So maybe you've heard a little word noised abroad that Paper Shackles is now available on Amazon, through Kindle, and on it's own page. See link below.
But if you're not sold by the cover and the summary, here is a teaser trailer to tickle your senses for mystery, adventure, excitement, and generally... teenage mischief
Paper Shackles TEASER
Excerpt from Chapter 1: The Motivator
Seventeen year old Jason Sparks stood patiently by the getaway vehicle, dragging on a cigarette to calm his nerves. A crisp, March breeze chased dead leaves around on the asphalt and fueled the burning end of the cigarette. It glowed bright orange one moment, then fell to a dull red, then sparkled a bright yellow the next. A rickety, wooden fence, far from upright, bordered the back of an old convenience store and directly behind it raised the dry branches of an overgrown wood. The dead, winter leaves chattered and rattled in the wind sounding very much to the ear like a soft spring rain. Even though it was late, a chorus of bullfrogs croaked from a water-logged ditch nearby. The glow of a street lamp on the front corner of the store lot provided just enough light for someone on either side of the building to work without being seen. Jason's eyes wandered over to the convenience store as he thought about the task at hand. He wasn't superstitious; but the entire setting gave him ominous vibes.
The handgun lodged in the young man's belt was perhaps a large part of his discomposure. He had never handled a weapon of that sort before, having no tendency for violence. Times before, the gang had taken on daytime thefts accomplished by the boys working in pairs or acting as a mob. One had usually caused a distraction while the others made off with the product. At other times, they had all acted as one, smashing, looting, grabbing and running. Jason had not been only surprised when the gun had been placed in his hands, but quite disturbed. He had even protested.
“Never seen a gun before, Jay-man?! In case things heat up, you got yourself a motivator. It's yore ticket to freedom if something goes wrong!” Spencer, the Alpha Brother explained, checking the rounds in his own handgun. “We're going to the next level. You been here long enough to share the glory tonight. That's love, man.”
Jason had tried to look competent with the gun, but failed miserably.
One of the brothers shook his head peevishly as he arrested the gun. “Safety’s on. Never use a safety! Never know what could happen!”
Humiliated and angered, Jason flipped the safety back on when the thug wasn't watching. He could find some ointment for his pride by pointing the locked gun at his competitor's turned back.
The gang kept its members true with terrible penalties for any disobedience or infidelity. Superiors had to enforce their position by performing crimes or they risked having their position usurped by another. Before Jason's induction, the gang had appeared to be a very tight-knit family, full of love and support. Once initiated, Jason found that they were a very tight-knit family, full of “love” and support, but at a very high price. After the initiation ceremony, the end of which Jason had not been conscious enough to even vaguely remember, he awoke in the bed of his Alpha Brother, the man everyone in the gang answered to for better or for worse. This did not surprise him as much as finding that he was wearing a permanent bruise from the ceremony: the word “Retribution” tattooed down his arm.
Jason Bryant Sparks, Jr. was a lean but well-built young man with a face carved by hardships. At first glance he would have been thought handsome for he had thick dark brown hair, dark-green eyes, fine features and olive skin. Deeper down, he was stained with all his peer group had taught him and he had learned well to keep from re-living the beating he had received at thirteen years of age. His eyes were narrowed and skeptical and the overall appearance of his face hardened and mistrustful. His brow was wrinkled with premature worry and dissatisfaction with life; and when his chin wasn't dragging across his breast with this weight, it was firmly set and lifted to the sky to bluff onlookers into thinking he had both hands on the wheel of his life. In truth, he did appear competent and capable beyond his years so he was never granted any sympathy or leniency when he was caught in mischief.
Jason's eyes glistened with street-wisdom and his lip set with some trained roguishness. It was obvious that he had graduated with a diploma from the street-school instead of the county high-school. In truth, Jason's nature could have been a pleasant one that perhaps had been twisted by his broken home and the unfaithfulness of friends. When in good company, he was a rather likable person who never antagonized or sought to do anyone harm. He considered arguments to be a waste of time and didn't bother to condescend into someone else's misery to try to prove anything to them. He carried himself with a certain aloofness and self-worth and often spoke his mind which got him into a good deal of altercations with those of his class.
He lived in the rough of inner-city
with his mother, and several step-siblings and had known more than two
step-fathers. They were often in such
hard times, that there were frequent weeks without electricity, and sometimes
without water. There had even been two
brief times in Jason's early years that they had been without a roof over their
heads. Therefore, most of Jason's
energies and resources were spent looking for acceptance, stability, and love,
which he sought in the brotherhood.
Jason had spent more than one night in the Columbus, Georgia Detention center for his
unsuccessful mischief with the gang. The
majority of these, he had served as the scapegoat for another more seasoned
member of the gang. Jason looked to
himself for all the answers he needed in life. county
A particularly strong gust of chilly March wind alerted Jason when it dragged an aluminum can across the asphalt and made a clatter. He quickly turned his attention to a hooded figure approaching him from the shadows of the building. It was Spencer.
