The new paperback & eBook editions of Excluded for the new year are in the works (if anyone is good with covers, let me know), but while you wait, I figure I'll share Chapter One throughout the next couple/few weekly posts.
Enjoy Part One of Chapter One by reading below, or start out with the entire prologue from my debut horror novel.
“God gave up a long time ago,” Adam Coy’s father said. “He left you and me to rot.”
Young Coy couldn’t believe the words coming out his father’s mouth. How could his father be so blasphemous? Sunday after Sunday, month after month, year after year, everyone told Young Coy that God, Jesus, Mary, and the whole rest of the crew were there to save his soul. At those folks’ expenses that Young Coy could enjoy life and Young Coy’s purpose in life came to nothing more than repaying the debt.
Now his father insisted on something different?
“I go to church,” his father continued, “because your mother always felt that it was the right thing to do. She said He was the redeemer. I’m still waiting, and I’m not getting any younger. Redemption, my ass.”
Young Coy’s ears almost bled. For Christ’s sake, they hadn’t even made it out of the church parking lot yet!
Coy’s father added, “Guess it won’t make sense until later, boy. Trust me, He won’t ever do a favor equal to what is taken to you. He’s a tyrant. Do you know what a tyrant is? Guess you don’t. If there is an afterlife, we’re already suffering in it, and there’s no way we’re in heaven.”
* * * *
Rubbing the ruggedness of his morning stubble, Adam Coy sat up on the bed of his apartment. Next to a tipped over bottle of Jim Bean lay a cheap digital alarm clock indicating he woke up far too early in the morning. Again. Insomnia got the worst of him as of late. He could almost guarantee that he would wake up at least three times during the night and that he wouldn’t get much more than a few hours’ sleep. The free time compelled him to do something. Anything.
Sometimes he wondered if God continued to punish him for all of his victims. What God? he thought.
Being awake so often and for such extended periods of time hindered his recollection. He couldn’t remember if the murders led to his sleeping disorder or if it was the other way around. Did it matter?
Getting out of bed, Coy fought grogginess. He ambled over to a wall next to his door and searched for the light switch.
After flipping the switch up, the lone ceiling light flickered. However, the bulb didn’t burn out. It didn’t help light up the room either.
With little light to help him see, Coy meandered over to the dresser.
He took off his sweaty black t-shirt and pulled open a drawer. Inside were several neatly folded shirts almost identical to the one he had taken off. He valued having a variety of “colors” though: black, gray, navy blue, charcoal. Before he put on another shirt, Coy stepped over to his full-length mirror and gazed at his own build. “I gotta be the last impressing thing on Earth,” he said to an empty room. He grabbed his clothes and slid them on.
Dressed, Coy walked over to his bed and picked up the Jim Bean bottle. Empty. Though disappointment pulled on his face, he kept the empty bottle in his hand. He sat back down on the bed and thought for a minute. “I’ve gotta do something.”
Sneaking through a crack in his window, a cold breeze crossed over his face. He took a deep breath. An idea struck. “I could fuckin’ burn something,” he said to himself. Lumber, a cigarette, people, paper, firecrackers. Look what I’ve become, he thought. Burning people to death for entertainment. He laid the bottle on the bed and snickered for a moment. In mid-laugh, he dropped from the bed and onto the floor and completed a multitude of pushups with no effort.
When he finished, he went back to the booze-stained nightstand and picked up his car keys. Without drawing anyone’s attention, Coy exited the apartment complex.
Never did he bring any of his own murder weapons to his victims’ homes. That was foolish. Coy found that most people have something in their garage, basement, or coat that could easily be turned into a useful tool. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even know who was going to kill until he met them. It was all about chance, although numerous victims believed that to be murdered was their God-given destiny or fate.
Are they kidding me? Coy wondered. I just spin a bottle.
On his nightly cruise, he stuck his head out the driver’s side window to look at several housing developments. Large families lived in large homes such as the ones he glanced at.
A smaller development called Clay Park seemed like a good place to start. No special entrance gates, no one outside, and not too many neighbors.
Who’s gonna rat me out, anyway?
“Now, who’s the moron going to be tonight?” Coy asked no one in particular.
He passed by a dump truck-shaped mailbox. The name on the side was Flynn.
“Winner.” He looked at the house, evaluating it. No lights remained on in any room.
Parallel parking the car just a hundred feet down the road, Coy headed for the Flynn household. The moment he reached the driveway, Coy stubbed his big toe on something near their trashcans. He crouched down and picked up the object: a rusted monkey wrench. How convenient. He shoved the tool in his back pocket and proceeded to the front door.
A security light centered on him. Even though it blinded him, the light failed to alarm anyone else in the neighborhood. They’re probably too scared to react if they did see the light, he thought.
Coy didn’t bother to try entering through the front door. He passed it by and continued to survey each opening in the house, resisting anything other than the perfect entrance. He stumbled across a broad window on the east side of the house. Perfect. A hedge stood as the only obstacle for him.
The pine needles rubbed against his leg, like a cat starving for attention. The needles rubbed him again. This time, he stood still. He chuckled at the sight of an actual cat at his feet.
Coy leaned over with a sincere smile on his face and whispered, “Here kitty, kitty. Here kitty.”
The small kitten walked right into his graces. Coy’s broad smile twisted. Through his eyes sinister intentions could be seen. Coy grinned again, this time laughing. And then he looked at his monkey wrench; adjusted it. Wrench it the air, he hovered over the feline. He swung down.
Inches before making contact with the animal, Coy stopped. “Scram,” he muttered. He hurled the wrench at the window. The glass shattered with deafening force. Still, no one in the house or neighborhood reacted. Crawling through the window, Coy entered the house’s kitchen. He observed his surroundings. Four chairs surrounded a small table. A small family, he figured. As well, the coffee maker, the refrigerator, and the oven were all small. Though Coy hoped for a challenge, he took whatever he could get. He crept into the living room. A slight thumping caught his attention—footsteps.