Rewrites can mean cuts. From words, to sentences, to whole paragraphs and even chapters. I've learned a lot from writing short stories and I've become a bit of a word-miser. As a result, I've noticed it's become harder to write a larger story. Here's a section that I chopped from my soon to be released novel, Slipping the Past.
“Where are we going?”
Jocelyn down shifted. She’d no idea. They’d been circling the neighborhood for the last hour. Since the enforcers didn’t drive, she wasn’t sure if they were still waiting for her at the house. She knew she could never go home, but she wasn’t ready to face that reality. Plus, she needed to drop Nate. She couldn’t drag him into this, regardless what her mother wanted but there was a problem leaving him home, he was her eyes. Without him, her mother’s transporter was worthless.
“I don’t know. I’m trying to think.”
“You’re wasting the charge in this vehicle. We need to put as much distance as we can between us and that reaper.”
“Stop, Nate. I’m trying to figure it out.”
“You’re not ditching me.”
Jocelyn groaned and rolled to a stop in front of the house. Nate looked away from it. “Nate, look at the house. I can’t see it.”
“No. We need to get out of here.”
“Damn it, Nate. Would you look at the house? I need to see.”
Nate snorted and stared at the pavement, refusing to give her what she wanted. Jocelyn watched through his eyes as the wind caught the leaves and sent them whirling across the road’s surface in a spiral dance. For once, she wished she could see with her own eyes, but it looked like she’d have to lower herself to begging.
“If we keep doing this, he’s going to come out that door and see us. Then we’re done.”
“I’m done. You’re not involved.”
“Says the woman who’s borrowing my eyes to sort of make her escape—if she’d actually leave the neighborhood.” Nate huffed and glanced at the front door. “Happy?”
Jocelyn put the vehicle in first and began to drive again.
Jake glanced at the door one more time. “Oh shit. You better get this thing going.” Ian stepped out onto the porch and locked onto them. Jocelyn slammed her foot to the floor.
“Eyes front, Nate!”
He snapped his head around and stared at the street. “Get us the fuck out of here, Jocelyn.”
The tires squealed and the transporter shot forward.
“They can’t teleport inside a moving vehicle. Don’t stop,” Nate glanced in the rearview mirror to see the reaper standing in the street behind them. “Left. Go left.”
The tires screeched as they took a corner. Nate checked the mirror. The reaper had teleported behind them again, watching their every move. She turned right, taking another side street. He teleported again, staying in the rear view mirror. He could follow them all night. Too bad they’d wasted most of the transporter’s charge circling the block.
“We have to get on the interstate. He can’t follow us that way.”
“I don’t think that will stop him.” Something about the reaper made the hair on her neck snap to attention. He’d come for her four hours early. He’d been anxious to get her soul and didn’t care if he broke the law to do it. Until midnight, she was still seventeen and untouchable, or she should have been untouchable. If he didn’t care about that, there was a good chance he wouldn’t care if Nate got hurt during the capture, or worse.
“We might be able to ditch him in traffic. Get to the interstate and we’ll take a side exit. There’s no way he can predict our next move. He can keep popping behind us on these side streets. The interstate won’t be as easy.”
“Fasten your safety harness and keep your eyes on the road.”
Nate complied and eyed the sign ahead. “Oh shit. You can’t do that.”
“Just watch me.” Jocelyn shot down a one-way street the wrong way and onto an off-ramp. She’d have to take a chance. Only a crazy man would follow her wrong-way onto an interstate. Hell, she was crazy to even contemplate it. Bright lights beamed at her and a horn wailed. Jocelyn swerved around the transporter and shifted into a higher gear. She moved to the shoulder and weaved around two more oncoming transporters. She couldn’t get onto the correct side with the concrete dividers between. They’d have to ride this out for a mile or two until they hit the open and she could get across the median.
“Jocelyn! Look out!”
Jocelyn had seconds to register the reaper standing in front of her, backlit by the lights of a freighter truck. “Oh shit!” She down shifted and swerved. It wasn’t enough. She missed the reaper and truck but hit the divider doing at least eighty miles per hour. Her head smashed into the steering wheel before her restraints locked down and yanked her back.
Everything began to reel along in slow motion. Their transporter spun and flipped. Airborne, it spiraled across four lanes of traffic and hit the barrier on the other side. Metal screeched and sparks left a tail behind them like a comet as the vehicle slid across the pavement on the driver’s side.
Then, everything went dark as Nate blacked out.
“Oh God, Nate.” Pain wracked her ribcage where the harness had caught and her forehead felt smashed. “Nate.” Jocelyn dared to open her eyes and look. The light from other vehicles stabbed through the back of her skull. She ignored the pain and examined Nate. His chest rose and fell. She took a deep breath. He was alive, but how badly hurt? She slammed her eyes shut, unable to take anymore. They were trapped. Where was the reaper?
Jocelyn released the catch on her belt and reached for Nate. She shook his arm. “Wake up. We’ve got to get out of here before we have company.”
“Nate. You’ve got to wake up.”
Boots crunched on broken glass and her stomach lurched.
“Jocelyn Miller. I have a warrant for your arrest.”
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Visit next Thursday for more excerpts from the cutting room floor.