The First 750 Words

The First 750 Blog Carnival

Lady Ace

Lady Ace by Sandra Farris



Kasey O’Brien’s life had always been about airplanes; what makes them tick, what makes them fly. When her father’s plane crashes into a Colorado mountainside, she takes over their failing air charter service and is determined to make it work.

While on a charter flight to an Oregon ranch with a passenger on board, the left engine of Kasey’s plane freezes up on final approach. She has to land the plane without the aid of emergency services, thus earning her the nickname, Lady Ace.

During inspection of the plane’s engine, she discovers an oil line has been purposely cut. Since he had failed, would the saboteur make another attempt on her life, or was her passenger his target?

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lady_ace Prologue

Patrick O’ Brien unfolded his six-foot-two frame from the Piper Lance aircraft in which he had been confined the past three hours. He reached toward the sky stretching lazily, straightening the kinks from his body. He then glanced around the small landing field, taking in the tiny antiquated building that displayed a two-tiered sign proclaiming “Office” and “Cafe”. Something about this whole scene didn’t quite feel right, but he couldn’t put a name to it.

Patrick sensed he was being watched, much like in ’Nam when the jungle had eyes. So strong was his feeling he almost climbed right back into the plane to leave. The man he was supposed to meet could be the difference between feast and famine, though. The deal he offered would put a substantial cash flow back into Patrick’s charter business, plus some rat-hole money.

There was no one around, neither the man with whom he had been working, nor the financier he came up here to meet. Patrick glanced at his watch. Two o’clock. Two hours to take off and get out of the Colorado mountains before darkness settled in.

Again uneasiness shot fingers of electricity up his spine, causing the fine hair at the back of his neck to stand at attention. Once more his gaze took in the surroundings, revealing nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps a strong cup of hot coffee would chase away the ghosts.

A bell clinked against the door as Patrick entered the cafe side of the building. He walked to the counter and swung a leg over the stool, settling stiffly on the faded red plastic cushion that sighed and creaked beneath his weight. Dark, eager eyes watched from the back room, an unnatural brightness filling them as the aviator came into view.

Patrick reached for the cup turned upside down on the matching saucer, righting it with a dull clunk of ceramic hitting ceramic. He picked up the laminated menu and scanned its length, glancing up as a man approached from the opposite side of the counter, a coffee pot in his hand.

Café, Señor?” the man asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

Patrick nodded and returned his attention to the menu, looking up again briefly to put cream and sugar into the steaming liquid. Laying the menu aside, he sipped gingerly from the mug. Grimacing slightly, he added more cream and sugar before he was satisfied.

“What can I get for you, Honey?” The gravelly voice belonged to a heavy- set woman with flaming carrot-color hair and watery blue eyes. Patrick guessed her to be around seventy-five. She was wearing a stained, once-white uniform with a multi-colored handkerchief arranged carefully above the left breast. She reeked of cigarette smoke. He smiled at the walking stereotype.

“I was supposed to meet someone here. You haven’t seen anyone who looked as though they were waiting for me, have you?”

“Ain’t nobody here ‘cept me and the cook. Hasn’t been nobody but us most of the afternoon.”

“Well, maybe I’ll have one more cup of coffee while I wait.” He glanced over his shoulder and out the window, but no one was there. He turned back to the counter just as the cook came from the back, coffee pot in hand again, and poured more of the brew into Patrick’s mug. Silently, the man turned back to the kitchen, taking the pot with him instead of placing it on the coffeemaker’s electric burner. Must be his own private stock. Patrick smiled to himself.

Patrick waited until the daylight began to drain from the valley. The sun had already dipped halfway behind the mountain, its rays painting pink streaks across the deepening blue skies. The waitress had disappeared into the back and he didn’t see the cook anywhere, so he looked at the bill and tossed a handful of coins on the counter. He suddenly felt drowsy as he pushed himself from the stool and wandered out into the crisp, cold air.

In the deepening shadows around his plane, Patrick caught a flicker of movement. Someone waited there for him, but he couldn’t see who it was. Must be Mr. Johnson. Good, we can get the hell outta here.

“You’re the cook!” Patrick recognized the man, surprise filling his voice. “What are you doing out here?”

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After spending hours making up stories to entertain her younger sisters, Sandra began writing them down in junior high school. “So many stories filled my head, I had to write them down. With my younger sisters, I had a captive audience”.

Sandra served a year on the high school newspaper and developed a series of articles highlighting fellow students. After that experience, she planned for a career in newspaper reporting. However, that was put on hold when she married soon after graduation;

Sandra sold her movie rights to Obituary Column. The movie, starring Melissa McGinnis, Robert Loggia and Sam Hennings, hasn’t been released yet. A trailer can be seen on the website:

“The trick is to get your backside in a chair in front of your computer and stay until you write something. I sometimes start by writing fan letters (a challenge for me). Belonging to a group like Arizona Mystery Writers is a big plus, too. I get support, workshops and a lot of valuable information.”





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