I’m looking for a fun way to advertise my new novel First Responder. Have a cell phone or camera with video? Have some friends? Want some extra cash? It’s as easy as A, 2, D.
A. Select one of the below excerpts from my new novel First Responder.
2. Record your video. Make a 5 minute or longer video based on your selection. Use 1 to 4 people to act out the scene, staying as close to the text as possible.
D. Put your movie on a USB thumb drive or burn a creative CD/DVD. Talk it up on social media, we need others to know about what you’ve done. Send in my copy to:
- James Summers
- 300 LaFollette Station Dr. S
- Box 255
- Floyds Knobs, IN 47119
Enter for a chance to win an autographed hardcover of my new novel First Responder. One video out of all will be selected as the overall winner, and receive $150.00. The contest ends February 28, 2017. Entries become will not be returned. All videos will be displayed on my YouTube channel pending review. If you have any questions email firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Responder, a novel by James Summers – coming Summer 2017
“Yup. Here we are,” Karen said as she pulled in and backed up to the side door.
“Home hell home,” Lisa smiled.
“It’s not that bad. It’s actually pretty quiet here. So, we can rest if nothing comes banging on our doors,” Karen said checking her cell phone.
“I hear there’s angry fire-breathing people eating monsters in there-scary.”
“Sounds fun,” Lisa said sipping her coffee.
“We’ll check them out later if you like. Hope we don’t meet them on a caller.”
“Because it means we needed their help. Let’s keep them quick and easy tonight,” Karen said as she made her seat as comfy as she could.
A few uneventful hours passed by with both women resting rather uncomfortably in their seats. Several loud bangs sent Lisa into the air cussing as she hit her head on the roof. Karen was laughing so hard when she turned to look at the sexy fireman standing outside Lisa’s window.
“Lisa meet Mike.” Karen said between laughs.
Lisa wasn’t smiling at all.
“Mike meet Lisa,” Karen yelled.
Mike tipped his cowboy hat and cracked a shit eating smile before walking away. Karen never told Lisa she had texted him. She was sure it would come up sooner or later.
“It’s almost 2 a.m., Ms. Hicks will need her ride soon,” Karen stated.
Karen adjusted the audio on her radio and held it in Lisa’s direction. It began squeaking and then came the tone. Their dispatcher soon followed. Lisa was amused with the predicted run, but the loudness of the radio annoyed her. A two tone ten second long attention grabber began its deafening effects on Lisa’s ears. Shortly afterwards their pagers went off.
“Sixty-seven year old woman having difficulty breathing. 1465 Main. One four six five Main. Your cross street is 788 Baxter.”
“Unit 15 responding,” Lisa responded.
“10-4 unit 15. Dispatch out.”
“Well, you sure know your streets around here, I’ll give you that.”
Lisa smiled back. She had no idea how close Main and Baxter were, she just wanted that run. Lucky for her Karen did know the back streets. It wasn’t long before they were on Baxter, but something was wrong. As she made the left turn her head lights unnaturally burned their way through the darkness. Shining through the front yard of an older house she lit up the area for a brief moment before it once again went dark. Lisa noticed it at the same time she did-it was pitch black. Street lights were out. Driveways had no lights on. Front porches were uninviting. They reached Main Street and it was no different. Lisa looked through her window scanning back and forth as they drove imitating a radar tower. She thought she saw something from time to time but anything that was there quickly disappeared into the shadows.
Karen stopped in front of the building leaving her headlights on the front door. It was a large metallic red door that reflected the light evenly. The dark bricks surrounding it along with the night sky absorbed all remaining light. Karen and Lisa looked at each other before jumping out and grabbing their gear. Karen called it in before they approached the door.
“Unit 15 to dispatch. Over.”
“Go ahead Unit 15.”
“It’s totally dark for blocks. Baxter and Main are both out. Over.”
“10-4. we’ll verify utilities and advise. Dispatch out.”
“Want to wait for backup?” Lisa threw Karen a glance.
