Chapter preview from the novel in progress

Here’s a sneak peak at a scene from the current work in progress. My working title is the Outsiders but I’m pretty sure that won’t be the final series title because there are other books using that word and it could be confusing. Keep in mind this is rough draft text. It has not been edited or cleaned up to its final form.

Anywho – this is a scene, early in the book, where my narrator POV character finds himself in a jam

I vaguely remember the next three days; at least I think it was three days. I was so drunk most of the time that I couldn’t tell you the day or the time. I only left the house on the second day because I ran out of booze. Lucky for me the liquor store was just a ten minute walk from my apartment.

I was still hallucinating those glowing worms on people; of course it could have just been the booze. I saw half a dozen people with weird lights crawling across their bodies between my house and the liquor store. I just hurried away from them. I didn’t want to find out if I was seeing things or if it was real.

I almost screamed when I turned a corner and just about walked into a homeless guy. After the attack I didn’t think I would ever feel comfortable around the homeless again.

Life became a blur of bad monster movies, sitcoms, computer games and booze. The phone rang once or twice but I let it ring until they gave up.

Most nights I fell asleep on the couch. I managed to stagger to my bedroom for once so I found myself tangled in sweat soaked sheets when a coughing fit woke me.

Smoke filled the air. It wasn’t the clean scent I associated with campfires but a sour, acrid smell. I struggled to a sitting position. Everything was blurry; it might have been because I was still drunk or due to the dark smoke pouring under the door. I fell back onto my pillow; maybe this was just an alcohol dream. Another breath of hot burning smoke convinced my befuddled brain that something was horribly wrong and I needed to get moving.

I tried to stand but immediately began coughing; the smoke was much thicker above the bed. Distant memories of fire safety briefings in school told me to stay low so I crawled toward the door. I heard loud crashing sounds from below, maybe the firemen were here and trying to get to me.

“Help.” My voice was pathetically weak and elicited another bout of racking coughs.

I realized that the doorknob was warm about a second too late. I turned the knob and began pulling the door as the sensation of painful heat registered. The door exploded inward on a gout of flame which lashed my arm and face. Fire raced into the room like it was being shot by a flame thrower. I screamed in pain and fear and curled into a protective ball. The fire spread through the room with incredible speed; in seconds I was surrounded by flame.

I lay there coughing and unable to move. The intense heat caused sweat to pour from my skin and immediately evaporate. Each breath was harder to draw than the last; the room spun and blurred in and out of focus. I thought I saw movement in the living room. A figure was walking through the flames. It was entirely white; I assumed a fireman in one of those fire suits had heard my pathetic cry for help.

“Here.” I tried speaking again and began coughing. I raised my arm so my rescuer could see me.

The figure marched through a curtain of flame into view and I knew that I was hallucinating again. The man was tall and built like a lumberjack. He was dressed in plain jeans and a black tee shirt. His red hair was long and an equally red beard framed his face; he looked like a modern Viking. I knew I must be hallucinating because he was not in any sort of fire gear, he was surrounded by a brilliant white flame. The white flame covered every inch of his body from head to toe. It flickered and roared as angrily as the fire in the room around him but it seemed to somehow push back the regular fire and protect the man.

He spotted me and rushed forward. He knelt and gathered me up. As he touched me, I saw the white flame that surrounded him rush across my body. It didn’t burn, it seemed to cover my skin and clothing rather than consume it. Instantly the heat of the room disappeared. I was tossed over his shoulder like a sack of grain and he then calmly walked into the inferno of the living room. I felt no pain, I couldn’t smell the smoke.

“I’ve got you lad,” he said. “You’re safe now.”

I tried to reply but my throat was too raw. He carried me down the stairs. Flame filled the stairwell. The entire building must be on fire; Mister Singh was going to be pissed. When we reached the sidewalk I could hear distant sirens. The police cruiser which had been stationed outside for my protection was a pile of scrap; it looked like it had been fed into a wood chipper.

The remains of the vehicle were coated in red paint for some reason. I noticed a hand on the sidewalk next to the car; it wasn’t attached to an arm. The red paint wasn’t paint, it was blood. Everything began to spin and I passed out.

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