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The Evil Within
A Mainstream Family Saga by: Pat Dale
Genre: Family Saga Suspense Drama
Release: January 27, 2012
Editor: Ellee Braun
Line editor: Greta Gunselman
Cover Designer: Nika Dixon
Warning: Graphic violence, rape and incest. Not suitable for under 18.
Among the teeming throng of mankind, can anywhere be found a man who does not harbor a seed of evil within his soul? Battle weary, Army Sergeant Adam Watson retreats from Iraq to his Ozark home, suffering from PTSD and believing he’s seen the worst that man is capable of. Even as he seeks refuge, he finds that same evil in his own country, his own town, his own family—and in his own heart.
Adam climbed into his truck, smiling at his recollection of times past. Maybe it would be good to get back here where he belonged. Time would tell. He slammed into gear and headed around the mountain toward home. Dust swirled up, a rooster tail behind him as he flew down the gravel road, swerving from time to time to avoid little dips and bumps that had been forged into a permanent slalom course on this long-traveled road.
Just like the people. Peaks and valleys, but all of like origin. And that’s what I’m made of, just like my dad and his dad. That’s why living here should be my first choice.
Edward was sitting on the porch when he pulled up in the drive. He got to his feet and smiled. “Howdy, Son. You always go that fast down this road?”
“Don’t know about fast. I was just thinking about things. What makes you think I was going fast?”
“I could tell by the dust storm rolling along behind you. We can always tell if our visitors are upset before they get to the house. Little dust, they’re happy. Big storm cloud, they’re mad as hell. Nothing in between.” He laughed at Adam’s surprised expression.
“Ozark philosophy, huh? Makes sense.”
“Thought it might. So what’re you angry about?”
“I’m not angry.”
“Well, not in so many words. But something has you riled up.”
He chuckled. “Now you’re guessing. Saw Hank in town. He wanted me to come in so he could beat my butt at the pool table again.”
“That pissed you off?”
“Naw. Made me laugh. I think I can beat him now. We had a pool table in our day room, and I got a lot of practice in. But don’t let on if you see him. This is going to be a long-awaited sneak attack.”
Edward laughed. “’Bout time, too. Hank’s a good guy but cocky. That boy’s cocky as hell.”
“Dad, you said earlier we need a good old-fashioned talk. I think I’m ready for it now, if you’re still of a mind.”
“That I am, Adam. That I am. You know I love you. And your mama loved you, too. Makes me want to cry, she isn’t here to welcome you home.”
“Me, too, Dad. I miss Mom something awful.”
“Yeah, we all do. And I’m sure she’s up there in heaven smiling down on you right now, as we speak.”
“I’m not so sure she’s smiling, but it makes me feel good to think so.”
Edward went back to his favorite rocking chair on the porch and pointed to the one next to him. “Sit, and we’ll talk for a spell. Sarah’s fixing dinner, but I reckon it’ll be a while before its ready.”
“That’s okay. I had a burger at the café, and I’m not hungry right now, anyhow.”
“Son, you know your Uncle Ernie and I were in the Army back in the sixties. We got sent to ‘Nam. At the same time in the same unit, but we were in different patrols.”
“Yes sir, I knew that.”
“Well, what you didn’t know and still don’t is, both of us got shot up in one battle. Shot up real bad. They thought neither of us would make it home alive. We were ambushed, something like what happened to you.”
“You’re right. I didn’t know that. You guys get purple hearts?”
“Yep. Mine’s in the bottom of my sock drawer. Don’t know where Ernie keeps his, but he’s got it. Funny, I always thought it would be neat to have one of those things. Figured I’d wear it on my chest and be proud of it. Not that I’m ashamed. But after what happened, I mostly wanted to forget why I got the damn thing in the first place. Know what I mean?”
“I sure as hell do. Dad, all I can think about when I look at that thing of mine is how my buddies got blown to hell. And how I’m still alive. I feel guilty as sin.”
“That’s what I figured. You’re alive and they’re dead, and it’s not fair. That about it? That and the fact you didn’t blow every son of a scum to hell getting even?”
“You got it. I didn’t say anything because I figured nobody would understand.”
“Can’t blame you for that, boy. Can’t blame you for that. But what we got to talk about is, you did come home. Alive. And you’re safe. Your buds are up there somewhere, too, like your mom, smiling down on us. There wasn’t a damn thing you could do to save them, so they don’t blame you at all. If you could have, you’d-a died over there getting even for them. Maybe died in their place if you could’ve.
“One good reason they sent you home, son. Revenge is not the Army way, at least not on a personal basis. Makes for some good battlefield heroism, but doesn’t get the job done in the larger picture.”
“So, what are you getting at?”
“If you go back, you got to put that behind you and act like it never happened; like you’re there for the first time. Otherwise, you’ll come back in a body bag in a few weeks. They know it and I know it, and it’s high time you got around to dealing with it.
“I’m not saying don’t go back, boy. Just that, if you do, I want you there for the right reasons, and not for revenge. You okay with that?”
About the Authr:
After many years as a professional musician, Dale turned to the pen to craft more than a dozen novels (to date). Returning to his native Missouri, he settled near Kansas City to enjoy the scenic beauty of America’s heart-land.
Using musical rhythms and values, Dale writes in a style some call poetic prose. Whether romance or dark drama is your cup of tea, his endearing (and sometimes frightening) characters will lead you into worlds you might otherwise never experience.So sit back, pick up a Pat Dale novel, and whisk yourself off for a few hours of fantasy.
Also by Pat Dale:
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