Gotta say it, I've really missed you guys. Writing in my little cave just isn't as interesting when I don't have you with me. I hope you're looking forward to this next round as much as I am.
WEBSITE: As you can see, we did a little fixing up around here. I hope you like the changes. It's a cleaner feel and should run smoother. If you see anything that needs fixin', let me know.
BROKEN: I wrapped up the first draft of Broken over the weekend. If you're on Beta Team 1, expect the manuscript in your inbox later this week, then Team 2 should have it in about two weeks.
Now that that's done, on to the next!
THE NEXT BOOK: Those of you who are part of the private Facebook group know that I've had this idea for a post-apocalyptic book in my head. It won't go away, so I figured, let's run with it. This round we'll be working on The Patriot Protocol. Rather than give away the plot, I'll let you experience it in realtime. Don't worry, no zombies or ghouls in this one. Just a "What If" scenario, that I'll try to keep as reality-centered as I usually do. If this ain't your cup of tea, I understand, but I would ask that you check it out for a couple chapters. As my mother used to say, You Never Know Until You Try It :)
I'll be posting as I have chapters complete, so some days you won't hear from me. Lucky for you, that means longer chapters.
Without further ado, let's get started...
(CAUTION: The following contains unedited material that may be unsuitable for the grammatically inclined. Keep in mind that I don’t review what I write until after the first draft of the whole novel is done, so please keep your spelling and grammar fixes until the Beta Reader rounds.)
The Tennessee Zone
I shot the first one in the face. I didn’t mean to. It wasn’t how I’d been trained. Center mass. Always center mass. It gives you the greatest chance of hitting your target, the head the smallest.
So when the first bullet exploded out of back of the intruder’s head, I adjusted my aim and shot him twice in the chest. Probably didn’t need to, but it was habit.
The dead’s man’s accomplice, all arms the size of tree trunks and belly like a barrel, raised his rifle to shoot. I felt the bullet whiz by my head. It was that close, like a bumble bee doing a fly by.
My first shot didn’t miss, and neither did my second. He took the rounds in the chest with wide eyes, like he was thinking, “How the hell did I just get shot?”
Really? How could he think that? He came into my house, where I try and keep my wife and three kids safe, and he has the balls to think, no assume, that he might not get shot? I shot him again, the old anger palpable now. It tasted like iron nails in my mouth, the sedentary me gone for the briefest moment.
I watched the second intruder squirm for a moment, my pistol always aimed should he be stupid enough to raise his weapon at me or my family again. The movement in front of me stopped.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. I counted deliberately, another old habit.
My breathing slowed, the adrenaline sap leaving me a couple levels drained.
That’s when I remembered they were there, my two oldest. It had been my daughter’s scream that brought me running, and now when I turned to face them, she stared at me with blank eyes, shock pure and simple. I wanted to run to her and hold her beautiful face against my chest, but I decided to give her a moment. This was a new reality, much worse than before, and in my mind I knew that she would come to deal with it in her own way. My sweet child, the innocent one who took offense at even the most childish slight. Most days she was nine going on nineteen, but now she looked ever bit her age.
Then there was my son, all boy at almost seven years of age. He clung to his sister, not because he needed to, but because he somehow sensed that she did. He stared at me with a mixture of awe and trepidation, like he wanted to ask me what I was thinking or what I was feeling. He was always asking that sort of thing. Funny really. I called him my little professor.
Now they came to me, tentatively at first, and then running. My daughter didn’t let go of my neck, and my son stroked my back, as if I was the one needing consoling.
I smiled despite the dead a couple feet away. We were safe for the moment, and I inhaled them like the first time, when I’d marveled at their tiny toes and fingers in the delivery room. How I wished I could go back to that world, when safety was a given, and nights weren’t spent with a gun at my side, listening to the light snores of the children sleeping a few feet away.
But those days were gone, swept away by the violence that now threatened to envelop us again. I kiss my children on the head, lightly, like they might break. If I could only keep them alive for another day.
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