The Crescent Rule is a book about a young man growing up in a small town who becomes intrigued by a secluded religious community and a train whistle that eminates from their compund.
As time progresses, this young man becomes an agent for the government and discovers a hidden society based in Europe that has secretly controled world governments for over 300 years.
Toby stumbles on the fact that the train whistles he heard as a boy were a call to meetings for the Crescent Rule members right there in his small hometown.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.35(d)|
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THE CRESCENT RULEA TALE OF INTRIGUE AND ESPIONAGE
By Terry J Metz
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Terrill J Metz
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFormative Years-circa 1969
Tommy McAllister falls out of bed drenched with sweat. Awoken at the end of a reoccurring dream where a large refrigerator with arms and a face chased him, hoping to outrun it as he took refuge inside his tree house.
"You'll not catch me, you're just a side by side" is the last thing he remembers.
Just then the song "Mrs. Robinson" mysteriously starts playing on the Zenith clock radio, he hits the snooze button.
"Tommy, Tommy are you alright? I heard a loud thump", his concerned mom yells from the bottom of the stairwell.
"Just had another bad dream about that fridge, mom. I'll be down in a few minutes."
This reoccurring dream may coincide with his deep desire to have his family's home bestowed with the utility so many of his middle class friends have. On those hot humid July nights, the sheets stuck to him like first aid gauze coated with Vaseline. A youngster gets accustomed to this as they age, and often don't know the difference until they spend the night at a friend's house that has it. The deep sleep is incomparable to anything he had experienced. But this morning in his bedroom would prove to be one that changed his life for all time. It wouldn't be just the heat this time.
As he stands up and stretches, he hears the outside sounds of a warm July morning from his "the loft", a bedroom built into the attic area of the big two story Frank Lloyd Wright style home. The stale breeze gently drifts in through the screen that has been repaired using black thread to keep out the bugs, pushing the curtains open with each change in wind direction. The same window his father fell from last summer while painting the outside frame. The warped paneling boards on the ceiling crackle as the sun heats up the roof in the morning. They retract in the cool evenings, popping back into place. The popping would at times scare him in the dark; erroneously believing he was in danger. The Gumby and Pokey duo stand guard on the nightstand. He plops down back on top of his sheets, and tries to get just another few minutes shuteye. The radio turns back on.
Blindly reaching over he turns it off, accidentally knocking over the small statue of the Pink Panther off the nightstand and breaking off its little pink arm. "Mother is going to kill me, she'll be upset on spending 20 bucks on that", he whispers to himself. It gets hidden in his bookcase for now.
On sitting up on the side of the hand-me-down twin bed, he rubs his eyes from that sleep goop crusted on the inside of his eye pits. And while he picks out the accumulation of debris caught between his toes, an echo sound raised his curiosity more than usual. Surveying the room to find out if anything within the confines of what he possesses is the source of this 'whistling echo', but finds no cause to condemn anything in close proximity. Glancing outside the poorly painted spring-loaded window, he gives a quick inventory of any machine or device locally responsible for the noise, but still nothing apparent is obvious. What was this thing, this noise?
(Talking to himself)
"It's not these big black crows 'hawking' while perched on the roof chimney", (happily enjoying the warmth of the fresh new days' sunshine, and looking for food to feed its hungry young).
"It's not the sound of horns from the cars or delivery vans driving by, or even kids playing in the nearby field." Those sounds are recognizable.
Hmm, normally he hears it late afternoon into early evening, never much past dark. This sound is never this early, my goodness, never before noon. It is the type of sound you hear in the distance, the kind you hear in your neighborhood mixed in with all the towns' activities, but never really find the source, a mystery of sorts.
"Was I just imagining it, maybe a figment of my observational ability, or was it really there?" He wondered.
Was the sound something he heard at the end of the refrigerator dream, waking up to the hot sticky air and all sweaty? Tommy shuts off that pesky radio one more time, after it clicked back on just at the wrong time and listened. He would turn his head like a dog to hear the direction of the source. Would it appear again?
Whispering down to his brother Billy who he thought could help in this self-inflicted concern, but no discernable responsive sound waves floated up from his lair. So Tommy gets up and tiptoed down to his room, descending the wooden steps that crackle from his lightly weighted frame. Pushing open the door, it creaks to expose intruders. The hinges lack the needed lube. Tommy enters into his Billy's chthonic room ... a mess as usual. Ignoring the "No Trespassing" sign, the one that was stuck on by reused yellow tape-there to keep bothersome ones like him from entering. He had to maneuver past the trombone and the green high top sneakers his brother dons to play varsity high school basketball. Going to the only window in his room, he opens the Pistons curtains; Tommy nudges him on the shoulder and whispers,
"Wake up! Billy, wake up".
