The Becoming: Excerpt #1 — In Which We Meet Brandt Evans
It is almost exactly ten weeks until the release of the audiobook of The Becoming, and in anticipation of the release of it and the ebooks/paperbacks (which are coming at approximately the same time), I’m going to be posting a weekly series of posts pimping out the novel in question, including excerpts from the novel, songs from the playlists that I’ve compiled, and whatever other fun stuff comes to mind as I progress through this.
Throughout the excerpts, I’m going to be introducing the major characters of The Becoming and the general situation that they find themselves stuck in.
So without further ado, to kick off these fun little games, I bring you an excerpt from the novel in which you will meet one of the main male leads, Brandt Evans. So read on for the first excerpt debuting from The Becoming, and feel free to let me know what you think of it!
Brandt Evans’s scuffed black combat boots struck the wet pavement heavily as he ran down the rain-dampened street. His heart hammered wildly against his ribs, as if it were trying to beat free from his chest. His breathing was loud and harsh. His hands sweated and shook uncontrollably. His whole body was on edge.
He had been running for over half an hour.
Brandt ducked into an alley without slowing his pace. He dropped down beside a smelly, overflowing green dumpster to hide. Leaning back against the cool brick wall, he felt the solidness of it, the rough stones scraping against his back through his thin t-shirt. He closed his eyes and struggled to breathe. His lungs burned. His eyes hurt.
He was a rabbit trying to outrun a fox. Hunted. Desperate.
He just needed a moment to rest. Just one moment. He could spare a moment, couldn’t he?
Brandt leaned forward and peered at the alleyway’s opening. He took in a deep breath of the sharp, cold January air and rubbed his hands over each of his arms in turn to ward off the chill. He’d lost his jacket at some point during the chase, and he desperately wished he still had it as he hunched over and shivered. He held his breath until his chest ached, and then he slowly released it. It clouded the air before his face.
Brandt thought he might have lost them, but he didn’t want to take any chances. There was no way to know how many had followed him, how many had caught his scent. He had to assume that it wasn’t just one or two. He had to assume that he was being pursued. Always pursued. If he let his guard down…
Brandt wiped his sweating palms down the thighs of his camouflage pants and leaned back against the wall again. He knew what would happen if he were caught. He’d seen many of his fellow soldiers succumb to the plague. He knew that if he were caught, it would all end in blood and pain and death. It was not the end he had envisioned for himself when he’d taken this mission, and he refused to let it turn out that way.
The faces of the other soldiers flashed through Brandt’s mind, and guilt settled heavily over him. Even he had known the exact moment when the quarantine failed, when the mission fell apart. But rather than acknowledge the abject failure of the mission and order a retreat, those in command had continued to bark orders at those under their charges to fight and to die.
The guilt of surviving would plague Brandt for the rest of his life.
Brandt had to get out of the city, as soon as he possibly could, if he expected to stay alive. He had to run. He had to get ahead of the infection, flee, and find a safe place to hide. He didn’t care that he’d abandoned his post. His post didn’t exist anymore, as far as he was concerned. Half of the military didn’t. They’d all died or turned within the past several hours. All except for him.
A faint noise echoed from the alleyway’s entrance. Brandt’s heart jumped into his throat and choked him. Brandt leaned to peer around the edge of the dumpster again, and his hand wandered to the military-issue Beretta M9 handgun at his hip. He drew it and ejected the magazine to look inside. It was empty, as expected. He pulled back the slide. He already knew what he would find: a single bullet, the one he’d carefully counted ammunition to save. Just in case.
But Brandt was nothing if not a survivor. Even with the lone bullet in his possession, he’d never have the will to use it on himself. He snapped the magazine back into the gun as quietly as he could. The sound was too loud to his ears, and he worried that the simple action would draw unwanted attention to him.
As if on cue, a shuffling noise came from the other side of the dumpster. A quiet snarl followed it, along with an odd snuffling sound. Brandt closed his eyes and instinctively pressed his back more firmly against the brick wall. He became the rabbit again, shrinking back among the loose trash that skittered about in the stiff, cold wind; he hoped against hope that he wouldn’t be sniffed out. Another jolt of adrenaline pumped into Brandt’s veins as an ominous chill ran down his spine and raised the hair on the back of his neck. He could have sunk into the bricks and hidden inside them.
Brandt’s instincts whispered that there was not going to be an escape from this one. Brandt wasn’t sure how much more of this he could take. The idea of being chased, of being caught, was slowly driving him insane. He had to do something, anything to alleviate the awful sensation.
Brandt took a deep, steadying breath and stood abruptly. His head swam at the sudden movement; his vision dimmed, and the alleyway spun around him. His heart lurched in his chest. Brandt shook his head and caught his hand against the dumpster to steady himself as he lifted the gun. The weapon felt incredibly heavy, and the barrel trembled. He swallowed and curled his finger to depress the trigger.
Like what you read?
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You can now also pre-order The Becoming, the first book in The Becoming Trilogy, at Barnes & Noble for only $10.08!
(As a side note relating to the pre-order, I’ve gotten several people asking me if there’s a way they can get the book autographed. To answer that question, I’ll have more information posted closer to the book’s release on how you can get that done.)