Authors: Keith Latch
Tags: #Suspense, #Murder, #Police Procedural, #Thriller, #Friendship, #drama, #small town crime, #succesful businessman, #blood brothers, #blood, #prison
|Keith Latch (2011)
|small town crime, Police Procedural, Murder, succesful businessman, drama, blood brothers, Suspense, blood, prison, Friendship, Thriller
BLOOD BROTHERS is a full-length thriller of Michael Cole and the return of the man he once shared an almost unbreakable bond with, Jerry-short for Jerusalem--Garrett.Years ago, Mike Cole was an overweight kid that couldn't get through the day without being bullied and picked on. School was hell for him and home was worse. Just when young Mike believes he can't take any more of the abuse, he meets young Jerry. Jerry Garrett is new in town and presents himself at a moment when he is able to come to Mike's rescue, just in time. It seems that Jerry not only has a knack for standing up for Mike but showing him how to do it for himself as well. Mike and Jerry become fast friends and before long they are the "in-crowd" and Mike begins to enjoy the privileges of being one of the popular kids. All this ends when, during their senior year, the two are involved in a heinous crime that sends Jerry away to prison. Years later, Michael Cole is one of the most successful men in town and has money, a beautiful wife, and an adoring daughter. Everything is perfect...until Jerry Garrett returns wanting what he is rightfully his: Michael's success. If Michael isn't willing to hand it over, Jerry is prepared to stop at nothing, including taking his former friends life, to have it. This edition also includes a shirt excerpt of Cemetery Things Book 1 of the Ungodly Sage, the chilling tale of horror from Keith Latch:For one hundred years, The Devil's Graveyard has been a place of horror, gruesome murders, and terrible mutilations. For too long have the locals allowed this place to take their loved ones. But one murder too many causes action. The death of a teenager spurs his family and the local authorities into action. Armed with little more than myth and superstition, the time for a showdown is long overdue.
Copyright 2011 Keith Latch
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A Ghost Story
No Small Thing
It had to be. It couldn’t have been anything
else. A specter, a mere phantom of a tired, overworked imagination.
Yes, that’s what it had to be. Didn’t it?
Michael Cole swallowed hard and scanned the
auditorium. People were seated, some still milling about. Many were
conversing with each other. Some were not. Michael and Stephanie
had been walking down the aisle on the left side, searching for
seats, when he’d been stopped cold. Whatever it was he’d seen, or
thought he’d seen, was now gone. His mouth was dry and people were
pushing past him. Stephanie gave a glance back, a puzzled look
across her face, and he, now back to his senses, quickly joined her
down just a couple of rows.
“Are you okay? Are you feeling all
“Yes. Yes, I’m fine.” Lies came so easily to
Stephanie said nothing else. Leading the way,
she procured a couple of seats in the middle of the audience, about
halfway between the stage and the rear of the building. “How’s
“Fine. Let’s just sit.”
They did. Stephanie dug in her purse for a
moment. She extracted a small, thin camera and handed it to her
husband. For herself, she fished out a camcorder not much larger.
She flipped it open and tested the settings. Michael palmed the
camera and continued scanning the faces of those around him.
Suddenly the warm air of the playhouse had turned a bitter cold.
The change in temperature did little to keep sweat from beading on
“Mike, are you sure you’re okay? You
Please don’t say I look like I’ve just seen a
ghost, I just couldn’t take it.
awfully pale. Do you feel
dizzy, sick to your stomach?”
“I think I just might need some water. Be
right back.” Stephanie started to say something, but Michael wasn’t
listening. While the seats between them and the aisle had been
empty only moments ago, they were now filled and Michael stumbled
across feet, bumped into knees and uttered apologies as he made his
way to the open area. Several quick strides took him out of the
auditorium and into the hallway.
The auditorium was part of Winchester Central
Elementary School, a new addition. This was the inaugural play.
Michael Cole had never before set foot inside the expansive room,
despite the fact that he had donated every cent of the construction
and decorating costs. Everything about Winchester Central made him
anxious and uneasy. How anxious and uneasy, he’d forgotten.
Forgotten until about five minutes ago, that is.
Memories flooded back as he made his way to
the restroom near the front entranceway. No, that wasn’t exactly
right. Not complete, whole memories, more like jagged shards of
glass instead of an intact window. Just enough to know something
was supposed to be there, something else to fill in the hole.
He felt the pearls of sweat forming and then
trailing down his forehead, his cheeks, and the tip of his nose. He
was dressed well, in a classic navy blue pinstripe suit, but the
way he was dressed shouldn’t be the cause of his being wringing
wet. Still, October in Mississippi often remained if not warm, far
from cold, so he wore no overcoat. He found himself slinging off
his jacket as he stepped into the boys’ room.
Thankfully, the brightly lit room was empty.
Nothing but Michael and the lowered sinks, toilets, and urinals.
Michael barely broke five foot eleven, but he felt like a giant in
this child-sized room. At the sink, he had to bend a bit lower to
rest his hands on either side of the cool porcelain basin. His
reflection was ruffled, ragged. His usually impeccably-styled hair
was mussed, his bangs dripping sweat. His eyes, however, troubled
him the most. Within those orbs, Michael saw the emotion he felt
biting into his soul: fear.
