Happy teeth-gnashing, flesh-rotting Valentine’s Day!
As some of you may know, I’m completely obsessed with zombies — books, television shows, movies, board games, blog hops, you name it — if it involves zombies I’m game! What you may not know is that I’m attempting to write a book. Can you guess what kind of book I’m writing?
Here, I’ll give you a little hint… 😉
After signing up for this tour I started thinking about what I would post for my spot. With the help of some of my very pushy, yet really awesome friends — you know who you are! lol — I decided (was coerced) to post an excerpt from my untitled work in progress. Please keep in mind that the following is from a very rough draft and hasn’t been edited. None of it is set in stone at this time.
I always thought my mother was nuts, or perhaps a hoarder with obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Definitely not like those people you see on TV, though. My mom may have stored way too much crap in our basement, but at least our house was clean. I understand why she saved all that stuff. I’m happy it was there, grateful even. I owe my life to that stuff, and to her. It’s a shame she didn’t get to reap the benefits before she left me.
The floor creaked above me, which could only mean that Sally was finally awake. Thank God. I was about to lose my damn mind sitting here alone. I listened to her footsteps with anticipation as she made her way down the hall. “Mornin’, Jake,” she said softly as she reached the bottom of the stairs. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and headed straight for the big red cooler next to the couch, which we affectionately referred to as our mini bar, to grab a Towne Club — Honolulu Blue Cream Soda, my favorite. Thank you, mom, for stocking up!
Sally’s arm brushed against mine as she took a seat on the floor next to me. It’s been a while since anyone in this city, perhaps anyone in the world, has enjoyed the luxury of a hot shower, but somehow Sally still managed to look and smell like a girl. She set the glass bottle on the floor between us and pulled her red, shoulder-length hair into a ponytail high on top of her head. Ok, so maybe I’m sugarcoating it just a little. While she still looks pretty girlish, she could probably benefit from a shower. Sally is my best friend, and I could normally tell her that she stinks, but what good would it do her now… here.
“I think you mean good evening,” I murmured, snatching up the bottle of neon blue nectar, “and hey, thanks for bringing me another soda.”
“I don’t think so, Jakey!” She spat back playfully, punching me in the arm.
“Ugh, I really hate when you call me that, Sal.” I said, surrendering the bottle.
“No shit, really?” She chuckled. “So, what’s going on out there?” Her face twisted in disgust as she pointed toward the wooden panels over the windows — the only thing that separated us from them. I shifted on the floor where I was camped out that evening to keep an eye on things. I was really just trying to keep myself from going insane by building houses with an old deck of cards. Man, what I wouldn’t do to get my hands on a working iPod right about now. I peered out the makeshift peep hole in the boarded window next to me. “There are only a few of ’em out there in the street, but they haven’t wandered this way yet.” I shrugged. “It’s still early.”
It was totally irrational of me to feel safe when those monsters lurked fifty feet from my front door, but having Sally there made survival seem possible. It also didn’t hurt that her dad was in the next room. At seventeen years old, I thought I was smart enough to handle things on my own. Turns out her dad was a lot smarter, and stronger, and much more capable of dealing with this shit than I was. Mr. Alexander had been in the Air Force for a short while, twenty years ago, which is how he ended up in Texas to begin with. Apparently once a military man, always a military man was their motto. I’m certainly glad he remembered enough useful information to get us through these last few weeks. I’m also happy that his time in the service was long enough ago that he doesn’t act like some crazy-ass drill sergeant barking orders at me.
“You really should try to get some shut-eye before the sun comes up, Jake. I can take watch for a while.” She cocked her head to the side and plastered on that adorable smirk that shows off the dimple on her left cheek. The one that makes everything in the world seem right, no matter what kind of hell we’re stuck in. Her southern accent still managed to creep in every so often, even though she’d been in Michigan for four years. She was born and raised in Texas, but after her mom lost her battle with cancer, her dad thought it would be best for the two of them to be near his family for a while, to get a fresh start. Ha, fresh.. there’s a word you don’t hear much anymore.
I still remember the day Sally and her dad moved in next door. It was obvious that she wasn’t happy, and not just because she was mourning the loss of her mom. She may have only been twelve years old at the time, but she was so full of piss and vinegar that it practically seeped from her pores. I learned later on that she was unhappy about having to leave her friends and the much warmer climate in Austin. Can’t blame her. I’m sure I would have reacted the same way. I recall watching her jump down out of that big U-haul. She immediately crossed her arms over her chest, slammed her back against the cold metal of the truck and scowled at everything as she took in her new surroundings. She was like a wild animal taken from its natural habitat and dropped in the middle of the city. I knew right away that she was going to be trouble. Good trouble or bad, I wasn’t sure back then.
I chuckled at the memory, the recollection of a time in my life that I missed desperately. Sally nudged me gently with her elbow, fully aware that my mind had wandered off. “Well, how ’bout it?”
“Oh, uh.. I.. I don’t know,” I stammered. “I don’t really want to sleep away my last night in this house, you know?” My shoulders sagged at the thought. “Besides, your dad would murder me if I left you to stand watch alone.”
“Geez, Louise! Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t stare out a freaking hole and let one of you know if things start to get bad out there.” She huffed with everything she had in that tiny frame of hers, then her face turned somber. “Look, Jake, I know you don’t want to leave your home, and I hate to be the one to say this to you, but deep down you have to know she’s not coming back.”
I looked up slowly, the pain of her words piercing a giant hole in my heart. When my eyes finally met hers, I saw nothing but pity staring back at me. I knew she was right. My mom was gone. She was probably shambling down the cereal aisle at Meijer waiting for her next meal to stumble upon her. Or maybe she’d been completely devoured and never turned into one of those wretched things. Her bloody remains could be scattered from produce to pasta for all I knew. There was no way for me to be certain, and there would be no point in attempting to find out. The knowledge of her fate wouldn’t change anything about my life, only endanger it. But I missed her and would do anything to go back and change the way things went down that day.
Well, there you have it, folks. Feel free to check out the beginning stages of my WIP Inspiration Pinterest board if you have a minute.
Phew! Since that terrifying endeavor is over, let’s move onto the fun stuff… awesome goodies up for grabs! 😀 Be sure to check out the rest of the V-Day Bites blog hop too. There’s a different theme every day!
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