Sneak Peek of Sleepy Carter

Brian W. Smith IS ENTERING THE WORLD OF MYSTERY… I want you to meet Sleepy Carter! I need all my friends to like his new Sleepy Carter Page. Let’s show our support as this wonderful author takes on a new adventure. Here’s an excerpt of Sleepy Carter.

Chapter 1

The blanket of darkness that engulfs the historic Garden District in New Orleans when the sun retires for the evening can be downright menacing. Antebellum homes, with their thick columns, wrap around porches, and recessed maid quarters, lose the nostalgia they exude while the southern rays that accentuate the city’s skyline to the east are shining down on them. When the great producer of southern heat decides its shift is over and heads west for the evening, these massive reminders of a slave owning south cower into the shadows—content to hide until the heavenly fireball clocks back in.
West of the Garden District, near the area where the mighty Mississippi prepares to take a northerly bend, life in the Big Easy becomes a little less commercial. The number of restaurants, pubs, and tourist attractions give way to fixtures more reflective of a New Orleans residential district: catholic hospitals, churches, schools, and cemeteries.

Inevitably, an eastwardly trek along St. Charles Avenue brings one to a dimly lit stretch that has two historic university campuses to the north and Audubon Park to the south. What little light that does exist in this area can mostly be attributed to Loyola University’s, Marquette Hall building. With huge lights positioned at its base and facing upward, the illuminated structure postures impressively for all to see. But, what isn’t so impressive when the sky turns as black as tar is what stares back at Marquette Hall from the other side of the popular thoroughfare—Audubon Park.

Once the sight of a plantation, Audubon Park was walked, slept, and fought on by Confederate and Union armies during the Civil War. It even served as an assembly area for various regiments of the Buffalo Soldiers. The Audubon Park soil—and the moss covered oak trees that dominate the landscape—have tons of stories to tell. And with the blood of two murder victims having been spilled on its soil within the previous three weeks, the park had more deadly secrets buried than even it cared to contain.

To outsiders, this depiction may sound like hyperbole; another exaggerated description of an area in a city where the line between reality and fiction has always been blurred. But to New Orleanians who frequent the area, the spirits that shuffle along the fringes of Audubon Park at night have a way of incentivizing pedestrians to cross the street and joggers to speed up their pace as they pass.

The December chill that dominated the air was accompanied by a subtle, but consistent breeze. The park seemed more intimidating on this night than usual. The midnight hour was only minutes away; therefore, traffic on normally busy St. Charles was scarce. It’s that scarcity of activity that made the stumbling Cindy Stanson stick out like a sore thumb. With a long golden mane that rivaled Rapunzel’s and her ninety pounds being held up by a nearly six foot frame, Cindy could look statuesque when sober. But on this nippy night, she was far from sober. Her hair was disheveled from all of the dancing she’d done at Fratties, the most popular pub in the area. The whites of her eyes were a light shade of pink—the byproduct of two straight hours of drinking more liquor than her body type could handle. Her steps were measured, but her chances of winning a lottery were greater than the likelihood she could pass a field sobriety test from one of the city’s finest.

As she staggered in the direction where she thought she’d parked her car, this twenty–two year old, with legs that seemed to start at her shoulders, looked less like someone who could walk on the runways of Paris and more like a another speech slurring victim of the city’s night life. Dangling from her puffy lips was a slender cigarette. The menthol flavored bad habit bobbed up and down as she talked to herself. If it wasn’t for the moisture and the Angelina Jolie style crease in the center of her bottom lip, it would have fallen a block earlier. But Cindy was no novice. She controlled that cigarette with the skill of a chain smoking shade tree mechanic. A plastic blue cup, partially filled with a red punch and vodka concoction, was lodged in the palm of her right hand. Her car keys jostled in her left hand. Her skinny index finger struggled to remain inside of one of the key rings to keep the keys from crashing on the cold cracked pavement.

Cindy’s condition—and her insistence on violating the unwritten rules denouncing parking on the Audubon Park side of the street after hours—made her ripe for an assault. As she approached the rear end of her Cherry Red, BMW 325i, she placed her key clutching hand on the trunk of the car to steady herself. Although her body had come to a stop, the contents of her stomach hadn’t. Vomit surged from her abdomen and spewed from her mouth like the waters of the Mississippi that breached the levees in the ninth ward. The cigarette that she’d been nursing became caught up in the tide. Her body jerked and convulsed for nearly a minute. When there was nothing left to puke up she raised her head to the heavens, took a deep breath, and slouched against the passenger side of the tail end of the car.

76721_474786392562642_1062347591_nYou can like the Sleepy Carter fan page and continue to read more excerpt of this upcoming novel at: https://www.facebook.com/notes/brian-w-smith-sleepy-carter-page/the-audubon-park-murder-excerpt-by-brian-w-smith/474674345907180

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