Serial and Milk: Available Darkness – Chapter Eleven

Serial and Milk: Available Darkness – Chapter Eleven

serial-and-milk-button-225x225(Serial and Milk: Available Darkness is a serialized thriller co-written by David Wright and Sean Platt. A new chapter appears here each Friday. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them here.)

John’s hands divorced his mind as they tossed their few temporary belongings into the two duffel bags they’d stolen from the house. They would make their exodus the second the sun was swallowed by the horizon. They’d have to find a new car, of course. But how, John had no idea. He may not have known who he was, but he was fairly certain his latent memories didn’t include the ability to hotwire cars.

They would also need to swipe a license plate from another vehicle and put it on their own. He hoped that would keep them off the radar until he could figure out how to get another vehicle. John scanned the room, hoping to see a knife or something he could use as a screwdriver to remove the plates.

Finding nothing, he collapsed on the bed, acutely aware that his looming fate now rested in the tiny hands of a little girl.

Abigail had agreed to moving the car without blinking, though John suspected she had zero driving experience. Still, he figured, it wasn’t too hard to drive a few hundred feet. Parking, on the other hand, could present a bit of a problem. He imagined her crashing the car and inviting the attention of nearby police.

Part of him believed she’d be better off in the custody of the cops anyway. They would be able to help her; find her a proper home; keep her away from the walking death he obviously was.

Certainly she could share no future with him, especially not in this condition. Even if his life were entirely normal, why on Earth would he take in a child he hardly knew?

John started to circle the same question he’d been asking himself since their flight from the house the night before. Why hadn’t he just left the girl to be found by police? At the time, he’d not thought it through. Abigail was in need and he was too. He couldn’t trust that he wouldn’t fade to black the second more memories materialized. He wondered if he was being selfish to drag her along into the unknown horrors awaiting him.

He was a man without a past. The police were hunting him and at least one person had buried him alive, at least that seemed to be the case. Though he couldn’t discount the thought that seemed to constantly throb beneath all others – what if he was one of the undead?

The possibilities were endless and the implausibility of it all kept him sprawled on the bed instead of pacing the floor.

Perhaps it would be best if the police picked the girl up, he soothed himself for the hundredth time.

Still, there was something else.

There was that bridge between them, drawing them together during their first brief touch, and then again this morning when she sent one of his memories sailing straight back at and inside him. There was something bigger than the two of them at work, something that held him in place while silently instructing her to deliver the memory.

Something was guiding them, and John knew it as sure as he knew that fire’s hot and water’s wet. It didn’t have to make sense, there was understanding in the deepest recesses of his reptilian brain, scattered pieces of a puzzle strewn across a table. Some face up and some face down, but all his to piece together.

To understand how the pieces fit, he needed to see them all in one place. To put the puzzle of his life together, he needed Abigail.

puzzlepieces

___________________

Abigail craned her neck and narrowed her eyes into the side mirror. No matter how much she wanted to deny it, the cop was pulling her over.

She pressed her foot gingerly on the brake, but it wasn’t gentle enough. The car bucked forward then shuddered to a stop at the lip of the right lane.

Abigail kept her eyes fastened on the mirror but couldn’t see into the cop’s front window.

She tasted the familiar copper adrenaline in her throat as her mind spit a dozen different scenarios of flight — none remotely realistic, especially considering she lacked even a basic set of driving skills, let alone the ability to evade a police car in a high speed pursuit.

The keys in the ignition jiggled in time to the engine’s purr, both against the backbeat of her foot tapping nervously against the floorboard.

The cop was still in his car.

Was it supposed to take this long?

Suddenly, as if responding to her thought, the cop’s voice boomed over the speakers atop his light bar.

“Put your hands where I can see them and step out of the vehicle!”

Abigail was frozen, swallowed by the ambiguity of adult procedure.

The cop issued his command a second time, his voice deep, cold, emotionless. And authoritative.

Abigail released a tiny slip of a shriek as her hands fumbled with the door handle, unable to open it. Panic rose like a tide in her throat as the realization that she might be shot for not obeying the cop became as real as the bruised violet sky hazing through the smear of the windshield.

