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Authors: Dale Mayer

Tags: #Mystery, #contemporary fiction, #YA, #coming of age, #suspense, #adventure, #Dale Mayer, #Adult crossover, #Family Blood Ties

Gem Stone

BOOK: Gem Stone
2.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Gem Stone


A Gemma Stone Mystery


 Dale Mayer


Valley Publishing 

Copyright © 2012


ISBN-13: 978-1-927461-39-6


This is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidences either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. 


 License Notes


This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents
  20. Other Books
  21. About the author

usk had settled on the small town of Oxford in the south of Oregon. Not that it mattered to the drink-happy driver barreling down the road. He'd lived here for most of his life and knew every road in this one horse town and he knew every damn person, to boot.


Course most of them were family. He had more uncles and cousins in this county and the next to make up several football teams. And they were tight. At least most of them were.


But he had plans. Big plans. And they involved getting the hell out of here.


He turned the corner and gunned the motor. Gravel spit out the back. He grinned; it was a little sloppy, but hey he'd been drinking hard for decades. Sure wasn't about to change now.


He reached over and cranked up the music.


The truck swerved on the road, crossing the yellow line.


"Woops!" He chuckled and starting singing loudly to the country music playing. In his rearview mirror, he checked on his
cargo. Precious my ass. He shrugged. Still, those chemicals were funding his early retirement. Planned to buy a boat and head south next year if he could pull it off.


And what an easy way to make money. Store the damn stuff in an underground cellar on his own place. Who'd know? Even after selling the place, there was no way the new owners would find his hiding place. Another year of these steady shipments and he'd be good. Thank heavens for his family connection to the hazardous waste disposal company. The company didn't want to know how he made the chemicals disappear and he had no intention of volunteering the information. They could pay extra for that.


He'd long been called 'Fixer' for just that reason. He fixed things – just the way people liked them fixed. Made him feel good to know he was the solution to the problem.


He grinned sloppily. An expensive solution.


They had the money. Why shouldn't they spread it his way?


The truck swerved again. He shrugged. He needed a new one. Just didn't want to attract any attention by driving a brand new rig around. He made decent money in law enforcement, but not enough for all the toys he wanted.


He checked the rearview mirror. He was alone.


The turnoff was coming. This old road would take him off the main road and out of public view. He slowed, turned. The back end slithered sideways, straightened out to surge forward and bounced over the ruts. He shut off his driving lights. He didn't want anyone to see him back here.


The sky darkened.


He yawned. Damn the trip seemed long tonight.


Shouldn't have stopped for that extra couple of beers. He was just a few miles from home. Up past John Graham's halfway house full of his juvenile delinquents.


That reminded him of his creepy old uncle who was a big wig at Stanton Correctional Center, a couple of counties over. It had been his stupid idea to put the halfway house here in Oxford.


Fixer couldn't stand the asshole. His uncle had a way of looking at a person as if he could see inside them. It gave him the creeps. In fact, everyone called him Creepers. Fixer grinned, remembering all the jokes he'd made about his uncle over the years. All the other nicknames he'd tried to lay on him. Crumpet… Rumper, Lumpton. But his sly looks and fleshy lips had given rise to the name Creepers and that name had stuck. Even the juvie kids called him that – behind his back, of course.


And that brought Fixer's mind back to those loser kids now living in his neighborhood. Damn. Why the hell did Creepers have to start that damn home here? The alcohol haze didn't help him answer that question.


With his window wide open, he stuck his head out and took a deep breath to try and clear his head.


The bridge was coming up. Old with a nasty hook corner on both sides, that damn spot had brought about more than its share of accidents before the road was changed. Not for him though. He was too damn careful.


He smirked.


Something bolted from the side of the road into his path. Instinctively he turned the wheel. And turned it too far – then overcorrected. The truck jerked, twisted, something metallic crackled – loudly.




The truck spun out of control. Spinning around and around and…slammed into the small cement retaining wall at full force...and flipped over and over…miraculously coming to rest on its tires – minus the load in the back of the box.


