From Ancient Awakening
Barbara Edwards: “Everyone loves a hero, but what about a villain? Meet Carl Mason, an all around nasty character. Hello, Carl. Tell us about yourself.”
Carl Mason: “Call me Mr. Mason. I didn’t ask to be here and I resent your intrusion. I’m busy searching for the secret to immortality. I don’t have time for frivolous questions.” He settles into the leather chair behind his wide oak desk. His library is crowded with books and he hasn’t opened the French Doors to the extensive gardens. I get the creepy feeling he’s like a spider waiting in his web for the next prey. He’s not a handsome man.
Barbara: Then I’ll keep my questions pointed and short. Why did you decide to move to Rhodes End?
Mason: “In my research, I found that certain places in Rhodes End increased the power of certain artifacts. I need that power. I must find the secret to evading death.” He taps the fingers of his left hand on the desk as he rubs his chest with his right. His glare dares me to continue.
Barbara: “Hmm. Sounds like superstition to me, but let’s not dwell on that. This is a lovely house you’ve built. I noticed the paintings of blood sacrifices, the funeral items, and collections of devil worship paraphernalia. Can I have a tour?”
Mason: He slams his hands on his desk and shoves to his feet. “I’m not showing you anything! I have too much laboratory equipment in the basement to allow you access. I’m not revealing any more secrets to you. These collections are from my research and experiments. I’ve gradually eliminated the failures and will soon find success. I will live forever!”
Barbara: “I will be going, then. I can’t say it’s been nice.”
Enjoy this excerpt from Ancient Awakening, Book One in the Rhodes End Series:
With a twist of the key, Steve flipped open the rear hatch. A dozen caged Rhesus monkeys screeched and howled at being disturbed. A large box was labeled with the name of a powerful electron microscope he’d had on back-order for months. Mel leaned over his shoulder to read aloud the return shipping labels on several small packages: France, Spain, and Angola.
Steve leaned against the car frame while he studied the stacks.
“How did he know what I ordered?” he asked. He bent to read the labels on more boxes piled tightly behind the cages.
“He’s got the money to buy information. Remember how much he knew about BioTech?” She shrugged. Her hand brushed his arm before she waved at the opening.
“Of course, this isn’t free.” Mason oozed around the vehicle. He pointed behind the stacked cages. For the first time Steve noticed the dull gray and green stone carving hidden by the other items. Mel murmured an unhappy curse under her breath.
“What does your ugly box have to do with this?”
Steve drew Mel to his side. Her skin felt cold. He wanted to warm her any way he could.
“It’s a simple chore, really, for an experienced researcher. In exchange for all this,” he nodded at the van, “I want you to test the remains in the funeral box for DNA. All we need are a few cells. No other strings.”
“You can’t be serious. After all the strange deaths since the thing arrived here, I won’t allow Steve to have it in his house. There’s a killer after its secrets. It’s too dangerous.” Mel’s firm tone belied the faint trembling in her shoulders.
She was afraid, Steve realized, but not for herself. He squeezed her more tightly and she threw him a hard smile.
“She’s right. All these things I’ll eventually receive. Risking our lives to scrape a few cells from an empty box is totally ridiculous.” He rubbed his hand up and down her arm. Despite being tempted, he wouldn’t accept this offer.
“There’s risk and then there’s risk,” Mason declared, before he drew a metal-banded refrigerated container from behind his back. Red and black lettering scrolled over the surface blazoned a warning sign in a dozen languages. He knelt and released the catches before Steve could stop him.
“You should take these little gems into your laboratory. Too bad you’ll never get them from any other source except me.”
He flipped open the lid to reveal a frost-covered rack of capped test tubes. Red lettering named the contents. Packing cushioned them to prevent breakage. Steve stared at sealed ampoules of the most horrendous diseases on earth.
Hope you enjoyed meeting my villain. Do you think he’s worth another visit in my next book?
Visit me at my website: www.barbaraedwards.net