Below is an excerpt from chapter two of my novel, Doomsday. I chose it because it has all of the elements I discussed: using the senses, telling the reader how the characters feel, making sure the characters come across as human, and using imagination to draw the reader in a supernatural world.
Doomsday – A Remy Jones Mystery
My breath caught. Had I been wrong? Had I missed her pulse and mistaken her for
dead? Not only that, she had changed. She didn’t seem freshly dead anymore. Her skin had
taken on a sickly tinge, her flesh sagging as though it had rotted in the few seconds since I’d
turned away from her. To look at her, she could have been dead for days.
“Vincent,” I whispered.
He looked at me, then followed my pointing finger to the spot on the ground where the
woman was.
Her arm twitched.
“Damn,” he said.
Not exactly what I wanted to hear. If he was nervous I figured that meant I should be
scared witless.
“Remy,” he continued, speaking in the same quiet voice I had used, “I want you to walk
slowly out of the food court. When you get into the square, run for the corridor. You got me?”
Mouth open, I was breathing too heavily to give him a verbal response. I nodded. “Let’s go,” he moved from behind the counter. “Keep it nice and calm.”
I turned toward the quad and walked, trying my damnedest to follow his lead and stay
calm, but I was doing a miserable job of it. My fingers were itching to hit the igniter switch, my
legs were desperate to run, and I felt an almost insurmountable need to scream. But I bit
back the impulse. My usual calm had evaporated in the face of all the bizarre and horrid things
I’d experienced tonight.
There was a rustle of movement behind me. I had to bite my lip to keep from crying out.
We were almost in the square, almost out of the food court. “Keep going.” Vincent
appeared at my right. “Don’t look back.”
Something thumped behind Vincent. I turned, saw the man behind the counter struggling
to get up.
“Oh shit, Vincent. Oh shit, the guy behind the counter is getting up.”
“I know. Just keep going.”
“And he’s decomposed, just like the lady.”
“I know. Keep going.”
I looked at the woman again, then wished I hadn’t. She was on her feet, teetering
unsteadily. Her head was canting to the side so her savaged right cheek was resting against her
shoulder, bits of skin hanging in bloodied ropes. I could see bone beneath all that blood and the
sight made something inside of me break. Her head was pointing toward the floor, but those
dead eyes were fixed on me; staring at me as she struggled to take a step. Congealed blood
dripped from her wounds and splattered the ground around her. Her legs were gored. When she
walked, I knew she’d leave a blood trail of torn flesh in her wake. I could almost hear the sound
her flip-flops would make as she dragged them across the ground; the quiet scraping of cheap
plastic against cement.
She was trying to take a step, but her legs were too weak to carry her weight. She rocked where she was, looking like a deranged marionette.
With sickening clarity, I realized that I had been coming down here by myself, prepared
for gangs. I hadn’t been ready for this. Thank God Vincent had come. If he hadn’t I didn’t want
to think what could have happened.
Warm flesh pressed into my palm. Vincent had grabbed my hand, and I’d never been so
grateful to feel the warmth of another person in my life. I looked up and into his eyes.
“We’re gonna make it out of here,” he said. He was unsmiling, his eyes were intent on
mine. I almost believed he was telling the truth.
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