Excerpt from my forthcoming new murder mystery, “Proud Lion,” arriving in virtual bookstores Sept. 20!
-Wednesday, May 9, 2018; 14:21 hours
A lone figure walked along the pier towards the old ship, ignoring the birds, breeze, and sun. The ex-USS Ponce floated quietly ahead of him at her berthing in the Philadelphia boneyard, her future as uncertain as his.
Isaac Shepherd chuckled as he remembered reporting aboard Ponce in 2010. He had mispronounced her name as USS “Ponz” when checking in. The Officer of the Deck had quickly (and emphatically) corrected him. The ship’s name was actually pronounced “pon-SAY.”
Ponce was now one of the many somnolent members of the inactive fleet of decommissioned ships in storage at the Philadelphia boneyard, each awaiting its final fate. Most of these old war horses would find their end at the end of a scrapper’s torch.
Not a happy fate to contemplate, but an unfortunately practical one.
Shepherd would have loved to go aboard again, but it was not to be. The only people allowed on board now were the boneyard personnel when they did periodic maintenance checks.
Still, Shepherd’s powerful mind could see every deck, every passageway, and every compartment. Mentally he put himself up on that distant 04 Level and looked down over the ship’s fo’c’sle as he went back in time, back to Carl Bacon’s murder in 2016.
What a case that was, Shepherd thought sadly. What a mess…
(Copyright 2020, Nathanael Miller. All rights reserved.)