A young woman has who has spent several years running and hiding from a dangerous antagonist decides to stop running and stop him by whatever means is required. She succeeds in stopping him only to become a fugitive from the law and is back to running and hiding again. She has some harrowing and dangerous experiences but benefits from some deep and lasting friendships. While this is a stand alone novel, it has ties to four previous novels and the reader would get greater fulfillment and satisfaction by reading the others first. They are, from first to last, SOCKS, MARTY’S MOM, MISTER MARTY and MARTY’S TOWN
An Excerpt From The Book reads;
As she walked to his car she felt the right leg of her jeans to reassure herself that the knife was there. Pulling the door closed, she accused, “How can you possibly claim to be a Christian in one breath and threaten to harm a child with the next one?”
“Oh, you have it all wrong,” he hedged, “I did not threaten to do anything to that kid. I was only reminding you that there are dangers in a place like this. It wasn’t more than a half hour ago that you nearly got hit by a car yourself so you should realize that bad things can happen.”
Her hand went to the knife pocket and had the knife part way out as she snarled, “Why you snake! You’ve been spying on us all day long, haven’t you? Is that what Christians do? Does God forgive you for that too?”
All he offered for an answer was, “All is fair in love and war. I am sure you have heard that.”
Everything about this man was infuriating. His arrogance, his very correct speech and his twisted sense of morality. She felt sure that she could slit his throat without a hint of regret but the car was already moving quite fast so she slid the knife back into its pocket and began trying to think of a better plan.
The car had zipped along the highway for something like twenty minutes and she decided they had gone far enough so she told him, “All right, this is far enough. You said we were only going for a short ride so let’s turn around.”
Pointing to the instrument panel, he said, “See, I have almost a full tank so we do not have to worry. No, let us continue on for a while longer. It will be all right because it will not take us long to get back.”
That convinced her that he had no intention of taking her back and that she was going to have to find a way to stop him. Yes, stop him forever but she couldn’t see any way of stopping him without risking a wreck. She remembered how she had declared that she was going to put an end to this game even if it cost her own life but now she found that her own life was more precious than that. No, she had to be the survivor, somehow. Daylight was fading as they eased through the town that the ranchers had shipped their cattle from and the street lights were turning on. He didn’t stop there and quickly picked up speed again. She estimated that they had traveled at least a hundred miles when he slowed to turn off the highway onto a gravelled road. She supposed that this was where he was going to turn around but he didn’t! He resumed speed again and she made the decision that the time had come for action. At that point he reached over and took her hand. She tried to jerk her hand away but he had anticipated that and held her in a tight grip. She pulled hard in a downward direction away from the steering wheel and then suddenly reversed her effort to slam the back of his hand against the wheel. Moving so quickly that he didn’t have a chance to react, she pulled their hands up to where she could sink her teeth deeply into the base of his thumb while, at the same time, reaching with her right hand and putting deep scratches down the side of his face with her finger nails. While he was uttering profanities that she was sure were improper for a Christian, she jerked her hand out of his and turned the ignition off. She barely had time to pull the keys out of the switch before he savagely chopped at her arm with a closed fist, causing the keys to fly to the floor. He had been distracted by the struggle and had let the car drift off the shoulder of the road. He tried desperately to bring it back onto the road but it came to a stop with its front wheels over the edge and its mid-section resting on the shoulder. The engine was dead but the lights were still shining down into the ditch.
He made another grab for Jennifer’s arm but she evaded the attempt and swung the door open to jump out. He threw himself across the seat and slid out, head first, right behind her. She spun around to face him while sliding the knife up out of its pocket. In her haste, she failed to get a grip on it and it fell to the ground. She looked down to see where it fell but she couldn’t see it in the darkness. When she looked up again, he was getting to his feet and lunging at her all in one motion. Again, she evaded him but he was on his feet now so she had to run. She ran down the road as fast as she could but she could tell he was gaining on her. She would always wonder why but there suddenly leaped into her mind a game she had played when she was a child. Using one part of the game, in one sudden move, she dropped to her hands and knees directly in front of him. She lost some hide on hands and a knee plus a badly bruised side where his feet hit her but he went airborne for six feet and hit the road hard. While she was on her hands and knees with her face close to the ground, she saw a rock about the size of one of Agnes’ muffins and she came to her feet with it in her hand. She stepped over to where Myron was struggling to his feet and slapped him on the side of the head with the rock. Hard!
AUTHOR’S COMMENT ON MILLERS AND FLIES
I am not a writer, I am a story-teller and I had fun telling this story. As with all of my stories, I didn’t have a plot in mind when I began writing it. I began with a situation and proceeded from there by writing what I thought would be likely to happen next in real life. Real life is not predictable and neither is this story. The thing that I enjoyed most while writing this story was trying to make the characters seem real. That is probably the thing I like most in a story, characters that seem so real that I can feel like I know them, so I try to make my characters have that quality. With some of my stories, by the time I had proof read them four, five or six times I wasn’t liking them much anymore but I still liked MILLERS AND FLIES even after I had proof read the proof copy from the publisher. Perhaps you can tell, I am pleased with this book.
Robin Williams wrote; I finished MILLERS and FLIES today. I wish the words would flow from me to you as to the affect the book had on me. I loved it. Sorry for the constant use of the pronoun “I” but I was so engrossed in the story. Your writing is so skilled, a gift, in that the reader feels like they are a part of Jennifer’s life. I kept imagining the Iron Kettle restaurant as the hometown restaurant in Avon near my son. The millers and flies woven throughout her life’s journey to her destiny at the Iron Kettle was brilliant! So many meanings in life’s journey. Well written, Jim.