Michael peered out of the interrogation room. No one in the station seemed to pay any attention to him. No one cared that he had been so obedient, so mindful of the authorities as to stay put. Angry with himself for having waited that long, he walked with a slow, measured step towards the entrance door, flung it open, and bolted out.
The outside air assaulted his nostrils with a bitter smell.
By the time he arrived at the crooked stairs leading down to Bull’s studio, the view around the city had started to darken. Plumes of black ash were billowing into the sky. In the distance, across a break in the cliffs, fire licked the bottoms of several tree trunks. It was playful at first, flickering, flaring, leaping into a shower of sparks. Then it wound itself around to the top of the trees, like a creepy serpent.
Before you knew it, the flame blazed into an inferno. With a crackle, it jumped over Pacific Coast Highway and started devouring everything in its way. Up the street, fire fighters started to knock at every door in the neighborhood, urging residents to leave.
Michael leapt down the stairs, two at a time. His body pulsating with heat, he pushed the door open and ran into the studio, knocking over a few art pieces that stood in his way, only to discover that his fear came true. He was too late.
Ash wasn’t there, and neither was Bull.
Thinking he knew where they might have headed, Michael hurried back out, not before noticing that her cellphone had been left behind, in pieces. To his horror, it seemed to have been purposely crushed, perhaps by the weight of the bronze piece. It now stood amidst the fragments, twisting around itself as if to direct a victorious glare at him.
Excerpt from Virtually Lace
What is this novel about, you ask?
Haunted by the memory of Lace, a beautiful dancer whose throat has been slit, Michael sets out to create a virtual reality simulation of her murder. Can he bring the mystery to life? Can he solve its clues in time, before the killer turns on the woman he loves, Ashley?
Suffering memory loss due to a horrific incident in her own past, Ash is unable to identify her attacker. Despite the persistent fear, she puts her life in danger. In a nail-biting twist, she draws out the man who killed Lace, so as to avenge her murder.
Meanwhile, the cops treat Michael as their prime suspect for the crime. The only reason they haven’t arrested him yet is an urgent call for their assistance in a rescue, as Laguna Beach is engulfed in flames. On his way back to the murder scene, will Michael manage to slip away from them and save his sweetheart, before it’s too late? And will he get the murderer?
My new novel, Virtually Lace, is on the drawing board. Stay tuned for more glimpses into it and for the upcoming publication date...