His brother just groaned and turned his head around just enough to open ever so slightly one eye; Tommy barely made out whether he had a pupil or not. He mustered up the breath to say one word, "gedowtidiot".
Tommy figured it was two words-maybe three. His breath wasn't pleasant either. It smelled of puppy turds.
"Billy, did you hear that sound? It came from far away. Billy, did you hear it?"
It was just loud enough to pierce the humid summer air. It was enough to drown out the distant mower hum from Mr. Snyder's' old Toro 2-cycle three doors down.
It's the type of summer air you remember as a kid that made the world seem as if it is in equilibrium, allowing you to play all day without worrying about what you are going to do. It was warm enough to wear cut off jean shorts and a tank top, with Converse tennis shoes and those knee high white socks, but cool enough not to die of heat stroke.
This kind of summer air made Tommy feel safe. It had a certain smell to it, like the summer gods were blessing the air with life crystals, giving it energy. Billy though seemed to just lay there uninterested in his nervous stammering. But as a young boy at eleven, not much can raise his concern as much as this. He hummed something, and covers went back over his head. Not the type of move as one would be when scared by an old Hitchcock movie, more along the lines of covering up from a cold chill.
But cold it wasn't, the ceiling fan chilling the room down to about 85, the upstairs of the house lacking the convenience of cooled conditioned air. When Tommy realized there wouldn't be a response from him; he went back to his room, gazed at the clock radio and figured why he was still so tired, it was just past 8:00 am, and Billy's team won the big game last night. The smell in his room verified he played the whole game, making the last basket at the buzzer. Sure, he'll get the attention and notoriety in the neighborhood today.
His room had the same stench that is noticed from a middle school's gym locker room on Friday afternoons. His mom wears a nursing masks he has left over from when she went to nursing school. Sadly, she didn't finish because of lack of money, and getting married, and having 5 kids. She sacrificed a lot for her children; something mothers just did in this generation. If she ever regretted having children and not pursuing a nursing career it was never said, and the children never felt it. She loved them more than she ever would have had changing bedpans and dealing with cranky old people, unhappy about their infections.
Returning to the scene of the crime, Tommy dresses and heads downstairs to meet with the awakened part of the family. It is a ritual on Saturday morning to consume eggs, bacon and the best O.J. around, fresh squeezed by his mom. His dad always wore baggy shorts and his favorite Chicago Bears jersey on Saturday mornings. Once, when he was younger, his dad got up one Saturday morning and threw on a pair of dress pants. Tommy noticed his fly was all the way down while he was talking on the phone, and his mom had just taught him how a little boy should be dressed. So he conveniently walked up and zipped up his dad's fly for him, not realized his appendage was caught in the zipper on the way up. His dad let out a shrill that could be heard from down the street. Tommy never thought a 6 year old could be dropkicked that far in their living room, just missing that old corner antique table. Tommy recovered in a few hours, and so did his father.
Sitting on the back porch, getting ready to take off on his bike to meet the 'guys', Tommy brushed off the idea of staying home and doing chores. Sitting there, he started to think about what woke him up this morning: that unmistakable whistle sound. He couldn't be sure, but this sound usually has a frequencytoit,likeatimedsignalgiventoshipscomingintotheharborforthe night, or to drop off its load of sand or iron ore. The gang arrives shortly after, and off they go, like molested bees on the search for the culprit who upset the hive. The chopper style bikes swerve back and forth, just barely missing each other's wheels. Ending up at a park a couple miles away, they all stand there, peering through the fence links. Without speaking, Tommy pedaled to the far south end of the park, still outside the fence with his adjuvant fellows following his lead. Finding an opening, maybe where other gangs like this wanted to inspect the park (or get in free to ride the refurbished train); they enter one by one, never once stopped by those in authority.
"Come on guys, no one is noticing us", as he waves each one through the fence.
"Tommy, we're going to be in so much trouble if we get caught." Henry retorts to him knowing he is on his last good grace with his dad because of breaking his grandmother's china bowl that has been in the family for 4 generations.
"That's the problem with you guys, you're never daring. I have to find out if that whistle I heard this morning came from here."
This was a small town amusement park that was owned and operated by a local religious cult who used the income to further their operations. On the other hand, was it?
