Chapter 2 of Comes The Dark
As the release of Comes The Dark gets closer, I want to provide just a few introductory chapters for you, the reader of this humble little blog. I have already posted Chapter 1, so if you haven’t read it yet, please dig around and you’ll find it here in June’s postings.
I am posting Chapter 2 here, to continue providing you a taste of what the book is about. My intention is to post Chapter 3 in a few more weeks and then wrap it up in time for the release of the book, which is going to be here faster than I could have ever imagined. September, in time for Horror Realm, is still the objective release time frame, but as things roll along, my guess is that it will be sooner.
So, without further ado, here is Chapter 2 of Comes The Dark. Enjoy:
Ten minutes later Jeff was in the kitchen, stuffing the remnants of his dwindling food supply into his son’s backpack. There wasn’t much left, just some half-eaten boxes of cereal and dry noodles to gnaw on. That was what it had come to. It was why he had left the house to search for supplies. Jeff blinked as he suddenly realized his family had died for a few cans of beans and some crackers.
He angrily jammed the last of his meager rations into the bag and ran toward the steps leading to the second floor. From the back of the house came the sound of more glass shattering. He had covered the big picture window with plywood and it was holding for the moment. The wood vibrated under a barrage of hammering fists but stayed in place. He rushed up the stairs, taking them two at a time.
Glad to get away from the stench of infection filtering through the windows and doors, he took a right into his office, trying his best to ignore the shattered door on the left side of the hallway and the carnage that lay beyond it.
Rummaging through one of his bookshelves he found a souvenir mug and dumped its contents on the desk. Sifting through the coins, bits of paper, and other faint memories, Jeff spotted a tiny key. Grabbing it, he went to the top of the bookshelf and pulled down a lock box. Unlocking it quickly he spotted the gun. The tiny pewter weapon with the black grip was still in its original box. Jeff looked at the etched wording on the barrel: MODEL RAVEN CAL-.25 AUTO. He picked up the small clip sitting next to it and slid it into the gun. He nearly laughed. It was a pea-shooter that carried a meager six bullets in the clip. Shoving it in his pocket, he promptly forgot about it.
Moving to the other side of the desk he began to rifle through it. After grabbing a pocket knife and the Mag-Lite, Jeff looked around his office. That was it. He sighed and shook his head. He was no survivalist but a baseball bat, a purse gun, and heavy flashlight probably weren’t going to get him very far.
As he turned to leave he spied something else on one of the book shelves and stared at it for a moment. It was the photo of Ellen and the kids on their last vacation at the lake. Jeff remembered taking the picture. It had been early, maybe about six a.m. Ellen had been trying to drag the kids out of bed for ten minutes. They didn’t want to go out on the boat and didn’t want to swim. They just wanted to sleep. She started tickling them and after a couple of minutes the three were wrestling in a tangle of sheets, screaming and giggling. Taking the picture had been spontaneous; Jeff had grabbed the camera out of his bag without thinking. They were smiling, laughing, their eyes lost in a moment of pure bliss. When he showed Ellen the picture she hated it. Her hair was a mess and she had no makeup on. When he put it on display in his office she was angry until he explained. “Everything that matters to me is in that picture. It’s you and the kids, happy. That’s all I care about.” She never said another word about it.
Jeff’s fingers quivered as he traced the outline of their faces. Another angry scream filtered from below and he tore his eyes away from the picture. Cramming it into his pocket, he headed back downstairs.
It’s time to go.
The urgent thought beat out a staccato rhythm inside his head as he made it back to the main floor. Rushing into the garage he could hear the roar outside. They were actually starting to throw their bodies against the side door now. The sound of them crashing against the house was nearly overwhelming but Jeff ignored it and tossed his small amount of supplies into the minivan. Snatching up the baseball bat he ran back inside.
He was out of breath as he got to the front door. Bending at the knees, he tried sucking in as much air as possible and tried to settle down. The noise at the front of the house wasn’t nearly as bad. The mob had not spread to the front door yet, which worked well with his hastily cobbled together plan. Bending over, he snatched up the hammer dropped there a few minutes before and started prying at the two by four nailed across the door.
It took some effort but within a couple of minutes the board was down and the only thing that stood between Jeff and the outside world was a deadbolt.
Digging into another pocket he pulled out the key to the car sitting in the driveway. Palming the dark plastic key fob, he pressed the red alarm button. Suddenly, an urgent honking cut through the tumult of screams and howls that had nearly driven Jeff’s family mad over the past few weeks. For a moment it seemed as if this new noise, so shocking and ordinary, would overpower all others. But it was not to be. A tide of rage carried the volume of his neighbors above that of the horn as they began attacking the car.
“Stupid mother-fuckers,” he snorted with disdain. After listening for a few more seconds he pressed the red button again and the alarm cut off, replaced with the sound of wet slaps on the hood of the Impala. Glass shattered and Jeff could imagine a thick press of bodies trying to get at whoever had been honking the horn.
He strained to hear as much as possible. There was frustration and rage, but more importantly, he heard no one on the porch ready to punch a hole through the front door. Taking a deep breath, he slowly let it out as he scooped up the baseball bat and put his hand on the deadbolt. Turning his head, Jeff took one last look around the house. He wanted to remember it as it had once been and not what it was about to become. Nodding to assure himself, he tried to keep his breathing steady as he turned to face the door.
Flipping the dead bolt, he tensed as his hand slipped down to the knob.
“Well, here goes nothing.”
Jeff opened his front door.