Following is an excerpt from my new release, Jane the Hippie Vampire: Dazed and Confused. Leave a comment for a chance to win an electronic copy of the novella. Also, make sure to stop by other participating blogs (the list on the right) for a chance to win some other great prizes.
A slim, uniformed woman with dark, wavy hair and olive skin came around to the shoulder. “Hey, whatcha doing up there?”
Jane glanced down the steep cement incline, apprehension turning into sleep-deprived, hung-over irritability. “I was trying to take a nap.”
“Do you think that’s very safe?”
“Safe as any other shady spot in the middle of the Nevada desert. We’re in Nevada, right?”
The officer pursed her neatly painted lips. “Come on down, sweetie. How old are you? You out here on your own? Gosh, where are your shoes, child?”
Jane gathered her hat and shouldered her backpack and made her way down to the shoulder. She did her best not to cop an attitude when she asked, “I’m just passing through. Can you give me a break?”
The officer—Lieutenant Flores, according to her badge—motioned down both directions. “This is a pretty desolate highway. If someone were to come by and decide to do something terrible to you, there wouldn’t be anybody out here to stop them. Do you really want to take that chance?”
“Got any I.D. on you?”
“Lost it a while back.”
Flores went quiet in contemplation, maybe even considering taking the opportunity to search her bag, then let out a heavy sigh. “Hop in. I’ll give you a lift.”
“I’m fine, really.”
“No, you’re not. Get in the car.” Flores opened the front passenger door.
Jane looked around, considering her options, and then slunk into the seat. The front door usually indicated the detainment would be minimal if any, and Jane was too tired to press her luck. She dug into the bag for her sunglasses, which only offered slight relief in her current state.
It just had to be a drunk guy….
The officer got in, snapped at Jane to buckle up, and then pulled back onto the freeway. “So, how long has it been?”
“Since you ran away from home.”
“I don’t know.” Oh, about fifty years….
The officer nodded. “Kids these days have it rough. I get it. I’m not going to presume to understand what brought you out here. I’m not the judgmental type.”
“Well, I appreciate that.”
She shifted her glance to Jane, keeping her eyes only partially on the road, looking intent on gaining and holding her attention while she added, “Still, it’s my job to—oh, shit!”
The tires screeched, smoke clouding alongside the car, as the woman stomped down on the brake petal. A lanky man rolled up the hood, crashed into the windshield, and flew over the car before the officer was able to bring the car to a stop.
Both sat, stunned, frozen for a moment while the situation registered. Jane had seen the guy about a millisecond after the officer’s startled explicative, and it was likely the woman had barely caught him in the corner of her eye before she snapped her attention forward. What had he been doing out in the middle of the road? Suicide, maybe?
“Wait here!” Flores jumped out, radioing in the accident, and ran to the body now lying still in the middle of the road.
Jane watched through the rearview mirror, just as stunned, wondering if she should disobey the woman and see if there was anything she could do to help. Yeah, stagger around in the sunlight and dry-heave a little—that’ll be loads of help….
The officer kneeled beside the man, searching for a pulse, her face going desperate. She returned to her feet, a hand going to her shaking head, then she stepped back a few paces, looking ashen. She rushed back to the car, opened the trunk, and started lighting flares at an angle along the lane.
When she’d set the second one, the man sat up.
What the heck?
Flores froze for a second, dropping the remaining flares. A hand went to her mouth, and she went yet another shade paler.
The man stood, his movements mechanical yet unsteady, then he began to shamble toward the shaken woman. She backed away to match his steps. “Stop right there!” Jane could hear her yell.
Jane turned around for a better look. Was it possible the officer had come across two vampires in one day? If so what on earth was he doing running blindly into the road—in the middle of such a bright, sunny day, no less?
He definitely wasn’t among the naturally living.
Flores circled around him, again commanding him to stay where he was. She pulled her gun, backed toward the car, fired a round.
The man recoiled but did not fall back, instead lunging forward, arms reaching.
The sound of another gunshot made Jane wince.
Flores made a dash for the car, the man just behind her. She shot again, slowing him just enough to allow her the time to get in the car and lock the doors.
Both women jumped when the man slammed his body against the driver’s side window. Thick, black ooze ran down his chin, and his eyes were so bloodshot not a speck of white showed around his foggy, dilated pupils and nearly nonexistent irises. A gurgling moan emanated from his gaping mouth while he snapped at the glass, leaving a gooey, black film behind.
“What is that?” Jane asked, not expecting an answer.
The officer gave off a nervous laugh. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was a zombie.”
The man belched, and a wave of black mucous poured out his mouth. He grabbed at the door handle, tugging desperately.