Nimrod (Dark Season 2.1) is out at Amazon and, for Nook users, at Smashwords. But in just a few days, on Saturday July 14th, Shy People (Dark Season 2.2) will be available. Here’s a preview for Shy People. Hope you like it!
We walk all night through the pouring rain, eventually reaching the outskirts of town just before dawn. Moving quickly, we hurry across the flooded railroad tracks and head for the dumpsters behind one of the small supermarkets. The lids are padlocked shut, but we’ve brought bolt-cutters and soon we’re going through the trash. Unfortunately, it looks as if the owners of the supermarket have realised that we’re feeding from their garbage, and they’ve poured bleach on all the left-over food. Now that we have human bodies and human guts, we can’t risk eating this stuff.
“Damn them to hell,” Cassandra says, rain streaming down her face as she slams the lid shut.
“Now what?” It’s hard to hear her above the sound of rain on every surface.
“We try somewhere else,” I say, trying to keep our momentum going. With cold rain seeping through our clothes, it would be too easy to give up. “We can’t go back empty-handed, the others will kill us”.
She stares at me, clearly not appreciating the joke. “I think there’s another supermarket on the other side of the parking lot,” she says. “We’ve got time, if we hurry”.
We head across the wide, open space of the parking lot. If anything, the rain is getting worse, belting down so hard that the whole city seems to be hissing. Trying to keep to the shadows as much as possible, we nevertheless find ourselves passing perilously close to large artificial lights. If there’s anybody around, they’ll certainly spot us, but fortunately we quickly reach the next set of dumpsters. These ones aren’t even padlocked, and we find plenty of sandwiches that have been thrown out.
“Bingo,” Cassandra says, starting to scoop them out and put them into her bag.
Soon we’ve loaded up with enough to keep us going for a couple of days. Say what you like about humans, but they sure throw a lot of good stuff away. If they were more efficient, and more careful, people like us wouldn’t stand a chance.
“We should get going,” I say eventually, noticing that the sky is starting to lighten. Dawn is coming
“Careful!” Cassandra shouts. We both crouch behind the dumpster as a police car drives slowly across the parking lot. For a moment, I worry that they’ve seen us. I’d hate to have to kill again. Fortunately, the car drives away.
Loaded down with as much food as we can carry, Cassandra and I turn and hurry back across the parking lot, over the railroad tracks and into the forest. It takes us hours to make our way to the encampment, but although some of our group feel it would be safe to move closer to the town, the rest of us insist that we must stay far away from the humans. If the people of Dedston discovered that we existed, they would surely drive us from the area.
The rain just gets worse and worse. As we’re getting close to home, Cassandra stops. “Look,” she says.
I follow her gaze down to the river, but at first I don’t see anything except rain, rain and more rain.
“There,” she says, putting her bags on the floor and hurrying over to the swollen riverbank, with is threatening to burst after several days of heavy rain. “Don’t you see him?”
I look again, and this time I see what she’s referring to. Down in the water, almost completely submerged with just his head and shoulders visible, there’s a man. He looks to be badly hurt and unconscious, and he’s covered in thick mud from the river. The fact that the mud isn’t washing off in the rain suggests that it has dried on his skin for a few days.
“He’s dead,” I say, turning away..
“No,” she replies. “He’s breathing”.
“Barely,” I say, looking back. “We don’t have time to help stray humans. If he’s not dead now, he’ll die of pneumonia in a couple of hours. Come on”. I turn to walk away, but I quickly realise that
Cassandra isn’t following. I stop and look back at her. “There’s nothing we can do,” I shout over the rain. “We have to go”.
“He’s not human,” Cassandra says.
I sigh. “Come on,” I say, “we have to get out of here”.
Instead of listening to me, however, she starts scrambling down to the water, making her way carefully over to the injured man. With the riverbank reduced to a pile of mud, she’s taking a hell of a risk going down there. Sometimes, I think she forgets that we’re not what we used to be. She acts like she’s still invincible.
“I’m not helping you,” I shout down to her. “We can barely look after ourselves. We certainly can’t nurse some idiot back to health just because we happened to find him in the forest. We don’t need another mouth to feed”.
“He must have been washed away by the river,” she shouts back at me as she examines him.
“He’s lucky to be alive. He’s bleeding, and…” She pauses.
“What?” I ask eventually.
She turns to me, a look of shock on her face.
“What?” I ask again, becoming increasingly impatient.
She pauses. “It’s him”.
Shy People (Dark Season 2.2) will be available on Saturday July 14th.