Excerpt 3: Shocked State
I jolted awake. I could taste a dirty, salty, sour wetness filling my mouth. My eyes were halfway shut, feeling heavy and unable to open. I ripped my head loose of the heavy feeling trying to overwhelm my senses. My hands sunk into a cold, slimy sludge. Regaining some semblance of my balance and my senses, I flinched at the searing downpour of thick, sharp raindrops smacking me with ferocity. My nose and eyes twitched from the clumped up, earth slime oozing down from out of my hair. I glanced down squishing the sludge underneath my hands, producing a thick glob of muddy soil and ripped up patches of grass.
Stuck on all fours I began to maneuver out of the drudgery and sit up. I began swallowing and feeling the back of my throat getting soiled with the salty vinegar of my own saliva. I began choking as the bitterness felt like chunks of meat lodged in my throat.
Was this another real dream? It seemed to be as real as any other I had experienced. My body shivered and my eyes fluttered fighting the constant rain. My head throbbed as I continued to hold my eyes open.
Finally, after a couple minutes of getting used to the fierce pain, and adjusting to the light that seemed to glare brighter with every glance, I stopped trying to figure out my exact location for a moment and concentrated on regaining all my faculties. I peeled my palms from the jagged, wet surface. A rich and gooey texture squirted from between my fingers, and stains and small globs stuck to my hand. I felt a ripping along my face, stretching the skin underneath my eyes and chin. I reached up with my fingertips and touched over harmless indentations that were evidence of blades of grass stuck to my face from laying face down on the ground. They were small but served as an indication of how long I'd been lying there. I reached around my face and peeled off rough flimsy strands of straggling grass that remained.
So I was outside in the rain, laying face down on all fours in the grass, but where exactly was this? How did I get here, wherever ‘here’ was?
Trying to tackle any of those questions served difficult as the pounding in my head became distracting. Stupidity was my initial thought. I decided I had fallen onto my front lawn and passed out. I figured I did so harmlessly and quietly because if I didn't, in the neighborhood I lived in, I would probably more likely be feeling the cold, hard cement of a jail cell. At the very least, millions of eyes would be there, no doubt surrounding and honing in on me, shaking their heads in disapproval. So if I figured ‘here’ was my front lawn, I thanked God I had only gotten that far. Who knows what would happen had I made it into a car or out on the street?
Small doses of heat poked out through the overcast gray of the sky and its sharpness stung my unprepared, zombie-like complexion. I squinted as my eyes, which were adjusting slowly, began to sting. I dug around with my palms into the grass, which seemed stiff and thicker than I remembered my lawn actually being. I knew I neglected the trimming and grooming process, but that was just it, the grass felt almost freshly cut.
I forced my eyes to open wider and, when finally seeing the truth for the first time, I nearly felt like jumping out of my body.
Title: Amongst the Killing
Author: Joe Compton
Genre: Crime Thriller
For as long as he could remember, Detective Charles Street wanted to be a police officer, moreover a detective. He wanted to be knee-deep in the action, working the biggest cases, and reaping the biggest rewards. But he didn’t think when his dream job came calling that it would ever turn into his nightmare.
For as long as he could remember, Jack Casey just wanted to be free, his own man to do what he pleased, when he pleased. He too craved action, and when his dream life came calling, he didn’t think he would meet anyone who was his equal, and definitely didn’t think he would ever have difficulty leaving behind the world he loathed and mocked.
Amongst The Killing documents both of their stories, told in their own words, as the moments unfolded when their paths first crossed and their lives intersected. How could two men, with two different philosophies, be so different and yet so connected?
As the ultimate cat and mouse game unfolds, each has to deal separately with the other’s decisions and the effects they have in turning their lives sideways and upside-down. Will one of them crack? Will one of them succeed? Ultimately, the journey may mean more than the game, and show both of them the outcome neither was ever expecting.
Born in Hawthorne, CA in December of 1973 Joe grew up in Southern California; the majority of that spent in Torrance, CA. Writing has always been that thing he could do at an early age. He spent many a summer stints with his Grandma and Aunt where he was left mostly to his imagination and would escape by writing scenes and short stories; then acting them out in the backyard. Sometimes bringing in his brother to help act or just be an audience member. Then when his mother went back to work, Joe would spend the summer with his brother, write scripts ( even before he knew what a screenplay was), and perform all the characters for his brother. Joe went on to South Torrance High School and while he wasnt the world’s best student, he did manage to have 3 short stories published in the school’s annual creative anthology. They were mostly horror driven, in the vein of Poe or Lovecraft. It would be Joe’s first published works. One of those stories Joe would end up turning into a screenplay and short film. Joe served his country in the United States Marines for 4 years, were he wrote the very first draft of Amongst the Killing. Once he was out of the Marines Joe moved to Denver, got another short story published in a underground magazine called Harvest Moon, a sort of reader’s digest for Horror fans. Joe started writing screenplays and decided he would like to try making movies. He shot his first movie, Karl’s Liquor in 2001 ; which had one screening and one screening ever, at the awesome, world famous Mercury Cafe in Denver, CO in August of 2001. You can still see the trailer on youtube. Joe went on to make 2 more short films, Devilwind and aforementioned (short story turned into movie) Out of Range. Joe at one time had a deal in place with a publishing company to publish Amongst the Killing but didn’t want to change the principle concept and thus walked away. Now a few years later he has started this company and decided to his first release would be Amongst the Killing . In 2010 Joe met the love of his life, his wife Shawna. Knowing that they will have children very soon he wanted to have something to hand over to his child, should they want it. So he felt the time was now to do this.
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