A QUICK NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I promised to post another section of my paranormal/horror/mystery/sci-fi novel and here it is.  These events take place several weeks before the prologue which I posted before.  At least a couple of readers wanted to know more about the man being pursued.  So I decided this was a great section for you all to get to know Alex better.  You’ll also meet his lady Police Sergeant Veronica Ross.  I hope you enjoy them both.

PS: Please excuse the lack of indentation on the paragraphs, the format keeps losing them whenever I post here.  No idea why.

THE BRIDGE continued…

An hour later, Veronica watched the stretchers being loaded onto an ambulance destined for the coroner’s office at the hospital.  A tall man in his late 50’s wearing a police chief’s uniform stood next to her and placed a hand on her shoulder.  “There’s nothing more you can do here Ronnie,” he told her kindly.  “Why don’t you take the rest of the day off?  I’ll notify the parents.”

“Is that an order Chief?”

“More like a suggestion from the guy you were first partnered up with back in New York,” her boss replied and then added, “You Snot-nosed Rookie.”

“Okay Oldtimer,” she replied and headed over to her motorcycle.    In a way she was glad to be sent off.  She needed to be with a certain someone who’d know how to make her feel a little better.

But, he’d have his work cut out for him this time.  Something about this accident was really bothering her.

*****

There were few patrons in the bar that morning.  Some girls were playing billiards, while a handful of tables were occupied by regulars and the occasional new face.  The proprietors behind the bar made for an interesting study in contrast.  The man was young and had long brown hair.  The long sleeved white shirt, black vest and tie did little to disguise his bodybuilder physique.

His female partner also wore a tuxedo-like outfit as well.  But hers was a tank top with the design painted on the front, which showed the results of her workouts to excellent advantage.  Hers was a body that, whenever she went sunbathing, would set pre-teen boys talking in much lower octaves and thinking about cars.  She glanced over to the doorway as one of their favorite regulars entered.  Quietly putting down the glass she had been wiping, tapped it and waited.  As the room fell quiet, one of the regulars turned to his buddy and murmured, “Showtime.”

The big barman’s eyes narrowed as he spotted his quarry, a slender man in his late 20’s, with short blonde hair and striking blue eyes.  He was also just 5’ 8”, but carried himself with the ease of a professional jockey.

Putting down the beer he had been filling, the burly bartender said loudly, “I see the resident smart-ass has decided to grace us with his presence.”

A low “Oooooo…” ran through the bar.

The newcomer paused in mid-step and began to look around.  After a moment he turned around and bent over leaving his backside in the air, facing the bartender.  A muffled voice, that seemed to come from the area of the buttocks, began to speak. “Why, yes, I did graduate with top honors from my university.  I was valedictorian and also recently passed the test for Mensa. Their counterpart Morons, called to say that they would like you to take their test.  They think you ‘ave the very qualities they’re looking for in an Ignoramus.”

The barman’s face darkened, but his shaking shoulders betrayed his amusement.

A moment later he was laughing hard, along with the rest of the crowd.

His partner tapped the glass once more, declaring they had a winner.

Alex Hill straightened up and went over to collect the drink being poured by his opponent.

“All right Limey-Boy, you won this round, but just wait.  I’ll get you next time,” the big bartender smiled evilly.

Alex frowned. “Beggin’ your pardon Guv, but you’ve won the last three rounds.  It was about bloody time I got one up on you,” he replied, accepting his free drink.

The barman nodded, “Yeah, but I still need to beat your record.”

“Oh, you mean the time I got you five weeks running?”

His friend grumbled something inaudible and went to take an order from the pool players.

“I thought it was seven weeks,” commented the lady bartender.

“Indeed it was, my dear Jill,” Alex replied smugly. “You know it and I know it.  And of course, so does your dear Tony.  I was just trying to get ‘im wound up enough that ‘e’d say it in front of everyone.”

The gorgeous blonde shook her head, “He’s gonna pound you one of these days.”

“For what?”

“Embarrassing him in front of his clientele,” she replied.

