I really couldn’t be any more pleased with myself about how well work is progressing on the follow-up novella to my horror comedy Dead Heat. I’ve been working on it in bits and pieces most of the year but only in the last month has it all fallen into place. I’m going on holiday soon (more about that in another post) but I still expect to get Dead Lock ready in time for Halloween, if not shortly afterwards.
Who wants to see a short sample? Of course, you do. Here is a section of chapter 3 exploring some unresolved issues.
Afterwards, the two figures lie naked on the floor. They wrapped themselves in the mass of blankets to keep away the cold trying to force its way around the doorjamb. Jim draped his arm around Kate’s prone form in a protective manner while she stroked his belly affectionately.
‘How many were released?’
‘Six of us,’ he replied.
Kate looked at him quizzically, ‘I thought there were four wings?’
‘There are. New arrivals in A wing are exempt for the first two years of their sentence, apparently.’
Kate sighed, ‘it’s the same in our prison. Three wings, only women from two wings get released.’ A moment of silence passed. ‘I guess that means we’re back together?’ said Kate kissing Jim’s naked shoulder.
He pulled her in close and kissed her forehead. ‘We never broke up, Kate.’
‘I know,’ she sighed, ‘but I haven’t seen you in four years. You can’t blame a girl for assuming the worst. I half expected you to turn up at the other end of the country with a wife and three kids, not in prison.’
‘That wasn’t my fault,’ his tone was almost accusatory.
‘I know that too, babe. I just didn’t think I would see you again.’ She shrugged.
‘It was a trumped up charge. I’d never seen those posters. I had nothing to do with them, even though I agreed with every word printed on them.’ He kissed her forehead.
She looked up at him quizzically, a small crease furrowing on her brow. ‘Posters?’
‘Yes, the anti-government posters. They found them in my flat but I swear I didn’t put them there.’
‘I believe you,’ she said. ‘I never did find out what happened. The rumours started as soon as you were arrested.’
‘What rumours?’ he pressed.
‘You know the Portsmouth Ripper stopped killing after you were arrested.’
Jim’s only response was silence.
‘People speculated, that’s all,’ she plied at the hair on his chest.
Jim pushed Kate off him and leaned back, giving her a disgusted look. ‘You think I was the Portsmouth Ripper? You think I murdered those women?’
She waved him into silence. ‘‘You can be a right shithead sometimes Jim. For fuck’s sake, no I don’t believe it for one minute and I’m pissed off you think I’m accusing you of being a serial killer. The only person who knows you better than you know yourself is me.’ She sat up, pulling the blanket to her chest. ‘I defended you. I had fucking television reporters on my doorstep and I defended you every step of the way, Jim, so don’t you dare!’
‘Then why did you bring it up?’ he growled.
Kate paused. ‘I don’t know Jim. I’ve always had a mouth with a loose motor. Sometimes, I just don’t know when to shut the fuck up; you’ve always know it. That’s all there is to it. For the last time, I don’t think you killed those women!’ Then she placed her hand on his arm.
This is a much more serious affair, but there are some funny moments – mostly involving unresolved relationship issues between Jim and Kate. As you can see, they are quite a volatile couple.
If you haven’t yet purchased Dead Heat, now is a perfect time. The novellas are companion novels, featuring the same people on the same island but in very different contexts from each other. Dead Heat is a horror-comedy and Dead Lock is more of a conventional zombie thriller.