So I’m writing a novel…

Here is the first chapter… [An exclusive, never before seen. Pay attention Gramps–you said you liked mah writin]

Chapter One: Killing in the woods

A drop of sweat rolled down my nose. I wiped it away, as Craig yelled, “Kill the bastard!” I immediately rolled from behind the tree, came to a kneeling position, and fired six times at the ugly looking man with the gun pointed directly at me.  I dove back behind the tree and reloaded my Taurus .357 magnum revolver. Then Butch started giggling. “You hit him in the nuts.” Butch was looking through his spotting glasses.

I stood up from behind the tree and joined him and Craig as we walked towards my target, roughly fifty feet away.  It was a scorching hot Saturday in August in central Virginia. But the mosquitoes were not taking the day off. I slapped what seemed the umpteenth bloodsucker off my neck, and wiped away smeared blood.

We reached my target, a crudely drawn life-sized silhouette of a man holding a gun on what used to be a large cardboard box. I took off my ear protectors and noticed that the forest was silent except for the incessant hum of the cicadas. Butch was already marking each bullet hole where I had hit my target. He marked each hole with an “X” so we could keep track of which holes were old and which were new when the next guy shoots.  Sure enough, I had hit him squarely in the nuts. Or where they would have been on a real bad guy.

Butch totaled the points that I had earned with my six out of six hits, then got my time from Craig, who had been timing my performance with a stop-watch.  Butch carefully noted the results in his spiral notebook.  We kept track. The vital areas were crudely drawn in by hand with a Sharpie.  One hundred points for a heart or brain shot. Fifty for any other head or central upper torso. Twenty-five for the lower torso and for miscellaneous other spots that we non-anatomically inclined red-necks thought might be good areas to hit a bad guy with a slug. Ten points for flesh wounds. Negative One Hundred Fifty for misses.  I scored two hundred sixty points.  “Not bad for a six-shooter, John.  Here let me show you how it is done with a real gun,” Butch said as he handed me the pen and notebook.

Butch took his shooting way more seriously than I did.  He had a Colt .45 Limited something or other Edition.  Semi-automatic, all the bells and whistles, two toned metal and one of the metals appeared to be gold. I don’t know if it was, but it sure looked that way. All I cared about though was how accurate it was and how smooth it felt when I shot it. I couldn’t afford it in a million years.  Or at least I wasn’t that good at convincing myself that I needed one just like it.  Any way, even without a fancy gun I considered myself to be a great shot.

We all got back to the tree.  Butch checked his gear in preparation for “hiding” behind the tree, waiting for Craig’s signal.  I walked off a little ways to take a piss.  I’m not modest; I just didn’t want to cause any of us to accidentally walk through it later. I was standing off a ways pissing when a deputy sheriff walked into sight behind Butch and Craig. They both had their ear protectors on and did not hear him coming. I had mine dangling on my neck, and turned my head slightly at the sound of the leaves rustling. Craig yelled “Kill the bastard!” again, our signal that he was about to hit the stopwatch. Butch popped out from behind the tree and began firing. Neither of them heard the deputy’s startled “Halt or I’ll shoot!”

Then the deputy shot Butch. Several times.

Butch collapsed and rolled on the ground, gurgling. The deputy finally found his voice and yelled “FREEEEZE!” This time Craig heard him, and he threw up his hands. I cut off my urine midstream and slowly sunk into the ferns and under-growth, hoping the deputy hadn’t seen me. I was off to the deputy’s left and Craig was off to his right.  The deputy kept his eyes glued to Butch, then Craig, then back, with his pistol pointed in their direction; all the while he called on his radio for back-up.  He never saw me.

Somehow, Butch summoned the strength to roll over one more time and get off a couple of quick shots in the deputy’s direction.  As the deputy put what seemed an un-Godly number of more bullets into Butch, Craig yanked out his pistol, aimed and fired one shot, directly into the face of the deputy.  Incredibly, the deputy wasn’t killed. I saw blood and what looked half of his lower jaw blown away as he stumbled back a couple of feet into the brush and out of sight.  Craig and I rushed to Butch, but it was too late.

If you’ve never seen what several bullets do to a grown man, it’s nothing like the movies. What looked like gallons of fake blood had been apparently dumped on the leaves and grass around Butch. He had bled to death in seconds from what seemed like a dozen hits.  Yeah, he was still twitching, and his heart was apparently still beating, judging by the blood still oozing out of him, but his eyes already were staring up into the trees, lifeless.  Then I puked.

