Death of a Hero

Web of Conspiracy - Book One

by Herbert Grosshans

When Detective Jeff Chartrand investigates a grisly murder, his past catches up with him and flings him back into a world of violence he left behind years ago. He meets a mysterious woman who reveals a secret and he has an unexpected sexual encounter.


Chapter One

The thin material of the tent was the only protection from the fiery ball in the cloudless sky. It kept away the damaging rays but didn’t do anything to keep out the blistering heat.

Jeff Chartrand stared at the shimmering mass of air hovering above the forever moving, forever shifting desert. The sand dunes looked like giant waves in a yellow sea, changing shape in slow motion as the hours passed. He watched the strong wind slowly creating a wall around the two tanks barely visible through the entrance of the tent, threatening to bury them under a thick blanket of sand.

In the distance, he could hear the sound of exploding shells as the Iraqi’s fired their rocket launchers, searching for American positions. So far, none had come close enough to be of concern, but it was only a matter of time until one would find the camp.

“How long until those French will be here?”

Jeff looked over at Jerry Geisel and shrugged. “I have no idea. Ask the Lieutenant?”

“Another couple of hours. Maybe three.” Lieutenant Bernard shifted in his seat by the entrance. His assault rifle lay within easy reach on the sandy ground. “Why?”

“I finished that stupid novel I was reading. What a bunch of crap! I don’t know why these writers can’t come up with better ideas. It’s always the same. Lonely guy whose wife doesn’t understand him meets beautiful, sexy girl.”

“Why do you read that garbage in the first place?” Ray Tremmer asked with a sneer.

“Because I’ve got nothing else to read, idiot. I’m bored.” Geisel gave the short and stocky Tremmer an angry stare.

Jeff glanced at Tremmer. A thin mustache, intended to make him look older, adorned his upper lip, but he still looked like a little boy to Jeff.  He could never understand why a guy with a pronounced overbite would wear a mustache.

“So why don’t you jerk yourself off to pass the time, idiot yourself.” Tremmer stared back at Geisel, and then he grinned at Jeff.

Lieutenant Bernard gave him a stern look. “You know I don’t like that kind of talk, Tremmer.”

“Sorry, Lieutenant. I always forget you’re a preacher.”

The sarcasm in Tremmer’s voice was obvious, but Bernard ignored it. “You watch for a while, Chartrand,” he told Jeff. He looked at Tremmer. “By the way, I’m not a preacher, but I follow the teachings of our Lord. He is the reason I’m here in the first place.”

“Forgive me. I thought you were here to protect the Saudis from Saddam Hussein and make sure we don’t lose access to their precious oil wells. Now why would I think that?”

“Why indeed?” asked Jerry Geisel, grinning.

The sound of an explosion and shrapnel ripping through the thin fabric of the tent made Jeff hug the ground. He heard someone screaming. Looking around, he saw a fountain of crimson spraying out of Tremmer’s shoulder where his arm should be. Beside him lay Lieutenant Bernard in a lifeless heap on top of Jesus Gomez. Or what was left of him.

Jeff registered all of this with clinical detachment. It didn’t seem real. He became aware of more screaming and shouts outside, the sound of gunfire. Then nothing as the world sank into darkness.

“You’ll be all right, buddy.” The voice sounded far away. “Just hang in there.”

He felt motion.

Opening his eyes, he looked into a woman’s face. “What’s your name, soldier?”

“Jeff. Jeffrey Chartrand.” His voice came out in a whisper. There was pain in his belly and in his thigh.

“I need some help here,” someone yelled. Then he felt the pressure of hands.

Darkness descended again, took away the pain.

Herbert Grosshans - "Web of Conspiracy, Book1: Death of a Hero"


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