Karen was halfway to the door when Lisa took off after her. Her first steps through the door echoed down the hallway. There was nobody at the front nursing station to greet them. It was unusual that the front door was not attended, especially in an emergency situation. Lisa looked at Karen and asked her the same question again. Karen turned and looked down the hall at the only visible light. The exit sign shone very brightly, but it was so far away. Lisa gave up trying to be safe and walked passed Karen without waiting for her answer.
“I’m not feeling this one, something’s wrong,” Lisa said over her shoulder as she continued walking.
Karen passed the front desk and followed her. Just out of sight to her left a pair of legs twitched for their last time. The body was out of sight and she was too far gone to make any sounds or to struggle. Had anyone shone their light behind the desk the blood would have reflected the light into the air making the woman’s presence known.
It had been three days since the last time Karen had been contacted by either the police or reporters. The call she had been waiting for never came. There still was no call from work on when she could return. The last communication she had with them ended with ‘we’ll call you when we know something’. Another troubling fact was that a day ago Amalie was supposed to have visited her, but she never came. All was going as planned though. Today she was to see her friends at Waffle House to finalize their attack. Sebastian would soon be no more.
Karen had not taken a shower in days. From the best of her recollection, the last one was after the infamous pee incident of 2017. Her couch had a good cleaning that night too, from what she remembered. Today was the big day with her friends and Karen was excited to tell them about everything that had happened to her. Complete were her plans on how to catch the first responder, of this she was most excited about. Karen made a mental checklist of what needed to be done before she left, checking it twice. Everything was in order, so she grabbed some paper, her cell phone and her car keys and headed out.
Waffle House was unusually busy today. It appeared that every parking space was occupied. Every parking space except one, which Karen quickly took. Getting out she looked around before making her way to the front door. Looking through the glass windows she saw them sitting in their usual booth, all except Joe. It was good times with most of the group back together. She had lots to tell them about Joe, Sebastian, Amalie and the man in black. It had been a busy month. It was soon to get busier, Karen thought as she knew the bombshell that she was soon to tell them.
Stepping up to their table Karen plopped down and smiled at them. She was greeted by smiles from Clarence and Dominique.
“One more to go,” Clarence said as he sipped his coffee.
“I’m afraid that I will no longer greet everyone as ‘Dirty Rotten Son of a Bitches’. We are one short, my friends,” Karen said with watery eyes.
Dominique glanced down at the table without saying a word. Clarence looked at Karen and waited for her to speak.
“But Clarence’s always been Dirty, I’ve always been Rotten, Joe’s always been Son of a, and you, well you have always been the Bitch. That was us, we were four super heroes who fought evil. We’ve always done that, since back in the fourth grade,” Dominique said, breaking down into tears.
“I’ve a lot to cover, we don’t have much time. Why is this place so packed right now?” Karen asked.
“There’s some local author named James Summers who writes psychological horror fiction. Apparently he’s a big deal. He’s written three books they say,” Clarence stated matter-of-factly.
“Never heard of him,” Karen said as she focused on matters at hand.
“One moment please. We need another minute,” she told the woman who had just exited the kitchen.
Compared to some of her earlier tests, this one was going to be easy. She thought about walking through the front double glass doors. The first view was that of a bamboo covered counter with a polished jade surface. Immediately behind the counter was the door to the kitchen. To the right was a small fridge with a glass door displaying all manner of flavored water and soft drinks. Over to the left in the corner was an HD television for the dining room. Approximately six tables, no, seven stretched to the back of their dining area. Above the tables were colored globes that shed an orange hue over one’s meal. There was but a single door to the rear that led to a family restroom. There were three pictures spaced evenly on the outside wall in the dining room. They were representative of some of the major cooking provinces of China consisting of Sichuan, Hunan, and Cantonese, respectively. Sitting in the further most table were an old couple, a man and a woman. Both dressed in comfortable slacks and shirts, they were splitting a dinner portion of General Tso’s chicken and a bowl of hot and sour soup. Going back to the bamboo counter she then described the suspended glass lighting. Five very small, very thin glass cylinders, and going from left to right their colors were blue, red, orange, blue and yellow.
“That about covers it, wouldn’t you say?” she said with confidence.
“Impressive as always, dear,” he replied.
Amalie opened her eyes and smiled at the woman before reaching over the counter and picking up their phone to dial 911.
