Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sample Sunday Again

Here is another #SampleSunday from my novel THE CONVERTED. In this section from Chapter 4, the protagonist, Anton Springmann, has departed Orton by train after the town was attacked by creatures the townspeople call devils. He travels with a girl named Elisa who was found unconscious after the attack, along with her father and two other people from the town, Ben and Nina. Enjoy!

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A crash cut through the rhythmic sound of wheels on the train track. The carriage shook and people screamed. Anton jerked awake. It was dark outside, but a few oil lamps had been hung in the centre of the carriage. Ben twisted around in his seat to look around. Jarvis had one arm across Elisa and was peering out the window into the night. Nina yelped, her eyes wide.

The carriage shuddered again, and the train began to slow. The other passengers yelled for information. Anton stood up.

A gunshot. The next window over shattered, showering a man in glass. Ben drew his revolver. Anton's head spun. Sweet Jeza. It was happening again.

Ben pushed past Anton and rushed down the aisle towards the back of the carriage. The only things Anton could hear were screams and the sound of glass crunching underfoot.

Anton shook his head and turned back to hurry Jarvis out of his seat. A movement outside the window caught his eye. A gray face came into view, the skin cracked. The devil bounced up and down, reins in its hand. It snarled and raised a shotgun at Anton.

Anton dropped to the ground as the gun went off. Jarvis hit the floor in front of him, his body shielding Elisa from the falling shards of glass.

Anton realized he was holding his revolver. He raised it, pointed it at the window, pulled back the hammer with his thumb. He fired. The gun kicked in his hand. He aimed and fired again. Again. The gray face dropped back from view. Anton didn't think he'd hit it. It would be back in a second.

Anton grabbed Jarvis by the shoulder and hauled him to his feet. Nina followed, covering her head with her hands. A few other male passengers were firing out the side of the train. The women and children stayed low in their seats. A man lay slumped in the middle of the carriage, blood pulsing from his neck.

Ben was at the end of the carriage, firing out the space between the two carriages. His lips were pulled back in a grim snarl.

The train was slowing. The wheels squealed on the tracks. Anton could see gray shapes jumping onto one of the other carriages. They were boarding the train.

"Ben!" Anton shouted, making his way towards him. He stepped over the wounded man's body without stopping. "We have to get off."

Ben fired off another round then ducked back inside the carriage and began to reload. "We'll have to jump."

"What about Elisa?" Jarvis said. He crouched behind a seat, his daughter in his arms.

Ben slid another round into the cylinder and flicked the loading gate closed. "We have to risk it. Come on!"

Anton stood and fired the last two rounds at a figure galloping outside the window. It screamed and the horse fell behind.

A man shoved past Anton and came alongside Ben. His eyes darted around at the bush rushing past. He braced himself on the handrail beside the door.

"Wait!" Ben yelled.

It was too late. The man jumped. He tried to roll as he hit the ground, but his foot caught a root from an overhanging tree. Anton heard the bone crack before the train bore them onwards and the man was lost to their sight.

Ben swore and fired his revolver at another rider who had appeared. Anton holstered his own weapon and leaned out beside Ben. The corner of the carriage exploded in a small shower of splinters as a bullet slammed into it, but Anton ignored the shots.

"Up ahead." Anton pointed. "The bush thins out."

Ben nodded. "Jarvis, Nina, this is our shot. Get ready."

Nina braced herself against the side of the train, mouth half-open, and Jarvis moved beside them in a crouch, his whole body covering Elisa.

"Ready?" Anton said.

"As a whore on payday," Ben said.

"Now!"


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