This is just a sample of the book I'm writing this summer. Critical judgment wanted!
| “Joe?” |
There was that voice again, but he tried to block it out of his mind and go back to sleep. He hadn’t slept since the night of Case Twenty-four. That made two sleepless nights. The first was spent at her house, hence no sleep. He never dared to close his eyes when he was at her house though he was told again and again she wouldn’t lay a finger on him. He promised. But she did anyway.
Last night, he had been moodier than normal and had sent him to his room right after dinner. As he had made his way to the lonely room upstairs, he heard her voice below him, drifting up from the kitchen that was already filled with her Elizabeth Taylor perfume and cigarette smoke.
“So, you’re finished?” He heard her say right before he closed the door behind him. He heard nothing else as he lay stretched on his bed; nothing until the door was locked from the outside with a loud click. He had never been locked inside his room before. What did it mean? He slid off the bed and twisted the door knob just to make sure he wasn’t hearing things. But it didn’t budge. He was trapped. Desperately, he glanced around, but there was no way out. The windows were always boarded up from the outside. On the inside, they were reinforced with iron bars.
Forcing himself to breath steadily, he lay back on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. The night crept by, hour by hour, minute by minute, on the round clock that hung on the wall. The clock that whispered the seconds in tick-tocks, tick-tocks that haunted him night after night, nights that he spent sinking deeper into the sanguinary moments of his life.
When his door ripped open and the men burst into the room, he lay paralyzed watching them with fearful eyes as they half-carried, half-dragged him out of the room, down the stairs and to the waiting SUV.
None of them were wearing their masks: which could only mean it wasn’t another job.
“So you’re finished?” The words ran in rapid circles around his troubled mind. He looked at the man in the passenger seat who met his gaze through the rectangular mirror. The man’s eyes confirmed his fears. He was going to die.
The SUV had stopped and the two men were dragging him out into the frigid air.
“Joe?” The voice was soft, coaxing. He wanted to wake up before that knife spilled his blood all over the snow.
“Wake up.” A hand was nudging him slightly.
The man was putting away his gun and replacing it with a knife. Fear choked him. The man drew closer. He struggled.
“Joe!” His eyes flew open and he sat up gasping for air as one who had been drowning. Wildly, he looked into Piper’s hazel eyes inches from his own.
“Bad dream?” she asked. Her hair was pulled back in a high ponytail and her face was glistening with sweat. When his eyes adjusted to the light, he saw she was dressed in a warm running outfit-hoodie, sweat pants, and the ever-present Nikes.
“Sort of.” He replied. “How long have I been asleep?”
“Since yesterday morning. Almost twenty-four hours. You must have been tired.” He shrugged in response and stood groggily to his feet while Piper continued. “The snow’s stopped so I’m thinking we could go to town today, if you would like to come.”
He pondered her proposition with a knitted brow, unsure of what such a trip could bring. Would they still be looking for him? Did they really think he was dead? He certainly hoped so. Maybe he could start his own life. But what if they still kept an eye on the red dot on the computer screen in his room? Could he really risk dragging his new friend and savior into the bloody mess he had always known?
He would just have to try it. “Sure. I’ll go.” Too late to turn back now.
“Splendid.” She exclaimed and handed him his shirt and hoodie, now clean and dry. “Your jacket is hanging up in the foyer, right near the door. I’m going to go take a shower.” She pointed to him. “You’re going to go eat some breakfast. I made some eggs and bacon and if you don’t like that, I have cereal in the pantry.” With that bit of instruction, she spun on her heel and made her way to her room.