The Explosive Opening to “Dead Lock” (Dead Heat Follow Up)

Just a few days have passed since I completed the first draft of Salmonweird. But the muse has definitely taken resident in my brain for a few weeks. I don’t think she will be going anywhere for the time being. On Sunday, I spent some time finally working on Dead Lock, my companion piece for horror-comedy Dead Heat.

As I said before, it’s going to be a very different style and theme. More along the lines of a typical horror with very little comedy, plenty of action and with lots of thrills. Here’s part of the explosive opening. Enjoy!

New Year and New moon.

The floodlights went out and the six men in the courtyard saw nothing. Not even the reflective brightness of snow permitted brief respite from the darkness that now consumed them. Every inch of ice, frost and snow cleared earlier by the other prisoners to make way for this running of the gauntlet.

One second has passed. Silence has fallen on everything except their breathing: short and rapid, infused with a deadly cocktail of panic and adrenaline. Six pairs of eyes begin to adjust to what little light is left. Stars sharpen into focus. They begin to make out the pair of gates before them – solid metal and 20 feet high.

Two seconds have passed. They can now see each other, or at the very least, make out the shape of one another. Arranged into two rows of three, close enough to reach out and touch, but far enough apart to be able to get away should anything go wrong.

Three seconds have passed. The sudden dawning that this is real – it’s going to happen washes over the crowd. Each man is poised differently. The man with calm breath has either come to terms with his own death or has a plan. The man with erratic breathing is panicking, or he has a plan that he thinks will not work, but will fight to the end to ensure he gets away.

Four seconds have passed. A sudden silence descends, a level of a lack of noise that they never knew existed. When you’re here, at the start, and ready for the beginning, there is much that you don’t notice – your pulse, your breath billowing in the cold wind, the sound of the crowd behind you muttering.

The courtyard is flooded with a red light and suddenly they can see again. But the blood red hue, deliberate and insidious, fills them only with continued dread. It’s possible within five minutes that all six of them will be dead – or worse.

‘When it-’ one of the men said.

‘Ssshhh,’ said a second. ‘get through this. Then we talk, we organise, right? Till them, shut the fuck up.’

Want to buy the first book in the sequence Dead Heat? final cover

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