An Excerpt from Chapter 3

Tomorrow came a couple of dates late.  But here is the excerpt I promised.

I thought about starting out with the beginning, maybe the preface, but then I decided to just dive right in and break you off a chunk of Chapter 3. 

You can handle it. 

Just a bit of context: our hero, Christian, is being pursued through the hallways of his dorm by Kevin, the resident assisstant of his floor, who has gone all zombie.

Here we go:

One foot in front of the other.  All I could do was keep moving.  Keep running.  Because if I stopped for a moment or even slowed down Kevin would run straight into me.  I pictured his teeth ripping into the back of my neck and shuddered.  I didn’t want to think of what my odds would be if he caught me here in the dark.  Better not to think, just run.

My feet landed on something slick — No, this could not be happening — and I slid out of control.  I struggled to keep my balance as my body lurched ahead.  A foot and then my shin hit something large and solid on the ground that brought me to an abrupt halt.   My foot wedged tightly under the object and, unable to stop or catch my balance, I tripped. 

Instinctively, I threw my arms out in a gesture of self-preservation and my hands broke my fall.  My palms landed on wet tile. They started to skid out from under me and I was just able to bring them to a halt to avoid collapsing chest-down on the floor.  I crawled ahead, pulling my legs over the impediment. 

Kevin’s footsteps signaled that he was almost on top of me.   Then he tripped, just as I had, on the object rendered invisible by the darkness.  I had no time to move out of the way before his body came crashing down right on mine.  His arms swung toward me, and his hands grasped at my shirt.  His breathing, loud and ragged, quickly closed in.  I knew that his mouth was open, searching for me.

I scrambled forward and wriggled out of his grasp.  Then I climbed to my hands and knees.  Pressing my palms to the floor, I sprung into a crouching position.  From there, I stood up and took off again at a dead run. 

I still couldn’t see a thing, but I could hear Kevin.  His footfalls started up behind me once more at a pace that spurred me on to breakneck speed. 

Each time my feet hit the floor, I halfway expected them to make contact with another obstruction that would send me flying to the floor all over again.  But it didn’t matter.  When Kevin had caught me, I had felt my death, in the flesh.  And I couldn’t think of a worse way to go than to be eaten alive. 

I had been right in his clutches, and, if he had gotten a good hold on me . . . it would have been the end.  I had been able to fight off Kelly, but she was at least 50 pounds lighter than me and more than a foot shorter.  Kevin was my equal in height, but he was three years my senior and had me substantially outweighed.  I had seen him heading to the gym in his workout gear almost every day, and his formidable biceps placed him as a serious weight lifter. 

I, on the other hand, didn’t work on my fitness at all, if I could help it.  It just wasn’t my thing.  I was naturally toned, unfairly so, according to Adam, because he had to put in serious hours at the gym every day sculpting his body.  With zero effort, the contour of my muscles showed clearly beneath my skin, my abs chiseled into an enviable six pack. 

I was strong, but thin. 

Kevin was a beast. 

He was huge and ripped.  And I didn’t flatter myself into thinking that I’d have any chance whatsoever of beating him in a hand-to-hand battle to the death.  He could annihilate me at will, and that was his inclination.  He could hold me down and eat the meat off my scrawny bones like an all-you-can-eat chicken wing special. 

My lungs burned, but — unlike those times when Adam had dragged me along to the gym and forced me onto a treadmill — I was not in the least bit tempted to stop.  Adrenaline coursed through my veins.  I had never been a sprinter, but apparently I was quite capable given the right motivation.  A life-or-death situation proved to be just the thing to bring out my inner athlete.

There, now wasn’t that exhilarating?  Don’t you feel like you just got done exercising or something?

Anyway, I need to get ready and pack for my workshop.  In my next post, I’ll let you know how it goes at the Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop.

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