I Was Never Afraid

I Was Never Afraid

by Scott Baker Sweeney

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Overview

~Reading I WAS NEVER AFRAID is like watching a film from the Golden Age of Hollywood unfold with every page you turn. Hollywood needs to stop making remakes and pick up I WAS NEVER AFRAID by Scott Baker Sweeney and make this into a brand new feature film.

Jack Marino

Independent Film Maker/Radio Host, LA TALK RADIO

~As an actress, I lover a story that jumps off a page onto a movie screen in my mind! Scott should be winning Oscars for this! BRAVO!

God Bless You,

Juli Tapken

Award Winning Lead Actress

~Rating: 5 stars

The extremely realist dialogue and excellent characterizations keep readers involved every step of the way. The action keeps them rapidly following along, unwilling to stop reading. Excellent supporting characterizations maintain interest, with a touch of the mystical adding yet another dimension throughout.

Angie Mangino

Journalist/Book Reviewer

~Scott Baker Sweeney’s new novel, I Was Never Afraid, hooks you on the very first page and doesn’t let you go. This fast paced novel has it all - believable characters, excitement, exotic locations, danger and love. Once you pick it up, it will be hard to put down. 5 star rating!

Marsha Shilts

Writer/Editor, Prestwick Style

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524648299
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 11/10/2016
Pages: 300
Sales rank: 758,291
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.67(d)

Read an Excerpt

I Was Never Afraid


By Scott Baker Sweeney

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2016 Scott Baker Sweeney
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5246-4829-9


CHAPTER 1

A blood curdling scream intermixed with hysterical demonic laugher echoed through the long narrow corridors of the asylum. Somehow the faint sound of a chirping wheel from a medicine cart was still audible. It found its way to a young girl's ear, as she lay curled up on a mattress in a dreary small room, half the length of the building away. To most, the disturbing vocal medley would be all they could hear or tolerate, but this child seemed to be accustomed to these disturbing sounds, as if they were a regular part of her life for a long time. One would only conclude that she subconsciously had learned to filter the unpleasant noise and tether on to any sound that wasn't repugnant.

The faulty wheel of the cart, the source of the chirping, was a familiar as well as an anticipated noise for the child. Her eyes opened wide and she sat up in bed. She knew it announced the arrival of a tall nun. Medications were distributed each and every morning before breakfast to the patients to whom they were prescribed. The sister would dispense the tablets through a slot in the door and remain peering through the small security window, long enough to view the consumption, before moving on to the next door.

The cart finally rolled in front of the little girl's door, but instead of pale blue pills in the paper receptacle, it had a Tootsie Roll candy. The contents slid through the slot in the door and a tiny hand reached out to collect the chocolate prize.

Her eyes sparkled with delight and a smile took form on her face as she examined the candy. The observation window in the door was too high for her to see out without standing on a chair, but the six inch slot was not, so she drew her face close to catch a peek at her kind friend. Oddly she saw nothing but the metal cart. She tilted her head to peer in the other direction but still, no nun.

Surmising that the nun surely could hear her, even though she was out of sight, the child raised her head slightly so that her mouth was now in front of the slot. "Thank you," she spoke No reply. Well for good measure, she'd try again, "Thank you, Sister," at a louder pitch. Still, no response. With a smile on her face, staring at the candy in her hand she kept her head within inches of the opening listening for the nun's return. There was the chirp again! Once again, the girl leaned over to convey her appreciation when a hand shot through the opening, grabbing her by the throat, lifting her to her toes and pulling her to the door. Her head crashed against the door and her arms began to flail sending the roll of chocolate flying.

CHAPTER 2

Carolina sat straight up in bed, her sheets already kicked off by the thrashing of her legs, her face glistened and her sweat soaked nightshirt clung to her frame. She took a deep breath to gather her wits and settle her pounding heart and then turned to glance at her clock on the nightstand. Exhaling a breath, she ran her hands through her hair then crawled out of bed. It was a little earlier than she normally woke, but there was no way she could sleep after this dream. She cautiously walked to the window and opened the blinds introducing the early dawn light to her dark room. The natural light exposed the clutter of boxes and articles of clothing that littered the floor, reminding her of the unfinished task of unpacking.