Craig kept his wits about him. He reached down and felt Butch’s carotid artery and found no pulse. “He must have thought Butch was jumping a real person.” Craig and Butch were best friends. I knew that Butch’s death was a shock to Craig, and that he would cry about it later. But Craig calmly assessed the situation.  “They are going to think I murdered that deputy.”

It never would have occurred to me that the truth would not come out and settle the matter.  Craig had been a Christian all his life; he attended a church religiously where his brother was the preacher.  Any barely competent investigation would uncover the truth.  But Craig said “I’ve got to go find him. Maybe if I can keep him alive until help arrives, he can verify our story.” 

I crumpled in a heap—barely out of range of Butch’s pooling blood—and cried.  Then I heard sirens.  Sounded like half a dozen.  Through the trees their wails were muffled.  I laid there like a baby, afraid to move.  I knew that deputy was dead or dying.  I knew that Craig would find him, and then direct the ambulances to him.  And I knew that deputy would not make it.  I knew that the cops and rescue workers would eventually come for Butch. I only hoped that by the time help arrived I would not still be sobbing uncontrollably. 

In what seemed like no time I heard yelling. It did not sound too far away, but I couldn’t make it out what was being said.  I lifted my head from the grass and wiped my eyes.  I definitely heard Craig yell something. Then it sounded like the deputy yelled something! I couldn’t believe that he was still alive, let alone able to yell. Then all hell broke loose. 

Bap bap bap bap in quick succession! The sound of a semi-auto pistol.  Boom… boom…boom! That sounded like Craig’s .357 Magnum.  Bap bap BOOM bap bap BOOM BOOM BOOM! I heard bullets zinging through the trees overhead. I ducked as low to the ground as possible. I couldn’t tell how many shots, or how many different shooters there were, until finally, silence.  I could hear the sounds of people running through the forest, leaves rustling and twigs snapping.

For a second, I had no clue what had just happened.  Then it hit me.  They had been shooting at Craig.  Craig probably saw help coming and yelled to get their attention, but then the deputy had yelled to warn them, thinking Craig was a bad guy.  Holy shit!

Then I had an even worse thought.  They might be coming for me next.  Chapter One, copy RIIIIITEd and all that shit cuz I’m a lawyer…

Chapter One: Killing in the woods

A drop of sweat rolled down my nose. I wiped it away, as Craig yelled, “Kill the bastard!” I immediately rolled from behind the tree, came to a kneeling position, and fired six times at the ugly looking man with the gun pointed directly at me.  I dove back behind the tree and reloaded my Taurus .357 magnum revolver. Then Butch started giggling. “You hit him in the nuts.” Butch was looking through his spotting glasses.

 

I stood up from behind the tree and joined him and Craig as we walked towards my target, roughly fifty feet away.  It was a scorching hot Saturday in August in central Virginia. But the mosquitoes were not taking the day off. I slapped what seemed the umpteenth bloodsucker off my neck, and wiped away smeared blood.

We reached my target, a crudely drawn life-sized silhouette of a man holding a gun on what used to be a large cardboard box. I took off my ear protectors and noticed that the forest was silent except for the incessant hum of the cicadas. Butch was already marking each bullet hole where I had hit my target. He marked each hole with an “X” so we could keep track of which holes were old and which were new when the next guy shoots.  Sure enough, I had hit him squarely in the nuts. Or where they would have been on a real bad guy.

Butch totaled the points that I had earned with my six out of six hits, then got my time from Craig, who had been timing my performance with a stop-watch.  Butch carefully noted the results in his spiral notebook.  We kept track. The vital areas were crudely drawn in by hand with a Sharpie.  One hundred points for a heart or brain shot. Fifty for any other head or central upper torso. Twenty-five for the lower torso and for miscellaneous other spots that we non-anatomically inclined red-necks thought might be good areas to hit a bad guy with a slug. Ten points for flesh wounds. Negative One Hundred Fifty for misses.  I scored two hundred sixty points.  “Not bad for a six-shooter, John.  Here let me show you how it is done with a real gun,” Butch said as he handed me the pen and notebook.

Butch took his shooting way more seriously than I did.  He had a Colt .45 Limited something or other Edition.  Semi-automatic, all the bells and whistles, two toned metal and one of the metals appeared to be gold. I don’t know if it was, but it sure looked that way. All I cared about though was how accurate it was and how smooth it felt when I shot it. I couldn’t afford it in a million years.  Or at least I wasn’t that good at convincing myself that I needed one just like it.  Any way, even without a fancy gun I considered myself to be a great shot.

