Happy New Year!
What follows is Chapter Two of my current work in progress book, Out of Tune. If you missed Chapter Zero or Chapter One, you may want to click on one of these links:
It was only May, but already the cool spring mornings were a memory and high humidity enveloped the Lowcountry landscape of Beaufort County, South Carolina, even at 10 a.m. The early heat didn’t bother Sheriff Tommy Cransford, though, as he drove in the air-conditioned comfort of his white county-owned SUV. He pressed a button on his phone and engaged the hands-free feature. “Hey,” he said. “Is the news crew ready?” A pause. “Good. We’ll be there in a few minutes. Tell them to wait out front.”
The sheriff hung up and drove a few more minutes. He slowed the vehicle and made a left turn off the paved road and onto a road of hard-packed sand. He pulled up far enough to allow a second white county SUV and a black SUV to make the turn behind him and then they stopped.
To the left vehicles was a small, thick grove of wax myrtles. On the right was a well-landscaped area under a large live oak tree with blooming white and pink azaleas. A blue sign with white letters rose above the shrubs and read Sterling Farms.
Sheriff Cransford picked up his handheld microphone. “Alright, Billy. Lights on. No sound, though.”
“10-4,” came the reply over the radio. Sheriff Cranford looked in the rearview mirror and saw the second SUV’s blue lights came on. He pressed a button and his lights came on as well.
The sheriff stomped the gas pedal hard, spinning the tires on the sandy road and throwing dirt for a second before catching traction and continuing past the company sign. A second later the three SUV’s came through the grove of trees and the clear blue sky opened up in front of them.
Now, on both sides of the road, almost as far as they could see on the flat low-country land were rows and rows of green plants, no more than a foot off the ground. Red fruit appeared to hang from the plants. In the distance, a large, silver structure rose above the crops, the warehouse and shipping center. A smaller, white rectangular building with several pickup trucks out beside it was in front of the warehouse.
Several white 15-passenger vans were parked along the road and Tommy observed dozens of workers in long sleeves, loose scarves around their necks, and floppy hats bent over the rows, picking the almost-ripe strawberries.
Several of the workers stood up and watched the SUV’s speed by. Others stayed bent over, either not interested or not noticing. To his left, the sheriff saw movement. One of the workers was running away from the SUV’s. He slowed the SUV and radioed the deputy.
“Billy, looks like we’ve got a runner. You go after him. The Feds and I can take it from here.”
To continue reading chapter two, click here: http://gregfowlerauthor.com/oot-chapter-two-ending/
Thanks for reading,