Thursday, March 22, 2012
The release date for Pipeline has been moved up to this Sunday, March 25th. As I have posted on my facebook page, www.facebook.com/ccarrolli, it will be available through http://www.melange-books.com/ on both ebook for your computer and paperback. It will also be available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I thank you all in advance.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
The odd and distant voice jolted her awake, and she flinched her eyes open wide. It couldn’t be. She knew she wasn’t asleep just now, only at that final stage of drifting when sounds are the last things to be recognized, and that last sound was someone calling her name. She turned her head toward the television. The local station had concluded its late-night broadcast, and now the gray static filled the screen and crashed from the audio. She could hear it in that last phase of consciousness as sleep paralysis grounded her to the couch in helpless abandon. It was the eerie sound of her name that had released her. She sat up and stared at the screen.
There it was again. Her heart pounded hard. The voice was coming from the screen.
“Tracy... love... you.”
It called out again. The voice was strange; the words were quick, hollow, and haunting. She jumped from the couch and turned the volume up with the remote. Nothing—just the rushing roar of static that seemed to taunt her. She was fully awake now, knowing what she’d heard. She recognized the voice.
“David?” She called out to the mocking screen, her chest heaving, as the tears streamed down her face. How? He’s dead.
The static said no more.
* * * *She sat and watched the sun rise then swallow the blue dawn, and a burst of orange ignited reality. The new day greeted her, as though all episodes in the darkness had never occurred. Three pots of coffee with just a drop of Jack Daniel’s in her cup to calm her nerves had kept her alert since the rude awakening. With the coffee cup clutched in her hand, she gazed out of the kitchen window and wondered what was real. “David,” she said to the empty house. Her eyes became rolling searchlights, scoping and scanning every corner and hoping for an answer.
It was him...his voice. I know it was.
Her thoughts carried her back to that horrible night...
Rex’s birthday party had been in full blast when keg number two was tapped with applause. It was a scene of indulgence as roars of laughter filled the room, and the Hi-fi, Satellite radio blared Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising. A muted baseball game (silenced in full, swinging progress by the Classic Rock station) played out on a giant screen TV that hung behind a fully stocked wet bar. Rex was David’s longtime pal and they were celebrating his thirtieth. Earlier she had agreed to drive home, but after four Rum and Cokes, it was a far gone conclusion that David should take the wheel. He had no qualms about her quick change of mind; he felt too tired to party anyway. They were sitting at the bar when she almost swayed from the barstool.
“You really should eat something,” he said to her. She had skipped dinner that evening, and the concerned look on his face pleaded to her.
“I’m eating something,” she said, opening a handful of popcorn she’d snatched from the bowls set around the bar. “You should try some.”
“No thanks, I hate popcorn.” He sipped from the foamy mug in front of him that would be his last.
“I’ll be fine,” she said. “Besides, you’re the designated driver now, so there.” She had designated him, playfully poking her finger to his chest. He laughed at her, enjoying her wacky sense of humor and deep gray eyes. Her long brown hair hung well past her shoulders, and he kissed her forehead. She smiled at him, adoring his deep blue eyes and sandy hair, his strong structure, but mostly his light hearted, easy going manner. She’d said yes when he asked her to marry him over a month ago, and she was still showing off the diamond engagement ring.
“Well, better me than you, Princess,” he said with impish sarcasm. His pet name for her, “Princess,” was usually spoken with that same teasing tongue. They smiled into each other’s eyes, unaware of the impending doom the fateful night would deliver them. The song played on in the background.
I see the Bad Moon Rising. I see trouble on the way...
He chugged the rest of the mug and wiped the foam mustache from his face. “Yeah, some designated driver,” he said. “Let’s roll.”
Don’t go around tonight, it’s bound to take your life...
It was just after 1:30 as they cruised the highway home, and she let the cool, brisk, night air of an early spring kiss her from the open window, basking in the breeze that swept her hair backward. That invigorating feeling of being alive that came from the cold wind had sobered her mind, if only for minutes. The drive home was at least thirty minutes, and she killed half of that just bathing in the night breeze that now chilled her.
“Wow, I’m beat,” David said. “I shouldn’t have downed those last two drafts.” She hadn’t seen the effort he’d made to keep his eyelids from closing.
“We’re almost home,” she said, turning her head back to the window and gazing out at the twilight.
Minutes of silence passed. She looked to see why he was so quiet.
“David!” she screamed. His eyes were closed, his hands still clutching the wheel, and the car moved to its own destination. Her eyes caught sight of the looming road sign just ahead, blaring familiar words in neon orange letters against a pitch black background.
CAUTION!Shadow Valley Curve was an unlit, twisting roundabout perched high above a low lying valley shadowed and hidden below the steep embankment that neared closer and closer. “David!” She shook him and grabbed the wheel, attempting to steer it. He opened his eyes too late...
SHADOW VALLEY CURVE AHEAD
SHADOW VALLEY CURVE AHEAD