We all got back to the tree.  Butch checked his gear in preparation for “hiding” behind the tree, waiting for Craig’s signal.  I walked off a little ways to take a piss.  I’m not modest; I just didn’t want to cause any of us to accidentally walk through it later. I was standing off a ways pissing when a deputy sheriff walked into sight behind Butch and Craig. They both had their ear protectors on and did not hear him coming. I had mine dangling on my neck, and turned my head slightly at the sound of the leaves rustling. Craig yelled “Kill the bastard!” again, our signal that he was about to hit the stopwatch. Butch popped out from behind the tree and began firing. Neither of them heard the deputy’s startled “Halt or I’ll shoot!”

Then the deputy shot Butch. Several times.

Butch collapsed and rolled on the ground, gurgling. The deputy finally found his voice and yelled “FREEEEZE!” This time Craig heard him, and he threw up his hands. I cut off my urine midstream and slowly sunk into the ferns and under-growth, hoping the deputy hadn’t seen me. I was off to the deputy’s left and Craig was off to his right.  The deputy kept his eyes glued to Butch, then Craig, then back, with his pistol pointed in their direction; all the while he called on his radio for back-up.  He never saw me.

Somehow, Butch summoned the strength to roll over one more time and get off a couple of quick shots in the deputy’s direction.  As the deputy put what seemed an un-Godly number of more bullets into Butch, Craig yanked out his pistol, aimed and fired one shot, directly into the face of the deputy.  Incredibly, the deputy wasn’t killed. I saw blood and what looked half of his lower jaw blown away as he stumbled back a couple of feet into the brush and out of sight.  Craig and I rushed to Butch, but it was too late.

If you’ve never seen what several bullets do to a grown man, it’s nothing like the movies. What looked like gallons of fake blood had been apparently dumped on the leaves and grass around Butch. He had bled to death in seconds from what seemed like a dozen hits.  Yeah, he was still twitching, and his heart was apparently still beating, judging by the blood still oozing out of him, but his eyes already were staring up into the trees, lifeless.  Then I puked.

Craig kept his wits about him. He reached down and felt Butch’s carotid artery and found no pulse. “He must have thought Butch was jumping a real person.” Craig and Butch were best friends. I knew that Butch’s death was a shock to Craig, and that he would cry about it later. But Craig calmly assessed the situation.  “They are going to think I murdered that deputy.”

It never would have occurred to me that the truth would not come out and settle the matter.  Craig had been a Christian all his life; he attended a church religiously where his brother was the preacher.  Any barely competent investigation would uncover the truth.  But Craig said “I’ve got to go find him. Maybe if I can keep him alive until help arrives, he can verify our story.” 

I crumpled in a heap—barely out of range of Butch’s pooling blood—and cried.  Then I heard sirens.  Sounded like half a dozen.  Through the trees their wails were muffled.  I laid there like a baby, afraid to move.  I knew that deputy was dead or dying.  I knew that Craig would find him, and then direct the ambulances to him.  And I knew that deputy would not make it.  I knew that the cops and rescue workers would eventually come for Butch. I only hoped that by the time help arrived I would not still be sobbing uncontrollably. 

In what seemed like no time I heard yelling. It did not sound too far away, but I couldn’t make it out what was being said.  I lifted my head from the grass and wiped my eyes.  I definitely heard Craig yell something. Then it sounded like the deputy yelled something! I couldn’t believe that he was still alive, let alone able to yell. Then all hell broke loose. 

Bap bap bap bap in quick succession! The sound of a semi-auto pistol.  Boom… boom…boom! That sounded like Craig’s .357 Magnum.  Bap bap BOOM bap bap BOOM BOOM BOOM! I heard bullets zinging through the trees overhead. I ducked as low to the ground as possible. I couldn’t tell how many shots, or how many different shooters there were, until finally, silence.  I could hear the sounds of people running through the forest, leaves rustling and twigs snapping.

For a second, I had no clue what had just happened.  Then it hit me.  They had been shooting at Craig.  Craig probably saw help coming and yelled to get their attention, but then the deputy had yelled to warn them, thinking Craig was a bad guy.  Holy shit!

Then I had an even worse thought.  They might be coming for me next.

4 responses to “So I’m writing a novel…

  1. For a second there, I thought I was reading the start of another John Grisham novel. Good work.

    Regards, Mike

    • JD…

      Definitely does have a knack fer the cliff hanger

      I’m thinkin’ he does have a second career…
      Very well disposed and written…

      I’ve commented on this very observation before…tmg…

  2. Throw in a couple of ‘shine references and its a reality show in Franklin County.

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