Sunday, July 7, 2013

Beginnings - Manhunter

A few of you may recognize this beginning a little.  This story started out as Manhunter and then morphed into the book now known as Dying Embers (which I'm currently querying).  Since I've got the new incarnation going through the fold, spindle and mutilate machine known as submitting, I thought I'd just drop the original beginning out here for y'all.

For those of you who've read the other beginning, what d'ya think?  Did I scrub it too much?  For those of you who haven't, it's over at Killer Chicks.  Feel free to go read it and do a little compare/contrast.  I expect at least a thousand words and it's due Monday.  (Okay, not really - I was channeling my inner homeschool teacher there for a second.)


Chapter 1
As she approached the twisted Mercedes’ wreckage, its cracked side mirror winked at her like they shared some unspeakable secret.  The wind blew through her mousy-brown hair, making 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. 
Too late.


  1. Damn. Just...damn. Love the opening sentence and talk about chilling! Awesome stuff!

  2. FYI, I do like the additions you've made as per the copy at KCs. Still good stuff!