Work in Progress… a Sneak Peek

Hello, darlings… I’m so excited to be writing again. I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cow bell… er… I mean, writing.

I’m feverish and giddy, because that’s how I get when I get a good idea and it just starts pouring out.

I just HAD to share a little taste with you — you don’t need any context to enjoy this, and it’s not going to spoil anything… just enjoy.

——

Zoe stepped into the hall and the smell made her eyes water and her gorge rise. The smell of vomit and other bodily functions assaulted her. The smell of sickness, and something else underneath it that she associated with pennies. A sort of coppery smell that she tasted in the back of her throat like blood or bile. Her head swam at first, not believing her eyes. The hallway of the residence was gone, replaced by a dimly lit corridor with a linoleum floor in an oddly calming pale green shade. She placed one foot in front of the other with hesitation, fearing that she was stepping into a dream, and that the very floor itself would vanish like smoke under her feet. She heard crying ahead of her, and took a couple of cautious steps toward the sound. When she didn’t fall through the floor, she moved more naturally, following the sound of the cries. On either side of the corridor were doors, with slotted openings like windows, only without glass.

She peered in the first door and saw a sickly looking boy, shivering on a cot, wearing only a pair of filthy underwear. She reached for the door knob and tried to open the door, only to find it locked.

The modern fluorescent lights were gone, and instead, there were incandescent light fixtures at about ten foot intervals along the hall, casting weak shadows along the pale walls. Zoe followed them toward the end of the hall, where there appeared to be an office of some sort. Someone called out in the darkness from one of the rooms, startling her.

“Sigga!” a girl’s voice called. “Sigga is that you?”

The voice was frantic, desperate, terrified.

Zoe put her face in the slotted opening, trying to see the girl, but couldn’t.

“Hello?” she whispered. “Are you there?”

“Don’t let him hurt me anymore, Sigga,” the girl replied from somewhere behind the door.

“Who?” Zoe asked. “Who’s hurting you?”

Suddenly a crazed face, swollen and discoloured, varied hues of purple and pink and yellow, bruises upon bruises, appeared in the opening, and Zoe took a step back in fright. The girl looked out through one good eye — the other had collapsed in on itself, just an empty socket protected by a thin veil of flesh that was her eyelid.

“Who did this to you?” Zoe asked, and the girl trembled.

“The Big Bad Wolf!” she hissed in a hushed whisper, and then slapped her hand over her mouth, as if someone might hear her.

“What’s your name?” Zoe asked, and took a step forward.

A filthy hand shot out from the slot, tiny but strong, and grabbed a handful of Zoe’s hair, pulling her against the door.

“Make him stop, Sigga!” she screamed. “Make him stop!”

“Who?” Zoe cried, trying to release herself from the girl’s grip.

“The wolf,” she said, “Fenrir!”

Something was coming. Zoe could hear the padding of feet, and the click-click-click-click that a dog makes with its nails on linoleum. Or a wolf.

The girl tugged on Zoe’s hair so hard she knocked her head against the door and everything went black. As she faded into darkness, Zoe thought she heard howling in the distance.

——

This is from the upcoming sequel to Jessica, tentatively titled Singularity (it’ll make sense, darlings, never you mind) and featuring another group of collaborative writers.

If you haven’t read JESSICA, Do Not Pass GO, Do Not Collect $200, GO HERE and order it as an e-book or beautiful paperback.

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23 responses to “Work in Progress… a Sneak Peek

    • I was quite pleased with this scene… gave myself chills. The great thing is… whatever you think this is about… you’re probably wrong. This story has so many layers it makes an onion seem positively simple.

      • That’s funny. Am thinking of sending you my flash piece. I read Gaiman’s short story combination of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft and next thing I know this idea took hold. I’ve been jotting down notes ever since.

      • A Study in Emerald… wonderful. There’s another story in that collection I quite enjoyed — can’t recall the name, but it’s about a fellow who is being groomed to be a torturer in Hell. Brilliant.

      • Oh yes! Oh crap…forgot the name but its his cycle story! I know which one you mean. I loved that one too. I read one by a man in my writing group called The Djinn that was a fantastic cycle story. (i know there’s a word for the type of story but my head is too fuzzy right now to think of it.)

      • I just started Anno Dracula last night but haven’t gotten past the opening pages because I was just too tired and beginning to feel this head cold. I can’t wait to read it though.

  1. Awesomeness. 🙂 and totally creepy. I’ve been cleaning some vomit up lately, the smell immediately came back to me when I read those first lines.

  2. Holy…. Shit. You know this scares the shit out of me but I can’t not read it. It’s so bad. In a good way. Or so good in a bad way? Hell, you know what I mean!

    • I’m literally giggling with glee (like a little school girl) because this little snippet, while delightfully creepy, gives absolutely NOTHING away about even the nature of the story…. it’s a scene without context, and I’m so glad that everyone seems to love it. As part of the whole, I think it’s going to blow you away.

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