“There’s been an accident. Our cook has cut his hand and is bleeding very badly. I can hardly keep enough pressure on the wound. Come quickly please,” she pleaded to the operator before hanging up abruptly.
The Chinese woman’s smile quickly faded when she was grabbed by her apron and pulled onto the counter. With her butt in the air the woman screamed and struggled as Amalie held her in place with a single hand. Several cooks heard the commotion and came from the kitchen brandishing cleavers to assess the situation. Chretien held up a hand and told them to stay calm in what came out as the thickest, most foreign French accent ever.
“No need for trouble, this is not about you. Go back into the kitchen and fry something,” he said to them.
The three Chinese men in white cook uniforms looked at each other and slowly filed out around the counter. They took deliberate steps to avoid the blonde woman who was holding their sister on the counter. The English language was hard enough for them to understand, let alone a French man attempting to butcher it. The woman screamed less now, but she still struggled to get free. From the back of the dining room the old couple watched tonight’s events unfold between noisy sips of their soup.
Amalie shook the woman and told her to be quiet. This was done with a sweeter and softer accent which was easier for all to understand. The men continued advancing, placing themselves in the way of their attackers. The largest man blocked the front doors, where the two smaller men stopped just shy of the dining room. This gave their new unwanted friends an out to the kitchen or a fight to escape out their front door.
“Let her go and leave,” the smaller cook shouted in almost perfect English.
It was enough to make both vampires look at him in amazement. From the back of the dining room the old couple heard the drama and as the man stopped mid slurp the woman stood up and moved her chair to the back of the table for a better view.
Amalie kept her left hand free while continuing to hold the woman in place with her right. Again she told the woman to stop squirming and keep quiet. Amalie slid her hand up to the woman’s neck and squeezed to get her point across.
“Jiangshi! Jiangshi!” the woman yelled as she struggled with all her might to get free.
All of the cooks took a step backwards, save one. The smallest of the three assumed his martial arts stance and waited. The other smaller cook took another step backwards and then walked around the man guarding the doors and exited the shop.
“I would say that we don’t want any trouble, just cooperate and everything will be fine. But I would by lying,” Chretien softly said.
The large man continued listening as he looked at the woman and then back at the man in black.
“We’re running short on time hon,” Amalie whispered under her breath.
Back at the cabin Jack awoke some time later with his hands tied together and held above his head. He was suspended from the ceiling by another rope that dangled annoyingly just off the side of his face. Jack was slowly twisting to the left with his feet approximately a foot above the wooden floor and his head hanging low. It took him several seconds longer to fully comprehend the predicament he was in. When he tried to get free he noticed that his feet were also tied together at the ankles. There didn’t seem to be much that he could do to escape.
With the amount of pain he was experiencing in his shoulders, Jack wasn’t sure how long he had been hanging from the ceiling. As best as he could determine with his experience with pain, he figured it to be about two days or more. Any sort of effort to move or free himself was met with dagger-like shooting pain that radiated from his shoulders down the middle of his back. Jack thought it unnatural for him to feel such pain in his shoulders from being suspended from the ceiling by his wrists. His attempts at freedom only managed to turn him slightly faster as his rope straightened under his weight.
Jack’s mouth was not gagged. He could talk though he didn’t really feel like doing so. He was starting to take in the space around him, and as he slowly turned he scanned the room for the jogger. Looking down he could tell that he was wearing the same lucky t-shirt and blue jeans that he was earlier. Although his vision was limited to where he could turn his head, he continued to search the room for his captor. It was a small cabin with a single front door. It only had exterior walls, with very little comforts to speak of. Shifting his body back and forth he managed to start twisting to his right. Over against the wall by the door he saw his old watch, wallet, and shoes on a nearby shelf, but he didn’t see his cell phone. He continued turning to the right, and as the next wall came into view he noticed the corner of an old bed pushed up against it.
Time passed very slowly for Jack, the way one expected a line at their favorite theme park would. As he waited to turn further to the right to see more of the bed, every hair on his body stood up on end. Sitting on the far right edge of the old bed was the jogger. He was looking forward at Jack while fidgeting with the business end of a sharp hunting knife. Jack felt a pain in his gut grow larger. Blood seemingly began draining from his face, his hands, and his arms. Where it was going he wasn’t sure, but Jack was certain that had he access to a mirror he would see himself turning white from head to toe. The jogger rubbed his thumb over the knife’s edge horizontally, making a soft scrapping sound. He never spoke, he never moved. All he did was continue staring at Jack with anticipation.
