Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sam's Sunday Snippet

He wants to be alone to think about his life…and ends up saving hers!

Depressed by injuries that have sidelined his career and pretty sure he’ll never find love, Heathcliffe goes to his cousin Peyton's Dude Ranch in Southern Indiana for some "alone" time. His plan is to contemplate the direction his life is taking and figure out how to get back on track.

But he didn’t count on Nita Harley, the ranch's newly hired activity director. Nita's an attractive, young widow who's trying to make sense of her life too, but her problems are much more urgent and dangerous than Heathcliffe's. Someone is killing everyone Nita connects with and, as their feelings for each other grow, she's pretty sure Heathcliffe will be next.

In Heathcliffe’s dream, a brisk wind slammed a shutter against the wall and made the dying fire sputter in the fireplace. Buried in the dream, he sat up and looked at the window, seeing nothing but a dense fall of white beyond the streaked glass.

The room was cold, so cold, and he was so tired. He turned to look at Nita and she was just lying there, her eyes open and unfocused, her small face so pale that her freckles were vibrant spots across her nose and cheeks. Her pretty lips were colorless. His gaze slipped downward and fixed on the sheet draping her chest.

There was no telltale rise and fall. Nita was dead. He accepted the knowledge with a cold clarity that terrified him. On some level, even immersed in the dream, he knew he should be screaming. But he was strangely numb.

Something else bothered him, though. His mind struggled to grasp it, but it continued to dance just beyond his grasp. Heathcliffe started to lie back down, started to close his eyes.

He was so tired. So t…


Yanked from sleep, Heathcliffe surged upright. His nose twitched. What was that smell? Like rotten eggs.

It was quiet outside. So quiet he could hear a soft hissing noise coming from the kitchen.

It took him a moment to figure out what the sound was. His heart beat against his ribs as he leapt from the bed, “Nita! Nita, get up, fast. We need to get out of here!”

She murmured and tossed her head but continued to sleep. The fire! Heathcliffe threw the cold fireplace a quick look as he scooped her up and started running toward the door.

The floor between the kitchen and the door was covered in dark spots. Here and there a chunk of snow still sat unmelted.

He hesitated only briefly in front of the door.

The fire was out but the pilot light was lit. The gas that saturated the air apparently hadn’t reached it yet. When it did it would ignite and blow in the space of time it took to gasp. Opening the outside door would change the air pressure, sucking that gas saturated air into the living area, and it would be all over. But if he didn’t open the door the gas drenched air would eventually find that flame, sooner rather than later, and blow.

He had no choice. He had to move fast.

He threw the bolt, wrenched the door open, and plowed through the snow just as the world exploded behind them. The explosion rocked the ground beneath his feet and sent them flying on a burst of superheated air. 

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