Daily Archives: April 8, 2012
Today’s excerpt comes from my current WIP: WT: Incandescence. It is from a scene in Part One in which our sibling protagonists have just heard a weak cry for help in the distance. Naturally, being the good kids they are, Mike & Hannah immediately try to help.
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They crashed through the foliage. Hannah slipped on some wet leaves and stumbled on behind him, but he did not dare stop for her. Not for anything. That voice – the child it belonged to – needed help.
Suddenly he found that his boots were crunching upon gravel rather than underbrush. He stopped short having at last found the source of the cries.
About one hundred yards up the narrow gravel road there was a head-on collision. Hannah moved to dash toward the wreckage, but Michael held her back, observing for a long moment. There as no steam, no smoke, no audible dripping or frankly, any sound but the increasingly minute sobs of a child. Motioning to her to stay put, Michael approached slowly and was physically sickened by the carnage.
A little red, open-topped Jeep – not so different from his own, though perhaps ten years older – had exploded against the grill of a monstrous, jacked-up four-by-four Ford. So had its occupants. Whoever had been driving the Jeep was now a brownish-red splotch of gore upon the dash. Michael was not sure if it were all damage from the crash or if the scavengers had feasted on the remains. The front passenger was not quite as bad off, though equally as dead, for her limbs appeared to be in tact and her torso had not been smashed as thoroughly. Unfortunately, her face was horrific, bloody pulp. One eye, a pretty blue one, dangled obscenely from the socket. The other was gone entirely.
Had he eaten in the past twenty-four hours, he would have lost his stomach contents there on the side of the road.
“Stay back,” he groaned, heaving again. Then he mastered himself and drew the collar of his shirt up over his nose and mouth.
There had been a third passenger in the Jeep, but the young man had been ejected and lay sprawled across the hood of the Ford. He had lived long enough to soil himself despite compound fractures of both arms that left disturbingly white edges of bones jabbing up through the bloody flesh. Or maybe his bowels had released as he died, Michael really was not sure how it worked. Maybe he exsanguinated, Michael found himself thinking as he edged closer to the door of the truck, looking for the child. A massive puddle of blood had pooled beneath him and dripped down to the gravel road. After years of watching CSI reruns, Michael knew that a human being could not lose that much blood and survive.
Surprisingly – or not, if you happened to be a fan of heavy-duty American pick-up trucks – the Ford appeared to have suffered only minimal damage. Though the front bumper was crushed and the hood dented, both were superficial. Michael imagined that if he had needed to, he could have started that beast up and driven it away. He thanked God that though he needed a vehicle, he was not in such dire straights that he would even consider removing the bodies and climbing in.
“Mike? Did you find him?” Hannah had remained back, as directed, but she was leaning to one side as if she could get an angle to see inside the Ford. He shook his head at her, laying his index finger upon his lips, then turned back to the truck. On tip-toe, Michael moved around to the driver’s seat.
The woman was dead but seemed unmolested by the wildlife, perhaps because her window was raised and her door closed. Michael could not immediately tell how she had died, but the livid bruise upon her right temple may have had something to do with it. He could not see though the tinted windows into the back of the extended cab, so he worked his way around the bed – in which he saw a shovel, a pick-axe and a wheel-barrel along with a lawnmower and other gardening implements.
The passenger’s door hung an inch or two ajar and there were obvious, limping tracks leading north from the road. For a moment or two, Michael considered trying to follow the person, who was likely local and knew the way out of the woods. Then he heard a weak cough and his heart sank – that did not sound good.
Cautiously, Michael peeked into the front seat and then opened the passenger side door. The child in the back perked up slightly, coughing again and asking for his Mommy. With the utmost care, Michael climbed over the seat and gave the kid a once-over, looking for obvious injuries. He found none.
“It’ll be okay, kid, shush now. I gotcha,” Michael cooed, unfastening the seatbelt and trying to remove him from the complicated straps. The boy felt cool to the touch and gave no resistence as he was pulled from the carseat; Michael would have felt better about it if he had cried and bit and kicked.
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And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Too much? Poor kid. In my original outline, he didn’t make it. Somehow, in the actual writing of the scene, Hannah refused to let that happen and managed to save him. For now. Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!
Love & Rainbows,