“Please don’t shoot!” she cried out, pulling down her hood to show she was merely a child.

“Hands in the air, step out of the car,” the voice echoed.

Abigail’s hands found the lock, unlocked it and opened the door slowly.

“Hands up, face away from me.”

Abigail obeyed, the world slowing to a few frames per second around her. She could feel the eyes of strangers in cars as they passed by in the middle and far lanes. She and the cop had caused the right lane traffic to stop cold.

“Walk backwards to the sound of my voice, keep your hands in the air,” the voice commanded.

Gravel and debris bit into her bare feet as she took a single tentative step back. All those eyes on them, each driver and passenger craning to get a glimpse, if only a moment, of the drama unfolding.

“Stop,” the voice said, “down on your knees.”

Abigail slowly descended to her knees, quivering like the last leaf clinging to a tree in the fall. She could feel the cop’s glare on her as he stepped from his car and started his approach. Tears streaked down her face, the salt stinging her lips.

“Hands out, palms up,” the cop said.

Abigail was confused. Why was he shouting at her? She was just a child, couldn’t he see that? She desperately wanted to reel around to show that she was not whatever villain he thought her to be. To do so, she knew, would invite him to shoot her dead on the spot.

Traffic was crawling and she could hear the angry horns from frustrated drivers, stuck a block back without a view of the action.

“Cross your legs at the ankles,” the cop said.

The officer’s instructions confused Abigail as the traffic, the eyes of the drivers and the cop’s gun all gathered velocity to meet the real time of the world around her.

Instead of obeying, Abigail tossed the dice, turned around, and asked the cop to repeat himself.

There he stood, a tall, lanky cop, swimming in his dark green uniform, most of his face hidden behind large shades and an even larger mustache. He looked young and something about him screamed inexperience, yet his hand — and the gun it held — did not waver in the slightest, taking aim directly at the small of her back.

He paused a moment, as if he were just then realizing she was not a dangerous bad guy, but in fact, a small child. He turned his mouth and said something which she could not hear into the radio at his shoulder. Then he spoke to her. Gun still drawn.

“Who else is in the car?” he asked.

“It’s just me!” Abigail cried.

The cop said something else inaudible into his radio then moved towards her door, gun aimed at the car, quickly scanning the windows for another occupant.

“Are you okay?” the cop asked. “You can put your hands down.”

“Yes,” Abigail whispered, turning to the officer for confirmation before standing. He nodded.

“What’s your name?” the cop asked as he holstered his gun and pulled out a pad and pen.

She told the truth. Meanwhile a line of cars had built up behind the cop car, waiting to merge into the middle lane which was filled with rubberneckers, slowing to a crawl as each car begged for a ticket to the show. Abigail felt naked with so many eyes on her. She started a silent plea in her head — just get it over with, she thought, do what you need to do and put me in the car.

“A lot of people are looking for you,” the cop said, “where is he?”

“Where’s who?” Abigail asked, her eyes breaking away and falling on a lightning bolt crack in the concrete by the officer’s feet.

“The man who kidnapped you.”

“I wasn’t kidnapped,” she said, looking up as a dusty gray van idled behind the cop car, unable to merge into the middle lane to go around them.

The cop could care less about the traffic jam, his attention was fixed on Abigail and going nowhere.

“Do you know where the man is now? Do you know his name?”

Abigail wasn’t sure what to say, but forced herself to raise her chin, stare into his mirrored lenses, and continue to feign ignorance.

The van got impatient and swerved violently into the middle lane cutting off a pickup truck the color of dirty milk or old chalk. The man behind the wheel of the pickup laid on the horn causing the cop to turn around just as the van pulled up alongside them. Abigail thought she heard the hum of the passenger window as it was rolled down and…

The van stopped.

The cop barely had time to grab his gun before his head exploded in a crimson river of gore.

Abigail screamed as the gunshot echoed into the forever of her future memory. Her mind registered a face in the passenger side of the van a second behind her eyes. It was wearing a black ski mask. The side panel door rolled open in a thunderous roar. Inside she saw at least three others, dressed all in black and wearing matching masks.

