Monday, October 27, 2008

Deadly Vision excerpt by Rick R Reed

Deadly Vision by Rick R Reed is about Cass, a single mom who becomes a reluctant psychic after a head injury. She begins having horrific visions into the fates of two teenage girls who have gone missing in her small town. Compounding the nightmare imagery is the mortifying reality that, like the Cassandra of myth, no one will believe what this Cass sees…

In this excerpt, Cass has a late-night visitor, a “deadly vision” that gives her an unwelcome front-seat view to a murder…

Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises,LLC(Quest imprint)(January 10, 2008)
ISBN: 1932300961


THE SOUND OF a car alarm outside Max’s window awakened her. Cass had fallen asleep in the chair beside Max’s bed. The alarm wound down, replaced by the sound of chirping cicadas and crickets, the distant rumble of thunder. Heat lightning flashed, muted blue-white swatches of color that illuminated the street in front of their little house.

Cass’s neck hurt, and she reached up to massage it, trying to loosen the knotted muscles. She glanced up at the Donald Duck clock on the wall opposite; it was going on midnight.

In spite of the crick in her neck, Cass thought perhaps falling asleep in the chair next to Max’s bed was a good thing. After all, her body was bone weary, and perhaps she could just drop her jeans and T-shirt on the floor next to her bed, crawl in under the sheets and fall back asleep.

And maybe she would dream of nothing.

Hell, maybe she’d even have a pleasant dream. Something sexy. Cass grinned as she padded, barefoot, down the hall to her room.

She slipped out of her clothes, folding them and putting them on the rocking chair in the corner, pulled the scrunchy out of her dark hair, and crawled under the sheet.

She closed her eyes.

SOMEONE WAS STANDING above her. Cass awakened to see a dark-haired girl staring down at her. She let out a little cry, not too loud, because she didn’t want to awaken Max. The girl held a finger to her lips, leaning over so that the long, dark curtain of hair partially obscured a very pretty, very young face.

The girl motioned for Cass to follow her; Cass shook her head.

The girl reached down and took Cass’s hand in her own. Her touch was ice-cold and Cass glanced down at the hand. Even in the dim light, she could see the sapphire ring on her finger.

Cass got up, following the girl, not bothering with clothes. Eventually, she stood naked in the gravel driveway of her house with the girl, who gestured toward the river. And even though the river was two blocks away, Cass could suddenly see its brownish curve, the hills of West Virginia along the opposite shore. Up high, at the top of one of the hills, was a red brick house, old, that Cass had admired since she was a little girl. Fronted by white pillars, the house occupied the only space on the hilltop, and Cass had often envied the solitude and the panoramic views the house must command.

Cass stood alone in the driveway, shivering. A light rain had begun, cold needles on her skin. And she knew she had sleepwalked...the touch and vision of the young girl had been a dream. She gasped as she looked down at herself, seeing her silvery-white nude body in the dark, and hoped none of her neighbors had insomnia and had witnessed her unintentional exposure.

She turned and trudged back inside, picking her way through the sparse gravel of her driveway. She could protect her feet, if nothing else.

As she went back up the stairs, avoiding the places she knew would creak, she thought of the dark-haired girl, how beautiful she was. And how cold.

The girl was Sheryl McKenna, the one whose disappearance had just been reported on the radio. Cass knew this with the same certainty as she knew her own name.

The bed waited for her. Reluctantly, Cass made her way back to it, and lay down. She closed her eyes and everything started. There was a reddish color behind her eyelids; Cass willed it to go away. She begged for sleep; simple, untroubled sleep that did not contain unwanted, mysterious images that seemed to have their own volition and a purpose Cass wasn’t quite sure she yet understood.

The visions came rapid-fire, with no consistency or order. Cass ground her teeth, knowing she could stop the montage if she would just open her eyes, but unable to lift her eyelids. It was as though they were glued shut.

The sapphire ring she had seen earlier, still on the girl’s finger. A scattering of earth covering the hand that lay limp against a tree root.

Sheryl McKenna’s face, cold in repose, her blue eyes clouded and open, gazing at something only she could see.

A beetle skittering across the porcelain-white skin.

A shift, and Cass found herself in some sort of pornographic movie, only there was nothing titillating about this one. No lurid bump-and-grind musical score to accompany the sex taking place, the sex to which Cass was forced to bear witness. She heard only the sounds of the man’s panting breath and the whimpers of the girl, occasionally interrupted by a gasp, a small cry that didn’t begin to describe the pain Cass knew she was feeling. The girl lay beneath a dark-haired man in the back seat of a car, which was nothing more than a dark hulk in the night, details indecipherable. His back was slick with sweat and the girl’s eyes were wide as the man thrust into her, hard, making her whimper and bite her lip with each thrust.

As if the volume was just switched on, like a mute button pressed to release the sound, Cass could hear music coming from the dashboard, odd electronic beats, something no radio station would ever play. It created a hellish background score to the rape taking place in the back seat.

Cass turned, and there it was in the darkness: the blinking red light and a shadowy figure, another woman, peering through the viewfinder of a video camera.

And then she was high on a hilltop, looking down over the Ohio River’s rushing, muddy brown current. Skeletal branches reached out over the water like fingers of bone.

Cass started awake—sweat-slick, heart pounding, twisted up in her sheets like a mummy.

Tomorrow, she had to do something.

Deadly Vision:

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