Below are just a few random bits from my working draft of Chicago Down (the 1st draft). I have not written any real action scenes yet. But this gives a small feel about what’s going to go one. I had a bit of trouble transferring it to WordPress, so there might be some formatting weirdness. I tried to correct it.
Excerpt #1 –
The Florida sky was blue for as far as his eyes could see. But to look at him, you would not know it. His eyes were transfixed on something no one else could see. Something off in the distance. His face, a blank slate.
“Say that again, Rudy,” Al Capone said as stared out at swaying palm trees.
“Al. I’m tellin’ ya. I wouldn’t lie to ya,” Rudy said. There was a clear begging in his voice which trembled with both fear of what Al Capone might do if he did not believe him, and what he saw on in that Chicago garage on February 14th.
Al Capone sighed hard.
“Al, things didn’t go how we planned. I mean. It wasn’t supposed to go that way. You should’ve seen them…those things, Al. Al, you should have seen ‘em.” Rudy whined.
“Are you crying, Rudy?”
Rudy sniffled into the phone. “No. But there were monsters. I’m tellin’ ya. Like the ones that killed Little Joe Gilmore and that flapper, Dorine. Like Rebecca said. They weren’t alive. Al, how did they go around the city and no one seen.
How?” Rudy carried on, raving quietly, voice shaking. “Al, you have to come home.”
“Rudy. Rudy, close your damn head.”
“But, Al. You should’ve seen ‘em, Al. I never seen anything…Ask John and Alberto. Al, I’m tellin’ ya.”
“Rudy, shut it. Close it!” Rudy fell silent. “I’ll be back to Chicago soon. Don’t say anything. You don’t know a thing.”
“No. No, sir. Nothing,” Rudy swore.
“And, Rudy,” Al said.
“No tiger milk. No flappers. No whores. Understand me? Don’t set yourself up to be anyone’s patsy. Got me?”
“I’ll be there soon to figure this out,” Al hung up.
Copyright 2014 Wanda S. Paryla
Waves of heat rose from the barren, parched ground as if it were on fire. The sun blazed down, immobilizing Salbatora who sat on her father’s porch staring out across the land. If she could get a cool drink of water, just one mouthful, she would be grateful.
She let the thought of a cool drop of water go though. She thought instead of her father – a short, stout, but brave man who died. He had been gone for only three days and Salbatora’s grief, bitterness and fear was still fresh as their last hours together ran through her mind again.
“Salbatora. My sweet Sal. My little spitfire in breeches. You always hated dresses,” He laughed. “Your mother would fight you tooth and nail to get you into anything appropriate for a girl. We could never afford much. But she was good at making you and your sister pretty things,” he sighed then coughed as blood spewed from his lungs. “Your mother is dead. Your older sister is married to a man she hates. He treats her like vermin. You go. Find your brother in the United States. You find him. He did no wrong. You prove it to them. You show them he is a good man. And take Antonio with you. He’s but a boy. He needs you. You find Pedro so the three of you can be a family again. Then, you find a good man to marry.”
“Go to the United States. Find Pedro, my brother. Where is he, Father? Where?” Sal paced the dirty floor of their home. “Where do I start? Please. Tell me if you know.”
“Find a man named Ness. Prove to him Pedro is innocent, and he will help you free your brother.”
“Ness? Ness what?”
Her father smiled and sank into sleep. Sal went out into the hot night air. Starring up at the sky, full of stars, she gave in. “I’ll find him, father. This Ness. He’ll help me find Pedro.”
Sal sat with her rifle at her side, admiring the heavenly skies of her homeland, drinking sips of warm water. How she longed for a cold spring flowing with cleaning, sparkling water. But, even more than water, she wanted her family back. However, that would never happen. And now, with her mother dead, her sister married to a hateful gangster, and her father dying, there was no reason to stay in Mexico. At just seventeen, Salbatora would take her ten year old brother, Antonio, and leave the home that now lay more barren than it ever had in the past.
Sal went back into the house to be by her father’s side. She took his hand and he opened barely opened his eyes.
“Sal. My spitfire.”
She squeezed his hand and smiled at him, trying to be reassuring as he breathed his last. He laid there, dead, eyes focused on her. She let him look for a moment then attempted to close his eyelids. She could get only one eyelid to respond, the other stayed staring.
