Self Published Sunday: Bonus scene from Inescapable
November 4, 2012
Last week we had the pleasure of hosting an interview (read it here) with Amy Bartol, the author of The Premonition Series. Amy has kindly provided a taster of the first book in the series, Inescapable. My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me–my freshman year of college. I had been hoping that once I had arrived on Crestwood’s campus, the nightmare that I’ve been having would go away. It hasn’t.
I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I’m grounded…sane. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he is near, I feel an attraction to him–a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would–if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I’m the worst thing that’s ever happened to Crestwood…or him. But, get this, for some reason every time I turn around he’s there, barging into my life.
What is the secret he is keeping from me? I’m hoping that it is anything but what I expect: that he is not exactly normal…and neither am I. So maybe Crestwood won’t be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I have been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is…inescapable. FROM INESCAPABLE – CHAPTER 13 – COLDWATER: “SHADOW MAN DREAM”
This scene was cut from Chapter 13 of Inescapable. It was the scene right after Evie drives with Freddie to Coldwater and she sees the “shadow man” there. I cut this scene primarily for word count, but also because I thought it was confusing. Evie’s dreams are premonitions and this was intended as just a standard nightmare.
Leaning back against the seat, I close my eyes. This was a bad idea, I think and wonder how I’m going to explain what I saw to Reed when I’m not even supposed to be in Coldwater. He’s going to be hostile when I tell him what I did. He wasn’t here to ask, I think grasping at straws, but then I look at my cell phone and I can already hear the argument that I hadn’t even tried to call him. Maybe I don’t have to tell him. I look again through the back window, scanning the cars behind me for any sign of the shadow man, but I can detect nothing. That thing was evil, you felt it and it felt you. You should be on the phone to Reed this minute, I think. Damn!
I worry about the shadow man all the way back to Crestwood. Freddie doesn’t seem to notice my tension as we discuss the installation of the firewall in depth. It’s obvious that Freddie can handle the install without me. Russell and his roommate will probably be at the field by now, so it should be easy enough to get in and get out without him knowing.
Freddie drops me off in the parking lot of my dorm and I can hear the drums of the marching band playing at the field house from my room. Russell’s first game is going to start any minute. I’m torn as to what to do. I had planned on going to support him, but my being there will probably have the opposite effect on him right now. I’m probably the last person on earth he wants to see and that fact makes me more miserable than I can say.
To make matters even worse, I’m beginning to really miss Reed, which is pathetic because he has only been gone a little more than a day. It doesn’t take long for me to break down and try to reach Reed on my cell phone. He doesn’t answer his phone, but I get to listen to his sexy voice on his voicemail and I wish that I had some way to record it so that I can play it back over and over again like an obsessed groupie. When I hear the beep that indicates that I should leave a message, I’m at a loss as to what to say because I hadn’t planned the call at all, it was an extreme impulse.
I say almost breathlessly, “Hi, Reed, it’s Evie…I miss you…come home soon.” Hanging up the phone, I cringe and cover my face with my hands when I think of the message I just left. You are so not a player Evie.
I opt to stay in my room instead of going to the football game. A while later, I hear the chatter in the hallway outside my door. The Chargers, apparently, have won and all the houses are celebrating the victory with parties overflowing with contraband kegs hidden in their basements. I’m not in any mood to party tonight, in fact, all I want to do is hide for as long as possible
I go to bed early and try to imagine just what Reed is doing at this moment. I imagine him lying in his bed, thinking of me. It makes me feel better, even if it isn’t true. I fall asleep thinking of how it will feel to hold him in my arms again.
A noise outside my window distracts me from my thoughts of Reed. It sounds ugly, like the popping sound of joints when they crack from being hyper-extended, but on a grander scale: louder, and with more crunching and fracturing of cartilage and sinew. Confused as to what can possibly be making that noise, I get out of bed and go to the window to find the source of the sound. I can see a man standing under one of the bright lights in the parking lot outside. He’s looking directly at my room. I move back a bit, hiding from his view behind the curtain where I can still see him. I cover my mouth with my hand in fear, watching him.
The man is growing taller, but not exactly “taller.” It’s more like he’s elongating. His legs are growing, but his torso remains the same size so that he resembles a distorted stilt walker. His tread is that of an obscene carnival clown as he scissor-walks toward my window. My breath is coming out in shallow gasps as I’m beginning to shake. Coming abreast of the fire escape, he’s beginning to decrease in size again, morphing into the exact likeness of the shadow man I’d seen earlier in Coldwater. My legs are numb with fear so I can’t run, I can’t scream. I watch him with a sense of helplessness as he moves disjointedly; he is on the fire escape one moment, and the next, he’s in my room.
Backing up stiffly on trembling legs, my knees buckle when I bump into the bed, forcing me to sit on it. He followed me back to Crestwood. He knows what I am! He’s here to tear me apart, I think in terror.
Before my eyes, the shadow detaches itself from the man to become a separate entity, so that “he” becomes “they.” The shadow leads the man, I think as they near my bed. I can smell the rank odor of the shadow; it smells like the sulfur in chemistry class, but different—more putrid. It’s burning my nose with its stench.
I want to scream, but the shadow has put one of its elongated fingertips to my lips. It feels like a blast of icy rotten air. It wags the grotesquely long finger of its other hand in my face, as if shaming me for telling a secret. Watching its fingers grow longer, each one seems to be sharpening like a knife. Before I can do anything to stop it, the shadow plunges its fingers into my chest. Fire burns through me as its spiny appendages enter my heart. Trying to put my hands on its chest, they slide right through it like air. There is no substance to it, but I feel pain; its knives are twisting inside of me. Panicking and flailing, I reach out and push against the shadow’s partner: the man. He’s solid. I beat my fists against his chest, pounding him with all of my strength.
Energy passes through my body and into the man in the form of extreme heat. Through my haze of pain, I can see that I hurt them. The shadow, stunned by my counter attack, withdraws quickly, as if it too, is burned. It leaps back into the man, turning them black. They distort, shrinking like a balloon that has a slow leak, decreasing in size until they’re no more than a murky dot in my room. Then, as if they had never been, they’re gone.
I shoot straight up in bed, clutching my chest where I’d been stabbed in my dream. Gasping for breath, I sob while putting my hands to my chest. I’m whole, I’m uncut, but I feel twinges of pain from the knives that had entered my chest in the dream. I’m okay, I assure myself, panting as if I’ve actually undergone the extreme exertion of fighting off the shadow man. Coldwater was a bad, bad, idea, I think, feeling panic overwhelming me. I allow panic to take hold. Lying in my bed trembling, I realize that I have not been taking this seriously. I’ve been in a state of denial. Reed had said that there are things out there that would like nothing better than to get their hands on me, but I hadn’t been able to grasp it fully. I’m grasping it now that I’ve seen one of them. If that thing had really come for me tonight, I doubt I’d have even seen it coming. I’d probably already be dead. I hug my pillow as I lay in my bed, waiting for the sun to come up. “I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed. Here are some of my sites: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest and Pintrest.
Inescapable is available to buy from Barnes and Noble and Amazon.