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Ethereal - Novel Excerpt

Posted 08-08-2009 at 02:21 AM by Locutus
Scrambles recently posted a portion of a novel he is working on, and it inspired me to do the same.

This is an excerpt of a story I have been working on. I don't get a lot of time to work on it, but I add to it here and there when I get a chance.

Detective Anthony Kane surveyed the somber scene from within his unmarked car. The emergency lights from the nearby ambulance reflecting off the surrounding scenery in the familiar rhythmic pattern that made him uneasy, like a morbid disco. The yellow police tape that surrounded the run down mobile home created a sharp contrast against the gray shades of the rainy morning. He had received the call at 6AM; another multiple homicide/suicide. He had seen too many of these in recent months, and he didn’t look forward to seeing another. Such cases began to occur with regular frequency shortly after the rain came.

Incessant rain- it has been two years since most of the world had seen more than a few glimpses of the sun. Not a downpour, not even a shower, but a relentless, never ending drizzle. However, no floods of biblical proportion came to cleanse the Earth, though many would welcome such an event. Most had believed the apocalypse would come in the form of some cataclysmic event that would rent the earth asunder, fire and brimstone. If only it could be so simple. During the first few weeks, people shrugged it off as a weather anomaly. After the first few months, they started to blame it on global warming, El Niño, and various other natural causes. After six months, they began to panic.

Kane stepped out of his vehicle and slowly made his way toward the front door, no matter how many times he had witnessed the grisly visage of murder, he never got used to it. Climbing the creaking rusted metal steps, he braced himself for what he expected to find. As he stepped through the door, he immediately noticed the blood spatter that arched across the walls and ceiling in multiple dark crimson rainbows. His responsibility to assess the situation for danger was foremost in his mind, even though the state troopers and EMTs assured him that all who were present when they arrived would be leaving in body bags.

The detective’s trained eye quickly identified the victims and killer. Not much detective work was needed, a man in his late 30’s lay slumped against the far wall. A woman of similar age and an elderly woman were both lying in a pool of their own blood. Perhaps the man’s wife and his mother in law- it didn’t matter, the coroner’s office would sort out the details later. The murder weapon lay near the hand of the man, a mason’s hammer, a large mass of hair and scalp still lodged in the claw. Near his other hand was the empty brown prescription bottle in which the apparent killer had found the release from his own personal demons.

Kane was no stranger to personal demons. Now in his late fourties, his chiseled sharp facial features were starting to soften from years of alcohol and drug abuse. His once dark brown hair was starting to show some signs of gray, two days worth of beard growth partially obscured the lines in his face. He had once had ambition, rapidly working his way up through the ranks of the force. Now, like many others, it was a struggle just to make it through the day.

All that was left for him to do was file his report, which probably no one would even bother to read. Hearing the familiar voice of the lead CSI just outside was his cue to leave. Walking back to his car, he noticed the lack of news vans that would have been surrounding the place during quieter times. It would take more than this to make the news these days.

As he sat in his car, he gripped the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. He closed his eyes, trying to not think about the flask in the glove box from the previous evening. Internally, he waged a war against temptation. It was a battle he fought every day. Some days he lasted longer than others, and some days he almost won, almost. He knew from past experience that throwing out the flask or pouring out its contents was not an option. It would just end up costing him money to replace it. Money he didn’t really have.

He reached down and turned the key and the radio came to life. “Who’ll stop the rain” played over the radio, DJs always thought they were so clever. He pulled his car out onto the deserted country road, past empty fields that should have been full of crop, his mind wandered to the past. Many years ago, his life was normal by most standards, with a wife and a modest home. The drugs and alcohol were always there, but he felt it was under control. When the rain came, he, like many others, went into a deep depression, turning to his vices to escape reality. The news that his wife was with child had brought him back, it was one of the happiest days that he could remember for a long time. Such thoughts always led him to the same place. Even though he wasn’t there when it happened, he had read the report so many times he felt like he was. His wife, eight months pregnant, was stuck in traffic on the Causeway Bridge when it collapsed into the river. The official report stated, the river swollen for months, wore away at the supports until they finally gave. Twenty three people were killed in the incident, his wife and unborn child among them. The vehicle was eventually recovered, but her body was never found. Based on the information in the report, he had recreated the event within his mind countless times. He could see the terror and panic in his wife’s face and eyes, struggling to get out of the car before it plunged into the rushing river below. Sometimes, he even allowed himself to imagine that she made it out in time. He would arrive at the scene to find her sitting in the back of an ambulance, waiting there for him wrapped in an emergency blanket. He could even imagine the relief he felt when he discovered she was safe.

