Hello! So I was debating for a while whether or not I was going to post this novel. I wrote it for NaNoWrimo in November 2009, and it has undergone a lot editing since then. It is a piece of writing I put a lot of effort into, and I hope you can enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

FictionPress didn't give me enough space to write the full summary, so here it is:

SUMMARY: Detective Charley Gallagher is used to solving cases about cheating spouses. So he is completely unprepared for when he is assigned the case of a murdered high school gym teacher who was found beaten to death and wrapped up in a volleyball net. Encountering the likes of a compulsive overeater, a female gym teacher with an attitude, and an advice-giving dog, Charley's life gets a little crazy.



PROLOGUE

The day really wasn't that different than any other day in the life of Jack Abrahams. Well, it ended differently, but the beginning and the middle were the same. Actually, everything up until the last minute was pretty normal.

Jack woke up at 6:00 AM. It didn't take him that long to get ready. After downing a hot cup of coffee and putting his whistle around his neck, he felt he could take on anything.

Jack was a gym teacher at Hamilton High School, and he enjoyed his job. Mostly. Ever since he was young, he had been a sports fanatic, and he had always wanted to be a professional player or coach. He never made it, so Jack lived somewhat through his students' successes. He thought himself to be an excellent gym teacher. Some said he put his students through work that was too strenuous, but the way he saw it, he was building moral character and making them healthier. Sports took dedication and diligence, and whether or not his students saw that he was helping them, he knew that someday they would appreciate him. Or at least he hoped that would be the case.

He arrived at school at 7:30, and his first class started half an hour later. This was the beginning of his day. Very normal.

During his lunch break, he had a chicken salad sandwich on rye with a bag of potato chips and another cup of coffee. It was good. Nothing special, but it was good. Still pretty normal.

In one of his last classes, he took out his digital camera to take some pictures of his students playing basketball. He had taken up photography after his wife died, and he liked to occasionally document what happened in class. Even that was normal.

Up until then, the day had been normal in every way. He had his morning coffee. He went to work. He then held his after-school practice with the baseball team, which he'd been coaching for as long as he'd worked at the school. Nothing different. Nothing suggested he might die before the day was out.

After practice, he and his star player, Richard Armstrong, were bringing the baseball equipment back to the supply closet in the gym. Bats here. Balls there. Mitts between the two.

Richard reminded Jack of himself when he was in high school. Tall, strong, and athletic, Richard was everything Jack had once loved about himself.

The two talked about their upcoming game. At one point, Jack bent down to put the bases away. That was when he heard a scream and then a thump as Richard fell to the floor. Jack turned around to see what had happened, when the bat hit him.

Jack collapsed. He tried to get up, but the bat hit him again. He tried to shout, but it was getting hard to breathe. Air, he thought. Need air.

He couldn't hear Richard screaming any more, but he wasn't sure if that was because Richard couldn't breathe, or because Jack was losing his hearing.

Had he been able to think more clearly, he might've tried to think of whoever was controlling the baseball bat. But as good as he was at multitasking, it took most of his energy just to keep a thought in his mind. Brainstorming possible attackers wasn't an option.

The last thing he saw before he died was the face of his killer. Not normal.


Author's Note: Thanks for reading, and as usual, all reviews and critiques are thoroughly appreciated.