Jack closed his eyes and kept them shut and in doing so he experienced the accident all over again in vivid detail. He saw the jogger coming at him on the road. He remembered blinking his eyes a few times and then hitting the jogger before locking up his brakes. Jack’s head started to bead up with sweat, partly due from the temperature in the poorly insulated cabin, and partly out of fear. Jack opened his eyes and stared back at the jogger who was still sitting on the edge of the bed, never blinking. He did what he could to slow his progress down, he didn’t want to keep turning and have the jogger to his back. Struggle as he might, Jack only managed to twist to the right even faster. He wished he could have done this earlier when he had wanted to look around. Now he focused all his energy on slowing his turn so he could keep eyes on the man in blue.
Soon the jogger would be out of sight and Jack couldn’t handle that. His mind considered the actions that the jogger could do when he was hidden. He didn’t know why he was in this situation. It was all just a simple misunderstanding. Jack knew he could make things right. He wanted to talk to the man. He wanted to say something but he didn’t want to make matters worse. He didn’t know what would set this man off, and he surely didn’t want to anger him as he turned his back towards him. Jack had twisted his neck to the left as far as it would go as he continued turning to his right. There was nothing more he could physically do to keep the jogger in sight. He sighed and held his breath as he tried listening for the jogger step onto the floor from the bed. He desperately needed to know where he was, although there was nothing that he could do to stop the man if he chose to approach.
With his back still turned to the jogger, Jack mustered up enough courage to speak.
“Look, I’m sorry. Obviously I didn’t run you over or hit you with my truck, and for that I’m grateful. I’m a nervous wreck inside. I didn’t mean to break into your cabin. I just needed a place to stay for a few minutes. I needed to collect my thoughts and clear my head,” Jack pleaded.
“This is very important, so please try to concentrate,” the doctor whispered from across the wooden desk.
Looking away to the wall on their left, he turned to face her again and asked her what she remembered. He watched as the woman shook uncontrollably and awaited any sign or acknowledgement of what he had just asked for. There was nothing that he could do to stop her from shaking. Moments ago the man had tried to comfort her with a calm voice. He spoke to her from the opposite corner of the room, making sure to keep plenty of distance between them. Why, he had even dimmed the lights in the room in an attempt to relax her. Nothing the doctor did worked to calm the woman.
He watched as the woman cried what he thought were her last tears, ever. Her mascara ran down her cheeks to varying lengths. The woman’s left eye looked like it belonged to a circus clown, with dark colors running mainly down from the center, and less from around the corners. Her right eye resembled that of a battered housewife. Earlier she had rubbed it with her fist and spread the mascara evenly around the eye, effectively blacking out the entire area. She was a sad sight to see, and one’s heart went out to this woman if but a single glance was thrown her direction.
Continuing to take notes and record his evaluation, he focused on the condition of her head and shoulders. Her short blonde hair was long enough to be pulled back into a pony tail, but it was unkempt. Individual strands of hair that were probably once tightly held in place with the others around it protruded this way and that. At points along the way it almost looked frayed, possibly from being pulled on or yanked about. The woman’s right cheek had a lateral cut about an inch long. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be more of a puncture. It had been tended to by police, and a few small white strips helped to keep it closed.
Both cheeks were dirty, covered with blood and debris in various amounts, but mainly around the outside edges. It was apparent that she had wiped her face in an attempt to clear the blood so she could see, mixing and smearing the blood even further. It was probably wiped away to some extent by the first police to arrive on the scene, as they tried to determine where she was bleeding from. A gash on her forehead which had also been tended to, sat kitty corner to a large goose egg centered slightly left of her right eye. Looking at the woman’s eyes when he asked her questions, he found it distracting, and noticed that it sometimes seemed to move all by itself.
“Do you know your name?” he softly asked.
