Here is the first chapter for my YA Urban Paranormal Romance Released.
I hope you enjoy it. :-)
I am sitting in my room organizing my duffle bag. Carter, my older brother, said we are leaving tomorrow. It has been six weeks since the last transmission. The last news we heard was that people were holding up at a military base in New Mexico. When we stopped hearing anything, Carter got it in his head to go there and help in the fight.
Now I’m trying to decide which belongings I can take and what has to be left behind.
“You gonna be ready by morning Abby?” Carter asked. I simply stared at my newly painted nails, which I had already started to pick at. At least I had picked the right color, black suited my mood perfectly.
“Still sulking I see.” Max, my brother’s best friend, taunted me as he walked past my room. So, I gave him the single digit salute and he just laughed as he continued on down the hall.
“Listen Abby, we’re going to be fine. Max and I have a plan. You know I would never let anything hurt you right?”
“I know,” I said defeated. That was Carter, always trying to be my guardian. His heart was in the right place, but I knew in the end it would be me protecting him.
“Besides...” he added. “Don’t you want to have the chance to get revenge for Dad?” He had me there.
“You know I do,” I said as he mussed my hair and left the room. Our dad died four months ago trying to save our neighbor from one of those damn monsters. Just got the both of them killed in the end, whole lot of good that did. There was one thing the three of us did agree on though, and that was that we wanted to kill every last one of those things.
No one knew what to make of it at first. People started mysteriously going missing, only to turn back up mutilated by some animal that nobody could determine. It wasn’t until they started showing themselves that all hell broke loose.
Crime went rampant without punishment. It came to a point where it was hard to tell if it was the monsters committing the heinous acts or people. However, there were many who turned to religion, shouting in the streets to repent your sins, claiming that God was punishing us. I for one, wasn’t sure I believed that.
Carter paid close attention to all the different attacks while the media was still working, cataloging all the information. The best way to beat them he’d say, “You got to know what you’re fighting Abby.” He sounded just like our dad when he said that. Our father had started the book and it appeared to be Carter’s intention to finish it.
So far we had only encountered two types. The hound, which I thought looked like some kind of cross between a Rottweiler and a bull, was the first type we encountered. It had pitch black fur, black horns and it stunk of rotting meat. It was easy to know they were nearby due to the smell, but impossible to find if it was dark.
The other was some kind of bird that looked like a crow bred with a vulture. They were large, ominous beasts with beady black eyes and a razor sharp beak. Max and I would bicker about what we should call them. I wanted to call them crowtures even though I knew it sounded terrible and Max wanted to call them cravens. Eventually we agreed to disagree and Carter deemed them demon birds.
It was fitting. That is what they are. The world was being overrun with demon spawn. Hell was overflowing and heaven had checked out. All that was left were us humans trying to survive and clean up the mess.
After I finished packing, I found Carter in the dining room making notes in his demon dictionary. In it, we would write tips of what we found worked and what didn‘t. Drawings of what they looked like and their behaviors, but we didn’t see much in our little town, so that book wasn’t very big. As far as we could tell, the hounds were territorial, fighting primarily in groups no larger than two. The demon birds, however, were very much like scavengers and only looked for the remains of what the hounds left behind. We had never seen or heard of any attack by the birds, but whenever we saw one flying circles in the sky we knew they had found someone dead, or worse someone dying.
“You gonna stare at me all night?” Carter asked.
I slid into the chair across from him and started to clean my shotgun. I set my cleaning kit on the table and began to unscrew the nut to remove the barrel.
“Carter, do you really think Dad would want us to leave?” I asked as I set the disconnected barrel on the table and grabbed my bore rod. I saw Carter roll his eyes at me and I knew he wanted to tell me that my gun didn’t need cleaning, but I did it when I was worried. It was the last thing my father taught me how to do and I suppose, like him, I needed something that reminded me of my Dad to hold onto.
“Yeah I do Abby. If we are able to help people, he would want us to do that.” he said as he scratched his head.
“I made dinner.” Max proclaimed somewhat proudly as he pulled up a chair.
I eyed his bowl of beans and my stomach turned. “Thanks,” I said. “So what’s the plan boys?”
“I thought you said we were crazy,” Max replied.
“I did and you are, but someone has to watch out for you,” I said. Max smiled at me and went back to eating.
“Well…” Carter said while setting down his pencil. “It’s simple. We are packing up the Bronco in the morning, we are heading to New Mexico and” he added with strong annunciation, “we are going to kill every demon we see along the way.”
“Alright then,” I said. It was still a crazy idea, but he was all the family I had left and I wasn’t going to let him out of my sight. “So how do you plan to get us there Carter? That is like two thousand miles away right?”
“No, it’s only fifteen hundred,” he said.
“Oh well, if it’s only that much,” I said sarcastically throwing my hands up in the air.
“Listen Abby, we can’t stay here and you know it. We’re like sitting ducks,” Max said.
“Carter is right, we have to go. Eventually we are going to run out of food and bullets. What then, huh?”
“Carter is right, we have to go. Eventually we are going to run out of food and bullets. What then, huh?”
I looked into his brown eyes and I knew he was right. “Okay,” I grumbled and then I reassembled my shotgun in silence and headed to my room.
I had a routine every night before I could go to sleep. I had to check every board over every door and window in the house before I could rest. Sometimes I would even get up during the night to double check. I had scared Max really bad once, when he had first come to stay with us. He’d shot me, but luckily it was only a flesh wound on my right arm. Good thing he was a bad shot. He was still so jumpy after losing his family, I was actually apologizing to him even though I was the one who got hurt.
