Authors: Andrew Cunningham
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers
|Kindle Direct (2013)|
|Tags:||Literature Fiction, Mystery; Thriller Suspense, Thrillers|
Literature Fictionttt Mystery; Thriller Suspensettt Thrillersttt
Jessica Norton is a woman on the run, a sensational lead item on the nightly news, accused of the murders of four staff members of a U.S. Senator. Jon Harper is a grieving father whose life has crumbled over the death of his young daughter. When Jon picks up Jess hitchhiking on a deserted Texas highway one rainy night, it pitches him into the middle of a massive conspiracy, one that threatens the very future of the United States. From having nothing to live for, Jon suddenly finds himself the protector of someone with everything to live for, someone desperate to uncover the conspiracy that has ruined her life. Staying two steps ahead of the police, and barely one step ahead of the powerful organization that wants Jess dead, Jon discovers that Jess is harboring a secret of her own, a strange inner "voice" providing cryptic clues for them to follow. Part political thriller and part chase novel, Wisdom Spring takes readers on a fast-paced, suspenseful ride along the highways of the U.S. and Canada, into the far reaches of the Alaskan wilderness. Along the way, the two unlikely heroes transition from helpless prey into proficient hunters as the mysterious clues eventually lead them to a violent final confrontation with corrupt forces at the highest levels of government.
By Andrew Cunningham
Copyright ©2013 Andrew Cunningham
All Rights Reserved
Thank you to all the people who have shown their support of my writing by making my first book,
, such a success. Three people deserve a special thanks: My father, who started me on my life-long love of books; My mother, who edited all of my papers in high school and really taught me how to write; And my wife, Charlotte. I’m not sure any of this would have happened without her constant love, support, and encouragement.
I think you’d approve
Table of Contents
Looking like a waterlogged waif in the periphery of my headlights, she couldn’t have been much more than five feet tall, and had no belongings that I could see. She was standing on the most deserted stretch of highway you could ever imagine, thumb out in a deflated sort of way. In the darkness and the rain, I almost missed her.
It’s amazing really, how many things can go through your mind in just a few seconds. In the time it took me to put on my turn signal and pull over, I had already questioned the wisdom of picking her up, flashed to my father’s endless stories of hitchhiking in the early sixties as a teenager, and was presented with the sad realization that even if she turned out to be a whack-job, I really didn’t care. I no longer cared about much of anything. But I was oddly intrigued. How did she get to this god-forsaken spot? How long had she been standing there?
I stopped the car and waited. Despite it being a major highway, there were few headlights or taillights in either direction. The only sounds were the clicking of the turn signal and the soft swishing of the windshield wipers. I switched off the turn signal. The competing rhythms were going to drive me even crazier than I already was—like two metronomes slightly out of sync. That was better. Without the competition, the windshield wipers were fairly quiet—the advantage of an expensive car.
The passenger door opened and she got in. Close up, she appeared older than I thought in the brief splash of my headlights. Maybe her late-twenties. I was close about the height though. Five-one, at best. Her hair was blonde, but looked darker plastered to her head from the rain. Wearing only a thin windbreaker to protect her from the elements, her blouse, jeans, and sneakers were thoroughly soaked. She squished as she sat down on the leather seat.
Mumbling an apology for getting my seat wet, along with a barely audible thank you for picking her up, that’s when I noticed the tears. Funny how I was able to see the difference between tears and rain. It wasn’t my business though, so I ignored it.
Putting the car in gear, I asked, “Where are you headed?,” again knowing that I really didn’t care.
She was silent for a few seconds, then shook her head in resignation.
“To Hell,” she answered.
I smiled for the first time in weeks. Granted, it wasn’t much of one, but for the first time since the funeral, someone said something I could relate to.
“I’ll take you,” I said. “I’m going that way myself.”
The funeral was everything I expected it to be. Whispered condemnation accompanied by looks of hatred. There was no escaping it. I had to be there. After all, it was my daughter—the love of my life—lying there, looking like Snow White waiting to be awakened by the kiss of a prince. But there would be no prince. After the funeral would be the burial, and that would be the end of her. I would have preferred a cremation, with her ashes spread out under her favorite climbing tree, but her mother wanted it this way, and who was I to argue? I was a pariah. What I thought counted for nothing.
My wife—well, soon to be ex-wife, I’m sure. She would be pushing the divorce through in record time—stayed as far from me as the limits of the chapel allowed, with a throng of friends and family protecting her from me. My only family was a brother in Alaska who I advised to stay home. And it wasn’t that I no longer had any friends; there were a couple left, but they were just wise enough not to be seen with me. Who wants to be associated in public with the man who killed his own daughter?
I murdered her. Not intentionally, of course. The police never charged me. But it was me who gave her the shot that killed her, and it was me who went ahead against the advice of Karen’s doctors, my wife, and just about everyone else, and made the fatal decision to contact the doctor with the revolutionary cancer drug. Karen was dying anyway. Her doctors wouldn’t admit it—they said she had a chance of recovery, yet were always hazy with the percentages—but I knew it. I could feel the life very slowly seeping out of her little body. They said to be patient, but they were just hoping for a miracle they knew would never come. So how can you be patient in that kind of situation?
Doctor Hill wasn’t a quack. He was just disliked—thoroughly disliked—by the medical community in this country. Despite being an American, he had chosen to do all of his research out of the country and had awarded the manufacturing contract of his cancer drug to a small Swiss company, angering the AMA and the massive pharmaceutical companies. As such, his drug, though wildly successful in the countries that allowed it, hadn’t yet been approved by the FDA. They said approval could take years. I couldn’t wait years. Karen couldn’t wait years. His treatment—a single drug, powerful, but with surprisingly few side-effects—could be taken with just about any other drug safely. “Just about” was the operative phrase.
Because of his outsider status, he couldn’t work with Karen’s doctors or attend to Karen personally, but he had taken an interest in Karen’s case based on an email I sent him. I had read an article about him and knew that he was Karen’s last chance. We talked several times, and while he was confident that he could help her, he warned me that any involvement on his part was illegal. If he were to administer the drug to Karen personally, he would be arrested. Doctor Hill explained that the only option would be for him to send me the drug and for me to administer it myself. I provided him with copies of all the paperwork available, which included the list of drugs that Karen was already taking. All the drugs minus one, that is.
We were inundated with paperwork, and I thought I had gathered it all, but one of her drugs never made it on the list I gave Doctor Hill. THE drug. The one drug that reacted to his. He said that he asked me if she was taking it, but I was brain-dead. I don’t even remember him asking. It wasn’t his fault, although the courts certainly planned to make it his fault—if they could extradite him from whatever country he was now living in, which was doubtful. They would say he preyed on a distraught father. I suppose I could blame the healthcare system in general. But in reality, I gave her the shot that killed her, and I knew I would never be able to forget it. She was dead within minutes. I took away any minute chance she had of survival.
After the funeral, I left. I packed a few items into the car, and just left. I had been let go the week before from my very lucrative job—it was too embarrassing to have me on the staff. I kept the one credit card that was in my name only, but gave my wife everything else; the house, the hefty bank account, all of our investments, and the second car. I wasn’t even sure I would be alive in a year. Thoughts of taking my own life at times consumed me. But I refrained.