I’ve been working on this novel for about twenty years now. It makes me feel old to realize just how long I’ve been writing it. It’s a paranormal thriller (I think) about vampires and a girl who just wants everyone to leave her in peace.
Here are the first 500 words.
Kali’s skin prickled the moment the stranger sat in the empty seat next to her. It was a weekday afternoon and there were hardly any people in the movie theater, and yet he had chosen to sit directly on her left. She clenched her jaw and tried to decide if she should turn and glare at him, ignore him, or move. Between work and school, she rarely had the afternoon off; she didn’t want her experience ruined by some rando with no concept of personal space. There were a couple of white-haired old women sitting a few rows down. She could go sit near them. Maybe the jerk would leave her alone.
Kali slipped her book bag strap over her shoulder and started to rise.
The man grabbed her wrist, his grip bruising. “I have a gun.” His voice, deep with an accent she couldn’t place, was just loud enough for Kali to hear him over the previews. “Do as I say, and I won’t use it.”
She pulled against his grip. “Let go.”
He tugged her back down to the seat and shoved up the armrest. He leaned in. The acrid scent of his sweat teased her nose. “I am very serious.” He was so close his breath stirred her curls. “I have a gun in my hand. Come with me now.”
She was about to push him away when she felt it. Hard and bruising against her side through her shirt and his jacket.
Her protest died. Sweat broke out on her temples and palms. Her breath was very loud in her ears.
“Good. Come.” The man stood, pulling her roughly to her feet. “We’re going to walk out of the theater. You won’t call for help. You won’t indicate distress to anyone. Understand?”
The gun was still pressed against her, hard through her thin tee shirt. She nodded again and allowed him to propel her down the row of empty seats to the stairs. His hand on her wrist and the gun against her side were all she could feel. The thud of her heart and her over-loud breath filled her ears, drowning out all other sounds.
The light pierced her eyes when they exited into the lobby. She squinted, people’s bright shirts, the carpeting, and food concession displays blurring in a colorful mass. The man moved next to her, twisting the arm he’d captured behind her and trapping it against the small of her back. A sharp pain shot through her shoulder, but she hardly noticed it. The gun, pressed against her side, stole her focus.
Kali barely came up to the man’s shoulders. She tripped once, trying to keep up with him. He stilled a moment, then started again, slower this time. His gait now matched hers perfectly, falling into a synchronicity that she found eerie.
There were people in the lobby, flesh colored shapes. Not one of them looked at her. They looked at movie posters, at the screens blaring advertisements around the lobby, at the popcorn, at their running children. Kali was invisible. In all her life, she’d never felt more alone.
“Open the door,” he ordered.
She pushed open the exit door. The shock of fresh air against her face caused her to inhale sharply. It was her first real breath since he’d grabbed her, and the air cleared her head somewhat. She looked at her captor.
Any thoughts or suggestions? I’d love to hear what you think.