In special honour of the seasonal thrills that are upon us, then find yourself whisked along with Mary Jane and Steve as they Wake Up to Die. A special price offer commences from 25th October and runs through to 31st October.
Here is the first chapter from the break-neck paced aphoristic thriller that is ‘Wake Up to Die’. Out now via Amazon for Kindle and in paperback, the chapter is merely the beginning of the journey for Mary Jane and Steve. When Mary Jane escapes her horrific home-life with the aid of her boyfriend Steve, she thinks that she is about to start a brand new life.
Waking up in a roadside motel, Steve and Mary Jane find a video on their bed. What they see on the video shakes their world. The phone call which follows ensures that life will never be the same for them as they race against time, against the local Sheriff and against a deranged psychopath.
John hated his life. The world was his when he had been in high school. He had played football with the guys. He purchased his first car with earnings from his job at his Uncle Pete’s garage and that car got him the girl. He often wondered what happened to Stephanie. He regretted leaving her for Michaela. Michaela’s lousy job had trapped him here. He hated his gut. His hair was receding rapidly, yet nothing was going to take away his ponytail. He knew that Michaela hated the way he looked. She complained that he had not moved on since the nineties. He ignored her jabs, but she was right and he hated that. He had refused to move on from the peak of his life. She had trapped him and he was going to hold onto his last memories of freedom until he could break free. John blamed Michaela for ruining his life. How dare she criticise me for her doing!
John always felt that a better woman would have inspired him to keep in shape. He had become his own tomb incarnate. Trapped with a dead end job and a broken down home. The roof leaked and the wallpaper was falling off in places. He had never wanted to decorate; he liked the way his father had done it forty years ago. If only he had made better choices all of those years ago. The only thing he hated more than Michaela was the rap music coming out of his television. He reached for the remote and switched the station to watch the sports news.
‘Brewski time,’ said John as he stood up from his armchair. It was only a short walk to the mini-bar. Bars like the one in the living room were out of fashion, but then so was everything else in the house. He refused to paint the woodwork or change the wallpaper. The house had a nicotine tinge to the walls and ceilings where both John and his father had spent hours smoking. The kitchen still had the same cooker that his mother had used when she used to prepare food for John and his dad. John liked his dad’s old bar. It may have been thirty years out of style, but he had no care for fashion. Not only did it have a great beer fridge, but it also provided a good hiding place to keep his gun.
‘One day…,’ murmured John as his finger caressed his snub-nose pistol. He noticed Michaela walk in to the room as he grabbed a beer from the fridge and opened it.
‘Why do we have to watch this shit all god damn day!’ asked Michaela, her hand flicking in the direction of the television and the sports channel that John had put on.,
He hated her high pitched voice. Every time that he looked at her, he questioned exactly what he had seen in her. Stephanie had been a natural beauty and her brains had meant that she would go far in life. Michaela had been one of the girls the lads in the football team all knew. His friends had urged him to let Stephanie go as she was damaging his ‘cool’ rating. Michaela had been popular with all of the boys. His grandmother had told him that nothing good came easy. He had often wished that he had understood what she had meant much earlier in his life. Taking the easy route had led to nothingness, a stagnation that stank like a dirty pool of water without any fresh water flow to breathe life into it. John’s hand found a hold on the trigger of the pistol. In a blur of motion, Michaela’s head exploded as John shot her from a few feet away.
‘Today it is,’ John said and then sipped at his beer. He glanced at the cold condensation running down the bottleneck. Like sweat beads, running down the bottle until they reach the end. John had started something now and like the condensate droplet, it would also run until the end.
It was a short walk to the kitchen. A passing shot as he walked past the high chair and another annoyance was dealt with as he turned towards the stairs and headed towards the loud music blaring from Mary Jane’s room. His head span with the adrenalin rush and nothing was quite real to him as he sought after the reclamation of his lost youth and hope. The steps seemed to have reduced in size, taking him almost no effort to climb the stairs. Mary Jane’s music, so often the trigger for a physical fight, sounded muffled. His heartbeat drowned out the music as his mind focused singularly on his next step.
Mary Jane closed the zip on her bag and pulled her curly brown hair back into a ponytail. She could not wait for Steve to arrive and then she could finally put this hell behind her. Steve was a good guy. He knew about John and how he beat Michaela and Mary Jane. Steve had been a friend throughout high school, but over the last year they had grown up somewhat and things had become romantic between them. He was never going to be the richest guy, but he was decent and that was what mattered. Her mother had ensured that Mary Jane valued happiness above wealth and power. Steve had the perfect combination of a good heart and cute dimples. His blonde hair sat upon him as if a wavy field of sun kissed wheat had be sown there. Mary Jane knew that today was the day where life begins anew. She would finally get to leave this family behind and start living. She hoped that little Tommy and Mom would get to live too.
‘Mary Jane! Turn that shit off!’ roared John as he neared the bedroom door. His voice reverberated along the corridor. Mary Jane had heard it do so all of her life. The fights between her mother and father. The times he had shouted at Mary Jane after beating her for growing out of her clothes. The beatings for being unable to finish her meal. The time he had thrown her from her bedroom window, breaking her leg in the fall, for playing her trumpet in practice for the school band. The beatings came without warning and he blamed them on every excuse possible. It was always Mary Jane’s fault, or her mothers. Tommy had escaped, so far, because of the protection of Mary Jane and her mother. Mary Jane knew that she had to make sure that Tommy and Michaela would be safe when she left.
‘Go away!’ cried Mary Jane. She was not yet ready for him. BANG! BANG! John’s fist pounded upon the door like a deep bass drum. The walls shook and a framed picture fell from the wall.
