Andy  Vogt

Read an Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from "Path to Murder"...

Here I am on the beach, my beloved beach, the trademark of this beautiful little town I have called home most of my life: Sophie Brennan, mother of two accomplished sons, Ken and Cal, and recently separated from Joe, my husband of many years...and, coincidentally, also recently enjoying life again.
But wait. What is this?
Everything feels so heavy.
I can't move.
Let me try to lift my leg.
Hmmm. I can't.
Why am I not able to move?
And what is this on my body?
Why am I covered with sand?
What's going on?
What happened?
Wait. Let me think.
Nothing--absolutely nothing.
My mind is blank.
A dark and empty hole.
I simply cannot recall a single thing.
My memory--completely gone.
Why can't I remember anything?
Ahhh. The sand feels so good, warm and comforting like a precious wool blanket on a cold winter night. My eyes are closed, but I can still see the stars in the sky trying to outshine each other, trying to compete for my attention.
This must be a dream. A terrible dream.
Wake up, Sophie! Wake up!
The soothing sounds of ocean waves caressing the shoreline offer a strange sense of calm and familiarity, despite my inner uproar. For the slightest moment I feel at ease. Now and then the serenity is interrupted by muffled voices in the background.
It is dark. Frighteningly dark.
I'm anxious and restless.
I'm scared.
How in the world did I get here?
What in God's name am I doing here?
Why am I so scared?
Is this just a bad dream or is it reality?
Am I alive?
Or am I dead?
You may shun me if you knew what I did. But you don't know the truth. Nobody knows the truth. You don't know what really happened. You don't know what I went through. You're not in my shoes. You see, you can't blame me for what I did. Not really. You don't know how I got to be this way. Heck, there are times when I don't even know how it happened. All I know is that it's not my fault. At least not completely. Sure, I blamed myself in the past--more than once. Believe me, I never wanted to hurt anyone. Not really. And I hated myself when I did.
But you see that's all I knew...
"Sophie! Sophie! Come here!"
That's my father calling me. When I was about nine, instead of carelessly running after butterflies in the sun like other kids, or playing with the only doll I called my own, I was busy pleasing him, following his orders, and fulfilling his demands--day and night. My childhood was over at the tender age of nine. All I remember was him constantly yelling at me: "Sophie, get me a beer." "Sophie, don't do that." "Sophie, I spilled beer. Clean it up!" If you asked me what his voice sounded like when he wasn't yelling, I couldn't tell you. I don't really remember. It didn't happen that often, I guess. His ugly, loud, demanding, and drunken voice, however, I could never forget. He was drunk most of the time, but in the end it really didn't matter if he was or if he wasn't. It was always bad, just a little worse when he had been drinking. I remember how even at that young age--guided by the instinct of a wounded, abused, and neglected child--I tried my very best not to do or say anything that would make the situation worse. It didn't matter. He yelled at me, he yelled at my mother. He hit me, he hit my mother. She just seemed so helpless.
And so was I.
And so alone, so very alone.
I never felt more alone than at night, though. That was the worst. The darkness scared me. It scared me for a good reason. I remember having the cover pulled up all the way over my head, with my little hands anxiously holding onto it--as if my life depended on it. I held my breath and listened to every single sound in the darkness. I was frightened every single night.
Some nights there was nothing, and I fell into a fitful, yet relieved sleep after hours of mind-numbing anxiety. My little body was never completely relaxed. More often, though, I heard the menacing sound of my door being opened--a sound that had become a familiar part of my nightly existence. That sound was followed by heavy footsteps.
Followed by...
I was shaking like crazy when his big hand pulled on my cover.
And I only stopped shaking when it was all over--much later.
It wasn't every night, but most.
I think my mother knew. She was a good-hearted but weak woman who didn't stand a chance against this big, lumbering man. And so she kept quiet. She never said a single word to me in all those years. Just every so often I caught a glimpse of her looking at him with spite and disgust, but that was the extent of things. I was absolutely sure she hated him, although she may have hated herself even more for her inability to stand up to him. I always had the feeling that if I spoke out it would have made the situation worse--hers and mine.
So I kept quiet.
I kept it to myself, and just silently took it for so many years. All I could do was anxiously wait for the day I could finally leave that house of horror--my prison.
Leave...and never come back.
Well, that day came sooner than expected at the tender age of sixteen. It caught me completely off guard. One day, after I returned from school, I was unceremoniously notified by my drunken father that my mother had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Much later I found out that she had been sick for a while. I remember that when I listened to his slurred words, I felt nothing but numbness.
I knew she had died of a broken heart.
That was the day when I packed a few clothes and took the bus to live with an aunt far, far away from the life I had known until then.
And I never looked back.
Many years later I received notice that my father had passed away. I didn't care, and I didn't attend his funeral. That was my past that I so desperately wanted to forget, never wanted to be reminded of again. Actually, right around that time I was busy with my own life. I had just met a dashing businessman who was courting me, and who wanted to marry me. And I was ready to marry him.
After all this, how can you blame me?
How can anyone blame me?
I may have done wrong, but I don't deserve to end up this way. Nobody does.
Wait. I hear voices. They are coming closer.
"Look. There's someone over there."
"Maybe a drunk."
"Covered with sand?"
"Maybe a prank."
"I don't know. Come on, let's see."
Big, masculine hands eagerly wiped some of the sand from my face. A middle--aged man's face appeared. I picked up the scent of musky aftershave. His head was so close that I could have grabbed it.
If only I could...
"What is it?" That was a woman's voice.
"Don't know."
"Is she breathing?"
"Doesn't seem like it."
Something touched my neck.
"No pulse. I think she's dead."
"Dead? Oh my God! Are you sure?"
"I think so."
"Oh my God! We need to call the police."
"You're right. Why don't you go and call them, and I'll stay here with her."
The woman left, and I was left puzzled and confused.
And most of all: Why?