Carolina was a new resident to this apartment. Her new casa was merely a cubby hole of just three rooms, a bedroom, a small kitchen and a bath, but it was convenient and cheap. It was located directly above a quaint bicycle repair shop and a short bus or bike ride to her new job at the Denver Post. She stared out the window, but was oblivious to the view. She might as well have been staring at a bare wall. She was intensely preoccupied with analyzing her dream, the same reoccurring dream that started soon after she moved to this new place. It was terribly chilling and surreal, she thought, every night a different scene from the same saga and always involving the same little girl. But why?" Carolina struggled for answers.

Carolina broke from her deep self psychoanalysis by the buzz of her alarm clock. She would have to wait until later to search for answers on her subconscious brain behavior, at this moment she had to get ready for work. "Work, indeed! Three months into my new career, overflowing with enthusiasm and armed with a fresh degree in journalism from the University of Notre Dame and all I have to show for it is a story on soccer moms, new grade school lunch programs and a missing cat." Carolina smiled, climbing into the shower, thinking of her email she sent to her sister the day before. When she climbed out of the shower, she mumbled her sister's reply. "Patience and perseverance, Carolina!"

With lip-gloss in one hand and her cell phone in the other, Carolina shot out her door and down the outside staircase. As part of her morning routine she floated past the bicycle store window to give a smile and flirtatious finger wave to her not so inconspicuous bicycle mechanic fan club waiting for her procession. As she strutted past them, they waved back in unison and gawked at her all the way to the corner bus stop.

For as long as Carolina Paige could remember she wanted to be a journalist. No one in her family was a journalist, none of her friends were journalists, she never even met a journalist until she interned as a Senor for her home town newspaper. Never the less, at an early age, she had a strong desire to find out the truth and then write about it.

Carolina's parents conceived her while on a camping trip to the Outer Banks, nine months later they had no choice but to name her Carolina.

By the age of eight she grew into a real nuisance for her brothers and sister. Carolina followed them around with pencil and paper, jotting down everything they said or did and leave copies of her report on her parents bed, as if it were her editor's desk. Two years later and with the chagrin of her parents Carolina cracked the Santa Claus mystery wide open. Christmas mornings were never the same from that point on. Of course her early prowess followed her through academia; she was the editor of the school paper at high school and at Notre Dame.

Getting accepted to Notre Dame and finishing Cum Laude was no easy accomplishment but it was a paramount step toward achieving her goal of landing a job at a major paper or television news network. Carolina's ambitious objective was ultimately becoming syndicated as her own entity, but she knew that would only come with years of seasoned experience. She had several job offers from papers in large metropolitan cities such as Chicago, Pittsburgh and her hometown of Indianapolis, but she chose the Denver Post after her research revealed that a couple of senor journalists were near retirement. Carolina felt she could advance up the ranks quicker there.

"Paige, see me in my office in five!" This poignant statement from Carolina's boss penetrated the elevator compartment before the door had a chance to completely open. Being greeted by the managing editor, Martin (Marty) Whitten first thing in the morning provided more stimulus than four cups of coffee. His spontaneous command caught her by surprise as they passed almost brushing shoulders at the opening of the stainless steel doors of the elevator.

"Yes Sir!" She replied, turning and watching him push the button to his floor. Carolina remained poised waiting for further directions that never came before the door shut.

"This is odd," she thought as she hurried to her cubicle to drop off her coat and grab her laptop. "I must be in trouble for something that I've written and now he wants me to write my first retraction." Endless impulsive scenarios were now stinging her brain.

Carolina's reactionary response as she headed to the managerial floors was to start preparing her retort to anything that would be thrown at her.