"Oh fuck!" Still woozy from the beer and the rapid shift of events, Fixer opened the door and tossed his cookies. He stumbled out of the truck and bent over again. After a moment, as the world righted itself, he slowly straightened and surveyed the mess.


"Now this is just a piss-ass situation, ain't it?" He walked around his old truck and sighed with relief that the wheels and tires still looked to be intact. There were already enough dents and dings on the old beast to hide any new ones. Except for the left front headlight. He stared at the busted light, then shrugged. No big deal. He pulled himself into the cab and turned the engine. It took several tries, but the old truck fired up. "Well thank God for something."


Stumbling out again, he walked around to the back of the truck. He stared at the two open tubs of whatever-the-fuck nastiness that slowly poured into the creek. John's creek. "Shit and double shit." Thank God he'd remembered to take this old overgrown road tonight. A time or two, in the past, he'd forgotten to do that. Here no one could see or hear him.


So no one would know about the spill as long as this mess was cleaned up – and fast.


He dug into his pocket, propped himself against the back of his truck, and dialed.


Someone had to clean this shit up.


And it certainly wasn't going to be him.


week later




Gemma Stone shifted the angle of the camera to take in a wider area.
Click. Click.
She crouched lower
. Click.
Another twist of the zoom.
A bird circled overhead, casting a shadow on the grass beside her. She shifted her position then checked her watch. Damn. She had to meet Creepers in an hour…




She already knew how that meeting would go.


Still, right now, she had important things to do. Like figure out what these men were doing. She'd originally come to see if there was still that weird green slime on the creek that she'd noticed a couple of days ago. And if it was, she wanted to snap a few photos. The slime might have been algae…but on moving water? She had no idea what it was or what caused it but figured if she took pictures she could ask someone.


Only some strangers were here and she had no idea who or what they were doing. Or why they were here. This area was private property. If they were hikers who'd stopped to rest by the creek, she'd have understood. But whoever this was had driven their truck across the field to the creek and parked there.


John's property was huge. The old homestead sat back from the street with acreage extending on all sides and went a long ways behind the stone wall at the rear. The houses here were spaced apart – they still could see the neighbors yet far enough away to be private.


For a former city girl, the openness had grown on her, especially the creek, It seemed so secluded and away from everything. But not today, because that's where these two men had planted themselves. They skulked around and kept glancing behind to see if they were being watched. They also wore strange elbow-high gloves. And were those hip waders being tossed into the truck? Not a fishing rod in sight.
What were they up to?


Looking through her lens finder, she saw them pull out tubes of something from their pockets and the first man put those tubes in a larger plastic container. Just then the second man turned and stared right at her.


She ducked down. Making a fast decision, she slipped through the long grass, backtracking along the way she'd come. She'd return after the light had gone down. After the men had left. See if she could figure out what they were up to.


And did they have anything to do with the green slime she'd seen almost a week ago?


The sun's rays slipped between the tall treetops. What a picture.




Gem slunk lower, her shoulder muscles tightening instinctively against the voice.


Gemma ignored her. She wouldn't forgive Misty's behavior so easily this time, though she would eventually. After all they were the only two girls at the home. She didn't have much choice but to get along or they'd all be miserable. But she wouldn't chummy up too fast this time. Or too easily.




"I didn't mean to get you into trouble. You know that, right?" That wheedling tone might have worked on Gem when she'd arrived, green, at Stanton Correctional Center a couple of years ago, but there was nothing like juvie to change a person's outlook on life – and your understanding of your fellow man or girl. Gemma had jumped at the chance to leave juvie behind for this trial home-halfway house scenario, but some of the lessons she'd learned at the correctional center, she'd never forget. In this case, that meant not giving in too early.


"Get lost!"


Misty had confessed to blaming Gem for something she hadn't done. Even worse, Misty was the cheater here, not Gem. And Gem would do well to remember this later. Still they were friends…


"Come on talk to me. Please."


She ignored Misty. Knew she'd go away – eventually. Groaning, Gem realized it could take the rest of the afternoon and evening for that to happen. Despite her wish not to be seen, she straightened until she towered over the petite girl.

BOOK: Gem Stone
2.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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