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Authors: Bailey Bradford

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All of the Voices

BOOK: All of the Voices
2.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

A Total-E-Bound Publication

All of the Voices

ISBN # 978-0-85715-463-7

©Copyright Bailey Bradford 2011

Cover Art by Lyn Taylor ©Copyright February 2011

Edited by Claire Siemaszkiewicz

Total-E-Bound Publishing

This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Total-E-Bound Publishing.

Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Total-E-Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.

The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.

Published in 2011 by Total-E-Bound Publishing, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7FL, United Kingdom.

This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has been rated

Southern Spirits


Bailey Bradford

Trademarks Acknowledgement

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

SyFy: NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast

Sears: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Styrofoam: The Dow Chemical Company


Bailey Bradford


Chapter One

The call from dispatch had Deputy Matt Nixon groaning and rolling his eyes even as he tossed aside his half eaten burger and started up the cruiser. Ten-fourteens occurred regularly at Mrs. Hawkins’ place, and Matt, like every other employee at the Sheriff’s department, dreaded being on the receiving end of the call. All of the times he had been unlucky enough to be on duty when old widow Hawkins claimed a prowler was on her property, not
had there been anyone other than the woman herself waiting for him when he arrived.

And every single one of those calls, Matt had cringed when he’d knocked on Mrs.

Hawkins’ door. Well, maybe not the first time. He’d been inexperienced and idealistic and kind of thought the other deputies were full of shit and trying to pull one over on him. It wasn’t until he heard the raspy-voiced widow hollering for him to ‘come on in’ that Matt had faced the slowly dawning horrific reality. After all, who, if there
a prowler about, would leave the damn door unlocked?

He still shuddered with the memory of that first call, because he’d been so sure the gossip had been just that—gossip and not
—until he started turning that unlocked door knob. Matt had scrambled frantically to recall the rest of the crap the other deputies had teased him about when he was sent to Mrs. Hawkins’, and remembering his fellow officers warnings was about the only reason he didn’t pull his gun when he finally opened the door and was promptly attacked by about two hundred pounds of nearly-nude, quivering old woman.

“Better watch yerself, boy,” Deputy Sparks had sneered, “that crazy ol’ bitch will be on ya the
second ya get in the door. She’ll be humping ya like a dog in heat and—”
Matt had walked away, his stomach quivery over the sheer amount of disdain in the former deputy Sparks’ voice.

“The man was a bigoted fuckwad anyway,” Matt muttered, pushing aside the anger thinking of Sparks always brought. As for Mrs. Hawkins, the old woman was just lonely, and granted, her means of getting attention were more than a little startling, but in the past few months, Mrs. Hawkins and Matt had come to a sort of truce. She still called in complaints about prowlers, but she no longer dressed in frilly lingerie when she greeted Matt.


Bailey Bradford


Most of the time she had a plate full of cookies and a glass of milk waiting for him. Matt had offered to stop in and check on her when he wasn’t working, but Mrs. Hawkins had declined. She had her routine, and he wasn’t the only deputy who got called out to her place.

He was just the only one who got cookies. The only one who’d befriended the old widow instead of mocking her. The only one who saw the lonely, scared elderly woman hiding under the façade Mrs. Hawkins presented to everyone else.

It hadn’t been that way between them before Matt had nearly died, but that traumatic event seemed to have been what made Mrs. Hawkins see past the laid back persona Matt usually affected. And so between them, they’d forged an odd friendship.

Mrs. Hawkins lived alone a few miles out of town on the remains of an old farm that used to be productive. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Hawkins had sold off most of the farm land, equipment and livestock, keeping only an acre or so surrounding her house.

She also kept several chickens, and Matt hated those damn birds. There was one in particular, a Rhode Island Red rooster, who seemed determined to emasculate him, either physically or through humiliation. If Matt thought he could get away with blowing that damn bird to bits, he’d do it. Maybe he could
back over the evil avian on his way out. No doubt the red menace would be chasing after him, trying to peck and claw at any part of Matt he could reach. God, he hated that rooster!

Matt floored the gas pedal as a wave of unease washed over him. He’d been about half an hour away from his destination when the call came through. Normally he hauled ass to the widow’s place, because you just never knew, but this time, he needed to get there faster.

His spine seemed to ice over, sending chilly tendrils throughout his body.

The red rooster was forgotten as fear dug its claws into his gut, spearing him in the same spot he’d been stabbed four months ago. He couldn’t say why or how he knew it was so, but everything in him clamoured and screeched in alarm, much like it’d done right before he’d had that knife driven into him.

