by J.M. Lominy
(Coming Feb. 2015)
“Politics is a rich man’s dream, a poor man’s nightmare, and a pain in the ass to all.” —J.M. Lominy
Killing had always been sweet for Pierre-André François, the ruthless assassin known as The Little Rose. Wherever he struck, fear closely followed, his victims left as bloody works of art. The finishing touch on his canvas was a carefully placed rose, a signature on his deadly motif that haunted crime scenes, not to mention the police investigating them.
A man who takes joy in killing should never fear dying, and in fact, The Little Rose embraced death. So finding himself alive—after what he knew should have been a fatal dance with his foe, Millard Le Beast—was disappointing. Not only was the Beast stronger and faster, he slaughtered Pierre-André’s dearest love and revealed ugly truths behind Pierre-André’s most cherished memories. The Little Rose expected to slip from this life, if not from the Beast’s brutal blow then from the pain of those revelations and living without his longtime paramour.
But now, awakened, fully recovered (in body, anyway), and a fugitive on foreign soil, The Little Rose is forced to carry on. Having lost all desire to laugh, love, and kill, his sole purpose remains to avenge his loved ones’ deaths. But how can Haiti’s most feared assassin find the truth about his past with no motivation for the future?
Fortunately, revenge has no shelf life.
The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale by J.M. Lominy
Above, the stars and the moon were hidden, a jet-black swirl draped around them making the sky seem not to exist, producing a strange but steady silence, giving pause to the wind. As if afraid of the darkness, the coconut trees barely moved against a teasing breeze making its way off the Haitian coast. That same breeze brought first, slave ships, and eventually, tourists in search of paradise—the Haitian experience was open to all. Foreigners came in droves to see and interact with the French-speaking Negroes.
Tonight, paradise was on valium, nodding to the beat of an unheard drum. Nocturnal insects lazily injected their nightly chorus into a harmony of darkness, tickling the silence with ancient songs of the ancestors. Barking dogs could be heard bickering back and forth like old women, disrupting what should have been a quiet, pleasant Wednesday night. The roads were deserted except for street vendors and homeless peasants making their beds on the side of the road.
At ten o’clock, two identical sounds thundered in the night, destroying the fabric of normalcy. The sounds echoed for what seemed an eternity, shaking the soul of every living creature within miles. The dogs went into hiding, and people in their yards scurried inside, locking their doors, the chorus of insects replaced by silence.
Gunfire had erupted in Pétion-Ville—a town in the mountains east of the capital Port-au-Prince, named after the great Haitian general who became president, for life, of a splintered Haiti. Even now—one hundred and fifty years later— Haiti remained divided like a suicidal schizophrenic, determined to paint a path toward a slow, painful death by gnawing her extremities up to the elbows.
It was close to the presidential election, two weeks to be exact. On the heels of the gunshots a citizen on the outskirts of Pétion-Ville whispered into his frightened spouse’s ear, “Haitian politics,” and returned to sleep, knowing that unless a bullet came racing into their home, they had nothing to fear. They had no political affiliation. Besides, guns were only in the hands of the police, the military, and the grand nég.
Although the sleeping man was partially right, it was not the police, the military, or the rich shooting this night. If he’d known the chaos that would ensue because of the vile act preceding those two shots, he would have run to the picture of Jesus that decorated his wall, begging for peace and tranquility in his country—or packed up his family and boarded the next ship sailing away.
Shamed and disliked, the former president, Paul Magloire, fell victim to a tsunami of public discontent nine months ago, the thirteenth of December 1956, to be exact, and went the same way as many before him—exiled. Four candidates clamored to replace him, clashing for the office that proved to be lethal to more than a handful of former presidents. Early in the campaign, a fifth candidate—an unknown with an aristocratic name—acquired sufficient votes in his district to pose a formidable challenge. When the mysterious candidate was discovered to be a snarling, stubborn donkey, he was promptly disqualified. The donkey’s owner and campaign manager publicly professed his innocence during an interview from prison. He argued that if Americans can have a donkey and an elephant on their ballots, what made Haitians any different? One particular radio personality was outraged by such mockery in the face of a serious election. But a competitor raised the argument that at least a donkey would do what it set out to do and not break promises, and that all the candidates except those he endorsed were less qualified than the sniveling but honest ass.
Radio advertisements flooded the airwaves as the various contenders vilified opponents and justified themselves as puritanical, as the people’s choice, energizing the populace. Candidates’ slogans read of liberty, equality, and fraternity— promises that had been doled out to the people before, from the mouths of wolves tending to the soon-to-be slaughtered sheep. They rang as true as a white rhinoceros parading along the Champ de Mars, as true as those who swore on the Virgin Mary that their candidate would liberate the Haitian people from years of suffering. Friends and neighbors swore to their candidates’ righteousness in friendly debates that went on without insult— intellectual duels of differing philosophies sprang up in living rooms like sugar cane during the rainy season.
Politics had become the national pastime, second only to religion or soccer, and not necessarily in that order. Pedestrians could not go very far without hearing government in one conversation or another, from the street shoeshine boy to the businessman out for lunch. Most were passionate about their candidate. These debates spilled over into the region’s poorest neighborhoods, where residents kept their sharpened machetes close at hand, in adherence to the philosophy of muscle and steel. They saw their candidates as saviors from poverty and would not think twice to malign anyone who dared to openly challenge them.
On this night, the echoes of gunfire proved how quickly the nation’s volatile mood could explode into an inferno of violence. A political whirlwind was brewing, with a power so destructive only God could foresee.
Two Haitian men lay dead, contorted in a pile, their eyes and chests unmoving, lungs ignoring the surrounding sweet island air. Smoke and gunpowder hovered nearby like clouds of gnats. Blood from their wounds pooled onto the dirt, fertilizing the devil’s garden below.
The blossoms of red seeping through the victims’ military blue guayabera shirts testified to the reality of their death and to their killer’s marksmanship. Next to their corpses lay two useless shotguns, weapons that proved too slow against a quicker foe, a phantom that dispatched death faster than one can produce life, impregnating its victims with darkness before disappearing like a shadow on a black canvas.
The victims were clueless about their fate until the screaming projectiles informed them that Death had arrived, an unwelcome guest who seldom knocked before entering to take what she deemed to be hers. They had no time for a final confession and were probably at the gates of hell wishing they could repent. A tragedy that was neither Greek nor Roman but Haitian— paradise was awaken by the fires of hell, announcing that turmoil would soon follow.
READ THE ENTIRE EXCERPT AND FIRST CHAPTER HERE: http://jmlominy.com/preview/
( Continued… )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, J.M. Lominy. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
BOOK 2: The Fatal Rose, An Assassin’s Tale (Coming Feb. 2015)
Purchase The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale
Available on Kindle and Nook. ISBN-13: 978-0988827707
Order here: http://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Lominy/e/B00D4FID66
Meet the Author
Life began for J.M. Lominy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As a husband, father, nurse and veteran Lominy has been making room to write since 2000. Specializing in Historical Fiction, he is the author of the Amazon bestseller, The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale.
His work, both poetic and determined in voice, places an emphasis on the Haitian experience as witnessed through the life of passionate characters. Mr. Lominy currently resides in Georgia with his wife and his three sons. Visit J.M. Lominy at: http://jmlominy.com