Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hot Excerpt from The Color of Seven, Dark, Book 1 by Gail Roughton


The Color of Seven
Dark, Book 1


Deep in the woods that slide off into Stone Creek Swamp, teenage drug dealers retrieve their stash and receive an unexpected dividend—the unwitting resurrection of Cain, powerful Bokor of Black Magic.  Atop Coleman Hill, two young attorneys renovate a decrepit relic for their home and office.  A house with a past it wants to share, gifting rising young attorney Ria Knight with tantalizing scenes of its original owner.  The past, like evil, never dies.  It just—waits. 
 

"From the unexpected beginning, Gail Roughton weaves a tale set in the past and present, horror and romance deftly interweaving to set the stage for an inevitable showdown between good and evil where not everyone will get out alive. Suspenseful and poignant, The Color of Seven will grip you in Ms. Roughton's novel, not letting you go until the last page is turned." ~5 Stars, Writer Stuart West


Excerpt:
 


Chapter One



Twin dirt bikes tore through the night, shattering the stillness of the woods. The riders couldn’t ride fast enough to escape the vision chasing them. The vision of the skeleton sprawled across the cave floor, the rotting stake lying against its rib bones. Or of the resurrection begun when they’d pulled the stake from its resting place.
Back in the cave, that resurrection accelerated. Arms and legs rippled with muscle. The rib cage re-fleshed itself as the face re-formed. The skeleton moved its arms and worked its mouth. A croak issued from newly formed vocal cords. A shout split the dark.
“I’m alive!”
The echoes bounced off the cave walls as the figure inched forward and stood. The man, a coal black giant with shaved skull and massive shoulders, tore off the rags clinging to his new flesh and stood naked in the night. His new body raged with thirst. He sniffed the air and caught the scent of prey.
The man didn’t know where he was, though he knew where he’d been. He knew who’d drained his body of life-sustaining blood and buried him in the cave. He didn’t know how much time had passed but it didn’t matter. If he was alive again, then his nemesis, that interfering highfaluting white doctor, the recipient of the dark powers he himself had unleashed—he was somewhere near as well. And by all the dark gods, he would find him. But first, he must have blood. He sniffed the air. He didn’t care if the prey was animal or human. He must hunt. He must stalk and capture, bite and tear. And drink. And drink. And drink.
He stood, naked under the moonglow, and reveled in his rebirth.
“I’m aliiiiiiiiive!” he shouted again. His laughter rushed out over the woods and moved on further, filling the deepest reaches of the swamp. Night fishermen, tending their lines along Stone Creek, stopped dead in their tracks and shivered. The night noises of the frogs and crickets ceased. No hoot-owl or whippoorwill sent forth its distinctive calls. Even the swamp snakes ceased to slither. The heartbeat of the woods and swamp stopped. It took a remarkably long time for it to resume.

* * *

The house on Orange Street sat and waited.
While it waited, it remembered the glory of its early years. It felt unloved and unwanted as it sulked within the narrow boundaries of its city lot, pouting in the humid haze of the July heat.
The gracious two-story brick had been such a happy house. In its past life, its rooms were open and airy, painted in light colors, with golden woodwork and scrolled mantles over the fireplaces. A fitting haven for the golden couple who laughed within its walls.
The succession of owners hadn’t been kind to the house. They’d partitioned its interior into apartments and later into offices, allowing it to slide into shabby disrepair. Its spacious rooms were now small and dark, the glowing woodwork raped by paint. The hardwood floors lay hidden beneath cheap carpet. The ceilings looked down on the walls and floors and sighed.
Still, the house hoped. Perhaps it had absorbed into its bricks and boards the optimism and vitality of the young doctor who’d been its first master.
A ‘For Sale’ sign stood in the front yard. Maybe someone special would walk through its front door and see it not as it was, but as it had been, as it could be again. Maybe even today.
And as the house sat lonely under the blazing sun, a car pulled up and parked at its curb. A young man got out of the car and slapped another notice over the ‘For Sale’ sign. He stepped back to survey his handiwork.
‘Sold.’

* * *

Sunset streaked in lines of purple and crimson over the horizon. It faded into streamers of rose and mauve before dying away into full dark.
Deep in the woods near Stone Creek, the giant emerged from the cave in the side of the hill. He stood, tall and still naked, and sniffed the air. His bare chest and upper arms were roadmaps of dried blood from the prior night’s frenzied feeding, his hand reddish-brown. His animal intelligence knew there were things he must investigate. He didn’t know exactly where he was. He assumed he was still near Macon, Georgia, the city he’d chosen for his last and greatest victory. He didn’t know what amount of time had passed since the hated white man snatched triumph from his waiting grasp.
He felt stirrings of the dark powers he’d first explored the prior night when he’d cast himself out in the night, disincorporating into a whirlwind of swirling molecules, coming together again into solid form by the power of his thoughts. Now, removed from the red mist of his urgent hunt for blood, he remembered the night of his defeat, his enemy’s strength, the relentless attacks, no moment spared for the actual act of moving from one point to another. Now he understood.
He stood, upraised nostrils quivering to catch the scent of blood. He gave his body a mental push and disappeared into the thick trees. Every living wood creature went on high alert, fully aware of the new predator who appeared and disappeared silently with no warning.
The hours of the hunt flew by. He looked up at the moon, then back at the body of the wild dog he was holding in his hands. He tossed the carcass casually into the pile of fur that only an hour before had roamed through the undergrowth in a large pack.
He laughed. His bloodlust lingered as a dull echo. He sensed that echo would never fully die away, no matter how much blood he guzzled. But for tonight, he’d had enough, which was as good as a feast. There were matters to be tended to, things to be considered.
He sent his swirling essence into the air and returned to his lair, where he sat in cogitation for some half-hour. The woodlife, sensing the cessation of the active hunt, gradually resumed some measure of normality.
First, he needed to be sure he was still where he thought he was, somewhere on the fringes of the city. Then he needed to check how much time had passed in dark limbo. A very long time, he was sure. During the course of his hunt strange noises off in the distance reminded him of the rushing sound of a locomotive, but he knew that wasn’t it, exactly.
He needed an acolyte. Someone to introduce him to this new world. An acolyte to follow him blindly and serve him devotedly, do all things needful and necessary to be done to ensure his continued well-being.
Struck by a sudden idea, he got up and paced off the clearing in measured strides. Someone else had been here last night. Someone had uncovered the cave and pulled the rotting wood from his rib cage. He sniffed and came to point.
Two. There’d been two. One of the scents, though faint, still gave off the pleasing aroma of terror. The other scent, much stronger, was the scent of another predator leaving its spoor. Its strong smell of fear mingled with something else, something broadcasting simultaneous strength and weakness, flavored with a hint of madness. He smiled. Even a human should be able to track this spoor. And he was anything but. 

(C) Copyright 2012 Gail Roughton




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