Once inside, they went spying into buildings and candy apple stands which were hustling with people. The foursome weren't even noticed, as if their presence was not out of place. This poking around was more to verify the sound that was heard earlier in the morning. The heat of the day is taking its toll on the boys. They will need refueling soon, just like the bees needing nectar for the furtherance of subsistence. But the creepiness of this park seems to invade sensibility. There is a feeling of façade. As if the buildings are there to fool its partygoers and ride riders. But hey, they are just a group of snot nosed kids, what do they know about buildings and the goings on of a place like this? Lacking the real source of the responsible echoing for his 8:00 am awakening, they saddle up and headed back home to check in with those in charge of their whereabouts. Maybe they'll head back tonight, after dark. Maybe it's best to wait until it's closed down. Tommy's parents had other plans for the family this evening. They travel to the lake where the 4th of July fireworks are going to be displayed.
This neighborhood had some real nice people, at least from the Perspective of an adolescent. Living next door to the McAllister's was an older couple, the Vargas family. In their humble home, they raised their only child, a daughter who visits her parents along with her two boys. The Vargas' were always friendly and neighborly, not like some of the other snooty neighbors who lived locally. You got the feeling they lived their lives waiting for some good fortune to occur, but never materialized. It appeared their ship never came in. But in hindsight, it's imagined that they were living out their last years just waiting to pass on doing what they enjoyed the most: gardening, cooking and Great Lakes shipping stories.
Mr. Vargas so loved to tell those stories of the past. It was wondered if he was suffering from early onset of Alzheimer's. Back in the 60's they called it 'senility'. He would sometimes sit in his front room and just look out through his picture window, which faced south. Tommy would notice see him as he rode past the house on his Schwinn bike. He would wave to him, but often wouldn't get one in return. Was he just an old crank? Or was he contemplating his life's' achievements, or disappointments?
Our family always wondered what life was like for him when he was young. The lines on his face each were engraved from some stressful experience. The aging process has not been his friend. His blue eyes though would just en-trance any who dared gaze. Tommy wondered if he lived through the depression and went without like so many other children did. On the other hand, were his parents resourceful and had he had a good childhood? He never talked about his youth; he just provided advice on how to not waste it on frivolous things like the hippies out in California are doing.
"Sex, drugs, and rock and roll will take you nowhere", he always said.
"Those hippies are one day going to realize their movement was a waste of their youthful years just to find themselves. What a shame". Tommy deducted he knew something about being young without going into details.
Mrs. Vargas died in June of that fateful summer, 1969. Tommy was going to lose his supply of taffy candy treats. Whenever he finished some type of chore for her, she would repay him with 4 bits and a handful of peanut butter taffy. A fair trade for some raking and cleaning out gutters, he surmised.
Just a few months ago, he was sent on a mission and ended up at the old man's back door. He knocked on the back door and he had him step in. The visit was to return sugar his mom borrowed couple days earlier, which surprised him she borrowed it from him when there were tons of other 'normal' neighbors. Since the purveyor of treats met her death, the old man gradually became unkempt, unshaven, and talked with a gruff voice. His hair was white and uncombed, but due to the short cut, it looked like he just woke up most of the time. On his kitchen table, there were newspaper clippings he had slashed from the local newspaper about shipping on The Great Lakes, some yellowed from age. His house had that old person's smell; you know what that's like. The odor of greasy fried foods, mothballs, and urine permeated onto his tanktop. He had Tommy sit down at the table and would tell me about stories when he was a young man working on the "Big Lake". Tommy wondered if he put other guests through this reminiscing. "Wanna a Pepsi?" Sure, sir. He grabs a bottle from his case and pops open the cap and pours in into a large plastic cups with ship on it's side. "Have any ice?" He takes out the old style ice tray that you have to move the crank lever to break the cubes free. The pop assumed a stale taste from the cubes that has sat in that icebox for too long.
He had hanging on his kitchen walls pictures of ships that he sailed on 'er. They were all black and white. Under the pictures, was a small story behind each of the ships history. He marked with a small star the ones he worked on. A total of five, no six ships. His favorite was the Edmond Fitzgerald; just finishing his run, just a couple of years before it met its sad fate in the cold unforgiving waters of Lake Superior. He knew the captain personally. He recalled how at times the storms were so bad he thought he wouldn't survive, often getting sick and vomiting over the railing.
"Those wert da days-sonny", he always would say. Tommy wondered what 'days' he was talking about.
Excerpted from THE CRESCENT RULE by Terry J Metz Copyright © 2011 by Terrill J Metz. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A great spy type book with plots pulled from the depths of Terry's imagination