Blog

Writing Prompt #7 — It Growls From the Corner — Derek Barton 2020

My eyes open instantly to pitch darkness. My heart races, pumped with an instinctual fear. I clutch the sheets of the bed, my breath caught tight in my throat.

I wait. Listening. There was something. A sound. A noise.

Nothing.

It takes me a moment to even realize where I am. Then it comes back slowly in bits. I was in my late cousin Richard’s farm house. He left it to me and several days before, I had moved in, with hopes of renovating the small ranch house.

Two days in to the renovations.

The lights were off, the windows shuttered. The dead farmland blanketed with its night shawl. The only light source came from a light pole next to the battered barn in back of the house. A ring of ash trees encirled most of the property.

Air stale and still filled the room. Soft light rays filtered down from one partially open window in the living room and dust floated aimlessly in its illumination.

“Hello?” I whisper, my lips dry, my cotton tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth.

“Hello?” I venture once more, praying I don’t get a response.

Seconds bleed into minutes, minutes grow into moments. Nothing responds. Time lapses.

One bizarre note catches my attention. I don’t hear anything. No crickets, no late night song birds, no distant cars on the I-77 highway. Even the wind is holding its breath. What the hell?

However, I do ease my grip on the sheets and sigh in relief. Maybe it was a nightmare with the last fragments waking me. I can’t quite yet laugh at myself and the fear that seized me.

New place, new sounds. Just a case of heebie-jeebies.

I raise onto my elbows.

Hissssss.

The sound pierces me. It came straight out of the corner, draped in deep shadows. A low rumbling growl follows the hiss. A distinct scrape of claws on the wood floor boards makes the hair on the back of my neck raise.

I freeze up all over again, my breath locked in my chest.

My eyes strain to make out a form in the dark. Nothing. It’s like a gaping hole torn into the bedroom space, swallowing up the entire corner.

It’s close. I should be able to see whatever the thing is! Dammit, why can’t I see it? I can’t run. The corner is near the doorway.

What is it? A mountain lion? A rabid wolf? A feral stray dog? What is in my house?

No more noises, no more clues to what it is.

I don’t try to speak again to it. It’s obvious it isn’t human so there’s no real point. My mind floods with bad ideas, desperate ploys, nothing that will get me away.

Moments again drag out. I pull my legs slowly up, curling my form into a better shielded form. Another growl, deep in its chest protests my movement.

Eyes, silvery and large open up. The space between the eyes at least five inches apart. Then heat and a bitter stench of foul breath wafts over me. Whatever is staring at me, just opened its jaws. I think I can hear the bare sounds of panting.

I brace my hands at my sides against the bed and raise with my back pressed to the wall. Standing seems like my only viable option. It gives me a half a chance if this thing rushes me.

Again from inside the shadows, the unseen beast doesn’t like my movement and it hisses violently, pawing aggressively at the floor. I hear its claws, I see it’s eyes, smell it’s breath, but yet there’s no form, nothing in the corner!

At the end of the bed, I left another window open for the summer breezes. A thin metal screen is the only thing on the window. Do I dare plunge through it before this thing is upon me?

It somehow senses my thoughts and it shifts subtly, the shadows moving with it. Now a couple feet closer to the end of the bed, it sits midway between the door, the end of the bed and the window.

This tells me one thing. It’s intelligent, but it is also waiting on me to make my move. Yet I feel I have already lost this game of strategy before I even woke up.

I try to summon my dwindling courage. Sweat streams down my neck and chest. I bend slightly, coiling my leg muscles.

The beast stands! I still can’t make out any form, but the shadow grows taller and towers over me, the “head” touching the dusty ceiling. Oh god!

It makes no other move. The ball has come back into my court. My plan for the open window has been shattered.

“Wh- What are you? What do you want?” My voice shakes as violent as my body.

s h e l t e r

The voice carries across to me but speeds through me like a gun shot. It gores my senses and I reel in sudden dizziness and nausea. My legs give out and I collaplse in a heap by the pillows.

Shelter? What does that mean?

“I don’t understand.” I moan. “You want to stay in the house?”

It’s useless to try and escape. My fate is in this things claws. There’s no choice but to listen to it’s demands.

I watch in pure terror as it slowly strides across the room, the floorboards creaking under its weight. Shadows stretching and wrapping around my neck and over my screaming mouth.

Lifted in the air as a smothering sensation wracks me, a burning agony doubles me over in its grasp, a lightning icy claw rakes across my back.

Tumbling from its hold, I hit the bed, then tumble to the floor with the words,

w e s h e l t e r h e r e

searing into my brain.

Hours later, as sunlight drifts in and warms my exposed legs and feet. My eyes open and stare up at the room’s dust-covered ceiling fan. A hunger, a need, a blood-thirsty craving growls inside me. My head raises and stares at the far wall.

s e r v e

Etched into the faded green wallpaper are symbols, plans and demands. None that I understand or want to comprehend.

Inside, it reads the words. It knows its purpose.

s h e l t e r a n d s e r v e

It growls again from the dark corners of my tattered soul.

Preview Rough Draft Chapter for Evade Part III — Derek Barton 2020

Craving to see what’s in-store for you (and Lindsey and the others from Evade Part Three)?

Here you go… Enjoy!!

Twin embers opened before us, hunting in the pitch dark. The glowing orbs were frenzied but not yet looking in our direction.

Another four sets of eyes appeared, joining the others. The Seekers were about thirty yards ahead, at the intersection of a fork of subway tunnels. They had their backs to Sasha and I, crouching and peering down the length of the tunnels. Our escape was to the left but obviously blocked.

Behind us, we escorted a young tween, Bethany Phelps, her elderly guardian, Kenneth Gerard, and a fellow detective, Detective Josh Matthews. They hadn’t seen any of the Seekers as of yet.

Or experienced the supernatural taint the Seekers carried about them.

We ordered them to crouch and stay hidden under a rickety set of steps leading up to a catwalk storage built along the tunnel’s ceiling while Sasha and I scouted ahead.

My watch showed it was 6:25 PM. Only twenty minutes had passed since Commander Hoyt Leoi shouted through his radio at them when they were behind their makeshift barricade. “Detective Korrey. Come in.” His voice was a much calmer and steady tone than when I spoke to him after the earlier explosion. It seemed he regained some of his composure.

“Commander Leoi, I’m here,” I replied to him, trying to match his even cadence.

“A beige and metallic gold Chevrolet is coming south, down York Avenue. Its pace has slowed — they may be looking for the gate entrance to the property. Do any of the 27th Crew own or drive a gold Chevy Caprice that you know of?”

I remembered this was Detective Matthews’ personal car. He must’ve taken it to avoid any suspicion when he drove Bethany and Kenneth to our location.

“They are with us. I instructed Detective Matthews to come here as he has vital information I need. Pass this along — he is not to be fired upon!” 

“Am I to understand he has information that cannot be told over the cell phone or even the classified radio lines?” Leoi’s attitude and condescending tones had also returned.

