Monday, February 23, 2009

Highway to Hell teaser

Two weeks until Highway to Hell debuts! To celebrate, I'm running a quick and dirty, win it before you can buy it contest on my website. Click over here to enter.

I'll also be posting fairly sizable teasers for the next two weeks. Enjoy!

(From Chapter One, Highway to Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore)

[Maggie and Lisa are in the car, heading for South Padre Island.....]

“Not that I can remember why that seemed like a good idea.” [I said.]

“Because we’re best friends.” Lisa unplugged my iPod and replaced it with hers. The screen cast her face in a cool glow, at odds with her devilish smile. “And when I take over the world, I’ll appoint you to a place of distinction in my Council of Evil.”

“Can’t wait.”

The music had started low--a distinctive, almost tribal, drumbeat. Bending her other leg to join the first, Lisa tapped her bare toes on the dash and drummed on her knees along with the Rolling Stones.

“You have got to be kidding me,” I said.

Lisa just grinned and sang along with Mick, “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste…”

“Sympathy for the Devil.” I slanted her a look of disbelief. “You have got a sick sense of humor.”

All I got was a wider grin and more lyrics. “’Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name.’”

“That might have been funny before you took up sorcery as a hobby.”

“One little demon summoning,” she said, as the chorus began. “And you never let me forget it.”

If she was going to Hell, I guess I was, too, because the outrageous irony dragged a laugh out of me. She bobbed her head, tapping the beat on her knees. This was why we were still friends, as much as because of the saving each other’s lives and teaming up against Evil stuff.

Abruptly, Lisa dropped her feet to the floorboard. “Brake lights.”

I peered into the darkness beyond the Jeep’s headlights. “I don’t see anything.” Only road and more road.

Drumbeats nearly drowned our voices. “There! Dead ahead.”

I glimpsed twin red beacons in the silver-grey darkness. But in the instant it took for me to shift my foot to the brake, the lights disappeared.

“Where’d they go?”

I’ve been around for a long, long year, sang the Stones.

“There!” Lisa pointed into the field. How had that car moved so fast? The gleam of red seemed to be moving off road, across scrub and between the shadows of scraggly mesquite.

“How…?”

“Maggie! Look out!” I slammed my foot on the brake. Lisa braced herself with a hand on the dash and another on the roll bar. I could see it now--something huge lay across both lanes, too close to swerve around. The Jeep hit the yielding bulk of the thing; a lower profile car would have smashed into it. But the off-road tires of the Wrangler went up and over, tilting precariously to one side. The whole vehicle shuddered as something scraped the undercarriage to the tune of tearing metal.

We hit the ground on the other side. There was a sharp crack, and my teeth rattled as we spun out, tires squealing like a tortured soul. The flat gray Purgatory of South Texas whirled past the windshield as I released the brake and turned the wheel into the spin, my right arm burning in sharp protest. Careening onto the shoulder, we came to a stop facing back the way we’d come.

The headlights illuminated the great misshapen carcass of a horned animal, dead in the middle of the highway. In the anti-climatic quiet, the Rolling Stones played on.

Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name.

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