Saving People is a Stupid Thing to Do

This is a snippet from the first chapter of my upcoming novel, DEATH DEFIANT. I hope you enjoy it.

 

The woman crossing the street stared at her magazine, and the car speeding towards her paid no attention. Cheri froze for a brief moment, taking in the situation as Tyler tugged her arm to get her attention. If she ever dared to count the stupid things she had done in her life, it would be a very long, embarrassing list, but as she ran forward and shoved the woman out of the sports car’s path, she realized this would definitely be the number one Stupid Thing Ever Done.

The car hit Cheri’s knees. Her eyes locked with the driver’s for a split second as her tibia shattered. The driver stood on his brakes as she crashed into the windshield and rolled over top the rest of the car before hitting the pavement. A sick, wet thud cracked the air when her head took the brunt of the fall and her body crumpled around her broken neck.

Blood flecked the blacktop and the saved woman’s pant legs, her scraped palms nothing compared to the way Cheri’s limbs twisted at impossible angles. As he ran to her, Tyler’s eyes grew wide with terror. His huge hands tried to set her body up right, as if that would somehow fix her. Pedestrians on the sidewalk stopped, as did oncoming traffic, everyone staring at the broken body of the girl in the road.

The saved woman stood. Walking past her discarded issue of Vogue, she stumbled towards her savior’s body.

“Somebody call an ambulance!” Tyler said, trying to stop tears from crawling down his cheeks. He supported Cheri’s head and shook her, trying to wake her up. He looked around at the crowd gathered on the sidewalk. Many people had taken their cell phones out, but few looked to be using it to call anyone. Some focused their cameras on the two, and that only put Tyler into a rage.

He stood, entire body shaking. Just a few feet away, some teenager’s camera phone focused on Cheri’s body. Tyler stalked towards him with his fists clenched at his sides. Before he could get there, though, the driver’s side door of the sports car opened, and a man – a kid, really, who couldn’t have gotten his license more than a few months ago – stepped out.

Tyler turned on him, shouting, spit flying from his mouth as his hands balled up in the driver’s blazer, slamming him back into the car. The saved woman looked on, but then her gaze shifted to Cheri’s body. She knelt next to her and reached out…

Then she stopped, eyes transfixed as the body twitched. Limbs moved, realigning themselves. Blood splattered on the pavement dissolved into red smoke, and Cheri’s head twisted itself to a more natural position with a sick crunch.

Tyler stopped and turned to look at his friend’s body, just in time to see the worst of it: the curling, ice blue horns that grew just above her ears; the smaller ones pushing from her knees and elbows, ripping through her docent’s jacket and best pair of black slacks; the inch-long ones jutting from each of her knuckles, from discolored spots she’d always told her friends were old scars.

Bloodless and unharmed, she blinked, sat up, and the first person started screaming.

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