“Commander Leoi, do you have anything further to report or do you remain in Green Status?” 

A bit of a pause — maybe to do some meditation or breathing exercises? Finally, he replied, “No changes to report. I will let you know when the car is at your tunnel entrance. Over.”

Three minutes later, he called back and said Detective Matthews was parked near our tunnel. Sasha and I raced out in the dark to escort Matthews and the civilians back to our makeshift barricade. 

We hadn’t anticipated the Seekers would find a way to get behind us without being detected.

Sasha, a slim black woman with her hair pulled tightly back, leaned in close to my face and whispered, “There’s another one, hiding by the pile over there. Do you see him?” She pointed.

The tall stature of a man stood motionless apart from the others, but his eyes were partially concealed by his coat hood.

“He makes six then,” I answered. “Officially, we’re out numbered.”

“I’ve got maybe seven or eight rounds.”

“No. We don’t need to shoot them.” I was put off by her quick response to kill. “We don’t have any idea how many are around – it will only alert them to our position. I think we can do this a better way. Go back, tell them what we are seeing, and keep them quiet where they are. I’ll distract and lead—”

“I’m faster. I should lead those damn things away.”

“You are faster. That’s why I want you to take the group to safety. They haven’t even seen anything like these Seekers before. They’ll need your prodding for sure. Your speed and actions could be critical if you’re needed immediately.”

I kept an anxious eye on the affected humans. They were restless and seemed to sense our presence somewhere near them. From what I detected, the search party of Seekers were led by the tall man, joined by two adult women and three teenagers of close age. I worried about the speed of those teens.

I continued to spell out my plan. “I’m going to run past your position, back down the tunnel. Remember the stack of oil barrels? I’ll hide behind them and loop back. But, once we clear the area, take everyone as fast as possible to the barricade. Understood?”

She shrugged but not overly enthusiastic. 

“I’ll give you time to get back to them now.” I stopped and gripped her shoulder. “Do not kill anyone, okay?” I left her with that and inched forward, using the darker shadows of the wall for cover.

Now, as the prospect of facing the six supernatural Seekers alone hit me, the moldy walls closed in on me. The idea was beyond daunting and my legs trembled as my plan grew weaker in my mind.

It was time, stalling and worrying now was pointless and even dangerous. I jumpstarted my efforts by kicking over a rotting wooden crate in front of me. With amazing agility, they spun and charged all together toward the sudden noise. I bolted down the tunnel with a paranoid certainty the Seekers were right on my heels. They barely huffed with their exertion.

The stack of oil barrels I mentioned before were barely visible and highlighted only by a dirty skylight ahead. I zipped in around the barrels and stood silently with my back to the cold metal containers. This section of the tunnel had been a small hub and a single-track platform. The Seekers came in mere seconds after me.

They gathered in the center of the intersection and hesitated, listening for which direction I went in.

I heard a soft hiss through clenched teeth. The Tall Man started to lead the group down the single-track. As the last of them climbed off the platform, a crash of metal and curses echoed along the tunnels. I recognized Detective Matthews’ voice. He must’ve tripped over something.

It was enough…

I leaned over, spying into the dark subway. The gang of Seekers were once more huddled together.

Shit!! Sasha’s group was definitely heard, soon to be hunted for again.

Tall Man pointed and three of the Seekers went back to the platform ladder. He split the group as he vanished with the others into the shadows still pursuing my presumed trail.

I shot out and took a winding tunnel left of the oil barrels. The three hissed and howled at my fleeing image.

This unknown passage grew suddenly dark as we ran further away from the skylights. Growing blind with each stride, I dug into my pocket, scrambling to pull out my cell phone. I managed to punch the flashlight symbol on the phone and its brilliance lit up the way. The light bounced, shadows leaped and danced as I thrust the cell out before me.

Our training in the police academy as rookies and other courses we took along the way for field experience ingrained in us a strict discipline to focus only on the path ahead and keep your emotions buried. It applied to either case of when you were the hunter or the prey being chased. However, fear and panic coursed through me. My thoughts lost in a jumble of chaos. I had no idea what they would do with me if I were caught.

Their footfalls and the scrapes of their shoes or boots clearly informed me of their hot pursuit. And they were gaining…

My own footsteps were louder now as I splashed through large puddles of water, recent storm runoff. Slick mud at the edges of the water nearly took my feet out from under me and I slid with my momentum into a bank of slimy walls. I bounced and continued to look for other doorways, tunnels openings or even catwalk stairs to find a place to hide. Anything.

My flight ended abruptly as the tunnel curved to the far left and narrowed considerably.  A set of wire fences were erected and chained shut to prevent further trespass. Beyond the fence was a large chamber used to hold piles of garbage and storage for what look like torn-out subway chairs. I shoved my phone back into my jeans and launched myself high onto the fence. Climbing toward a narrow opening at the top, I wanted to get over it and lose the Seekers among the piles.

As I hefted my right leg over the top, my jeans suddenly snagged and tore at the cuff as it caught the edge of the fencing. A woman in her early twenties, skinny and with pale blonde hair leaped up and clasped a pair of ashy hands on my left leg. The heat from her hands baked through my clothing as her eyes blazed bright staring at me. A need or deep craving floated in that penetrating stare as she leaned back, using her weight to haul me back over to their side. The other two joined her on the fence and climbed toward me.

Desperately I leaned with my own weight the other way, my body precariously hanging in balance at the top.

Riiiipppppp! The cheap jean’s material gave way, releasing my right leg and sending me diving toward the ground on the other side of the fence.

I screamed in sheer surprise, braced for the impact only to have the wind blasted from me as my shoulder hit the ground. I exploded through the rotted floorboards and fell another fifteen feet or so to the subway level beneath. I saw a brief flash of light from a hanging lightbulb. My plunge continued as my weight crashed through another level of ancient wood flooring. I was diving headlong into the depths of the subway system!

I never saw the next floor as my vision and the world around me were eclipsed and swallowed in total darkness.

On a positive, I didn’t feel the impact either.

Audible Book Review of Jessica Brody’s “Save The Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need” — Derek Barton – 2020

STC

Save The Cat!

by Jessica Brody — a Writer’s Resource & Reference Guide

Released on October 9, 2018 — 311 pages

Narrated by Jessica Brody

So, one of my bi-monthly goals in June (as per the post, Looking Back & Looking Forward – Bi-Monthly Goals) was to read a writing craft reference book. This awesome book,Save The Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need is it. A fantastic guide on how to evolve your stories organically, captivate the reader with the pacing and structure, and how to win lifetime readers over with incredible themes and character arcs.

Originally Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need  written by Blake Snyder was developed as a way to help screenwriters. He found an almost universal pattern in every award-winning film. In his book, he shares his discovery and shows you the master template he crafted based on his findings.

Side note: The title Save the Cat! is a phrase pinpointing a decisive moment when the protagonist demonstrates that they are worth rooting for. Especially needed in cases of an anti-hero like Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones or Frank Castle of the Marvel Series, The Punisher. “It’s the scene where we [first] meet the hero”, in order to gain audience favor and support for the main character right from the start.

