Getting my third novel ready to enter the world! My next young adult novel, Choice, is about Dragon Warriors battling a demon apocalypse. Choice is the heroine, and she’s pretty freaking badass.
Apart from getting Choice prepared for the eBook world, I’m also working on getting Vienna ready for print! (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/496820)
Hope you enjoy the first chapter of Choice (can also be found at http://www.wattpad.com/story/27493111-choice-by-e-l-schoeman)
“Everything will be fine,” she told herself. “I will not let you die so easily.”
Her washed-out jeans felt heavy on her legs. The bottoms were soaked from the downpour an hour ago. It wasn’t raining now, but the after-smell reminded her of her father’s advice. ‘Marriage is like a steak dinner,’ he’d said the day he’d come up with a husband for her, a thunderstorm raging on outside. ‘Some people ruin it by adding condiments. Some people overcook it. Some people cook it just right, but add all the wrong sides. And some people throw away everything else and just eat the steak.’
‘What does that have to do with your not giving me a choice? You forgot to add that some people ruin marriage by getting married.’
‘I don’t know what I mean,’ he’d admitted, walking away, as if that settled it. ‘But now I really want a steak.’
She swung her crossbow into her steady hands, knocking open the ratty excuse for a door, and entering through the back of the warehouse. There was a musty, vomit-like, unwashed smell along with the darkness that had to remain darkness because any light would give her away. If the lights went on, things would come out, or things would go running.
Her army-boots were exceptionally silent as she moved, listening for noise above the scurrying of rats. If she was lucky, it wouldn’t be done eating. If she was luckier, it hadn’t started at all, but she wasn’t ever that lucky.
She’d never saved anyone before.
For months she’d been trailing it all over the country. Staying in hotels, buying overpriced gas, sending late night texts to her dad to tell him she’d lived another day. He never responded, not unless she said she was on her way home and he decided he wanted her to pick up something for him. Can you believe that? Not even a, ‘Glad you weren’t eaten, honey. Have a good night.’ All she got was, ‘I’m out of bread. Pick some up on your way through.’
She was trained to move through darkness: to close her eyes and see then what her open eyes missed. Fear wasn’t an option, even when it was there, tasting dry and as if she hadn’t brushed her teeth in days. But there wasn’t room for fear now, listening to the shuffles up ahead as she crept around boxes and shelves, careful with the placement of her feet, the crossbow light in her hands.
It was here.
She fired once before flinging herself to the side, missing its quick attack, her back hitting a light switch. The place lit up, blinding her. Being tackled to the ground sucked. Having the crossbow knocked out of her hands sucked more, but wrestling with the thing on top of her sucked the most. Struggling free, she kicked it in the head, and headed for the crossbow with it laughing behind her.
She turned, ready for the second act.
He looked the same from when she’d seen him last except that his eyes were black with white, upside-down crosses for irises. Blood was running from the sides of his eyes. But he was the same well-set, dark skinned beauty her father set up as her fiancé.
There wasn’t time for horror or shock (because how was she to know her husband-to-be had turned into a crazed monster). There was only time to act and she hoisted another arrow and let it fly. Another, another, and another arrow flew, all avoided by the slightest tips of his head.
“The master of the world commands me to kill.” Her fiancé looked at the limp body of his victim adjacent him. “So I’ll kill.”
“Fate?” He didn’t seem to recognize his name. Was he this mounds-of-crazy when he’d taken her hand, promising he’d protect her, that they would want for nothing? Did it matter? She hadn’t cared then. She didn’t care that she’d have to kill him now. “What’s your master’s name?”
His gaze held her, blood now streaming from the sides of his mouth. “The master,” was his answer.
“How lame,” was hers, and she took the handgun she’d been hiding behind her back and double-tapped him in the chest. He fell back. Scrambling to his feet, he hissed with fury before rushing at her.
“How lame,” was her response, pulling the blade from her belt and cutting off his head, watching as it bounced along the floor until it rolled against the wall. The rest of him twitched to nothing.
She walked over to the head and took it into her left hand. Collecting her equipment, she started away until the body shifted. Freezing before turning back slowly, the victim she’d thought was dead was trying to push itself up.
It was worse than having the creature resurrect itself.
The victim took in the scene. “Is it dead?”
She raised the head in her hand. “You’re a boy?”
Man, he looked like a girl. “But I heard a woman screaming.”
She could make out his blush under the blood and warehouse dirt as he sat there, unsure of what to say.
“Never mind then. It was only you.” She took a few steps back, trying to leave, but unsure how to do so. This was awkward. What was she supposed to say to this guy? “So you’re a doctor, huh?”
“How do you know that?”
Because those creatures are only killing medics . . . “Well . . .” She’d never had a survivor before, ever. She wasn’t trained how to deal with those. She was only trained how to deal with things. “Later.”
“Wait.” He was up and following her. “What’s your name?”
Walking faster, she didn’t turn around. “None of your damn business.”
“Can I call you ‘NYDB’ for short?”
“You can’t just leave me here!”
“You need a lift or something?”
“I mean, you can’t just expect me to . . .”
“To forget about you, to let you disappear.”
She vaguely looked back at his scrawny form: bony and delicate, with Asian features and wild, frightened eyes. “You look like the type that should be used to it.”
“That’s what I mean. I get the chance to latch on to a crossbow slinging girl like you, I better make sure she’s the one that doesn’t miss out on a guy like me.”
“Not interested in useless luggage.”
“Think about this, really think about it: I’m a medic. You’re badass, don’t get me wrong. But that thing ripped your arm open and you’ve got a bloody lip. I can heal you quicker than you can heal yourself, unless you’ve been to med school . . .”
“Great. I mean, great for me.”
“I know what you meant.”
They were out of the warehouse and he was taking in her lime green hot rod in wonderment. Not that she blamed him. These days it was all horses and horse shit and the roads were a bloody mess.
Tossing the head into the trunk, she got into the car and rolled down the passenger side’s window. He stood on the sidewalk, a blood-soaked forgotten puppy. “What are you waiting for? Get into the fucking car.”
(Choice, first chapter, by E. L. Schoeman. Novel coming soon, 2015!)