Even though it was a smoke-free building the stench of stale cigarettes was definite and apparent on the management floor. The abhorrent scent was transported from the outside by the clothes of the smokers. The bouquet that this floor gave off was a much different aroma than the lower floors occupied daily by younger and more health conscience workers. Carolina anticipated the stale musty air and took in a deep breath before entering the area. She then made a bee line directly for Whitten's office.

"Sit down Ms. Paige and close the door."

Carolina took her place in the large black leather chair facing her boss across the desk. She placed her laptop securely on her legs but never releasing her grip.

"Here's what I've got," Growled Whitten. His gruff bark caused Carolina to grip her laptop tighter. "Well, let me start by saying I've had my eye on you ever since your first story landed on my desk. I know that statement sounds cliché and probably not very PC, 'the eye on you' part, but what the Hell? I don't remember the content of the article other than it was very well written. It actually grabbed by attention and I thought your word flow was exceptional." It was apparent that Whitten was uneasy with his praise of Carolina, so he stood and walked to the window. "This old editor has never had a PC filter and I'm not about to get one now. You will find out that I'm very direct and all I want is for you to be very direct right back at me. Bullshitting is such a time waster and time is valuable. You can always give back bullshit, but you can never give back time. Remember that when you write too! Be descriptive, concise and succinct, in other words Paige, get to the point quick. This free advice is something that most professors overlook. The new college shits they send me can type several pages of well written bland and boring. There's no excitement in their words, no passion in their prose. They can't even put together an interesting thought let alone write a compelling article. They're proficient at incoherent babbling! Well look at me now, I'm the one babbling." Whitten turned from the window, smiled and sat down.

"It's time Paige that you got your first shot at a major story. Are you ready to write me something with excitement and passion?" Whitten asked.

"Yes Sir and thank you Sir." Carolina released some of her grip on her laptop. Whitten leaned forward in his chair as if to make certain she understood his next statement.

"Ms. Paige, the problem I have with my younger journalists pales in comparison to the problems I've been having lately with some of my veteran journalists. They can't keep their damn mouths shut. They end up leaking what they're working on to the TV news before the print comes across my desk. I can't tell you how long it's been since we had an exclusive. Half the time I can't even get credit for the story.

"I understand, Sir." Carolina responded.

Whitten eased back in his chair and nodded his head. "Last week while sifting through my unread emails and my weekly pile of passionately, authored letters from alien abductees, Elvis's neighbor and the guy who has proof that the Governor is a zombie, I came across an envelope that caught my eye. It was postmarked from Bogotá Colombia, so I opened and discovered the note inside was even more interesting.

"So Paige, I want you to investigate Denver's Homeless Coalition." I want you to follow the money trails, contributions going in and expenditures going out. Where, who and why, you get it? I'm not ready to divulge the contents of the letter quite yet, or the significance of where it came from. I want to conduct my own investigations first and also I don't want to bias anything you find on your own. The city accounting records are open and should be public and accessible. Don't draw too much attention to yourself when you're nosing around. Denver's Homeless Coalition is very popular with the politicians and most of the Mile High City citizens are very proud of its accomplishments. Popular and proud are two adjectives that tend to make people very sensitive and protective. Our angle should be that we merely want to promote the cause and help increase contributions. Studying trends in contributions will help us with that. Do some digging and get back to me. Now go!"

Excited by his closing command Carolina jumped up vaulting her laptop from her cradled hands. Luckily, she was able to secure it with her figure tips at the last moment saving it from certain annihilation against the hard floor.

"Thanks for your confidence in me sir, I will get right to work." Carolina concealed her excitement as best she could exiting Whitten's office, but once the elevator door closed she let go a jubilant cry of "YES!"

Carolina wasted no time. She briefly visited her cubicle to gather her credentials and then she was on her way to the Denver City and County Building.

CHAPTER 3

Her quick cab ride gave her just enough time to Google 'Denver's Homeless Coalition' to familiarize herself with the basics. Metro Denver Homeless Coalition or MDHC, is an independently funded, non-profit organization whose noble mission is to end homelessness in Denver and the surrounding counties. "Independently funded yes, but very politically linked," Carolina thought to herself as she continued to read. In October 2003, Mayor Arthur Higgins appointed members to the Denver Commission.

As the cab pulled to the curb, Carolina closed her computer and handed the driver her fare. Before she exited the vehicle she glanced at the long steps leading up to the massive limestone City and County building. She thought to herself, "Today I'm not a reporter, I'm an explorer."

"May I help you?" A seasoned silver-haired man greeted Carolina as she approached the information desk in the center the rotunda.

"It's hard to sneak up on anyone wearing hard soled-shoes on this marble floor," Carolina responded to her loud clopping walk.

"Yes, it's like working inside an echo chamber. The man responded with a grin. "How can I help you Hun?"

"Can you direct me to the office of Denver's Homeless Coalition?"

Without hesitation the man unfolded his arms and pointed up. "Dear, they're right above us on the second floor." Carolina thanked him then walked toward the elevators. "When you get up there you tell Mrs. Elizabeth that Mr. James is surely missing her delicious apple cobbler." Carolina turned and acknowledged his comment with a smile.

Carolina walked to the second floor corridor of glass doors until she found the office.

"Good Morning, I'm Carolina Paige from the Denver Post." Carolina reached in her purse pulling out her crisp bright identification card and presented it to a lady behind the desk. The silver-haired lady was unimpressed with Carolina's first ever professional introduction. Instead she looked directly over her reading glasses; past Carolina's ID and glared with disgust directly into the young reporter's eyes. The awkward silence seemed eternal.

"I hear you make a mean apple cobbler." This was all that Carolina could think of to break the ice.

The lady reached up and removed her reading glasses and exposed a meager smile.

"I see that you've met that old coot downstairs. The lady shook her head. "I'll dread the day that I got him that job."

"You must know him well," Carolina queried.

"Know him, oh brother, she rolled her eyes. "I know him too well. I'm married to him." I'm Elizabeth Sanders, and I am the office manager for the Denver Homeless Coalition. So, Ms Paige from the Denver Post, what can I do for you?" Carolina's clever comeback of the apple cobbler was enough to break the ice with the irritable gatekeeper.

"I would like to do some research for an upcoming feature in the Post regarding the success of Denver's Homeless Coalition. How it started, how far it's grown, how many homeless people it's helped, etc, etc."

"Well, I don't do interviews, nor do any of my personnel. We're not the mayor's P.R. department; we just take the donations, document them, and disburse the proceeds to where they direct me."

"Who are they?" Carolina asked.

"The mayor's office, of course," Elizabeth snapped.

Why don't you just talk to the mayor or any of his smiling do-gooders? They would be more than happy to fill your paper with quotes of self accolades. Besides, the Mayor has directed me to alert him personally if anyone from the press came nosing around."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from I Was Never Afraid by Scott Baker Sweeney. Copyright © 2016 Scott Baker Sweeney. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
~Reading I WAS NEVER AFRAID is like watching a film from the Golden Age of Hollywood unfold with every page you turn. Hollywood needs to stop making remakes and pick up I WAS NEVER AFRAID by Scott Baker Sweeney and make this into a brand new feature film. Jack Marino Independent Film Maker/Radio Host, LA TALK RADIO ~As an actress, I lover a story that jumps off of a page onto a movie screen in my mind! Scott should be winning Oscars for this! BRAVO! God Bless You, Julie Tapkin Award Winning Lead Actress ~Rating: 5 stars An extremely realist dialogue and excellent characterizations keep readers involved every step of the way. The action keeps them rapidly following along, unwilling to stop reading. Excellent supporting characterizations maintain interest, with a touch of the mystical adding yet another dimension throughout. Angie Mangino Journalist/Book Reviewer ~Scott Baker Sweeney’s new novel, I Was Never Afraid, hooks you on the very first page and doesn’t let you go. ‘I Was never Afraid’ is fast paced novel has it all - believable characters, excitement, exotic locations, danger and love. Once you pick it up, it will be hard to put down. 5 star rating! Marsha Shilts Writer/Editor, Prestwick Style