The Synopsis:

The first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, which reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.

Novelist Jessica Brody presents a comprehensive story-structure guide for novelists that applies the famed Save the Cat! screenwriting methodology to the world of novel writing.

Revealing the 15 “beats” (plot points) that comprise a successful story–from the opening image to the finale–this book lays out the Ten Story Genres (Monster in the House; Whydunit; Dude with a Problem) alongside quirky, original insights (Save the Cat; Shard of Glass) to help novelists craft a plot that will captivate–and a novel that will sell.

The Review:

I found this book very well planned out and down-to-earth. She lays out this master template for you in simple and defined terms, but also how you can still follow the template without “the dreaded F word”… that F word being Formulaic!

Not only does she give multiple examples taken from great novels like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle to modern classics like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Misery by Stephen King, and The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, she provides in depth analysis to show where theme and story are laced together seamlessly.

There are ten complete novel templates broken down defining each of the original Ten Story Genres (including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill)

Brody takes you through the Opening Image, making it hook your reader and keep them on the edge of their seats, to incorporating meaningful themes, then shaking things up with Debate and Catalyst moments in your stories.

Jbrody

The Narration:

Jessica Brody narrates her novel and brings a ton of energy and excitement, she WANTS you to hit the ground running!

Jessica Brody is the author of more than 20 books for teens, tweens, and adults including Sky Without Stars, Between Burning Worlds, The Chaos of Standing Still, Better You Than Me, A Week of Mondays, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and the Unremembered trilogy.

She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants.

Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and several have been optioned for film and television.

The Rating:

In summary, I took a lot from this audio book even though I had heard some similar story structure techniques before. This book was different and impacting in an all new way — it showed how theme can be woven in and character growth is essential to the outline.

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to any author, rookie or veteran! The master story template has been there right before our eyes all this time, but now it has been brought out in a clear and organized manner for all of us to craft our own unique worlds!

 

By DEREK BARTON — Author of the ELUDE series (Parts I, II & III — a Horror/crime thriller), IN FOUR DAYS, EVADE series (Parts I & II).  Also Grim Fantasy novel series CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS and THE BLEEDING CROWN (both available on Audible.com!).

Writing Prompt #6 — The Plan — Derek Barton 2020

Fangs

August 9th, 1912

The rattle of the jail cell as it slid in its track struck me to my core. The grating metallic sound reverberated in my chest. Clanging at the end had a harsh fierce cold finish to it. My death knell?  Maybe.

I’m going to hear that sound for the next twenty years…

“Well…go in. He ain’t gonna bite,” chuckled the burly guard behind me. Officer Darryl Norris shoved me into my new cell mate.

“Jesus! They said I was getting fresh meat, but I didn’t know it was this raw!” A man, lanky and sinewy, scanned me up and down, his lips drawn into a tight white line. He had a shark’s sneer.

“This here is Kevin Harrison, Ralphie. The newest convict to join us here at the Joliet Correctional,” Norris introduced me. “Oh and by the way, he’s innocent of all charges.”

They both burst out into laughter. Norris turned and left the cell. After locking it, he called out, “Lights off at 7:00 PM.”

The top bunk was cleared off, a shelf on one wall next to it was also empty. Ralphie had the bottom bunk obviously. A shelf carved out of the cement bricks had his toiletries and a pair of worn out paperbacks. The walls of the small 6′ by 6′ cell were patchy and crumbling in disrepair. A single barred window gave a glimpse of gray skies but little else. We were on the fifth floor. A wispy odor of bleach clung in the air, the stench of urine barely masked underneath it.

My cellmate turned away from me and plunked down onto it without a word. His clothes were thin, gray like the walls, and had patches sewn on the elbows and knees. His shaggy black hair hung just above the collar, his patchy beard covered an acne-pocked face. He swept up one of the books and rolled over onto his side. Perhaps I had already been forgotten.

That’s fine with me. The less we talk, the better. I was in no mood to be nice.

I’m not going to keep telling everyone I’m innocent. That’ll only get me in trouble. I’ll let the fat lawyer do that on the Outside, but in here, I’ll keep low and out of sight.

I set a burlap sack of my own toiletries and a twin exchange of my prison uniform in the corner. A rickety, rusted ladder was built at the end of the bunks. I crawled on top of the hard stained mattress.

Someone had carved out the days in lines in one corner. Others had written nonsensical sentences or scribbled symbols. It boggled my mind. How many others had laid here before me?

My mind wandered and I recalled how my fat lawyer, I forgot his real name, kept spouting, “We have a solid case here. I am sure we can appeal and maybe you’ll even see Christmas back in San Diego, Kevin.”

“There’s nothing left in San Diego for me. She’s gone.”

“Oh… Yeah, sorry, kid.” He said offhand as he lit the end to a massive cigar. We were in a guarded conference room. Case file folders, random papers and the photos of the crime scene splayed out on the metal table before me. I saw her body splashed in streaks of crimson. Her long blonde hair pulled out in clumps floating in a large puddle by her head.

“You were shot in the war, right?” he asked, enveloped in a thick white cloud of smoke.

“Yes. In the shoulder. So?”

“That’s the ticket,” he slapped at the table and then slid about the papers as he searched through them. “Yes. Yes, here it is. You suffered loss of movement and mobility per this doctor’s report.”

He pushed the paper in front of me.

“I wish I had thought of this during the trial. Sherry Devenroe was killed by blunt force. The intruder crushed her head in swinging a metal baseball bat –” he stopped seeing me wince.

I finished his thought. “So, I couldn’t be the murderer because I can’t swing a bat with any such force. Right?”

“See.  You are a clever lad.”.

That was a bold lie. I wasn’t what I once had been, but it had been some time since the injury.

Now as I stared at the cobwebs slowly swinging about the ceiling, I wasn’t nearly as confident he could get me out.

I closed my eyes, clasped my hands, and started a silent prayer in my head.

You and I haven’t talked much and I’m not saying I have been the best of your children here on Earth, but I know I can do more, do better. I just need another chance. Please, Lord, please don’t let me rot away in here. Give me a second chance to go on and be free to spread the Good Word as Mama always spoke of. Be–

“Your Mama going to visit you in here?” Ralphie asked out of the blue.

“W-What?”

He chuckled to himself and rolled over onto his back. “I asked if your Mama was going to visit you in here? Going to spread her Good Word to us animals?”

“I…I don’t know.” I whispered in shock.

“You were speaking aloud, Kev.”

No I wasn’t.

“It happens a lot you know. Mamas all proud of their sons, fiercely defending them, professing the real crimes are against their little boys being falsely charged and imprisoned. Happens all the time. They stomp their tiny feet, wave their fists in the air in outrage and cry tears of injustice at the drop of a hat. Then… the first round of whispers come, the fingers pointing at them, then the not-so-quiet remarks made behind their backs. The odd looks from once friendly neighbors. The awkward excuses by friends why they suddenly can’t come by. It all adds up quickly. Mama’s will and determination fades. Mama comes by less and less, the letters stop. Happens all the time. You’ll see. Mama’s Good Word will be spoken less and less on your behalf!”

