Friday, November 23, 2012

It's FREE!!!

Carnegie Centre at the corner of Hastings and Main Street. This is where the drug addicted prostitute, Francine Chapman, has the confrontation on the phone with her mother. This 'blowout' is what brings a lot of changes to Francine's life.

Wednesday I said that my eBook, Missing Flowers, was going free today and it is! I am going to continue letting you read part of Chapter One and showing you places in Vancouver that feature in the book. So let's go.

This old bank is located further down Hastings Street in what is known as Pigeon Park. Here is where Carlin Zahn, the Preacher Man, brings clothes and food for the poor and tries to convert them.

She blinked. Her vision was hazy but it wasn’t anything to do with her. She could smell the cloying odour of too much incense and the smoke drifted lazily around her. Lemon scented furniture polish didn’t improve the atmosphere nor did the smells wafting from her unwashed body. Dream Julie sniffed.

I hate it here. Usually it is just in and out, give me my dough then we bugger off wherever. But not today. Dream Julie giggled inwardly at her thought ‘in and out’. That’s what it was usually. Nothing spectacular, nothing special.

Oppenheimer Park where Francine - and other down and out Vancouver residents - hang around. The park itself has a long history in this city.

Julie shifted position in her plastic chair. She sensed something wasn’t right. Something was going to happen. She felt a tightening in her chest and panic froze her throat.

I want to say something, she thought. I want to tell him to shut up, to get on with it. But if I do that he might get nasty and I need the money. He might hurt me or leave me someplace where I can’t get back. I gotta a bad feeling about this. Dream Julie felt a premonition of danger and was getting ready to stand and leave. To hell with the money and to hell with being stranded, she would survive, always had. She was tough, a survivor. That is when things changed.

The top photo is the First United Church on Hastings Street. Although I didn't mention this in Missing Flowers, this is another place that the homeless go for comfort, food and other necessities.

The middle photo is of a famous Alley in Chinatown, Shanghai Alley, in the late 1800s. This is what Julie, in the body of the Chinese prostitute in that era, may have seen.

The last photo is a monument in present day Shanghai Alley.

Present day Julie started to gasp for air, she realized that the horrifying part of the nightmare was about to happen. There was nothing she could do to stop either the event or her recollection of it.

In the dream, her hair was grabbed and her head snapped back. She couldn’t see who it was, and thought she had forgotten to tell the john rough stuff was extra. She opened her mouth to speak but only a gasp came out. She felt cold metal on her neck then the feeling of liquid warmth. The smell of lemon scented furniture polish, incense and unwashed body parts was overpowered by the coppery stench of blood. She looked down and saw the floor becoming red. A red liquid was pouring onto the wood and it seemed to be originating from her. Bewildered, she looked up but couldn’t see who was there. Everything was murky; the incense cloud had gotten thicker. The droning continued and was the last thing dream Julie heard before everything went black.

Here's the restaurant where Julie meets Santoro and his sister and joins the two for lunch. This is also where Julie has a very disturbing psychic episode.
Julie enjoys walking around the city and this is one of the buildings she may see, the Marine Building.

Julie shivered. She hugged herself and tried to clear her mind, -focusing on the activity in the alley – there always seemed to be something happening there, whether it was a drunk stumbling home, a hooker hiding behind the dumpster servicing a john, a drug deal taking place, or an innocent person on their way home. Yet in these wee hours, the alley seemed to be uncommonly silent.

This is the Italian Centre. The site of Santoro and Julie's first date.

This was not the first time she had dreamt of death in this fashion. Ever since she had moved from Toronto to Vancouver three months ago, she had been receiving these messages. Nothing was ever clear, just vague images, which frightened and confused her. Julie felt that the images were of murder victims, but didn’t know when the killings occurred.  It could be in present time, centuries before, or in the future. It was as if the dead were reaching out to her for help, pleading with her to bring their killers to justice. Or revenge? But until they told her more she couldn’t help them.
This is the Buddhist Temple at the corner of Broadway and Victoria Drive. Julie would walk past this building a lot.

It was frustrating. Ever since she was a child Julie tended to have premonitions and prophetic dreams. Too often Julie would only get bits and pieces and be left to try to figure it out. And this time, like so many others, Julie felt a sense of urgency. She knew something was wrong and she was being summoned to fix it; she was the one being given the clues. Now if she could only figure out what the visions were trying to tell her.

Julie shivered. She was getting chilly on the balcony and should really go in. She looked to the west and was surprised to see the sky glowing. It was still night, the sun wouldn’t be casting its light for a few more hours, and Julie wondered what could be causing that glow. She heard a crackling sound and took a deep breath. The air was getting thick. A fire? But why didn’t she hear any sirens?

There you go. A teaser into Chapter One - there are a few more things that happen in this chapter. Be sure to pick up your copy of Missing Flowers now, it is free through Monday. This is the link for the US, UKFranceGermanyItalyJapan and Spain.

The top photo is of the police station on Main Street where Santoro works. The bottom is of the Sunrise Market where Julie meets Santoro's partner.

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