Hence, the Epicness.
Anyhow, six chapters in and I'm still chugging along. The novel is still "serialized" in a way, since I'm dividing it into (probably six) parts. These parts are more for my piece of mind than anything else, so they may not end up in the final product. But the first part is done.
Here is a sneak peek of the novel, which I am tentatively calling "Relic". This scene is from chapter four:
It wasn’t easy faking it every day. She knew Nyah wasn’t buying it and there wasn’t much Kate could do. She’d never needed a lot of sleep but even so, she couldn’t keep going like this forever. She needed rest. She needed whatever psychosis she was nursing to just lay off for a while. Maybe she needed some kind of drug.
Her floor routine sent her spinning, end over end. Every time her feet hit the floor, she pushed off harder. She wanted to feel exhausted. She wanted to wear out every single muscle. She wanted to lie down on the sweaty mats at her feet and slip in to the kind of deep, dreamless sleep everyone else was taking for granted.
Kate caught the edges of an uneasy feeling. She paused her routine. “Hello?” she called out. No answer. “Hello?” Still no answer. She thought she heard something off to the left, but it was the creak of an old window casing.
Her ponytail whipped her in the face as she turned her head, sticking a little to the light sweat along her top lip. Her breath was finally starting to become a little ragged, her lungs finally noticing the strain. She sent her body into another series of barely-controlled layouts.
There wasn’t any time to react. One second she was flipping herself across the mat toward the dusty mirrors. The next second, she was flat on her back and her entire body had begun to shake. Her skin was rippling, shivering uncontrollably. She sat up, flinging her gaze around the room.
There it was, lurking in the far corner. That weird, gross wavering in the air. It looked like heat waves rising off over-heated pavement but it was more— solid, somehow. And a hell of a lot more wrong. Just watching it move made her stomach cramp.
She lurched to her feet, vigilant. Kate had no idea why ghosts were following her. She didn’t want to see any freaking dead people. She wanted to scream at it. She wanted to kill it. If you can kill a ghost.
It slid toward her. She hated the way they moved more than anything else. They could slide through the air, like oil or fast-moving molasses. They were hardest to see in the dark, when her only warning they were near was the quiver in her muscles. Any time they slid into the light, she couldn’t tear her eyes away. She’d never seen one out in the daylight before.
It advanced on her too quickly. She could smell something strange— like the air which blows up from an unused cellar. That smell paralyzed her. She couldn’t make her body obey the command to retreat. Her muscles were all seized up and cramping.
That was when the lights in the gym began to flicker. And yes, it was so B-list horror movie. When they shut off completely, Kate felt the mobility return to her limbs. She took off at a run toward the door.
The ghost swooped in between Kate and the exit; she turned on a dime and shot back toward the windows. It blocked her again. Kate backed up toward the center of the room. She could feel the paralysis descending again. It never occurred to her to scream.
The doors of the gym burst open. Frizzing red hair streaked across the gym, landing just in front of her in a voluminous cloud. Kate was hardly in any state to process what she was seeing. The air crackled with some kind of electric energy. Charlie’s voice penetrated the fog Kate was buried in.
“This ain’t your terrain,” Charlie drawled in the direction of Kate’s ghost. “It ain’t gonna be. Clear out.”
There was authority in that voice, a backbone of steel. Kate was feeling kind of like she might swoon. At least, she thought this is what swooning would feel like.
The ghost folded in on itself, origami fog, and when it stretched back up again its texture had changed. Huge, and misty, and human-shaped. It advanced on Charlie slowly, mockingly, as the redhead stood her ground. They were nose to metaphysical nose.
“Ya don’t belong here, slip ‘n slide,” hissed Charlie. She was practically spitting. “Don’t make me tear out that ephem’ral throat.”
The ghost rose up, growing in size, and opened wide, hinge-less jaws like a cobra about to strike. Charlie didn’t flinch. Kate heard a dull thud from the direction of the doorway, and then a sound like a gun being cocked.
The corner of Charlie’s mouth twitched upward.
“Well, I did warn ya, you stupid shit.”
Light exploded from the doorway. It knocked Kate to her knees, momentarily blinding her. The most horrific screeching sound reverberated from the gym walls, deafening and sick. When spots cleared from her eyes, the gym was filled with foul-tasting dust. It was as gray and flaky, hanging in the air like cigarette ash. Kate turned toward the gym doors.
Joe was only a half-step into the room. Some kind of heavily-modified shotgun hung to the floor at his side. He was slack-jawed and big-eyed behind glasses coated in dust. Charlie leapt lightly to her feet.
“Well, Joey!” She sounded like a little kid on Christmas morning as Joe handed her the shotgun, mutely. Charlie held it up, aiming toward the windows and testing the sight. She was grinning toothily when she turned back to him.
“I’m gonna call this baby a success!”