Ralphie’s cynical speech ate at me and the deepening shadows in the room swallowed me whole.

“You don’t know me. You don’t know my Mama. Shut the fuck up.” I said it, but there was no power behind it. It was going to be a long, hard night.

“True. True. I don’t know you. I guess, time will tell.”

He grew quiet and must’ve went back to reading.

The sun had gone down. My stomach rumbled aloud.

“You missed chow time?” he asked.

“I was on the bus coming here.”

“Yeah? Sorry. I didn’t like much what was served, but you eat what you get here. Still hungry myself.”

I pulled my arm up over my eyes, trying to muffle and hide my emotions. Thinking of Mama and how she’d become embarrassed by me really hit home. She said she knew I was innocent at the trial. Came each day to support me. But was Ralphie right? Would those lingering doubts and the shame erode her belief in me?  I had been convicted by an actual jury of my peers, right?

I am only nineteen! I don’t belong here! Oh, Mama!!

Suddenly a book flew up and landed on my lap. “Here. Books are a great way to keep your mind clear of your troubles.”

He was making an attempt to clear things between us. I appreciated that. “Thanks.” My voice scratchy and thick with emotion but he didn’t make light of it or comment.

For the next hour I tried to read but my stomach kept whining.

“Look, Kevin, I may be damned for doing this, but… maybe I can help you out. Come down, let’s talk.”

I set the lame mystery aside and went down. He was sitting up, his hands together between his knees. He smiled and extended his hand out to me. I shook it.

“Kevin Harrison, I’m Ralph Otara.” He moved over a few feet and gestured for me to sit.

“You have a lawyer right?”

“Yes. Says he’s going to appeal.”

“They all say that. Do you have anything else going for you or just your Mama at home? A plan for the future?”

I lowered my head and stared at a spot on the floor between my shoes. “After they found Sherry and took me in, my boss fired me from the car plant. I don’t have anything right now.”

“That second chance you were praying for… that chance to do more if you were free. Are you really interested in an escape?”

I blanched and pulled back to stare at the older man. He barely knew me, but was willing to invite me into his confidence and be involved in an escape plan? Talk like this could get you thrown into solitary or worse under the boots of the guards.

“You don’t know me as I said before. I’m young but not stupid. What is this really about?” The anger tinged my voice, welling up inside me.

He held up a hand trying to calm my suspicions. “Whoa, whoa. I’m just trying to help. I hate seeing such a young guy in here, wasting what little time we all have here in this world.”

Ralphie stood up and dug around in a small stack of wash cloths. He looked around and listened to be sure a guard wasn’t walking up. Then he turned around with that shark sneer and he held out a chocolate candy bar. “Peace offering.”

I smiled and felt foolish. I took it and greedily devoured it.

“Kev, look, I was sincere about an escape. When we get out, we’re all going to need to stick together, help each other on the Outside. I see a lot of potential in a young fellow like you. I admit it, getting you out will help me too.”

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Nothing ever came easy to me or my mother. With my Pops not around, I learned that lesson quick. Only hard work gotcha ahead.

“I don’t know.”

“What would you lose? You think that asshole lawyer’s going to come through for you?”

“Not really.”

“When we get out — there’s a small group of us in on the plan — we’re going to be the Next Family.  You understand?  Out there, if you got a record, no one will do anything for you. Never going to look past your crimes. Or they imagine you done worse. So we stick together, stick to the plan and make the world bend to our will. You with me?”

“Maybe…” I said.

The lights blinked. “Lights out!” A voice bellowed out. The line of hanging lamps began shutting off as dictated.

“What’s this plan? You actually think you’ll get out?”

He didn’t answer. It was all silence.

In the dark, a sharp frigid air enveloped me, taking away my breath. Suddenly blind, all I could sense was the shift in weight on the bunk bed. He had moved closer.

“Ralphie?”

A hand shot out and clutched my throat. The fingers were coarse, gnarled and vice-like. The claws pricked my skin, drops of blood beaded up.

Ralphie — or what was once Ralphie — leaned in close. Blood red eyes opened up. He was so close his nose was almost touching mine. I could feel his hot damp breath as he snarled, then said, “We have a plan, a great plan. You will too. We all have it in here. We are all infected.”

A spark of moonlight flashed off the set of fangs just before they plunged into the side of my neck.

Writing Prompt 6

 

 

 

New Avenues to Me — Derek Barton 2020

Covers

I have been working hard on strengthening and fleshing out my two resources Pinterest and Patreon for you. These sites should give you even more access to me, my work and new materials I am developing.

For those who may not fully understand what Pinterest is, Pinterest is unique search engine for materials, reference resources and finding key elements that fit into your customized categories. In other words, I have currently fourteen “boards” (categories) where I can “pin” material that I feel fall into those categories. For example I have a board called Storyboard: Horror-Suspense & Crime Inspiration.

 

Horror Snip 1

When I find an image that intrigues me, I can pin it and keep in that folder. I also have a board for my Fantasy images. This gives me a handy place to get writing ideas as well as show you the readers where I get some ideas. In my board From My Writer’s Blog I have  six subsections with material showing my self-publishing tactics, some biography blogs, my writing prompt stories, etc.

Writing Snip 1

Some of the other boards are: From My Writer’s Blog, My Horror-Suspense & Grim Fantasy Collection, My Newsletters, Book Reviews, Book Cover Artwork, Landscapes, Batman & Other Comics, My Audiobooks, and My Favorite TV Series.

I can also do my own “pins” like these:

Pin Snip 1

Also on Pinterest I can place reviews on my books, details about my book & audio book giveaways, or I can share pins from other collaborators and authors I find on Pinterest.  If you want to see my work or other things on my site, you can click here and “follow” me so you can see my contributions and additions to the site.

Patreon Snip 1

Patreon I have previously talked about here. I want to this year do even better at maintaining and providing exclusive access to my work. I have decided that I will be writing a fantasy novella based on this:

Writing Prompt 3

The novella will be seen in chapter installments only on Patreon and sold only in paperback format once completed with signature and customized metal bookmarker to my patrons initially.  The other benefits for becoming patrons will still be there — now I just want to make it even better!!

Please see these two sites and let me know what you think of them and if you have suggestions, comments or ideas to provide even more value to you!!

 

 

Looking Back & Looking Forward – Bi-Monthly Goals — Derek Barton 2020

Blog pic 5

It has been a while since I did a “Goal Blog” and I wanted to highlight what this Bi-Monthly System has done for me and what it can empower for you.

This is in no way a bragging post or “look at me” kind of thing. I’m listing these completed goals to be an example how much one could actually accomplish.

COMPLETED Goals since July, 2017:

(The goals crossed out are ones that I deemed not needed after all. The list of Uncompleted Goals are listed below as well. Also, not all of these goals were finished in the expected deadlines, but were completed and that’s why they’re on here.)

