Just in time for Halloween, below is an extract from Dead of Night (Revised edition).
At some point, Nick dropped something, Maggie heard it hit the floor with a soft, hollow thud. She didn’t know what it could be, but guessed it must be pretty important because the moment it fell, Nick stopped in his tracks. They didn’t have time for this shit, they had to find cover. Now. It wasn’t safe outdoors, and Nick was fading fast. If he collapsed out here in the open, she would never be able to move him. They would be sitting targets for whatever prowled these fucking woods after dark.
She instinctively reached down to pick up the object Nick had dropped, then immediately put her hand to her mouth to stifle a scream. It was Nick’s severed hand. Pale now, almost translucent in the moonlight. It felt clammy to the touch. He’d carried it with him all the way from the camp.
It was still warm.
It doesn’t matter, she told herself. Pick it up and get going again. It’s just flesh and bone, just flesh and bone…
Grimacing, she tucked the bloodied appendage into the waistband of her sweatpants, took Nick by the remaining arm and resumed the journey.
Bizarrely, cruelly, in her fractured state, Maggie found that she couldn’t stop wondering how the hell they were going to carry the tent and all the rest of their stuff back to the car if Nick only had one hand. It would definitely be a struggle. They might have to make two trips, or even leave some stuff behind. She started mentally listing all the things they had taken with them, and then the things they could afford to leave behind. Anything to keep her mind working, keep it sharp and focused. If she stopped to think about the nightmare they were in, she would go to pieces.
Under normal circumstances it would only have taken a couple of minutes to get to the cabin, but in the dark and with Nick the way he was, it would probably take three times that long. At any moment she expected to see movement in the trees, or feel an arm reach out of the undergrowth and claw at her feet.
Things were going too well.
It was almost too easy.
But if she remembered correctly, Nick had put a tent peg straight into that thing’s eye. And didn’t it only have one eye to begin with? In that case it was probably still walking around in circles a mile or so away.
Maggie could feel exhaustion setting in. The muscles in her back and arms were screaming in protest from shouldering Nick’s extra weight and her second wind had come and gone. Probably her third and fourth winds too, if such things existed.
With grim determination, she pushed on. No time to stop, not here, not even for a second.
Finally, they arrived back at the cabin.
Dead of Night is available now on paperback and ebook.