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After some suggestions from people saying a certain part of the book had a weak point, I added a few paragraphs, hoping to improve upon it. Here is an excerpt from one of the additions I made, for those of you who already own the book. Think of it like a second edition edit. This happens shortly after John kidnaps Miara.
“Well, you’re calmer than I am,” he said accusingly. “I don’t know how to go about this, exactly. I was trained to be a criminal, not to catch one.”
My calm was mostly a façade, but even that was short-lived, when suddenly a car side-swiped us on the highway. John tried to swerve to avoid it as soon as it got close, but it scraped along the side of the car anyway. He somehow managed to keep the car from not flying through the guard rail and got back into the slow lane, only to have the same car, a black Dodge Charger, fly into the lane in front of us and do a brake check in the middle of the highway. I screamed and braced my arms against the dash board, while John slammed on his brakes.
If there had been any cars immediately behind us, we would undoubtedly caused a massive pile-up. Fortune was somehow on John’s side, though, and he managed to brake quickly and swerve around the left hand side of the Charger and pressed the gas pedal to the floor. I grunted as I was slammed back against the seat.
“Fuckers. You’re not catching me yet,” he muttered. I had the feeling he knew who was driving the Charger. He sped off and zig-zagged between cars, the Charger catching up to our heels. John proved he could drive the hell out of that piece of shit Geo when he swerved around an eighteen-wheeler and flew down the off ramp just on the other side, barely braking at the stop sign at the end.
I tried to catch my breath as he sped down the street, driving up and down the side roads of a residential area for a few minutes before heading back up to the main road and back to the highway. No black Charger was in sight.
“Sorry,” he said as we got up to the speed of traffic again. “I told you they were after me. They want me to shut up and take the fall. But I’m not going to do it.”
I wrote this as kind of a teaser for readers. This is a scene that does not appear in the book, since the book is written from Miara’s perspective. This happens near the end, when Detective Martyn needs to get an official statement from John before they can sentence him. I hope you enjoy.
Detective Martyn lead John through the building in handcuffs. The Police Department didn’t have any humanimals in it yet, so at least twenty suspicious human eyes were turned on him as he walked past to the little whitewashed room in the back.
John sat down in the folding metal chair as Martyn locked the door behind them. He looked up nervously, watching the detective’s reflection in the mirrored wall as he came to the table to unlock the handcuffs. Then he sat across the table, nodded at the mirror, and a little red light began to blink on the black recording device up in the corner behind his head.
John was even more nervous now.
“Tell me everything, John. From the beginning.”
John tried to swallow. “Could I have a drink of water first?” he asked, his eyes barely peeking up at Martyn while he faced the table top with ears laid back against his head.
“Sure,” Martyn replied, his voice compassionate. John couldn’t think of many people in his life that showed compassion; least of all full humans. It made him like the detective.
Detective Martyn walked over to the door where they had entered when he heard a light knock, opened it, and thanked someone behind it before it closed again. Then he returned to the table, handing John a tall plastic cup of cool tap water.
John gulped it down greedily, relishing in the sensation of slaking his thirst and enjoying the extended respite from being questioned.
The cup was empty. He had to speak.
“Badger got my parents early, just after I was born. They were humans that had gotten prostheses and surgeries to appear more animal-like. My father owed a lot of money to a human loan shark, and Badger offered him a job in exchange for paying the man. My mother didn’t gamble, but because of the way she looked, she couldn’t get a good job. She was just along for the ride.”
John straightened himself in the chair, then shrugged out of his black leather coat. If he had to tell this story, he might as well be comfortable. Detective Martyn had pulled out his little note pad and was scribbling notes in pencil while John talked. It made John nervous, but he went on anyway.
“I grew up in a ratty apartment that Badger owned. My mother loved me, and taught me at home as best she could. Badger was against giving any money to humans, so I’m pretty sure we didn’t pay taxes. Like, ever. I’m not stupid, but I’m not very book smart. Once I hit about five years old, Dad started taking me in to work with him. Badger and his goons taught me how to scare people into doing things for you, and how to get money out of people. I worked for him as an errand-boy once I hit ten, and then when I turned fifteen, he gave me a gym membership and told me to start working out. I had to be one of his enforcers.
“I was never really comfortable with it. I mean, it was all that I knew, but Mom had taught me the difference between right and wrong when Dad wasn’t looking. They died when I was seventeen, in an accident. At least that’s what I was told. I don’t think I even want to know if that’s the truth.
“Anyway, I basically just went with Badger or one of his goons when they needed muscle. I grew up strong, and since I wear black all the time, I tend to scare people.” John smiled, his lips revealing a long unbroken line of canine teeth. “Well, that or these did.”
“Tell me about the incident with Arguile.” Detective Martyn kept his eyes on his notepad, and John was thankful not to have to stare him in the eyes while he spoke.
“The ARHP are assholes. Everybody knows that.” John paused while Martyn suppressed a chuckle. “Badger wanted Arguile dead. Fox was his best guy to do that. But Fox was too good, I think. That’s why they made me go along. Fox went in first, found Arguile, and started punching him. I went to the desk to try to find some paperwork for the ARHP, some kind of announcement about them petitioning for anti-humanimal legislation. I heard the scuffle, and I saw Arguile swing his club at Fox. Then Fox gave up on having fun and just shot the guy, point blank. I got scared and said we should leave. It was right by the back door, so Fox got out first. I was right behind him, but that’s when I heard the front door open with clear view right across the house. And that’s when Miara saw me.”
John sunk into his chair again, ashamed. He didn’t want her thinking he was a murderer. He liked her too much.
He wasn’t a murderer.
“Everything else, I think you know,” John finished, a defeated look on his face. “Yes, I kidnapped Miara. But it was the only thing I could think to do! I didn’t want to go to jail forever just so Fox could sit around and shoot the shit with Badger about how dumb I was. I needed her help.”
Detective Martyn sat up straight in his folding chair and placed his pencil down on the table. “I think you got it, pal. You got her help for life now.” His tone was jovial, but the sentiment was comforting.
John’s ears perked up. His tail wagged a little as he smiled. “Yeah,” he said. “I think I do.”
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