by Tegon Maus
The first time I heard it, I thought nothing of it at all… nothing. I’ve been in the newspaper game for more than twenty-seven years and that kind of experience gave a guy an edge but even that didn’t prepare me.
I’d been beaten, shot at, even stabbed a couple of times over the years but I always got the story… always. But this one… this one was big… too big perhaps… Maybe we were ready, maybe not. Either way, it wasn’t my call.
None of which filled me with the fear, the trepidation… the anguish of five little words that still haunted me today…
“Is okay. I have cousin.”
“Bob?” I began, pointing toward the dark, stooped figure of Fred threading his way through the underbrush.
“Is Fred’s way… live to close too nuclear plant. What Bob going to do?” he said, holding up both hands in defeat.
I had no idea what to say to that.
Bob, following Fred’s lead, pulled a black ski mask over his face, before handing me a baseball cap.
“What’s this?” I asked totally expecting a ski mask, turning the cap over in my hands.
“Beginner’s hat. Maybe, next time, for you,” he smirked.
I’d been ribbed before, and I can take it almost as good as I can give it but this… from Bob? Damn aggravating.
I tripped along in the dark, getting my feet tangled on every stick, every root, every obstacle that stuck up out of the ground as I trailed behind him.
He, unlike Fred, seemed to be more than comfortable in the woods as well as the dark. Fred walked slightly ahead, darting from tree to tree as if hiding himself from some unseen observer.
Bob and I simply stood in place, waiting for him to wave us on as he dashed to the next tree or rock outcropping.
After what seemed like forever and more scratches and bruises than I had acquired in a lifetime, we found the house.
Fred, his back pressed against a sizable rock as if he were keeping it in place, held his position a dozen yards ahead of us. He waved frantically, signaling for us to get down and we obeyed.
A moment later headlights swept over where we had stood. The sound of tires grinding through the dirt filled the air.
“Shit,” I breathed to myself. I hadn’t expected this to be easy. It never had been in the past, but with Bob and Fred leading the way, we were screwed.
Fred scampered to his next position, waving us on to the rock he had just left behind when he felt the coast was clear.
It took us another fifteen minutes to cross the distance from where we first saw the house to physically touching the building.
I had to admit, my heart pounded hard in my chest, certain we were about to be caught as Fred pulled himself up to peer into a window.
“Clear,” Fred whispered and we crept around the corner.
There were no cars, no trucks, no men with guns to be seen anywhere. Fred had hit it on the mark. For all outward appearances no one was home.
We continued to follow Fred as he made his way to a back door. Slowly, silently, he eased himself onto the porch kneeling before the door, slipping a hand into his shirt pocket.
Removing two small, shiny tools from its folds, he went to work on the knob.
Faster than I could say “is belt” Fred worked the lock, turning the knob. The door opened slightly.
We held a collective breath, waiting for the sound of an alarm.
“Clear,” Fred whispered softly as he allowed the door to open fully. Crouched, almost on all fours, he scooted inside, closing the door behind him.
Unfathomable amounts of time seemed to slip by with each heartbeat as Bob and I stood outside in the dark and waited.
My anxiety, a mere seed in the pit of my stomach, had begun to run away with me. My palms grew sweaty.
“Is nice,” Bob offered, leaning against the building, pushing both hands into his pockets.
“What?” I asked with disbelief.
“Is nice. Bob always busy… go here, go there. Wife always – when take wife to dinner? When go to opera? When take wife to see sister? When have time for wife? When Bob take out trash?”
“We just broke and entered. We can go to jail for this.”
“Is nice, out with friends. That’s all Bob say.”
Before I could formulate an answer the door eased opened again.
“We’re alone,” Fred said.
Bob and I slipped in, closing the door behind us. We now stood in the mud room off the kitchen.
No more than six by five it held a built-in bench on one of the paneled walls, with a coat rack filling the opposite. The oversized tile floor continued throughout the kitchen as well.
The dim glow of a night light traced the edges of the granite topped cabinets and dining table. On the opposite side of the room was an opening to the hallway.
My attention was drawn by the sound of someone going through one of the cabinets.
“Fred,” I whispered hoarsely, looking about the room for him.
“Da,” he responded, popping up from under one of the cabinets, a large frying pan and matching lid in his hands.
“What the hell are you doing?” I asked angrily.
He began to speak in Russian as Bob patted him down, removing a stainless steel sauce pan from under his shirt.
Bob said nothing beyond a couple of quick snaps of his fingers before pointing to me.
Fred’s arms went limp again as his hands went to his pocket, retrieving a fifty, handing it reluctantly to me.