“Good to go Abby?” he asked every night now before he would lie down to sleep.
“Yep.” I replied as I zipped up my duffel bag and sat on my bed. He began to walk away, but popped his head back in, “Good night Abby”
“Good night Max.” I replied with a smile. He looked at me for a moment and a small smile spread across his lips.
“I see you still got that ratty old bear I gave you,” Max said.
“Yep,” I said as I looked down at my one-eyed, one-legged teddy bear. It had gone through many teenage hormone filled tantrums and many tug of war fights with Carter’s dog and me dripping with tears.
“How old were you then?” Max asked as he leaned up against my desk.
“Thirteen. I got in that fight with a girl at school and you let me have him, so I would stop crying.” I said laughing through the memory.
“What’s so funny?”
“Do you remember what happened the next day?” I asked. “I got suspended for beating that girl up during lunch in the cafeteria.”
Max laughed out loud. “Yeah! You gave her a nasty black eye and a bloody nose too. I remember when they asked you why you did it. You said…”
“I’m not going to let anyone think they can beat me.” We said in unison.
“You always were a sore loser,” he said with a wry smile and flicked a paper clip at me as he walked out of my room.
After my mother died I always tried to be the tough girl. I wanted everyone to know that I wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything, but when I discovered that I had been successful I realized that I had convinced everyone of that except for myself.
I used to be excited to wake up early the morning of a road trip, but not this time. I drug myself out of bed when I could hear the sounds of Carter and Max moving about the house. I quickly turned on the radio on my dresser hoping to hear something other than static, but there was nothing. I just needed to hear something, just some small bit of the transmission that had repeated so many times in the past. I turned the knob through all the dials and angrily slammed the off button.
Looking at myself in the mirror I tried to recognize this new person I was becoming. I looked older and tired, but I tried to convince myself it was just because of a lack of sleep. I traded in my flip flops for my favorite pair of converse sneakers. Straying away from my typical short and tank-top attire I pulled on some jeans and a t-shirt. Gone were the days of sunbathing and shopping with my friends.
I had put on my favorite high school shirt, which brought back memories of football games and shouting, “Go Indians!” at the top of my lungs. It was sad to think just six months ago I was worried about who to go to prom with and now I was worried about staying alive.
I tied my rebellious brown hair up into a messy bun and tried to mentally prepare myself for the road ahead.
“Looking good Abby, you ready to go?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” I thought for a second and said, “Hey Max!”
“If we are going to do this, you got to promise me one thing.” He grabbed my bag for me as we made our way down the stairs.
“You got it.” His answer was a little too quick for my liking.
“Max I’m serious.” I watched him drop my bag by the front door. He turned and looked at me with his arms crossed over his chest.
When I knew I was getting his full attention I said, “Promise me you’ll look out for Carter.” I looked in his eyes pleading. He walked over to me and put his arm over my shoulder.
“Listen Abs.” I hate it when he calls me that. “I won’t let anything happen to either of you. You’re all I got left.” He gave me a hug and whispered, “I promise” in my ear before releasing me to find Carter.
Being outside was very eerie. It was disturbingly quiet and any tiny sound we made seemed to be amplified. After loading up the Bronco we all climbed in and said goodbye to the only home we had ever known.
Max drove while Carter scribbled away in his book. I broke the silence first. “I had almost forgot it was nearly Christmas when everything happened.”
We passed by houses with lights still hung and deflated yard ornaments smeared with blood. I wasn’t sure if I liked the fact that there weren’t any bodies. No bodies meant they had been dragged off or eaten.
Going down main street was an even sadder sight. Store fronts were littered with broken glass; cars were crashed into each other or in buildings and some of the trees that lined the street were blackened from fire.
We made our way off of the dirt roads and toward the central drag of our out little town of Colville, WA. We decided to stay on Main Street until it turned into Highway 395 and headed south, slowly weaving our way through the wreckage. Again no bodies. All that remained was blood, entrails and the occasional left over limb.
“Do you think we should stop for extra supplies?” I asked. “A small town like ours is more likely to have stuff left then any big city we might pass through.”
“She has a point,” Max added, and we both looked to Carter.
“Yep, you’re probably right,” he said without even looking up. Max and I both rolled our eyes and decided to stop at the Yoke’s grocery store about fifty miles south of us. Neither of us wanted to go to a store we knew well, on the off chance we might see someone we knew, or more like a piece of someone we knew.
“What are you writing in there anyway Carter? Don’t you think it would benefit us if we all knew?” I hadn’t meant to snap at him, but I was still on edge about this trip and he was my easiest target at the moment.
“There aren’t any bodies; I just thought that is kind of weird. That’s all.” Carter turned in his seat to look back at me, his blue eyes were full of questions. “What do you think?” he asked.
“Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Do you think they’re eating them?” A shiver rolled down my spine as I said it.
“Or maybe everyone else got away and they just didn’t tell us,” Max added with a crooked smile while looking at me through the rear view mirror.
“Shut up Max,” I replied, making sure my tone wasn’t too harsh.
“What? I was just trying to lighten the mood.” We tried making small talk for the next few miles, but it felt forced, so we all sat in silence until we arrived at the market an hour later. It was still too early in our journey to know for sure, whether or not this was a good idea.