Detective Kane came out of his reverie by the vehicle ahead of him which he was rapidly over taking. The car swerving and braking erratically. Kane keyed the license plate number into his in-car computer system. The 1982 Chevy Citation was registered to a Roger Harris, male, 72 years old, with no prior record, not even a speeding ticket. The old guy probably just forgot to take his meds, or took too much, Kane thought to himself. Traffic stops were not in his job description, but he couldn’t in good conscience ignore an obviously impaired driver. Flipping on his on-dash lights, he waited for the vehicle to pull over.

Is everything alright, sir?” asked Kane as he tapped on the driver’s side window with his flashlight.

It was difficult to see clearly within the automobile, as the windows were streaked with rain and slightly fogged. The window rolled down in the slow, jerky motion expected from a manual window.

The old man turned toward Kane, a vacant expression on his face, he appeared to be looking beyond him. Kane immediately noticed his eyes were bloodshot, his nose red and puffy, and his left hand shook as it rested on the steering wheel. His clothes were covered in dried blood.

Kane reached behind him to draw his weapon.

Put your hands on the steering wheel and step out of the vehicle!”

The old man’s right hand came up from beside his seat, a revolver in his hand. Everything was moving in slow motion. Kane was staring down the barrel of the old man’s revolver as he brought his own weapon around. He could see the chamber slowly revolving as the old man pulled the trigger.

I’m sorry.” The old man mouthed as much as whispered.

Kane was blinded by a bright white flash; the world seemed to stop for a few brief seconds. Everything went quiet. Slowly, his vision started to return. He could hear and feel the rain hitting his police issue wind breaker. The old man lowered his gun and began to sob.

Somehow, by some miracle, he missed, Kane thought.

Drop your weapon and put your hands on the steering wheel, now!”

His voice seemed to resonate with a hollow echo. The old man slowly brought the gun up and placed it under his own chin.

Drop your weapon!”

His voice had a sound like he was yelling into a steel culvert. Stepping back to place some distance between them, his foot hit something solid.

As tears ran down the old man’s face, dropping from his chin and mixing with the blood on his shirt, he pulled the trigger. The top of his head exploded, spraying brain matter on the headliner of the vehicle. His body slumped forward against the steering wheel.
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  1. Old
    The Brain's Avatar
    Bravo Loc! Bravo!
    Posted 08-08-2009 at 03:15 AM by The Brain The Brain is offline
  2. Old
    So our blogs arnt private after all? Heh, anyways nice story.
    Posted 08-08-2009 at 10:32 AM by Maniac Maniac is offline
  3. Old
    booher's Avatar
    I enjoyed it, good job.

    Slight grammar error I noticed, unless I'm mistaken.

    Paragraph 2, line 5, did you mean rend instead of rent? I think you might have used the wrong tense.
    Posted 08-08-2009 at 10:44 AM by booher booher is offline
    Updated 08-08-2009 at 10:51 AM by booher
  4. Old
    Dace's Avatar
    whoa... very good loc
    Posted 08-08-2009 at 02:46 PM by Dace Dace is offline
  5. Old
    Redwolfey's Avatar
    Good stuff Loc.

    Posted 08-08-2009 at 03:53 PM by Redwolfey Redwolfey is offline
  6. Old
    Blade's Avatar
    Booher, should it be rend or render???
    Posted 08-08-2009 at 07:00 PM by Blade Blade is offline
  7. Old
    Locutus's Avatar
    I believe "rend" is the correct word.

    Maniac, some blogs can be made private, the default is public though.

    Thanks guys.
    Posted 08-08-2009 at 08:49 PM by Locutus Locutus is offline
  8. Old
    HitMan's Avatar
    Great stuff!
    Posted 08-08-2009 at 11:25 PM by HitMan HitMan is offline
  9. Old
    BIRDSTRIKE's Avatar
    outstanding sir.. outstanding...
    Posted 08-18-2009 at 08:37 PM by BIRDSTRIKE BIRDSTRIKE is offline
  10. Old
    Sacrifice's Avatar
    “Put your hands on the steering wheel and step out of the vehicle!”
    Posted 11-30-2009 at 10:18 PM by Sacrifice Sacrifice is offline

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