackluster care.
“So, you were a lawyer?” asked Marcus.
“Yeah, okay, yeah, they tell me that, but I honestly don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” questioned Vincent.
“Nope,” said the hapless man who had to catch occasional drool from his own mouth.
“You think maybe a mental institute might accommodate you better?” asked Marcus.
“Do you know anything at all?” questioned Vincent.
“Not really. You know when is Jell-O time. I like the green shit,” said Finley.
“Lime Jello-O?” asked Marcus.
“Yeah, lime … can I go now?”
“Guess so,” said Marcus in a quiet voice.
Finley got up and ambled off like a drunken fool, which he was by all accounts. Vincent looked at Marcus with a quizzical stare.
“Hell, that man’s chain is loose and his marbles lost,” said Marcus.
“No fooling,” laughed Vincent.
“You think he could stab the shit out of someone?”
“Yeah, and eat some puddin’ later?” jeered Marcus.
“I think he’s one step left of straight and very lost.”
Marcus nodded and considered whether the very confused Finley Sullivan could actually stab a blade into someone’s gut or not. And why would he? Unless he knew the disgraced politician in his former life as a lawyer, which the hapless fool didn’t even remember having done for a living. It didn’t seem particularly plausible except that things that often made zero sense added up to two cents and a confession and life sentence.
“You think those two knew each other at some point?” asked Vincent.
“It’s possible, but the real question is…”
Merry walked in the room, “Did they hate each other?”
Marcus turned and looked at the demure Merry whose eyes sparkled at him with an unusual and unexpected flirtatiousness. “Exactly.”
“Nope!” she said flatly.
“How do you know?” asked Vincent.
“Already checked,” she replied astutely.
“Well then … there goes that lead,” complained Marcus.
“It’s lunch time in the common area … top sirloin and eggs over easy,” offered Merry.
“Cool! I’m famished,” said Vincent. “You coming?”
“Nope, I want to speak to Ms. Fenmore for a moment.”
“Suit yourself … easy eggs and steak await…” and then Vincent bounded out of the room like a hungry hunter destined for some chow.
Marcus focused his attention on Merry. “You always researching the ‘inmates’?”
“No, but then again it’s rare someone gets murdered on the 5th floor, right?”
“You’re very attractive,” blurted Marcus.
“Um, okay…” said Merry with a frown.
Marcus stepped forward and she stepped back in some sort of strange dance move. They both halted for the moment and gazed at each other.
“I like Enya. You like her? I love the song ‘Angels’. You are, you know … an angel.”
Merry had never heard such nonsense. She only stared at the attractive detective and didn’t have anything to say.
“Heaven pass away … and memories to pull …” he spouted like a hopeless romantic.
“What?” she was speechless.
“Angels … all those dark clouds …” he grinned.
“Are you crazy?”
“Um … okay.”
“You want to go to town. The Highways and Byways Diner – best damn waffles you’ll ever taste.”
“I don’t like waffles.”
Merry stared at her perfectly shaped black Italian-leather pumps. The word “angels” echoed through her mind. She looked up and with the slightest smile and replied, “Yes.”
Marcus grinned and they left the room – together.