I thought it would be fun this time around to share with you a chapter I wrote for Norman Oklahoma 2: The Girl Who Cried Vampire that will not appear in the book.
Think of it like a deleted scene in the Extras area of a DVD.
So I think instead I'll save it for either a short, or a book set in Norman's past.
Before I throw it out there...
Vote For Holliday's Gold and Help Me Out
I have been posting Holliday's Gold, one chapter at a time, over at JukePop Serials and they have a function that allows readers to vote for chapters.
So I'm asking my readers to take the time to go on over and vote for each chapter that's up now, and each chapter I post in the future (I post on Tuesdays and Thursdays).
You do have to register, but it's free and easy.
Once you are signed up you can commence to reading and voting ... and you can vote once per chapter (and if you are going to vote, I urge you to vote for each and every chapter). The more votes I get, the higher in the ranks I get, and the more exposure to new readers I get. So any help you all could do for me would be appreciated.
The link to Holliday's Gold on JukePop is:
Please vote. Thank you.
But hey, before we get to that deleted chapter ...
Would You Like to be a Beta Reader?
Would you like the opportunity to read Norman Oklahoma 2: The Girl Who Cried Vampire before everyone else?
Would your like you name to appear in the acknowledgements in the back of the book?
Well I'm looking for Beta Readers.
What's a Beta Reader?
Basically, you read the book and look for typos, grammatical errors, and issues with story flow. It's something that's done for free, but you get to read the book first and have your name listed in the acknowledgements thanking you for helping make the book possible.
Email me at email@example.com and I will send you an electronic copy of the book when it is completed (hopefully in two weeks).
HE WOKE AND was almost driven back to unconsciousness from the sudden assault to his senses. He felt an intense heat that was almost unbearable, smoke filled his nostrils, and he nearly choked on ash. The sounds of inhuman screaming beat at his ears and he didn’t want to open his eyes for fear of what he might see. But he could not just lay there in darkness. Keeping his eyes shut tight would not save him from whatever surrounded him. He’d need to join the world eventually.
But he wasn’t ready. Not quite yet. So he let himself slip back into the dark void.
He floated weightless and tried to collect his thoughts.
He couldn’t remember what brought him to this place, wherever this place was. He tried to stretch back along his memory and found nothing. Just the black. Only the void. He swam through the black, searching, needing something, some memory to grab hold of. He only found emptiness.
Then everything changed. All was still void, but the darkness, the black, had fled. He was among a white mist that swirled and danced all around him. He floated. Then, rising out of the mist was a mirror that encompassed everything he could see. He approached and gazed into its reflective surface and found nothing. He should be able to see himself, but there was nothing there. Just more mist.
The sudden realization that he had no memories brought the real world flooding back in a cacophony of sounds a chaos.
He opened his eyes. He was lying on his back among dirt and hay. All around him was fire and the screams of dying horses. He was on his feet in an instant, but no mater where he turned, he was only greeted by the roaring flames.
He was in some sort of horse barn, though beyond that, he was uncertain. The horses in the stalls bucked and screamed, kicking at the stall doors as the flames engulfed the structure around them.
He spun in a circle, looking for a way out, a break in the wall of fire, but he found nothing. He was trapped.
The smoke surrounded him and made it hard to see. He doubled over, coughing, and would have passed out if the front half of the barn hadn’t chosen that time to collapse, leaving a smoldering mound of wood and a bright hole beyond. A hole that led out.
He ran to each stall, opening the doors and letting the horses out. They ran to the new opening, sensing the clear air that lay on the other side. He followed.
He emerged into sunlight and chaos. Most of the buildings around him were burning. Screams and gunshots filled the air. The street teamed with men on horseback, men in gray uniforms. Among the men were their victims. Women, children, the elderly … the men on horseback seemed not to care. The men shot indiscriminately and the people fell all around.
He looked to the dead lying in the dirt street and felt an anger rise up in him. He went for his guns, finding them gone.
Guns? It was an instinct, going for guns that should have been hanging off of each hip. But the guns weren’t there. But more than that, the act brought him a sudden realization. He couldn’t remember his name.
He didn’t have much time to think about it as two of the armed men broke off from the main unit and rode to him. They wore the uniforms of confederate soldiers. How could he know that, but he couldn’t remember his name?
“Look at what we have here, Bill,” one of them said. He was fat, too fat to be on horseback, and his head and face was nothing but hair. “A Yankee boy.”
Yankee? He looked down at himself for the first time and saw that he was wearing the blue of the Union Army. A memory rolled over him and he almost fell.
War? The war between the states. He was a soldier for the North. Why could he remember that but nothing specific about himself?
“Shoot him, Dan,” the other said. This one was tall and lanky with a meticulously trimmed beard and mustache. “Shoot him, or I will.”
“What’s your name, boy?” the fat one said.
He didn’t answer. He couldn’t if he wanted to.
“Look at his arm, Bill,” the fat one said.
He couldn’t help but follow their eyes to his right bicep. Tied to it was a broad strip of dark green fabric.
“The Captain’s gonna want to see this one,” the other said.
The fat one pointed his rifle at him and he felt a sudden rage sweep over him.
“Let’s go, Mister,” the fat one said.