‘Open this door you little bitch!’ roared John, ‘If I have to break this door, then I’ll break you next.’
She reached for her bag as John began to kick at the door. The door cracked. A second kick landed and it burst open, the lower half torn from the hinges. Mary Jane’s hand found what she was looking for in the bag. She had to diverge from the plan, although the result would be the same.
‘You…’ John began, his left hand raised to point at her, a bottle of beer clasped between his fingers.
John’s head exploded as the shotgun blast tore through it, the sound shook the room. John’s limp body collapsed to the floor and blood raining down, parts of his skull making a sickening sound as they landed in the blood that beat them to the floor. Mary Jane almost vomited as she saw a part of his face slide down her wall. She had never shot anyone before. She had never seen a dead body. Her heart was pumping like a drum in her head and chest, her ears ringing from the loudness of the blast. The adrenaline rush was like nothing else she had ever experienced. She did not know what she was expecting. Why did he have to come and kick the door down anyway? , she thought. If he had simply sat in his chair watching his sports news, like she had planned, then she would never have had to look at his face again. She could have put the gun to the rear of his head and pulled the trigger. Perhaps it was for the best. Any longer to dwell on what was about to happen and it may never have happened. This is the best way. He forced my hand. She grabbed her phone and dialled Steve.
‘Steve! You need to come and get me now,’ Mary Jane said, surprising herself with how calm she sounded when she spoke. She wondered if she sounded that way to Steve.
‘Err…yeah, sure. There in five,’ replied Steve and then he hung up.
Mary Jane threw the sawn-off shotgun into the bag and closed the zip. With the phone and the bag, she skipped over a puddle of John. The stench made her gag. Many time she had thought about what it would be like, but this was different. The blood dripping from the ceiling and what remained of the doorway was like a scene from a horror film. It was the smell that rocked her though and almost made her vomit. The blood was only a part of it. She wondered why films never show dead people losing control of their bodies. It made sense that they would though, especially as John had almost no head left. The foul smell of urine and faeces, pooled in blood, rapidly took away from the adrenalin-fuelled elation at what she had just done.
As she made her way downstairs, she wondered if Michaela heard the shot. As she looked towards the living room, Mary Jane realised that she could not have. Bastard! She ran towards the body of her mother laying near to the sofa. Her teeth clenched against her bottom lip hard enough to make it bleed as she fought the urge to scream. John was always beating on Michaela, but she never thought he would shoot her. Mary Jane consoled herself that John would not hurt any of them anymore. Suddenly it hit Mary Jane – ‘Tommy!’ she shouted as she thought of her brother.
She ran into the kitchen and saw Tommy. She dropped to her knees and the emotion flooded over her. She was too late. She had tried to save them, but failed. Little Tommy was innocent. He was only a baby. John had shot him as he sat in his high chair. Mary Jane retched and vomited onto the floor. The emotion overtook her and she shook with anger. Tears rolled down her face and pooled where they dripped onto the floor. She screamed in anger, her forehead pressed into the floor tile as mucus ran out of her nose to join with the tears upon the floor. Her body purging emotion, taking everything with it as it cleared her system.
Ten minutes passed. Mary Jane screamed, cried and then screamed some more, venting years of pent-up emotions that had all come to the surface and erupted this day. Slowly, she stood up as she wiped the tears from her face. Turning to the stairs, she headed back to her room. Standing over the cavern that was once John’s face, she spat into it, ‘Fucking bastard.’
She grabbed her bag on the way through the house and saw Steve pulling the van up outside. She quickly dialled 911 on the house phone and gave the operator no chance to ask a question. ‘621 Yew Tree Avenue. The bastard killed them.’ She hung up and ran out to Steve’s van.
‘Babe?’ said Steve with a concerned look upon his face.as Mary Jane jumped into the passenger seat, closing the door behind her in a swift motion.
‘He killed them. Little Tommy is dead,’ Mary Jane said in a rapid manner, the emotion of saying the words pumping through her. The words cemented the reality to her. Her little brother was dead. He was supposed to be saved from the tyranny of John, but events had taken a different course. A tear rolled from her eye.
‘What? Oh shit babe! John is?’ Steve’s voice cracked as he spoke, the shock of what Mary Jane had told him confusing his thoughts. He had been expecting a jubilant and elated day. Mary Jane was going to shoot John and ensure that her mother and brother would be safe. They were going to run away together for a new life, new names and get married, leaving this place and its history behind them. What the fuck do we do now? Steve thought.
‘Dead. I shot him,’ she said. ‘I guess he was on his way for me after he killed Tommy and Michaela.’ Mary Jane rapidly regained her composure.
‘Oh man.’ The heavy emotional load of the situation gripped Steve. He feared how this result would affect Mary Jane. The police were more likely to pursue Mary Jane now, a triple homicide with no surviving witness would ensure they did. The plan had been to vanish, leaving Michaela to explain what had happened and how John had used to abuse Mary Jane. They had figured that the police would not care too much if a loser like John had been killed in an act of self-defence. A triple killing would illicit a different reaction. ‘Shit!’ Steve blurted out, his thoughts somehow found their way out of his mouth.
‘Just drive Steve. We need to get out of here. The police will be here any minute.’
Steve pressed the accelerator and drove. He knew her well enough that he would wait for her to signal when she was ready to talk. Mary Jane stared out of the window, the events of the morning re-running over and over in her mind.
Read the rest for Kindle or in paperback:
AMAZON UK — https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01I73UBSC
AMAZON US: http://a.co/64LdoUm
Special offer for Halloween begins 25th October!