The Becoming: Excerpt #3 — In Which There’s Blood
It’s now eight weeks until the release of the audiobook of The Becoming, and in anticipation of that release, I am 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.
This week’s entry is a day early, and in it, we start to get a feel for what dangers these characters now face.
Ethan paced back and forth in front of the cold fireplace in the living room. He had been checking his watch and stopping to look out the front windows every few minutes for the past hour, ever since Anna had grabbed her go-bag and run out of the house to go to the hospital. Everything about him, emotionally and physically, was on edge. He wanted desperately to go out, track Anna down, and drag her back to the house, regardless of what she wanted or what her supervisors said. He just didn’t feel it was safe enough for her to be out on her own without protection against any of the crazies that were now running the streets.
The sudden sharp, familiar sound of gunshots echoed out in the night. Ethan froze and looked up from his contemplation of the floorboards. He counted the shots silently, deciding that there were four of them, and then he tried to guess where they had come from. Ethan couldn’t be positive, but he had the sneaking suspicion that they’d come from the direction of Cade’s house.
Ethan frowned and grabbed his Glock 17 from the coffee table; he’d taken it out after the reports of the riots broke on the news and his bosses called him with instructions. He was unsure of what he was going to face as he headed for the front door and flung it open, but whatever it was, he’d be armed when he faced it.
Ethan turned off the safety on his gun as he walked out into the dew-dampened grass. He looked around cautiously as he crossed the front yard and headed toward Cade’s house. His dress shoes slipped on the grass, and he made a disgusted face as he glanced down at his getup. He should have changed clothes before he went to investigate the source of the gunshots. Dress shoes, pants, and a nice shirt weren’t exactly ideal clothes to wear for a potential fight.
A loud thud at the front of Cade’s house drew Ethan’s attention, and he reflexively lifted his gun. He gripped it with both hands as he halted in his journey across the yard. His green eyes narrowed, and he squinted through the darkness. The silhouette of a person ran toward him. The sound of sobbing met his ears, and he lowered the gun as he realized who it was.
“Ethan!” Cade cried out as she ran. “Ethan, help!”
Ethan ran forward, struggling to keep from slipping on the damp grass in his ridiculous shoes, and met her in the space between their houses. Cade dropped a handgun onto the grass between them and flung herself into his arms. Ethan realized only after he’d wrapped both arms around her that her arms and torso were stained with blood. The front of her shirt was ripped open, and her feet were bare and wet.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” Ethan asked as he took in the sight of her. Cade choked back desperate sobs as she buried her face against his chest. Ethan could feel her entire body trembling, and he rubbed her back soothingly as he held her. “What the fuck happened?”
“Andrew killed Josie,” Cade said. She continued to cry, her voice muffled by his shirt. Ethan felt his heart drop into his gut as her words sank in. “He killed her and he attacked me and I shot him.”
Ethan focused on the handgun at his feet and the way Cade kept looking over her shoulder, as if she expected something to spring from the shadows by her house and attack. “Wait, slow down,” Ethan urged. He put his hands up in a calming gesture before he rested them both on her shoulders. “One thing at a time. What’s going on?”
“We need to get inside,” Cade said breathlessly. She grabbed Ethan’s wrist and pulled at it so hard that for a fleeting moment, Ethan thought she was about to dislocate it. “We need to lock the doors. It’s not safe out here.”
Ethan allowed Cade to lead him back inside his own house. She slammed the door shut and turned the deadbolt to lock it securely. She pulled the curtains covering the windows on either side of the front door tightly shut and checked that no light shone through them. Once done, Cade let out a slow breath and wiped at her face with the back of her hand. “He killed her,” Cade repeated. “He’s acting like … like one of those things on TV.” She rubbed at her face again, and the action left a smear of blood across her cheek. Ethan grabbed a tissue from the box on the coffee table and began to help her clean the blood from her face. “He fucking attacked Josie while she was asleep. He tore her open, Ethan!”
“Jesus,” Ethan breathed as Cade started to sob again. He wrapped his arms around her once again and closed his eyes. He wasn’t sure what to do. All of his professional training told him that he needed to arrest her and take her into the station, but his friendship with her and the constant chatter over the police scanner on the mantelpiece suggested otherwise. “I should go check it out,” he said.
“No!” Cade exploded. She took a step back from him and shook her head frantically. “No, no, don’t go over there. It’s not safe.”
“Babe, you said you shot him,” Ethan pointed out. Cade looked panicked. That fact, more than any other, scared him. Cade didn’t panic over anything. The woman was the most levelheaded person he’d ever met, and nothing seemed to faze her. Until now.
Cade breathed in a slow, shaky breath. “Yeah, I did. Four times.” She scrubbed at her left cheek with the tissue as she closed her eyes. “In the chest.”
“So let’s go take a look,” Ethan persisted. He stepped toward the door.
Cade shook her head and grabbed his wrist again, this time to stop him. She raised her head slowly to look at him, and Ethan was reminded of the creeping feeling he got when one of the characters in a scary movie was about to say something particularly ominous. “Ethan … he didn’t stay down.”
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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.)