TITLE: City of Salem (working title only)- Chapter 1
By Amy Davey
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<i>I will never forgive myself if I miss this chance again</i> Liz thought; tonight she would see her mother face to face. Darkness enveloped her body as she padded quietly down the steps into the dark cellar to wait. A chill came over her body; she felt the goosebumps as she rubbed her arms and listened carefully for footsteps above her.
“Ouch!” she yelped after colliding with the low hung ceiling. “Man! I swear it must have been midgets who built this house!” she mumbled under her breath while rubbing her throbbing head. Her fingers found a bump beginning to grow already and Liz grimaced at the shot of pain.
The cellar under her old farmhouse was a damp and miserable place, somewhat like those you would see on the set of an old horror film where some killer would bury the bodies he may have mutilated behind the dirt and stone walls. She used to be afraid of this place a few years ago, but now she was fourteen, well almost fourteen, and fourteen year olds weren’t afraid of that sort of thing. Besides, sometimes it felt safer in the blackness; almost as though she could be invisible. There was an air of expectancy tonight that hung like a thick blanket around her and it was as though anything could happen; so Liz hid quietly waiting, watching for any sign of movement. What I wouldn’t give to be invisible now she thought to herself. She caught the glint of moonlight on the steel handlebars of her brother’s motorbike between the branches where it hid. I have to be invisible. This is it, this is the night, I can feel it! Stepping out to get a better view Liz crouched low on the ascending the staircase and felt the hard cold concrete beneath her skin. She scanned the bushes carefully as the cool breeze picked up and began making the small branches flutter and wave gracefully. Her nostrils caught a slight hint of barbeque wafting in from the neighbor’s backyard and felt her tummy rumble in excitement. She had forgotten to grab a quick bite of supper before rushing out to her stakeout but she wasn’t about to turn back in now.
Liz shivered as she fought to keep warm in the light t-shirt she had decided to throw on. Thrilled at the imminent adventure, she had climbed out of her second floor bedroom window and shimmied down the eaves trough, only to realize later that in all the excitement she had forgotten to grab her sweater. Although it had been an unusually warm September this year it was beginning to get chilly at night. As she fought the temptation to head back for a sweater, Liz saw a shadow move in the far corner of the yard. She held her breath as she focused on that spot, silently willing her eyes to adjust so she could see in the darkness. When she thought she could stand it no longer, Liz finally saw a figure emerge from behind the wall of bushes walking quickly towards the driveway. She sunk lower as the figure came into full view under the energy saving motion light her father had put up last summer; proudly the first on their street to make the switch to what he called “green living”. Finally able to see the woman’s face, Liz instantly recognized her mother from the old photos her father kept on the wall after she disappeared.
Her mother slipped into the old Volvo which sat humbly in the driveway. It hadn’t been used much since her mother left, but dad had kept it for Liz when she grew old enough to drive. Liz rather thought it may be her father’s way of holding on to the past, but she never mentioned it to him. The engine turned over fairly easily, though it had not ran in years, and then sat for a few seconds chugging to life.
“Here we go” Liz thought to herself as she darted across the lawn to the bush, pulled the motorbike free and hopped on board. She didn’t want the engine and headlights bringing any attention to her, so she waited until her mother’s car had pulled out of the driveway before she started it up. Keeping a safe distance, Liz followed the Volvo as it snaked its way through the maze of subdivisions in their neighborhood. After what seemed like forever with the chilly air racing down her back, they finally came to a part of town that seemed quite run down and deserted. The eerie sensation that she had been there before crept under Liz’s skin and she racked her memory searching for any mental image of this God-forsaken place. She wondered who in the world her mother could have possibly known in this area of town. Liz could see the dim taillights of the car begin to fade as a patch of fog rolled in; she leaned in closer to the handlebars and tried to concentrate. All at once it seemed, the taillights disappeared completely as Liz was plunged into a thick blanket of fog. It seemed to swallow her up and she could barely see the road in front of her.
A loud blaring noise pierced through the cloud and bright lights raced by Liz as, startled, she fell back on her bike and came crashing to the ground. Liz looked up and caught a different pair of taillights of which seemed to belong to a large pickup truck swerving all over the road. To her horror she realized, she had been concentrating so hard on following her mother’s taillights, that she had not been watching for stop signs and had nearly ran right through the intersection.
Still recovering from the shock she rolled over onto her knees trying to keep the nausea from overwhelming her. The bike lay scattered on the ground several feet away, but thankfully it seemed to be in one piece. Her body ached from the collision with the pavement as she lifted herself off the ground. Without warning screeching tires filled the air as Liz spun around in time to see the front grill of a moving van hurtling towards her. As the driver tried to steer the massive vehicle to the side its wheels kicked out from underneath and launched the entire truck three feet in the air while Liz frantically scrambled to get away. Blinding pain accompanied the sound of crunching bones, and then … blackness.
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