Friday, October 23, 2009

Stone of Wrath, an excerpt

Jedidiah Mason knew rookie firefighters were often given cleanup duty. He shouldn’t be surprised or irritated by having it now. But he was so tired he was ready to drop right there in the rubble of the still smoldering abandoned office building.
He leaned against the heavy wooden broom he’d been using to sweep up debris. Could he fall asleep standing up? How long had he been working on the site? The call had come in at two Saturday afternoon. It had to be close to midnight now.
“It’s okay, kid, you’re done for the day,” his supervisor, Firefighter Nels Henderson, said, clapping him on the shoulder. “We’ve got the rest. You’ve been working hard.”
Jed perked up. “Really? You sure?”
“You’re practically asleep anyway. Go back to the station with Jonesy. You’re off the next three days, right?”
“Yeah and I think I’ll sleep through two and a half of them.” Jed grinned and waved when Henderson walked away. He ran a grimy hand over his sweaty face. He needed a long, hot shower.
Jed was just turning away when something glittered in the rubble. He crouched down, tilting his head. Maybe his tired eyes were playing tricks on him. Now he saw nothing.
“Jed, you coming?” Jonesy called from next to the smaller of the two fire trucks.
A flash of dark yellow. Reaching out, his fingers closed around something about the size of half a fist. Jed lifted the heavy rock-like object.
“Mason, get over here now!” Jonesy yelled.
Jed stood and pocketed the rock. He hurried to the engine, tossed the broom inside and swung up onto the back. The driver started the red truck and pulled away from the curb.
* * * * *
Jed slammed his locker door closed. He’d changed out of his uniform into his jeans and black t-shirt but hadn’t bothered with the shower. Too anxious to get home. He could shower there.
He reached in and fingered the yellow rock he’d transferred to the front pocket of his jeans. Truth was he couldn’t seem to stop touching it. It was just a dumb old rock, wasn’t it? Jed pulled it out to look at it again. It was singed and covered in ashes and soot. But there was something about it.
It looked almost like a gemstone. Hell, who in their right mind would drop a big gemstone like that in an old abandoned building? If it really were a gemstone, from the size it would be worth a lot. Weren’t there a couple of yellow gems? November’s birthstones. Citrine and golden topaz or something. His mother and sisters watched the shopping channels. They probably knew. He’d clean it up and show it to them next time he saw them. Shrugging, he stuck it back in his pocket and left the locker room.
“Hey, kid, you going home?”
Jed glanced to his right. Standing next to the paramedic truck was the captain, Adam Denton. Captain Denton was just the sort of man Jed found attractive. Rugged and muscular. He figured the captain was in his forties. And married with children. Of course. Not that Jed would let anyone at the station know he was gay. Actually very few people in his life knew.
“Yes, unless you need me to stay?” Jed prayed the answer would be no. He would stay though, if they needed him. Dog-tired or not.
Captain Denton smiled. “Nope. Go home. See you Wednesday.”
"Good night.”
Jed walked out of the station into the back area where the men parked their cars. He found his Harley, put on his helmet and prepared to drive home. His thigh vibrated.
What the fuck?
He kept his cell phone in his back pocket. The stone? Couldn’t be that. He put his hand over the pocket. Nothing. Must have imagined it. Geez, he really was tired.
Jed pulled out of the parking lot and headed for the freeway. It was just a short drive to his apartment near Old Town San Diego. Jed, born and raised in San Diego, had considered animal training for the zoo or the wild animal park as a career. In the end, he decided, though he loved animals, he wanted to help humans more.
Just as he exited the ramp that would take him down the street to his apartment, his thigh thrummed. He nearly lost control but he managed to keep the Harley on the road. He stopped at a red light and glanced down at the pocket with the stone. Nothing again. He couldn’t have imagined the second time. Or could he? He was really tired.
The pocket heated his thigh and glowed yellow. Jed stared.
Damn. He drove away from the stop and made the right turn into the driveway of his apartment building. Parking the Harley under his carport, Jed grasped the rock through his jeans. It was still warm. Had the fire earlier kept it that hot? Simple explanation, of course. But then why had it been cool when he picked it up from the rubble?


  1. Jed...the firefighter with a Harley...I liked him alot! And so did Topaz ;)

  2. lol, thanks.

    I have nothing to really post now so I thought I'd remind people of some books that are still out there. Especially if they aren't sure what they were getting with the generic covers. I recently had someone read one who hadn't bought it before until my good buddy, Shayne, told her to. She didn't know what the heck it was. lol

  3. I think this is the only one I don't have, must be at EC. Mental note to self to complete my Shawn collection....

  4. Yes it is EC and my infamous "written in four days" story to get it in before a deadline for the "November Birthstone" theme.