Into the Night Sample Chapter

Ok so i thought since i’m trying, and mostly failing to promote my book i’d give any one who wants to read it the chance to read the first chapter because i’m nice like that. So if you like it you should buy a copy, (or ten, i’m not fussed :P) anyways, here it is Chapter One

CHAPTER ONE

Dear Misty,

Sorry I didn’t call. I knew how you would have reacted if I had, and I didn’t want to fight with you. I know how you feel about this but I think we both know it’s for the best; besides, my expertise is needed urgently. I know I haven’t been home in a while. It’s been hectic and these things never rest, but I have some good news: I’ve dealt with this before so I know what I’m doing and it shouldn’t take too long to finish up. I promise I’ll try to get home this time, but you know how it is sometimes; things just come up. I can’t wait to see you again. I’ll have to show you all the new battle scars I’ve gotten and before you freak: I’m just kidding, there aren’t that many. I miss you, little sis, and trust me, if I didn’t think that people would die without me being here I would be home right now, instead of sitting in a crappy motel room, writing you a letter.

 

Now down to procedure. As always, dates at the bottom, and I’ve purposely left out location, but either Alex or my partner has all the details you’ll need to know for the just in case stuff, so don’t worry and I’ll always have my phone on me if you need me. I hate to have to write this, but if something should happen to me, even though it won’t, but if something does Alex will be in touch. Now, no matter what happens, please stay out of it, Misty. You’re out and I want you to stay that way, I can’t see you get hurt. Stay safe, and don’t do anything stupid; that’s my department. Oh, and sis: don’t worry. I know what I’m doing.

Love, Damien

12/5/09

I wanted to scream, I was so mad. My fists balled and nearly screwed up the letter in frustration. I couldn’t believe he was doing this again! After everything we’ve already been through. I decided, after a bit of mental protest, that it was best not to rip up the only shred of evidence I had that my brother was alive, so I slammed it down on the table instead. My palm stung and the table shook, but I barely noticed.

Damien, my oh-so-charming brother, had adopted our father’s method of letting the family know where the job was taking him. Well, more or less letting me know. Of course, when our father was the active hunter in the family, there were no cell phones, and most times a pay phone was inconvenient. So the letter method worked for him. But in today’s world it was just plain impractical. There were thousands of faster ways to get in touch with people nowadays than the post.

Of course, Damien didn’t do it for practicality. No, he did it because he knew he’d be long gone by the time I got the letter. Meaning it would be too late for me to stop him from doing whatever crazy thing he was up to this time. When he called, it was always only to see how I was. He would never let me speak to his partner or even tell me where in hell they were, which was more than frustrating. Damien’s always been stubborn that way. Once he set his mind to something you couldn’t change it, no matter how hard you tried. I re-read the letter carefully for hints but Damien had written it as all good hunters would. He gave the facts, said what he needed and nothing more. My only clue was the date.

Wait a second! May? Did I read that wrong? I knew something was up even before I got the letter, and in my family’s line of work that was never good. How did I know this? Well, for a start, it was September. Meaning either the letter was sent three months ago, or it was held until now. Feeling a small surge of panic, I ripped my cell phone from my pocket with little regard to its general well-being and dialled his number. I paced the hardwood floor by the kitchen table as I waited for him to answer.

“Hello.” Damien’s voice said on the other end of the line. Just hearing it was like lifting the weight of the world off my shoulders. I was so relieved I could have collapsed into the chair behind me. Of course, that being said, he still wasn’t on my list of favourite people at the moment. I was still mad as hell!

“Hey, Dee where are you?” I knew I had to keep my voice level, at least let him explain before I ripped him a new one.

“Psych got me messages. Can’t talk at the moment busy off kicking ass so leave a message or if its life or death, call 555-361-482, if not, you know the drill.”

Shit! “Damien, where are you? I only just got your letter and, by the way, if you don’t stop with the letters I’m going to kill you myself. Dee, it’s September; I know you said you would try to stop in, but I’m worried. Normally I at least get a phone call. You have to stop this. You’re becoming just like Dad and as much as I hate to say it, you’re going to end up like him too. I don’t want that to happen, Damien; I need you back home. And if that’s not possible, you have to take me with you. I’m so sick of this place and I’m not a little kid anymore; I can handle myself. So I’m giving you until tomorrow to call me or I’m coming after you and I mean it. Please, Dee, be careful and don’t get yourself killed. I know you’re just trying to live up to his expectations, to make Dad proud, but this isn’t the way to do it.”

I paused for a second; I could feel my anger at him boiling over, clouding the line between loving, worried sister and his worst nightmare, which made what I said next not exactly what I wanted to say. See, what I should have said was I’m worried about you; please call me back but of course what blurted out was more fitting to my mood: “Because I’m sure that getting yourself killed would make him real proud. Jerk off.”

