Introducing “Phaenomena”, my new book – post I: a supporting character talks

“Phaenomena” is my new book, a thriller loaded with suspense, action, and a pinch of fantastic horror. It will be released next Friday – February 15th, on Amazon’s Kindle Platform.

I have written a synopsis for the book, of course, but part of its suspense is the “identity” of its leading character, so making blurbs and comments on it also bring along this challenge of not revealing too much. So, instead of writing a post on the theme of the book, on the characters or on what inspired it, I will try something different. There goes a couple of paragraphs with a dialogue between Michael, one of the seven supporting characters of the book, a tough police detective, and the police notary whom he needs to report to on the event that triggers the whole plot of the book. Michael is an impulsive, hands-on guy, though always honest and direct. He is not fond at all of needing to report for a bureaucrat co-worker, and his colleague knows it. Here we go.

~ ~ ~

Augustus took a deep drag on the cigarette, squeezed it in the ashtray beside the computer screen, blew the smoke nervously and moved his hands back onto the keyboard.

“Would you mind sitting down for a couple of minutes?”

“Yes”, answered Michael, as he ignored the notary’s request and kept standing, leaning on the wall and staring at the other man. Augustus sighed deeply and tried to focus on typing.

“So… You were saying that… Lucas and Wesley were cornered inside that store of the Easywork chain, in the West zone of the city…”

“Yeah. In the warehouse, at the back of the building.”

Michael, his gaze lit, jaws tense, turned to the window on the sidewall of the room. His eyes were restless; he was able to see the houses neighbouring the police station, but his mind drew a different picture, mapping the recent steps of the two well-known robbers, as he tried to connect the information and guess their next moves. The sharp pitch of the notary’s voice was somewhat annoying to his ears.

“…But when you arrived there, you weren’t able to see it clearly, were you? I mean, you couldn’t evaluate the whole situation, the level of threat, suspects, victims…?”

“…If you want to know if I risked someone’s life, go straight to the point, Gugu”, answered the detective, still gazing through the window.

“Hey!? Don’t call me Gugu. I just need you to detail the facts. You know, risks will also be considered, and –”

“It was a fucking hellish mess in the store when I arrived, Gugu”, Michael cut the notary. “That two bastards stormed into the place with guns in their hands; people were crawling on the floor, running away to the street, screaming; it was fucking chaotic. I moved in, and that security guard…”

“Paul?”

“…Yes, Paul; he followed me when I asked him where they were, but he seemed to be as frightened as the girls in the checkout lanes.” Michael turned back and crossed the room up to a water dispenser installed on the other corner, picked up a plastic cup and pressed the button to pour cold water in it. He sipped from the cup, and turned to the notary. “As soon as we entered the warehouse… BANG!”

Augustus jumped from his chair with a fright for Michael’s loud onomatopoeia, but kept his eyes still focused on the computer screen.

“…Wesley shot, as you said.”

“We were crawling behind the beams of the structure; we knew they were there. But Wesley shot first. Two, three times; only then we managed to locate him.”

“So, he fired first.”

“Do you want me to say it again, dickhead?”

Augustus coughed, and typed in silence for a while.

“…Next, you saw the civilians.”

“No. Next, Lucas appeared from behind the stocks, on the other side of the shed, and shot at us. Then we saw he was holding the hostage, the businessman.”

“And you…?”

“Me… What? You have never been in a gunfight, have you?… We couldn’t do anything. He was strangling the man with the arm, using him as a shield. But Wesley kept coming against us on the other side. And they kept firing. That was when I saw the other people in the cross-fire.”

“You took a move, too?”

“I had to jump behind the next beam. I was in Lucas fire line, and Wesley was somewhat cornering us. I moved to the side too, widened my perspective. And then I saw the two other people.”

“The girl with the dog… And the employee.”

Michael sighed. He remembered the bad feeling he had had at that exact moment. He remembered what he had thought – there was no way of not spilling too much blood in that place… His mind wandered back to that instant; he forgot about the police notary’s annoying voice for a while. At that exact minute in the warehouse, he knew that someone in that situation would certainly die. Many, if not most of them. Shit was ready to happen. He spoke to himself in a low tone.

“I don’t know… I don’t know how, but… Nobody had gotten shot yet…”

“…Sorry?” Said Augustus, raising his eyes from the screen.

Michael’s gaze slipped to the window again; he was clearly intrigued, and the notary noticed it. Augustus had already heard three testimonies on the event, two of the witnesses had been in the crossfire, and they all seemed to share some lack of clarity, especially about that moment, when an expected turn on the events seemed to have happened. However, each of them, in their own way, quoted they believed someone else had entered the warehouse. The businessman had said that there was another security guard, but he was not sure; Paul, who had followed Michael into the gunfight, agreed that someone had surged on the scene, but swore that there was no security guard apart from him at that time in the place. Augustus risked, trying to get some new information from Michael.

“…Not even the other security guard?”

“…What other security guard??”

“The one that entered the warehouse, according to Mr. Anthony, the businessman.”

Michael looked away. Augustus drew a subtle smile with the corner of his lips, as if he had had a small win, in the battle that taking Michael’s testimony used to be.

The detective was pensive. He took a deep breath.

“I don’t know… From where I was, I could only see… See a kind of figure, I… Well, the fact was, suddenly Lucas stopped firing at us. He turned to the other side, let the hostage go, and started to fire and scream as a mad dog, in another direction. Then, everything changed.”

“… Everything changed?”

“Yeah… Everything shifted; Wesley moved back, the girl ran to us, and…” Michael shook his head. He knew where his words would take him to. In fact, he would rather have finished Lucas and Wesley, those two vicious murderers, long before. And that thought made his blood boil.

Michael turned back and started walking to the door.

“Michael, could you please sit down for five seconds?”

“I am sorry, Gugu. I’ve got much to do.”

“Michael… Michael!”

Augustus kept screaming. However, it was useless. Michael left the room in haste, and in not more than a minute he already was turning on the engine of his car to leave the parking lot of the police station.

~ ~ ~

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