You can find the second chapter of Rubicon Ranch, the Second Wind collaborative novel here: “Chapter Two: Seth Bryan — by Lazarus Barnhill.” Next week we will be posting a chapter by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner, authors of the wonderful noir novel One Too Many Blows to the Head. We hope you will join us in our adventure!
Here’s a taste of Chapter Two:
“Look I know you’re dressed for the desert and everything,” Bryan said, “but I hope you won’t be offended if I ask you to sit in the unit here for a minute or two and enjoy the air conditioning while I talk to my deputies.”
He could tell she was thinking over his request carefully, that Melanie didn’t quite trust him. She also didn’t act like someone who had just killed a child and was trying to cover it up, although—he judged—she might be clever enough to do just that.
“Well if I have to wait,” she said, “I guess I’m better off in here than out in hundred degree weather.”
Bryan opened the driver’s door. “One hundred and three degrees,” he corrected.
Frio and Midget were standing within a few feet of the discarded TV, as if to make sure the child inside did not get out and skip away. Midget paid less attention to the crime scene than the scrub brush and mounds of rock and dirt around him.
“Do we know who this was?” the sheriff asked as he joined them.
“No,” Frio said. “If she’s from this housing development, it won’t be hard to find out. Not too many girls her age up here.”
“They don’t know she’s gone,” Midget offered in his falsetto. “Otherwise they would have reported her missing before Flower Child over there found her.”
“Yeah, unless they killed her.” He glanced back to his Navigator. Melanie was staring at them. “So this Melanie Gray. More to her than meets the eye, you think?”
“Obviously,” Frio replied. “With all those clothes she wears, almost nothing meets the eye.”
“Yeah.” He turned back toward the TV. “I would totally discount her as being involved in any way, except for one thing. From the very first, she talked about this as if it’s a murder.”
Midget looked down at him. “You think it’s not a murder?”
He shrugged. “What is she—eight, nine-years-old? She sneaks out at night after bedtime and loses her way. No one notices she’s gone. She gets lost. She gets dehydrated. She finds the TV console and decides to sit it in for shelter. Maybe she dies of exposure. Or maybe one of those green rattlers around here bit her. Since no one could hear her crying for help, she crawled in the TV and the venom got her.” He looked up at Midget, who was gazing around them. “You don’t like snakes, do you?”
Click here to read the whole chapter: Chapter Two: Seth Bryan — by Lazarus Barnhill
If you haven’t yet read the first chapter of this novel experience you can find it here: “Chapter One: Melanie Gray — by Pat Bertram“.