The phone was the next thing that was being slammed into the table. I knew straight away I was going to regret that when I had to replace it. The mix of emotions racing through me wasn’t really that uncommon. This happened more often than I cared to admit. But the messy handwriting on the letter hit a sore spot for me. It made me realise just how much I actually had missed my brother, and how much I hated waiting to hear from him.

Especially since it was supposed to be over. Neither of us was supposed to be doing this anymore. We were done. We got out. So why was I still putting up with this shit? I could feel my anger at him growing with every word that my eyes skimmed. Finally, though I’m not proud to admit it, it got the better of me. I snatched up the letter and tore it in half. Scrunching the pieces in my fists, I screamed. Okay, sure, I knew doing that wasn’t going to change anything, but man, did it feel good. Most of all, it worked. I wasn’t nearly as mad at him as I had been. In a way, I knew my anger was unfair. But choosing to return to a life that we had both fought so hard to escape made my anger seem petty, if only to myself.

Damien was only doing what our father had raised us to do. He was taking over the family business, which in theory seemed harmless enough, but our family business has always been stuff of nightmares, literally. Damien and I come from a long line of hunters, but not the conventional type. We deal with the stuff that other people can’t. The stuff that doesn’t exist and it’s our job to make it stay that way. Think of us as the supernatural police, but instead of arresting the alleged bad guy, we hunt it down and kill it.

Hunting was in our blood. It was what we were born to do. And deep down, there was a part of us that knew it was all we would really ever be able to do. We were hunters in our teens. Good ones, in fact, though it didn’t take us long to realise that we just didn’t want to face the monster under the bed, so we didn’t. We did the one thing we were told was impossible to do. We escaped the life. We become normal, but we should have known that sooner or later the life we were running from was going to catch up with us.

Unfortunately for Damien, it was sooner rather than later. In fact, it happened two years ago. I still remember the moment I realised I’d lost my brother, and ever since then it’s been a fight to get him back. It was Damien’s twenty-third birthday and we were meant to be throwing him a party that night. Instead, that morning we got the phone call that ended my brother’s normal life and made him a hunter once again. Dad had been killed in a hunting accident.

Of course the news was hard for both of us, but Damien simply couldn’t cope with the news. He blamed himself for not being out there helping and he was convinced it was his fault, that somehow he’d let Dad down. Things changed after that; our lives as we knew them crumbled and Damien threw himself back into hunting lore. Three days after the funeral, Dad’s phone rang and Damien answered it. Since then he has been on the road all the time, coming and going as the job took him.

As for me, I was not so willing to fall back into old habits, especially after what happened to our father. It took some adjusting to not having my big brother around but somehow I managed to maintain my semi-normal life. Okay, so maybe I was stuck in this dead-end town, working in a crappy, low-paying job, struggling just to keep the damn house, but I was normal. Misty West, the only non-hunter in the West family. Wouldn’t my ancestors be proud?

Opening the sliding-glass door, I walked out to stand on the small deck looking over the backyard. The place was in a bit of a mess without Damien around. Truthfully, I just didn’t have the time or the energy lately to do it myself. The yard itself extended into the woods that surrounded most of the house. I think the woods were meant to represent the property line, but when my great-great-grandfather built the house he never bothered to put up a back fence. The lone oak tree that stood in the yard blocked the glare from the setting sun casting its reddish glow across the sky.

I pulled my cardigan tighter around me as the once-warm wind chilled its way into my bones, a good sign that autumn was on its way. My gaze settled on the driveway. Part of me wished that Damien’s old black ’69 Mustang Fastback would pull up and relieve my worries; I couldn’t help but feel somehow let down when it didn’t. Sure, it was stupid to wish for something you knew wasn’t going to happen, but I just wanted it so badly, it was all I could do to keep hope.

“Everything alright, my dear? You look troubled,” Mrs Patterson, my lovely next-door neighbour, asked as she made her way to the fence between our two properties. Mrs Patterson was our only neighbour, since ours was the last house on our so called street. The next neighbour was a good mile away through the woods. I had never really seen this as a bad thing, and my father had always said that if Mrs Patterson were to move, he would buy her out for the privacy. Although I rather liked having a neighbour even though sometimes, with my family’s line of work, we need a little privacy.

“Yeah, fine.” It wasn’t hard to tell I was lying, but the way I was feeling at the moment I didn’t have it in me to be convincing despite the rules.

“Good to hear, dear. I thought something was wrong. I could have sworn I heard yelling.”

