The following is the first scene written for the novel Cayman Cowboys. It actually appears about a third of the way into the story. Cayman Cowboys was the first Mike Scott thriller, originally published in 2005.
Out of the darkness, a third car slowly pulled into the drive behind the abandoned cottages and came nose to nose with the car already there. Two men got out. No one bothered with formalities or useless greetings. They had business. The men were both islanders and dressed in jeans, dark jackets, and hats. They did not want to be recognized by others. In the low light, it was nearly impossible to distinguish which one was speaking.
“Do you have the map?” Walker asked the new arrivals.
“Yeah, I got it. What do you think I’m here for? You got the money?” one of the men responded.
“You’ll get it when I guarantee these are what we need. For all I know, you brought the wrong ones,” Walker responded.
Walker turned and gave his driver an order. The man pulled out an electric lantern while the driver of the new car spread the maps out across the hood of his car.
“Here they are,” said the driver of the third car. “Environmental surveys of the area. It shows everything you’re looking for.”
“These appear to be perfect. Exactly what we need,” said Walker. “Do you have our map?” Walker asked Akins.
“Yeah, right here,” Akins said.
“Bring it up and put it in the light. We need to make sure it matches the original,” Walker instructed the politician.
“Don’t worry, man. I had the same man who made the real map make this one. He worked at the government land office for 40 years and is trying to make it by on his retirement. He needs money to live here. His services are for hire,” the passenger from the third car said.
Suddenly, a loud crash echoed from an abandoned house directly behind where the men were meeting, and they heard the sound of a young woman yelp in pain.
“Check it out and find out who’s in there,” Walker ordered. The Lincoln’s driver and both men from the third car rushed toward the house. Samson started to go as well, assuming this was one of the duties his boss was paying him for, but Walker reached out his hand and held him back.
Seeing the men come rushing out of the darkness, the girl, who was just sleeping in the house, ran out the side door to get away.
All three men shouted after her and one fired a gun into the air, hoping it would make her stop. It didn’t. Scared beyond all comprehension, the girl ran faster. She was a runaway, hiding out from her family and the law. Waking up from a sound sleep, she thought it was the police coming to take her back to her abusive father in the U.S. She had tried to run away before. When she was caught and taken home, the beatings were worse than they had ever been before.
Quite possibly the last thought the girl had was that these men would never take her back to her family, no matter what happened. She ran from the sandy soil that covered much of the island directly onto what the locals call iron shore, limestone rock left over from millions of years of coral buildup that has been eroded over the years by the rain to form jagged edges and crevices. Even in solid shoes, iron shore is treacherous. At night, with nothing more than sandals on her feet, no light, and fleeing in a panic, the girl didn’t stand a chance. Not a local, she only set foot there just a few days before. Using money she had stolen from a small liquor store near her home to buy the ticket and a friend’s passport to gain entrance to the island, she had fled during the night. She had read stories in magazines about the island and thought it sounded like a wonderful place to escape to. She hadn’t had a chance to learn the land yet. She didn’t realize just how treacherous running across the iron shore could be, especially down by the water’s edge where the wave action had made things even more hazardous.
She fell. Hearing the men’s voices, she stood up bleeding from her shoulder and tripped again just a few yards away. This time she tore a jagged hole in her leg. In agony, she struggled to her feet and tried to run again. Turning to look, she saw the lights the men carried swinging back and forth. Knowing she had to get away, she struggled to her feet one more time, pain searing through her body. Already dying from the increasing blood loss from a torn artery in her thigh, she fell for the last time in a crevice between the rocks at the water’s edge.
She could hear the gentle sounds of the small Caribbean waves lapping against the rocks and the iron shore coast. When the waves hit the shore just right, the water would work its way through the rocks and blast straight up into the air, like a blowhole from a whale.
“Do you see the girl?”
“Nah, I don’t see anything. I’m not even sure there was a girl.”
“Someone was out here, but I can’t find her,” the men argued at the edge of the iron shore field.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m not climbing across this stuff at night.”
“You’re right; she couldn’t have gone this way. Let’s check the other side of the road.”