Friday, November 24, 2006

NOV EXCERPT - The Reservationist

The Reservationist
By Barbra Porter - Coleman

The Reservationist is a heart-throbbing mystery-thriller that will keep you intrigued. This novel is also mainstream dealing with child molestation, foster care, and adoption. Read how these issues remarkably intertwine and how the left-handed serial killer is shocked when stumbling upon some disturbing news.

Early morning dew lay on the Texas grass as Diamond O’Connell, the fictitious name she frequently used, dashed across the front lawn in her teddy. With the sun highlighting her slim body, she hurriedly picked up the newspaper and ran back inside before the neighbors could see her. She sat at the breakfast table, opened the paper, and scanned the want ads.

Suddenly, there it was—her gateway to revenge: JET AWAY AIRWAYS ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SALES RESERVATIONIST. “The deadline is today!” She jumped up, letting the paper flutter to the floor as she ran to the shower.

Two hours later, she stood in front of the corporate office of Jet Away staring at her reflection in the glass door. A mad woman camouflaged by beauty stared back. She pushed open the door and smiled at the receptionist as she stepped up to the glass case.

“May I help you?” asked the receptionist, sliding back the little door.

“Yes, I’m here for the sales reservationist’s position.”

“Your timing is perfect.” She smiled. “The manager has been hiring on the spot,” the receptionist said, handing Diamond an application on a clipboard. “Can you type?”

“Yes, I can,” Diamond lied, aware that it had been years since she’d been near a keyboard.

Pointing to the other end of the room, the receptionist said, “Take a seat over at the table.”

As Diamond walked over to the round table her silky black, hair swayed across her shoulders with each step. Forty minutes later, after completing the two-step process, the receptionist escorted her to a large office where six other applicants—four young ladies and two men—eagerly waited to find out if they had the job.

Diamond took her seat. “I’ve got to get this job; I have to,” she muttered to herself, clenching the pencil in her hand until it broke. “Jet Away, you’re going to pay for what you did to me.” Realizing she was speaking aloud, she looked around, hoping no one had heard the hostility in her voice or the threat, but everybody continued talking and looking at magazines.

The receptionist returned fifteen minutes later with a big smile. “Congratulations, you’ve all been accepted.”

“Oh, thank you!” Diamond said as she stood. This is the break I need, she thought, trying hard to suppress a wicked grin.

“Study the airline codes and the other information in your packet and we will see you next Monday for training,” said the receptionist as she handed out the packets.

“Thank you. You won’t regret it,” Diamond said again as she left the office with a vengeful smile. And God said vengeance is mine, the voice wailed inside her head. “I know, but you have to take the backseat on this one,” Diamond retorted.

The next week, Diamond sat in the intense training session with twenty other new hirees. Determined to complete training, she put her personal life on hold to focus on the class. She knew she had to get inside the operation if she wanted revenge. Each day she would walk by the administrative office getting familiar with its layout, watching the security guard perambulate through the building make his rounds.

After successfully completing four weeks of training, plus another two months on the phone, she began covertly studying ways to get into the administrative office. One afternoon as she headed for her break, she peeked through the glass door of the administration office and noticed a set of keys on the desk. She could hear two women laughing somewhere in the background, but saw no one in the office. She slipped into the office, quickly slid the keys into her jacket, and walked out the opened door.

Later that night, at around midnight, she returned to the dark office and tried one of the keys in the lock. Nothing happened. “Damn.” She frowned, glanced around the empty hallway, and tried the second key. The lock clicked softly. Bingo! She slithered through the door like a snake, looking over her shoulder for the frail security guard, who constantly walked the halls. She locked the door and walked a few feet toward the back of the room where there was a beveled glass door labeled ‘Archives’.

The door unlocked on her first try. Leaving the door slightly ajar, she surveyed the small room, which contained several four-foot-tall gray file cabinets. She quietly searched the cabinet closest to the door for fifteen minutes, but didn’t find the information that would set her free from the demons that haunted her. Just as she finished going through the second cabinet the door up front rattled, making her gasp. Her hand went to her chest. She turned off the light, closed the door, and hid behind a file cabinet, removing the switchblade from her jacket. Must be the security guard making his rounds, she thought as she felt her heart pounding. Sweat started to fall. “If he walks in here, this will be the last round this guard makes.” She uttered with gritted teeth. Satisfied all was secure, the guard moved down the hall, to live another day.

A few minutes later, she came out from behind the cabinet and listened for a moment before she flipped the light switch on, and continued her quest. Tackling the third file cabinet, she began tossing folders on the floor, not caring where they landed. Her anger began to boil at not finding the information she desperately sought. Finally, she pulled out a file labeled ‘Employees’ Deaths’ and began scanning each page before tossing it aside. Halfway through the folder she ran across what she had been looking for: ‘Lacy Brent.’ “This is it,” she said, gripping at the paper. She continued reading the rest of the file. ‘He has a wife, Wanda Brent, and daughter, Tia.’

“Wanda Brent, you will pay,” she spoke with emphasis, “for what your husband did to me.”

She tore off the Brents’ address and phone number, stuffed it in her pocket, stepped over the files, and quickly walked to the glass door. The slight sound of keys jingling caught her attention as she peered through the glass and saw the security guard coming her way. Diamond hid behind a wall while the guard shook the door handle, and then he continued down the hall. When she saw the guard walk around the corner and out of sight she cracked open the door. She trembled as she swung opened the door and fled to the safety of her car.

Diamond drove home like a crazy woman. Heading straight for the phone, she took out the paper and began pressing numbers. “Damn, it’s disconnected.” She slammed down the receiver and rushed to the computer, pulled up Mapsco, typed in the address, got the directions to the Brents’ house, printed them out, grabbed her purse, and headed for her Jeep. Tears of grief welled in her eyes as she pulled up in front of the house and turned off the motor.

Convinced this was the moment, she got out of the car and peeked through a small window at the front of the house. Overwhelmed with vengeance, her fear quickly dissipated. Then she saw a shadow moving inside and returned to her car. After scoping out the house for an hour, she decided to leave. “I’ll be back early before she goes to work.” She began to start the car, then thought, I may miss her if I leave. She coaxed her Jeep a few yards down the street and camped out for the night.

Exhausted, she could hardly feel the chilled air rushing through the cracked window, brushing her face as she slept. The moon faded and day broke. The chirping of the birds woke her; she knew the sun would be out shortly. She sat up, stretched, and checked the clock on the dash before opening the glove compartment for her disguise. A piece of paper where she had repeatedly practiced writing her fictitious name fell to the floor. She pulled out a blonde wig styled in a bob, tucked her hair underneath as she adjusted the wig on her head, popped a couple of mints into her mouth to disguise her morning breath, put the gear in reverse and backed the car up to the house. She walked boldly up the steps to a beautiful white two-story brick house, cleared her throat, and rang the doorbell.

“Coming,” she heard from inside the house. Seconds later, the door opened half way. “May I help you?” a woman asked.

Diamond glared at the tall, blonde woman and then extended her sweaty hand. “Hi, I’m Diamond O’Connell with Secure Security System.” She flashed a smile. “I noticed you aren’t serviced by a security company.” She looked back, “there’s not a sign in the yard.”

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1 comment:

Minnie E Miller said...

Barbara, it sounds thrilling, indeed. It's on my list.

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