Sal covered him over with a blanket, grabbed her rifle and went back outside. She sat in a chair staring off into the darkness of the desert trying to decide what to do. She was brave before her father died. Now she questioned her promise. She milled it over again and gain. Stay at the homestead or go find this man named Ness.
She dozed on and off in the chair and the sun was finally coming up over the horizon when she finally stirred. “It’s going to be another hot one,” Sal said whispered to no one.
The quietness of the dawn was ruined by a loud thump and thud coming from behind her. It alarmed Sal and she spun in her chair to find where the noise came from. She spotted Jesus, her father’s mule, at the side of the house. It looked as if he had knocked over a wooden pale.
“Jesus! You crazy mule. You nearly scared me to hell.”
A thud and a crashing noise came from inside the house. The sound scared Jesus who took off running at a quick pace. Sal sprung up from her chair.
“Damn, Jesus! Wish I could get you to go that fast more often.” The mule just kept going. “What the hell’s going on in there?”
Sal hesitantly approached the house. Through the doorway she saw a shadow move among the glowing lights of the kerosene lamps. “Antonio?” She whispered. “Antonio,” she stepped through the doorway. “You’re supposed to be at Ana’s…” Her words left her.
There stood her father half illuminated by the lamps, the other half concealed by the shadows.
“Father?” Sal took one guarded step toward him. “It cannot be.”
Her father staggered forward. Left eye open, right partially closed, he stood with the blood he coughed up still on his chin and shirt. His eyes were void of emotion as he stumbled toward her with an outstretched arm, moaning and groaning, mouth agape.
“What the hell? Father? Father, what are you…” She shook for a moment. As he came closer, he seemed to not know a thing. Stunned, Sal could not move. She was frozen as she observed her father, now seemingly alive, but not at all like himself. As he came toward her, he did not notice the table in his path. He ran into it and hit his face on a chair back as he fell to the ground. He laid there disoriented and moaning.
Despite her disbelief that her father could be alive, she warily approached him. Still on the ground, he lurched at her, grabbed her ankle. She screamed and tried to pull away. She fell to the floor. Her father looked up at her and his left eye was out of its socket, resting against his face.
Sal screamed and nearly lost consciousness as her father crawled toward her. She kicked at him. Her foot hit his face and dangling eye and it totally dislodged and fell to the floor. Sal got loose and scuttled on her hands and knees to the porch. When she stood up and spun around, her father was still crawling toward her.
“Oh, God! What are you?” She asked him.
Without any further examination, her mind settled on demon. Why would a demon possess her father’s dead body?
“Oh, no you won’t,” she said. She charged over to the chair where she had kept vigil with the sky all night and grabbed her rifle.
She stalked up to the porch and just as her father, now back on his feet, came to the door she only hesitated for a second or two before she blew the top of his head off.
“No!” Antonio screamed just as their father hit the ground. He ran toward their father but Salbatora intercepted and grabbed him. “No, Sal!” he yelled.
“Antonio, listen to me.” He struggled against her. “No, Antonio. That was not our kind father. He died in the night.”
Her brother stopped squirming. “If he was dead, why did you shoot him? I saw him walking. I saw him.”
“Antonio,” she hugged him tight. “It was a demon. Father died peacefully in the night. But this…thing…took over his body. For some reason, the thing was after me.” Tears flowed down her cheeks as the realization of what just happened hit her. “I think he… it…wanted to kill me. It was not father, it was a walking corpse.”
“You mean, like Uncle Eduardo said happened to his wife’s mother, Lupe?”
“Yes. Like that.”
“Oh, no,” Antonio stepped away from Sal. “Oh, no.”
“Only two hours ago, Ana’s son, Julio, died from a fever. She made Maria and me stay outside most of the night. When I left…I mean, I…Everything was okay. But what if?”
“Stay here,” Sal ordered and she started back to the house.
“No,” Antonio grabbed her hand. He looked toward their father.
“It’s fine now, Antonio. I promise. Father really is at peace this time.”
Sal entered the house and gathered ammunition for her rifle. She put on her gun belt and grabbed her father’s guns then went back out to meet Antonio.
“You should stay here. It’s safer.”
“Safer?” He looked toward his father’s corpse. “I don’t think so.”
She took him by the shoulders. “Now, Antonio. I told you, father’s dead. You are safer here than anywhere.”
“And what if more of…of them…show up?” He gestured toward the zombie corpse that was once their father.
“Point taken. Come on.”
Copyright 2014 Wanda S. Paryla