Finalize my Chapter Outlines for The Bleeding Crown

Complete the First Rough Draft of Bleeding Crown

Complete 52,000 words written (52 days * 1000 words)

Outline first two books of Elude Series

Write out three more Elude Sections

Compile and create an Ebook on the Writing Craft from my past blogs (completed but didn’t publish)

Design bookmarks for my books: 

Get the character portraits from artist by August and start getting Poker Card and Calendars made

Complete two Giveaways (one on Kindle Review and my own Indie Book Giveaway)

Complete one Newsletter a month

Create a book trailer video

Outline first two books of Elude Series.

Develop the list of Elude characters and develop their background

Create a NaNoWriMo Prep Folder in Scrivener and complete the list of development items.

On October 1st, start editing phase for The Bleeding Crown.

Design book cover for Rookie: Pitfalls of Year One.

Write new book blurbs for all my works and revamp all of the Amazon ads.

Complete a newsletter for each month.

Find a part-time post or two – extra income to help with new bills and investment in writing projects/marketing.

Start a new series of blog posts.

Complete NaNoWriMo Challenge: 50,000 words

Start Round #2 of Editing for The Bleeding Crown

Create marketing campaign for CWC Audio Book

Research Arizona Book and Comic cons.

Send out Monthly Newsletters by 15th of month

Keep up The Hidden saga on website every 2 weeks

Complete the 2nd wave of edits for The Bleeding Crown — Finish by 3rd Week of Jan

Start 1st wave of edits for Elude #1 — Begin by 4th week of Jan

Work on Cover for The Bleeding Crown — Begin by 2nd week of Jan

Complete story subplot and finalize The Bleeding Crown (25,000+ words) — Begin by 2nd Week of Jan

Finalize work on Marketing Campaign for Consequences Within Chaos Audiobook — Begin by 2nd week of Jan

Write a separate blog entry outside of goals and The Hidden Saga — Finish by 2nd Week of Feb

Complete Elude #3 book (30,000 to 40,000 words)

Have Elude #3 self-edited by the end of January 2019.

Professionally edited and published by the end of February 2019.

Set up another couple book-signing events for 2019

Complete the last chapters for The Hidden web saga

Started another web saga (Juxtaposed)

Look into the options for booth setups for my book showings.

Thinking about setting up a service to other authors for possible book cover design

Outline Elude new chapters for subplots and additional material – Finish by 2nd week of March

Finish writing new subplots/additional material – Finish by 3rd week of March

Complete 3rd Wave of edits & send out to Beta Readers – Finish by end of March

Complete 1st Wave of edits for Elude #1 – Finish by end of April

Complete the Cover for The Bleeding Crown – Finish by end of March

Get feedback from beta-readers – Finish by end of April

Complete the 4th wave and final edit for The Bleeding Crown – Finish by end of April

Complete the total outline for the third book of the Wyvernshield Series. Highest Priority.

Maintain a two-week production of the chapters for the web series, Juxtaposed.

Develop and begin the Evade Series outline.

Find a cover artist or design the Wyvernshield book covers myself

UNCOMPLETED GOALS:

Read one writing craft book a month

Prepare for book convention in Tucson

Get booth banners

Write 1,000 words per day – blogging, outlining, writing (61,000k).

Sign up for at least two comic-con/book festivals for 2019.

 

As of today, May 7th, 2020, I have 3 novels, 5 novellas under my name (starting back in 2016). I plan on writing through rest of my life, but it is amazing what I have worked through and accomplished by using these guidelines.

Truly it is all down to making a plan, sticking with the plan and persevering through the obstacles.

Now to continue on for 2020…

 

January thru April’s Completed Goals:

Edit Evade Book #1, Book #2

Craft Book Blurb

Designed YouTube website with book trailers for all 5 books & series

Purchase/design book covers for all three books

Set up Beta-readers of Evade #1

Publish Book #1

Once per quarter do an ad (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Amazon)

Connected with Pubby.com for book reviews

Bought a new table & cart for book signings

Found a new set of book stands

Established a Writing Prompt Series done almost bi-weekly

Completed a week-long course on Amazon Ads & Campaigns

May & June Bi-Monthly goals

Donate older book versions to libraries

Connect with my beta-readers for Evade #2

Continue writing and complete Evade #3

Maintain the Amazon Ad campaign

Research to see if anyone is doing book signings in August

Write Fantasy or Horror Writing Prompt stories every two weeks

Do more exclusive posting on Patreon

Get a writing craft audio book

Design new metal bookmarkers for Evade and The Hidden

Work on a way to expand my Email Subscriber List

 

 

Thanks again to everyone that checks in on me, supports my efforts, and provides a lot of beneficial assistance!!  I truly could not get it all done with out you.

 

 

 

The Hidden EBOOK SALE! — Derek Barton 2020

TH 1

 

Starting today, May 1st I have discounted the price for the Ebook to just ONE DOLLAR! Well, actually, $.99!

GET THIS SPINE-TINGLING, EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT THRILLER TODAY!!

Hidden Vid

So remember:

—->> Up through the 4th get this great classic horror story for only $.99

—->> Then after the 5th for only $1.99!!

—->> Back to regular price $2.99 by the 9th!

 

E N J O Y !!!

 

Writing Prompt #5 — Are You Ready? – Derek Barton 2020

Blog pic 4-28 3

 

“Death is coming to you, today. Are you ready, Steve?”

Stephen Caldero nearly fell off his aisle seat. His head reflexively snapped up from the newspaper article to stare in the wrinkled face of an elderly woman. She had wisps of blonde mixed into her thick white hair. Her spectacles were pushed high onto the bridge of her nose. She sat in the middle seat of the bus bench, clutching an umbrella and a rolled up copy of Newsweek. A slight smile on her face and the question shining in her pale blue eyes.

“What?  What the hell did you say?” He shouted back, his face turning red.

She recoiled, whimpering. “I asked if you had read the weather report for today? I forgot to this morning. I’m sorry.”

“Everything okay back there, Ms. Richards?” The bus driver called out, watching in his rearview mirror and glaring at Steve.

“Um yes,” she replied.

Steve now reddened with embarrassment. He shook his head. “No! No, you didn’t. You said ‘Death was coming for me’  Why? Why would say that?”

Ms. Richards blinked back at him, she straightened without replying and walked behind them to sit three rows away from him.

Must’ve been dreaming. I… was up pretty late, but, man, that seemed so real.

He couldn’t bring himself to turn around and apologize. The bus ride was quiet and without incident to his stop at Bronx Ave.

The gray structure housing Pottermen & Felsby resembled more a modern prison than the prestigious accounting firm. He worked as Accounting Researcher II for nearly a year in his three years tenure with them. He glanced up at the towering building and wished he felt more satisfaction or pleasure from his employment and career.

He entered the quiet lobby and made a beeline for the elevators. When he pushed the button it occurred to him then just how little enjoyment or pride he got from the position. What had he really achieved?

