Snippet Saturday – Dark Goddess

Here’s another 600 words of my novel, Dark Goddess. Previous part is here.

He was an older man, brown hair and goatee shot through with threads of silver.  Long brown eyelashes framed steely grey eyes.  He was taller than she, but everyone was.  He had no real distinguishing marks, no freckles or moles.  Except his neck.  There was a light splash of white scar tissue that showed over his collar when he turned his head, but she couldn’t be sure.  The shirt collar was blue, but all she could really see was the black trench coat he wore.

He was an older man, brown hair and goatee shot through with threads of silver.  Long brown eyelashes framed steely grey eyes.  He was taller than she, but everyone was.  He had no real distinguishing marks, no freckles or moles.  Except his neck.  There was a light splash of white scar tissue that showed over his collar when he turned his head, but she couldn’t be sure.  The shirt collar was blue, but all she could really see was the black trench coat he wore.

“Where are you taking me?” she asked.

He twisted her arm, not so it hurt, but as a warning.  “Don’t talk.”

A kid about nine or ten ran past, laughing, carrying a skateboard.  A couple of teenage girls came out of a shop, eyes intent on their cell phones. 

A security guard stood at the end of the row of shops.

Her breath must have caught, or she must have tensed, or maybe her captor just knew, because he twisted her arm again, harder this time. 

She let her eyes slide away from the guard.  Looked at the ground and held her breath as they walked past him.

Her captor turned the corner.  He began to walk faster as the parking lot came into view, forcing Kali to keep pace.

And then, they were in the parking lot, surrounded by cars, early afternoon heat rising off the black tar.  He moved even fast now, practically running, pushing her ahead of him until she was tripping over her feet. 

“Here.”  He stopped abruptly, wrenching her arm.

She let out a startled cry.

He released her arm.  Pushed her against a white van.  “Don’t move.”

She looked over her shoulder. 

He had the gun out of his coat now and was pointing it at her.  His other hand dug in his pocket.

“Where are you taking me?”

“Shut up.”  He tugged the keys at his pocket, but they didn’t come out.  The gun dipped.

Adrenaline surged through her as she saw her opening.  Her one chance now that his attention was divided.

She took a deep breath.  Dropped her right shoulder, letting the strap to her bag fall.  She caught it in her fist before it hit the ground.  Then, as he started to say something, she pivoted, swinging the bag.

She hit his arm, causing it to swing away from her.  The corner of a book must have hit something in his wrist, because he cried out and lost his grip on the gun.  It arced in the air, hit a car, then rattled to the ground.

Kali ran.

“Kali, stop!”

She ignored him, running as fast as she could.  Her arms pumped; her sneakers crunched on the asphalt.  Her heart pounded until she was sure it was going to burst, but she kept running.  Onto the sidewalk, back towards the shops.

He crashed into her from behind.  They fell, Kali belly flopping on the cement.  The air was forced from her lungs.  She jerked her head up to avoid hitting it, but her chin smashed on the sidewalk, and she bit her tongue.  Blood filled her mouth.

Her captor grabbed her wrists and hauled her back to her feet.  As soon as she was upright, Kali kicked at him.  She connected with his kneecap.

He shouted.  She kicked him again, harder, getting higher, twisting her wrists as she did. 

One hand popped free.  Kali turned, swinging, and caught his ear with the flat of her palm.

He lost his grip. She started running again.  The pink stucco of the theater walls disappeared into the tree-lined entrance of the shopping center.  Kali turned inside.  Startled faces of shoppers blurred together as she pushed through the crowd.  She darted around the bodies she could.  Shoved those she couldn’t.

“Help,” she screamed, or tried to.  It felt as if there were a block in her throat that ate the sound.  “Help me!”

Dark Goddess

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.

She nodded.

“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.