What the Hell Is That ???
Tarantula Hawk: A bluish-black wasp with orange wings. It is a native of the southwestern desert.
The tarantula hawk stalks, captures and paralyzes tarantula spiders in order to reproduce. An egg is laid on the paralyzed tarantula; the spider is buried alive with the larva, which hatches within a few days and eats the paralyzed spider.
Why You Don’t Want to Piss Off a Tarantula Hawk
- Commonly 2 inches or more in length, it can grow up to 4 inches long – the largest of the wasps.
- The female wasp’s stinger is typically 1/3 of an inch long.
- Next to the bullet ant, it has the most painful sting of ANY insect.
The Lance Underphal Mystery Series
Flight of the Tarantula Hawk, the next of the mystery books featuring that reluctant psychic, Lance Underphal, is in the final edit phase. It’s due to go out to my Alpha Readers within the next couple weeks.
Wet Your Whistle
Here’s a little taste of what’s in store:
Midday, and a crisp scent of fall fills the balmy air of late October. Sun baked terrain has cooled, well below oven operating temperatures for several days in a row—the first time in nearly six months. Phoenix’s last Indian summer is finally laid to rest. Snowbirds and other migratory fowl flock to town, clogging the freeways and surface streets, swelling the resort hotels, RV parks, and the wallets of local merchants. A veritable desert paradise . . . almost, except for that fleshy, white underbelly that never sees the sun.
Crouched in the upscale suburb of Paradise Valley, a four bedroom, two and a half bath contemporary Ranch-Style sits vacant—its foyer, littered with MLS flyers and Realtors’ business cards while dust bunnies breed in its corners. At the street, the For Sale sign declares it’s Bank Owned—a sign of hard times, blighting nearly fifty thousand homes in the Phoenix area alone.
Carla Simon fumbles with the lockbox’s key to open the empty house. Her hollow cheeks match the hunted look in her soft brown eyes. Nervously waiting in the foyer for her two o’clock showing, she smoothes the front of her skirt with sweaty palms. It’s been a long time since she’s shown property—too long.
Carla waves vigorously, her greeting overly effusive as her prospect trudges up the walk. She asks, “Any trouble finding it?”
Her prospect seems distracted, answering, “No . . . no problem.”
Carla starts in, leading the way. “You’ll notice the hardwood flooring throughout the main living areas.”
They cross through the foyer.
As they enter the living room, her prospect suddenly grabs Carla from behind and pushes her face-first into the wall, pinning Carla before she realizes what’s happening.
“OhMyGod! What are you doing!?!” Stunned, Carla struggles to make sense of it. This can’t be happening!
Her prospect spins Carla around, pinning Carla to the wall with a forearm.
Carla stares at her attacker’s placid features in disbelief, frozen with terror. Her attacker’s wide eyes bore through Carla like red hot lasers. Confusion scrambles her thoughts as she watches a hand rise over her head. Too late Carla sees the big syringe—the gleam of a large hypodermic needle as it thrusts deep into her neck, penetrating the carotid artery. Carla’s eyes roll with panic as the stab of the big-bore needle pierces her throat. Burning fluid swells her neck as the contents are injected.
Racing to the brain like a predator possessed, the poison’s fiery tendrils sizzle neurons as it fries then extinguishes cranial, optic and facial nerves. Burning numbness spreads, robbing Carla of all muscular control: eyelids drooping as facial muscles go slack, vision doubling, then blurring, then dark. Her attacker’s retreat, the last image burned into the back of her fading retinas. Carla’s shrieks echo in empty rooms, soon to be stillborn in her useless larynx as paralysis sets in.
How is it possible? The ultimate betrayal. Her life had just started to turn around after all the hard work and struggle to regain her family, her career, her sanity. She needs to ask why, but deadened lips refuse to move.
Her dry mouth hangs open uselessly as her last breaths flutter from paralyzed lungs. Maybe she wasn’t meant to be happy. But why now? And why like this? Bladder and bowels let loose as arms and legs go limp. She slides down the wall to slump into a spreading puddle of her own urine. Slowly tilting over, her torso topples to the floor. Her head, bouncing off the hardwood like a ripe melon.
No, No, NO!!!
I hope you enjoy my latest mystery story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
By the way, if you are a paranormal mystery fan and are interested in being an Alpha Reader, please let me know. I can use all the help I can get.
As always, my blatant self-promotion as a mystery writer follows:
Dark Side of Sunset Pointe – A Lance Underphal Mystery is available in e-book & paperback on Amazon.
For more on Michael Allan Scott and my work, go to michaelallanscott.com
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Michael Allan Scott and a clickable link back to this page.