Youthful Frights Vs Adult Fears
It’s Halloween, and time for scaring family and friends. The truth is nothing much frightened me during my childhood; well, except for my mother’s bad temper. I could escape. I’d get on my horse and ride all day long, disappearing in fields and following trails along the river. When I returned home at sundown, she was just content to see I’d not become victim to a mountain lion or thrown and trampled by my horse.
Living in the remote side of nowhere, there was no opportunity to dress up in a scary costume and threaten neighbors. It wasn’t until middle age that I finally got into the spirit of Halloween. However, I decided to favor the good witch who protects humanity from the evil goblins and warlocks.
Actually, I think I ended up looking more scary than the evil spirit lurking about Halloween night, LOL.
My bravado ended during adulthood when I sat alone and watched the movie, Carrie. Since then, I’ve avoided movies and books of the horror genre. However, I relish in elevating the fear factor in my novels. In Forbidden, my female protagonist was put through the fiery hoops to prove she was worth saving.
In the excerpt from FORBIDDEN (my WIP) below, Eliza has narrowly escaped the clutches of a corrupt cop. Friends called a taxi for her. When it arrived she failed to notice it was a trap until it was too late.
She pounded on the glass and shouted, “Driver, where are you taking me?”
The driver accelerated.
“Stop this car, stop right now!” She slammed her fist against the shatterproof security window.
The driver yanked the vehicle in a couple of sharp turns, turning down alleys and across another dark street. She froze in disbelief. How can this be happening again?!
With every passing second, she was heading rapidly beyond Sharif’s reach. The relief she had felt at the hotel disappeared like a stone tossed into a pond. She looked closer at the cab’s interior.
There was no meter clicking away the miles and cost. The ripped cloth bench seat exposed the foam padding. She gasped at the sight of a dark stain in the center of the back cushion. If fear had an odor, its pungent stench permeated every surface inside the cab.
If the driver arrives at his destination, probably where more men waited, god only knows what they had planned for my demise. I have to get out. Get out now. Eliza covertly felt for the door handle and gave it a tug. Nothing gave way. Trapped. Oh my god!
She struggled to silence her racing mind. Breathe, breathe. You know how to get out of this. Breathe, damn it. She mentally flipped through her self-defense training manual.
Eliza heard the driver mumbling into his radio’s microphone. She looked into the rear view mirror to read his facial expression. The dashboard lights illuminated the man’s face. Loathing flashed back at her reflection in the mirror.
He had successfully intimidated her enough to make her flinch and avert her eyes toward the windshield. She noted the windshield had major damage. A large bull’s-eye, center and low, with several cracks radiating to the sides. Perhaps bullets had nearly penetrated the glass.
“Yes,” she whispered. Secretly she searched through her backpack for a metal tool that could break the tempered glass in the rear passenger windows. The heavy metal laryngoscope handle was shaped like a flashlight. It could work if the hard metal protrusion pierced the tempered surface.
Grasping it in her left hand, she inched closer to the right side window. A few seconds later a car veered in the taxi’s path making the driver hit the brakes. Her best chance for escape had arrived.
In that instance, Eliza struck the handle into the window with all her fear behind it. It exploded into tiny bits. She thrust her backpack through the opening and plunged head first after it. Her shoulder hit the pavement hard.
Thanks to an insensitive martial arts instructor, she knew how to fall. Curled into a fetal position, she rolled, protecting her head. In one quick move she got up, shook off the pain, grabbed the backpack, and dashed for the sidewalk and a dark alley.
The driver slammed on the brakes, spinning 180 degrees. Shouting obscenities, he ran after her. The driver grabbed her shoulder just as she reached the alley. His hands snatched her backpack and flung it aside. He growled through clenched teeth. “Stupid bitch, you’ll pay for this!”
Built tough like a featherweight boxer, the driver had superior strength. He pounced on her like a wolf trapping a cornered rabbit. He dodged her attempt to knee his groin. “You try that shit on me and you’ll die slow. Real slow!” His hatred and strength became a raging volcano. He caught a handful of her hair, jerked her off balance, and threw down onto the asphalt. Like a pro fighter, he had her incapacitated in seconds and sat straddled across her hips.
Eliza could hear the sound of metal jangling in his hands. Handcuffs! His one hand tried to hold both of hers while the other fumbled with the handcuffs. Any attempt to reach, kick, twist failed.
Desperate for any advantage, Eliza suddenly remembered her instructor’s ‘last ditch’ advice. Play dead.
While in the throes of fighting him, she gasped, and went completely limp. The risk? Enormous. She gave him free rein to do whatever he wanted. The gamble paid off. The man relaxed, dropped the handcuffs. His strong hands seized her arms and gave her a violent shake. Eliza let her head wobble. Finally, he released his grip on her.
In a flash she thrust her fist into his throat. The impact, too weak but enough to make him struggle to breathe. He clutched his throat and gasped for air. The shock gave her the advantage of getting out from under his weight.
She whirled around to face him.
“You’re gonna be sorry, bitch.” His voice sounded horse, larynx badly bruised. He reached to a scabbard attached to his thigh. Swift as lightning, he grabbed a knife and sliced it through the air. An eight inch blade caught the beam of the taxi’s headlights. It glowed with deadly brilliance. He waved it back and forth. “I’ll cut you slow.”
The taxi driver continued to slice his blade at Eliza’s face, but just out of reach. His face glowed with a menacing stare.
She had trouble with her balance on the uneven ground and feared her feet would trip or get snagged in the debris. Her heart pounded against her ribs. Look for a way to escape. Her eyes darted about. Another two steps and she’d be trapped against a fence blocking the alley’s rear access.
He tossed his knife back and forth between his right and left hands. Her attacker appeared confident, perhaps over-confident, she thought.
She had never used her Tae Kwon Do training outside sparring competitions. It was forbidden – except in dire circumstances. Eliza had to face a black hole. Her life revolved around her gifts as a healer, not a killer. If she killed him, could she ever wash his blood off? It sickened her.
“You’re nothing but white trash. I’m gonna fuck your corpse,” he said, clutching his crotch.
Her survival instincts surf aced with lethal force. Her posture shifted. She became the predator.
The man slashed at her mid-section. The blade caught her blazer’s unbuttoned front panel. It ripped as the momentum of his knife tore through the fabric. She felt the tip of the blade snag on the button of her white shirt. The button flew.
He had miscalculated the distance and caught only her clothing. She threw off her blazer. Her body became the panther, strong and agile.
“Bitch!” He spat a wad of saliva at her. The tobacco-stained slobber hit her neck and dribbled down under her collar.