Ah, she's done it again. Julie at A Story a Day has this amazing ability to serendipitously assign exactly the right prompt so that my Story a Day offering matches up with work that I simply must get done. I received word from my editor last night that some changes must be made on my novel. One suggestion was that I remove some expository information from the end, change it up a bit, and make it a prologue. And here we are. So, here's a sneak peek of a rough draft of the new prologue of my middle grade fiction (does it surprise you to read that's what I really write?) novel "Hunter the Horrible."
The boy's breath was coming in harsh burning gasps. His ratty shoestrings dragged across the pavement as he ran and he kept throwing quick, panicked glances over one shoulder. Finally, he saw someone, a man he thought, walking across the deserted parking lot.
"Hey Mister," he shrieked," "Mister!"
Ryan stopped, convinced that the boy was just another fan, desperate for an autograph. As he got closer, though, Ryan could see the sweat pouring down the boy's brow, and the white that ringed his blue eyes.
"It's my sister," the boy choked out, and without another word the pair started running back the way the boy came. At one point the boy, exhausted, tripped and nearly fell, but Ryan reached out and yanked him back to his feet, never breaking stride. As they rounded the corner Ryan could see two figures pushed up against a wall and he quickened his pace. One of the figures was a young woman, slender, with sandy blonde hair. The other figure slender as well, skeletal, and it's head was perfectly bald, but the nauseating, jelly-like smoothness of a hard boiled egg. The woman was putting up a fight, punching and thrashing, but she was no match for the strength of the creature she battled, and Ryan could see it's head moving slowly but unflinchingly towards her neck. Without thinking, he reached into his pocket. He always kept a few spare ball in each, in case he encountered some hopeful kid, and he felt the reassuring ridges of thread on leather. His aim was as true as ever, and the ball struck the thing with a moist, sickening thud just where it's head curved down into it's neck. It collapsed, instantly, stunned, and Ryan slid on his knees to where the young woman slumped against the wall. She was shaken, but unhurt, and Ryan took but just a second to wrap his jacket around her shivering shoulders before turning his attention back to the best. It was unconscious and Ryan could take his time to look at it, taking in every feature. It's skin, he could see now, was green, and the points of it's canines brushed the top of it's slack lower lip. Ryan reached into the duffel bag that still hung from his shoulder,and pulled out one of the practice bats that resided therein. He swung, one of the strong, full-armed swings that had made him famous, and then plunged the shattered remnants into the vampire's chest. The girl let out a small sound. A scream, or maybe a cheer, as the thing melted into dust. Ryan turned and knelt before the girl. Even pale and tear stained, she was, he thought, the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. "Hi," he said, extending his hand, "I'm Ryan." The woman laughed and held out a hand that had already almost stopped shaking. "Laura," she said.