This is the first three or so pages of Dying Embers - a 78,000 word suspense with romantic elements. Hope you enjoy it. =o)
As she approached the twisted Mercedes’ wreckage, its cracked side mirror winked at her as if they shared some unspeakable secret. The wind blowing through her mousy-brown hair made the leaves of the grand old trees waver and the moonlight dance across the pine straw. All around her whispered the soft hush of the forest and faint noises from the road. So peaceful. She could almost forget what she’d done, if not for the sickly, wet gurgle.
Standing beneath a tree a few yards above, she couldn’t tell if the sound emanated from the vital fluids dripping out of the engine, or from her husband and his mistress. Maybe it was the tree as its sap oozed from a wide gash where the metal had ripped away the bark. The car was dead. The other three would die soon enough.
She only felt sorry for the tree.
Her intention had only been to send them down the embankment to the gully below. If she’d known a tree would stop them partway down, she would’ve planned the whole thing better. If she’d planned the thing at all, this would’ve gone so much smoother.
Whatever Will had done, the tree didn’t deserve to pay for it.
“Hello?” a harsh voice rasped in the night air. It was filled with pain and the wet sound of too much spit or too much blood. The noise was so soft anyone else wouldn’t have been able to tell who survived the impact, but she knew the cadence deep inside her, even before her brain had time to register it consciously.
“Hello, Will,” she whispered back. With a slow deliberateness, she nudged a rock down the steep hillside. It bounced off one of its many brethren with a loud clack, and her smile widened. Except for the poor tree, she picked the perfect spot.
“Hello?” he said louder, his terror filling the air and echoing off the jagged crags. “Is someone there?”
Her lips curled into a sneer as she bent to pick up a rock. With a deftness born of many summer softball games, she tested the weight of it in her hand and then hurled it against the one unbroken pane of glass left.
The sound of its shattering came only an instant before Will screamed like a little girl. Or maybe it was his cheap hussy.
If she was lucky, they were both alive. Their heartbeats would mean her plan hadn’t completely failed after all. Oh, she wanted them dead, but not too quickly. If she was going to spend the rest of her life suffering from their betrayal, the least they could do was spend a little time suffering themselves.
Above them on the road, a semi chugged its way up the hill and she froze. Everything would be ruined if they were discovered now. Truck drivers could see too much from their perches, and she needed time for her tormentors to die. In the morning, the skid marks would be visible on the asphalt, or the sun would glint off the car’s mirrors, and they would be found.
“Whoever you are, please help us. My wife is bleeding badly, and she’s having trouble breathing.”
The smile left her face. His wife? His wife? So the lies were to continue even unto death. Bastard.
“She’s not your wife,” she said into the darkness, each word drawn from her like splinters from a stake in her heart. Step by merciless step, she crept toward the vehicle; each one bringing her closer to her goal.
“She never was your wife.” With each step, another millimeter of her perfect white teeth glowed in the moonlight. She was snarling by the time she slid the last few feet.
“And she never will be.” When she reached the back bumper, loose rocks slid beneath her feet, lurching her against the trunk. The car wobbled precariously.
Good. Better than she hoped for, actually. If the car tumbled into the ravine, days could pass before anyone found the bodies.
“Emma?” her husband called with a new kind of fear soaking through his tone. “Is that you?”
“Yes, Will. I’m here.” Even as she spoke the words, though, she knew Emma Sweet was gone forever—swallowed by the gaping hole inside her. For more than a decade, Will had been her world, and like an asteroid’s impact, this event had left her burnt and lifeless.
“Go get help.” His command shook her out of her misery. He had no right to boss her around anymore. Still, her hand closed around the phone in her pocket. It was within her power to save him. He’d be grateful for his life…
But it wasn’t just his life hanging by her will.
“For you?” she said sweetly, and then let her words saturate with the hate she was now so full of. “Or for her?”
“For both of us. Please, Emma.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Please. I know what you’re thinking, but I can explain.”
“I don’t think so,” she said again. The cold sound of her words almost shocked her back to sanity. She was the woman everyone loved and admired. Emma Sweet wasn’t just a name; it was a persona she’d wrapped around herself for years. Anyone who knew her would insist she couldn’t hurt a fly…