Writer-In-Progress; Perfect Pawn, written by Andrew Nelson

We’ve come to the end of another month, and once again it’s time for another guest post excerpt. This month I bring you a slice from Andrew Nelson’s novel PERFECT PAWN.


Books_Wallpaper_smallCHAPTER ONE

Keenseville, New York State

Saturday, April 28th, 2012 – 1:37 a.m.


Patricia Ann Browning didn’t see the deer standing in the middle of the road until it was too late, not that it would have mattered.

She was on her way home from the annual opening of her art gallery in Keenseville and she was in a great mood. It was a trip she had made a thousand times before, having spent her whole life in this area, and one which she was quite comfortable making, even at this late hour.

Browning had just hosted the first showing of the new year and it had been a smashing success. It wasn’t on the scale of a Manhattan opening, but everyone on the Adirondack art scene had been there including some well-known dealers and art aficionados from the Burlington area in Vermont. The months of working long hours, coupled with having to deal with the sensitive feelings of more than one artist, had finally paid off. She allowed herself the opportunity to bask in the glow of her triumph, a glow fueled just a little bit more by the wine she had enjoyed at the end of the evening.

The black sapphire 2012 BMW M6 streaked along the misty thoroughfare like a spectral image highlighted by the moonlight filtering down through the trees. The vehicle was well suited for its role in navigating the meandering mountainous back roads of upstate New York. Maybe it had something to do with its Bavarian roots.

Patricia Browning had just turned forty-two back in September, but neither felt nor acted her age. She took great pains in taking care of herself and the endless hours spent running around the gallery and staging new exhibits served as her impromptu gym.

As she deftly maneuvered the car along the roadway one of her favorite songs from an 80’s rock band came on the radio. She reached over and turned the volume up high. The sound system in the vehicle was impressive, even by an audiophile’s standard, and it made the occupants feel as if they were actually in a concert hall. She leaned back comfortably in the leather driver’s seat, and began singing out loud, as she gripped the steering wheel tightly.

As the BMW navigated a particularly sharp turn in the winding mountain road, the headlights illuminated the ill-fated animal standing in the middle of the roadway. It was the epitome of a deer in the headlights moment. She opened her mouth as if to scream, but had no time to make an actual sound. At the same exact moment she instinctively slammed on the brakes and swerved to avoid hitting it.

While it was a valiant attempt, it fell just short of the mark. The car struck the animal, which appeared frozen in abject fear, and launched it up into the air.

Had the vehicle had a slightly larger profile, the animal most likely would have been driven directly through the windshield and into the passenger compartment causing serious injury if not the death of the driver. However, the German engineers had succeeded in producing a crisp aerodynamic design which effectively minimized the deer’s impact. The low profile caused the animal to strike the hood at such an angle that its lifeless body was propelled into the upper most edge of the windshield and over the top of the vehicle where it crashed down on to the wet pavement directly behind the car.

In that same instant the windshield shattered at the point of impact in that familiar spider web pattern which further terrified the driver. As a result of this assault on her senses, she surrendered all control of the car as she desperately attempted to duck down and away from the perceived danger. Unfortunately, the BMW’s seatbelt ensured that she didn’t get very far.

The car, operating on its own at this point, careened wildly until it ran off the road and crashed headlong into a tree. At that exact moment, even as her body was pressing against the seat belt, one of the vehicle’s crash sensors detected the pressure wave caused by the impact and sent a signal to the on-board computer. At about the same time other pressure sensors began to respond to the now crumbling engine compartment and sent their respective signals in as well. The vehicle’s computer then began to calculate the severity of the impact. A millisecond later the computer determined that it was a catastrophic event and sent a fire signal to the vehicle’s airbag system causing them to deploy at nearly 200mph. The force of the airbag deployment propelled Patricia Browning back into the driver’s seat even while they were already deflating in front of her. While the airbags had done exactly what they were designed to do, the violence of the initial impact had rendered her unconscious.

From the moment of the impact with the tree exactly two-hundred and seventy-six milliseconds had passed, less time than it takes for the blink of an eye.

Steam rose from the shattered radiator where it was eerily lit up by the headlights. Somehow in the collision, the right blinker had also been activated, adding an amber and red flash to the mix. The car’s radio continued to play the classic rock ballad which only served to make the whole scene seem even that much more surreal.

If she had been conscious, she would have noticed the headlights come on from the pickup truck that was parked approximately fifty feet away on the opposite side of the road. A male figure, clad in dark clothing and wearing a baseball hat pulled low, exited the vehicle. He walked purposely around to the passenger side of the pickup and opened the door.

From there he moved quickly in the direction of the hulking wreckage of the automobile. Under the circumstances it was completely unnecessary as it would be at least two more hours before another vehicle would venture down the deserted back road.

The man proceeded to walk past the crumpled remains of the BMW, back to where the lifeless body of the deer lay in the roadway. It was in fact a young three-point buck and weighed in at only one hundred and twenty pounds. The man lifted the remains up off the ground and carried it to the pickup truck where he unceremoniously dumped it into the back.

When he was done, he switched on the LED flashlight device that was attached to his baseball hat and moved to the tree line on the side of the road just behind the BMW. He located the remnants of the cable wire that was looped around the large sugar maple tree trunk. The same wires which had, a few moments earlier, suspended the deer over the roadway. If anyone had been given the opportunity to examine the remains of the animal they would have discovered that this particular deer had, in fact, died twice tonight.

He withdrew a screwdriver and pliers from his jacket pocket and carefully removed the bolts that held the looped wires around the tree trunk.  These he stuffed into his pockets before moving to gather up the remnants of the heavy gauge wire. When he was done he moved to the opposite side of the road and repeated the process.



andrewgnelson_authorAndrew G. Nelson was born and raised in the Richmond Hill section of New York City and graduated from the State University of New York. In 2005 he retired as a sergeant from the New York City Police Department after twenty years of service. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe, something that he draws from in his writing. He is the author of Perfect Pawn and the sequel, Queen’s Gambit, the second in the James Maguire series.

His books are available through AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo andSmashwords. If you would like to connect with the author, he can be reached via the following:

Author’s Website: AndrewGNelson.blogspot.com,

Facebook: Andrew-Nelson and Twitter: @Andrew_G_Nelson.

About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

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