About the Book
Title: Set You Free
Author: Elmer Seward
Love, Lies, and the Secrets That Bind
Deena is running from a dangerous past. When she finds herself in a small fishing village tucked away on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, she thinks she is finally safe. While there, she discovers a journal that weaves a story of secrets, passion, and unrequited love. In its pages, she discovers the answers to her struggle with the shadows of her own past. In the end, those shadows close in on her and threaten all that she holds dear.
A moment later, the motel’s night clerk jerked around at the sound of the office door closing behind him. A knife blade hovered inches from his face. Fry held the knife in his right hand. With his other hand, he lifted the roll of duct tape, his index finger to his lips. “Shhhh.” A stack of worn towels and washcloths sat folded on a small counter. “Take one of those washcloths and stuff it in your mouth.”
The clerk’s eyes grew wide. His voice cracked as he stammered, “Why?” The blade, now at his throat, pressed into the skin. Blood trickled down his neck.
“Just do it.”
The clerk crammed the cloth into his mouth.
“Now rip off about a foot of the tape.” Fry handed the man the roll of duct tape. “Put it over your mouth good and tight.”
The old man complied.
A worn wooden chair sat across from the TV. “Sit there and tape your legs to the chair legs. Wind it around a couple times. Make it tight.” Fry stood behind the man, the blade of the knife nestled below his chin. Perspiration streamed down the clerk’s face onto the sharp edge.
Fry commanded him to tape his right wrist to the wooden armrest. Next, Fry cut a length of tape. “Put your left wrist on the armrest and don’t move.” With his left hand, he held the knifepoint to the clerk’s throat. “That arm moves and you’re dead.” He fastened the man’s left arm to the chair with more tape. Next, he wound the tape around the man’s chest and the chair back to secure his torso.
Fry stood up and inhaled. “That’s better. Let’s try this again.” He held up the photo. “This time look at the picture. Look at it good. She would be older now.” He waited as the old man blinked, trying to focus. “Have you seen her?”
The old man shook his head.
Fry nodded. “She’s not staying here?”
Again, the clerk shook his head.
“Well, that’s unfortunate.” Fry smiled as he looked around. “Let’s see what we have.” A small refrigerator sat on the counter next to the towels. He opened it, pulled out a bottle of water, twisted the lid, and swallowed the cold liquid. “Where are my manners? Would you like some? Oh, that’s right. Your mouth’s full.” He chuckled.
He set the bottle down, stepped over to the TV, unplugged it, then cut the power cord with his knife. Then he shaved the insulation from the ends of the cord and pulled them apart so two separate pieces were coming from the plug, each with bare wire at the end. The clerk’s eyes grew wide as he thrashed in the chair. Fry grabbed a towel and soaked it with water from the bottle.
The old man’s muffled voice repeated something over and over.
Fry bent down to listen. “It’s hard to hear you, old-timer. Speak up.” He cackled then listened again. “What’s that? You told me the truth?”
The man nodded wildly.
Fry’s smile turned cold as he stared into his eyes. “I know.” He draped the wet towel over the thrashing man’s head. Next, holding the wires apart, he plugged the cord into the wall. He grasped one wire in each hand. “You should’ve looked at the picture the first time I asked.”
Elmer Seward was born and raised along the Chesapeake Bay in southeast Virginia. Growing up, the cemetery behind his house was his playground. The metaphorical theme of death and rebirth that figures prominently in his novels is probably influenced in some way by the time that his mother heard, through the screened window, a small voice crying for help. Rushing from the house and through the yard, she discovered her all-too-curious six-year-old son at the bottom of a freshly dug grave. In that moment, he discovered that trouble is much easier to get into than it is to get out of. Sometimes we need help getting out of the hole that we jump into willingly.
He is blessed to have a large blended family. He is also the reluctant servant of three crazy dogs, a Maltese, a Japanese Chin, and a BruMaltChiYorkie. All of these strongly influence the characters and events in his novels; however, his beautiful wife, Mitzi, is the true inspiration for the tender hearted but determined women in his stories.
He is the author of two previous novels, Hearts in the Storm and Dreams of the Sleepless.