The following is an excerpt from "Secrets of a Massage Therapist" ...

My next client, Tom, was a fairly new addition. One of my regulars had referred him to me, and when I first saw him I was afraid my table wouldn't hold him. I had estimated him to be about 6'5" with a very muscular physique, kind of like a professional wrestler.

The table held up, but that first massage was quite a workout for me, and I was completely covered in sweat afterwards. Based on that experience I now asked him to turn up the A/C a little. He eased onto the table and I prepared myself for a workout.

He had earlier told me that he was a bookkeeper for a small automotive company, and as I beheld his nearly 300-pound frame, I smiled at the thought of him being a paper pusher.

I went to work, and he almost immediately dozed off, and just a few minutes later I heard him snoring. Several minutes passed as I worked my magic, the only sound that of pounding skin and air flow. Suddenly I heard a noise at the door, and I looked over. It was Tom's wife, but not like I had ever seen her before.

She wore the determined look of an Amazon going into battle, and she just silently stood there--her strong and muscular legs slightly spread. She said nothing, but her outfit spoke volumes. She was dressed as a dominatrix, with knee-high boots with high heels, fishnet stockings, and a black leather body garment sporting two holes--one for each of her dark red, almost purple nipples.

She seemed strangely enchanted by my deer-in-the-headlights look. I stopped the massage and watched her slowly walk over to her still snoring husband. The whip she had hidden behind her back now appeared, and she used it to slap him on his back. I stepped back further.

"How many times have I told you not to get a massage without my permission?"
Startled, Tom jumped, and tried to turn over.
"Don't you move! Not 'til I tell you." She slapped him again and he stopped fidgeting. As for me, I just stared in disbelief.
"So you want to test me? You asked for it, you got it. Punishment will be swift!" With one quick move she pulled the sheet off him. "Get down, on your hands and knees, and crawl."

She moved away from the table and stood waiting for him to follow her orders. He slowly lifted his head and glanced over at me in a silent cry for help. Then, this huge, lumbering man carefully got down on his hands and knees--his head hanging down like a dog who knows he has done something wrong--and slowly crawled towards his wife. I sat on a nearby armchair, unable to look away.

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