Read an Excerpt
Rolling Thundera novel
By Mark Mynheir
Multnomah Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Mark Mynheir
All right reserved.
Chapter OneUnion Correctional Institution, Raiford, Florida
"It breaks my heart when a killer goes free." The corrections officer adjusted his gun belt around his plump waist. A buzzer echoed through the thick, overly painted walls of the hallway, and the huge brown door slid open on the railings, like a rock being rolled away from a tomb.
Frank Moore shuffled through the entrance into the administrative portion of the prison, a place he hadn't seen in thirty-three years. Stooped slightly at the waist and walking with a cane, Frank quickened his pace to the window that read "Property & Evidence." His new state-bought clothes barely clung to his emaciated body.
"You seem to be in a hurry, Frank." The officer chuckled with the two other guards who were escorting him. "Like you got someplace to go."
Frank pulled his inmate ID from his pocket, ignoring the pesky minder standing uncomfortably close behind him. A woman approached the window and took his ID and paperwork. With a quick scan of his processing forms and a raised eyebrow, she walked toward the back of the office without saying a word.
"What are you gonna do with yourself now that you've finally made it outta here?" the officer said loudly enough for everyone around to hear. "Maybe look for gainful employment?"
Frank tilted his head slightly, eyeing the man. "I got unfinished business."
"What kinda business could you have, old-timer?" The guard fiddled with his gun belt, which seemed to have a difficult time staying in place around his super-sized figure.
Frank turned and faced his heckler. Leaning toward him, he said, "The unfinished kind." His eyes burned with passion and fury, locked in a stare with the portly officer, who let out a nervous chuckle then looked toward the floor. Although Frank's once strong body was wrecked and weak, his spirit was vibrant and alive with anticipation.
The clerk returned to the window. She handed him a paper bag that contained everything he brought to prison with him-a black leather wallet; a pack of Wrigley's chewing gum, spearmint; and a baseball cap, the Mets.
She handed Frank a check from the state of Florida for eighteen hundred dollars-a paltry sum for thirty-three years, but it would be enough to get him where he needed to go and to finish what he needed to do. If everything went well, it wouldn't take that long anyway.
"Have you seen the warden?" She adjusted her glasses to read his checklist.
Frank nodded while tapping his gnarled fingers on the counter. As he waited for her review, he opened his wallet, exposing his driver's license, which had expired in 1971. His chipped and faded picture could still be made out. His coal-black hair from so many decades ago had now been replaced by gray wisps sparsely covering his head. His once rugged facial features had softened and drooped.
He closed his wallet and placed it in the small bag he carried. He knocked the dust off his Mets cap. Pushing back his errant strips of hair, he cinched the cap on his head, adjusting it for a snug fit.
"It looks like everything is in order, Mr. Moore." The clerk handed him his paperwork. "Good luck on the outside."
Frank snatched up his belongings and steadied himself with his cane.
"Well, old-timer, you ready?"
"Let's go," Frank said, already marching toward the only door standing between him and the world outside. The guard signaled the man in the control booth, and with one more sharp buzz, he pushed the stiff metal door open, holding it for Frank, who stopped just short of the threshold.
The midafternoon sun pierced the doorway, illuminating the darkened corridor, and a slight breeze wrapped around Frank. He bathed in it. The wind swirled around his creased, leather-worn face like soft, gentle fingers drawing him toward the world that awaited him. He had forgotten what wind felt like.
Breezes didn't blow inside the walls of Union, not even in the yard. But as rare as a breeze was, rarer still was a condemned man walking through that door. Home of Florida's death row, Union didn't give up its murderers easily. The likes of Ted Bundy, Gerald Stano, and countless other infamous killers were all carted out of Union feet first. Now Frank Moore was poised to do what few other murderers sentenced there had ever done.
With a deep breath and all the strength he could muster, the seventy-three-year-old man leaned forward and plunged into freedom.
"Good luck, old-timer," the guard said as the door slammed behind him. "You're gonna need it."
The free-flowing wind and unabated sunlight overwhelmed Frank, who rocked back in awe, lifting his hand over his eyes to see. The cascading sunshine on the dense swampland of Raiford replaced the gray cement walls and barbed wire that had served as Frank's horizon for more than three decades. Palm trees and saw grass were within reach, and a flock of egrets sailed just over the tree line. The low rumble of thunder in the distance signaled the coming of the afternoon rains that dominated Florida's summers.
He felt good, for the first time in a long time. But he didn't care about feeling good. If getting out of prison were his only goal, it would have been a great day. But that was just the first step. More urgent matters needed tending to if his plan was to work. There wasn't time to waste worrying about feeling good. He hurried toward a taxi already waiting in the parking lot.
The driver opened the door, and Frank didn't slow down as he slid onto the backseat.
"Where to?" the driver said as he jumped in the front and put the cab into gear.
"The bus station." Frank rested against the seat and closed his eyes. "Hurry." His jaw muscles wrenched back and forth as he groaned and clenched the small of his back, the pain throbbing rhythmically with every heartbeat. A crack of lightning forced his eyes open-a long-awaited expectancy filled him. Nothing short of death was going to stop him.
Maybe not even death.
Excerpted from Rolling Thunder by Mark Mynheir Copyright © 2005 by Mark Mynheir. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.