Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sneak peek: an excerpt from "Solitary"

"Oh dear, can I get you an Advil or something?" she asked, rummaging around in her purse. But Eliot couldn't concentrate on her words. The pain was fading – but in its place, his mind was filled with random fragments of thought, almost as if another voice were echoing in his head.

* give me the money and nobody gets hurt - no, too clich̩, they won't take it seriously РI have a gun, and I'll use it if I have to Рtens and twenties only Рis that going to be too heavy? too large? Рnothing bigger than a hundred *

He looked up. The woman was still looking at him, concerned, rummaging through her purse for painkillers. Behind her, the next customer in line, a tall guy with bushy black eyebrows and a full beard, was staring intently at the two of them. Eliot watched as a bead of sweat trickled down his forehead, nestling in his eyebrow. The eyebrow began to peel away from the man's forehead...it was a fake, and the glue was coming undone.

The man's hand snaked around his back, producing a pistol. "Everybody down, on the ground, now!" he yelled, pointing the weapon at the guard by the door, who immediately placed his hands up in plain sight. All around them, people were diving to the floor, shrieking in fright. Eliot was too stunned to react. The woman froze as well, with her back to the lawbreaker.

"I said, on the ground! Both of you!" The pistol was trained squarely on her back now; though she couldn't see it, the woman clearly had an understanding of the danger she was in. She panicked, dropping her purse.

The next few seconds would be forever burned in Eliot's mind: the sudden motion startling the gunman, the sound of the purse hitting the carpeted floor with a dull thud, the explosion as a bullet escaped from the pistol to tear through her neck, spattering Eliot with blood and drawing screams from everyone but himself and the shooter.

The killer stared open-mouthed as her body fell, and Eliot felt the voice in his head again.

* oh crap they're gonna lock me up forever they're gonna electrocute me why did I ever *

The voice was abruptly silenced as a second bullet, this one from the guard who had apparently recovered his composure, entered the would-be robber's skull.

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