The Fatal Rose by J.M. Lominy
Killing had always been sweet for Pierre-André François, the ruthless assassin known as The Little Rose. Wherever he struck, fear closely followed, his victims he left as bloody works of art. The finishing touch on his canvas was a carefully placed rose, a signature on his deadly motif that haunted crime scenes, not to mention the police investigating them.
A man who takes joy in killing should never fear dying, and in fact, The Little Rose embraced death. So finding himself alive—after what he knew should have been a fatal dance with his foe, Millard Le Beast—was disappointing. Not only was the Beast stronger and faster, he slaughtered Pierre-André’s dearest love.
But now, awakened, fully recovered (in body, anyway), and a fugitive on foreign soil, The Little Rose is forced to carry on. Having lost all desire to laugh, love, and kill, his sole purpose remains to seek revenge. But how can Haiti’s most feared assassin endure with no motivation? Fortunately, revenge has no shelf life.
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Excerpt from Chapter 1
It was Tuesday just past midnight, a time when the bells for mass were already a distant memory. Only by the grace of God would they ring again. The moon and the stars had retired, and the sun was nowhere to be found. An occasional insect wandered about to remind the darkness of the existence of life.
Father Jean-Marie Lumier and the church’s groundskeeper struggled under the weight of the man they carried, who was injured and soaked in blood. They headed down Rue des Miracles, one block away from the National Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The head of the man they carried was wrapped like a mummy’s with seven holes to accommodate his eyes and orifices. The mummy-faced man was not dead, but his condition was poor and deteriorating rapidly.
Dressed in civilian clothes, Father Lumier held on to his patient tightly as the groundskeeper hailed a lone taxi on the deserted streets. Seeing the taxi, they felt Father God was watching over the poor soul whose life teetered on a delicate string. The priest would have gladly paid more than twenty thousand Haitian gourdes, which he did not have, if it would save the man’s life. The rescuers labored to get the injured man into the cab, but their hands slipped, causing his legs to flop to the ground. The body they struggled with was muscular and as unmoving as a whisker plucked from an alley cat’s face.
The cabbie felt sorry for the two weak fools and came around to help. He took charge and showed them how to get an unconscious man into a car: ass first into a sitting position, and then lay him onto the seat. The interior light of the cab was enough for cursory visibility. Blood was everywhere.
The patient moaned and feebly opened his light brown eyes. A color uncommon among Haitians, they matched his light skin. The cab driver, always aware of every detail he had ever seen from the time he was able to control his bladder, was taking mental notes of this night’s unusual events.
The priest gave hurried directions to a clinic managed by the Catholic Church on Rue Dr. Audin, a short distance from the Sacred Heart Parish. He had already sent the yard boy ahead with a message for his friend Dr. Dennis to meet him at the clinic. Looking around, Father Lumier searched for a sign from God. All he saw was darkness; then he felt the rumbling of his stomach—a reminder that his last meal had been over twelve hours ago. Used to the habit of fasting for his Lord God, Father Lumier closed his eyes in prayer. Then he went on a spontaneous spiritual journey with God as his coachman. After mumbling his impromptu prayer, he focused on the patient and held on tight.
The cabbie was driving as if being chased by Satan, making the tires squeal with every turn. He maneuvered the old Ford, breaking the speed limit, knowing life was more important than any infraction he could incur. He was well aware most policemen were in whatever lair they went to for their nightly hibernation and the risk of receiving a contravention was minimal.
From the look and condition of the man in his backseat, the cabbie reasoned it would take a miracle or devil’s play to save the sorry sap. He recognized the priest after he got a better look at the pudgy groundskeeper, who often carried messages for the church via this very taxi. The cleric looked different in civilian attire: just an ordinary face, dark skin with inquisitive eyes, and a long chin.
The cabbie learned a long time ago to ask no questions, to simply observe and listen; one learned more with silence, and information was valuable. Port-au-Prince was full of surprises. A man risked a premature death by asking too many questions. Let the gods deal with the mischiefs and miracles.
Father Lumier had the wounded man’s head on his lap and kept his hands on the patient’s wrist, counting the pulse and watching his chest as it labored between breaths. His own slacks and shirt were covered with blood. Aesthetics were his last concern when death was a phantom companion licking at the other man’s heels.
Using the assessment skills he learned while helping at the clinic, Father Lumier was well aware the man’s wounds should not have been bleeding as they were. He had one cut under his armpit and another on the bicep of the same arm—both were deep. Whoever inflicted them was skilled and angled his blade to sever the veins in a way that facilitated rerupture with minimal movement. The priest was anxious to get to the clinic so the wounds could be sutured, and with all the loss of blood, Pierre-Andre´ Franc¸ois would need a blood transfusion.
Father Lumier did not care that Pierre-Andre´ had come to his bedchamber as the Little Rose, the most feared assassin in Haiti, with the intention of murdering him. It would have been the assassin’s final act, satisfying a lifelong vengeance: a thirst for retribution birthed ten years ago on an empty lot turned into a soccer field.
( Continued... )
© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, J.M. Lominy. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
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About the Author
Life for J.M. Lominy began in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where he spent his first years with his maternal Aunt and Uncle.
At the age of seven, Lominy and his older sister immigrated to the United States in order to reunite with their mother in Brooklyn, New York.
After graduating from James Madison High School, Lominy entered the United States Marine Corps and served during the first Gulf War. At the age of 22, he was honorably discharged and returned home to attend school. He went on to earn his Bachelors of Nursing degree from the City College of New York.
His work, both poetic and determined in voice, places an emphasis on the history of the Haitian experience as witnessed through the life of passionate characters. A husband and father of five boys, Lominy has been writing since 2000 and specializes in historical fiction.
Mr. Lominy currently resides in Georgia with his wife of 15 years and his three younger sons. When he’s not working or taking care of his family he is writing. Lominy states, “I am a writer with a lot of passion and fury.”
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