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Gilleland Poetry and Prose
A Man in Control is a fiction novel in the genre of Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense – Crime – Murder.
David Wynthers, a microbiology professor who needs to control all aspects of his life, is thrown into turmoil by the death of his wife, which causes a cascade of events for Dave to cope with – murder, mystery, terrorists tracking him, sudden wealth, a female police detective, and the FBI. Can Dave maintain control of the events swirling around him?
A Man in Control is the tenth book published by Harry E. Gilleland, Jr.
A Man in Control By Harry E. Gilleland, Jr.
“I don’t want to talk about it any more!” Brenda Wynthers shouted as she slammed the bathroom door, leaving her husband, Dave, lying frustrated on the bed in the ski lodge’s honeymoon suite. Dave knew time was rapidly running out for him to convince her to change her mind.
Dave got dressed and walked down to the expansive lobby of the lodge, with its two-story-tall ceiling, three huge, floor-to-ceiling windows facing the ski slopes, and split-log-covered walls and ceiling. He took a seat before the massive, floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and watched the skiers riding the lift to the top of the mountain’s ski runs. He and Brenda had come to the lodge in celebration of their twelfth wedding anniversary. He’d thought a return to where they enjoyed themselves so much on their original honeymoon might make his wife be more amenable to a discussion of alternative measures for obtaining a baby. He could see now he’d been wrong.
Brenda swept into the lobby and headed past Dave toward the door to go out to the ski lift. Surprised by this, Dave called after her, “Wait for me. I’ll join you. It’ll only take me twenty minutes to get ready.”
Brenda turned and replied forcefully, “I’m ready to go now. If you come looking for me, I’ll be on the double black diamond slope.”
Her destination alarmed Dave. “You know you aren’t expert enough to ski that advanced slope. Stay with the slopes we’ve been skiing. Don’t let your anger toward me make you do something foolish. You’ll get yourself badly injured or killed.”
Brenda started to respond but then hesitated and turned away. Instead she stormed out the door toward the lift. Dave thought, There’s simply no reasoning with her when she gets like this. She’ll cool down in a while. I’ll give her some time alone.
As he watched Brenda walk to the ski lift platform, he found himself admiring her svelte figure. She still looked great in ski pants, even better than she did on their honeymoon. She certainly had kept herself fit, unlike so many of his friends’ wives who had packed on extra pounds as they grew older.
Brenda disappeared up the slope on the lift. This thought flashed into Dave’s mind: I’d better give up for now trying to get her to discuss a means for us to have children. Persisting will just ruin our trip. This trip was supposed to be fun and romantic, but the last thing I just said to her was “Don’t let your anger toward me make you do something foolish. You’ll get yourself badly injured or killed.” … badly injured or killed! An uneasy feeling swept over Dave. He hurried back to their room, put on his ski gear, and went to the ski lift. The crisp morning air stung his face as he exited the lobby.
People were pointing toward the mountain. There was a lot of activity on the upper section of the dangerous double black diamond slope. The bright morning sunshine sparkling off the snow made it difficult for Dave to see clearly what was happening that far up the ski run. Dave asked a lodge employee at the ski lift, “What’s going on? Why all the excitement?”
The man answered, “The ski patrol is bringing down a skier injured in a bad accident. He hit a tree dead-on after losing control on the upper section of the double black diamond slope. I don’t know why some people go down our most dangerous slope when they aren’t an expert skier.”
The tension in Dave’s shoulders dissipated. Whew. Thank God, he said “He.” Brenda must be safe.
The ski patrol placed the injured skier in a sled and zigzagged it down the slope quickly. A crowd gathered at the bottom of the ski run in anticipation of the patrol’s arrival. Dave pushed his way toward the front to get a look at the injured skier. A blanket covered the skier’s body, leaving only the lower legs and boots exposed. Dave’s heart skipped a beat. Adrenalin surged through his veins. He pushed forward and said, “Excuse me, but can I see the person’s face? Those look like boots my wife was wearing. But isn’t the injured skier a man?”
The ski patrol’s leader motioned Dave forward and pulled back the blanket to reveal the victim’s face. “No, it was a woman. She was dead with a broken neck and head injuries when we reached her. There was nothing we could do.”
Dave sank to his knees in the snow and sobbed, “That’s my wife. That’s my Brenda. Oh, God!”
Life as he’d known it died that morning at the foot of that double black diamond ski slope.