“Oh, that. I was just having an argument with Damien over the phone. He isn’t home yet,” I lied with a small smile. Lying to people’s faces was also part of the job description. We were trained to have no tells. Everything we said, lie or otherwise, was to be believable. It was a useful skill in our line of work; also it made for a hell of a poker player. Believe me when I say there is no winning against a hunter with our expert poker faces.

“Ah, how is he? I haven’t seen him in ages. Poor lad didn’t look too good the last time I saw him. All worn out. No wonder, though, taking over the family business from your father like that. I saw the way your father would come home sometimes; he has pretty big shoes to fill.”

Mrs Patterson had been our neighbour long before Damien and I were born. She had known both of my parents well and treated us like we were family, even though she didn’t really know what the family business was. Part of me suspected she knew more than she let on but kept it quiet just in case.

“Yeah, well, he’s on a hunting trip at the moment.” I watched the colour drain from her wrinkled old face. That was another good indicator she knew more than most people did. People in town don’t know what a West family hunting trip actually involved. But since most of the time we returned half-torn to shreds or didn’t return for months on end, most people figured out they’re not normal trips. “He’ll be home soon,” I said with another fake smile, which she returned and then turned to walk back toward her house. Another good thing about Mrs Patterson was that she didn’t pry.

Sighing, I headed back inside my own house, to lock up and get ready for work. I changed into my short-sleeved black tee shirt and grey pinstriped pants. As the bartender I escaped wearing anything skimpy, low-cut or short, like the waitresses had to wear. Not that I couldn’t totally pull it off, mind you, but I preferred my uniform. The black tee shirt had “Danny’s Bar” written in big brown letters across the chest, and really, that was my only requirement as far as a uniform went.

Despite the freedom, I didn’t much like the shirt. I had enough trouble with drunken guys hitting on me without drawing attention to my breasts, which already do a really good job of drawing attention to themselves anyway. Nature had gifted me nicely in the bosom department, and I had been told a few times that I wasn’t too bad in the looks department either. Light brown hair darker than Damien’s or my father’s dirty blonde, and blueish eyes, really more of a turquoise than your normal blue if I had to put an exact colour to it. I wasn’t overly tall; none of the women in my family were. I was about five-foot-four without heels but that shadowed in comparison to the men in my family, my brother included. They all stood well over six feet, were built like Army tanks and were just as dangerous.

Not to say I couldn’t put the men in their place if needed. I wasn’t what you would call small-built either, no supermodel figure here; I was a size eight on a good day. Years of hunting had left me with a toned body and thankfully, somehow, I had still maintained my curves. I grabbed my keys from the table as I passed and walked to the door, locking it behind me. I glared at the beat-up Honda Civic parked out front. I hated that car, and had from the moment I had bought it. It was cheap to run, small and, best of all, it was normal; my new life was all about normal.

I blasted the radio as I drove to work, trying to keep my mind busy. The last thing I needed was to start screwing up people’s drink orders because I was distracted by my crazy, other life. The parking lot was packed when I pulled in; the traffic had even over flown into the staff parking area. Cursing each and every car parked there, I finally found a space at the back of the lot, luckily, because it was getting dangerously close to the start of my shift. “It’s going to be a long night.”

Xavier

“Psych.” Message bank again.

“Damien, I swear to god dude, I’m so over your bullshit! When I get my hands on you, you’re dead, man. I’m going to kill you in ways you cannot even imagine, if you’re not already dead, that is. Of course, you should know even then I’ll find a way. Remember, just because you’re dead, it doesn’t mean you can’t still die,” I snapped and threw the phone. The phone smashed into the wall with so much force, it shattered the phone and the plaster simultaneously. Great, there goes the security deposit! Justifying that to sheer frustration would be a damned injustice; I was so beyond the point of that by now. Somehow I knew finding this place wouldn’t mean I would find him, but I hadn’t expected to find what I had.

I upended his abandoned duffle bag and tipped its contents on the floor. This was the last place he could have been. All his stuff was here, and the hunt left unfinished. Something Damien never did. I was getting tired of chasing him, tired of hearing his stupid voice say the same thirty-two words over and over again every time I tried to reach him. Sure, Damien can be a dick, so not answering my calls was something I was to expect, but running out on a hunt and leaving it for another hunter to clean up wasn’t like him. I rifled through the stuff on the floor. It all looked to be there, from what I could tell. So why would he leave it all behind? I had a very bad feeling about this. I picked up the photograph that was on the top of the pile and looked at it. I had seen this photo a number of times; it was of him and his sister when they were in their teens. From what I could tell, they were really close once. I knew for a fact that she meant more to him than life itself, and I also knew she was my last shot at getting to him. If anyone knew where he was going, it would be her. Removing the sim card from the wreckage of the phone, I headed downstairs. Much to the desk clerk’s surprise, I paid the room out for another month and walked outside.