Amalie and Chretien arrived at the church pleased to sense their foe was nearby. It appeared that in the middle of the night he had started a fire in an attempt to throw them off his trail and hide the evidence of his existence.
“What a poor attempt to make us think he died in the fire. Did he think we would not sense him?” Amalie shrugged at Chretien.
Both kept concentrating and trying to figure out what was going on. It was dusk here and although it was early, it was still safe for vampires to be out and about. He was close, they sensed it. From what Chretien could determine, there were six fire trucks from four different stations helping to put out the blaze. The area hummed with the sound of spraying water and the crackling of spent timbers. People ran this way and that, and not all were fire fighters, there were police and EMTs as well.
There were no flames at this point, but several areas of red embers were still being doused with water. The church had still been burning until just before they arrived, Amalie was sure of it. Steam poured into the air creating walls where they no longer existed. The air smelled of chemicals, wood, and death. Chretien could tell that someone had indeed perished here.
“Excuse me, hey! I’m going to need you both to stay back. Get behind the truck over there and stay out of this area,” the fireman shouted.
Chretien nodded and took Amalie by her arm and led her a few steps in that direction. As soon as he left they walked back into the mix and around the building.
“He’s close. He’s right here, why can’t we see him?” Amalie said loud enough over the roar of the engines. The fire trucks were loud enough to drown out all but casual conversation.
“Not in human form. He’s not in human form,” Chretien said grabbing her arm.
Amalie looked at him and they both looked up into the air. Thomas moved with the wind and kept hidden in all the smoke around him. Higher and higher he went, and when he was confident that he would not be noticed, he started moving further away above the neighboring woods. Soon he would be able to move around as necessary and escape this scene. It was as important to escape unnoticed as it was to learn more about his hunters. He knew he would have to come back and walk around the first responders and try to catch them off guard. Thomas made his way to the ground about a half mile north outside a small clearing between several trees.
It wasn’t long before he was on all fours bounding through the trees. He approached the scene and watched from the safety of several large bushes as first responders ran around addressing the remnants of the fire. Thomas saw several old people being tended to. They were probably just panicking from the nearby fire or maybe even having heart attacks. Moving along the periphery he watched as police secured the area and kept passersby out of danger. There were EMTs moving people to their ambulances or down on one knee while they triaged their patients. In all the chaos, fire fighters with masks were walking through the smoldering remains looking for better angles to spray the rest of the building.
The fire here wasn’t an attempt to lure his attackers into public where he would have a fighting chance. It was something that he had been waiting to do for quite some time. With the death of Father Wayne and the burning down of the church, the community would be united in rebuilding their church and their lives. The man who had been mistreating their children would no longer hurt those around him. It was on this tangent when he saw the man in black walking straight for him. The smile on his face led Thomas to believe he knew he was there. Another vampire was close, but Thomas did not see where she was.
Amalie watched from the tree tops as Chretien stopped walking and motioned for the wolf to come closer. Thomas had no intention of fighting him in that form, but he did want to talk to him again. He moved through the bushes with caution, and when he saw no humans in the area he started to transform. He felt that he had enough distance between them to fully change before the man in black would be in reach, and he was right. A few steps later and he walked upright as a man. Chretien saw a chance to charge up to him, catching his prey mid-shift but he wasn’t sure and so he erred on the side of caution. Amalie had almost moved against him too. “Great minds,” she thought as she waited for his move.
“I could not miss an opportunity to converse with one so special,” Thomas said snidely.
“You know we are not alone, so I’m guessing you want to tell us something?” the man in black asked.
“I’m sort of on vacation. I plan to stay here until we work out our differences,” Thomas smiled.
“Your time is up, I’m afraid. What you do, how you feed. It’s not as transparent as you think. The reason you draw our ire is because humans have learned about you. There are some loose strings that we are attending to, if you know what I mean,” the man in black said slowly moving to his right.
Thomas did not move or respond to his recent statement. He was focusing exclusively on the whereabouts of the second vampire.
This is all in good fun all, so record responsibly. All rights reserved, copyright James H Summers 2017. I reserve the right to accept/reject submissions. Submissions received on or after March 1, 2017 will be added to the channel after being approved, but will not be subject to the contest for the $150.00 prize.