Today (1/15/16) marks the last day to grab my new novel for free on Kindle (or the Kindle app), so I thought I’d share another excerpt from the story.
As you read the excerpt, consider why I made the choices I did with sentence structure, scene details, dialouge and overall characterization.
He arrived in The Children’s Wing for the second time that night, the most he had visited this sector of the compound in a single day that he could remember.
All except one of the glass enclosures remained dark.
In her brightly lit room, LAMB sat cross-legged on the floor, stacking and restacking blue blocks. A gaggle of geeked-out, lab-coated researchers of various age and body shape hovered around her with barely contained glee.
Less rolled his eyes. It was like Nerd Nirvana.
Executing the required security clearance procedures, Less was admitted entrance to the spectacle. The white coats parted as he crossed the threshold, creating a cleft large enough for him to approach the child. Since others were present to observe and report the interaction, he forced himself within a few feet of LAMB. He offered up a silent prayer that she would not mention anything about the clandestine call he had made earlier in the closet. Everything said in earshot of these researchers would be recorded, filed, and painstakingly analyzed for psychic significance.
“Well, I’m here,” Less blurted, not hiding his annoyance.
On the soft-matte floor mat, LAMB constructed what could have been a dinosaur or a crane, the blue blocks balanced in impossible angles. So far, the weight distribution appeared to be working in her favor.
Around her, the researchers leaned in, white coats shushing against each other, as if the proximity of so much brain-power to the child might trigger a mind-blowing revelation, each possibly hoping for the answer to one of life’s many riddles: Where did we come from? Is there life after death? Why do we choose from one hundred candidates for Miss America but from only two for President? Personally, Less would have been much more impressed with this week’s winning lottery numbers.
“We have to be alone,” she said, not looking up. She toppled her structure, then began building something new.
“You can converse freely,” urged one of the older, balder scientists. “Employ an advanced conscious state of temporary disbelief.”
Mind distracted with thoughts of the escaped subject and the waiting helicopter, Less stared dumbly at the elder researcher, not having the slightest clue what he had just said. It reminded him of high school, half-listening to a pocket-protector-wearing, math-loving dorkmeister explain advanced something or other, while all he really cared about was girls, wrestling, girls, cars, joining the military, girls.
Standing within the glass bubble in the compound, Less seriously doubted the old goober had ever been a child, preferring the unlikely, but much funnier, idea that he had been birthed at his present age in an egg-like pod by his fellow dweebs.
LAMB huffed impatiently as she constructed what might be a spaceship or a sailboat out of the blue blocks. “I can’t pretend with this.”
Anxious to get back to his operation, and relieved by her request, he jumped in with, “She wants to tell me something alone.”
When the researchers did not immediately scurry away, he gave them a cold, hard stare. “I thought you guys were supposed to be smart. Leave. Now!”
Reluctantly, the white-coated men retreated, clearly disappointed at not being witness to her insights into the universe. When Less and the child were the only two left, he took a step backwards. “OK. Let’s hear it. I’ve got somewhere important to be,” he said.
LAMB destroyed the spaceship or sailboat, spread the blocks in front of her once again, and set about assembling her next project.
The girl nodded, her hands moving swiftly this time, as if she were in a hurry. Less felt sad for her in a way he could not articulate.
“I’ll take the bait. What am I doing?”
“Standing there.” Less snorted out a noise that was half-laugh, half-impatience. “Smart aleck. What am I going to do after this?”
“Fly,” she Said.
Scratching at his salt-and-pepper scrabble of hair, he thought fly could mean helicopter, but then again, it could mean about a hundred other things based on interpretation. Again, this was the vague-speak of a master manipulator. Again, he didn’t quite know what to make of it.
On the tamper-proof mat, LAMB erected a series of buildings spaced at regular intervals, a little town of blue blocks. Her tiny face looked focused, serious, intent on completing this latest design.
“I need to go,” Less said.
That gave the old soldier pause. He glanced through the glass walls at the darkness beyond, his blurry image seeming to float on the reflective surface.
“Scared of what?”
“The woman.” LAMB shivered.
“In general, I agree that women can be extremely terrifying, but which particular woman are you talking about?”
“The woman who hurts people.”
One last thing: Today (1/15/16) is the last day my novel, Present Killing, is free on Amazon Kindle (or the free kindle app)
Download the free novel here: http://amzn.to/1Okrx5R