“Oh really?” a look of disbelief swept over Alex’s face, “And I suppose ‘im using me for a substitute barbell in front of the ladies isn’t embarrassing?  I mean, let’s face it, women want to talk to the weightlifter, not the weight.”

“The dead weight,” corrected Tony, walking by at that moment.

Alex glared at his back and then turned to Jill with a hurt expression.

“Poor Little Man,” she cooed patting his head in a motherly fashion.

“Oye, I’m not THAT little!” he protested and then added, “Especially not in certain areas.”

“Really?” she asked in amazement, “So the microscope Ronnie bought the other day really was for your nephew?”

Alex gave her a look and said, “Neither of you are going to let me keep even a shred of dignity are you?”

Jill contemplated this for a moment then shook her head, “Nope!” and went to fetch more glasses, leaving him to stew without a good comeback.  A moment later, Tony sidled up next to him saying, “There goes the cruelest woman on earth.”

“Who, if I’m not mistaken, verbally emasculated me just now,” Alex complained.

“Yeah, she did,” Tony clapped him on the shoulder, nearly knocking him off the stool.  Then he walked off to take some more orders.

“You do realize I ‘ate the pair of you with a passion of biblical proportions,” Alex called after him.  “In fact, once I get ‘ome I’m going to sick the four ‘orses of the Apocalypse on both your rotten arses.”

“Don’t you mean the Horsemen Brit-boy?” his friend replied from the somewhere in the crowd.

“No just their ‘orses.  First I’m going to feed them and then park them on each of your lawns. I’m sure the steeds of War, Famine, Pestilence and Death will leave very interesting gifts be’ind.”

Oddly enough no one laughed.  In fact the room had become awfully quiet.

Thirty years of existence had taught Alex that this could mean only one thing.  “There’s someone scary be’ind me isn’t there?” he said to the room at large.

He watched several patrons suddenly become very interested in their drinks.  This did not bode well in his book.

“Excuse me sir, but we do have laws around here about letting your animals do their business on someone else’s lawn,” said a cool voice from behind him.

He turned to see a policewoman staring pointedly at him. She looked to be in her mid-thirties and stood about 4 inches taller than him.  She was wearing shades and no nonsense expression on her lovely face. “Now, I’m sure I didn’t just hear you threaten the owners and of this fine establishment,” she continued.

“Fine establishment?” Alex repeated and looked around.  Maybe her shades were rose-tinted?

At least several people snickered, including Jill.

The officer folded her arms and waited patiently.

Finally, he said, “Well if you’re sure you didn’t ‘ear me say any such thing then I suppose neither of us ‘ave anything to worry about.”

“Too bad,” the policewoman remarked, taking off sunglasses to reveal a pair of fetching green eyes.  Then she removed her helmet and the pins holding up her mass of deep red hair.  “I was looking for an excuse to slap my handcuffs on you and haul your ass back to my place.”

Alex stared at her for a moment.  Then he began rummaging through his pockets, muttering.  “I know I’ve got the ‘Orsemen’s phone number around ‘ere somewhere…”

Veronica raised an eyebrow in amusement, but said nothing.

“I’ll get their ‘orses on those lawns in no time flat,” Alex promised, still searching desperately.  Finally he yelled, “Is a there a priest in the ‘ouse?”

Tony came to his rescue, “Officer, I’d like this man removed from the premises.  He’s violating the rules of the bar.”

“Which one?”

“No shirt, no shoes… No UGLY.”

Alex glared at him, and then turned to Veronica, “I guess you’ll ‘ave to take the barkeep, too.”

“I own the place,” Tony reminded them.

“I was referring to your partner.”

Jill’s indignant voice rang out from somewhere in the crowd, “EXCUSE ME?”

That was enough for Veronica and grabbed Alex by the shoulder.  “Okay, causing a public disturbance, let’s go.  And don’t try resisting arrest either,” she warned, then added playfully, “Or else.”

To resist or not to resist, that is the question, thought the young man, as he was handcuffed none too gently.

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