Excerpt from The Deadly Ring
Message from the Grave
Alexander Steele took the Schuylkill Expressway and headed uptown to
. It was a quiet spring afternoon at the cemetery where bodies of the dearly departed rested. The one thing you could always count on at cemeteries was peace and quiet. On this day that peace would soon erupt into a deadly encounter, an encounter loud enough to almost wake up the dead. Chelten Hills Cemetery
Steele felt uneasy. Something was off. The birds were singing and the sky was blue but there was a chill in the air. A sense that something was not quite right, a sense that has kept him alive through dozens of deadly cases. As he scanned the gravesite for anything that looked out of place Steele couldn’t help notice how nervous the caretaker was as he watched the three gravediggers milling around the new gravesite waiting for the backhoe operator to maneuver the big yellow machine into place. For a brief moment, Steele caught a glimpse of flashing light from behind a tree on the north mound about four hundred feet away. The reflection of the sun bouncing off a watch or maybe eyeglasses from the uninvited guest in the distance.
Steele began making his way toward where he had seen the light flash. When he reached the halfway point a short man in dark clothing bolted from behind a weeping willow and began running away up the grassy mound as fast as he could. Steele was in hot pursuit. When the man with the glasses realized he couldn’t outrun Steele he turned suddenly, pulled out his gun and fired three shots in Steele’s direction. In one fluid motion Steele dove and rolled behind an old gray, four-foot high headstone and quickly drew his weapon. He crouched down behind the small wall of granite and carefully peered around the side. He noticed the gunman was still running further up the mound. When the gun-toting attacker stopped at the top of the hill and turned to fire again Steele was ready. He pumped two rounds dead center into the man’s chest causing the assailant to drop his weapon and roll slowly in Steele’s direction. By the time Steele reached his attacker the man was barely alive. Steele held his gun close to his chest. He kneeled next to the man who was bleeding profusely from his wounds.
The dying man now partially covered in leaves took shallow breaths as he slowly moved his head side to side. Steele moved closer to his face, “Who sent you,” he asked.
The man tried to speak but no words came out. Steele tried again, “who do you work for?
Alexander Steele Mystery Trilogy
Sr. Lawrence Johnson
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