Death is coming to you, today. Are you ready, Steve?

The words paraded in a loop inside his mind.

“Certainly not,” he growled low to himself as he entered the elevator doors.

 

****

 

In the western corner, he had a modest office with glass walls to somewhat isolate him from the noises of the work

floor.  The fourth wall behind his decade old desk had a dirty window framing an ugly, crowded parking lot below. He kept the blinds mostly pulled tight to keep the sunlight and glare off the computer monitors. It didn’t help much to drive out the ever-present gloom. The florescent lights were a harsh purple-white.

Steve sat down with a sigh — the day was doomed to be long and tedious.

Accountants did not die of natural causes. They gave up and volunteered. The bad joke crossed his thoughts adding to his inner turmoil.

He glanced at the calendar planner spread across the desk top. It had scribbles and notes all over it like an alley wall of graffiti.

April 29th,

  • -Marketing @ 9:00, -Meeting with Grace H, -After lunch conference with Timothy K. -Death.

He jumped at the sight of the word, splashing the office door and walls with the remains of his Starbuck’s coffee.

Shit shit shit shit!

His eyes locked on the word, his skin prickled and the hair on the back of his neck rose in tuffs. His hand came up to stifle the building scream in his throat.

A knock at the door made him jump again out of his chair. “What?”

Through the fake plastic wood door he heard the muffled words, “Mr. Caldero, do you need paper towels?”

Sheryl Lehman leaned over and peaked around the door to look at him through the glass. Concern mixed with curiosity battled for position on her pudgy face.

“Uh, yes, thank you.”

He knew before looking back down at the calendar the word would not be there.

Death? What in the hell is happening?

He studied the date and appointments.

April 29th,

  • -Marketing @ 9:00, -Meeting with Grace H, -After lunch conference with Timothy K. of Derath Inc.

Sheryl entered and started mopping up the desktop. He took a few towels and cleaned off the door with shaking hands, thanking her with numb lips.

“It’s okay. It’s gotten to all of us, Mr. Caldero,” she said.

“Hmmm?”

“You heard, of course, about Joe Barness? Weird world we live in, huh?”

Steve watched her a second as he tried to recollect who the name belonged to. “Was that the front lobby clerk, right?”

“You had to notice he wasn’t downstairs this morning,” she replied, throwing away a pile of used paper towels. “He was mugged last night on his way home. Shot and left in a pile of trash bags on Hamperton. He’s alive at Metro Regional, but they don’t know if he’ll recover! Lordy, so sad!”

“That’s horrible.”

“It just proves ya gotta live each day like it’s your–“

“Shut up, Sheryl!”

Her jaw dropped at the cutting remark. Her face frozen in shock and hurt.

“I’ve got it from here. Uh..um, sorry.  I’m not feeling well.” He shrugged apologetically.

She left, not bothering to shut the door. Steve grabbed his laptop and newspaper. He was going to work from home today.

 

****

 

“Floor 3, room 2AB,” the nurse pointed to the elevator bank on the right of her circular station desk.

Steve nodded.

He wasn’t close to Joe Barness and spoke occasionally with him

about football drafts and such from time to time. Yet he was compelled to see the man. He even had a card and a small box of chocolates in his hand. It felt lame to bring a gun shot victim chocolate but was there anything typical or even appropriate?

Moments later he found the room and Joe lying under several sheets and a blue blanket, hooked up with multiple tubes and wires like some sort of dimented Christmas tree.

No one was visiting.

“Are you family, sir?” A man asked him from behind another circular desk.

“No. I work with Joe,” he answered. The nurse grimaced but Steve cut him off. “I won’t be long — I don’t think he has anyone here to stop by. I thought it would help maybe leaving a card and a gift for when…when he wakes up, ya know?”

The grimace melted from his face. “Okay. Yeah, go ahead. Just don’t stay long or try to wake him. The man’s got a helluva battle ahead.”

There was a single cold metal chair in one corner of the ICU room. It was drafty and had a permanent, stale chemical smell. Steve sat down without bothering with the lights. He put the box down with the card on a shelf. No one else had sent anything. It was a truly lonely way to die.

What am I doing here? I barely know him. 

You’re here because of the death threat. His dark thoughts scolded him. You are here on a purely selfish hope that if you show this dying man one little bit of kindness then you’ll be spared from the Grim Reaper! You selfish asshole!

Go home, go back to…

Joe’s eyes were open. They were boring into his.

Steve gasped and shrank back into his chair. The man’s finger rose slowly and stabbed at the opposite corner of the room. A thick gray curtain hanging from the ceiling blocked most of the light from entering and the shadows were deepest there. Something inside the black alcove moved… or at least he thought something twisted in the pitch black. Something that had been there all along, but hadn’t moved until it was pointed out.

Words crawled out of Joe’s lips, words barely audible but held a power over Steve.

“He’s here for you, not me.”

 

****

 

Steve’s breath caught hard inside his chest, spasms wracked his whole frame and he wheezed from exhaustion and effort. His massive oak bed frame, a family heirloom he’d inherited from his grandfather, now leaned against the mostly empty china cabinet which was also propped up against the door.

YOU are a complete fucking idiot! He whirled to scan the apartment. All four of the apartment windows had been covered with furniture and mattresses. Every lamp and light in the small condo had been turned on, eating away any trace of shadow. Even the kitchen table had been dragged into the living room to block the twin balcony doors. It was an impressive amount of effort, but it was completely fruitless at the same time.

How do you stop Death Incarnate from entering your door? It’s completely implausible that your Serta  Pillowtop Mattress will do the deed, dumbass!

He rubbed at his sweaty scalp and pulled at his cheeks with both hands in his anxiety. But what am I to do?  I’m not just going to give in. I’m too young! This isn’t fair. I’m only twenty-three goddamn it!

Coming up through the floor vent, Steve heard a loud bang followed by several shouts.

“Oh god! It’s here!” He moaned in pity. His heart leaped into his throat.

More shouts and then slamming doors could be heard.

“FIRE! FIRE! EVERYONE OUT!”

Steve’s shoulders dropped. His hands hung limply at his sides. Seriously. A fire, huh? He could swear he already smelled a whiff of smoke in the air.

He grabbed at one corner of the bedframe and struggled to drag it an inch.

While it seemed an eternity, less than ten minutes had passed as he clawed at the blocking furniture. He managed to squeeze past his door to stand in the smoke-filled hallway.

He was not going out this way! The Calderos had always been a family of survivors and fighters. His older brothers had both been in the military branches and his father had died on the streets as one of the city’s most decorated police officers. Perhaps now Steve could prove all of them wrong. He was going to make it! The mantra beat like a drum in his head.

A brief second in the stairwell at the third floor landing, he had a bad scare. Flames had already brought down the tiles and support beams to block his path. He ran back to the fourth as the building had two stairwells on opposite sides of the structure. Desperation put extra energy in his strides.

Just as he shoved the door to the other stairwell, a sharp and high-pitched cry came out from the gloom.

“Help! Help me!” It was a child’s voice coming from one of the apartments.

 

****

 

Sandee Mitchell, eight years old and left home alone, shivered in a brown blanket wrapped about her shoulders and back. Smudges of smoke and ash had darkened her hair and caked along the base of her chin and neck.

A female EMT tech was wrapping swathes of gauze around her burnt arm as Sandee rested on a stretcher in the back. A male EMT was hooking up a bag of saline.

She stared at the coil of bed sheets at her feet and the length still tied at her waste. They hadn’t gotten around to taking it off her yet.

Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks.

The male EMT leaned down to her ear. “It’s okay, honey. You’re safe now.”

She didn’t look back or even acknowledge him. All she could focus on were the stranger’s words as he rushed out onto the patio. The stranger who had burst into her apartment and found her balled up outside.

“I am ready. You’re not taking her! I’ll go!” The stranger had spoke aloud as if in an argument.  It had been his fourth trip to get bedsheets. 

“What?” she asked him.

At this point, the fire engulfed the top of the building. Smoke billowed around them as he frantically tied the knotted sheets around her.  He then wrapped a blanket around her to protect her from flames and heat.

“Hold on tight to this, don’t let it slip!” He shouted to be heard over the crash and roar of the inferno. “I’m going to lower  you down. I’m making you an honorary Caldero!”

But it was his last words which haunted her at nights, stuck to her soul. He kept screaming it out in the air as he lowered her from their apartment patio.

“I AM READY! YOU ARE COMING FOR ME ONLY! YOU HEAR ME?”

 

 

Blog pic 4-28

I took a little liberty with this one, but it was too good to not try!

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Sneak Peak of Evade Part Two! – Derek Barton 2020

Blog pic 4-20

 

EXCERPT OF EVADE PART TWO:

Stewie Portier scrubbed a hand along the back of his neck and up through the thick nest of matted gray hair to his receding hairline. It was a peculiar subconscious move to clear his mind, like a cat preening in the wild.

Standing at the corner of an alley set between a large twelve-story tower hotel called The Cordant and a more modern strip mall, he scanned the restaurants, the body shop, and a new medical marijuana dispensary. He wanted to make sure there were few if any eyes on him as he entered the narrow alley.

His temples throbbed. The internal voices were arguing inside his brain, back and forth, the sound frequency increasing with every word.

They were telling him – no – insisting it was time to take down The Cordant. It was a historic building erected in the heart of the downtown district in 1902. Stewie knew the fire would be amazing, glorious as any spectacle the city had ever seen.

Currently, the owners were in several court disputes, trying to get special permission to restore it. They faced resistance from the City Historical Society. Due to a court injunction against new construction, it was rumored the owners were financially at risk of going bankrupt.

It made this the perfect opportunity to light it up. The owners, of course, would appear the most suspicious. Many would claim his fire was for the insurance payout. Thus taking any possible investigation in another direction and would keep the heat off of him.

Eventually, he might gain the police’s attention, arrested then taken back to the institution due to his so-called illnesses. In his opinion society didn’t understand him or others like him. He shared the familiar story of many patients living on the street after being institutionalized. He was without a home, without family or support, and dumped into an nameless void.

“Out of sight and out of mind,” he would often say. Yet, given his penchant for making fires, if society didn’t see him or pay attention to another beggar on the street, then it was all good for him. It was a double-edged sword.

Since his last release, Stevie lived in the alleyway two blocks from The Cordant. His daily routine involved watching security make their rounds and monitor activity around the building.

However, this morning, new voices were telling him to find the child. Find the boy who was in the back of the PPD cruiser he saw earlier when he was panhandling near the freeway. It was gnawing at him, distracting him even more than normal.

Seek him. Seek him out.  HE MUST SEEK.

Willing himself to ignore the insistent voices, Stewie zipped his gray hoodie that had the word SECURITY sewn across the front. Then he slipped its hood over his dirty Eagles football cap. On his shoulder, he had a one-strap black backpack. The awkward weight strained his back.

He was confident his face was shrouded in black, but he carefully avoided looking at the security camera above his head. It was installed to protect the back of Angelos’ Deli, making sure no one broke into their back door or fiddled with the locks.

On the opposite side of the alley was a set of rusted double-doors chained together. They led to the bottom floor of The Cordant. One afternoon while pretending to look for aluminum cans in the trash bins, Stewie discovered the doors left unlocked – the padlock left hanging open. This happened once three weeks ago, but he had not been prepared to do anything about it.

Then it happened again four days ago. This time, he raced over to his grocery cart, plucked out a similar brand padlock he’d swiped from the Home Depot on 18th Ave, and replaced their lock with his. The building was his for the taking.

He knew his time was limited. There was no telling when they’d come back to check on the door, do more than a cursory pass, and discover the new lock on the chains. Once they did, they’d cut it off and replace it with one of theirs and he’d miss out. Yet, he had to have The Cordant.

The empty hotel would be his biggest fire yet and was ripe for the picking. His count so far was seventeen minor fires in Philadelphia itself and maybe twenty more serious fires in the Jenkintown area, his hometown.

The Renalt Institution, where his father committed him at age 10, was the best and biggest fire to date. It was the same institution he was violently raped repeatedly by the floor’s night shift orderly. Seeing the flames lick the sky and devour the structure of his worst years, it was… cathartic and the best therapy he ever received.

Unfortunately, he served time. He’d been careless and attracted police attention by cheering and clapping at the scene of the fire. The ashes on one sleeve gave them cause to search his Chevy where they found his gear and fire-starters.

After his original case was appealed on the basis of mental instability, he was transferred to another institution. He guessed it was his fifth at the time.

As he unlocked the chains and slipped inside the empty building, he wondered what the boy in the police cruiser had been arrested for. Did the boy like fires the way he did? Maybe he could find…seek…the boy out after tonight…

No, don’t be stupid. Why do you want to talk to the kid anyway?  Ya’ ain’t one of the pervy touchers so, why do you…

I must seek him though. It has to be…

He rubbed the back of his neck again and raced his hands all through his dirty locks. This time he even added a good hard rub to his patchy goatee and scrub-beard.

Focus on the fire. Focus on whatcha doing, dumbass! Stewie heard the words almost as if his father was standing right behind him. He flinched, waiting on the hard fist to crack him in the back of his head or in the kidney.

He cautiously peeked behind him. No silvery specter shaped like his long dead father appeared. “No, of course not. Dad’s not here. Come on now.”

He slung his backpack onto the floor. Doublechecking his equipment, he opened the pack for an inspection. Inside were a couple rolls of duct tape, eight cans of lighter fluid, two cans of paint thinner, and three broom handles wrapped with cloth for torches.

Tied to his belt was a metal-handled flashlight. Switching it on, it highlighted a long foyer and cavernous meeting hall, which flowed into a wide-set of stairs leading to the next level. He jogged over to it.

Inside the hotel, he felt stronger and more determined to make the fire happen. The boy would be around to find later. A whispered ‘Seek’ echoed softly in his right ear. He whirled and shined the light on the area, but it only pinpointed clouds of dust and a long dead grandfather clock standing in one corner.

Stewie chuckled at his nerves, straightened his shoulders, and marched like a soldier to the steps, climbing to the next level.

Starter fluid was at the top of his plans. He’d soak couches and any other furniture he could find. Then he’d trail a line of it along the stairwell, finishing with a massive mixed puddle of leftover fluid and paint thinner.

Starting two separate fires at the ends of the trail was risky, but it added to the excitement and the intensity of his fires. Possible death, disfigurement or extreme pain added to the entertainment elements and would ramp up the energy at the same time satisfy his desires. Highlight his satisfaction at fooling the police too.

Nearly fifteen minutes later, he was in the top level of the old structure. A conference room close to the landing would do well for his purpose.

He retrieved two of the torch brooms and soaked them in lighter fluid. Then gathered chairs around a dilapidated, dust-covered table. Some spray paint covered paintings and torn tapestries left in another conference room were added to the pile of chairs. Many of the rooms were empty, any valuables long gone.

As he was about to give up, he located what appeared to be a penthouse suite. The rooms were scattered with old trash, but the bedchamber had a massive bay window and a door leading out to a fenced-in patio.

He tore down a trio of rose-tinted draperies and dragged them to his little bonfire.

It’s go time, he cheerfully thought.

Seek. Seek him, NOW! The voice ordered him, speaking over his left shoulder.

Stewie whirled, ready to run.  No one was in the room with him. Sweat popped out along his brow at the same time a chill climbed his spine.

Ghosts? Well, so what? The building was ancient and would soon be rubble and ash.

 

An open canister of paint thinner in hand, he raced back to the stairs. The trail was thick, fumes mixing with the dust from the carpeted steps.

At the bottom, he was in the foyer again, but it didn’t take long to find the stairs leading into the lower two levels of the basement and hotel storage units.

The last of the paint thinner spread slowly, an almost elegant glassy pool in the middle of the cluttered, junk-strewn storage units. This was where the hotel left their unwanted or abandoned items. The old trash would feed the fire well.

Stewie’s breath grew labored as he pried open some of the fences to the units. He dragged broken desk pieces, rickety chairs, wooden headboards, and even a few coat racks closer to the paint thinner puddle. He leaned against one old desk, catching his breath, trying not to breath in too much of the fumes and thick dust.

Why is it so damn hot, he wondered. As he took off the hoodie to tie it around his waist, he caught sight of his arms. The skin was ashy, wisps of smoke wafting slowly from the pores.

Did I get some thinner or lighter fluid on me? He rubbed the hoodie along his arms trying to wipe the stuff off his skin. It didn’t have any effect.

He raked a shaky hand from the back of his neck through his matted, sweaty hair once again.

Stewie shrugged angrily and stormed the stairs. He needed to get this done so he could track down that boy. This was taking too long.

Maybe I should do this tomorrow? Surely, they wouldn’t notice the padlock one more day.

Smelling the fumes in the air, it brought back some of his zeal to bring the old lady down to her cinders.  His manic toothless smile grew again.

When he reached the fourteenth-floor landing, he dug in his faded jeans’ pocket for one of the many lighters he carried at all times.

The bonfire pile ignited like fall leaves. Stewie hesitated, gripped with an overwhelming desire to watch the flames reach out, slide across the floor tiles, climb the walls, and devour the chairs, to witness it come to life before his eyes. But it wouldn’t be safe to stay long. The fire already flared along the hall’s trail of paint thinner on the stairs.

He was mesmerized by the amber beauty. It was a living, dancing gemstone that performed for him like a lover he hadn’t touched in years.

If you stay, you’ll never find the boy. Seek him! SEEK HIM!

The words broke his trance and he blanched at the sight of the pyre before him. Most of the room was engulfed, including the ceiling tiles above his head. Small chunks and burning embers were raining down around him.

He ran and dove over the reaching flames blocking the doorway. The skin on his left arm was singed and welted with second-degree burns. Tumbling and rolling in the hall put out the parts of his shirt that were on fire.

On his knees, Stewie was scared, witnessing how fast the old wood walls and framework were consumed by the fire. Although dazzled and charmed by the sight of the flames, it was not his wish to burn to death. He wanted to create more fires and it galled him that he may have robbed himself of the chance.

And he craved to learn more about the boy!

The words, Seek the boy, came out of his mouth unconsciously and repeated over and over in a monotone loop.

In a frenzied descent of the stairs, he made for the hotel’s back door. Rather than seeing, he psychically sensed it and experienced a surge of raw energy. It rushed through him and raced along every nerve in his body as though struck by lightning. His feet tangled, making him stumble down the steps, again catching fire in the paint thinner trail.  At the next floor landing, he writhed on his back for several agonizing seconds, striving to put out the flames.

The pain from the burns along his arm, neck, face, and right shoulder subsided some. Yet, the rushing raw sensation of energy that hit him remained like the dull ache of a broken bone.

The image of the brown-haired boy from the police cruiser, hovering in air surrounded by rings manifested in his mind’s eye. A faint glowing cloud of red light surrounded him. At the same time, the calling command inside increased in its power.

Something had happened. Something which involved the child and the red rings. Instinctively, Stevie knew it was a new form of fire he never experienced before, but he wanted to have more. It literally reignited his race out of the building and spurred his mind to action.

Finally, at the bottom level and the expansive foyer, he flew across the floor toward the double doors. The bottom levels spewed black smoke from their stairwell and heated air baked his skin red, stretching it tight.

Stewie lunged at the door handle and sprawled headlong into the alley. Somewhere inside, he was dimly aware he neglected to put his hoodie back on and exposed his face to the security camera’s recording.

But it didn’t matter now.

Seek him! Seek him! Seek him! Seek him! 

Like the fire that devoured The Cordant, his brain was ablaze and consumed with a new fire.

EVADE Part One BOOK RELEASE!! — Derek Barton 2020

In case you haven’t heard or haven’t seen my latest newsletter (Hey?  Why aren’t you on my email list? Thought we were friends! hahaha).

EVADE PART ONE IS OUT!!

EvadeFrontsmallsize

 

The balance for Evil has tipped in Hell’s favor…

On the day Detective Lindsey Korrey should be celebrating the closure of her biggest case, The Nurse Catcher, she’s caught up in an intense police car chase.

Rory, a missing child case of three years, has fallen under her protection. Someone — or something — wants him back.

Chased down and hunted by a supernatural enemy, Lindsey must evade capture at any cost.

Yet their road is full of hidden dangers.

The Seekers emerge out of every shadow…around every corner…

With twists and turns, extraordinary characters, action, suspense, and a mystery with pulse-pounding revelations, EVADE will take your breath away and leave you wanting –needing to know more!

Ebook $2.99       Paperback $7.99

EVADE Trailer 2020

 

GO GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY!!!