Joe tracks down Mark Cunningham, the former CEO of Shareware, a high-tech startup that burned four million dollars of Sohpie’s money in a sketchy investment.
Cunningham has bought a ranch an hour outside of Austin. Once there, Joe finds the place is guarded by dobermans.
Excerpt from episode 7.
Once inside the ranch I drove a couple hundred yards on a dirt road that wound through cedar, live oak, and cactus before reaching the cabin. Cunningham hadn’t sunk a million dollars into his place. It looked like an old homestead with a wooden frame, and a roof that sloped down gently from right to left. A chain-link dog run peeked out from behind the left side of the cabin. The driveway petered out at the edge of the lawn, a good hundred feet short of the house. A faded blue Mercedes sat parked in the sun to the right of the cabin.
Ferocious barking came from the back of the cabin, followed by a man’s shout and then nothing. I got out of the Jeep and walked toward the door. The covered porch was made of unfinished hardwood.
As I approached the porch a movement caught the corner of my left eye. I glanced that way and saw dark shapes moving across the ground, sleek, fast, and quiet. A low guttural noise came at me, interrupted by inhalations of air to feed the charge.
The Dobermans sprinted toward me, closing from a hundred feet away.
Pressure surged in my chest. I ran for the porch, my heart thumping as my toes dug into the dirt. My eyes tracked the lead dog, his teeth bared, his legs stretching fully with each stride. I stepped once more on a bare spot of dirt, and then leaped to the porch to grab an upright beam. I scrambled up the beam, sucking in huge gulps of air, my hands grabbing, slipping, and grabbing again.
I got a hand on the porch roof, the shingles tearing at my skin. The lead dog jumped, his jaws open, his body in full flight, and I shot a kick in his direction that glanced off the left side of his face. His jaws clacked shut on empty air, and he slammed into the beam. His mate ran behind him. She slowed her pace to study me. With eyes wide I pulled myself up, my other hand on the roof and legs wrapped around the beam. As my legs began to sag they fell into range. The bitch ran onto the porch and leaped from there, her jaws closing around my left shoe, pinching my heel. Her weight pulled my leg from the beam just as the male jumped again. I kicked blindly and clubbed him in the snout with my right foot. He whined and fell to the ground. The weight of the bitch stretched my arms as I kicked at her, finally landing a hard enough blow to loosen her jaw.
I wrapped my legs around the beam again, my chest heaving, while the dogs barked insanely. They took turns attacking, snapping jaws at the apex of their leaps. Each time they jumped my stomach tightened, my legs retracted, and I stared as their jaws snapped. My arms ached. Sweat stung my eyes. I had battled them to a temporary stalemate, but how long could I hold on? No more than a minute, maybe two.
Episode 8 will be released on May 19, 2016.