“We need ya JayJay. They's having trouble with the window- we need an extra hand and a lot mo' muscle.” He gestured with a handgun as he spoke.
Jason followed Spencer unquestioningly around the corner of the building. His heart pounded at the sight of a security camera aimed at the door. “Ya'll didn't see the camera?” He mumbled, keeping his head averted and tossing the cigarette butt to the ground.
“Took care of it a long time ago, man.” The superior grunted struggling with the window. “Hold the flashlight.”
When the gang had made a successful, clean entry through the back window of the old building, Jason, much to his dismay, was sent up and over to unlock the steel door from the inside. He had never been fond of heights and being sent head-first through a high window only heightened his anxiety.
Once on the other side, he found himself in the clerk's office. Jason slid the revolver under his belt as he looked upon the cluttered office space for signs of a safe or cash-box. Finding nothing, Jason opened the office door, walked around until he found the back entry-way and unlocked it as well. The gang flooded through and began the process of loading their getaway vehicle. Jason ambled around the station, wary of touching or disturbing anything as his friends loaded themselves with their desires. He had stolen many times before, so his conscious wasn't going to speak too loudly about pocketing any item he desired. Jason just couldn't shake off that bad feeling. He felt that he should leave the scene early, or at least go back and wait by the getaway vehicle. Right then, Spencer, his arms loaded with merchandise, ordered Jason to return to the truck; but almost as soon as he had spoken, a soft light filled the dark store from outside. Headlights! The light faded as quickly as it had come, and was succeeded by the sounds of rising sirens. Then blue and red light flooded the store and flashed off the glass and mirrors blinding Jason and Spencer. Spencer dropped his treasures without hesitation and began shouting to the others; but the other boys were already fleeing like rabbits. One boy ran blindly into Jason, laying him to the ground. A second stepped on him and didn't even seem to notice in his mad dash for the exit. The impact jolted Jason from his terrified stupor. He clawed products off the shelves and groped a display for support as he struggled to his feet. The display came crashing down on top of him. Jars shattered and pickle-brine soaked his clothes. Jason slid over cutting shards of glass and rolling pickles as he wallowed around in the dark until he fell into a broom closet in the back of the building. The brine stung his cuts, but that was the least of Jason's worries. Where was the exit?
Jason heard policemen shouting as they sprang out of their patrol cars and the roaring of the getaway vehicle growling to a start. Then the getaway car squealed off the lot and down the road, leaving tire streaks and a cloud of foul smoke.
Jason, still dazed from his knocks, blows, and spills, lay crumpled in the broom closet for about a minute. He heard investigative footsteps nearby, and jerked the revolver from his belt instinctively. Now he realized why Spencer had emphasized its importance when he had given it to him. Jason aimed it at the doorway and shook at the thought of a dozen armed policemen surrounding him. He trembled as he remembered their rough hands, hard cold steel handcuffs, and curt words. His heartbeat and breath echoed in his head. He became increasingly panicked and wild-eyed as the footsteps drew nearer and nearer. Sweat rolled down Jason's entire body as his muscles jerked and spasmed. The seconds warped into minutes as the officers began to search the store.
“Two took the truck. Get the boys to head 'em off.” A voice bellowed. “I hear something. Might be another kid-”
At the moment Jason thought he could be still no longer an inhumanely bright light was thrown in his eyes.
“Freeze, or you're dead-” A thick bass voice bellowed.
A gunshot split the air. Jason released a choked cry of terror and squirmed, thinking he had been shot; but he was pulled into an entirely new realm of fear when he stopped kicking and took one look at the policeman stretched out on the threshold before him. Another violent tremor shook Jason's body and he could only muster enough strength to wrench his eyes from the policeman to the gun in his own hands. The full realization of what had happened coursed through his mind like forked lightening. Jason's next thought was to put the gun to his own head and hope that there was a bullet left for him in its chamber; but before he could raise the weapon, he saw Spencer jump over the policeman's legs in a maniacal dash for the exit. He hollered to Jason in mid-jump.
“Jay-Jay! Save your worthless hide man! Get a move on! They catch you and they'll hang you by the throat for this!!”
So accustomed to obeying Spencer's orders, Jason snapped out of his stupor, scrambled to his feet, and sprinted out the back door after Spencer. As they ran out across the lit blacktop, Spencer extended his arm and fired a shot in the direction of the police officers who were assuming defensive positions after hearing the first gunshot. The boys immediately found themselves up against the rickety wooden fence at the edge of the wood. Spencer directed another shot at the officers and began to scale the leaning fence. Jason followed clumsily. Neither of the boys had made it completely over the wooden barrier when a third shot split the air. Spencer halted suddenly, uttered a strange groan, then fell limply backwards onto the concrete. His fall shook Jason over onto the other side just before a fourth shot rang out.
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