Dear Readers,

What follows is the Prologue to Book 2 in the Hale County series entitled “Awakenings”. I hope you enjoy it. I wouldn’t normally do this but it’s my Christmas present to those of you who have been with our company from the beginning and for those who are coming aboard now and in the future.

Happy Holidays,


Chad R Martin

chad martin







Red and blue lights danced off the trees as the rain fell at a steady pace. Police cars and an Ambulance were parked haphazardly on the side of the road. Bright orange road flares warned any potential passerby to be cautious. The scene was minor pandemonium as rescue workers tried to cut into the silver Honda that was folded around the base of a thick pine tree.

“I’m not getting a pulse!”

Two rescue workers ripped into the hood of the car with the hydraulic shears. They worked as fast as the shears that tore into the mangled hood would let them. The rain wasn’t nearly the obstacle that time was.

For the young lady in the car, each passing second was a second closer to infinity.

Jake Hooks was oblivious to the cold rain that beat down on him, soaking his clothes and dripping off of his cowboy hat in streams. His eyes were glued to the lifeless hand that hung outside of the car, which was the only part of the woman he could see.

Memories came flooding back to him, but now wasn’t the time. He forced them back into the locked closet in his mind, refusing to let them out, especially now. His focus was on the task at hand.

Metal and glass littered the tree line for a hundred feet as a result of the force. It wasn’t hard to tell that the car had hydroplaned; figuring that out was the easy part. No, the difficult part was going to be getting the driver of the car out before she died, if she wasn’t dead already.

As he took in the all-too-familiar scene (car wrecks were common in Hale County) his brain was busy processing the reasons why the reporter from Nashville was in his county to begin with and, more importantly, why he hadn’t known about it.

“She was staying at the Skyridge Motel, sir,” a squeaky voice spoke from behind him.

The Sheriff turned and stared at the skinny deputy. “The room?”

“Processing it now, sir.”

“The city PD?”

The deputy fidgeted uncomfortably, remaining silent.

“Well, Sanders?” Jake asked, becoming irritated with the young deputy. The kid was always fidgeting when he was bothered by something. It pissed Jake off to no end.

“They, uh…they don’t know anything yet, sir,” he finally stammered.

“Good.” They would only screw everything up as usual, he thought to himself.

Multiple sirens blared in the distance, catching Jake’s attention. The Sheriff walked towards the road as the flashing lights of the vehicles drew near. Sanders had to move quickly to keep up with him.

The vehicles, an ambulance, a fire-rescue truck, and a city police cruiser roared past them just as he got to the road.

“Find out what’s going on,” Jake bit out to his deputy, never taking his eyes off the fast moving vehicles as they disappeared in the distance.

The only call that his office received was the wreck he was working. He should have been notified if other calls had come in. And why was a city cruiser answering the call out in the county?


Jake turned to the rescuer that had called out. The man was motioning frantically for Jake to come down.

The hood of the car had been ripped open by the powerful hydraulics of the Jaws of Life; the metal peeled back like a sardine can. EMT’s were lifting the unconscious woman from the car, blood matting her long dark hair to her face. They placed her on a stretcher board and immediately began CPR. The men worked frantically yet purposefully, every second crucial.

“She’s not breathing!”


A portable respirator was slipped over her head. The men looked desperate.

“Sir, they found another body!”

Jake rounded on his deputy. “Dead?”

“Yessir,” Sanders stammered out, “brutally beaten they say.”


Sanders didn’t want to answer but knew there was little choice. “The asylum.”

Jake knew immediately who it was–the drug dealer. He looked once again at the paramedics working feverishly on the reporter and then back to his deputy. The dark days he feared were upon him. Hale County was drowning in blood.