One of them leaped out and grabbed Abigail’s hair, yanked her forward and tossed her into the van in one violently fast movement. Something closed tight around her mouth as a strong odor snaked into her nostrils and she slipped into an icy blackness.

TO BE CONTINUED…

We’ll be fielding any comments or questions you have in the comments section, so stop by. We’d love to hear what you think. Also, please tweet this post and help spread the word about Available Darkness and nurture online fiction.

  • tina

    Hi there. I found your website just today and began reading chapters 1-11 in one seating. I couldn’t stop. Can’t wait for next Friday. Thanks for sharing :-)

    • http://writerdad.com Sean

      We’re glad you like it! Welcome to the party and thanks for letting your voice be heard.

      Sean’s last blog post..DAD!

    • http://www.bloggerdad.com David Wright

      Tina- welcome! One sitting? Awesome! Thank you for commenting.

      David Wright’s last blog post..Dumb things I do – A list

  • http://www.sharingthejourney.co.uk janice

    This is better than James Patterson’s latest novels and he makes millions. I hate this new turn of events so write her free SOON or I’ll stop reading!

    janice’s last blog post..Holidaying at Home

    • http://writerdad.com Sean

      I heard James Patterson actually has a team of chain smoking monkeys cranking out his latest novels, do you think it’s true?

      Sean’s last blog post..DAD!

      • http://welshscribe.co.uk Marc

        Probably does, but do you think any of them are tortured writers?

        • http://www.bloggerdad.com David Wright

          janice – Thanks! As for what happens to Abigail, well… stay tuned.

          Marc – Aren’t all monkeys tortured writers? I mean, they’re locked in that room all day expected to write Shakespeare.

          David Wright’s last blog post..Dumb things I do – A list

  • http://alittlespaceforme.com Marylin

    Ohhh couldn’t you make this a twice-a-week thing?? How am I going to keep going till next friday without knowing what’s going on?! :)

    Marylin’s last blog post..To my boys…

    • http://writerdad.com Sean

      Wait until you have to wait a full year for the sequel! : > )

      Sean’s last blog post..DAD!

      • http://www.bloggerdad.com David Wright

        Marylin – I wish that we could! If only someone would pay us to put this out, we’d do it every day!

        Sean – Shhh, don’t spoil anything. :)

        David Wright’s last blog post..Dumb things I do – A list

  • http://welshscribe.co.uk Marc

    This is the chapter I have most anticipated. Couldn’t wait to find out what happened to poor Abigail.

    Now you’ve gone and upped the ante guys. You never fail to deliver. Excellent writing.

    Marc’s last blog post..SEO 101.3 | Off Page Factors

    • http://writerdad.com Sean

      I think all of us were anticipating this chapter. Abigail is so fragile, I think we are all curious to see what will happen while wanting so desperately to protect her.

      Sean’s last blog post..DAD!

  • Trina

    WHAM! That hit me up the side of the head. Delicious! Both exclamation points intended…. :-)

    • http://writerdad.com Sean

      LOL.

  • http://rozanina.wordpress.com Rosa

    Oh God, she had to see a head being blown off, that`s horrible, what`s wrong with you? My jaw actually dropped when I read that..This is getting scarier and scarier and now friday seems so far away :(

    Rosa’s last blog post..Yo me río! – I laugh!

    • http://writerdad.com Sean

      That was Dave’s fault, the whole thing. I swear. I didn’t even have anything to do with river of gore. Nope, it was all the big dude.

      Sean’s last blog post..DAD!

      • http://www.bloggerdad.com David Wright

        Thanks for that awesome comment. As for what’s wrong with me, well, the world’s top psychiatric teams are also puzzled.

        David Wright’s last blog post..Dumb things I do – A list

  • http://cindyplatt.com cindy platt

    You all are a duo of rock star writers. Impressive and inspiring. Thanking for stoking the fire of creativity for anyone that takes the time to read.

    cindy platt’s last blog post..How to Nurture a Writer

    • http://writerdad.com Sean

      Well thanks for being our biggest groupie, love.

