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Westchester Station - The Pursuit
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-209-5
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Science Fiction
eBook Length: 197 Pages
Published: November 2014

From inside the flap

Officer John Parrish and his partner are on routine patrol in Murphysburg, Ohio when they notice a car that had been reported stolen. Their pursuit leads them to an abandoned industrial site. Parrish follows the criminal into an old outbuilding. Trapped inside, he eventually finds himself in another structure altogether: Westchester Station.

He soon learns, with the help of the stationmaster, that the train depot is an intertimensional train station. He has been brought there for a reason, but only he can discover what that reason is. As he wanders the station and meets its many residents, he soon discovers that if he doesnít find and fulfill that purpose, he may never leave.

Westchester Station: the Pursuit is the third volume in the Westchester saga and occurs ten years after the last adventure. Many of the same characters are here, but some interesting new ones are introduced as well, including a teen-age girl who is possibly a refugee from an alternate reality, a beggar who really is as blind as a bat, and Amelia Earhart (perhaps). And, this being Westchester Station, many of the officerís adventures are as unusual as the residents of the station.

Will Parrish succeed? Can Furball the cat help him rescue Earhart (if thatís who she is)? And where can one get something to eat? The new novel expands on the original with new adventures, characters and discoveries. Readers of the first two books will welcome Westchester Station: the Pursuit with open arms and minds.

Westchester Station - The Pursuit (Excerpt)

Westchester Station: The Pursuit

Just my luck, I thought as I tried for the fifth or dozenth time to open the recalcitrant door. It was the same door that had opened as easily as a streetwalker's legs when I wanted inside the building. Now it had slammed shut and might as well have been welded solidly to its frame.

Which was only appropriate, I suppose, as it was just luck - I wasn't sure yet if it was good or bad -- I was here in the first place. My partner, police sergeant Joe Ceszy, and I were on routine traffic patrol this Friday night. In a small suburb like Murphysburg, that usually means being parked near Morty's Place to nab the occasional drunk driver or break up a fight. We were actually just down the block in the parking lot of Fast 'n Ready mini-mart. It gave us a good view of the bar and easy access to free coffee all shift long. Ceszy is the one who noticed it, a red late model Fiat driving the speed limit through town.

"Didn't we hear this morning about a Fiat being stolen?" he asked, setting aside his drink.

It rang a bell. I turned my attention from my microwave taco to the highway and saw the car pass. "Yeah, we did."

"How many Fiats do we get in this town?" Ceszy started our car and slowly began pursuit. "Call dispatch and ask them for the license number."

While I did that, he tried to lessen the distance between the cars. Unfortunately we got stopped by a light, and he understandably didn't want to hit our flashers or siren until we knew more. I had the confirming info by the time the light turned green, and we sped around the turn to catch up. There was no other traffic, so we still saw no need to signal our interest or attention, and Joe quickly pushed us up to forty. But when we reached the top of the small hill, the highway before us was long, flat and empty. "We scared him off," Ceszy said and swore softly. "He must have really punched it," he added with a hint of admiration.

I wasn't ready to give a Fiat that much credit. "Maybe he didn't come this way. There's a turn-off back there that leads to the river. He could have taken that."

"But that's a dead end. Only teen-agers looking to fuck go there."

"Still too much light for any privacy. Besides, in another mile or so there'll be plenty of turn-offs he could use. We'll never find him except by blind chance."

Ceszy hit the steering wheel with his fist. "You're right, damn it. Call dispatch and tell them what happened and we'll go scare some teens." So we did a U-turn and soon reached the turn-off and drove down to the river.

And found the red Fiat parked there. Ceszy pulled slowly up behind it. "You've got the passenger side. Be careful," he said as he got out, gun drawn.

I withdrew mine as well, but we weren't even up to the Fiat's rear when it was clear our weapons were unnecessary. There was plenty of light to tell us the car was empty.

Ceszy kicked a front tire. "Well, this sucks."

"At least we've recovered the vehicle," I said.

"Let's see if he left us any presents."

The car was unlocked. Ceszy hopped in and quickly searched the glove compartment, under the seats, under the visors. He reached between the console and passenger seat and removed a sheet of paper that had slipped in there, probably unnoticed. He gave a slow whistle as he scanned it, then handed it to me. "Anything look familiar?"

I glanced at the list of addresses. "Son of a bitch." I recognized them all right. For the past three months, a very professional thief had been working the area. His modus operandi was the same: strike at night while the owners were out or on vacation and only take money and jewelry, nothing much larger than a watch. We had nothing, no prints or DNA or witnesses that would help us find the thief. For the first time maybe we did. "What do you want to do? Wait for backup?"