“Where?” he said, speaking for the first time. His own voice even sounded unfamiliar to him.
“The Captain is gonna want to ask you a few questions,” the fat one said.
“Captain?” he asked.
“Quantrill,” the fat one said, jerking his rifle quickly to the right, motioning for him to move.
Quantrill. That was a name that he knew. He looked once more at the green arm band, running his left hand over it for a moment. The band meant … something. He could feel that. It was important, but trying to get hold of the memory was like trying to catch smoke with a fisherman’s net.
“We ain’t asking you twice, Yankee,” the tall one said, leaning out over his horse and spitting.
Just then a woman came screaming toward them. Her dress was in tatters and her skin was covered in ash and burns. The tall soldier pulled a pistol and shot her down. The soldier smiled.
“These Jayhawkers die quick, wouldn’t you say, Dan?”
The two soldiers laughed.
And like that, he was on them.
One moment he was looking at the body of the woman, the next he casually stepped up to the fat man’s horse where a Navy Colt sat in a saddle holster.
“What do you—” the fat one began to say.
He pulled the pistol from the fat man’s saddle and in one smooth motion, thumbed back the hammer and fired.
The fat man fell from him horse, dead.
“Dan!” the tall one said, taking aim.
But he too fell.
A bugle sounded from behind and he spun. Another soldier sat ahorse and blew a few quick notes on a dented bugle.
“A Yankee!” the bugler shouted. “A Green Arm!”
He’d almost forgotten that he wasn’t alone with the two soldiers he’d just killed. Around him, the other soldiers turned to see what it was the bugler was shouting about. But before any of them could so much as raise a gun, he ran.
He felt no guilt or shame for running. He could feel from somewhere deep within that he was no coward, he just knew when to fight and when to flee. Running seemed to the best option at this point, what with the hundred or so guns that was out there on the street.
He ducked into a building with a sign hailing it as the Eldridge. There were more soldiers inside. The were all seated around a table and eating while a group of people cowered in a corner.
One of the soldiers looked up as he entered as the rest continued indulging themselves. The one soldier rose, going for a rifle that rested against the table.
“Green Arm!” the soldier yelled.
He turned to run, but was met in the doorway by even more soldiers. He was trapped.
“Search him,” a man said, stepping into the room from behind the soldiers at the door. It was Captain Quantrill himself. “And find Mueller.”
Two soldiers held on to him as a third searched through his pockets.
“What’s your name, Green Arm?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
Quantrill just smiled.
The soldier searching him pulled a piece of paper from his breast pocket and handed it to Quantrill. The Captain unfolded the paper and read what it said and smiled again.
“Mueller will be quiet happy to see you,” Quantrill said.
“Why?” he asked. “Who’s Mueller? What’s the paper say?”
He didn’t have to wait long for either answer as a man entered the room. He was not wearing a uniform, but he carried with him the weight of rank. Every soldier in the room snapped to attention, even Quantrill.
“What do we have here, Captain?” Mueller said. His voice had a slight German accent.
“A Green Arm, sir. He shot two of the men,” Quantrill said.
“Then kill him, Captain,” Mueller said in a dismissive, matter of fact tone. “Why bother me with such trivialities.”
“He had this on him,” Quantrill said, handing over the piece of paper.
He watched as Mueller read what was on the paper, and like Quantrill before him, Mueller smiled. The only difference was that when Mueller smiled, he could see that the man’s upper incisors ended at sharp, needle-like points. This stirred something within him and he had to fight back the urge to leap upon the man and throttle him.
“Very good,” Mueller said, clutching at the paper. “Yes, Captain. You did the right thing by alerting me at once.”
“He claims to not know his name,” Quantrill said.
“Does he?” Mueller smiled.
Mueller turned from Quantrill and stepped up to the man with no name.
“We’ve been looking for you for quite some, you know,” Mueller said.
“Why?” he said. “Who am I?”
“You do not know?” Mueller said.
“No,” he said.
“I have to say I find this most displeasing,” Mueller said. “But I have to admit that this act you’re doing, it makes me skeptical.”
“Act?” he said. “What act? Do I know you?” He began to struggle against the two soldiers who held him.
“You say you do not know who you are?” Mueller said.
“Yes,” he said.
“Do you know where you are or how you got here?”
“I don’t know what has happened to you, my old friend, but I believe you,” Mueller said, then nodded to the soldiers. “Let him go.”
The two soldiers let go of his arms and Mueller held out the paper to him.
“Perhaps this will help you to remember,” Mueller said.
He took the paper and read the words that had been written there with a steady hand.
Your name is Norman Oklahoma, the paper said.
“Well?” Mueller said. “What is your name?”
“My name,” he said, and then swallowed. “My name is Norman Oklahoma.”
“Good,” Mueller smiled again. “Now that we have that out of the way,” he turned to Quantrill. “Kill him.”
What did you think?
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Drop me a line and stuff.
Don't forget to read Holliday's Gold on JukePop Serials and vote for each chapter.
Have you read any of my short stories?
You can find them HERE
I'll talk you all again in 2 weeks, and hopefully I'll be telling you that first draft of Norman Oklahoma 2 is complete. I'd cross my fingers but that makes it hard to type.