What follows is an excerpt from Eyes Pried Open, the sequel to my novel The Sleepwalkers. It involves a tense exchange between Cheryl Seagraves and precocious five-year old Elaine Brown, who has become Cheryl’s daughter by default for want of a better term. The scene plays out during a perilous time in America’s history – or could it be in the nation’s immediate future? I hope you enjoy the read. The Sleepwalkers and Eyes Pried Open are available in Amazon Kindle and paperback here. (c) 2014 all rights reserved.
Despite her clouded vision, she could tell it was Elaine who was rising from a seated position and then standing in the snow between the fire pit and the street. More disconcertingly, the hump that had staggered away and now writhed in the street was a man.
She was tipsy, undernourished, lacked sufficient sleep, and stressed to the edge of collapse, but her body proved a reliable friend that would not fail as she sprinted with the speed that used to provide her escape from the abusive drunken father that would chase her for her “corrective beating.” “Elaine! Elaine!” she screamed, and within thirty seconds she was stomping through the wet snow of the front yard. Cheryl struggled to speak and breathe in concert, but Elaine connected the dots as she exclaimed “he tried to steal from us and I used the gun that was Jeff’s! I shot the guy and it knocked me over on my butt!”
There was a trail of blood splatters across the snow that led to where “the guy” had momentarily lay in the street before his own adrenaline got him on his feet and he hobbled screaming toward the former Police station – but no help would be found. And if anyone else heard his shrieks of pain, they didn’t respond if they were even in a position to, which was questionable.
“Mommy, I didn’t go for the kill shot. I just got him in the leg I think. I’ll bet I taught him a good lesson!” Elaine gushed in excitement fueled by her own adrenaline.
“Elaine, give me the gun! No, point it sideways first!” Cheryl commanded as she snatched the Ruger from the child who stood proudly with the back of her legs and the seat of her pants mottled with snow. Elaine’s satisfied look of “job well done” quickly morphed into a frown as Cheryl panted “I told you not to touch the guns!”
Elaine’s pink cheeks flushed red and tears formed steaming pools on them as she answered “you weren’t here and he tried to take our stuff. I was looking in the house when I woke up and you were gone. He was knocking and I opened the door ‘cuz I thought Jeff came home ‘cuz it sounded loud like a man knock. I unlocked the door, and then I opened it, and he was an army man who talked like Arnold Shorts ‘n legger…”
“Arnold Schwarzenegger?” Cheryl interrupted; not knowing if she should laugh and likewise not certain that the explanation was plausible.
“Yes, mommy, he had army clothes on and he said that he needed some of our food and that if I didn’t give it to him the united navies would come…”
“United Nations?” Cheryl again interrupted, and there was something in the earnestness of the child’s explanation that was starting to be convincing.
“Yes, the United Nations” Elaine replied.