Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Excerpt 7 -- This hearse is looking for a body...

An excerpt from The Hearse...

Rylan was fantasizing about sleep when he glanced in his rearview mirror. His gaze locked on what he saw there. Two headlights, roughly fifty yards away, he guessed. Behind the headlights was the outline of a hearse. From this distance, in the dead of the night, Rylan knew he shouldn’t be able to make out anything behind the headlights. But the hearse was clearly visible. It was black. All hearses are black. An odd bluish glow enveloped the vehicle, bringing out details that should not have been visible.

At the sight of the hearse Trish’s first words, what she told when he arrived at her house, came flooding back. She said she was convinced someone killed Randy, even though he was found lying in the kitchen floor, felled by a heart attack in the middle of the night. Trish said she thought someone had been stalking Randy – that for two days before he died Randy said he kept seeing a hearse following him around town.

She said Randy only glimpsed it at first – catching a reflection in the mirror, then it would be gone. Later that day every time he went out he saw it, following him, or parked in the same garage. He had told her the same thing happened the day he died.

Trish said Randy was convinced he was going to die, that the hearse was some sort of harbinger. She thought it was something more easily explained, though just as sinister – a stalker. She didn’t know why, or have any idea by whom, but to her that explanation made more sense than her thirty-seven-year-old husband dropping dead in the kitchen floor.

She had shared this with the police, but they treated her like a hysterical wife, too distraught over her husband’s death to think clearly. Rylan didn’t respond to her suspicions. Truth was, he thought the same as the police. The medical examiner had pronounced the cause of death most likely a heart attack, with no reason to investigate further. Case closed. Now Rylan wished he had paid more attention to her, asked her more about the hearse, about what happened leading up to Randy’s death.

Rylan glared nervously at the mirror, the sleep that had been dancing at the edges of his mind now gone. Rylan glanced at the speedometer – sixty-five. He nudged the cruise control a bit until the speedometer read seventy, then looked back at the mirror.

The hearse matched his speed, staying the same distance behind.

He tapped the cruise control button twice more, pushing the speed to seventy-five. He kept his eyes on the road ahead, too scared to look in the mirror. Finally, after several minutes he did glance at the mirror. The hearse was still there, keeping pace.

Rylan mashed the accelerator. The speedometer shot up, past eighty, past ninety. Rylan knew there was a good chance he would trip some state trooper’s radar, end up with a ticket, feeling silly that he had let a simple hearse spook him. He didn’t care.
Feeling silly explaining all this to a cop would be a relief. The speedometer passed ninety-five, inched close to one hundred.

Rylan kept his eyes on the road ahead of him, as nervous about driving at this speed as he was about the hearse tailing him. He glanced at the dashboard clock – one forty-five. He kept driving, his focus on the road ahead, not wanting to look in the mirror until he’d left the hearse behind. He drove and glanced at the clock, repeating the process as the clock ticked off one minute, then two, three, four, five. Another minute later Rylan could stand it no longer. He looked in the mirror.

Still roughly fifty yards behind the hearse followed.

“Damn,” Rylan whispered.

He lifted his foot from the accelerator and gently pressed the brake. The speedometer dropped – eighty, seventy, sixty, fifty.

Rylan looked in the mirror. The hearse slowed, keeping the same distance between them.
For just 99 cents you can read the rest of The Hearse, as well as all the stories in my collection THE ALCHEMIST & OTHER DARK TALES (sale ends, soon, though!). Download here for your Kindle, or here for your Nook.

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