Michael twisted the water on, cupped his
hands beneath the flow and dashed not icy, but at least cool water
on his face. There was a fire in his skin and he aimed to put it
Another dash of water and he was starting to
feel almost human again.
As he turned the faucet off, killing the flow
of water, the door swung open. Michael reached for a paper towel
and pulled a few extra for good measure. He glanced in the mirror
as he patted his face dry.
“Mike? Michael Cole? That you?” The tall,
wide, obscenely corpulent man sauntered over, his stomach and jowls
shaking like a bowl full of jelly. But this was no Santa Claus. Not
even close. The years had not been kind to the man, but Michael
recognized him just the same. How could you ever forget a man who,
as a child, had haunted your dreams so…completely?
“Sam. Yeah, it’s me.” Michael stood and wiped
the excess water from his hands with the damp towels. With one hand
he pitched the wadded paper into waste bin. The other stayed at his
side, not meeting the newly arrived man’s outstretched hand.
“Wow, Cole. It’s been years, hasn’t it? I’d
“Twenty-seven, twenty-eight years, I
believe.” Given another moment, Michael could most likely figure it
down to the day.
Something in Mike’s voice must have been
telling. Sam stepped back, almost imperceptibly, but Michael caught
it. He smiled. “You’re looking good, Sam. What’ve you been up to
all these years?”
Apparently such a question required a lot of
brain power. Michael could almost hear the gears grinding inside
Sam’s fat head. “Well, uh, after I finished school—”
You mean dropped out don’t you, Sammy
I got on doing roustabout
work down on the boats. Did that for a few years. Moved back and
started at the paper mill, but hurt my back. Been piddling with
lawnmowers and ATV’s ever since.”
“Sounds like you’ve been around, friend.
Lived an adventurous life, heh?”
“Uh, well, I…”
“Well, if you don’t mind, Sam. It’s been
great talking to you, but I need to get back.”
“Oh, yeah, me too.”
As Michael stepped past Sam, he noticed two
things. First, he stank of day-old cigar smoke. Two, he still had
his hand out, as if he actually expected Michael to shake it.
Michael exhaled deeply as he stepped out of
the boys’ room—a breath of pure relief. He’d played it cool all
right, but he could remember a meet-up in the bathroom like that
going much, much differently back in the old days.
He’d known better than to traipse down to
this godforsaken place. This school held a bevy of miserable
tidings for him. It wasn’t only this building, either. Three rather
large, but completely unattractive buildings; the elementary
school, the junior high (or middle school, as it’s called now—what
kind of freaking name is that, anyway?), and the high school were
all linked by the same type of covered walkway. While the other two
schoolhouses did not hold the same kind of wicked nostalgia as this
one, they were all better off not visited.
As he walked—rather steadily he might
add—back to the auditorium entrance, he went to work knocking the
shards from the window frame of his past. As he neared the
double-door entrance to the Cole Wing—nice ring, don’t you
think?—an arm flashed out from the open doorway of a classroom, a
darkened classroom, grabbing him. He was pulled with tremendous
force, and was inside before he could utter a single word.
He did, however, have time for one thought: a
ghost, it has to be.
But that was ridiculous. Ghosts have neither
form nor substance. Ghosts can influence, but not physically alter
matter. Very academic thinking for a man in such a situation, one
might say. But it was not wisdom, an expensive education, or even
natural intelligence that caused him to arrive at his current line
It was the smell of tangerines, the touch of
soft lips upon his own. It was the warm embrace of a thin, solid
body that wrapped itself around him.
After a long kiss he pushed away, slightly.
“Jesus Christ, Carrie. You scared the hell out of me.”
“Oh, Michael,” she breathed. “No need to be
so dramatic. I missed you. I couldn’t wait for tomorrow.”
“We’re in a school for crying out loud.”
She brought him closer to her. He did not
resist. “What’s the matter, lover, never make out after class?” She
kissed him again. And again, he did not resist.
Carrie was quite used to having her way, and
doing whatever it took to get it was not beyond her. Fortunately,
more times than not, her way often benefited Michael as well. After
a moment of heavy petting, “I’ve got to get back to Stephanie.
She’ll be worried.”
Carried laughed. “That champagne diva is so
high on feel-good pills she probably doesn’t even know what zip
code she’s in.”
The noble thing for Michael to have done was
defend his wife’s honor. The idea of nobility disappeared as
Carried pulled his hand to her breast, and he felt the heat within
his groin suddenly flame out of control. In turn, she placed a hand
on his butt. He thought no more of the school, of Stephanie. He had
but one thing on his mind and it was—to put it mildly—quite
Stephanie waited for several moments. Michael
didn’t come back. She’d been married to the man long enough to
know, if he wasn’t back in five minutes, he wouldn’t be back soon.
You’d think the guy could sit through his own daughter’s first
piano recital. But, if that was what you thought, you didn’t know
Michael very well. Her only regret was she’d handed him the