"Absolutely not. Think of the bones we'll score if we can catch the fucker. I'll call for help but I ain't waiting."

I agreed. Except that I wanted to catch him by myself. "Only two places he could go." I pointed to the woods that were to our left. "He's hiding in the trees or," and I pointed right, "down by the river."

Ceszy nodded. "I'm on this side so I'll take the woods. Have fun."

Fat chance, I thought as I made my way down the bank. But I couldn't argue. Ceszy was my superior in terms of rank and seniority, and that's something you don't question in any police department. Besides, between the two of us, I would have a better chance of negotiating the sloping bank and not tumble on my ass. Ceszy was built like a defensive lineman, I like a free safety. Our physical differences made us a good team, but also made me better suited to wandering through hills and dales. Especially here.

My path was heavily overgrown, and I had to keep avoiding branches and whatever else might be hiding in the underbrush to trip me. I had only negotiated fifty yards or so when I reached the rusting fence protecting the remaining property from scoundrels. I walked west along the fence because I could see evidence - bent grass and such - that someone had recently gone this way. Soon enough I came to a section of the fence that had rusted through. The signs of recent passage continued on the other side. I radioed Ceszy and told him what I had found, then continued through the fence. In hindsight that was a huge mistake.

The grass and weeds were so high it was like wading through waist-deep water. But the trail was easy to follow, and it led directly to a cinder block building that was nearly a twelve-foot cube. There were no windows and the roof was flat, but there was an old, rusting metal door on the east side. The trail led directly to it.

I studied the building for a moment. It had to be an out-building servicing the nearby factory that had closed and gone to pieces after WWII. Actually, the plant had been destroyed by a fire of suspicious origins; now you could only access the ruins from the riverfront. I looked at the door again. Why would he go in there? A quick circuit of the building proved there was no other door and no signs of a passage leading from it, either. This utility building could have a tunnel running to the old factory. If he used that, we might never catch him.

I radioed Ceszy my suspicions. "Stay where you are, John," he said over the radio. "I'll be there in a few minutes. Don't do anything by yourself."

"Roger that," I radioed back. But after a few minutes I decided it wouldn't hurt to at least force the door open and peek inside. For all I knew our perp had a key or some such. And he already had too much of a head start to suit me.

I was surprised when I pulled on the door. Despite its derelict appearance, it opened smoothly. But the failing evening light only lit the entrance a few feet, so I turned on my flashlight and stepped inside. This had to be a station for controlling power to the factory, I concluded when I scanned the wall with my light. Massive circuit breakers, dials and meters and more filled the room and disappeared below. I was on a steel catwalk that ran the length of the building. At the end I could see the top of a metal ladder leading down. That's where he went, I decided, and I took several steps in that direction.

A mistake. Almost immediately I felt a rush of wind, then the crash of the metal door slamming shut. I ran back and tried to open it, but the door that had moved so smoothly now was immobile. But that wasn't the worst news. I tried to reach my partner over our radio, but all I got was static. The building was blocking the signal. I then pulled out my cell phone, but that had no reception either. Face it, John, I thought. You're stuck here until Ceszy lets you out.

I tried several more times to move the recalcitrant door, but I had nothing but my own strength to work with. No crowbar, nothing to pound it with save my fists. I leaned back and gnawed on a fingernail while I contemplated what to do. I could keep pounding on the door until Ceszy came and heard me. He knew I had come to this building after all; I had told him. But would he assume I had entered it, or gone elsewhere? Would he even hear me if I shouted and banged on the heavy door? How long before he did? And what if he couldn't open the door either? No, just standing there waiting didn't appear a reasonable option.

I looked down the catwalk at the top of the ladder. Why had the thief come here? Surely he couldn't expect to hide in this building. Perhaps there was another entrance down there, wherever "there" was. The building was on a riverbank, so it could easily have another floor. Or perhaps there really was a tunnel leading to the scattered remains of the factory. I shined my flashlight down into the darkness, but it wasn't strong enough to reveal the floor below. However far down the ladder stretched, it was more than I had expected. Yet the footprints in the dust left no doubt my suspect had gone that way. Taking a deep breath and praying he (or she) wasn't armed, I started down.

The ladder went down much farther than I had expected. This power station had to be at least four floors; I decided when I finally reached the end. I pointed my light upwards, but it soon disappeared into blackness. Just out of curiosity I tried my cell and the radio one more time, but both were totally blocked. Ceszy was going to have to do some basic police work if he was going to find me, I realized.