Sleep No More

Sleep No More by Greg Iles Read Free Book Online

Book: Sleep No More by Greg Iles Read Free Book Online
Authors: Greg Iles
Tags: thriller, Suspense, Psychological, Crime, Mystery
dabbling in her specialty just to be near her, and soon they were traveling the world together, doing graduate research. He spent nearly three years scuba diving beneath volcanoes to study marine ecosystems that lived off the heat of magma, and camping on pumice slopes to study active craters. In Argentina, they’d stumbled upon a meteorite of unusual composition and structure. In Ecuador, he found the frozen remains of a small mammoth dating back fifty thousand years. It was probably the nostalgic haze of selective memory, but he could not remember once being bored during those years.
    Then his mother fell ill. His brother was in college, and Waters saw no alternative but to go home and take care of her. Sara Valdes loved him deeply, but she was not about to move to Mississippi, where the last volcanic activity occurred two hundred million years before she was born. That move was the start of the life Waters now lived. He’d been back in Natchez less than a month when Cole Smith—his old roommate and now a lawyer—asked if he thought he could find some oil. Since he had to do something for money, Waters set about mapping the region with a vengeance. Three months later, he was sure he had a cod-lock cinch. Cole sold the prospect in two weeks, and they prepared to make their first million dollars.
    What they made was a dry hole.
    Waters learned a hard lesson from that first failure, but the next morning he went back to his maps. He studied substructure for four months almost without sleep. And this time, he swore to Cole, he had it. It took Cole five months to sell that second prospect—split between sixty investors. Cole and Waters could barely afford to keep small shares for themselves. But at 4:00 A . M . in the middle of dense Franklin County woods, they hit twenty-nine feet of pay sand—a likely four million barrels of reserves—and one of the last big fields discovered in the area. After that, they couldn’t put prospects together fast enough. Waters kept finding oil, and the money rolled in like a green tide. Even after the oil industry crashed in 1986, Cole somehow continued to sell deals, and Waters kept finding oil.
    It was around this time that Lily Anderson graduated from SMU’s Cox School of Business and returned to Natchez. A CPA, she planned to stay in town only long enough to help her father straighten out some tax troubles, but after she and Waters started seeing each other, she decided to stay a bit longer. Smart, quick-witted, and attractive, Lily kept Waters from slipping into the mild depressions he sometimes felt at a life that, despite the money, seemed significantly smaller than the one he’d left behind. But there were other compensations. His mother’s health improved, and his brother graduated cum laude from LSU. When Lily expressed restlessness that their relationship seemed stalled, Waters took a hard look at his life—the old dreams and the new realities—and decided that he had not been born to roam the world in search of scientific adventure. He had built something in Natchez, a thriving company his father would have been proud of, and that—he told himself—was good enough. It was time to be fair to Lily.
    “What the hell are you doing down here by yourself in the mud?”
    Cole’s voice was slurred from too much scotch. Waters heard him push through some weeds, then stop to keep his shoes out of the gumbo mud that bordered the river here. There’d been a time when Cole wore steel-toed Red Wings out to the locations, just like Waters. Now he wore the same Guccis or Cole Haans he sported at the office. Waters turned to face him.
    “Have you lost your mind?”
    Cole’s eyes looked cloudy. “What do you mean?”
    “You told them five million barrels?”
    “You said yourself it could go that high.”
    Waters’s frustration boiled over. “That’s you and me! In the office! That’s blue-sky dreaming. The outside of the goddamn envelope.”
    “We’ve hit it before.”

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