I had to ditch the car I had used to get here. It had most likely been reported stolen by now. So I needed a ride, and at the moment anything would do. It was slim pickings in a cheap motel parking lot. Most of the vehicles were occupied, or I knew they were alarmed and would be too much trouble. I couldn’t help but smile as my ticket out of here pulled up. I watched as the young couple got out of the big black Hummer and walked into the reception area. Thanking my lucky stars, I ran to the driver’s side and hoped for the best. I looked in the window to see the keys in the ignition still. I was so happy I threw my fist into the air before ripping open the door and jumping in. Quickly starting the thing, I was out of the drive before the owners would have even noticed it was gone.

Yeah okay, so I know as far as rides go it wasn’t the most inconspicuous car known to man. And yeah, if you’re going to steal something it’s usually best to keep a low profile, but I was on a deadline and it would do for now. The inside of the Hummer was every bit as flashy as the outside. I guess they don’t call them luxury SUVs for nothing. It had that new feeling to it, even the new car smell. The poor guy I jacked it from must have been loaded, and seeing that was most likely the case, I was teaching him a valuable life lesson. One should not brag, especially around guys like me. It was a five-hour drive to the town Damien’s family lived in, but I knew that maybe, if I was lucky, I could do it in four.

The old house looked a little run-down compared to last time I’d seen it. The lawns were overgrown, the roof needed re-tiling and the house itself could use a coat of paint. I knew I had no right to judge, seeing how I hadn’t seen the place in years, but it really needed a man’s touch. I straightened out the wrinkles in the straight-cut black suit I was still wearing from my last con as a federal agent (which, by the way, had gotten me nowhere). I needed information and I was going to get it the only way I knew how. I grabbed the dark sunglasses I’d found in the dash and slipped them on. I knew they were redundant at eleven o’clock at night, but I wanted to look the part. The fact that I could see in the dark helped my decision. I slicked my long dark hair back with my hands and tucked it behind my ears. I had often considered tying it back at the times I’d found it annoying, but there were two problems with that. One, I wasn’t sure it was quite long enough to tie back and two, I wasn’t really the ponytail type of guy. It was a clear night. I could see the top of an old oak tree behind the house as I pushed open the broken gate and walked toward the front door. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and just listened. The house was quiet and the only sounds I could hear were creatures scurrying through the forest behind it. I knocked loudly on the door and waited, just in case I was wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time I hadn’t heard a hunter. Unfortunately, patience was never one of my stronger virtues, so I knocked again, making the door rattle on its hinges, and added, “Police, open up!”

The porch light on their next-door neighbour’s house turned on. After a few seconds, an elderly woman walked out and made her way toward the fence. I did the same. I had met this lady before, but had to pretend I was indeed the police in order to get the information I wanted. I just hoped it was dark enough that she couldn’t make out my features or the fact that the badge said CDC. Despite that, I had to take the chance anyway.

“Can I help you, dear?” she asked as she stopped next to the fence.

I pulled out my badge while flipping it open quickly, just long enough for her to see it was a badge of some sort, then said,

“Yes, ma’am, maybe you can. I’m Agent Crow, FBI. I’m looking for Misty West. Can you tell me where she is?” In order to increase the feeling that we had never met, I faked a southern drawl as I spoke and put the badge back in my shirt pocket.

“Oh dear, she’s isn’t in any trouble, is she?” Her aged eyes were full of concern and it wasn’t hard to tell she was fond of these kids. I know Damien had spoken fondly of her.

“I’m not at liberty to supply that information, ma’am, but I’m going to need her whereabouts.” I tried to sound as formal as I could while faking an accent I had really only ever heard on TV.

“Of course, Officer. She’s at work; she works at Danny’s bar in town. They’re good kids, they’ve just had it hard, that’s all, they’re misunderstood.” I gave a slight smile and a nodded before walking back toward the Hummer.

Well, that was the understatement of the century, I thought as I removed the sunglasses and got in the car, placing them where I’d found them inside the dash compartment.

“Danny’s bar,” I repeated to myself as I pulled away from the curb. I knew that bar. It was less than a five-minute drive from their house, on the outskirts of the town centre.

The parking lot was crowded for a small-town bar, which was a good thing because the Hummer might not stick out as much that way. I parked in the back of the lot and cut the engine. Looking up into the rear-view mirror, I caught a glimpse of my own reflection and then looked down at the suit I was wearing. All of it looked a little too formal for a hick town bar. Can’t go in looking like this, can I? I thought, while climbing over into the back of the Hummer to see what I could find.

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