In Jamie Brodie-land, Trapped to Death begins today. (The book is still on track for publication in late November.) To mark the occasion, here’s an unedited segment from Chapter 4.
Sunday, September 25
I was dreaming that Pete and I had returned to Jennifer’s former apartment. We knocked, but it wasn’t Jennifer that answered the door – it was Barb Simmons. Behind her, the apartment was stacked to the ceiling with thousands and thousands of books. She scowled at us. “What are you doing here?”
I said, “We came for your books.”
“Oh, no, you don’t.” Barb tried to slam the door shut. Pete stuck his foot out to block her, and Ammo began to bark…
I woke up. Ammo was on his feet, ears perked, growling. I raised my head to look at him, and he woofed. Not a full-throated bark, but enough to make his point. Something was going on.
I glanced at the clock – 3:30 am. Ammo woofed again and went to the door. Pete made a “mmph” sound and rolled over. I slipped as quietly as possible out of bed and pulled on a pair of briefs. The windows of our bedroom were above head height, so I couldn’t see out of them. I parted the blinds in the door leading to the deck and peered out, but I couldn’t see much.
When I opened the bedroom door, Ammo shot downstairs to the back door. I tiptoed after him and went to the peephole. There was nothing on the first-floor deck or the steps leading to the pavement. Everything else was in darkness. I went to the living room; there was nothing outside the front door peephole. I cracked the blinds on our large front windows and saw nothing out of place.
Ammo stood at the back door, growling. He barked twice, sharply. I went back to the kitchen and peeked out the back door. Our back porch light revealed nothing. The rest of the alley was in shadow. I listened for a moment and heard nothing.
Ammo had his nose pressed to the screened door, sniffing and whining.
Whatever it was, it didn’t seem to be a threat to us. I said, “I don’t know, big guy. Wish you could tell me what you heard.”
Ammo looked up at me and whined again.
I closed and locked the back door. “Back to bed?”
He knew the word bed. He turned reluctantly and trotted back up the steps.
When I slid back into bed Pete grunted softly. “What?”
“Ammo heard something, but everything seems quiet.”
“Sorry I woke you.”
“Was Ammo’s toenails.”
“Ah. Go back to sleep.”
He followed orders as well as Ammo did and was out again in seconds. Before I went back to sleep myself, I made a mental note to clip Ammo’s nails.