Even in a rich man’s house the walls could be painfully thin. Rachel sat in Dr. Sartorius’s living room which was directly below the bedroom and could hear every grunt and blasphemy going on upstairs. The contempt in the man’s voice when he said ‘don’t touch anything’ killed her―the arrogance that denied others the right to touch, yet gave him license to fondle everything. Rachel hoped she didn’t hate all men before she learned to love one.
Yesterday, she was at the Forty Second Street Library and stroked Patience and Fortitude―the lions which guard the entrance. Those were precisely the qualities she was running out of as this charade went on. At what point would she tell Sonia that she’s not really on the streets? Was that a betrayal? She’d never betrayed anyone. Rachel had to remember what she was really here for: to find Olivia.
There was plenty to touch. Aside from medical books, there were many others about fly-fishing and skeet shooting and sporting clays. There was a catalog of rare shotguns from Sotheby’s. The man was eclectic all right. Rachel searched through every drawer and cabinet. In one she found cognac that was dated 1921, never opened. Proceeding to the closets, she went through every pocket of every piece of clothing.
The doctor was a meticulous man. Everything was neat and categorized. National Geographics with National Geographics. American Journals of Medicine with American Journals of Medicine. The grass and shrubbery outside were maintained with clinical attention. The house spotless. The fish, colorful and happy. It was as if this exaggerated outer order was needed to counterbalance an unseen derailment.
The house was immense. Rachel proceeded from one room to the next, rifling through drawers, opening coffee tables, sticking her hand down sofa seats. There had to be an office and she prayed it was downstairs. She wandered barefoot until she found the study. There was a PC under the desk, powered on. She quickly reached into her pocket and removed the flash drive.
It was dark back there. Damn, she should have brought a flashlight. In order to be sure she was plugging the drive into an active port, she followed the mouse cord to the chassis and pulled it out. After some work, the flash drive went in. She stopped breathing and listened to the sounds on the second floor. There was nothing. One minute. God, hurry. Kneeling in the darkness, she would have no excuse if he walked in on her. Two minutes finally passed and she pulled out the flash drive and held her finger on the USB port in order to guide the mouse cable back in. Done. She put the plastic cap back on the flash drive and slipped it in her pocket. Silently, she padded out the study, then downstairs to the guest bedroom.
Title: The Schwarzschild Radius
Author: Gustavo Florentin
Genre: Thriller / Suspense
Rachel, an 18-year-old Columbia University student descends into the netherworld of runaways and predators to find her sister, Olivia, who has suddenly disappeared. After getting a job in a strip joint where Olivia worked, then doing private shows in the homes of rich clients, Rachel discovers that Olivia has been abducted by a killer who auctions the deaths of young girls in an eBay of agony. As she closes in on the killer who has taken Olivia, Rachel becomes his next target.
Gustavo Florentin was born in Queens, New York and received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic University of New York. He spent a decade in the defense industry working on the F-14 fighter jet and classified electronics projects. After the fall of the Soviet Union, many thought America wouldn’t need weapons anymore, so while others waited for the peace dividend, he moved on to the financial sector in New York where he is currently a network engineer. His passions include violin, travel to exotic places and exploring worldwide conspiracies. He lives in New Jersey where he is working on his third novel. His thriller, In the Talons of the Condor, won the following awards:
WUACADEMIA–Prix d’Or Best Novel
The Verb First Chapter Contest–First Prize
Mount Arrowsmith Best Novel 4th place
The Writing Show–Second Prize best first chapter of a novel.
Second Prize–16th Annual International Latino Book Awards
Publisher website: http://curiosityquills.com/books/the-schwarzschild-radius/