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Excerpt from Emerald Green

Callie Houston’s second adventure involves her in a corrupt pet food supplier. Here is a short excerpt.

Ketamine—nasty  stuff. A friend of mine was dosed on ketamine by a malicious date that was some years older than she was. She reported to me that at first she felt like she was floating in space, detached somehow from her body. There were hallucinations; she saw her grandmother on the dance floor. It wasn’t an entirely unpleasant feeling. Later on, as her date took her back to his apartment, the effects became very frightening to her as she seemed to go numb all over and couldn’t feel anything, although she was perfectly conscious of what was being done to her. She couldn’t seem to resist.

When the police suggested that she seemed quite cooperative, she told me that she felt a deep sense of guilt when it was over. She supposed it might have looked like she was cooperative. When I asked her if she managed to fight off any of the effects, she said, “yes, but it required great concentration, and that was the problem.”

“I kept forgetting why I was supposed to concentrate on what was happening and why it was bad.”

I didn’t take that as a joke.

How much had Cab injected in me? If he hit a vein, I might easily die from respiratory arrest in the next few minutes. At the moment I’m optimistic; I’ve read that the effects hit you in seconds if it gets directly into the blood stream. Ten or fifteen minutes if you swallow the dose.

I strain to hear anything outside the room. No more thunder, at least. Poor Rain will probably giggle as Cab puts her finger on the trigger and blows her brains out. I wonder what kind of relationship she had with Mack’s boss. Donny never impressed me as the super-romantic type.

Twelve o’clock. There’s a round-faced clock with a second hand on the wall in front of me. The second hand seems to be moving rather fast. To the right of the clock is a picture of a middle-aged woman. She shares some features with Cab; she’s probably his mother. Perhaps she knows what her son is doing, if not consciously. Mothers generally feel what their offspring are up to. My mother did, a thought which brings back a painful memory. I watched my mother die—blown up and burned alive with Tony Ryan. The pieces of burning boat rained down around me as I struggled to swim ashore. I was saved by a stranger in a kayak who kept me afloat long enough for the police to pick me up at the breakwater.

I concentrate on the clock. The minute hand has jumped ten minutes. I blink rapidly, unable to rub my eyes. It seems that each time I blink the minute hand jumps a couple of minutes. What happens between times? Perhaps I’ve become a time traveler. If only I could see my wrist watch. I stretch a toe towards the nearest drawer, trying to hook the pull. There might be something I can use. However, the toe of my shoe falls a foot short. I try scooting down in the chair. I get within a couple of inches, and then my shoulder joints won’t twist further in that direction. The pain is too much, and I have to straighten up. Exhausted, I glance at the clock. The hands are back to 12:08. Apparently the ketamine is working in some bizarre fashion. I can’t seem to remember why I ought to be worried.

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