Matt gasped as his vision dimmed, the memory of the attack springing to life in his mind, the hot slice of the blade through skin and muscle, the agony that ripped right along with the knife. Blinking rapidly to clear his vision, Matt willed the cruiser to go faster even as he took a turn at a speed that nearly caused the vehicle to roll.


Bailey Bradford


He had to hurry, before it was too late. Whatever was going on in his head, Matt couldn’t let it distract him, not now. Not when he
in some inexplicable way death was coming.

Matt brought the cruiser to a skidding, spinning halt in the widow’s dirt and rock driveway. Swells of dust encapsulated the vehicle before the reddish clouds spread out and dissipated. Nothing looked out of place other than the fact the chickens weren’t in the front yard. It wasn’t a cause for concern as he’d occasionally come out when they were in the chicken coop, yet everything still seemed wrong. The fear that had clawed at him coalesced into a bright, searing sensation in his chest as he rammed the gear in park and unbuckled his seatbelt.

It only took seconds for him to exit the cruiser and run across the drive and up the porch steps. The front door was unlocked. Matt opened it, calling out as he stepped inside when Mrs. Hawkins wasn’t waiting for him like she usually was. Matt darted through the empty living room. He looked in the kitchen and saw a plate of oatmeal raisin cookies on the table.

“Mrs. Hawkins?” Matt hoped she was in the bathroom. That would explain why she didn’t greet him at the door, but panic simmered below his skin as a voice in his head whispered
too late.
“No, it can’t be. Shut up,” he warned the voice.

After a quick search of the house, Matt ran to the back door. He would check the chicken coop next if—

Through the screen door, Matt saw Mrs. Hawkins. Her prone, still body was sprawled halfway off the back porch, one arm and leg dangling down towards the ground. “Mrs.

Hawkins! Oh shit, please…”

Matt nearly tore the door from its hinges as he barrelled through it. He knew in a small part of his mind that Mrs. Hawkins was dead before he ever slid to his knees beside her.

Maybe, if she’d only been this way for a few minutes, he could bring her back. Pressing a button on the shoulder mic he called for an ambulance, fearing it would arrive too late.

Whatever chance Mrs. Hawkins had was up to him.

A thin trail of bloody froth had seeped from her mouth, trailing down her chin and into the wrinkled folds in the skin of her neck. Her rheumy eyes were open, staring sightlessly at the porch’s ceiling.


Bailey Bradford


Matt knelt and felt for a pulse, his own heart stuttering when he found none even though he’d known he wouldn’t. Glad for the CPR update training he’d taken a month earlier, Matt positioned Mrs. Nixon and began chest compressions, counting in his head as he murmured encouraging words in case there was any chance Mrs. Hawkins could hear him.

“Come on, Mrs. Hawkins, you gotta come back. I swear I’ll let you grope me all you want, just…just don’t die.” Matt repeated his plea as he continued administering CPR, keeping his own panic and sense of loss wrapped tightly away in a corner of his mind.

“Deputy Nixon? Matt?”

Someone pulled at his shoulder. Matt shrugged off the hand, the muscles in his arms burning as he continued the compressions. “Come on, Mrs. Hawkins, you can’t—”

“Deputy Nixon, leave off!”

This time he couldn’t shrug off the hand clamped tight on his shoulder. He cut his eyes at the hand, trying to keep count in his head while his name was repeated.

“Matt, you need to let me take over for a few minutes. The ambulance can’t be far behind. Hear the sirens?”

The calm, low voice reached through the anger and fear. Matt nodded and scooted aside. Sheriff Stenley knelt beside him and took over while Matt’s arms began to quiver. The sound of the ambulance’s siren grew louder as Matt watched Stenley work, his lips moving in a silent count.

Something moved in the yard, drawing Matt’s attention reluctantly. The Rhode Island Red rooster stood half a dozen feet from the porch, his head cocked in a way that made the rooster look inquisitive and intelligent. Matt braced himself for an attack, crawling forward in case the bird decided to make a run at the sheriff.

“Don’t even think about it,” Matt warned as the rooster shook out his wings, the usual precursor to an attack. He glanced back to find Stenley shaking his head even as he continued the compressions. The siren screamed and Matt watched the ambulance barrel around the back of the house.

The rooster crowed then dashed off in a graceless display of full blown chicken panic.

Matt stayed where he was, unable to look back and see those lifeless blue eyes again. The EMT’s ran up the porch steps. Matt looked away and scooted off the porch.

BOOK: All of the Voices
2.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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