      Sean’s last blog post..DAD!

    • http://www.bloggerdad.com David Wright

      Rock stars? Man, I need to grow my hair back out!
      Thanks!

      David Wright’s last blog post..Dumb things I do – A list

  • http://foreignquang.blogspot.com Randi

    This is why I love books better than movies. “…his head exploded in a crimson river of gore.” This poor girl. I am ready to step into this book and rescue her myself. I thought it was John in the van, but FOUR people? How could her life get any more miserable?

    Randi’s last blog post..Thursday Thoughts of a Twitterless Thinker 7-2-09

    • http://writerdad.com Sean

      I’m not exactly sure, but I’m quite positive Dave will find a way… or seven.

      Sean’s last blog post..DAD!

    • http://www.bloggerdad.com David Wright

      Randi – You just haaaad to ask, didn’t ya?

      Sean – I’ve no end of terrible imaginings to draw from.

      David Wright’s last blog post..Dumb things I do – A list

  • http://iprofitonpurpose.com/blog Mary Anne Fisher

    The plot and your writing are exquisitely torturous… or perhaps torturously exquisite is more accurate?

    You’re becoming [evil] masters of the fine art of torching and cruelly fanning mind-searing flames of anticipation. Yeeeessssss!!!!

    Mary Anne Fisher’s last blog post..15 Paradigm Shifts That Pack a Powerful Punch

    • http://www.bloggerdad.com David Wright

      Mary Anne – That’s a book jacket quote if ever I saw one! Thank you.

      David Wright’s last blog post..Dumb things I do – A list

      • http://foreignquang.blogspot.com Randi

        Ya know….maybe you guys should be saving some of these comments for the book jacket…

        Randi’s last blog post..Sunday Serenity 7-5-09

  • http://paisleythoughts.blogspot.com/ Paisley (Turning Thoughts Into Words)

    Didn’t expect this at all – not for one second. You’ve put us on a completely different path. I want the angel back.

    Paisley (Turning Thoughts Into Words)’s last blog post..Freedom Glory Project

    • http://www.bloggerdad.com David Wright

      Well, we’d hate to deliver the expected in a story full of so many twists.

      David Wright’s last blog post..Dumb things I do – A list

  • http://writerdad.com Sean

    Writing in the serialized format is really really fun. There’s a push and pull there that is different from anything else in our blogging world. Rewarding to write and wonderful to share. Thanks for being a part of it.

    Sean’s last blog post..DAD!

  • http://micamike.wordpress.com Michael

    I wasn’t sure why the traffic was so impatient, given the circumstances, because most people would rather sit and gawk at such an arrest. So when “the van got impatient and swerved violently into the middle lane cutting off a pickup truck the color of dirty milk or old chalk…” I thought this was implausible–until you revealed their motives and the ensuing action! That was awesome–horribly gross–but awesome!

    Michael’s last blog post..Picture This: Day 39. Musical Minds

    • http://www.bloggerdad.com David Wright

      Michael – Are you kidding? You haven’t driven in Florida, have you? People here would honk at a funeral. And I imagine where Sean lives, in California, drivers are even worse – if that’s possible.

      Thanks for nice words.

      David Wright’s last blog post..Dumb things I do – A list

      • http://micamike.wordpress.com Michael

        Ah yes, everything is relative. I live in the gawker capital of the world, where a minor accident on one side of a divided freeway can bring traffic to a standstill for miles on the other side. Drives me nuts!

        Keep up the good work. It gets better– and darker–each week! (And you both look so innocent in your photos–well Sean does, anyway. Not sure about that baby face!)

  • http://doyoudaveramsey.com DoYouDaveRamsey.com

    Wow, didn’t see that coming… I actually somehow thought the power of the mystery man had been conveyed onto her and that she was about to char the cop…

    I’ve been wondering when the original person(s) who buried the mystery man would appear… and I’m still uncertain as to whether they actually have.

    More great work. I’m continuing to enjoy!

    DoYouDaveRamsey.com’s last blog post..Limited Time Offer