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The Disappearing Girls
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-363-8
Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery
eBook Length: 202 Pages
Published: June 2006

From inside the flap

Girls and young women are disappearing without a trace, without a clue. No bodies are ever found.

Police are stymied until a possible connection appears in the form of a young woman who has unaccountably inherited a newly built mansion from her estranged father. The lead detective in the case thinks something is completely out of kilter about the cases. He doesn?t know what really weird territory he -- and his new girlfriend -- are going to be entering.

As the disappearances continue, they begin to take on a new tone -- some of the people connected to the investigation also begin to abruptly drop from the face of the earth. The inherited mansion increasingly seems to be the clue to the disappearances.

When the phenomena envelops the detective and heiress, they find themselves in a situation they never imagined could happen.


Reviews and Awards

"A well-crafted suspense novel that keeps you on your toes the whole way through. Itís suspense with a little bit of science fiction, but not enough to scare away readers who don?t enjoy SF."

"The plot of this story is as off-beat as the characters. The dialogue is earthy and realistic, the love scenes romantic and intimate. The writing is typically Bain and thatís always a plus. With charm, occasional humor, and disarming sincerity, he spins a mystery-love story-science fiction tale that will keep the reader on the edge of his seat from the beginning paragraph to the last sentence of the epilogue."

The Disappearing Girls (Excerpt)


Teresa Smith waited impatiently for the security guard at the rear entrance of Northpark Hospital, located in the Kingwood section of Houston. The employees? parking lot was already deserted, the rest of the night shift having come and gone while she stayed with a cardiac patient in the emergency room. She felt the weariness of her twelve-hour shift even more than usual. Her shoulders and back ached from bending over desperately ill patients half the night and her feet and ankles hurt so badly that she could almost feel each individual muscle and tendon complaining. She shifted her feet, trying to lessen the pain and made an effort to pull her shoulders back. She hated to slump. Where was the guard? She looked out over the asphalt, shadowed by pin oaks already in full foliage. There were cars and vans and pickup trucks scattered randomly in marked off parking slots, the yellow stripes appearing a dull gray in the wispily clouded moonlight. Teresa had come on duty at noon, when the lot had been overflowing with vehicles and had to park in the farthest corner from the entrance.

Where was the guard? She glanced impatiently at her watch and twisted her neck, trying to get the kinks out. A gulf breeze blew strands of blandish hair around her face and she brushed them away, feeling the dampness there from her last sweat-soaked exertions with the cardiac patient. He hadn?t made it, despite all the heroic efforts of the emergency room crew. The death only added to her weariness. It depressed her when that happened, especially to a relatively young person. He had only been fifty three, a salesman attending a convention at one of the hotels near Houston International airport, not all that far from the hospital.

Where was the guard? It had been hospital policy that women leaving work after dark should be escorted to their cars ever since a young nurse had been assaulted in the parking lot a few months before. A flickering of light to the south drew her attention. She turned that way just as lightning flashed again against the clouds in the southwest, harbinger of an approaching thunderstorm coming in off the gulf. She shifted again, nervously, and shoved her hand down into her purse. Her fingers touched her car keys just as the moon came momentarily from behind a blot of approaching clouds. The parking lot brightened measurably. She scanned the expanse of concrete. It was still bereft of persons, but damnit she could see her car, the lines of the General Motors Saturn unmistakable even from this far away.

Where was the guard? He was usually all too ready to escort her to her vehicle when she came off duty. He was famous for paying more attention to attractive women than duty strictly required, taking his time getting them out to their cars or trucks or vans and bantering them with innuendoes that fell just short of sexual harassment while he surreptitiously admired their bodies. Teresa was familiar enough with him. She knew she was attractive and ordinarily didn?t mind stares of approval at her slim figure so long as they weren?t blatantly sexual, but the guard commonly went rather far in that direction. He made her uncomfortable. Lightning flared again, closer this time, limning dark clouds racing north, toward the city. Teresa suddenly made up her mind not to wait; much longer and she would get wet, either that or be forced into close proximity to the guard while he held his umbrella over them both, and used the opportunity to "accidentally" brush against her. Maybe that was why he was late; perhaps he was holding back until the rain began before making his appearance. Well, she didn?t feel like fooling with him tonight, not as tired and depressed from the failed resuscitation as she was. She stepped from beneath the canopied entrance and headed toward her car, walking swiftly.

Teresa detoured around a van, crossed a double row of vacant parking spaces and walked past a large pickup truck, hesitating momentarily just to the side of the cab, checking for the shadowed figure of anyone who might be lurking on the other side. Seeing nothing unusual, she hurried on, now on a direct path toward her car, parked beneath one of the old pin oak trees. Her car keys were already in hand as she approached her vehicle. She stopped, dropping her purse strap from her shoulder to her hand and inserted the key into the lock. She was already twisting the key when she heard a popping noise behind her, like the sudden release of air into a vacuum. Immediately, a rush of wind blew her hair around her face again. She turned at the noise, thinking that the wind had blown an acorn to the pavement, then as a sudden darkness blotted out everything in sight she tried to scream. It was impossible; she was suddenly gasping for breath, trying desperately to suck air back into her lungs. The purse strap slipped from her fingers as she fought against a terrific force pulling her backwards into the blackness. Her last thought was that it couldn?t have been an acorn dropping; It was too early in the year for them to have formed yet.