“You should be ashamed,” I admonished, happily snapping the money right out of his hand.
We moved through the kitchen to the hall and to the door that someone had used to spy on us.
At that moment, the sound of a toilet flushing reached us from somewhere upstairs.
Like little kids, all three of us dove for the door, rushing inside. On the other side the floor vanished, becoming little more than a small landing with stairs trailing into the darkness.
An Interview with the Author
1. How long have you been writing? Just for the last 12 years or so
2. How long have you been a published author? I was lucky enough to be Published for the first time in 2012
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 45,420. Language: English. Published: February 24, 2015 by Tirgearr Publishing. Categories: Fiction» Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Crime
Toby Grant has landed his dream job as a service tech for Handy Dandy Services. Things don’t go well from day one, when he’s teamed up with Ryan Burnell, a twenty year veteran of the company. Toby quickly learns the hardships of being Ryan’s partner, and finds himself in one uncomfortable situation after another. Toby learns the true meaning of the company’s motto—“Service Before Self.”
Bob by Tegon Maus
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 47,480. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2014 by Tirgearr Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction» General
Veteran newspaper man, Peter Anderson’s career is slipping away. When he’s sent to do a fluff piece about lights in the Arizona night sky, he discovers far more than he ever expected. His inestigation leaves him with more questions than answers. The only thing he knows for certain, the only thing he can count on are the two words offered repeatedly by Bob, his friend and guide . . . “IS BELT.”
The Wishing Stone (The Eve Project, book 2) by Tegon Maus
Series: The Eve Project, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 47,160. Language: English. Published: August 11, 2014 by Tirgearr Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » General
The last time we used the wishing stone was at the hospital the morning Kate died. On that day, all three of us made a silent wish, certain the others had wished the same. Kate died that afternoon and I never thought about it again. It was the last time I believed in magic, in love or in the existence of God. Then, after three miserable lonely years, the unthinkable, a second chance… Warwick..
Machines of the Little People (The Eve Project, book 1) by Tegon Maus
Series: The Eve Project, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 54,270. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2014 by Tirgearr Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » General
When Ben Harris’ sister passes away, her husband, Roger Keswick, is mysteriously absent from her funeral. It’s not until 6 months later that Ben is pulled back in to Roger’s life, only to find that he’s moved on. His new wife may be called Jessica, but she’s the spitting image of Ben’s sister. Things escalate when Roger claims there’s a factory under his house run by little people called the Katoy.
My Grandfather’s Pants by Tegon Maus
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 48,890. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2014 by Tirgearr Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Jack Laskin’s ordinary life is about to change when his mother insists he try on his grandfather’s old pants. Just when things start looking up, including his love life, his mother and her meddling friends get involved. When a woman from Jack’s grandfather’s past shows up and insists Jack has something she wants, he’s left confused and wondering if things will ever be ordinary again.
4. What made you choose the subject of this book? They usually choose me… an OCD kind of thing
5. Do you have any new titles coming soon? I’m hoping to have 2 more out by the end of the year. The Cordovian Effect 3rd in my Eve Project Series and Black Moon 2nd in my Littlefield Series.
6. What is your favourite genre and why? I enjoy Sci-Fi a great deal. Its mind boggling how other people can see the world.
7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process? I like getting feedback from fans. It’s always interesting to see how they envision what I have written. I talk about a forest in great detail and they see a jungle… I talk about fear of the dark and they see coward… very funny.
8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why? I would NEVER co-author a book… I could never share the pictures in my head before I write them down with anyone beyond my wife… never.
I was raised pretty much the same as everyone else… devoted mother, strict father and all the imaginary friends I could conjure. Not that I wasn’t friendly, I just wasn’t “people orientated”. Maybe I lived in my head way more than I should have, maybe not. I liked machines more than people, at least I did until I met my wife.
The first thing I can remember writing was for her. For the life of me I can’t remember what it was about… something about dust bunnies under the bed and monsters in my closet. It must have been pretty good because she married me shortly after that. I spent a good number of years after inventing games and prototypes for a variety of ideas before I got back to writing.
It wasn’t a deliberate conscious thought, it was more of a stepping stone. My wife and I had joined a dream interpret group and we were encouraged to write down our dreams as they occurred. “Be as detailed as you can,” we were told.
I was thrilled. If there is one thing I enjoy it’s making people believe me and I like to exaggerate. Not a big exaggeration or an outright lie mine you, just a little step out of sync, just enough so you couldn’t be sure if it were true or not. When I write, I always write with the effort of “it could happen” very much in mind and nothing, I guarantee you, nothing, makes me happier.
Barns & Noble
Tegon Maus will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: