Saturday, April 13, 2013
Excerpt. A peek into Outback Fear.
Here's a taste of what to expect when reading Outback Fear. :)
The view from the back door didn't look promising. Dark, heavy banks of cloud were building, and heading her way. Lightning lit up the mountains, followed by the low rolling of thunder. It appeared as though it held a mighty punch, and seemed to be closing in around the property and fast. She had to collect the washing and lock up before it reached Grace Creek.
The strength in the wind almost knocked her off her feet when she stepped outside. Her hair struck her cheeks and she reached up, twisted it into a knot at the back of her neck. Rushing toward the clothesline, a strong gust of wind forced her to sidestep a few times. Correcting her steps, she fought against the sheets as they lashed up, striking her in the face. She struggled to grab hold of any existing pegs and noticed some strewn over the ground. Persisting until the last item of clothing was in the basket she turned, and with a repeat of the slow crab walk, she finally reached the house.
Savannah dumped the washing basket onto the lounge and began folding the clothes. A couple of thunderous roars startled her and she jumped, her breath hitching in her throat. Taking a few moments to steady herself, she laughed at her concerns. What was she doing? She had faced much worse than a storm. She'd battled for her life, battled the devil himself and his assistant. Nothing would be as frightening ever again, nothing-she hoped.
Rain hammered over the tin roof, the sound almost deafening, and a banging sound echoed around the house. She peeked through a window. The wind bounced the gate about, slamming it against the fence, and if she didn't secure it, she pictured it ripping from the hinges. The shed door also clanged and wobbled as it bashed open and shut with a loud thud. A few stray branches flew through the air and leaves skimmed over the grass.
Savannah grabbed hold of the screen door and pushed it open against the force of the wind. Her fingers tightened as it almost ripped from her grasp. She secured it behind her, and bolted toward the gate. The rain struck harder, hitting her skin with such force it stung the flesh of her arms. She struggled to close the shed door, fought to get it shut before slipping the heavy metal lock into place.
The might of the wind continued to vibrate around her, and she was certain she'd never been in such a wild storm. Turning, she headed toward the gate as lightning forked to the earth, exploding as though she was under fire on a battlefield, as one direct hit after the other circled and exploded into the surrounding trees.
A bright flash beside the house had her swinging around. Lightning struck her favourite tree. She glared as the Jacaranda split in two, the crack reverberating through the atmosphere. Alarmed, she watched helplessly as the tree crashed to the ground, its thud shaking the earth underfoot. Then to her dismay, flames licked at its beautiful mauve flowers.
The sky lit up with the paw of the devil. Each flash of lightning was as damaging and terrifying as the last and the dark of night slowly consumed the last light of day.
After locking the gate she headed back toward the house, pushing her body against the overpowering barrage of wind. A thunderous roar startled her and she cursed. Under the flash of lightning, in the corner of her eye, she spotted a dark image moving toward her.
Disregarding her imagination, she wrestled against the wind, but it was near impossible. Just when she thought she was gaining ground, the wind hiked her back. It seemed to take forever. Savannah dared not look at the image she thought she saw, fearing her imagination may turn it into something it wasn't. When her mind was loose, it went all the way, and she wasn't about to let her imagination run riot in a storm.
The sky cracked again, lit up with a thousand sparks and she stopped in her tracks, glancing at the vivid reds, oranges and purples dancing over the clouds and wondered just how powerful was nature? Pushing ahead, she looked up and as she put one foot in front of the other, goose bumps charged over her flesh. She wasn't sure if it was from the wind blowing over her damp body, or her reaction to the dark mass approaching.
A terror she was accustomed to feeling shook her senseless. She glared through the darkness trying to make out what or who was on her property. Was her imagination up to its silly tricks again, feeding her with unease?
The wind howled practically in a language of its own, as it scooted around her ears. The property appeared to be the devil's playground, and panic began to eat away at her determination, leaving her to wonder if the devil really had returned to play?
The image fluctuated and she squinted, unsure if it had stopped or if it was still moving. Sucking back a breath, her eyes watered, her chest grew heavy and for the life of her, she knew she was-trapped.
Savannah blinked quickly, trying to clear her vision. She braced herself as she fought to remain level-headed. Her heart almost forgot how to leave that interval in-between beats.
'There's no way out now, honey.'
Fear knifed through her. It was as though she'd been hit with a Mac truck as that fear grabbed hold of her and gave her one hard jolt.
Not again. It couldn't be possible. No. She cringed. How much did a woman have to suffer in one lifetime? How much could, or would she take and survive?
'M...ark.' It hardly worked its way up her throat. Inconceivable horror flashed through her mind, as quick and fast as the lightning strikes surrounding her.
'You seriously didn't think I'd give up that easily, did you?' His brittle laugh cut through the atmosphere.
'You were...police...you were...in the hospital,' she rasped, as though sand was being poured into her throat through a funnel. She tried to ward off the terror grabbing hold of her, pushing her toward defeat, and wrapped her arms around her body. She had to fight it, had to, but shock was bringing her down and fast.
'A uniform goes a long way. They didn't blink when I walked out. I even got a smile from one of the nurses. Talk about dumb cops.'
Panic ate at her heart, nibbled away at her nerves. Mark would have known that she had taken out an apprehended violence order, and that she'd filed a statement with the police. She knew it would make him violent, much more aggressive than he'd ever been. Her blood slowed.
Her feet rooted to the spot unsure of what she was going to face. But she guessed it wasn't going to be pretty, not pretty at all. She sucked back a desperate breath as though it may be her last. Her intent gaze steadied over his dark image. Her eyes felt like they'd burst from their sockets, growing sore under the strain.
To make matters worse, he stood between her and the house. The sheets of rain blanketing her didn't help either. She flicked her wet hair from her eyes and ran a quick hand down her face, trying to clear her blurred vision.
Lack of oxygen sent her mind into a spin, and she sucked back slow breaths. She couldn't afford one slip up, not now, and she couldn't think of anything or anyone except Amy.
Her little girl was in the unlocked house behind him.
Countless flashes lit up the property as the storm intensified. Each flash highlighted his barbaric face and her stomach curdled. He stopped a short distance in front of her.
'What do you want Mark? What do you want?' She screamed through the loud thunderous claps, and sizzling lightning bolts. The wind whipped up her hair, temporarily blinding her, and she snatched it from her face. Her gaze circled the area, thinking, watching, trying to grasp onto an escape route.
Was this truly hell on earth?
His sickening laughter rattled to her ears, her spine stiffened, and her body oozed with alarm. She held her lips tightly together to prevent an internal scream from escaping her throat.